Thursday, May 31, 2012


I can not figure out the cause to some of my garden failures this spring.  I am honestly asking these questions hoping someone out there will know what might be the problem.  I'd like to not continue having the same issues over and over as it seems I am having.

Why are my lettuces that were planted on March 17th, 2.5 months ago still tenny tiny?  This is the second year in a row that this has happened.  They are in a different spot this year than last year, and this is a brand new bed.  Unless it's the source of my soil/composted manure I am at a loss for what the problem is.

Why are some of my seedlings turning red and dying off?  This happened earlier in the spring and is happening again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swap Out

Today I swapped out the eggplant on the left for the eggplant on the right.  I planted the first seedling almost a month ago.  And it has pretty much looked the same since then.  At first I didn't think anything of the stunted growth until the tomatoes took off and the eggplant didn't.  I went to my local greenhouse and saw that their eggplants in their tiny pots were faring much better than mine planted in a raised bed so I brought one home.  Hopefully it has better luck than the first.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tomato Supports

I was able to get all of the tomato supports in recently as they are getting larger and it needed to be done soon.  I like to use a combination of stakes and tomato cages.  My tomatoes get very tall and need more than just the large 5 foot cages I use and I wouldn't want to use just stakes because I like that the cages help to keep the branches off the ground.  Some people might think using both supports are overkill but last year was the first year I wasn't constantly rigging tomatoes back up through the season.  I only had one plant start to lean in August after it was over 7 feet tall.

I don't use ordinary tomato stakes.  The largest stakes I can find at any store is 6 feet tall.  To make sure the stakes are strong and sturdy I like to insert them 12 inches into the ground.  At that point the stake then is only 5 feet tall and not much better than the cages.  So in the past I have gone to the lumber section of the store and using a 1"x2"x8' piece of cedar and had it cut into two 1"x1"x8' stakes. 

My local hardware store did this without any problem last year.  I have more tomatoes this year and needed a few more stakes.  I went back to the same place and they told me they couldn't do it.  They said that the saw was too powerful and it could snap the board or it could be a safety issue to them.  I tried to explain that their store did it for me last year on multiple boards and I knew it was possible.  Again they told me they couldn't do it and again I told them they had done so previously.  We went around in this circle about two more times.  I was polite but at the same time wasn't budging either, I needed those stakes. 

Finally one employee begrudgingly decided he would try to help.  When going through the saw the boards did make a snapping sound but nothing happened, and they were able to cut them.  The employee however did shake his head in disapproval the whole time and I knew he was thinking this woman is crazy and I shouldn't be doing this.  I felt sheepish and guilty while he was doing so.  I thanked him when he handed me all my stakes and left quickly.  I felt a bit bad that I didn't just leave when they told me it wasn't possible but how else was I going to get my super long stakes?

Luckily in the end it all worked out and now my tomatoes are properly supported.  However I don't know what I will do next year if I end up needing more stakes.

Monday, May 28, 2012


This week was a bountiful harvest of more garlic scapes!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


With all this heat we are having (highs in the 90s with a heat index over 100) it is imperative to be watering the garden.  I got the soaker hoses in earlier this week and have started watering the garden since its been over a week since we have had rain.  Once the plants are established I prefer watering this way so that I can get a good deep soaking and only have to water once a week maybe twice if necessary.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I am very excited to say that 5 of my 11 tomato plants have set fruit.  I haven't ever had a plant set fruit in May.  It seems I might have tomatoes before July!

Here are the beauties:

Super Sweet 100 Cherry

 Celebrity, the fruit it getting big but the plant is still tiny because all the energy has been going into this 'mater.  I hope the squirrels don't get to it first.

Husky Red

Arkansas Traveler

All of the other six plants have blossoms so hopefully they won't be far along!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Checking In On The Bees

Since installing the bees I haven't gone into the hive.  I should have gone in weeks ago to make sure the queen was doing her job and producing more bees.  But life and the weather got in the way.  Yesterday I finally got around to opening up the hive and seeing if things looked ok.

