Part Of My Backyard Garden

Part Of My Backyard Garden
July 25, 2013

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tomatoes Planted

Tomatoes are in, planted yesterday February 24th. I have my tomatoes in eight, five-inch pots, six different varieties. I planted two types of cherry tomatoes, three mid-size and mid-summer, and three heirloom tomatoes that are full size and long term.
Pots with loose covers set in place

Over the years, I have planted many hybrids and also many old time heirloom varieties. I have now settled on a mix of old and new, big and small, determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. Basically, we plant what we like to eat. Odd!
Should see my first shoots in about a week

I also planted some flowers that take a long time to mature, I am especially excited about the chocolate mint coleus. If it is something I can easily buy at a big box store I do not start them, I only start plants from seeds that I want to try, but cannot find.
I start flowers in a 64,  one-inch cell planter

Most seed packets say to start seeds six to eight weeks before it is time to set out. I have found that a bit earlier than that works well. I have about eleven or twelve weeks before it is time to set out. Here is what I have found, count the six to eight weeks after the first true leaves appear, not from the day the seeds were placed in the soil. This means my tomatoes will be about eight weeks old when I set them out. Perfect!
Do not forget to put a label stick in the pot - too hard to remember

One final hint. I plant my five-inch pots with four seeds each. once the plants have their first true set of leaves I remove all but the best one or two. When planting time comes I carefully remove tomatoes plants from pots and plant the entire root ball, not much shock this way. Then I use the pots for flowers from a nursery or greenhouse and set them out.
Just getting started last year - This was June 5th, after a very cold spring
Some years I am three weeks early, this looks like that type of year.
Garden should look like this by the middle of  May

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Onions Up

Onions went in nine days ago. Looks like  a bit over 80% germination so far. 

Will plant another variety this week and start my tomatoes in five-inch pots next week. With weather warming this week It's hard not to get out and start working in the yard and garden, but it is still much too early. I have found some things that I can work on, hardscaping areas, good time of year for that. I will be building a new raised bed and working on garden fencing.
I may live in a sparsely populated state but we still have
 the occasional traffic jam

And sometimes we have to wait at the crosswalk

Have a great week and happy gardening.

Will not be long now

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

First Onions are Up

In a follow up from the Feb 5th onion seed planting, the first new plants poked through yesterday. I was surprised as four days is pretty quick for onions. Packet information is not always spot-on but four days is fast when it is expected to be 7-14 days. Today is day five and it looks like I have 20, or so, very young plants poking through. They are so small I will wait a day or two before I attempt a photo.
Should be looking like this by the first of June - fingers crossed
Next up flowers and tomatoes. If I plant in the middle of this month it will give me ten weeks after planting to the first of May. I will plant some of my flowers, the ones in five-inch pots, with seed directly into the pots they will stay in. Saves time, and some stunted days after transplanting. I also start my tomatoes in larger pots, 3-5 inches so that they can go from the pot to the garden.
By the middle of July, I hope to have this look again in the garden
More coming soon.
Still looking good - Late September last year

Happy Gardening

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Onions Planted - Inside

Happy Days, the garden is in! Not really, but my onions are planted.

Fill the cells, tap down, fill to top and seed, sprinkle lightly to cover

This will give me twelve weeks before setting them out the first week of May. Onions, peas, and potatoes can go in pretty early but my experience is that if they are in too soon, nothing happens. Most garden experts say to plant these three and often radishes are added to the list, as soon as the ground can be worked. Don’t hurry, as soon as the soil can be worked is too early here. Give it another week. I have even resorted to covering the area I want to plant first with painters clear plastic drop cloths in an attempt to warm the soil. Not sure it worked but it kept me out of trouble for an hour or so.

I mark the day I planted, these are Walla-Walla, on the seed packet.
Then put it back with my full ones, where I will be able to actually find it. 

Onion sets do well in a 72 cell starter like the ones I use, and they are less than five bucks. For onions, I do not use the soil listed as seed starting soil. I use a good mix of potting soil instead. I use it because it seems to hold up better for the three months onions are growing. And for those wondering, yes I will buy and use some onion plants or sets also, but only special varieties.

Water the soil, before planting, sprinkle before covering - don't overwater at this stage be careful

Not everyone understands the difference between sets and plants. Sets are small, dry onion bulbs that have been grown the previous year. They are the easiest for gardeners to grow and you can buy early and store for several weeks.  Plants are what I am producing by planting seeds early, they are young onion plants produced from seed in the year they are sold. The advantage of seeds is one, variety

Set in a warm window and wait for them to come up - might take two weeks
After they are up I move them outside into the sunshine when temps permit

With seeds, you know what you are getting. Often, especially in the big boxstores, onion plants and sets are sold as simply, yellow, red or white. I like to know more than that. 

Meanwhile - that's my garden space behind the fence - not yet!