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~*Food Growing Mamas*~ March and April - Page 3

post #41 of 59

After going through the effort to build our own A-frame trellises for our tomato and cucumber seedlings (started indoors from seeds carefully hoarded from last year's purchased-at-the-farmer's-market-organic-heirloom food) all of the cucumbers and most of the tomatoes DIED while I was hardening them off. It looked from the leaves like too much sun exposure, but I thought I was going slowly (an hour or so in the shaded carport on day one, three hours on day two, an hour of direct sun and three hours of shade on day three, etc). After TWO WEEKS of hardening off, they still died when I left them out for 8 hours on a sunny day.


I think I give up on starting seedlings indoors FOREVER. Cuss.gifSo now I'll just direct-seed the seeds I have left and we'll see.


Wildflowers are popping up all over now here in northern VA. The weather's been beautiful, the perennials in the herb garden are coming back up, and the persnickety carrots have actually managed to sprout in our hopelessly thick clay soil. So not all is bad. :)

post #42 of 59

The weather this spring has been so back and forth that I'm slacking on planting.  I put out snap peas, lettuce, spinach, and onions and the onions and spinach all died from cold temps overnight.  SO mad.  It took forever for them to sprout indoors.  I'll have to redo them.  I have tomatoes, peppers, herbs, squash, cukes, etc all started indoors and doing well.  It's still far too chilly for them outside though.  My strawberries from last year had to be pulled and moved because they started to take over the entire garden bed, which I've already done.  So pretty much nothing growing as of yet.  The weather is AWFUL.  I'm just itching to really get out there in my garden.  

post #43 of 59

my kale seeds are sprouting in a pot on my balcony, between 1 and 2 inches long so far, i have no idea how long i'm supposed to wait until i can "harvest" and put some in my salads ... any suggestion welcome !

post #44 of 59

So sorry to hear about everyone's struggles!  I feel your pain! I finally decided to buy some plants on sale at the local farm store & (re) harden them at home-- they're supposed to be garden-ready, but I'm not taking any chances.


I saw "something" pop up in 2 of my potato bins! Maybe I just planted them really deep, so they took forever? I am not an experienced pototo grower! I was about to dump the bins & replant.


Re KALE: I may not be the best person to ask bc I LOVE kale so very much that I always start harvesting one baby leaf from each plant as soon as there are 4-6 leaves a few inches long on each plant-- always from the outside bc the new growth comes in from the center. When those plants have 2 new leaves in the center I harvest one more outer leaf per plant. After it warms up, eventually, the kale more than makes up in growth what I harvest & gets really big, so that I can harvest up to 1/3 of the leaves on a mature plant (like when the whole plant is very dark & the spread is at least as big as a dinner plate). I haven't killed any by over-harvesting yet, but this is by no means expert or technical info! Mine usually overwinter in zone 7b all year if I leave them alone more as it cools-- they also overwintered one year in northeast IL-- don't recall the zone, sorry-- and had to be tilled around to put in more in spring! Kale's the best! (& it's not just my iron-craving baby bump talking!)

post #45 of 59

mum4vr, many thanks for all the info about Kale ... i only know about it from what i READ on MDC or FB lol .... here is what it looks like for the moment ...(luckily i still have some fresh spinach available from a local producer so am not yet desperate for harvesting ....)

post #46 of 59

NP, I can't wait 'til ours comes up, too! I love seeing the new babies almost as much as harvesting!


I just saw I spelled potato, "pototo," OY, this thread gets all my typos! hahaha

post #47 of 59

I've always had a little trouble starting seeds indoors --- have done it successfully with cole crops (started in August when it was 113 outside) but with the spring stuff, it's just never worked too well.  I don't have room for my grow light unless I use the whole bathroom, so everything sits by the windows and then the seedlings end up getting too leggy.  I don't deal with snow, or extra cold winters here so I don't have that issue, but I've found direct-sowing everything (or starting outside, period, despite the weather as long as it's unlikely to frost) to be most effective.  It's sink or swim around here, little seeds!  LOL

I trapped a second gopher.  Saw a new pile of dirt and spent a good half hour looking for the main tunnel...then, twenty minutes later it was dead.  Whew.  Hopefully it was the last one!  I'm having slug problems too, SweetSilver.  I swear, the slugs in my garden are so big and fat -- and striped! -- it almost makes me feel guilty killing them.  But sluggo has been doing the job expertly, so the numbers are dwindling.  Birds are nipping at my lettuce, just like last year.  Need to get some more netting but made a twine maze of sorts and threw a couple of wire baskets over some sprouts...hopefully that will do the trick for now.  I hung some cds but the sparrows don't seem to be bothered by that much.  Last year we had a Cooper's Hawk living in our bamboo -- now there was a good bird deterrent! 

Peeked out the window a few minutes ago and can see a big burst of bright pink --- the poppies are starting to bloom!  My orange California poppies, and the white Alba type too, have been blooming for about a week -- lots of wildflowers, bluebells, tidy tips, etc.  I've been waiting for the big poppies, though.  Will have to snap a picture.

