"The best fertilizer for a piece of
land is the footprints of its owner." President Lyndon B. Johnson
2003 GARDEN JOURNAL
January 26, 2003: Ordered my seeds for the upcoming
season on January 20, 2003. I have received some of my seed orders
already. I am hopeful that the weather will start to warm up a bit in the
next few weeks. I will be setting up my cold frame in another month.
Spring is just around the corner!!!!!!
February 20, 2003: Well I guess it is time for my
second journal entry of the year. I am hopeful to be able to put up my
cold frame in another week. I still have about 3 inches of snow on the
ground, but I won't complain too much. At least I do not have 40 inches of
snow like some places in Maryland have right now!!! If the weather seems
like it is going to be decent enough (not too cold), I will plant my first
lettuce seeds in about another week.
March 2, 2003: I put up my cold frame yesterday, but I
had to dig out about 5 inches of snow off of the garden area and another few
inches of shredded leaves that I put there in the fall (see picture
below). The neighbors must think I'm nuts!! The weather is still
cold, but I am hopeful that I will be able to start some seeds within the
week. I will have to watch the weather forecast closely to see what kind
of temperatures are expected. I do not want to start seeds too soon only
to have them die later.
March 18, 2003: I finally started my lettuce seeds
about 10 days ago. About half germinated and were moved to the cold
frame. The other half, for some reason, did not germinate, so after 7
days, I replanted. Not really sure why they did not germinate. I do
not think the seed has gone bad. I will have to wait and see how the
second planting turns out. The weather has turned very mild and the snow
is finally off of the ground!!!! My cold frame seems to be doing
fine. I have put a wireless thermometer in the frame to monitor the
temperature. I was curious to see how cold it got in there at night.
I have observed some below freezing temperatures in the cold frame, but the
lettuce seedlings seem to be doing ok. Two days ago, I started my cabbage,
brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli seeds. I will probably start my
peppers in another week or so, followed by my tomatoes.
March 26, 2003: Well, I think the weather has made the
transition to warmer spring like temperatures (Knock on Wood!!). My
seedlings are coming along pretty good in the cold frame (see picture
below). I replanted a few of my lettuce seeds, and I think I am over that
problem now. I planted my pepper seeds yesterday and put them over my seed
warmer mat to aid in germination. I will probably start my tomato seeds in
a few days. I am experimenting this year with a hoop house to put over my
lettuce seedlings. I will be updating the progress of that in a few
weeks. My lettuce seedlings are still too small to transplant out into the
garden. Will have to wait a few weeks yet to transplant those
seedlings. I should be receiving my onion plants next week.....Hurray!!
April 12, 2003: I planted my onion plants around
the first of April. I also just planted my first lettuce plants yesterday
and put my experimental hoop house over them. It is constructed with three
lengths of 1/2 inch black poly pipe. I attached regular plastic over the
hoops with clips that I purchased this spring. For ventilation on sunny
and warm days, I will leave the ends open (see pictures below). I am
curious to see if this hoop house will allow for more rapid growth of the
lettuce. We had a spell of very cold and cloudy days, but I think those
days are passed. The last two days have been very sunny and relatively
warm for this time of year. The red bud trees are in full bloom. I
will be planting my cole crops within the next few days.
April 27, 2003: We had a relatively hard freeze 4
days ago and I think I lost some of my cole crop seedlings
($*$#@*$%#!!!!!!!). It dropped to 26 degrees and I did not cover the
plants. I still think some of the plants might come back, but I went out
and bought some broccoli plants to fill in with. I was surprised to find
the variety "Packman" available locally. My lettuce plants
survived without any problems under my new hoop house. The hoop house is
working out better than I expected. I am very pleased with the results so
far. Please see the pictures of my lettuce plot that has been growing
under this hoop below. I will be harvesting some of the lettuce this week.