When I opened up the hive things looked busy.  The top box had alot honey and bees but I couldn't see from just peering in any sign of eggs or larva.  When I lifted off the first box right away I found larva that was in comb the bees had built between the boxes.  Once I saw that I didn't need to go any farther because it was evidence that the queen is doing her job.

 While in the hive I went ahead and added on the queen excluder and a box for just honey storage.

A frame of empty comb ready to be filled with honey!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


8 out of 10 crowns that I planted this year have so far come up.  Hopefully this year's crowns will be more successful than last years.  If they don't come back up next year then I am done with asparagus at this property and will try again the next time we move.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Progress

Things seem to be coming along with all the newly planted seeds and summer crops.

The kale has come up.
The zinnias and cosmos are chugging along.

The potatoes have been hilled up.

The provider beans came in with spotty germination.
The KY Wonder pole beans are doing really well.
All of the summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers have come up.  Soon I will need to thin down the hills to just one seedling.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Go Cincinnati

I mentioned that I participated in Go Cincinnati over the weekend.  Go Cincinnati is an event thrown by our church that organizes multiple service projects over the city in one day.  This year there were 5700 volunteers that participated in 330 service projects on Saturday morning.  It was fantastic!

Marla and I signed up to garden or landscape and we were assigned to a Kelly Youth Services house.  A former Bengals player has bought properties that house children in the foster care system but are not placed with a foster family.  Our project was cleaning up mulch beds, weeding, mulching, mowing, planting annuals and cutting down and removing part of a tree that had fallen sometime last year.  I didn't take many pictures because we were more focused on getting the job done.  I have a few before and after pictures unfortunately I don't have any of the tree, the biggest project on the property.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our Weekend

We had a very busy weekend.  We:

 Attended a wedding.

 I participated in Go Cincinnati with my friend Marla.

Lastly and most importantly Andy competed in a dance off.

Hope your weekend was as eventful!

Friday, May 18, 2012

More Peonies

I have been happily been enjoying many fresh cut peonies in the house.  Unfortunately the peony season is short and sweet.

Last year I tried saving some using a technique I saw on Martha Stewart which failed miserably.  This year I am trying to save a few for the future by cutting the blooms while still closed and storing them in water in the fridge.  We will see how well it works this year.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Clover & Bees

We have alot of clover in our yard and I find it relaxing to watch the bees go from blossom to blossom.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Onions and Leeks

I didn't plan on planting onions this year but as I was picking up my started leeks there were some "Candy" onions and I thought I would give them a try.  I normally start onions from sets but this time I am trying them from started plants.

I know how to prep the leeks for planting so I did the same for the onions.  After teasing the roots apart I trimmed them to about two inches in length.

I couldn't find any specific depth to plant them at on the tag or in any of my books so I planted them 6 inches apart about four to six inches deep.  We will see what happens.  The leeks I planted eight inches deep.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Tomato

I'm surprised and can't believe it but I already have a tomato growing on the Celebrity plant.

Planting the Summer Garden

Last week I was able to spend a day planting most of the Summer garden.

I filled in more parsnip seeds into spots where the others did not germinate.  I planted the snapdragons that were started inside.  Seeds for kale, cosmos, zinnias, and a few more radishes were started.  I found red and green cabbage starts at a local store so I decided to give them a try.

Borage seeds were planted among the tomatoes and I have begun to hill up the soil around the potato plants.

The extra tomato was planted in what will be bush green beans.  I planted one row of provider beans on the left side of the bed.  I will plant two more rows this week and another row next week so that we will get a continual harvest of beans.  I am still waiting for the asparagus in the back of the bed to come in.

Onions and leeks were planted in front of the garlic.  I replanted swiss chard seeds in the spots where it did not come in.  On the left zucchini, summer squash and cucumber seeds were planted.  A small nasturtium was planted in the midst. 

I am going to test types of trellising.  The peas are on bamboo tepees, for the KY Wonder pole beans I set up netting that I nailed to the fence.