The potatoes were harvested in both raised beds and also from the fabric bag on June 12th. Overall harvest from the two raised beds were good. Nine seed potatoes were planted in each raised bed. In one of the beds, a combination of Red Norland and Yukon Gold were planted, and the other just Yukon Gold. This was the first year for Red Norland, and the harvest from them seemed a little better than from the Yukon Gold (see pics below). The harvest from the fabric bag was disappointing. I am not sure why the harvest was so bad from the bag. New for this year, I decided to replant the bag with more potatoes using some of the potatoes that I pulled from the first harvest. I will report back later on how this second harvest is doing. I will be planting some top setting onions in one of the potato raised beds, for green onions. I am hopeful to get a harvest before it gets planted with fall broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage. My onions have started to develop what I think is a downy mildew disease on the leaves. See this web site for a good description of Onion Diseases. I think the few weeks in May that it was cool and wet might have contributed to the development of this disease. It only appears to be affecting the yellow Candy onion, and not the red Candy variety (see pic below). The onions have been in the ground for around 70 days (full maturity is approx. 90 days for Candy), so I am hopeful that I can still salvage a decent harvest, as the onions have started to bulb up quite a bit. Harvesting will start soon on the celery, hot and sweet banana peppers, and the Diva cucumbers.
Potato Bed Number One Harvest
Potato Bed Number Two Harvest
Poor Harvest from Potato Bag
Candy Onions With Downy Mildew Leaf Disease?
Wow, what a difference in the garden since my last entry of 3 weeks ago. The garden has really taken off, especially the warm season veggies. I started harvesting broccoli on June 6th (YUM!!), which is at least several weeks earlier than normal. The cabbage loopers/worms have returned, so I have started spraying with bt. I started harvesting peas, with many more to come. Harvest also continues on the lettuce. The cucumbers have started to flower as well as most of the peppers and tomatoes. Most of the corn is now almost 2 feet tall and the beans are starting to get some good growth to them. The onions have just started to bulb and the celery plants will have some harvestable stalks in a few weeks. The potato vines have started to gradually brown, which is a sign that they are nearing maturity. The weather has been pretty good, with just the right amount of rain, which has cut my watering time to nearly zero. I have posted some garden pictures below. June is my favorite month in the garden
Mature Broccoli Head Ready for Harvest
Broccoli Looking Good
Peas Have Reached the Top of the Pea Fence
Cucumbers (Left) and Tomatoes (Right) Growing Well
The Corn is Reaching for the Sky
Hungarian Wax Pepper Fruiting
Chickens Enjoying the Warm June Afternoon
The mid-May garden is doing well and you can almost see daily growth from the plants. Generally, the garden seems to be slightly ahead of a normal year. The lettuce is growing very well and harvest continues about 3 times a week. Harvest will start soon on more green onions and a few radishes. The weather has been pretty good with just the right amount of rain. There were two mornings of scattered frost about one week ago, but I thankfully experienced no plant damage. The potatoes are growing like I have never seem them grow before. It must have been all of the chicken manure that was applied to the beds last fall . All plants/seeds are in except the lima beans and green beans, which I will be planting today. I will also be planting more lettuce seeds either today or tomorrow. Today, I will also side dress the broccoli plants with Vegetable Alive fertilizer from Gardens Alive. I have attached a few garden pictures below.
Recently Germinated Corn
Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Cabbage Growing Well
Lettuce, Onions, and Newly Planted Celery Doing Well
"Mr. Big" Peas Almost to Top of Pea Fence, Green Onions on Right
Tomatoes (Left), Cucumbers and Peppers (Right)
One of the Two Potato Beds, Potatoes Growing Like Mad
Two Beautiful Brown Eggs in Nesting Box
I think the weather is now relatively safe to plant out the warm season veggies here in Central Indiana. I took down the cold frame yesterday, cleaned it and put it away until next spring. The weather over the past few weeks has been seasonable, with just enough rain. There was a frost/lite freeze about one week ago, and it nipped the potato leaves a little, but the plants have since pushed on new growth and appear to be growing fine. Most of the warm season plants and seeds have been or will be planted within the next few days. The corn was planted yesterday, and I plan on setting out the tomato, pepper, cucumber, and celery transplants today. I might wait a few more days to seed the King of the Garden Pole lima, the Fordhook 242 bush lima, and bush green beans.
I harvested the last of the topsetting onions for green onions a few days ago. I will let the rest of the plants produce top setting bulbs for next season’s harvest. My bulbing onions, Candy and Red Candy, are starting to push on good leaf growth. The Mr. Big peas are starting to climb up the pea fence and I harvested a nice second crop of the spring planted lettuce, with plenty more to come. There is always lots to do in the garden this time of year……Don’t you just love spring I will try to post some pictures within the next few weeks.
