Thursday, July 01, 2010

Going North for the Fourth

I will be traveling about 250 miles north this holiday. My parents' town has the best firework display, and you get to stand right under them! A couple of years ago a few people got hit with smoldering ashes (I was one of them) and one lady's clothing caught on fire. Nothing serious, she was fine and even laughed about it. You know, it just isn't the Fourth of July until someone gets caught on fire.

Since I don't have time to post a bunch of pictures before I go, I thought I'd jot down some things that I learned about growing vegetables this year.

Carrots seedlings can be transplanted. I tried the seed mats with some luck, but it was far easier to sprinkle the seeds into the soil, wait until they got big enough, and transplant them the distance apart that I wanted them. I used a butter knife to dig them out, then and I used a chop stick to make a deep, thin hole and held the carrot in place while I gentle back filled. No thinning waste. I do this with beets, rutabaga, and turnips too.

Brussel Sprouts are slow growers. They are fairly easy to sprout, but don't do much after that. They have been in the ground for two months and have barely made any progress! It's barely even a crime when a rabbit decides to try one out, because I can get the same size plant in about two weeks. Ugh!

Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed. I have no idea why I ever bought tomato plants. These things are like weeds.

Peppers are a pain in the ass. They are hard to germinate, they love to damp off, they grow slow, and every thing eats them. But I love them, so I will keep trying.

Milk jug greenhouses are great for nightshades. The nightshades were easiest by far to start and get to a good size in milk jug greenhouses. They are the only reason that I have any peppers at all.

Only transplant big peppers to the garden. Ugh, yeah, peppers again. I have noticed that the bigger the pepper plant is, the less things eat it. So now I am holding onto a huge bunch of pepper plants until they are big enough to be out in the real world.

Always fence in edamame. Seriously, rabbits can't resist it and they will eat it to the ground.

Fennel is easy to transplant. I had the most success with fennel planting a bunch of fennel seeds in a rectangular deck planter then transplanting the plants to their final area. This also works great for basil, rutabaga and beets.

Eggplants need heat. They might produce without a lot of heat, but if you really want them to grow and produce, plant them someplace that gets and stays pretty warm.

Keep a few plants in waiting. It's good to have a few extra plants that you can plunk in if your other plants fail or get eaten. I just keep them in some bigger pots I kept from perennials. If I end up not needing them in the garden, I just keep growing them in the pots.

Some plants are best planted in summer. My pak choi and Chinese cabbage did well for a while then bolted. I started reading about their care, and it turns out that it is recommended to plant them in July-September. Huh, who knew?

Plant your corn then beans then squash . The three sisters idea seems like a good idea, but if you don't time it right, your beans won't have anything to climb and your corn and beans will be drowned out by the squash. I would recommend waiting a couple weeks between corn and beans and again between beans and squash to give everything a fighting chance.

Kohlrabi is best started in cell packs in early summer. I have tried to grow kohlrabi for 10 years with no luck. All the packages and gardeners tell me it is easy to grow, but for me, not so much. They didn't even take to the tp starter envelopes. I planted some in cell packs at the end of June - sprouted right away and have been growing well ever since -- maybe another of those summer vegetables?

So, I'm going to start planting those summer plants, find room for my extras in waiting that still haven't found homes, and hope that I remember all this for next year!

--I decided that I would like to add to this list as I find more tips so I made added a Vegetable Garden Tips post which can be found HERE.


Blogger Annelie said...

Discovered like you that tomato plants grow quickly. Also, at the garden center late spring looking for cucumber plants, the employee said they were sold out but he honestly didn't know why people didn't just start them from seed. He said it takes them just about 2 weeks to reach about 6 inches, the height they were sold at.

Happy 4th! Hope you don't catch on fire!

7/03/2010 6:18 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Annelie, what that garden center guy must not realize is that in a short growing season, two weeks is a long time! That is why I grow back-ups.

So far, so good on being fire free; but the fireworks aren't til tonight.

7/03/2010 10:51 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

ha! I laughed out loud at your fireworks comment. Hope you made it out OK! I was once parked too close and the hood of my car really suffered the consequences. Little burn specks all over.

Great tips!! Interestingly, I find peppers easiest. They're like the only things that will do well reliably. I have a hard time germinating pepperoncini though.

7/08/2010 9:55 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Wendy, well, no one caught on fire this year, but I did have to take a show afterward - I was covered in debris.

I have noticed that what seems impossible to grow for one gardener will grow like a weed for another. My neighbor has no luck with peas, so I grow enough for both of us.

My peppers seem to be past the critical stage now. Some even have peppers on them!

7/10/2010 8:40 AM  

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