One supposes I should update here more often! Gardening this year involved a smaller area of the garden due to going in late. The weather has not been conducive to the process either. It's over 90 half the week and in the 70's or 80's the other half. However, it's a definite zucchini year! I am getting many zucchinis, including the round type, which never really came on when I planted them before. They make wonderful zucchini parmesan—sliced about 1/4 inch thick, smothered in marinara sauce and covered with shredded cheese. I baked them covered about 45 minutes in a 375° oven, then sprinkled liberally with parmesan cheese when it had cooled down. Delicious!!
Grasshoppers came on early and in huge numbers, but between the ducks and the grasshopper bran bait, they have been reduced. They did little damage to the garden, which is fortunate.
The cold came on very quickly and I was not really prepared for the amount of vegetables left in the garden. I had put some carrots and beets in containers and buried them in the garden to keep them cold.
This last week I finally finished all of the carrots, beets and most of the onions. The onions actually worked out very well. The sub-zero temperatures made the porch cold enough to be below zero, so I chopped a bunch of the onions up, put them on cookie sheets and left them on the porch over night to freeze. Then I put them in plastic jars in the freezer, skipping the strong onion odor the freezer had last July or August when I froze 10 lbs of vidalia onions. Of course, the porch smelled like onions for a couple of days, then cleared out. Here are some pictures of my garden bounty:
About half of the tomatoes have ripened now. I had seven or eight cauliflower heads this year, most of which I put in the freezer. I still have a few onions out waiting to be dealt with.
Biggest problem right now is a mouse that keeps getting into the tomatoes. I redid the trap to make it harder to steal the bait and hopefully I will get him soon. In the meantime, all tomatoes are in closed containers, like everything else I have (flour, sugar, crackers, chips, everything.)
August 2014 After letting the garden unplanted last year and killing the weeds and grass with Roundup, we actually have a garden this year!
I have harvested several batches of beans and peas, thinned the carrots and kept the pulled ones for use in salads, one head of cabbage, some chards and lettuce. It's been a good harvest so far.
End of season 2011
My tomato plants in the greenhouse were HUGE! I have never had 6 foot plants before. I think it was the Miracle Grow garden soil I put in the greenhouse. I'll try it again next year and let you know!
I grew several variety of tomatoes, many heirloom types. They were soooo good!
The lettuce also did well, as did the carrots. The other veggies did not do as well. I did get some corn and beans, but not enough to really put much in the freezer. I am still trying to figure out how to get the right amount of water. Plus, it went from being cold to being hot again in about one day, which is really hard on the garden veggies. I was surprised how long the lettuce took before it bolted. Zuchinnis and other squash were very slow, also.
May 29th, 2011
We once again brought in my plants. There is a possibility of rain/snow tonight. It is very cold and wet here. I did some "wall-o-waters" but then the rain and cold returned and I couldn't get into the garden due to massive mud. It's not tilled yet, but it's just so wet. It's probably too cold to get seeds to sprout, so the wet may not matter. When it dries out, I will make some cold frames.
May 24th, 2011
Long time away from the gardening page. The torrential rains continue, so my garden is only tilled with a first quick pass. If the rain stops, we will try tilling again this weekend. (Torrential here means over an inch in a day! This is a high plains desert mostly--we get only about 12 inches of moisture a year.)
I did put my plants out in the greenhouse finally to start hardening off. It was dropping below freezing until this week. I have a lot of tomato plants and then peppers, cauliflower, some zucchini and melons, lettuce I started indoors in a pot, etc.
This year I may try a raised bed or two. In the past, raising the bed resulted in the plants drying out faster. With the increase in rain for the past 12 months, this may not be such an issue.
Speaking of rain and moisture, I also bought a watering gauge in the hopes that a gauge is more accurate than I am at measuring watering. I never seem to get enough water on the garden.
The grasshoppers continue to thrive, though they seem to be leaving the garden alone for now. Some of the trees are a bit leafless...
Thus far, I have been getting zuchinni and some peas. I don't seem to be able to get peas, beans and corn to grow like I did in the past. Tomatos, carrots, etc all do well. The cauliflower all went to seed, which I have never seen before. Wierd.
Chards and beets are coming along also and I have been getting some very delicious lettuce for salads. I planted a "gourmet" mix and I have to say, it is good! Makes my salads much tastier!