I finished transplanting cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprout seedlings out into the garden between April 20-23. The spring lettuce is growing really well and harvest will probably start within the week (see pic below). It has been a really good spring so far for growing lettuce. The weather has been unseasonably warm and dry for the last 2 weeks. It is raining today, which is good because it has been a bit too dry. Baring any kind of real cold weather, I will be planting out celery, tomato, pepper, and cucumber seedlings in about 7 to 10 days. The spring planted onions are starting to push on many new green leaves. Harvesting continues on green onions, with the last of the topsetting green onions to be harvested soon. The rest will be allowed to grow and produce new top sets to be planted out this fall.
Lettuce Growing Well, 4-24-10
The weather here in Central Indiana so far this spring has been fabulous. The temperatures have been in the 70′s and 80′s over the past 5 days or so with dry conditions. The red bud trees are now in full bloom. It is quite a bit cooler today, with a frost/freeze expected tonight. With all of the warm weather, it is hard to be patient. If you are planting this time of year in my area, make sure the plants are cold tolerant and also keep some row covers handy. Looks like I might be using some tonight. Even though broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts are cold tolerant, I resisted the temptation on planting these seedlings. Young seedlings are not as cold tolerant as one thinks. I always wait until the 3rd week in April to plant these out into the garden. A few years back I lost nearly all of my broccoli seedlings because I planted them out too early. I will get these planted out in the garden in 4 to 5 days, depending on the weather. I continue to harvest green onions from the fall planted top sets. I also started harvesting the over-wintered lettuce a few days ago (see pic below). These over-wintered plants have really done well this year, despite the fairly cold and snowy winter. The only protection I gave them was a plastic covered hoop. The snow last winter pushed it down quite a bit, but the lettuce really started growing under the hoop by late February. The lettuce variety “Sierra” appears to have over-wintered the best. Man, I forgot how good home grown lettuce taste!! The taste is far superior than the mushy and bland store bought lettuce. I planted out most of the spring lettuce seedlings on April 6th, with the rest a few days later. Most are now growing under a hoop (see pic below). All of the potatoes have just pushed up through the soil over the last few days. Peas were direct seeded out into the garden during the first week of April and are now about an inch tall. Cucumber seeds were planted in small pots 5 days ago and were placed in the cold frame to germinate.
All is right in the chicken world. A new larger run was built adjoining the coop to allow more space for the chickens to scratch and to have access to the outside (see pic below). I snapped a picture of Penny in the nesting box a few days ago (see pic below). My chickens are soooo spoiled Happy Spring Gardening!
Over-Wintered Lettuce Awaiting Harvesting, 4/13/10
Spring Planted Lettuce Growing Under Hoop, 4/13/10
New Chicken Run, 4/13/10
Penny In Nesting Box, 4/13/10
First for a quick planting update. The weather here in Central Indiana has been fabulous for the last 5 days with sunny skies and warmer than normal temperatures. Potatoes were planted in both of the raised beds on March 27th. Onions were received on March 29th and planted on March 31st (see below) and peas were also direct seeded out into the garden. Four seed potatoes were planted in the Grow Bag on April 1st. I think I will wait a few more days to plant out the first lettuce seedlings. This will give the seedlings a little more time to grow.
Now onto the planting of onions. Now is the time, at least for gardeners in Zone 5, to get those onions into the ground. I usually like to plant onions no later than the first week of April. For this post, I am mainly dealing with the full sized bulbing onions and not any one of the specialty onions, like the egyptian/topsetting onions. Up to about 5 years ago, I struggled mightily in getting the onions to bulb up to a decent size. Also, my requirements for onions is that they need to be a fast maturing onion, as I like to sneak in a late planting of green beans after the onions have finished up. I have recently settled on a great Intermediate-Day onion called “Candy.” It is a fantastic yellow onion which has grown very well for me over the last 4 or 5 years. It is also a good keeper, and will store well for about 4 months. I am also trying Red Candy, a red onion, again this year. It is also a Intermediate Day variety that matures about the same time as Candy. While one can grow these onions from seeds, they must be started indoors extra early. I find it easier to order my plants which are then delivered to my door at the time of my choosing. You might also be able to find onions plants sold at your local nursery. These plants our usually sold in bunches of about 50-75 plants. If you cannot find onions plants locally, might I recommend that you order them from Dixondale Farms. I have been ordering onion plants from Dixondale for at least 5 years, and they have never disappointed me. I usually order 3 bunches, which sounds like alot, but I usually only plant the larger better looking plants for the large sized bulbing onions, and then plant the smaller ones for green onions, which I plant in another bed, just to the south of the garden peas. The green onions can be spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart, but the full sized onions I space 4 inches apart in rows 5 inches apart. The larger row spacing is helpful in cultivating and fertilizing around the plants. Mel Batholomew recommends a spacing of 3 inches, but I have found this to be a little too close. The onions should be planted about 1 inch deep. After a few weeks in the ground, I like to side dress the onions with the organic Root Crops Alive fertilizer from Gardens Alive. I do not mulch the onions as I feel that it promotes fungus, but I do try to keep them adequately, but not overly watered. I have posted a step-by-step picture planting tutorial below. For a guide on harvesting onions, please see a previous blog entry: Onions and Potatoes Harvested, Other Updates
Step One – Open delivery box and store the onions in a cool and dry location. Do not water the plants. The onion plants will keep reasonably well for approximately 3 weeks, but it it best to plant them as soon as possible.
