Night and Day

I love all the flowers on my porch this summer. These here are cosmos Rubenza and Bright Lights. I will definitely move to exclusively herbs and flowers next year. Almost there: For vegetables, I currently only have one Thai pepper and some chard and lettuce growing on my back porch. None of them are doing particularly well. Next year, I will do only spring vegetables (radishes and salad greens) and then only herbs and flowers in the summer and fall.

Tomatoes Are in the Ground

I have been traveling for the past two weeks and during my absence my plot turned into a weed fest. This morning, I spent three hours weeding before I planted my tomatoes that had been hardening off on my porch these past two weeks. I put 8 in the ground today (I started out with 9, but one Ananas Noire sadly broke. I will plant a Paul Robson instead), and sprinkled some Tomato-tone around each plant. I also planted marigolds. The tomatoes will be interplanted with basil, and I will also plant some squash, eggplant, and nasturtiums in that area.

Still waiting to be transplanted are the cucumber and squash seedlings, eggplant and basil. My hot peppers never really grew despite having started them back in February. They stayed too small to transplant. So, I ordered a Thai hot pepper plant from Neighborhood Farms. I also ordered a delicata squash seedling, Thai basil and regular basil (I lost some of both while I was gone), Tulsi (sacred basil), another Asian eggplant, rainbow Swiss chard for my porch, and the Paul Robson tomato seedling.

I also harvested radishes, the overwintered leeks, and one (overwintered) head lettuce that was in the way of the tomatoes. The first big harvest of the season.

First Transplants

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and planting. We have water in the garden now and it was time to transplant my four kale seedlings, six head lettuce seedlings, Swiss chard and leeks. I covered the lettuces and kale with row cover hoping it will deter the rabbits or other interested creatures. I also purchased three flat parsley plants, one spilanthes, one Orient Express eggplant, camomile, and a six-pack of marigolds from the Neighborhood Farm stand at the Wake up the Earth festival. I planted the spilanthes and one parsley in the plot and also sowed some cilantro next to the Swiss chard. I ripped out some mint and put it in a pot on my back porch. I planted two parsley plants and the camomile in containers on my porch. The marigold and eggplant will be transplanted into the plot together with the tomatoes and peppers at the end of May when I return from my travels.

Mint, lavender, camomile, parsley

Preview in new tab

First harvest: super spicy radish thinnings. Yum!

Seedlings Inventory and Starting Cucumbers & Squash

Tomatoes and basil

My tomato and basil seedlings have been living on my kitchen table for the past few weeks. I rotate the tray so they grow evenly. The tomatoes are getting a bit leggy, but everything looks good. I have 9 tomatoes, 4 regular basil and 2 Thai basil cells.

Leeks, kale, Swiss chard and lettuce

I have a few of the seedlings outside on the back porch now to harden. I will transplant them into my plot in the next couple of days. We still don’t have water in the community garden, so I want to wait until it is turned on. I have a bunch of leeks and Swiss Chard, 4 kale plants and 8 head lettuces. I will transplant some of the head lettuce into containers on my porch and the rest will go into the community plot.

Freshly sown curcubites, hot peppers, eggplant and tomato under the grow lights

Today, I started my cucumbers and squash. Each in triplet, I planted two pots Tokiwa, three plots pickling cucumber and two pots Mexican sour gherkins (cucamelons). I also planted one pot of Delicata squash (I sadly only had three seeds left), two each Butternut and Honeynut, and one zucchini.

Basil close-up

Seedlings Update

Today I re-potted my tomato plants (9 out of 12, two did not come up and one needs a bit more care under the grow lights), my six basil cells and my two Thai basil cells and four kale plants. The tomatoes are looking really strong and big – I might have started them a bit too early. Until I can set them out to harden, they will live inside on my kitchen table.

I just got a new LED grow light as my old fluorescent one died after exactly ten years. Under it, I have my 8 lettuce seedlings, 3 eggplants , 2 Thai peppers and a tomato. Plus the leeks and Swiss chard until I sort those out.

Porch Radishes and Lettuce Starts

Today, I did my first outdoor sowing of the year. I sowed radishes in a big container on my porch. I also started lettuce indoors, four each of Black Seeded Simpson, May Queen and Merlot. All head lettuces. I was going to sow peas and spinach in the plot today, but I will wait until a bit later in the week as there is rain in the forecast in a few days. I also bought organic fertilizer, as I have to amend the soil in my plot, which I will do before my first sowing.

Sowing Tomatoes

Today, I started my tomato seedlings. Somewhat earlier than in previous years as I typically starte them around March 20. I started two each of the following six varieties: Ailsa Craig (early), Black Prince (mid), Striped German (mid), Green Zebra (mid/late), Dr. Wyche Yellow (mid/late), Ananas Noire (late). Some of the seeds are quite old, so fingers crossed they will sprout. The Ailsa Craig seeds were a gift from Sand Hill Preservation Center. I read that they are an English Heirloom variety, which originates from the Scottish island with the same name. I am excited. I also started eggplant seeds I got as a gift in my seed order. Udmalbet is an early variety from India. And I started Swiss Chard.

More Sowing

Today I sowed kale, Nufar basil (a Fusarium resistant sweet basil variety) and Thai basil. Like the peppers and eggplants, I started them in egg cartons to save space for now. I will transplant them into bigger cells once they have sprouted. I do not expect all eggplant and pepper seeds to sprout because some of the seeds are quite old. Sowing them in smaller egg carton cells allows me to select only the viable seedlings for transplanting.

Eggplant and pepper seedlings on the top, newly seeded kale and basil on the bottom.