Still planting things outside...

Thanks to rain, more rain, flooding, wind, wind and more wind, and sudden temperature drops over 2-3 nights last week, I seem to be spending all my time dealing with emergencies rather than what I had planned to do for that day. When it dumped 2 inches of rain on us the other day, the central part of one field turned into a lake! I spent my time carving ditches along the walk aisles and then another right down the middle of the field (following the contours of the land) to try and drain it away. This sort of worked, but it turned into quite a mud bath! A number of times I found my boots completely stuck as I tried to take the next step. I don't know how I managed to avoid falling flat on my face! At least the red winged black birds are happy. They took many baths in the little pools of standing water. The twins were happy too. They discovered it was great fun to run back and forth along the muddy ditches and play in it until they were thoroughly muddy from head to toe. Glad someone's happy about it!

Getting the plastic mulch down took for-EVER!! I did it because last year I was drowned in weeds. But it took so long this year, I'm not sure it was such a great idea. Then with the wind, it seemed like they would all be yanked up and flung across the field! After all that work! In fact, 2 or 3 did nearly escape. Norman managed to catch a few before they took off, and I managed to catch one. It was still attached on one side, and I was holding on to it for dear life while the wind was billowing it out in the middle, like a sail. Must have been hilarious to see, but it wasn't too much fun at the time. I couldn't let go and go call Norman for help because it might unravel all the way down the bed! Amazingly, I managed to fight the thing back down again, and dig dirt over the edges to keep it down!

With the plastic down, I could finally start planting vegetables in the big garden. Of course, the minute I started planting out the tomatoes, the wind decided to pick up to about 20-30 miles an hour for 5 days. For the first few of those, the temperature dropped to the 40s at night and the poor tomatoes were all stretched out in a South/easterly direction (north/west wind) with cold-damage on the tips of their leaves! I had to wait to plant out the remaining tomatoes. But finally, they are all out and staked, along with the peppers at last! Yay!

 Looks like the wind is doing it's best to pick up the plastic mulch 2nd from front!

Looks like the wind is doing it's best to pick up the plastic mulch 2nd from front!

 Some tomatoes staked, yay!

Some tomatoes staked, yay!

 Very very windy!

Very very windy!

 Lettuce seedlings, all wind blown to one side.

Lettuce seedlings, all wind blown to one side.

Time to plant things outside!

I'm backlogged with planting seedlings outside, thanks to the bee emergencies last week (see Jennifer's Bee Blog) and all the rain we are getting now! Everything is growing nicely down in the basement under grow lights, but I'm beginning to run out of room!

 Beets

Beets

 Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce

 Tomatoes

Tomatoes

 Peppers

Peppers

 Cucumbers (front), beans (behind).

Cucumbers (front), beans (behind).

April

Seedlings up: lettuce, basil, peppers, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard, beets; and one lonely tomato seedling popped up last night, ahead of its mates. Plus, one seedling popped up in the tray of parsley seeds to my surprise. The packets and books all insisted that parsley takes 3 weeks or a month to germinate, and I planted those last Saturday! Four days?? Wonder if it is a seed of something else that got in there by accident.

Everybody is down in our basement, on heat mats and under grow lights, safe from the crazy winter weather we are having right now!

 Kale on left, Swiss chard and beets in middle and right (they look identical at this stage)

Kale on left, Swiss chard and beets in middle and right (they look identical at this stage)

 This is what lettuce looks like at one week.

This is what lettuce looks like at one week.

 One lone parsley seedling? If yes, it is 3 weeks earlier than expected!

One lone parsley seedling? If yes, it is 3 weeks earlier than expected!

Compost was delivered yesterday in a huge truck. The problem - how to empty the load of compost off to the side of the driveway without driving off the side and getting stuck in the mud. The driver got stuck and had to wait almost 2 hours for another truck to arrive from his company and haul him out! This was good, as I was anticipating having to have him there for a couple of months until the ground dried up, bringing him meals every now and then...

 Truck on left with our compost being pulled out with a chain attached to truck on the driveway

Truck on left with our compost being pulled out with a chain attached to truck on the driveway

 Phew! Got our compost at last!

Phew! Got our compost at last!

 Look at the mess on the left! Some of the ruts were about a foot deep!

Look at the mess on the left! Some of the ruts were about a foot deep!

1st week of July

At the end of May/beginning of June we built 18 frames measuring 4'x24' each, and laid them all out in the recently rototilled garden we're calling Garden 1. These then had to be filled with top soil and compost. Everything always takes longer than I think it will, so my poor seedlings that I had planted in flats and raised in our basement with growlights since April were desperate to be planted out. By the middle of June, I finally had them all planted, but it took to this week to get the tomatoes staked up, cucumbers trellised, and insect netting over the broccoli and cabbage beds. Norman just finished laying down the irrigation tape today. So we got a bit behind schedule.

However, partly because of the rain we've been having and partly because their roots are settling in, everything is really starting to take off this week! The cabbages and broccoli are huge, and the tomatoes are flowering and already producing fruit, which is amazing considering what they looked like 2 weeks ago. The potatoes also seem to be growing an inch a day!

 Broccoli and lettuce in foreground, tomatoes in rear

Broccoli and lettuce in foreground, tomatoes in rear

 Broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage

Broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage