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kayjay
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KayJay's Garden, 2020

Hello again!

Well, I suppose it's about time to start documenting this year's garden. Better late than never.

Previous years' threads:
- 2019
- 2018
- 2017
- 2016
- 2015

Story so far:
- Mar 24 - parsley started
- Mar 29 - peppers, microdwarf tomatoes, and basil started
- Apr 5 - bigger tomatoes and a sweet potato started
- Apr 19 - booted seedlings out of the office (toasty warm) and down to the kitchen (cooler, more space). Sweet potato stays put in the toasty office. Gradually up-potted seedlings over the next week or so as they grew up.
- Apr 24 - sweet potato has the first tiny bump of a slip. Also gave up on the parsley: it never germinated. I think it was a bad batch of seed, because I seem to remember this happening when I first bought them.
- Today: starting pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini.

Per usual, I've been starting to harden them off outside on warmer days when there's little wind. There have only been three of those so far. :| April weather was lousy.

------------

Random notes:
- My little hardware store next door to my townhouse complex shut down back in January. :( I am very bummed. No more just strolling over there when I need something. I did get there during their liquidation, and scored some cheap supplies that I knew I'd need, but it was "slim pickins." Just my seed starting mix and peat plugs. Still, I'm grateful I had the opportunity to get that stuff cheap because then I got the Covid layoff on March 17... so at least I was ready to go and didn't have to spend any more money.
- I thought I saved seeds from all of my heirloom plants, but I have no San Marzano tomato seeds!! I don't know what happened; obviously I forgot, or I thought I already did them... :?: Crap.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

imafan26
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

I could almost open up a hardware stuff with what I have in my house and garage. I always keep a lot of pruners and garden tools around. Right now I only have one hoe and one bow rake since the others broke. I do have more than one shovel, a couple of rakes, outside brooms, 3 outside dustpans, and an assortment of hand tools. Some of them came in sets and I don't really use them. I have a corona pole pruner and a new power pruner. A gas, electric, and battery operated weed whackers. I use the electric one the most since it is the lightest. I don't buy that much garden stuff from the hardware stores. I usually get media and fertilizer from the agricultural suppliers. I only go to hardware stores for some vegetable starts, potting mix, and herbicides. Rarely do I go there for seeds. I usually get seeds online and some things like orchid supplies are only available from one or two sources. I get U.H. seeds from the university extension service. I have been reusing soil more and planted in smaller pots since I don't know if the ag suppliers are selling retail. I am running out of slug bait. I have ordered some specialty items from Amazon. I got small bonsai wire, turface, decorative stones, coir, insect and mosquito netting, long medical grade tweezers, and insect bags to cover fruit. Now, if I can just remember where I put it all.
The seed racks have been gutted, but recently, my local store has refilled them, so you might have luck soon. San Marzano is a common seed and it is available online, although seed companies are having high demand right now so it might take longer to get them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Hey Imafan! I hope you're keeping well in these bizarre times.

I wish I had a garage! We live in a tiny townhouse complex. No garage, not even a mudroom. Someday, I'd like to get a tall storage locker just for the shovel, rake etc.

As for the San Marzanos... meh, they didn't do spectacularly well in my yard, so I won't miss them that much. I just like being a bit of a hoarder and having lots of varieties, even if just for trading. :hehe: ...and that reminds me, I also don't seem to have saved my banana peppers! I remember letting one ripen! What the heck did I do?
--------

So here's my grow list so far:

Basil: I'm pretty sure it was just called "Sweet Green" but the packet was empty and I tossed it. Whoops.
Cucumber: Talladega
Tomatoes: Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Red Robin, Tiny Tim, Yellow Pear
Peppers: Early CA Wonder, Hot Portugal, Jalapeno, Orange Mini Bell, Serrano
Pumpkin: Jack-O-Lantern
Zucchini: Dark Green, and Vining Grey That Was Supposed To Be Opo Squash But Was Obviously Just Zucchini

Will possibly be added later based on my mood/arthritis/motivation: lettuce, swiss chard, lacinato kale.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

We had a pretty nice day here yesterday, and I tidied up the yard a bit. I do what I can in short shifts to avoid aggravating my back.

