I am hopeful that spring is finally here (knock on wood). Most of the snow here in Central Indiana has melted so I put up my cold frame today and will start some lettuce seeds indoors in a few days. In about another five days I will start broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and celery seeds inside. After all seeds germinate I will move them to the cold frame. I peaked under my plastic hoop the other day and it looks like most of the lettuce plants have survived the winter outside under the hoop. I might try to plant some radish seeds under this hoop within the week. The fall planted top setting onions are starting to show some green top growth. Wow, am I ready for spring this year!!! Happy Early Spring Planting!!
The late December garden in still producing. The last of the late summer planted carrots were harvested on December 28th (see pics below). There were about 35 carrots are varying sizes. Theses carrots, variety Scarlet Nantes, grew fairly well under the plastic covered hoop. Even though it was very cold for about 2 weeks prior to harvesting, the soil under the hoop did not freeze. If you have not tried growing carrots in the fall, you should. Carrots that mature in the cooler fall weather are as sweet as candy! Over the last month I have also been enjoying fresh cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts from the garden. Now I am anxiously awaiting spring. My mailbox has been filling up with seed catalogs. I will be inventorying all of my seeds and ordering new seeds, as needed, within the next month. Make sure to order early for the best selection.
I would like to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous 2014!!
Carrots Before Harvesting that were Growing Under Hoop
Carrots After Harvesting
Happy Veterans Day! My November garden is still producing, although at a much slower pace. Harvest started on the Brussels sprouts about a week ago and more will be harvested today. Low temperatures are predicted to be in the low 20’s in a few days, so I will be harvesting the remaining broccoli today and maybe one or two heads of cauliflower. The cauliflower has not grown that well for me this year. The plants are really big, but the heads have been slow to develop. I might harvest a few more heads of cabbage today. The cabbage plants are currently growing under a row cover. The “beauregard” sweet potatoes were harvested about 3 weeks ago. Some of the potatoes were close to 1 foot long! Harvest has continued on the lettuce, which is now growing under a plastic covered hoop. Since the forecast is for really cold temperatures, I might go ahead and harvest the rest of the mature lettuce today. The other smaller to medium sized lettuce plants I will leave growing under the hoop all winter and, with any luck, some of the plants will survive the winter and give a decent early harvest next spring. The August planted carrots are also growing under another hoop. The carrots are starting to get some size to them, but I will leave them in the ground for now. The top setting onions were planted out about 10 days ago. Half of these will be harvested for green onions early next spring and the rest will be allowed to grow for new top sets for replanting in the fall of 2014. Check out my Facebook page for more updated pictures taken today.
Good Sized Brussels Sprouts Ready for Harvesting
The early October garden is growing really well. The garden has received some much needed rain, HOOORAY!!! Harvest has been continuing on green beans, celery, tomatoes, and peppers. Speaking of peppers, my pepper plants are nearly 4 feet tall. I should be calling them pepper trees!! Needless to say I have been picking loads of peppers. The green beans growing in the old corn plot are almost ready to harvest. The early August planted broccoli and cabbage are ready to harvest (see pics below). The cauliflower plants have not begun to grow small heads, but the plants are really large. Go over to my Facebook Page to see more updated pictures of my fall garden. The frost looks like it will hold off for at least another week to 10 days.
Cabbage Ready to Harvest
Fall Broccoli Looking Good
The garden finally received some decent rain 2 days ago, just over 1 inch. That is the first measurable rain in 3 weeks and the most in probably 6 to 7 weeks. The weather has been really hot and I have been watering most plants about every week. I am REALLY glad to see the rain. Despite the bad weather conditions, the garden is doing relatively well. The early August planted seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are growing well and I think they are on schedule to produce a nice fall harvest starting in early October (see pics below). The King of the Garden pole lima beans have exploded into growth and the vines have really filled out on the trellises. I have also been harvesting these lima beans, and they are sure good to eat I have also started to harvest some of my Sierra lettuce which was transplanted out into the garden in late July. The roma tomatoes continue to push on new growth and mature fruit. The tomatoes have really grown well for me this year, despite the dry conditions. The early August planted carrots are growing, but more slower than I like. Harvest also continues on the hot banana and green peppers, green beans, and celery. I hope most of you have planted or are starting to plant your fall garden. Fall is an excellent time to garden.
Early August Planted Broccoli Growing Well
Early August Planted Cabbage and Cauliflower Getting Bigger
All of the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower seedlings were planted out into the garden on August 5th and the lettuce seedlings were planted out a few days later. Scarlet Nantes carrot seeds were planted around the 1st of August and have since germinated. Here is a little trick that works really well when planting carrot seeds in dry hot conditions. After planting the carrot seeds, water the area really well and place boards over the area. This keeps the soil from drying out. After about 6 or 7 days remove the boards, as this is about the germination time required for carrots. You might have to water the seed bed some more before germination. The last of the Silver Queen white sweet corn was harvested and green beans were planted out into this bed on August 10th. Hopefully I will get a harvest from these before the first fall frost. The first harvest of pole lima beans was yesterday. These beans are growing like crazy now (after they got a good watering) so more lima beans will be maturing soon. The roma tomatoes are starting to mature and I plan on harvesting a whole bunch for processing in a few days. Conditions remain very very dry in the garden. Most of the rain over the past 3 weeks has missed the garden. I have been watering the garden about every week now. The of lack of rain in my Indianapolis garden reminds of the old song, “Little Green Apples” by O.C. Smith
“God didn’t make little green apples
And it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime”
My garden continues to miss out on all of the rain, so the conditions remain very very dry. At least it has cooled down a bit. I continue to water about every 4 to 5 days. Lets hope for some rain soon! I pulled up my onions about 2 weeks ago and let them cure about a week. I think it was a decent onion harvest this year (see pic below). I continue to harvest cabbage, celery, hot banana peppers, bush green beans, and broccoli side shoots. The Silver Queen white corn is just about ready to harvest……YUM. All of the Red Norland potatoes have been harvested. They are really flavorful this year. I am still waiting for the first ripe roma tomatoes. There are many green tomatoes on the plants, but no red ones yet. I suspect that they will be ripening up within the next 2 weeks or so. The fall seedlings (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce) continue to grow in their little cell packs on the back porch. Hopefully they will be big enough to transplant out into the garden in another 2 weeks. I will be planting carrot seeds as well as more bush green beans within the week. Happy Late July Gardening!
