We survived a rainy, stormy week and the garden looks generally green and healthy.
We also planted most of our remaining warm season plants this week, including replanting some things that hadn’t been successful so far…
Part of that planting was putting up all of our cattle panel trellises before planting our vine crops. We planted cucumber, watermelon, and cantaloupe seeds this week. I think they have managed to stay well watered!
We also saw some pesky insects starting to make an appearance. The holes in the cabbages turned up some young cabbage loopers on the undersides of the leaves. We treated with Dipel Dust (a bacterial-based product) on Tuesday. Unfortunately, most of it did wash off later. Hopefully it did enough to get rid of the majority of the caterpillars.
Like most other plants, our carrots are growing well. Unfortunately, the plants are a bit too thick to produce good carrots. We thinned the plants out so that there is about one carrot plant per inch. This should make it easier to get good quality carrots rather than carrots that are twisted around each other.
We also transplanted our gingers back outside this week. They had been in my office and are more than ready to go back out. This is the turmeric. The rhizomes are still nice and healthy, but it is just starting to come out of dormancy and put on new growth for the year.
We are almost done with our spring planting, so from here on it is just a matter of watching everything grow!
We have a dedicated “Vertical” garden again this year, featuring the cattle panel trellises. We do try to change up what we’re growing, and this year we are featuring cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers.
The cucumbers include a pickler, a slicer, and an English/European type. The ‘Arkansas Little Leaf’ is a pickler with smaller diameter leaves than a usual variety that is also heat and disease tolerant. The ‘Lime Crisp’ has bright green skin rather than darker green as is usual. ‘Tyria’ is a parthenocarpic (seedless) English variety. We had another variety selected, but it cost about $1.25 per seed, and we couldn’t buy less than 50 seeds…so that was a NO.
We have done cantaloupe in the past, but we have always stuck to the smaller fruited varieties. This year we have ‘Lilliput,’ which is a new personal size variety that is supposed to be very sweet. But then we chose two other varieties, ‘Maverick’ and ‘Sarah’s Choice’ that are larger. ‘Sarah’s Choice’ is a 3 pound melon, and ‘Maverick’ is a 4-5 pound melon. It will be fun to see how successful they are in the trellis system.
The watermelons are also a range of sizes and characteristics. We haven’t had great success with watermelons on the trellis, but we are still going to try them again! ‘Golden Crown’ is a yellow rind, red fleshed, seeded watermelon. It is an All America Selection from several years ago. It has 5-7 lb. fruit. ‘New Queen’ is an orange fleshed, seeded watermelon that is 5-6 lbs, also an All America Selection. ‘Mini Love’ is a new variety this year that is also an All America Selection. It is red fleshed, seeded, with 7-9 lb. fruit. This variety is supposed to have 3-4′ vines but still up to 6 fruit per plant. It seems like a lot of large fruit for not much vine. I’m excited to see how it performs. As an All America Selection, it should be a consistent producer.
If you’ve been on Facebook or Pinterest at all in the past couple years, you’ve probably seen someone growing something in a pallet. The plants look lush and gorgeous, you can set it up vertically so it doesn’t take up much space, and it looks soooo easy!
So we decided to try it out. I found some instructions that recommended stapling landscape fabric on the back and three sides, then filling with potting soil, planting, and waiting two weeks for plants to grow before setting it upright.
(I’ll give you the sneak preview…everyone thought this project was much more difficult than advertised!)
The starting point….an ugly old pallet. This is actually after we had started nailing down some of the loose slats. The other interesting thing – the bottom has extra holes in it where a forklift would pick it up. Hmm…which side to cover?
We decided to cover the side with the larger holes, because we weren’t sure how the soil would stay in otherwise. We also ended up doing two layers of landscape fabric to make sure it was sturdy enough.
One of the Master Gardeners had brought along a few old lathe slats and we decided to nail them along the back just to help stabilize everything. Did we have to do this step? No. Does everyone feel a lot better about the durability of the project now? Yes, absolutely!
It took about 4-5 cu. feet of potting soil to fill the pallet.
We planted some of our leftover lettuce seedlings in the pallet. We also have some strawberries that we will put in later. (If I don’t manage to kill them in my office first…watering…it’s helpful!)
The final result…it would have been more picturesque had we had some green lettuce too, but I guess we’ll survive with the two shades of red!
We will stand it up on end in another couple weeks and see how things go! My biggest concern with all projects like this is how are we going to keep it sufficiently watered, especially once it is vertical. I foresee lots of water running everywhere.
I think the Demo Garden path is paved with my good intentions of posting more frequently. Time just seems to slip away from me earlier in the week!
Luckily, the garden does not rely on me to blog regularly in order to grow. We really would be in trouble if that were the case! You can see on the right side of the picture that the pumpkins are doing their best to be the first to the top of the trellis. Some of our other cucumbers and vines are just being pokey.
The pumpkins are also doing their best to be the first vine crop with fruit set. They might win! I didn’t see any bees this morning, so I tried to help the cause by transferring pollen from one of the lower male flowers to this female flower that was open. I guess we’ll see if I was successful.
We have new babies! Again! We planted some chicory and onion seeds inside this week, and a few of the chicory are already up. I’m a little surprised, because sometimes chicory can be a little slow. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to start them now rather than in two weeks. They also have a relatively low germination percentage (about 65%), so this way we will be sure to have enough plants in about 6 weeks.
Also blooming, but not nearly so attractive is this Endive. Not all of the endive mesclun plants are bolting, but I’m sure they aren’t far behind. That means we will be pulling them out soon and getting ready to plant the bulbing fennel for fall.
Have a great weekend!
I think one of the hardest gardening tasks is thinning out seedlings. It is too easy to just let it go, because you are so excited to see the plants growing, and then everything is an overgrown, tangled mess that you can’t thin out. That’s one of the reasons that I try really hard to space things out when I plant the seeds. However, that doesn’t always work out.
On our trellises for growing vining vegetables, we usually want no more than 2-3 plants per side of the trellis. It seems like so little when you are planting just a few seeds, but planting too many can be a disaster later on!
You can see that there are at least 5 plants along this trellis, and I think there may have been another one or two that I didn’t get in the picture. Even though these plants will be growing up the trellis, if we left all of the plants in place, they would be so thick that we could have problems with diseases – especially if this hot, humid weather keeps on.
We removed all but 3 plants from each of the trellises, which will still be plenty thick by the time the plants are full grown.