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kayjay
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KayJay's Garden, 2019

Time for the 2019 placeholder post!

Previous threads:
- 2018
- 2017
- 2016
- 2015

It's February, and I'm off work for Reading Week (aka Spring Break, though it's not spring). I work at a post-secondary institution. The weather is garbage, and I'm bored. Time to think about the garden, plan, and maybe shop. I won't feel like it once work is busy again.

Goals for this season: mostly the same as last year.
- Try bottle gourds aka opo squash.
- Keep track of yields on my spreadsheet again. I already started the blank one back in November.
- Grow more greens and actually eat them. :roll:
- Grow more cool weather veggies like radishes and kohlrabi. I have tons of seeds. Hopefully, the spring weather will cooperate. Related to the above, even if they fail, the greens are edible.
- Start additional micro-dwarf tomatoes around June or so, so that I can have more after the main crop.
- Overwinter a pepper or two again.

The To-Do list, in approximate order but no specific schedule yet:
- Bring home a tomato box from work
- Shopping: seed starting mix, new bulbs for the lights that burned out last spring, new storage tub for when the seedlings get too big for the tomato box, 2 new Rubbermaid tubs for when the plants get too big for the tomato box, Solo cups

Closer to early spring planting time (April):
- Bring the plant shelf up to the kitchen
- Get a sweet potato going

Closer to last frost:
- Shop for compost (I don't generate nearly enough)
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

imafan26
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

I have a similar problem. I can grow greens, but even though I try to limit the planting, I still plant too many at one time so they are all ready at the same time. I have buttercrunch lettuce bolting (12 heads). I only ate about 3 heads.

I have komatsuna, swiss chard, perpetual spinach that thankfully I can get repeat harvests from. Although I still probably have more than I need.

I got one small broccoli from my De Cicco plants. (I have 3 of them, but they bolted before I picked them. Waiting for more side shoots).

The spinach did not sprout well and I only have about 3 plants. The beets and carrots are still growing.

I have beans at least a couple of handfuls that I haven't picked yet. They are supposed to be long beans but it looks more like garden beans. I haven't harvested any beans to eat yet. Frankly, I really don't like beans that much so I have to hide them in my recipes.

Opo needs a lot of space but you will get a lot of fruit. It is better to pick them when they are very young or about a foot long. They can grow to be over 3 ft but the seeds will be big and the flesh will be tougher. It is also hard to eat a whole squash when it is too big. Usually, I can cut a squash into two or three pieces and give the other parts away. It does not have a lot of flavor by itself but will take on the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

Sweet potatoes are grown from the cuttings. If you do a sweet potato from a tuber you grow it in water and wait for the shoots to emerge then plant that. Sweet potato leaves can be eaten like spinach. Just blanch them for salads or cook them lightly like spinach.
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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hey Imafan, thanks for the visit! I enjoy reading about the experiences of folks who live in climates drastically different than mine.

I started my peppers yesterday. It might be a hair early, but I've upgraded to doing a higher quantity - I'm going to be selling seedlings for a couple of bucks as a fundraiser at work. I'm on a team among my coworkers for the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life. I've only been at my job for 7 years, and in that time, we've lost 2 coworkers to cancer. One of them has a son who also works there, and he's part of our relay team. I didn't know his mom that well, but I worked closely with him for years; it's sad. I lost my mom to cancer, that's part of the reason I participate. I hope folks will chip in 2 bucks and buy some seedlings.

The weather is still pretty chilly here, barely above freezing, but we've had some sunshine and it's nice.

The hardware store next door has its garden center fencing up, and pallets of soil and compost delivered!
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Quick update while I'm getting ready for work - the first peppers have started to poke up. Not a bad germination time - about 9+ days? I think it was about the same last year.

I should have started my tomatoes by now, but I've worked overtime all week and I'm exhausted. I have to leave early today to get an X-ray and ultrasound on my beleaguered shoulder, and I'm glad I scheduled it that way - I deserve to start my weekend after half a day. I see a nap in my future.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Yes, take it easy! Tomatoes will grow faster when it’s warmer anyway, so in some ways, starting them earlier may not ultimately gain much advantage.

In my area, I *have* found that there IS a window and starting too late can result in seedlings that have not reached the vigorous growth phase that will shrug off the early fungal diseases.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hi Applestar. *waves*

Jumping in again while I get ready for work - just a note that I did the tomatoes on Fri Apr 5.

The peppers are looking pretty good. I got a good germination rate and I had to grab the scissors and cull the extras.
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My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

The tomatoes germinated in 4-5 days. :shock: I guess the warmth from the light made them happy.