May 10, 2003: It has been very wet the last few
weeks. We had about 1 1/2 inches of rain this morning with some severe
storms reported in the area. I have raked the leaf cover off of one of the
plots in anticipation of planting my green beans. I will have to wait for
the soil to dry out a little before I plant these seeds. My lettuce is
growing extremely well, but I have started to find some little slugs on the
plants. I am very pleased with the results of the hoop cover over the
lettuce. See the first picture below of my lettuce plot taken a few days
ago. My tomato and pepper plants will be leaving the cold frame within the
next week and they will be planted in the garden shortly thereafter (see second
picture below). I will be giving about half of these plants away to
coworkers and friends. My cole crops are still small, but have shown signs
of new growth over the last two weeks. My onions are starting to push on
new growth and I will be fertilizing them soon.
May 27, 2003: It has been cool but dry since my
last entry. My soil has finally dried out to the point that a little rain
is really needed. I planted my pepper and tomato plants about 10 days ago
and took apart my cold frame for the year. I planted some of my green
beans about one week ago, and they should start coming up soon. My lettuce
is loving this cool weather and is growing about as well as it has ever
grown!! My onions are getting much larger now and it looks like I will
have a decent crop this year.
June 15, 2003: The garden is coming along pretty good
right now despite somewhat below normal temperatures. We had a decent
amount of rain the past week or so. My onion plants are growing very good
and my broccoli is starting to come along, although it seems to be about two
weeks behind schedule. My broccoli is starting to form heads now and
hopefully they will be ready to harvest soon (See pics below). Harvest continues like crazy
on the spring planted lettuce. Slugs continue to be a minor problem on the
lettuce, but still manageable. I planted some more lettuce seedlings about
ten days ago, and they are starting to get established now. I have had
problems with birds picking on some of the newly planted lettuce leaves. I
would have never believed they would do that until I saw it myself!!!! The
other warm weather crops are doing fine, but would do better with some warmer
temperatures and sun.
July 5, 2003: Well, we had about 3 inches of rain within
the last 12 hours, so I guess our mini drought has been broken!!! Had a
pretty bad storm yesterday evening with hail and high winds. The hail
damaged my lettuce plants a little, but everything else looks ok. It was
very, very hot here yesterday before the storm moved in. I have just about
finished harvesting the broccoli. I am still waiting on my cabbage to mature,
but hopefully I will start harvesting them soon. Some of my onion tops
have started to fall over and they seem to be bulbing up nicely. With all
the hot weather of the last week or so, my tomato and pepper plants are growing
like mad. My green beans started to flower about a week ago, so it will
not be long before fresh green beans!! I started my fall crop of broccoli
and cauliflower seeds yesterday and I started some more lettuce seeds about 1
July 25, 2003: We have had plenty of rain here
since my last entry. I have started to dry some of my onions about a week
ago. The onions did decent this year (see pics below). I started to
harvest my green beans (YUM), but I think I am getting some bean rust on
them. I started a spraying program of liquid sulpher to combat this
problem, and it seems to be working so far. I started harvesting some
of my cabbage plants last week as well (better late than never!). The new cabbage
Everlast Hybrid from Park Seed seemed to perform well, but they are a little
smaller than I anticipated they would be. The tomato and pepper plants are
growing well, but no ripe fruit on them as of yet.
August 11, 2003: I began harvesting tomatoes
about one week ago. They are about two weeks behind a normal growing
liquid sulpher seemed to work on stopping the rust on my green beans. My
onions finished curing and I put them up in mess bags and hung them in the basement. I
planted green beans in the area where my onions were growing and planted my seedlings of broccoli and
cauliflower. It has been a little dry here, so any rain I can get would be
welcomed. My green peppers are finally coming along and I might be able to
few within the next few weeks.
August 31, 2003: I began harvesting tomatoes a few
weeks ago and was able to freeze quite a bit of tomato sauce. My green
peppers have also been maturing and harvesting continues on those, as well as my
super chili hot peppers. I have also started harvesting lettuce again and
I was able to plant more lettuce seedlings yesterday. We finally received
some beneficial rain over the last few days. My carrots are coming up now
and I hope to get a harvest from them later this fall.
September 3, 2003: Well, I guess I have nobody to
blame for all of the flooding rain we got except myself. I was hoping for
rain and we sure got it!!!!! We received about 6 1/2 inches of rain over a
two day period and I had a small pond developing in and around my garden.
