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kayjay
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KayJay's Garden, 2016

Here's my 2015 thread.

2015 addendum:
- I just cooked up one of my butternut squashes in early April! I was worried it would be half-rotten, but it was fantastic. I guess it helps that we don't heat the room it was in; it was about 50F and dry in there for most of the winter.
- I have some of that squash in the freezer, as well as some tomato sauce still. Awesome haul for such a small space and limited effort.
- After preparing the hot peppers to be brought inside for the winter, I basically forgot about them. :oops: :cry: I'm still bummed.

---

So obviously, I'm no better at record keeping. Heh. It's May and I've barely posted here. I'll try to play catch-up here:

Early April:
- started tomatoes - Brandywine, Rutgers, Bush Beef and Red Robin. The latter is a little cherry tomato that I thought I'd try in a hanging basket.
- peppers: Early CalWonder and Mini Orange Bell. Only the ECW did well. The MOB just germinated this week. I think I screwed up by having it in my window, which was probably too cold. Next year, I'll have to keep them all in a warmer spot. I ran out of space, is the thing.
- jicama. It's growing well so far. I don't think my growing season is long enough for big tubers like the ones I see in grocery stores, but we'll see. No harm giving it a shot.
20160406-seedlings (Medium).JPG
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That was taken April 6. Note my creative lighting solution: my therapy light for seasonal affective disorder. LOL. They were getting leggy already; it's tough to keep tiny seedlings close enough to the light.

About a week later (I think): planted kohlrabi, spinach, turnips, radishes, and lettuce outside. Then, winter came back to kick us in the butt for a couple of weeks. They've germinated, but not much else. Very disappointing compared to last year. I had black plastic over that part of the garden, but snow and frigid temps are snow and frigid temps.

I thinned the seedlings and up-potted a few of the leggy tomatoes around April 18.

The indoor starts as of Apr 26:
20160429-seedlings (Medium).JPG
They've since outgrown that tomato box and they're now in a giant Rubbermaid tub.
20160509-seedlings (Medium).JPG
Another project I took on this past weekend: I live near a small hardware store, and back in January, they had dumped a bunch of patio stones in their parking lot. I walk by them every day on my way to work. Some of them were damaged, but most were good enough for a cute albeit cheesy, hippy kind of wall to turn my garden into a bit of a raised bed.

Next steps: go to aforementioned hardware store for some compost, and put garbage bags over my buckets that will be housing the tomatoes and peppers.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2019

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Good use for the therapy light!!

Plants are looking good!

I didn't understand this part: put garbage bags over my buckets that will be housing the tomatoes and peppers.

What is that for?

Good work!
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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Thanks! I'm very happy with my results this year. I was thinking the black garbage bags over the buckets would warm up the soil more quickly. We're getting a lot of sunny days, but cold nights. Not sure it's going to be necessary now. It's still too cold to put the tomatoes and peppers out, anyway. I'm not sure the slightly higher soil temp will be much of an advantage.
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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

This weekend is Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, and I'm looking forward to some gardening. The weather is going to be beautiful. Night temps should finally be okay for getting my peppers and tomatoes out.

Cabbage and cauliflower are in the ground; I did that Tuesday. They look healthy but stunted and I don't expect much. They were under inferior lights. Next year, I'll keep them under the good light and hope for better weather.

Kohlrabi is doing okay, but the turnips and radishes never germinated. I should put some more radish seeds out this weekend.

I finally found organic sweet potatoes. I bought one last Friday, did the toothpick-over-the-glass-of-water thing, and it's now rooting. This was far faster than the non-organic one from last year.

My pumpkin and zucchini seeds failed to germinate. :( I guess I'll be buying transplants this weekend. Oh well.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Grad day for my seedlings!
20160522-seedlings.jpg
They spent their first night outside and I was so anxious to get out of bed and make sure they were okay this morning. :hehe:

I grew all of those except three. I successfully acquired two zucchini and another cucumber at the CrappyMart down the street. I am thrilled to say that half of my seedlings look better than those I've seen for sale. A little TLC and practice goes a long way, doesn't it?