A Decent Onion Harvest
Happy 4th of July everyone! Well, it finally rained on my garden, Yahoo!! The plants have really responded to the rain as well. Everything is growing really well right now. The bush green beans have flowered and small beans are now growing on the plants. Harvesting will probably begin on the green beans in about another week (YUM). I started harvesting a few stalks of celery a few days ago. Just about all of the onion tops have fallen over, so I will be pulling those up and letting them cure in about another week. The roma tomatoes have grown to the top of their 3 foot cages and I saw little clusters of green tomatoes starting to form on most of the plants. The cucumber plants have started to push on small cucumbers, most are about 2-3 inches long right now. The peppers plants are growing like mad. The green peppers have really started to grow are just about ready to flower. The Hungarian hot banana peppers are still producing peppers, but the plants have really started to get bigger over the last few weeks. The Silver Queen white corn is tasseling. The Red Norland potato vines have almost all died back, so harvest will begin on those soon. Harvest finished up on the spring peas, so I pulled up the plants and planted bush green beans in their place.
The Golden Acre Cabbage is ready to harvest, so I harvested 2 really good sized heads this morning. Wow, my spring cabbage has grown probably the best it has ever had. Usually the spring cabbage gets lots of damage from slugs, but I have not seen any slug damage so far this year. The 2 heads harvested were about 8 to 9 inches in diameter and weighed about 3-4 pounds each. I still have 6 more heads to harvest (see cabbage pics below).
I started seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce on July 1. These will be planted out into the garden by the first week of August for harvest in the fall. Wow, this summer is really going by quickly and fall will be here before you know it.
Cabbage, Notice Splitting Outer Leaf, Time to Get This One Harvested
Two Mature Cabbage Plants (1-Foot Spacing Between Plants)
8 Cabbage Plants Growing Along the South Side of Plot (Competing Fairly Well with the Broccoli)
Welcome to summer!!! The garden has certainly taken off in growth since the last blog entry in early June. I have been harvesting broccoli like a wild man. All of the main heads have now been harvested and now side shoots are starting to grow. The garden peas have starting maturing and I began harvesting them yesterday. The Hungarian Hot Banana peppers are starting to produce peppers, even though the plants themselves are small. The cucumbers have reach the top of their 3 foot cages, and little cucumbers can now be seen growing on most of the vines. The celery has started to grow, and it won’t be long until I can start harvesting some of the outside stalks. The bush green beans have started to flower, so that means in about another 2 weeks I should started harvesting beans (Yum). Two of the cabbage plants have nearly mature heads, just in time for 4th of July cole slaw . Just within the last week I have started to notice some of the red candy and candy onion tops falling over, so my onion harvest will not be too far off. The roma tomatoes are growing reasonably well. The Silver Queen corn is starting to tassel and the red potato vines have started to turn off yellow, which is a sure sing that they will be ready to harvest soon. My brother decided to plant sweet potatoes this year, variety Beauregard, in one of the raised beds. The vines have just started to grow.
Take Note: I will be starting my Fall crop (yes I said Fall) of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and lettuce seeds in four or five days.
The weather has turned hot and dry. I hope my garden gets some rain soon. I have started to water some of the plants with a hose end sprayer in order to get a good deep watering. I am hoping that we do not have a repeat of last summer’s drought. I have included some pictures of my garden, taken 6/22/13, below.
Pole Limas and Bush Green Beans
Broccoli Side Shoots
Silver Queen Corn Growing Well
Cucumbers and Peppers
Onion Tops Falling Over
Sweet Potato Vines Starting to Grow
My Very Spoiled Hens Enjoying the Cool Shade on a Hot Day
Wow, the garden has really taken off, especially the broccoli. I have never had broccoli grow so fast in my 22 plus years of gardening (see side by side picture below). I am not sure if it was all of the April rain or maybe just the organic fertilizer that caused such explosive growth. Most of the broccoli plants already have small heads forming, so it won’t be long until harvest begins on these. Actually, the cabbage and brussels sprouts growing in the same plot have also grown fast. The rest of the garden is also growing quite well. It has rained quite a bit over the last week (nearly 3 inches of rain in that time). All of the bean seeds were planted and most have germinated. The cucumber plants are just starting to flower and the hungarain hot banana peppers already have very small peppers on the plants. The peas have just started to flower and the onions are starting to bulb out. One interesting thing I have noticed so far this year is the lack of insects. I have seen only a few worms on the broccoli (which I picked off) and I have only seen a few white moths flying around. The only insects I have seen have been flea beetles (on the early broccoli leaves) and slugs (on the lettuce). I wonder if the drought of last year is the reason for the lower populations of insects this year? I hope this trends continues for the rest of the growing season!!
Wow, Look How Fast the Broccoli Grew!!