I have three ducks that never leave their pen! I think it's because they have so many grasshoppers in the pen! The hoppers are winning at this point. I have put out EcoBran, used pyola spray and put Sevin on the garden, plus squishing them. I may add diatomaceous earth this week...
|grasshoppers on garden fence|
As noted in the general blog, it hailed on the 4th. This caused some shredding of garden plants and knocked a bunch of leaves off the Russian olive trees. I think most will recover if it doesn't hail again. The grasshoppers are everywhere. I wanted ducks to eat the hoppers but obtaining a duck has proven difficult. I guess Wyoming is less agricultural than Iowa was. Anyway, I am still trying and in the meantime I have put screen over the beets, Sevin on the tomatoes (not sure what is eating these) and will try making garlic oil which grasshoppers are said not to like.
May 17 and it's fairly warm at night. I still can't put plants out, but I did plant cool weather crops for the last two days. And I have been leaving the plants out in the greenhouse or garden in the daytime, then the greenhouse at night if it is predicted to be over 40 degrees out. I won't put the plants out until May 31 or after, just in case of frost. Also, it has to warm up to plant beans and corn. I am starting zuchinni and other squash in the house to put out in a couple of weeks.
May 7 and it is still getting down to 23 degrees at night. I did till the garden and have been carrying out the plants to harden them off when the daytime temps are over 50 degrees. Yesterday and today did not meet that criteria.
The plants are getting sturdier in spite of the lack of sun. I think they will be good by the end of the month.
April 16, 2010
The seeds are coming up quite nicely now that the weather has warmed up. Here are some photos:
There's also orange cauliflower, several varieties of peppers, brocolli, cabbage, etc. Later, I will start melons and zuchinni. Plants are a big part of what I put in the garden.
This year I am trying a new layout and shelter for some of the plants. The wind and dry weather is very hard on them. My experiment from last year did not really work, so it's try again. Sometimes I miss the gardening in Iowa, where you just put seeds in the dirt and they grow! It's never that simple out here.
April 7, 2010
I added a 100 watt bulb inside the greenhouse to get the temperature up. With the current round of snow and cloudy days, there is not enough heat in the greenhouse to get seeds to sprout.
I did transplant several plants yesterday. I plant multiple seeds per cup and then transplant if too many seeds come up per cup.
April 4, 2010
I have eggplants, tomatoes and maybe some peppers up now. There are maybe five containers that will be ready to transplant to individual cups this week. I have been using the lights a lot in the greenhouse because of the cold, snowy weather.
Every week or week and a half, I spray the plants with Spray and Grow. Years ago, I tested this product in my garden and found it did indeed increase growth and plant yields. The only down side is it has to be applied frequently and some years I just don't seem to get it sprayed on enough. I am trying to be more diligent in applying the spray so my plants will be stronger when they are put out to harden off. The product is user-friendly amd environmentally friendly.
March 24, 2010
More plants are coming up. The eggplant came up, which is good, since it generally sprouts slowly and takes more time to get large enough to transplant to the garden.
I am putting a picture of cactuses I grew from seed! I had tried for years to grow cactus from seed and finally got these going about three years ago!
March 19, 2010
A few of my plants are finally coming up. It was warm the first part of the week and that helps.
I planted a bunch more seeds on the 17th. I will put a list of what I plant in this blog as soon as I can find the time.
Gardening in my area is a challenge. I live on the open prairie where much of the soil is blow sand or hard as concrete. Then there's the fuzzy critters--bunnies and deer. Mule deer really aren't worried about electric fences and will go through them or under them. So I have a 9 foot fence around the garden with 3 feet tall fiberglass panals to keep out the rabbits. The rabbits are persistant--I had to put a 2 foot tall section of snow fence across the "door" to the garden because the rabbits would come right in while I was weeding!!
I do have to be careful in the winter--if I leave the gate open and deer get in, they will panic and try to take out the fence to escape. They can do a lot of damage.
My gardening is not organic, but close. I use very little insecticide and most of it is organic. I also compost--last year I had to make a larger enclosure so I could turn the pile over easier.
The garden is 50 ft by 50 ft. I grow corn, beans, peas, zuchinni, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I try to grow heirloom tomatoes--I like them better than the hybrids. I start them indoors, in early March, in a greenhouse (photo). I "recycle" my convenience store cups into cups for starting plants and the top part I use to protect the plant when I set them out.
I am planting the remainder of the items I grow indoors today. So far, nothing has come up in the greenhouse. I added a couple of flourescent lights. Of course, today is very cold and cloudy, so maybe I'm just impatient. Gardening takes time!