Interesting observation: this year, the spinach in the container is doing far better than that in the ground. I assume it's because of the cold snap we had at the end of April/early May. The container probably warmed up a lot better. Nothing else in the ground was happy, either.
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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

20160523-containers.jpg
20160523-containters2.jpg
Seedlings into their containers, and me writing on them with a Sharpie because there's no way I'll remember what's what. :hehe:
KayJay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

You got a lot done! Congrats :D

Sharpie fades, so be sure to make a proper tag :wink:
I'm using this:
VAS FLAGGING / TRAIL MARKING TAPE - RAINBOW PACK 6 PACK / 1 EA COLOR by VAS First Response VAS FLAGGING / TRAIL MARKING TAPE - RAINBOW PACK 6 PACK / 1 EA COLOR
by VAS First Response
Link: http://amzn.com/B00FME9EE2

Markers that don't fade are professional grade sharpie, marksalot, garden marker, laundry marker, paint pen in white.

Sharpie will wipe right off with rubbing alcohol. Some of these non fading markers need several strong scrubbings with the alcohol (except paint pen)

Oh, btw, you can't ever move those two buckets with extra arrow pointing to another container :lol: :> .
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

LOL! Thanks. It's doubtful I'll be moving the containers: not unless something grows grotesquely huge and blocks the light of something else. Part of the reason I took the pics. ;) I'll have to see if there are popsicle sticks at the dollar store next time I'm there. I bought some cute little garden tags a few years ago, and you couldn't write on them! They were crap.

Garden progress = good. Everything survived transplantation nicely. The weather has been just about perfect: warm, a little humid, and a little bit of rain. Night lows around 60F, daytime highs high 70s/low 80s. Looks like it's continuing that way for the next little while. I love this weather.

I got a bonus veggie: swiss chard from last year, that just germinated this year.

I'm going to plant pumpkin seeds today that failed when I tried to start them indoors. I'm not sure if I overwatered them or if the seed is just bad. I guess I'll find out soon.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

I used plastic knives for plant tags this year. Wrote on them with a sharpie just like regular plant tags and stuck them in the dirt. Worked great. Plus they were free from takeout!

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Oh, that's a great idea, thanks! I already have a stash of them from the takeout we get regularly! :)

The garden's looking good. I can't believe how my container tomatoes, CalWonder pepper and lettuce took off in one week:
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The CalWonder has little flower buds already. The 'Cute Stuff' peppers are meant for containers and I assume a dwarf plant, so I'm not too worried about their small stature. They still look healthy.

Dwarf 'Red Robin' tomatoes in baskets look good. I was worried they weren't growing, but again, the plant isn't supposed to be big and they now have flower buds, so I assume they're happy.

Cabbage looks okay but it's getting awfully warm. The spinach bolted. I should look for collard green seeds next year. I guess that's what happens when you go from zero to summer in two weeks.

Cukes and zukes look good.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

My sweet potato finally has a nubbin of a slip! I was about to give up and order some online. They'd be shipping any time now.

It was May 13 I started the sweet potato, so that's 3 weeks for a slip to poke out.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Just keep them in hottest place you can. They LOVE heat!

When the slips were about 2-3 inches, I gently pulled them off of the potato (a bit of the potato comes off -- kind of like roots on hair when pulled off) and planted them in 3 oz bathroom cups of potting mix. Ignore the map on the right in this combo, I'm just too lazy to go find the original photo. According to the label, I planted the slip in this cup on 5/21. Look how much roots it grew by 6/1. All ready to go. :()

Image
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Thanks! We've had cool nights, so I've moved the sweet potato away from the open window in the evening.

Most of my plants are doing well. The jicama isn't growing much, but that was just an experiment, anyway. The Early Calwonder pepper has its first flower, and the other ones have little buds, except the mini orange bell. It was late germinating. LOTS of flowers on the Red Robin cherry tomatoes and some tiny tomatoes. The other 'maters are flowering, too.

I put some mesh over some of the unopened flowers for seed saving. It was tricky. The flowers are so tiny and I was trying not to damage the stem of the plant at all. I might not bother next year, especially if those flowers don't even bear fruit. I guess I don't really mind if I end up with a hybrid. It's not like I'm selling the seed.

