Friday, 28 February 2014

Tomato's and Brassica's are in (9 weeks to go)

I woke up this morning to severe weather alert of wind-chills at around -35 Celsius. So like any good gardener, I decided to plant. 9 weeks till my last frost is tomorrow and I was planning on waiting till 8 weeks to do my tomatoes, but this cold winter can't hang around and I needed the therapy.

Problem is If I give each plant 2 feet on the trellis, I should only plant 5 plants. Squeezing them to 1.5 feet each gets me 7 else I have no place for cucumbers and other climbing. Does anyone else see the issue I face? I think I need a new trellis.

Planted 4 seeds each

  1. Isis Candy
  2. Black Cherry (my personal favourite)
  3. Belgium Giant
  4. Green Zebra
  5. Black Krim (not a huge success in last years poor weather)
  6. Purple Cherokee (not a huge success in last years poor weather)
  7. Red cherry
  8. Sungold
  9. Italian Heirloom
  10. Kumato
  11. Roma (determinate)
I also planted 
  1. Copenhagen Cabbage
  2. Filderkraut Cabbage (excited about this one)
  3. Blue Hybrid Chinese Cabbage
  4. Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  5. Romanesco Broccoli (no luck last year, but I love the look of these) 
  6. Covolo Broccolo Spigariello
  7. Brussels Sprouts (last year I started these too late and only got a few)
  8. Tuscan or Dino Kale
  9. Red Russian Kale
  10. Blue Curly Kale
  11. Noble Giant Spinach
  12. Okra ("They" say plant in place, but last year I only got 2 or 3 fruits before frost. so lets call it an experiment)
I still have some chard and a few other seeds that I could try push the time envelope with, but I will do another tray in a couple weeks as back-up as these may be a bit early. Perhaps if I keep planting, spring will get the message.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Season Started

Well I was expecting to be mothering my duck eggs, but have had a few challenges. Firstly my temperature controller I bought on ebay, did not arrive. After a week of haggling with s-chupost, asking him to resend, I thought a new one was well on the way and did not buy another. Today I got an email asking if he could refund me rather, leaving me to scrabble now for a local solution. Secondly the cold weather, has kept the ducks from laying, or at least, provided any confidence that the eggs had not frozen.  The weather forecast currently says at least 4 days above freezing later this week, so lets hold thumbs! 

I was supposed to wait till next weekend, but since I am not sitting eggs, and seeing some of the other bloggers I follow started, I decided to start a week early. It's 11 weeks till my last frost, which tends to be a little earlier than the official given the proximity to the lake and the city (It's 12 weeks till the official last frost). I pulled out all my seeds and started to plant, only to find that I had far more seeds (as usual) than I thought. With that goes, my ever ongoing problem of far too little space (indoors or out).

Additions this year I found a seedling heat mat for $19 at the tractor store and I trying new cell packs I got at William Dam seeds. I bought 6 cell and 4 cell a square size packs to go with my far smaller cells trays I used last year. I drove over and visited the store in person (about 1hour drive) and a very helpful young lady advised me this year on which vegetables she liked (daughter) and I look forward to trying some of these seeds out. I also found another double 4 foot florescent light on clearance at home depot, and wish now I just bought 2 so that they were the same size and weight (I am sure I could found another place for the existing light). Perhaps I go check this afternoon... This gives me about 4x2 feet of indoor light and I hope that 4 trays. This is all on a table in the laundry.

So notice the stainless baking dish? I found that the heat mat was not really helping much on a steel table. So I put 1 inch foam insulation on the table, then the heat mat and then the stainless tray. Only the stainless try is currently heated. The white plastic tray had gaps for water and the heat was not really making it into the soil. 

So what did I plant? 6 cells of everything, those that are potted up, I will keep 2 odd of the best as that's about all the space I will have.

Hot Peppers

  1. Aji Limon (lemon drop) which I am very excited about 
  2. Peri Peri - (African Birds eye) 3rd year I am trying to grow these. I have still not found seeds and trying this year from a new source of dried whole peppers
  3. Chili d'Arbol  - South American bird chili relative
  4. JalapeƱo - Last year these were early and great fresh with BBQ
  5. Ancho Rojo - last year not the most successful, but I cooking with store bought all winter
  6. Hungarian hot wax - early

Sweet Peppers

  1. Pepper Friariello di Napoli - From Weston Seeds  (love them for Italian herilooms) Last year I got a bounty really late in the season.
  2. Corno di Toro Giallo - Also from Western Seeds. Last year like Jimmy Nardello these did not hold up to bugs
  3. Chocolate pepper - Just for colour
  4. Lipstick Pepper - One I read much about
  5. Jimmy Nardello - This is one of my favourite, but last year the thin walls did not hold up well to my insect problems.
  6. Alma Paprika - My last year staple, small thick walled and very tasty fresh or cooked
  7. Antonhi Romania - Love these, with their strong taste and smell and be the 3rd year I am growing them.


  1. Celery stalk/leaf
  2. Red Okra - (I know, these generally dont like to transplanted, but last year direct planting provided a few orkra just before first frost.
  3. Black Beauty Eggplant - New edition
  4. Ping Tung Eggplant - Got an abundance of these last year.
  5. Purple of Romagna Artichoke - Call it an experiment.
Now, am I the only one that find his gets really hungry and salivary glands kick in while I plant? Mouth a'watering and stomach rumbling in eager anticipation for the season? 

Well The season has started, and in a week or 2 we add tomatoes and early cold weather greens!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

1 Feb 2014 Garden

Garden is still at rest for some time. It is one of the coldest winters in years. My Tuscan kale, leeks and parsnips I never harvested still buried in the frozen ground.

Today I planted 3 seeds of a few of peppers I bought this year. I sourced them from people I had not before, and so want to just make sure I can get a few to sprout. That does not prove they will breed true, but will offer me some comfort. I also put my first leeks into a single pot, which after sprouting I can divide out. I am expecting more leek and onion seeds and will plant those out in a week or 2. I am close now to duck egg search, but yet to complete my incubator. I better leave this machine and planning and to the doing.