Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our Garden Continues...

First of all I hope everyone is safe and secure after the violent weather we've had in the last few days throughout the gulf states and the east coast. Mother Nature has sure been flexing her muscles!

Now back to better things. I've run into a few delays on getting my garden started when I wanted to this spring, but now I'm on my way with it.

These are 3/4" mini soil blocks all made up and put in a flat ready for the seeds to germinate.

The upper flat in the gray plastic tray contains Swiss Chard Bright Lights seed in 2" soil blocks. The lower flat contains seeds for dill, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, common sage, and san marzano tomatoes. Old bread truck trays make excellent holders for two flats at a time. They're stackable, which is very handy when bad weather is on the way. I load them onto a flat hand truck and roll them into my shop. When it has cleared, I roll them back out into the sunshine and unstack them. Of course I won't be able to stack them when they sprout, but they are still easy to carry in to safety in case of bad weather.

The top flat in this picture contains 46 each 2" soil blocks with dwarf french marigold seeds sown in them. I harvested those seeds last year when I had the marigolds throughout the garden to help deter  various types of pests. The flat in the lower portion of the picture contains 40 each 2" soil blocks of Petaluma Gold Rush Bean seeds (Thanks Michelle!).

The following three pictures are of my high bush blueberries that are going into their fourth year. Each of the buds that you can see in the pictures will be a blueberry. You can see the blue color at the base of the buds. In addition to those branches in the pictures, there are new ones sprouting all over the bushes, so I anticipate a plentiful harvest this year.

I can't wait 'til they're ready to pick!

Early last year I planted a Brown Turkey fig tree next to the fence in our back yard. Here is the very first fig that it is producing for us.

My Glenora grape vines appear to be just beginning to show their new spring growth for this year. Upon closer inspection, I was suprised to find... baby grapes! On the very few green leaves and vines that are showing growth, there are nine clusters of grapes forming! I can hardly wait to see what the full vines will be bearing this year!

I need to plan now for installing bird netting before they begin tasting the grapes when they are ripening. If I don't, I'll lose a lot of the grapes.

The broccoli has gone to flower and is going to seed. Some of the yellow flowers are visible in the picture. When the flower petals dry and fall off, little green pods are left that develop into the actual seed pods. You can see the seed pods here that actually look a little like small green beans. If you click on the picture, it will show you a larger view. (Use the back arrow to return to the blog.) They look like crooked little green candles.

Here is a later picture of the same broccoli plant. You can see that the flowers have browned out and most of them have formed into seed pods that are larger than those in the previous picture. Click on the picture and you can see that the main stalk is becoming distressed and is shriveling as indicated by the indentations developing along its length. That means the seeds are growing just the way they are supposed to. If you look close at the pods, you can see the bulges of the seeds in the pods.

With a little luck, the weather will cooperate and I'll be able to do the final tilling of my soil this week before I can plant seeds in my garden. That's all the high points from our garden for now.

Everyone have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK


  1. Well, it looks like your seed starting is underway! I have a few of those bread trays in the basement...I never thought to use them to carry my seed trays....great idea!

    It certainly looks like you are going to have a lot of fruit this year!!

  2. Congratulations on your first fig -- and the baby grapes. Good luck with all the seeds!

  3. I notice you have "High bush" Blueberries. How do these differ from "Low bush" Blueberries? I have some Blueberry plants, but I don't have a clue whether they are high or low!

  4. Very nice! I so hope I get some grapes this year too.

  5. Do you mind if I ask what variety of broccoli that is and when you originally planted it? How exciting to have a fig on your tree already. I have been very tempted to try growing that fig variety but I just don't think it would make it...although some catalogues do list it as zone 4, maybe I'll give it a try one day.:)

  6. Robin, the bread trays are very handy. They keep the flats perfectly stable while in transit. I hope I get a great harvest from all my fruits!

    Jen, I'm already looking for that second fig, but none yet. But it's still early. The grapes are really surprising me! Now I've got baby grapes forming on two of the three arbors! I should get plenty of grapes if I can beat the birds to them. Some of the seeds in the soil blocks have already germinated!

    Mark Willis, I'm really not sure, but according to the tags that were on the bushes when I bought them, the ones I have are supposed to grow 10 feet to 15 feet in width and height. I would think that would be the determining factor. I know when I was a kid we picked wild blueberries, but they were on bushes that only approached one foot tall.

    becky3086, I, too, hope you get some grapes this year! I find it kind of rewarding after trying to perform all the care and maintenance as perfectly as you can.

    Mr. H., the type of broccoli I planted is "Waltham 29". I planted the transplants on September 10, 2010 and they're still in the ground waiting to turn brown. Had I known that we were to have such a hard winter, I would have done something to protect them a little. On an interesting note, some seed pods are much larger (2 or 3X)than those on other plants. Those are the ones I have my eyes on.

    As far as trying the brown turkey fig, I would absolutely do it this year and get it in the ground as soon as possible so the roots can grow strong before winter. I think I paid $14 for mine, so it's worth the risk to find out! If I was going to try it in Zone 4, in the fall after the leaves are off, I would put at least a foot of compost or wet leaves in a four foot radius from the trunk out. If I used the leaves, I would probably cover them with black plastic to hold them down and keep the ground somewhat warmer than the surrounding area. If ice storms were a problem in your area, I would try wrapping the branches with several layers of burlap for protection from the freezing temperatures. Having said that, mine just went through a hard winter with none of that in place. Point being, if you try to protect it a little, it might come through winter just fine. Taking those precautions isn't that much trouble. I think it would be worth it for you. One more point before I close... the location of the planting. I put mine on the side of a fence where it is protected from winter winds, but also receives full sun through the day. If I had an outbuilding of any type, I would have used that for the protection to block the winter wind. Good luck with it!

    Thanks for all the visitors and for those that shared comments!

    Have a great vegetable gardening day!
    Veggie PAK

  7. I want a brown turkey fig too. I hope it survives its spot though. The rock wall garden is really the only spot for it, but that wall leaks cold air into the roots.

  8. When I first saw the photos I thought, Yum! Brownies!! ha ha. Looks like you've got all kinds of things growing there! I'm jealous of the fig.

  9. Daphne, maybe you could cover that rock wall area with a double layer of burlap or plastic sheeting when winter is coming. Extra compost or straw around the top might help hold in some warmth too.

    Wendy, you're right! They DO look like brownies!

    Thanks to both of you for visiting and sharing a comment.

    Have a great vegetable gardening day!
    Veggie PAK