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Posts Tagged ‘lettuce’

We’re now in mid-April and all our early spring crops are looking good! I’m kind of amazed at how much we have planted so far.

There are peas (sugar snap and snow), spinach, radishes, carrots, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and onions all doing really well, along with the garlic planted in the fall and chives that come back every year. Most of those are repeats from previous years, except the onions.

We decided to grow onions on a whim this year, even though they’re cheap to buy at the grocery store. After successfully growing garlic last season and learning how much better the homegrown variety was, we suspect onions will be the same. I found a bag of onion sets (they look like tiny, slender onions) that had red, yellow and white onions so we’re trying each variety. There are also a few squares we’ll use for onion seeds to have another later harvest (and for green onions).

We have tons of broccoli this year because the cell packs I bought had nine plants each instead of six, and I decided to try two different varieties. Some are planted in the garden beds and others in containers; same idea with the Brussels sprouts, which we can move around to find the ideal conditions/area for them to grow.

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Since we put everything in the ground, there’s not much to report and most of it seems to be doing well. I think the rain and warm, but not too hot, temperatures helped the plants along.

The broccoli has big healthy leaves, and a couple of plants are starting to form heads. The peas have sprouted and are starting to grow tendrils, and the row of radishes did so well it really needs to be thinned. Our lettuce is forming nice little leaves, and even the spinach has stopped looking like grass and grown its “true leaves.”

I keep waiting for the garlic to sprout its scapes, but so far it hasn’t happened yet. The four elephant garlic that survived are huge! They come all the way up to my hip, and I can’t imagine how big these bulbs will be, but we’re excited to find out!

We’re also discovering some mystery plants, and I’ll share those pictures later. If they are what I think then we’re going to be stocked on seedlings this year!

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Our garlic, left, growing strong in front of the peas, and our newly planted broccoli, with garlic behind it.

Our garlic, left, growing strong in front of the peas, and our newly planted broccoli, with garlic behind it.

It was much later than we planned, but we finally have our spring plants in the ground. The weather was so radical in its swings – warm, sunny days followed by freezing temperatures, a bit of snow and days of heavy rain – I was afraid if we planted any earlier nothing would survive.

So right now we have broccoli, spinach, lettuce, radishes and snow/sugar snap peas in the ground.

All seem to be doing well, even though it’s only been about week. And now that we’re “veteran broccoli growers,” we know what to keep an eye on as far as leaf/bug issues.

The squirrels have been digging a bit, probably trying to find the last of the acorn stash, and even turned up a few pea seeds. But, the good news is they were sprouting, so we’ll at least have a few plants! We’ll have to find some method to keep them out until everything germinates and is coming up, maybe some netting will help.

We also have some kale seeds started in small cell packs to transplant when they get bigger. The garlic is also looking great, and we can’t wait until we’re able to harvest it.

 

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Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it.

Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it, but it hasn’t grown much bigger than this.

As some of our space cleared from summer vegetables that stopped producing or died, we were really excited to plant our fall garden. Peas could go where the cucumber was, lettuce could take over the first bed, Brussels sprouts and broccoli could fill in wherever they’d fit. It was a great plan, or so we thought.

We should have known that when multiple sowings of lettuce, spinach and broccoli seed never sprouted that it was probably a bad sign. I assumed we hadn’t watered them enough, the seeds were bad, something. So we decided to try to start everything in pots and transplant where needed later.

This part worked wonderfully. We had lots of baby lettuce and almost a dozen Brussels sprouts plants.

The peas we planted in place started to sprout and grow. It looked promising.

But looking promising and being productive are two different things, and our fall garden excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

The lettuce transplants look great, but they aren’t any bigger than the day we put them in the raised beds. All the Brussels sprouts either wilted or had their leaves chewed by something. And the kale we tried to grow in a pot? Knocked over and spilled everywhere –probably as a result of the squirrels trying to bury acorns wherever they can.

While it was unfortunate we couldn’t keep the harvest going into the cooler months, we’ll try again next year. And we hope, with a little more planning, we’ll have a fantastic fall garden.

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Good greens.

Good greens.

It was really fun last week to make a salad completely comprised of what we’ve grown – lettuce, broccoli, peas and basil.

Most of the lettuce is thinned seedlings, the broccoli is from the side shoots and the peas are our first (and probably only) crop of snow peas.

Everything was incredibly delicious, and it made us very excited for this season!

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

After all the gardening research, reading and planning this winter, spring was supposed to be the start of a splendid gardening season.

But Ohio’s weather seems to have something else in mind. On the first day of spring this year it was 38 degrees. Last year we were seeing record-breaking temperatures around 83 degrees.

We’re now almost two full weeks into spring, and the weather pattern is still wreaking havoc on our plans. It’s been warm then cold, sunny then snowy.

Luckily we had a bit of a break this past weekend and were able to get some garden prep and planting finished. We finally removed all the weed barriers from under the raised beds, turned under the decomposing leaves, and mixed everything together with a small dose of compost from our bin. Everything was much easier and quicker with help from my fiancé and his brother!

Our broccoli transplants are in the ground. We're hoping they do well this year.

Our broccoli transplants are in the ground. We’re hoping they do well this year.

We also planted a few vegetables, even though it’s a couple weeks later than expected.

With the weather a bit colder than usual – and a few nights with below freezing temperatures – I’m a bit worried about how it will work.

Peas, lettuce, spinach and broccoli are pretty frost-tolerant so we’re hopeful they sprout and survive. I checked the broccoli yesterday morning, and the leaves were a little wilted.

When I checked again in the evening, they seemed to bounce back and are looking healthy. I might cover them tonight if the temperatures are still expected to be chilly.

I’d remove the cover (probably the landscape fabric we removed this weekend) from the broccoli in the morning, but I think I might leave it on the lettuce, spinach and peas to warm up the soil and give a small boost to the germinating seeds.

We’ll also plant another few rows of lettuce and spinach in a couple weeks so we’re not forced to eat nothing but greens for weeks when it all matures at the same time. Or it might be to replace what the squirrels decide to dig up.

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The past couple weeks have been absolutely brutal on our garden. Powerful storms blew through the area, it hasn’t rained in what seems like weeks (except for a few scattered sprinkles) and we’ve had record-breaking heat with several days climbing past 100 degrees.

We’ve kept everything watered as well as we could, but the heat seems to be taking its toll on our garden. The green beans don’t seem to be getting any bigger, a couple eggplants wrinkled almost overnight and our lettuce turned bitter.

I’ve also noticed blossom-end rot on a handful of tomatoes just as they’re starting to turn color. That’s a bummer.

It also appears the bugs are munching on our Brussels sprouts again and on the eggplant leaves.

I’m searching for solutions to all these issues an hoping the break in the weather and the rain will give us a chance to make this garden productive again.

The only good news is that we’ve picked many jalapeños (our golden crop) and the blackberries started turning black.

Let’s hope everything rebounds in July.

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