Everything else is growing like weeds -- all my onion sprouts are up, and the tomatoes and squash have actually set fruit!  Now comes the hard part of making sure nothing dries out.  Our yard starts to get scorching around May.

post #48 of 59

It's not food, but it's the first big poppy bloom of the year!  joy.gif
They are my favorite.

post #49 of 59

what size should i wait the kale to be before i "thin it "?


i have chives indoor (some in an empty egg box) and they are about half an inch out .... am hoping to eat some in stir fry food later on ... but have never grown any so not sure if i should thin them or if i can leave all these shoots next together ?


am thinking of buying an over the door shoe organiser and suspend it on my balcony (there's a glass panel separating my small balcony off the kitchen from the neighbor) & and grow one see of spinach in each compartment .... anybody tried that already ?????

post #50 of 59

You can thin sprouts with a small pair of scissors.  Just snip off the top (and add them to salad or something).  This works with just about anything and can be done at any point, though earlier is better because the larger they get, the more they affect the growth of the surrounding plants.


Chives naturally grow in clumps, so you can thin the clumps, making 3 or 4 clumps, but you don't thin individual chives.

post #51 of 59

Hi everyone. I am a gardening newbie. The only crop I have grown successfully is basil (we use it to make pesto, so we grow lots). This is our first year in our new house and I would like to grow basil, tomatoes, a couple of kinds of herbs, squash, and maybe one or two other things. We are in Ohio. 


So I have a question. Since we bought our house in the fall, this is our first spring in the new house and growing things are coming up all over. We have some asparagus and some rhubarb. the rhubarb is doing its thing and seems to be okay, but what am I supposed to do with the asparagus? I read online that you're not supposed to harvest it until year 3. I have no idea what year this is, though obviously it has to be at least year 2. We haven't done anything to the asparagus and now it looks like little trees--should we have harvested them when they were short? Or should we start harvesting them now? or should we wait? There are only a few plants so if we had harvested them when they were short we would have gotten like 3 spears. 

post #52 of 59

Finally got the garden planted!  (very, very late I know).  It's amazing that we have a garden at all this year though, so I'm happy!    I'm guessing we will enjoy most of our harvest in September, which is fine with me!  




Tomatoes in pots

Bell peppers



Snow Peas




Collard greens

Bush beans

Cantaloupe (I do not have high hopes for this one though!)


post #53 of 59

Well I still haven't started my garden (2 week today and I will be back in Hawaii!) but I did put in my order for some of my herbs!  I ordered basil, dill, and parsley.  I am so excited!  They are organic and from a local community garden so I'm even more excited!

post #54 of 59

Just bought our flat of tomato starts from our friends.  Looking forward to summer!  Our spinach looks good for once and whatever bird or critter that was eating our peas has stopped.  Yay!

post #55 of 59

Hurray we finally got our first 2 beds done! The cabbage & brussels sprout bed looks pretty... "done-by-my-teenagers", but it's all in & that must be better than getting more & more root-bound in flats!


We've already harvested a few strawberries!

post #56 of 59

My garden is all planted finally.  I am growing:




roma tomatoes

yellow pear cherry tomatoes


bell peppers

green beans

sugar snap peas







summer squash




thai basil








I have small heads of broccoli showing on my plants already and my sugar peas should flower soon. My lettuce is about 3 inches high and nearly ready to thin out. My strawberry plants already have small green strawberries on them.  I'm not sure why but my strawberry plants march to the beat of their own drum.  I got a handful of lovely berries last year in early June and nothing until they flowered and produced another handful of berries in OCTOBER again.  Here in New England.  In like 50degree temps.  It was very strange.  I never know what to expect from these plants.  But they are 5 years old at this point and I largely ignore them and let them do their own thing so I guess I can't complain.  

So everything is so packed in that I have to trellis everything that can be trellised because I seriously  outdid myself and my very small garden space this year.  I am using a bunch of pots and a ground space on my neighbor's half of our properties.  This weekend we are building trellises for everything and I think I'll let the kids paint them all wacked out colors and have fun with it.  Probably going to use scrap wood from my parents' garage and a bunch of scavenged logs/sticks from the woods near my house.  When everything comes up a little higher I'll take pictures.  I'm just glad to get all those seedlings out of my bedroom because it was looking like a jungle in there.

post #57 of 59

It starts....


Last night was the first night I forgot to pull the tomato starts back indoors.  Gardening season always begins with the best intentions and quickly frazzles into a barely manageable tangle of accidental bounty.  (How's that for a sentence? orngtongue.gif )  The weather is warmer, and it's time to hang on for dear life!

post #58 of 59

ROTFLMAO.gif sweetsilver that's pretty much how my garden goes as well.  

post #59 of 59

so, after 2 months of watering (and spreading in two other pots) ... here's what i have now

(but so busy these last 2 weeks with end of school year activities that i haven't harvested anything yet !)

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