Monday, May 25, 2009

Aphids & radishes

The aphids have arrived. Found a few clusters under my swiss chard leaves. I sprayed them off with water and will watch them closely.

With the help of my 5-year-old, I harvested my square of radishes. Thirteen of them -- about 6 ounces. Cut a few up and threw them in a salad for lunch.

The broccoli has begun to form heads.

The General Lee cucumber transplants have shriveled up and died. I direct sowed a couple replacements in this square.

The National Pickling cucumbers seem to be doing better.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Not much new happening with the garden. I put the peppers in today (after I took the photos), so now the garden is fully planted, save of 1 square I haven't decided what to do with. I did discover a problem with my layout -- I have my cucumber transplants sitting in the row behind my broccoli plants. They're getting shaded pretty bad. I just hope they get real tall real fast to get out of the shadow. I'll know better for next year. I think I'll probably direct sow them too, rather than transplant since they don't seem all that healthy.

Box 4, prior to planting the bell peppers. You'll notice you can't see the cucumbers, as they're behind the right two broccoli plants. The radishes in the front row are almost ready -- I can see the top of the root poking out.

Seems like the leafminers are leaving my spinach alone for now.

Lots of green here.

Lots of lettuce here. We're having salads on a regular basis now.

The SWC tomatoes seem to be doing well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


We had a light frost last night, and of course I took zero preventative measures. In a moment of cockeyed optimism, I believed the most favorable forecast of an overnight low of 41. Oh well, live and learn. By the time I got outside around 6:20, the only thing that was crispy with frost was the lettuce. Everything else was just wet. I'll keep an eye on everything for a few days and see if I sustained any real damage.

I also have my peppers out hardening. I'm hoping to get them out in the garden early next week. They are beginning to outgrow their plastic cups.

Harvested another few ounces of lettuce and spinach for salads tonight. Delicious!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

First harvest

Had the first harvest from the garden this weekend. Took 1/2 ounce of lettuce to put on my sandwich yesterday, and plucked 2 ounces of spinach to use for dinner tonight. Looks pretty nice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lots of planting!

Did a lot of planting the last few days. Transplanted all my tomatoes (17 total - 7 varieties), basil and the last of the lettuce. Also sowed cilantro, green onions and more carrots. Both the bush beans and pole beans have germinated and are growing fast.

Here's a tour of the boxes...

I'll start harvesting some spinach in the next couple days.

Some leaf lettuce is just about ready for some harvesting as well.

I finished my Self-Watering Containers and planted Roma tomatoes in one and Rutgers tomatoes in the other. The jury is still out for me about these things. They are expensive to make, what with using 2 totes and and 2 cu ft of Miracle Grow Potting Mix, which isn't cheap. In the end, for the cost of making these two, I could have built another 4x4 raised bed filled with Mel's Mix and had more planting area. I'll see how it goes with them this season. It did allow me to plant 4 more tomato plants than I would have otherwise.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beautiful weather

A beautiful spring day here in NJ. I took advantage of it by mowing the lawn and building a backyard picnic table that we've wanted since we moved here. That didn't leave much time for gardening, but I did transplant the last of my lettuce seedlings and watered everything.

My tomato seedlings, hardening off on the porch. These will go into the garden on Thursday or Friday.

The four tomato plants I bought at Walmart. Two are Celebrity Hybrids, one cherry tomato, and one Beefsteak Heirloom.

Peas and broccoli, getting big.

Two squares of spinach. The leafminers haven't gotten to everything (yet!).

The lettuce patch, looking really good.

Friday, May 8, 2009


It finally stopped raining, but now I'm getting hit with some garden pests. My spinach is being hammered by leaf miners. I know the common recommendation is to pull the affected leaves, but my plants are still pretty small. If I pulled the bad leaves, I'd be pulled 50% or more of each plants total. In desperation I hit them with some permethrin -- definitely not the safest insecticide out there, but it was way cheaper than Neem. Besides, I'm still a little ways off from harvesting any spinach. If I can find some cheaper Neem, maybe I'll try it.

Also got a bit trigger happy and killed what I now believe to be a Sac Spider -- a highly beneficial garden predator that eats problem bugs. Oh well. At least I'll know for next time.

I planted my Kentucky Wonder pole beans and my Burpee Stringless bush beans yesterday and transplanted out some more lettuce.

Finally, I realized I started four Rutgers Tomatoes, thinking they were indeterminate, when in fact they are determinate. So now I have no room for them, and will have to buy a few tomato plants at the store to replace them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Still raining

Well, it's continued to rain -- haven't seen a glimpse of the sun since Saturday. So not much to report. It stopped long enough for me to go out and take a few pictures to show how things are growing.

Here are the peas and broccoli. The broc is really starting to take off now.

Here are some radishes starting to get going.

Some spinach, well along, and a second square just started. The parsley is getting nice and bushy.

And finally, the lettuce.

I'm also hardening off some lettuce seedlings for transplanting on Friday.

I'm also beginning to plan a project for the fall that will improve our backyard in general as well as improving and expanding the garden. It involves replacing our old metal shed with a slightly larger wooden one in a slightly different area of the yard (where 2 of my current 4x4 boxes are). This will open up about a 15 x 22 area of lawn that I can fence in and build more boxes. We've learned from neighbors that our entire backyard was a huge garden for 50 years or so, so I have a hunch the soil is pretty good. Building on top of this will allow me to use bottomless boxes to take advantage of this soil (the current boxes are lined with weed fabric and sitting on a patch of gravel).

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Nothing much to report this weekend. It's been raining pretty steady and when we did get a few hours of sun, I had to mow the lawn and started clearing some of the overgrowth from the rest of our property that lies across the brook. Looks like the town may actually be close to fixing the brook -- hauling away all the old cement and rubble and stabilizing the banks to stop the erosion. So I figure it might be a good time to get things cleared over there in preparation for possibly having our access restored. Plenty of room over there for a 3-bin composter, a few more raised beds and maybe some other things.

Speaking of the brook, I decided to name our garden "Gastonbrook Farm" since the brook that runs through the back of our property is called Gaston Brook (I just found out it's official name while talking to the borough engineer at the council meeting.)