As of yesterday:
2019-04-12.jpg
2019-04-12.jpg (43.36 KiB) Viewed 4346 times
I labeled them when I sowed by sticking toothpicks in them with little paper labels. All I had to work with was the toothpicks, paper and scotch tape. :?

I'll have to shuffle things around tomorrow so that the bigger peppers are at the same level with respect to the light. I don't mind the tomatoes getting a bit leggy because I can just bury them deeper when I up-pot them, but if it only takes a few minutes to move them to another tray, I'll do that. I'll just have to find two that fit side by side in that box.

I need to figure out small containers for the peppers. The ones I have are a bit too wide - I'll never fit them all under the light. Maybe I'll dig around at work for something. Maybe our small paper espresso cups.
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Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

All tomatoes and peppers up-potted to 9-oz plastic drink cups. I used standard solo cups last year, but they're too wide for all the seedlings I have. These cups are relatively tall and thin; I'm glad I found them. So far, with the extra light I bought, there's enough light-space for them all. I still have two clamp lights I can use, too.

I'll take a couple of pics later; gotta get ready for work.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

I like those, too. The clear ones withstand the elements (can be washed and reused from year to year). The milky translucent ones become brittle and fall apart (like plastic grocery bags).

Sounds like you are right on schedule. :D
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Thanks for dropping by, AppleStar!

I haven't posted much; it's been pretty dull. No big changes from last year.
Kayjay wrote:Hopefully, the spring weather will cooperate.
(Narrator voice) It hasn't.

The weather has been pretty cold and miserable... and frankly, so have I. :> I probably could have tried some spinach and cool weather greens as soon as I could have been digging, but I just wasn't into it. My job has been exhausting.

Anyway, things are nonetheless progressing. It's getting nicer, my job is easier, and hopefully I'll be laid off (again) soon. I was literally called back the day they handed me my layoff notice.

We've had exactly two (2) nice warm days so far. This was April 24:
0A36D983-F20A-4522-A95E-9D813C2FE560.jpeg
The overwintered jalapeno: (it grew a really leggy stem; I hope it'll be okay.)
8AF5F2DF-2611-4532-AC7D-1DFC8CAF4966.jpeg
...and this was yesterday, not all of them are in the pic:
6B5E9813-1B88-44C6-AF78-866F0905360B.jpeg
A bunch of my regular sized tomatoes are pretty leggy and yucky-looking. The peppers, the San Marzano tomatoes, and the microdwarf tomatoes look great. I think I just had too many different-sized plants and was too lazy to correct their height from the lights. It feels like a freaking full-time job. Hopefully, the yucky ones take off when the weather heats up.

Today, I'll be starting the zukes, cukes, bottle gourds, pumpkin and basil. I'm late on the basil. Oops.
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My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Quick update.

The weather is still crappy. I managed to get everything in except two pepper plants and a cucumber. The peppers will go in containers that are probably 2 gallons, not sure, but they're in my basement waiting for me to drill holes in them. I saved them from work. I held back some duplicate cucurbits in case the ones I put out froze to death, but they're fine, so I gave the dupes to my boss.

I'll take some pics at some point.
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My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Whoops, a whole month with no update? Yikes.

Anyhoo, we basically didn't have a spring. It went from late winter to early summer, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. The first week of really warm weather, I was literally washing long johns in the same load of laundry as my summer outfits.

Some notes:

- Everything seems to be doing okay, albeit 2 weeks late. I've compared photos from previous years, and.... yeah.
- First tomatoes (Tiny Tim) are just forming. The TTs seem more robust than Red Robin, but I'll still do both.
- All of the peppers are flowering.
- The Serrano pepper doesn't look too healthy, but it's alive. We'll see.
- Overwintered peppers notes: the jalapeno 'woke up' too early and got leggy. It's just now flowering. The Hot Portugal, OTOH, is producing peppers now, but only just started to put out more growth. I'm not sure if it was worth OWing those varieties - I'll wait and see how they compare to their from-seed counterparts.
- My new-heirloom-tomato-of-the-year is Mortgage Lifter from the Superstore. That's where I got my Brandywine 5 years ago, San Marzano last year, and have saved the seeds. They are awesome plants, doing way better than others. It's almost as if they're bred to be overcrowded and treated like crap. :lol:
- The pumpkin is starting to take off, as are the zucchini and cucumbers. The opo squash is doing okay; probably isn't getting as much light as its curcubit cousins. I might have to put it in the sweet spot next year; and/or start it earlier.