The tomatoes/peppers/basil got a bit of a sunbath. Temp was 13C. (ETA) Forgot to mention that I saw a bumblebee already, plus another small bee - I think it was a sweat bee. That made me happy, after losing my first cucumbers last year (or was it the year before?) when a neighbor called exterminators on the bumblebees. I knew they were gone when the lilac tree bloomed and not a single bee.

The sweet potato is just about ready for the slips to be rooted. (Paper towel roll for scale)

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KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Little update:
- Big tomatoes went out 2 days ago.
- I put 2 dwarf tomatoes out. I was going to keep going, but had to quit suddenly due to something else rather urgent. That's been sorted out. At least there's more space for the rest of the peppers/dwarves. It's raining today and tomorrow, so they can go out Thursday. No rush, they're fine under the lights still. The big tomatoes, not so much. They were looking sickly.
- I tried an experiment with the sweet potato slips - I tried a couple of them with rooting hormone. That was a failure! Plain water is all they need. The ones with plain water have nice healthy roots, and the hormone-treated ones just barely have little nubbins of roots. The rooting hormone is also not working for my kalanchoe cutting. I should just throw the bottle in the trash. There has to be something wrong with it.
- My cukes, zukes and pumpkin failed to germinate except for one of the grey zukes. I think I planted them too deep, but I was also out of seed starting mix and had to use the crappy potting mix. It's MUD. I think the seeds just rotted. I started them over again, and I'll only add water by the dropper. I literally use a baby medicine dropper.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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Gary350
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

If sweet potato slips have no roots when weather is good for planting then make potato cutting with a 1" piece of potato on each slip. Let potato cutting dry for several days before planting. If slips are old enough to have roots cut them from the potato with the roots too they will grow.

I have used rooting hormone powder, cactus will grow roots in 3 to 4 weeks, most other plants take 2 to 3 months for me and plants much be kept moist all the time. I have good luck cutting the top off a 2 liter soft drink bottle pour in 1 cup of soil then put in an 8" long cutting then tape the top on the bottle again so moisture can"t evaporate. Keep it warm 80 degree works good for me outside in summer in full shade. Some plants root easier than others.
Last edited by Gary350 on Mon May 18, 2020 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Thanks for the tips, Gary! I will try cutting a slip with part of the potato, just as another experiment. The timing is right - there are still a few more slips starting to grow on the 'tater and slips can be planted out any time now; my soil is warm enough and looking at the weather forecast, our late cold winter-spring is finally ending. We have a disappointingly short season for sweet potatoes up here, but it can be done.

I won't give up on the kalanchoe. :) It still looks healthy enough, it just refuses to grow roots.

I've used the rooting powder in the past and it seemed to be fine, but this stuff is a gel. I'll probably just toss it. The other plants I root - my jade and Christmas cactus - have rooted just fine without it. I don't even remember why I bought it in the first place. :hehe:
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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TomatoNut95
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Speaking of cuttings, can you root pepper branches the same way you do tomatoes? My Fish pepper plant is not as highylly varigated as I had hoped for, but it has a small side branch on it that is quite variegated. If I cut off that branch and put rooting hormone on it or place it in water, will it root?

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Hi 'MaterNut. I had never heard of that before. Uncle Google says yes you can! Wow. Ya learn something new every day. Yet another experiment I'll have to try. :)
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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TomatoNut95
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Most interesting! I will have to try that as well!

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Some notes.
- Almost everything is out there. Tomatoes first, then peppers, then sweet potatoes just today. I needed some peat moss and compost to thin up the sloppy mud soil I have. I hope that works. Coir, sand or other stuff might have been nice, but I'm not interested in shopping indoors right now. That's what was at the outdoor garden center, that's what I bought. It'll have to do.
- After I fixed the cucurbits, I carefully put the extra soil into spare cups... and there was a seed in one of them that volunteered. Whoops. Guess I wasn't so careful after all. I'm pretty sure it's Talladega cucumber. We'll see. It's healthy, so it's definitely going out.
- The kalanchoe finally rooted. I'll stick that into some soil some time soon.
- I have forget-me-nots. I thought they were a weed, but remembered that I stuck them in the dirt after a deceased coworker's memorial at which her daughter gave the seeds away. :( I think this was two years ago. I had given up on them, but there they are now.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