A few pics:
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Thought I'd post a 6-week update.

- Hanging baskets of Red Robin tomatoes are okay. The one I thought would do better - the less crowded one - isn't. I think it's actually getting too much sun. The other one, with plants more crowded, is doing better. It got more shade. I broke the strap on the basket, so now it's on the ground, hehe.
- Quite a few little green tomatoes, lots of small peppers and flowers. The peppers in the containers are doing far better than their siblings in the ground. It's either better soil, better light, or the peppers like their roots constricted.
- Cabbage is looking good despite the heat. I hope it heads up soon. Next year, I'll do an early variety. I found seeds the other day; Early Golden Acre.
- Pumpkin is a monster. Germinated pretty late, but is already taller than the cukes.
- Cukes are okay. Female flowers kind of late, only seeing them now.
- Zucchini is awesome. I've already eaten two small ones. There are two more ready to pick. These are off the 'golden' plant. The green one is a little behind. I think it might be because of getting less light, and more weed competition. (my fault.)
- The sweet potatoes were transplanted last weekend. I should make another post about that; I have photos on my phone. They're just now starting to take off. I know I was late; I hope we have a late frost.
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KayJay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Okay, the sweet potatoes.

They're a long shot because I never found organic sweet potatoes at the local grocery store until it was getting kind of late to be starting them. I planted 3 slips on June 24, then 3 more about a week later.
20160624-sweet potato.JPG
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Here they are a few days ago:
20160706-sweet potato.jpg
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Hopefully, next year, I can buy a starter potato sooner. Or I'll have grown one and it stays dormant until the appropriate time of year.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Last year, I took a cutting from the sweet potato I had growing, rooted it and kept growing in the house like a houseplant. During the cold winter months it didn't do much, but took off in spring so I buried the vine midway in a 2nd pot. So I had TWO plants that I *could have planted* much earlier... But didn't. :oops:

I planted them just a couple of days ago along with new slips from this spring, and the overwintered one had peanut sized tubers crowded in the bottom of the tall 4"x4" square container....

I intend to do the same with all three varieties I'm growing this year. (For me, doing this justifies buying slips for unusual varieties -- once you get a variety there's no reason you can't keep it going from year to year). If I can keep up with the project idea (I always have too many) I would have several started plants earlier in the spring to plant under a low poly tunnel/plastic mulled/raised mound bed OR a large tub SIP.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Oh, that's a neat idea. I bet I could do that in my kitchen window, as long as the plant can tolerate cool temps. If not, at least I know it'll only cost me a dollar or so to go buy another organic sweet potato.

Here's my late July update. It's week 9 since most of the plants went out.

Speaking of sweet potato, here we go - the slips were planted 4 weeks ago.
20160723sweetpotato.JPG
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The container peppers:
20160723peps3.jpg
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I got a 5.5-oz green pepper off the bigger 'cute stuff' this morning. :) They clearly like the bigger container. Note for next year: don't even bother putting them in the ground. The 3 in the ground are barely flowering.

The 'mini orange' bell: I love this little plant and the Nutella bucket I saved from work. ;) This is getting overwintered, for sure!
20160723orangeminibell.jpg
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Here's everything in the ground against the fence. The cukes were slow this year, and the zucchini didn't produce too well. The yellow plant is still going strong, the green one wasn't as good. They're both sick with powdery mildew and I'm fighting it with H2O2. I need to mulch and weed better next year, but the arthritis in my back was really bad this spring.
20160723fence.JPG
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Oh, as you can tell by that brown grass, we have had practically NO rain this summer. It's been one of the driest summers on record.

I was lazy with covering the cabbage, so it's gotten pretty munched up by the $#%@ing cabbage butterflies. It's just heading up now. I think I'll cut off the head and see if it forms a few more little heads.