I think most of the garden survived, but some of my broccoli and newly planted
green beans are showing signs of water stress. Their leaves are curling up
in the sun (See the pictures below). I pulled away some of the dry grass
mulch to help the soil dry out a bit. I think most of the plants will
recover as long as we do not get any more rain for awhile.
September 20, 2003: My fall garden is doing
relatively well. I have been harvesting lettuce again and my late planted
green beans have grown better since the ground has dried out (see first pic
below). It has been really dry since that labor day weekend flood, and I
began to water again. My broccoli and cauliflower plants are doing pretty
good so far (see second pic below). A few of my broccoli plants have
little heads starting to form. I have continued pulling the lower leaves
off of my brussel sprout plants. Their growth seems to be a little behind
this year. I picked a whole lot of green peppers a few days ago. My
green pepper plants are as tall as I have ever seen them!!! My late
planted carrots are finally starting to grow, but time will tell if I will get a
good harvest from these.
October 14, 2003: Up until a week ago we had unusually
cool temperatures. I recorded a low of 30 degrees one morning with heavy
frost. I covered most of my plants with the exception of the tomatoes and
peppers. My late planted green beans, which I had covered with a floating
row cover, survived but got nipped a little on the ends. I pulled up my tomato
and pepper plants and was able to do some tilling in those garden areas. I
started to harvest some broccoli about a week ago. I also harvested some
of my green beans. My fall lettuce is growing really well and I continue
to harvest lettuce as it matures. My late planted carrots seem to be
growing better now, with the aid of my small hoop house.
November 4, 2003: Well we are in the midst of Indian
Summer weather. It has been near 80 degrees for two days straight now. My
lettuce is wilting a little, but you know that this warm weather will not last
for long in Indiana this time of year. Harvesting continues on my broccoli
and the cauliflower is ready for harvesting as well. My fall crop of
broccoli and cauliflower has done extremely well. The heads of cauliflower
are pretty big now (see first pic below). I have also started to harvest
some of my brussel sprouts. They have done fair this year, but I still
have some decent sized sprouts on the plants (see second pic below). My
late planted lettuce is doing pretty well under my hoop house. I have
uncovered them due to the warm temperatures (see third pic below). My
August planted carrots are doing really well with the help of another hoop house over
them (see fourth pic below). I am absolutely sold on these hoop
houses. Overall, my fall crops have done really well with the exception of
my late planted beans. I think it was too wet and cool for them. I
did manage a smaller than normal harvest from them. I pulled up my bean
plants a few days ago and but down a layer of grass clippings and leaves over
that area. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is only about 3 weeks
away!! I am hopeful to be able to extend the growing season about another
month or so.
November 23, 2003: I still have a few things
growing in the garden. I harvested a couple of carrots today that were growing
under the hoop house. These two carrots looked really good (see pic
below). I still have many more carrots growing and I will be harvesting
these within the next month before the ground freezes. The variety of
carrot I planted was called "Scarlet Nantes" from Harris Seeds.
the seeds were pelleted, which made the planting and spacing much easier.
It also made thinning much easier as well. I definitely will be using
pelleted carrot seeds again. I harvested a little more lettuce yesterday,
and the rest of the lettuce seems to be growing fine under the hoop house.
I have one very small cauliflower plant that is still growing, but I think I
will be harvesting it today before the predicted freeze tonight.
Thanksgiving is only 4 days away. Happy Thanksgiving!!
December 7, 2003: I harvested about half of my carrots
yesterday that were growing under my hoop house (see first 2 pics below).
They were of pretty good size. Overall I was pleased with how well they
grew. I left the other half of the carrots in the the ground to harvest
later. I also harvested some lettuce about 4 days ago (see 3rd pic below)
under my other hoop house. I still have a little bit of lettuce left,
which I will be harvesting later. The weather has been pretty decent for
early December. We missed all of the accumulating snow that the east coast
December 21, 2003: I harvested the last garden crop of
the year yesterday, my carrots. I was impressed by how well they grew
under the hoop house. I was a little concerned about the ground freezing,
but it was not frozen at all. I like the idea of harvesting when there is
snow on the ground!!! This will be my last entry for the 2003 growing
season. It is time to start planning and ordering seeds for next
year. I think I will try to grow some celery next year. Merry
Christmas and Happy New Year!!!