Updates Italicized, noted in front. Will alternate text type for each update so no need to reference prior post for growth history. Reducing clicks on a website, yeah, it's crazy! Order of plants by harvest, first first. Don't forget to take advantage of the end-of-transplanting sales in your area. A ton of Buy One Get One Free sales around here now.
Zone 4/5 Recent Weather - Average rainfall and lower temperatures this past week. Growing season overall slightly dry. Sprinkled 1/3 recommended amount of all-purpose Osmocote granules second week in June everywhere with exception of vertical garden and deck plants which were planted in a 1/3 fertilized soil mix, as well tomato and pepper which were planted with their own eggshell/potash/phosphate/all purpose/epsom salt mix (5 Part Mix). Additional fertilizer applications noted. Have seen a few small bees, borage just blooming.
Lettuce - All lettuce types are finished with the exception of iceberg, which has slowed significantly. Vertical garden lettuce areas cleared out and ready for fall planting.
Loose leaf is finishing up, head lettuce bitter and dug up. Peak was last week in May. Thriving. Do a better job staggering harvest 2018. Head lettuces go bitter sooner than expected. When growth heads up instead of out, harvest. Change the location of lettuce on the vertical garden for 2018, all on S side. Optimum harvest timeframe 1 month for looseleaf and 1 week for head. Soil is 1/3 Miracle Grow soil. DONE
Radish - Most radish picked, given away and composted. Left about five plants to go to seed, on purpose.
Birds do a better job with bugs than radish. Only area with notable bug problem is green and yellow beans. The radish prevents birds from eating the bugs and also crowded out bean plants. Next year, no radish in the beans. Peak radish was first week in June. High heat second week of June sent them to seed right away. Had way more than I could give away. Optimum Harvest duration - 1 week. DONE
Spinach - Growth has slowed, but no bitterness so keeping for now. Haven't yet decided when to seed second planting. Keep on north side of vertical garden.
Finishing up. Peak first week in June. Optimum harvest duration - 1 month. Soil is 1/3 Miracle Grow soil.
Snow peas - Harvesting, nutrients are perfect, all plants very strong.
First harvest, second week of June. Expand for 2018, still not enough. Thriving. One feeding of liquid MG in early June. PEAK
Snap peas - Harvesting, nutrients are perfect, all plants very strong.
First harvest third week of June. Expand for 2018 or use for snow peas. Thriving. One feeding of liquid MG in early June. PEAK
Strawberries - Noticing size difference between berries depending on spacing, very sweet berries, birds ignoring, removed bird netting.
First harvest second week in June. Birds have no interest, likely because they are full of the insects they dig from the yard. Bird experience very very good. No grubs, no slugs, no snails and very few insects. At least ten birds feed off our land. Friggin' awesome! One feeding of liquid MG in early June and some plants have 1/3 Miracle Grow soil. PEAK
Summer squash/zucchini - Harvested more Gold bar and a Cocozella zucchini. Will harvest more crookneck summer squash in next couple of days, moved supports as plants are growing north. Am hand pollinating. The Crookneck has mostly female flowers while the Cocozella has mostly male flowers. The Gold Bar zucchini is a perfect balance of both, since the beginning of bloom. Plants ridiculously healthy.
The first fruits second week of June died small, assuming lack of pollination, plants extraordinarily healthy. This week started to hand pollinate. First fruit was last weekend, a Gold Bar zucchini. Will have more to harvest tomorrow. Zucchini beating crookneck by a week, the cocozella zucchini still has only male flower blooms and will be the latest of the summer squashes to harvest. I have small supports for them but the plants don't seem to need them. Began to flower first week of June, the first zucchini harvested was ripe but small, took 2 weeks, which is apparently unusual. ? Transplanted with Osmocote granules. Seems to be the right choice of fertilizer for this crop.
Beans - We have baby beans, about an inch or two long. Expect first harvest by 4th of July. Plants are 8-10 inches high. They look healthier without the radish however, some showing signs of too much nitrogen. Plants are still healthier than last year, but watch nitrogen next year!
Bugs love more than anything else in garden. Radish was a bust, hurt germination and health. Neem and DE (diatomaceous earth) helpful, once applied at end of May, as well removing radish so birds can eat bugs. Beginning to flower third week in June. Plants are not as tall as should be, all three types. Second planting June 1st doing better than first planting (around May 10). One Miracle Grow feeding early June only fertilizer.