The pumpkin has the powdery mildew, too, but I have one pumpkin so far and one more female flower opening soon. I can't believe how fast it grew - I only stuck the seed in the ground at the same time I planted the other seedlings, and it's already past the fence and growing sideways through the mulberry tree.
20160723pumpkin.JPG
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I think that's about it for now. My "inventory" so far:
- a few cups of lettuce
- no spinach because it bolted, but lots of seeds for fall/next year
- 4 huge outer cabbage leaves that I turned into cabbage rolls
- 2 small cukes
- 3 lbs of zucchini
- 3 green peppers
- a handful of mini tomatoes from the 'Red Robin' plants, which are just about done. I'm pleasantly surprised at how early they were. My other tomatoes are taking their sweet-edited time.

Dollar value so far = $7.81, or $13.94 at organic prices.

**Another note for next year: start more Red Robins in late May to replace the ones that are finishing up.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

A few more pics.

The containers:
20160801-containers2.JPG
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This was supposed to be a shot of the first ripening Rutgers tomatoes, but they don't look pink in the pictures. They are.
20160801-rutgers.jpg
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The pumpkin hanging by a pair of nylons, LOL
20160801-pumpkin.jpg
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The sweet potatoes
20160801-sweetpotato.jpg
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... and everything along the fence.
20160801-fence.jpg
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I had to severely cut back the zucchini, but they're both still producing. I had two tiny rotten fruits on the green one, but two new ones now that look good. The yellow one has healthy-looking zucchini, too. The powdery mildew is crazy... but the new growth looks good so far.

I only have that one pumpkin. Two female flowers died since. I assume it was the heat and humidity? That happened last year with my butternut squash. The first and last blooms survived. The mid-July/early-August ones... caput.

Can't wait to dig into those Rutgers tomatoes this week! :-()

Because I'm a hopeless hoarder, I found some seeds at the discount store for .50. Early jalapeno, cucumber 'Talladega', and two Burpee tomatoes, 'Supersteak' and 'Tasty Treat.' Never too early to think about next year, amirite?
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Looking good! I love the pumpkin in the nylon :lol: Be sure to keep checking that the weight of the fruit hasn't made the vine sag to the point that it might be pulled off or kinked.

I can see the color-break in the Rutgers fruit on the left. Not long now. :wink:
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Thanks for popping by. I tried to keep the pumpkin vine in its natural position; the way it was before the fruit started growing. It's hanging off a metal rack that would normally have a hanging basket on it, but the basket's hook broke and now it's on the ground, heh.

Here's yesterday's haul:
20160802-veggies2.jpg
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The cabbage was barely bigger than a softball, but that's not bad for my first time and the crappy spring we had. Maybe next year will be better.

One of those tomatoes is the mystery tomato - the one I can't figure out if it's a Brandywine or something potato-leafed that came in the Rutgers seed pack.

I've saved 4 batches of Red Robin seeds and I'm doing a germination test on them right now. I goofed not once but twice when soaking them in OxyClean - I forgot about them and they were in there for hours. :eek: I further screwed up by forgetting that the mature seeds sink to the bottom, and I should have removed the floaters. Whoops. Oh well, if I participate in a seed exchange, I'll just be generous with the seeds so the recipient can plant lots of seeds to make up for a poor germination %.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Happy Saturday!

It's now 9 weeks before our average first frost. :( I don't like thinking about fall. I'll be back at work full-time, and last year, I completely neglected the garden once I was back to work. I think I'll be working the early shift when I go back, so I want to make a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to settle in after work until I've checked up on/watered the garden. Heh heh. Last year, I was 10:30 am - 6:30 pm, so I barely had any warm daylight time to be out there.

I started some more lettuce the other day. I might do some radishes today.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Is it getting cooler where you are? You have to subtract 7-14 days for shorter days in the fall. Radish and Lettuce (endive, arugula, escarole, too), definitely. Maybe spinach and Asian greens, Japanese turnip (do you like turnip?).... Consider building a low or medium hoop tunnel to extend the fall season.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2016

Yep, the nights are cooler and I'm losing the intense sun at soil level.
---
Everything's doing pretty well. I've got a couple of batches of tomato puree in the freezer, plus quite a few tomatoes to go. Lots of cucumber chips, too. I'm much more impressed with the Chicago Pickling plant this year. Last year, it went horribly bitter in late July (I'm pretty sure) and this year, the cukes are still very good.
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The pumpkin is ripening.
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The peppers are, too.
20160815-peppers.jpg
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KayJay
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