(ETA) Oh, and my fundraising efforts were a huge success! I sold lots of seeds as well as seedlings to coworkers and people that came to our yard sale. Our team beat our fundraising goal before the event. It was Relay For Life, in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. More coworkers wanted plants, and I was out! Next year, I'll try expanding.
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My Garden, 2020

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

The first zucchini and cucumber flowers opened up yesterday. The cuke was a female, even! :shock: I've never had that happen before. I hope the bees are around, and it would be nice if a neighbor has some flowering cukes, too. Maybe I'll just see if the zucchini pollen works. :>

I might have to water everything for the first time this year. Yes, it's almost July; that's how much rain we've had.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Ooh unless my cukes bloomed while I wasn’t looking, yours are ahead of mine. I was so late getting everything done this year.
Some of my squashes have been blooming but no female so far....

I think we are getting more rain here than usual as well. yay(?)
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

imafan26 wrote:I can grow greens, but even though I try to limit the planting, I still plant too many at one time so they are all ready at the same time. I have buttercrunch lettuce bolting (12 heads). I only ate about 3 heads.
This year instead of pulling lettuce I've been cutting the stems at ground level (if harvesting the whole plant rather than just a few leaves.) A new plant - or two - will grow from the stub quite quickly.

With staggered sowing it should be possible to have a continuous supply from just 2-3 plants. I'm doing the same with cabbage; wonder what else I can try this with.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hi VanIsle. I did that a couple of years ago with my solo cabbage plant and it worked - I got three new little heads.

A few notes:
- The weather turned really nice, and the plants that get the most light are making up for lost time. I’ll take some pics and compare them to previous years to see where they’re at.
- There were lots of bumblebees around when the lilac trees were blooming, but I haven’t seen any since. :( I hope I’m just missing them; I haven’t spent as much time outside. I can pollinate the zukes by hand, but I can barely reach the cukes and would appreciate some bee help.
- The pumpkin flowered the other day. Today, there were two flowers. It’s about 2/3 of the way up the fence.
- I’m going to have two zukes this week, but man, are they tiny. I’ll give them a good watering tonight and maybe they’ll still fill out.
- The peppers are doing okay, not great because of their slow start, I assume. The mini bells are doing the best.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Perhaps if you were to plant some bee-attracting flowers near your garden, it would help the bees find their way to your garden. I've noticed a lack of bees in my area to. Haven't seen a single honeybee lately. Mostly butterflies and a few carpenter bees.

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hi 'Maternut! I might try to get some potted flowers for next year... I don't really have any more space. I'm hoping more bumblebees return next year to the lilac tree. They LOVE that.

I'm in the city, so I've hardly seen any honeybees here. I saw some sweat bees over the last few years.

So here's what I think happened: there's a Facebook group for my townhouse complex, and a neighbor had them nesting in her yard. Her 6-MO son was stung. She was asking about how to eradicate them. That was a few weeks ago. Now they're gone.

I wish I would have known; I would have made sure I hand-pollinated. Now I've got a bunch of dead female cucumber and zucchini flowers. :roll:

Meh. In other news, I tried the glue experiment on my pepper flowers. We'll see how that goes.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

I have never heard of gluing flowers. I hand-polinated a summer squash once... the immature fruit grew a little, then died.

How sad. Instead of that woman removing the bees, she should've taught her son not to play near bee hives. I don't know what happened to ours....I know we had a couple of hives in the woods nearby. I've seen a couple of carpenter bees, and that's about it.

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

She claims it was her 6-month-old baby, but she has an older child, too, and I have a really hard time believing that a freaking BUMBLEBEE just decided to sting a baby for no reason. You have to try pretty hard to annoy them that much.

I wish I could just buy them like you can buy ladybugs. Heh heh.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Apparently you can. They sell the hive/box for pollinating commercial greenhouses and closed tunnels.

...funny/coincidence — I was just looking it up last night here’s a picture of a box, though I’m sure there are other sources —

Image
https://www.koppertus.com/content/_proc ... fc722d.jpg
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

It’s a tough call — even I would show no mercy to anything that stung my baby.

...hmm... I was hoping I saved the story I made up as a bedtime story for my DD when that bee head butted her, but I can’t find it ...oh well, here’s the background story even though this might be OT — some good info about bees, wasps, and bee stings in that thread :

Subject: bee stings and keeping them away
May 05, 2013
applestar wrote:I believe there are aggressive bees (and wasps) and not so aggressive ones. The little beneficial wasps are not, bumblebees are usually not. I once accidentally dropped a large drapery -- actually Japanese carp windsock (so appropriate that today is Children's Day in Japan when they are displayed HAPPY CHILDREN'S DAY :wink: ) from upstairs window into the shrubbery below, startling a bumblebee. It zoomed away and directly hit my then toddler daughter who was watching from below on the ground in the forehead... But it didn't sting her even then.

The yellow jackets that were nesting on my driveway attacked if anyone came within three feet, and a couple of family members were stung within one foot of the nest until I cordoned the area off.

I was stung by a paper wasp when I lost my balance while picking raspberries and slapped my hand right next to a hive on a fence. But they don't bother me while working in the garden when they are patrolling the cabbages and broccoli or scraping the bamboo for making their nest.

When I wade through the honeybees, bumblebees, other bees and wasps in the lawn, some of them get buzzy and zoom around me a couple of times, but they break off and get back to work if I just keep walking. I *think* it's a matter of them getting used to me because it's just early in the season. I've picked mint while they are in full bloom (and swarming with over a dozen different kinds of bees and wasps) and don't remember them ever getting upset.

I've had cicada killers (they're over 2 inches long) zoom past me or capture a cicada over my head and drop in front of me and they paid no attention to me whatsoever -- they are too preoccupied by their hunt.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

The carpenter bees around here are quite sweet. They'll attack each other or other insects if they cross territories, but they don't attack me. I have stroked them in the past with my bare finger and they show no aggression whatsoever.

I was stung by yellow jack once in the joint of my finger. Couldn't bend my finger for days. Not to mention it was quite painful. :shock:

Wasps are my hugest fear. They're very abundant around here. I call them little red demons or devils because they're so aggressive and scary. I'm am fortunate to have never been stung,(and plan to keep a perfect record) but I have feared them horribly since I was little; I will run from them if I'm not armed with a swatting object. I have family members that think I'm weird for being so scared of them, but for their information, I am not the only adult who is terrified of them. Had a woman tell me that her husband will run from them, but yet they don't bother her.....I guess he has to hide behind her for protection. :lol:

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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Thanks for the insight, folks. Applestar, I looked into getting bumblebees locally, and came up with nothing - but that company is located not far from me! Very cool. Hopefully, I won’t need them - I went out in the yard today, and was pleased to see three different kind of bees! A bumblebee was back, and I think a honeybee and a sweat bee, but I couldn’t get a good look because they were moving so quickly. They were definitely two different sizes, and I’m pretty sure I saw the metallic green sheen on the smaller bee.

TomatoNut, that’s how I am with wasps, too! I will scream and run like a little girl.

———

Other stuff:
- I got a ripe banana pepper, and there are a couple of nearly-ripe Hot Portugals
- There are about 8 jalapeños I can grab. Maybe I’ll make poppers later in the week when it cools off.
- My huge Brandywine fell over, because I procrastinated on tying it up better. Whoops.
- My opo squash... isn’t. The flowers are yellow. They’re supposed to be white. I’ll be interested to see what they turn into. It looks more like the zucchini plants.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hmm — opo “squash” is really a gourd right? Luffah “gourds” have yellow blossoms, so they still might be another kind of gourd ....

Squash (as in cucurbita) and gourd have distinctly different looking blossoms even among their own different species.

— maybe post some photos?
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Hi Applestar. You're correct, opo is also known as bottle gourds.

This is what the seeds are supposed to look like:
opo.jpg
opo.jpg (8.73 KiB) Viewed 3894 times
These are the so-called Opo seeds I got, along side my zucchini seeds for comparison:
zukeseeds.jpg
zukeseeds.jpg (41.7 KiB) Viewed 3894 times
Here's what Opo flowers are supposed to look like:
opo-flower.jpg
opo-flower.jpg (7.33 KiB) Viewed 3894 times
...and here's what I've got:
2019-08-05-grey-zuke.jpg
2019-08-05-grey-zuke.jpg (46.71 KiB) Viewed 3894 times
In that pic, you can see an emerging female, a male flower, and the first growing fruit. It's about the size of my thumb right now. It looks like the grey zucchini they sell at my grocery store.

This IS still a cool variety of zucchini squash, though. It's growing far taller than my usual bushy zucchini. This will come in handy next year - I'll try it again for sure. It got off to a poor start this year because it was surrounded by tall tomatoes and a tree that blocked too much of its light.
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2019

Nice! I wish I could grow squash in my raised bed, but it won't fit. Too bad there's no such thing as dwarf squash or zucchini! :)

I've wanted to grow a luffa squash, peel it and use it for a sponge.

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