Tomato - Currently have five types of supports, to see if they make a difference with growth or harvest, so you will see the support types listed with the type of mater. Most megablossoms picked off by me or died on their own. Most first flowers of each plant were killed by the plant. Not sure will have any megablooms to watch. Five tomato plants are fruiting: Tiny Tim red cherry/stake, Rainbow cherry/trellis, Carbon (black)/heavy gage triple, Yellow Pear/stake deck and Gold Rush currant/hanging basket. Most plants still have flowers even after purge. The plants without flowers are: Tie Dye/stake, injured Dr Wyche's/triple plastic and spiral, Mortgage Lifter/stake, Jazz/triple plastic and two Hillbilly/stake and deck. Most of the plants are bushy. Majority of plants are around 18" to 2' tall. Not sure yet but I think a few of the mystery plants are Sunrise or Yellow Pear. The deck Sunrise and Black Vernissage are still weak, no change. No clue why either.
The potato leaf types almost all had megablossoms. Keeping two, snipped rest. Blossoms started second week of June. As predicted, the second week of June is when plants hit growth spurt and began to blossom. I have baby tomatoes on the yellow pear plant I started and the Tiny Tim cherry tomato plant I bought last week in a BOGO sale at the Co-Op. I should start to see baby tomatoes on the other plants by next week. The Carbon, Royal Hillbilly and Yellow Pear tomato plants were the first to flower. The slowest to flower are the Jazz, Dr. Wyches and Hillbilly type. Most plants are 1-2' tall. Two of my deck tomato plants are weak, Sunrise and Black Vernissage. My strongest plant is the yellow pear, which is in the same sized deck pot in the same soil so I have no idea why those other two mater plants are doing poorly. They are not the maters I am looking forward to the most so honestly not too broken up about it. The Sunrise plant is only about 6" tall, spindly and flowering. *shrug*. All tomato plants were planted with either the 5 Part Mix or the deck plants that were planted with full fertilized soil. The Gold Rush Currant tomato plant is planted in a hanging basket and after a weak start, is now flourishing and flowering. I have approximately 8 mystery plants. Those plants are most likely to be Sunrise, Yellow Pear, Dr. Wyches, Royal Hillbilly or Hillbilly. I have two plants out front that are community plants for anyone to take fruit off of if they wish too. I have 42 plants total. I think I can share two. I ended up also giving away approximately ten plants in mid-May to friends and neighbors. Yes, I am looking forward to canning. I canned tomatoes last year, for the first time, so feel I can do it again this year. I plan to also give away as much as I can, same as last year too. I have a total of 17 varieties. Eighteen if the volunteer in the garden is a Mushroom Basket (from last year) as I think it might be. That plant is only 6" tall.
Peppers - Melrose pepper/deck is thriving, two fruits, 1" and 2". Padron pepper/NFence also has new fruit. Rest of pepper plants overly leafy (smaller, thicker, darker leaves) past two weeks and not gaining more than a couple inches in height, not many blossoms, fewer than last week. Most plants clearly suffering from too much nitrogen. Watch nitrogen for 2018! Plants without the 5 part mix are doing far better. That said, the three pepper plants in the raspberry corner are doing the worst, although those three look better than they did last week. Removing the bindweed helped I'm sure. Neem oil and cayenne pepper preventing further damage from bugs and bunnies. Plants 6-10" tall.
First pepper on my Melrose deck plant as of yesterday. It's my favorite type of pepper so far, so thrilled. Deck pepper planted in 100% fertilized soil. All my pepper plants seem to be a bit shorter than they should be, even the deck plant, at under a foot tall. Most of the pepper plants are budding/flowering, as of the second week in June. The plants planted with the 5 Part Mix look like they are getting too much nitrogen, although I purposely supplemented the mix with potash/phosphate to avoid that, as it was a problem last year. Smaller, thicker, ultra-green leaves. None of the habanada seedlings survived the hardening/transplant process. I left them outside in windy conditions too long during the hardening process. All the other transplants survived my rough handling, only the habanada's died. Bummed, for sure, as this cultivar is not common enough for me to purchased live plants as a backup, anywhere. Next year. The habanada peppers were my strongest pepper plants prior to hardening. Note to everyone, habanada seedlings are FUSSY. The plants in the small NE corner garden were eaten by bugs last May, lost two, three are struggling. They do not seem to be suffering from too much nitrogen, although they were planted with the same mix as the others. None of the plants showed nitrogen overload until the cooler weather hit a few days ago.
Cucumber - Plants definitely growing but not flowering just yet. No issues with bugs. Third hill of seeds never germinated.
