First blossom! And the winner is…

I was surprised to see my first open blossom today on a tomato plant that I grew from seed! So exciting! My sister in Houston already has first-sized tomatoes, Daddy has tomatoes, even Del has a legitimate double tomato on his Bear Claw, but I didn’t even have a single blossom. Until today! 2020’s first tomato plant to open a blossom is … Stupice! This isn’t a surprise — Stupice is known for being early. I should be eating tomatoes from my own garden come the end of next month. My aunt always says it’s a big thing to get your first tomato before July 4 here. I think I will make it! The rest of the garden is looking…

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Cucumbers planted!

Jared finally fixed the broken trellis, so I put in my little baby cucumber plants today. I had planted three indoors thinking that at least one of the seeds I put outside would sprout. Nope. It was probably the frost. I put the three that came up out today, and I planted two more little seeds to see if they’ll come up. If they aren’t up in a week or so I’ll go buy a cucumber plant somewhere. The lettuce I planted is doing very well! It’s too late to get much from these seeds, but I don’t mind picking at baby stage for salads. I can always get mixed local lettuce at the farmers market most any time at…

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Catchup day

Today is garden catchup day. It’s been too cold to work, so today we made up for it. We cut grass, weed wacked some spots that needed it, made two trips to the dump and two to the woods, cleaned up most of the old shed stuff, planted out about 25 leeks, put in a 18 hollyhocks, moved some new bricks to the garden beds, moved the grow bags where they can be watered automatically, mulched around the clematis and roses, started mulching around the blackberries to see if it will keep them honeysuckle down, put the fire pit back together, stacked up the wood from the wedding, planted zinnias, planted herb seeds, and pulled I don’t know how many…

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Tomato planting day!

It finally came! I’m like a kid waiting for Santa, except instead of being excited to play with toys, I’m excited to get to play in the dirt! After arranging my tools, I decided to pot up the tiny plants for later planting out. I may put them out at the end of the month, or I may wait as late as the second week in June. These plants will be my second string that I’ll put in after the first planting peters out. I had good luck doing that (unintentionally) last year, and I’m going to try it again. I moved Italian grape to a bigger pot, transplanted the two late germinating Cherokee purples, and I split out this…

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Self-control when gardening

It is taking every bit of self-control I can muster to avoid planting my vegetables out right now, even though I know we got another frost warning for tonight. Ideally I’d have had my plants out last week, but this polar vortex has messed up all my plans. I’m back to bringing the plants in and out again, but at least now I’ve only got about 25 to schlepp around instead of 90. I’ve been carefully watching the temperatures, and we brought in the plants on Friday afternoon. About that time we realized the fluorescent ballast on my existing grow light setup had gone out, so Jared went to the store me to save me. He ended up buying led…

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Italian grape

The Italian grape tomato plant — last of the seeds I stole from Italy six years ago, and the only seed to germinate — is progressing, but very slowly. I fertilized last week with a foliar spray (diluted Neptune’s Harvest), and it seems to be doing better. It’s been two months since I planted it, so I thought I’d post some pictures of its progress. It is planted in the only black oval-shaped container, so it’s easy to compare progress with its cousin plants, which are now three or four times its size. Today, its cousins planted at the same time or 10 days later look like this: I have worked hard to baby that runty seedling, and it’s paying…

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How to double or triple your asparagus yield

We end up with a lot of asparagus each year, and I mean A LOT. I have 25 asparagus plants out, and they produce like gang busters all season. It’s so amazingly tasty out of the garden that I often eat it raw while I’m cutting. It’s so good! I’ve been growing this asparagus for six years now, and I’ve been experimenting with longer cuts for the past four years. Read below for my tips on increasing your asparagus yield. 1. Include female plants When I was planning our asparagus bed years ago, the recommend number of plants was 10 plants for every person in your family. That would have been 40 plants for us. I knew how long my…

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Bear Claw blooms

The tomato plants I ordered from Laurel’s Heirloom Plants in California came in on Saturday! She had them packaged really well, but wow — they sure looked gnarly when they first came out of the packaging: They looked weak to me, and the potting mix was totally dry, so I decided to wait a few days before planting them out to see how they’d fluff out: The craziest thing about these plants is the flowers. Look at this monster bloom on the Bear Claw: I fertilized with a little bit of Neptune’s Harvest as a foliar spray on Monday, and my plants are looking amazing: They are definitely ready for planting, but it’s going to be down in the thirties…

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Great weather but…

It’s beautiful outside today! It’s 70 degrees with sunshine and a light breeze — almost couldn’t be better weather. It was so nice, but I decided not to plant my tomatoes after all. First off, the garden looked like this less than 48 hours ago: Gross, right? Even today every foot step in the garden is still squishy. I decided not to plant when I knew the plants would be waterlogged, plus I saw this on some of my seedlings yesterday: It definitely looks like leaf spot, as contrasted with this: … which is cold damage. I am actually feeling vindicated. There’s a master gardner who is always reminding people that soil harbors disease. She’s a super nice person, but…

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