Monthly Archives: April 2009

“Hardening Off” the Seedlings, the Continuing Saga

Well, if you read the posts from yesterday, you see that I decided to put all the seedlings (which are growing like weeds and are really beyond the “seedling” stage already) outside to enjoy the weather. Then with the chances of impending storms I ran back over and brought everything in for the night. (And, as I predicted, that resulted in us getting NO rain or excessively nasty weather. Ah, the joys of gardening and trying to guess the weather!)

Well, everything is back outside today, although I am monitoring it pretty closely. I fertilized and watered with a soluble fertilizer before putting everything back outside. When I wandered out to look things over this afternoon, I saw that the eggplant are looking a trifle wilty despite being well-watered. My guess is that they are just not quite ready for the hot temperatures, and can’t replace the water they are losing fast enough. I gave them a sprinkle with the hose to see if that helps cool them down a bit, but I’ll probably bring them back in later this afternoon.

Wilty Peppers and EggplantThe peppers and eggplant are looking a bit droopy.

The tomatoes are looking very good overall, but it is interesting to note the differences among the varieties.

Scorched Roma TomatoThis Roma VF tomato plant has a pretty bad case of sunburn.

Golden Rave RomasOn the other hand, these ‘Golden Rave’ Roma tomatoes look like they couldn’t be happier outside. (These were the ones that kept growing up to touch my lights, so maybe they are more adapted to the heat?)

I will probably leave most of the plants outside tomorrow, then bring them back inside for the weekend, since I won’t be around to babysit.

Uh Oh!

When the 9 p.m. news came on FOX tonight, the talk of thunderstorms moving into the area caused my ears to perk up…because I have been obsessively checking the weather forecast for the past few days, and I KNOW that there was nothing forecasted in the way of rain until Saturday.

With that knowledge, I had left all the plants (including the peppers and eggplant) outside for the night, with the intent that I would reevaluate and perhaps take them in at some point tomorrow.

So, the impending weather, with potential winds in the 40-60 mph range, maybe some hail, heavy rain, etc, didn’t exactly sound like what the plant doctor ordered. After all, the point of putting seedlings outside is to harden them off, not commit plant abuse or murder. (Well, sometimes maybe, but not in this case. )

After about 15 minutes of waffling, I decided to drag my husband out to the Demo Garden and help me haul everything back inside. The eggplant and peppers are back under the lights, but the tomatoes are residing on the floor. I noticed when we carried them in that some of the tomatoes are showing some sunburn on the leaves. Oh well. It doesn’t appear too serious, and the new leaves they put on will be better able to withstand the outdoor weather. (I’ll try to get some pictures posted tomorrow.)

On the drive home I realized why we are getting unpredicted rain – I watered the entire garden today. Yep, it never fails. Watering = rain. Now that I took all the plants inside, I have virtually guaranteed that the worst of the rain will miss us tonight. Sometimes gardening is this insane balancing act!

The Kids are Outside!

So the weather has been so perfect for tomato plants outside, that I decided to take all the seedlings out. They seem to be doing well, although they are drying out more quickly.

Seedlings Outside

I haven’t yet decided if I will leave them out over the weekend or not. We will see how the wind picks up later today and tomorrow morning. I may bring them back inside for the weekend. At the very least I will have to find them a more protected spot in the garden if I leave them outside.

First “Harvest” from the Family of 4 Garden

We have our first “harvest” of sorts from the Family of 4 Garden!

Pile of baby lettucesWe thinned out the 4 rows of lettuces from the earliest Family of 4 planting, and ended up with about 4 ounces of lettuce. Not very much to be sure, but enough for 2 small side salads or to mix in with some other salad greens for a nice fresh-from-the-garden flavor!

I am eyeing the row of mesclun mix, because it is quickly getting getting big enough to start picking a few leaves here and there…mmm….

Fruit in Bloom!

As I was out in the garden today, I happened to take a closer look at the fruit bushes we transplanted earlier this spring. The currants and gooseberries have leafed out well, and I was wondering if they might be getting close to bloom time. Well, I was right! There were some blooms hiding in amongst the branches.

A cluster of tiny currant flowers

A cluster of tiny currant flowers

A close-up view of a gooseberry flower

A close-up view of a gooseberry flower

Both gooseberries and currants have very small flowers that are not readily visible if you don’t go looking for them.

In other fruit news, the ‘Eversweet’ strawberries have started growing quickly, and they are also putting on a plethora of blooms.

Close-up Strawberry Flower

The grapevines are starting to leaf out, and the raspberries and blackberries are continuing to grow. I think it is going to be a real competition between the raspberries and the strawberries to see who gets control of the bare spot between the two patches of plants. We may need to find some mulch to help keep things cleaned up!