Two of three transplants died and only half of the direct seeded came up. Will not likely plant Soyu Long cucumbers next year. The two surviving plants are still small, not flowering yet. Did get one shot of liquid miracle grow in early June.
Broccoli - All plants a foot tall now, up to 2'. Bugs trying to eat 'em up put DE and neem getting the job done. No further heads yet, but should see baby brocc in about a week or so. Looking very healthy otherwise.
Hail damage has slowed growth in front garden. All other broccoli fine. One small head of broccoli harvested after hail storm, head was about size of a golf ball. Remainder of plants are between 8" and 2' tall. No other heads yet. No clue why that one broccoli plant produced a head early. It was delicious though. Very little bug damage, DE took care of what little I could see. Less bug damage on plants still in clear plastic cup collars. One feeding of liquid MG in early June.
Carrots - Growing fine, no issues.
Just starting to thicken, we are at least a month from harvest, all types. Did not come up in main garden til end of May, a month after seeding. Do not seem to interfere with pea harvest as planted among peas. Change and expand location in vertical garden to N side.
Brussies - Noticed brussie buds on my biggest plant in the N garden. PSYCHED! Neem and DE keeping plants healthy and barely buggy. Cayenne is keeping bunnies away. Very healthy plants in both locations. Plants are 12-18" tall.
A bit of hail damage for plants in N garden but still good. Other plants fine. Plants about a foot tall. Look very healthy. Very little bug damage, DE took care of what little I saw. Plants with clear cup collars yet have less bug damage. Still months from harvest. One feeding of liquid MG in early June.
Kohlrabi - Almost a foot tall. Healthy. DE and neem getting the job done.
About 8" tall. Look healthy. Still in cup collars. Almost no bug damage. One feeding of liquid MG in early June. Far from harvest.
Eggplant - My single eggplant is finally getting bushy, although it's still short at about 6" tall. The DE and neem fixed the bug issue that was plaguing it.
I only had one plant make it to transplant. One died and the other I gave away. The one eggplant plant is small, under 6" tall, but finally bushy. It was devoured by bugs until DE applied, now coming back, delayed, yet strong. Planted with 5 Part Mix.
Potato - Plants all now at least a foot tall. Very healthy. Mild bug damage, first noticed.
Bushy and strong. Deck plants are about a foot tall. Plants along N Fence are 4-12" tall. Very healthy. No fertilizer applied.
Garlic - Dug up a garlic bulb as I am a newbie at figuring out when they are ready. It wasn't ready but it had many immature bulbs! Was pretty exciting, for me anyway. I'd say we are still a week from harvest.
All are looking very strong. The only garlic that did not come up was the garlic that came up and grew too large last fall. Harvested scapes last week from some. Anticipate harvest in a month or two.
Onion/Shallot - No Change
Shallots very strong, looking to harvest in about a month or so. Onions scatter about, very small. I don't pay them much attention, so perhaps they need more than I give them.
Cherry - No Change
Tree is approx 4 yrs old. Had some baby cherries, maybe 10 in late April, but they all died after a hard freeze. No worries, per tree still quite young.
Apple - No Change
Trees are approx 4-5 yrs old. As suspected, the over-abundance of baby apples last year made this young tree biennial. Zero blossoms this year. No worries, last year was very surprised we had any blossoms per tree so young.
Grape - No Change
Bought two grape vines last year at an end of season clearance sale. One vine is thriving, the other doing ok, it seems to be dying back although has a ton of new growth at the base. Wasn't sure the grape plants would survive the bunnies chewing them down over the winter but they did. The vines are now protected by hardware cloth. A few applications of liquid Miracle Grow seemed to help. No blossoms yet.
Blueberries - No Change
Received four plants as a gift. Two died last year and the two left have a few leaves but clearly not happy. They are protected by hardware cloth but the bunnies also got to them before we protected the plants properly. The soil pH needs to be adjusted. We'll add that to the project list.
Raspberries - No Change
Flourishing. A ton of new canes. No buds yet. The fencing keeps the big bunnies out but there is a smaller bunny that lives in that little patch. Ugh. I can't wait til it's too big to fit through the fence. That patch is also overrun with bindweed, but the plants don't seem to mind. No fertilizer.
Flowers - No Change
Doing very well, everything I purchased was blooming, the transplants are still a few weeks/months from blooming, depending on type. Hail storm set all my flowers back a bit, most blooming plants lost a significant portion of their flowers as my flower garden is west facing. It looks like my plants have a harder time on the west path, will add compost this fall and next spring. Herb spiral looks good. A bunny is getting to the dill and cosmos.