Friday, April 22, 2011

Garden Update

Mother Nature is still teasing us with a few warm days here and there only to be followed with chilly temperatures. Daytime temperatures this week have been in the 50s, while nighttime temperatures have been in the 30s. However, there is the possibility that spring will come all at once and I am trying to be ready for it.

Garden accomplishments over the past week included adding compost and restringing the Square Foot Gardens (SFG).  The old cotton strings had deteriorated. Most had snapped, so I pulled the remaining strings when cleaning out the gardens and they were added to the compost bin to further decompose. It was easier to add compost and mix in without the strings getting in the way. Once the compost was worked in and leveled off, I restrung the squares with cotton string.

Topped off with compost and restrung

Some Red Barron Onion sets were planted along with some Shallots. I also began transplanting some of the onion seedlings. This resulted in the realization that I misjudged the space allocated in the garden for onions.

Onion sets and seedlings

I mass planted the seeds into individual recycled berry containers. The onion seeds were two years old, so I didn’t expect them all to germinate. But I didn’t expect the seeds to last another year either. Evidently, the two-year-old seeds were in great condition as almost all germinated and grew to healthy seedlings.

Onion seedlings under the lights in February

One of the four onion containers ready to be tranplanted

Once the onion seedlings were separated and spaced out 16 per square foot. It was apparent that they would require double the space planned. Luckily, with SFGing it is easy to adjust the squares. Some lettuce space was reduced in order to make room for the onion seedlings. Spring Lettuce will grow and produce just as well in pots.

The Celery seedlings’ roots were bursting from their soilblocks but the weather and the Self Watering Containers that they will eventually be planted in are not ready yet. So I moved the Celery into larger containers. I will begin hardening them off this weekend.

Celery potted up into larger containers

Roma Tomatoes were also potted up. Within 24-hours of seeding into the new germination station, the Roma Tomato seeds were the first to sprout. These were transferred carefully to soil blocks and continued to grow quickly. Once they reached two-inches in height and their roots appeared at the edges of the soilblocks, I decided to pot them up into larger containers. These will not be planted out for another month and they should benefit from stretching their roots a little.

Roma Tomatoes

The rest of the tomatoes and peppers were a little slower to sprout even with using the seed starting germination station. They still have plenty of time to catch up. They won't be planted out until around Memorial Day:

Tomato and Pepper seedlings in soilblocks

Lettuce seedlings joined the greens under protection. The beautiful red lettuces developed into even more brilliant colors and they are taking the cold nights in stride:

This weekend will again be partially rainy. Not much can be done with the in-ground gardens right now until they dry out more:

One of the two in ground garden plots

Luckily the raised beds drain really well and warm up quickly allowing me to get a jump on the growing season.

I am looking forward to making some progress in the garden this weekend. Plans include planting out more onion and lettuce seedlings into the raised beds, pulling out the Self Watering Containers from the shed to prepare for the new season, and making some carrot seed mats to be planted in the SFGs.


  1. Wow, everything looks great! You can never have too many onions IMO. Your lettuce is really pretty.

  2. I'm so impressed with your seeded plants. Your garden will be a huge success this year.

  3. Everything look so nice. If my peppers would just come up I'd be happy. I can reseed my tomatoes if necessary.

  4. Everything looks great! Your celery is twice the size of mine. We are supposed to have rain all weekend, so no gardening here :(

  5. lots doing especially with all the cold weather....we have much the same here and I have had to plant all under cover...can't wait for warmer, drier weather to get more gardening done...

  6. Oh my, I just love the color of red lettuce...your tomato seedlings look fabulous, too!

  7. Gorgeous lettuce! Your beds look so neat and tidy, I think it's time for some real spring weather, don't you?

  8. Katrina: Thanks! I had enough onions to use for canning salsa and tomato sauce last year, but not enough to store for the winter months. Hopefully this year will be different.

    Jody: Thanks! I hope so too.

    Daphne: I started my peppers earlier this year too, but by the time they germinated and began actually growing I lost the extra time. I think I am going to adjust the pepper seeding time to even earlier next year to have more time to reseed the duds that fail to germinate.

    Robin: This is only my second year growing celery. These seedlings are twice the size of last year. I am disappointed that this weekend will be rainy too.

    Donna: It has been so cold and rainy. Even with gardening gloves, my fingers get cold.

    EG: The lettuce turned deeper red when planted outside. It is so pretty. The tomatoes are the Roma that will be planted in the SWCs.

    Granny: Yes, we need some real spring weather on both sides of the country. Probably some in the middle too as I hear some got snow last week.

  9. Those onion starts are lovely and the lettuces are just plain eye candy! Such a nice bed of greens growing under the protective cover. I sure hope we all get a break soon and that we get a bit of a warm up soon. My garden is in need of some steady sunshine and warmer night time temps.

  10. I'm impressed not only by how good your seedlings are looking, but by how green the grass is between your SFG beds. I got home to Maine a few days ago to find that there are still icy remains of snow banks at the head of the driveway! Nevertheless, the snow is gone from the garden, and I've been getting flower beds cleaned up and ready for a new season. -Jean

  11. Laura: We had some lovely spring-like weather this weekend. I hope you did as well.

    Jean: The grass greened up only within this past week. I can't believe it, but we will be mowing soon. The last of our large snowbank on the street finally melted this week. I saw some buds on the lilac tree. Spring is happening.

  12. I really like how you are using the disposable cups for your you put holes in the bottom of each of them or are you just careful how much you water? Your plants look great and that celery is quite impressive...ours is only about 1/4 that size.

  13. Mr. H: The cups are certainly an inexpensive way of potting up. They are washed and reused every year. I do poke some holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain.

    Thanks for the compliment on the celery. It was planted out into the garden this week.