Step Two- Carefully separate the plants and sort by size. One pile for large plants, one for smaller plants which will be used for green onions. Discard any mushy or damaged plants or any very small plants.
Step Three – Trim the roots to approximately 1/4 inch long and trim off any soft or damaged leaves. The picture below is what the plants should look like after they have been trimmed. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt the plant by doing this. New leaf growth should develop from the inside-out in about 7 to 10 days after planting.
Step Four- Plant the onions about 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart. For a guide, use a small piece of scrap wood with 4 inch graduations marked on the side. Also, a small wooden dowel rod (for use as a dibble) is helpful in making a small hole in the soil in which to plant the onions. Make sure to pack the soil back around the onion after planting. Water in well and sit back and enjoy the harvest.
The spring seed starting is going full out right now. All of the seeds for lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, celery, and fennel have germinated and are now in the cold frame. The seeds I saved from the Sierra lettuce last year germinated really well for me (I guess that was a successful experiment!). I started green pepper seeds on March 15th, but they have not yet germinated as of this writing. I will be buying transplants of sweet and hot banana peppers, super chili peppers, and roma tomatoes from a local nursery. I have purchased these transplants for a few years now as my cold frame gets pretty crowded if I have to start all of my plants myself (plus it is a little easier). I should be receiving my onion plants in the mail in about 10 days. I will be planting potatoes in about 2 weeks as well as some peas. I took a picture of the seedlings growing in my cold frame a few days ago. They seem to be growing okay, but a little slower than I like. I would like to get some lettuce transplanted out into the garden under a plastic covered hoop around the first week in April, but will have to wait and see how big the lettuce transplants are by then.
The weather over the past 5 days has been warm and sunny, which is always good for this time of year. The forecast is for rain and snow in a few days, but hopefully it won’t last long
Seedlings Growing in the Cold Frame - 3/16/10
I started 72 lettuce plants on February 28th. Most of them have germinated and were moved to the cold frame. On March 7th, I started 18 broccoli, 12 cabbage, 12 brussels sprouts, 12 celery, and 6 fennel plants. I will be planting pepper seeds in about another week. The weather has been nearly perfect the past 4 days, with mostly sunny skies. Most of the leftover snow has finally melted!! With all of the sun, the cold frame really heats up during the day (which is good). high temperatures the past 2 days have been in the 50′s, which is a little above normal. This past weekend, I was able to do some garden clean up and also was able to spread most of the finished compost in the two bins onto the garden plots. I still have a large clump of compost which is still frozen, but I am hopeful to be able to break it up today. About 9 days ago, I received two more chickens from a co-worker. They are New Hampshire Reds, and they are fantastic egg layers. They are very docile and took to their new coop and yard within a few days. Both of these hens are about 11 months old and have layed an egg a day for the past 9 days. What a great day it was when I went to the coop and found four beautiful eggs. Each of the four hens lay a different color/size egg (see the picture below of the four different eggs). I took a picture of the two new hens working over one of the raised beds (see below). All of the 4 chickens have been busily hunting for worms in the new compost, when they are allowed out. Happy Early Spring Gardening!!
Four Different Size/Color Eggs
Two New Hens Working Over a Raised Bed
My cold frame was put up over a small portion of one of the garden beds last Sunday, February 20th. I plan on starting some lettuce seeds in 2 more days, depending on the weather. If the weather forecast continues to look very cold into the latter part of next week, I might hold off starting the lettuce seeds for 5 or 6 days. I will not start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts for another week or so. The weather here has been colder than normal for about the last 3 weeks. The snow is FINALLY starting to melt and I can see some patches of grass for the first time in nearly a month. When the sun is out, you can really feel how warm it is, even for late February. I always consider March 1st the start of spring, even though it technically starts March 20th. Spring for me will start in 3 days!!!