2017 Harvest

Thursday, May 12, 2016

To transplant or not to transplant that is the question :)

Every end of April starts the well known seedling planting fever.
 As soon as farmers and stores place their first seedling on sale people start showing the well known "intense gardener" disease. They walk around proudly with their seedlings in the bags, they announce everyone that they will soon start planting  and as soon as they finish the whole village needs to know how they planted everything.  

After the intense gardener disease we're faced with "judgemental gardener disease" which can be recognized by two biggest symptoms: First the "Did you plant your seedling?" instead of Hello symptom and the judgemental terror in the eyes of the infected person if the answer to their question is no.

Each year this diseases affect more and more people and lately I witness people that used to plant seedlings the same days as me now giving me the judgemental look when I say I didn't plant my seedlings. The disgusted looks sometimes rock my gardening believes and I start questioning am I doing things wrong or are the intense gardeners so blinded by their disease that they don't see they are doing things wrong.

I've always planted my seedlings the way my grandma used to plant them. She always said that seedlings can be planted only after the pass of Ice Saints.
Ice Saints or Black thorn winter as some countries call them are dates from May 11th until May 15th in which there is still high chance of frost. Frost can hit 2 or 3 days after that date but May 15th day of St. Sophia ("Cold Sophia") is the time of the year when cold air stops getting through and nights start getting warmer with temperatures over 10°C.
Even if there is no frost Ice Saints always bring very rainy and wet weather so in early days it was considered that every frost sensitive vegetable should be planted after this date.

When looking at the period from 2010 to 2015 May had frost days in 2011, 2012 and 2014 while 2015 had rain for almost 2 weeks.
Knowing all this I can't help but to be surprised how people ignore this facts and still plant their seedlings before St. Sophia.

This year we our temperatures are over 10°C in the morning and many gardeners planted their seedlings outside past week.
I was in a huge dilemma. I thought about planting but I had that little bird inside my head pecking on my brain and saying not to plant. So after debating with my family and inspecting my seedlings I decided not to transplant them. I decided I will ways another 10 days until transplanting them outside.

All of my seedlings are still completely healthy, they aren't leggy anymore. They have their dark green colour which means the soil they're in is still feeding them well and I decided not to plant.

chily peppers

They will be waiting in their new home aka my front yard few more days.

Watermelons, Amaranth and Zucchinis are also still waiting, I'm keeping them covered with textile so they aren't exposed to too bright sun or rain,

The only thing that was transplanted was my Ipomea which couldn't wait anymore, It started climbing everywhere and it needed support. But still it got a cover textile to protect it and the bucket is located under the roof so there shouldn't be any problems with it.

Ipomea in the back, gladioli bulbs in the middle and Nicotiana in the front
 Did I make the right decision with leaving my seedlings in their containers?

The weather report for this week is: Rain until Monday with chances of snow in hills, cold Monday and then showers Tuesday and Wednesday.

So I guess this year Ice Saints didn't bring ice but lots of rain. Rain that is also a problem for seedlings and most likely will bring blight and other diseases.

Sometimes waiting really is the best thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Weekly review 02.05 - 11.05.2016

Past week continued with poor April weather. Temperatures that didn't pass 15°C and with lots of rain there was no chance of working in the garden.
Luckily this changed around May 5th and things that were meant to be done in April could be done now.

As much as I wanted to do some garden work there was no way of getting in the garden. The rain from past few days left mud instead of soil so I had to wait another 24h before doing anything.

Work day!!

After getting organized I decided that the first thing done should be placing tomato and net poles. Since my net poles are hard work I decided to place them first. This year I needed 16 poles, 6 for string beans and other 10 for two nets of cucumbers (20m of net). It took me 5 hours just to dig all the holes and place the poles. Net had to wait since we had showers whole Friday afternoon.

Tomato poles

After Friday showers lower part of the garden was too damp to place the net so I used Saturday to place tomato poles. This year I've sown 200 seedlings and needed 100 poles. I left few poles in the yard since I plan to plant some of my tomatoes in big pots and other 96 were placed in the garden.

Time spent to place the poles (including the time needed to carry them to the garden): 5 hours


Finally whole 36h without rain so I could finish my net placing, as soon as I finished with net I started preparing my beds for sowing.

All the rain and cold has speed up the weed growth so now my whole garden is covered in thick carpet of grass. Couch grass is everywhere, even on beds that I have cleaned already so it's making me lose a lot of time pulling it out.  I only managed to sow 1kg of Trešnjevac beans and prepare part of my beds for other sowing.

I have no idea how I'll manage to remove the weeds from my potato bed. They are already huge and because of the cold and moist my potatoes are still small.

At least the ones on the bed are small. The one that is growing on the compost heap is huge. :D

I've noticed that not only weeds thrive in this weather, it seems my lettuce also enjoys this kind of weather...well at least one part of the lettuce.

In early April I've dug a part of my orchard where I planned to make my lettuce/cabbage bed. The constant rain and bad weather stopped me from working on this new bed so I've just transplanted some of my lettuces there. Even without borders and without properly prepared soil lettuce seems to like the new bed. Probably because it is in shade and very wet most of the day.

I've planted some lettuce on the potato bed too, they are also growing good. Well, except for the Oriental lettuce which is already flowering.

I even have some lettuces growing where it was sown last year. Of course I've left it there, if I can tolerate a bunch of weeds one or two lettuces in "wrong" place won't make any damage.


More work to be done. Monday was reserved only for sowing and planting. I decided that my string beans and cabbages/kale/kohlrabi couldn't wait anymore so it was time to transplant them.

Seaweed, Siberian kale

I've also sown beans (Berggold, Purple king, Wonder of Piedmont, Anellino di Treno and Zelenček) and beet (Cylindra and Rubin)


Morning rain - no work today


Today the weather report is "Rain in the noon and all through this week" This meant I had only couple of hours to finish all my planned sowing. I decided that the most urgent things are cucumbers and onions.
I've sown 6 bags of cucumbers ( Aladyn, Potomac, Levina 2x, Jocker and a bag of no name seeds), 0,5kg of red onions and 0,5kg of shallots.

This should be enough onions since I've already sown 1kg before.

I wanted to do some weeding but the weather was starting to get worse with every minute. This meant I couldn't clean my beds and that it was time to call it a day.

This worries me a bit because as you can see from my photos there is still a lot of grass that has to be pulled and I have no idea when the weather will allow me to go back in the garden.

Oh well, if nothing I can always declare my garden "bio weed welcome garden" and say that I don't remove weeds unless they are disturbing my plant growth :D

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stuck inside

With the beginning of May I'm now officially behind with work at least 20 days. My garden is still a mess, cold weather and a whole week of rain/ snow is keeping me indoors so I didn't have the chance to clean my beds or to place my nets and poles.

I should have already sown beans, corn, millet, beetroot, sunflowers and kale. In 10 days I need to transplant my seedlings and sow cucumbers and I don't have anything prepared.

I'm behind on my flowers too, but they are not as big problem as my vegetables.

 Seedlings are already huge and with every day they stay indoors they are getting more and more leggy. I really should transplant them soon or I'll get green poles instead of seedlings.

Situation with flowers is the same. My climbing flowers are ready to start climbing and I have no support for them since they have not been transplanted. Even worse my greenhouse is still positioned in the place where I should plant my flowers so until I move it I can't plant anything.

I need some dry weather and soon or this year I'll be growing tomatoes in my bedroom.