A few more notes.
- 6/8 of the cucurbits have germinated. I wonder if the issue was temperature, and not depth or the mucky soil. In past years, I germinated them earlier but in my warm office. This year, I left them in the cooler kitchen, and our spring was cold (thus the kitchen was too.) Note for next year: do them earlier and in the office.
- Your obvious comment: "why don't you just direct seed them outside?" Because that's just bird and squirrel food, and our weather is too precarious. It's six of one, half-dozen of the other and I hate dealing with the cold outside. I want healthy seedlings going out, and if I have to fuss over seedlings, it's going to be indoors until the weather is nice. I know cucurbits are supposed to hate being transplanted, but I've never had any issue, neither with my own or store-bought.
- The tomatoes, peppers and basil survived the first thunderstorm of the season. Saves me watering them. Our water is included in our condo fees, but I still try to save it wherever I can.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Happy belated solstice! I love this time of year.

- Curcubits went out May 30, and they're really taking off now that it's hot. It's fun to go out 12 hours after you just tried to train them to grow a certain way, and they've already attached themselves to something else going in the other direction. :hehe:
- Lilacs bloomed around the first week of June, and I've got lots of bumblebees. I joined the bumblebee watch website, although I have yet to get a half-decent picture. I think my bees are the common Eastern bumblebee. Looking forward to the first few squash/cuke blossoms for them to feed on.
- Garden looks good, except for too many weeds. This will be a problem until there's a magic cure for the arthritis in my spine, or they invent a precision weed whacker that I can use standing upright.

Picking the first few jalapenos today to make an omelet for dinner. 8)
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Rainy morning notes:
- First zucchini flower opened yesterday. It was on the vining grey squash. It's in the sweet spot that gets the most sun, so I'm not surprised that it's winning the race.
- Sweet potatoes are finally doing sweet potato things, compared to my previous two attempts. They've shot out long ropey vines. I should try growing some up the fence next year.
- Basil needs another hair cut. I think I'll put bocconcini cheese on the shopping list. I'll have to figure out when to start leaving it alone to flower. I definitely want seeds, because I used them up this year.
- Microdwarf tomatoes should start to ripen any time now. There's two plants that look really good: in fact, they fell over from all the tomatoes. I'll have to find or make mini tomato cages for them next year. They're both Tiny Tims, but they're not necessarily better than the Red Robins. They're in a different container, slightly different soil, slightly different light conditions.
- Other tomatoes look pretty good, too. They all either have wee tomatoes or flowers.
- I should probably pick my Hot Portugal peppers. There are three of them, and I want the plant to keep going.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Happy First Tomato of 2020 Day to me! Five Red Robins served up with some cheddar cheese, cold cuts and pickles. Delicious.

I'm really happy with how this Red Robin tomato is doing - it's easily the best one I've ever grown! :) I'm holding it up in the one picture because it fell over from all the tomatoes. I put a stick behind it for the second pic.

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Another surprise success story: growing the stub of a celery stalk. I threw it in with the sweet potatoes, assumed it was just about dead, and then saw this:

Image

It'll probably be useless, but it was fun.

The sweet potatoes are really happy about this heat wave. My grass, not so much, but I don't care. I don't water it. It's been so hot and dry that two weeks in a row, I didn't unlock the gates for the landscapers to come in. There's nothing for them to do. (It's included in our condo fees) I don't think I've ever skipped it two weeks in a row before.

In not-so-great news, all of my curcubits look like hot trash because of the damage from the cucumber beetles. I hope they bounce back and I get at least something off them.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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TomatoNut95
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Congrats on your first tomato!!! 😁😁

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kayjay
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Re: KayJay's Garden, 2020

Thanks 'maternut! I'm still enjoying them. I'm almost out, and now the later tomatoes will be ripening soon.

- Two out of my four zucchini plants kicked the bucket. One is on life support, and the other is healthy. Definitely have to start them earlier next year to give them a better head start. I'll also need one of those tennis racket bug zappers for the cuke beetles if they come back. This is the first year I ever saw them. They can go burn in hell.

- Pumpkin and cukes are likewise not looking good.

- Peppers are doing well. I chopped a bunch of jalapenos and serranos yesterday; they're in the freezer now.

- Sweet potatoes still look really good, although some of the leaves are yellowing. Not sure if that means anything other than "it's late summer."

- The celery experiment? It either burned to death or got mutilated by the chipmunk. It's dead, Jim.

Here was the chaos as of two weeks ago (it took me that long to upload the pics? I'm so lazy.)

Image

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KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

My Garden, 2020

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