2017 Harvest

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer is here, peas are gone

 After an average May, June came with style. Most of the month temperatures have been over 30°C, with almost no wind and absolutely no rain. It has been almost 30 days since the last decent rain. The soil is completely dry and my garden is full of cracks.

Summer temperatures are excellent for some vegetables, but others have much shorter harvest time because of them. The most affected are peas that can stop growing and start drying in a matter of days.
Two weeks ago peas were completely green, with big almost full pods and still blooming.

A couple of days later and pea plants started to dry. Once they start drying the best thing to do is to harvest everything. They will not grow anymore, pods will not fill up. They will eventually dry like the plant and the peas inside will turn hard. This is great when you use dry peas for cooking, but if you want them fresh this can be a problem.

This year I had two harvests with a total of 4kilos(8.8lbs) of clean and blanched peas. This means there were around 9 kilos(19.8lbs) of fresh unpeeled ones which is a good result considering I've planted 900gr(1.9lbs) of peas and the fact that many pods did not ripe due to the extreme warmth.

The remaining good pea plants have been used for bunny food and the rest I'll dry completely and use as mulch for my other plants.

Now I'll have to prepare this beds for bean sowing, but there is no point in doing it until the first rain falls. Let's hope it will come soon.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Garden in May

After a very cold April with below average morning temperatures, May has been a very mild month. With the average amount of rain, morning temperatures slightly over 10°C and average daily temperatures there haven't been many problems in the garden.
Everything has been sown, planted and transplanted and all that is left now is to try and get rid of the weeds that are everywhere.

Today I've cleaned my bean beads and covered them with deer protection. Although I've placed a protective branch fence on top of my existing fence to make it look taller I've also placed protective net, just to be on the safe side.

The string beans are on the other side of the garden so I'm hoping they will not get eaten so I'm not placing any protection on it.

Potatoes were cleaned and covered last week and growing nicely.

Peas have started blooming. Villo will come a bit later and American wonder should be ready in a couple of weeks.

The first zucchinis are blooming while the rest of them that were sown directly into the garden are forming their first real leaves.

The only part that will not be cleaned is my small lettuce/onion bed. On this bed I had my potatoes and beans and a big bunch of wild mint started growing during the year. Now I've noticed that the mint is starting to grow again so I will leave it.


 Fruits are starting to bring us first few fruits. Red currants are almost ready for the first harvest and today I've picked first few strawberries.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When to transplant

Growing frost-sensitive vegetables can be very tricky when living in areas that have long frost seasons. Not only do we need to be careful to keep our seedlings from getting frost bites but we also have to be careful not to sow them too early and to keep them from stopping their growth.

Although most people think that the most sensitive seedlings are tomatoes and peppers, there are more seedlings that are extra delicate and should be planted with care.
Cucumbers and watermelons(zucchinis) are ones of the most delicate vegetables sown throughout the world. Their forst temperatures are around zero, with some varieties that bet damaged even at 2°C.
Also, the big issue is their very high minimum growth temperature. At least 14°C for growth can me very hard to achieve.

Peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes are also very frost sensitive, freezing just below zero but their minimum growth temperatures are a bit lower than the ones for cucumbers so they can be transplanted sooner.

The least sensitive are brassicas and carrots that can stay outside even in very low temperatures, some can even survive winter temperatures. Naturally, they will stop growing but they will not freeze.
Another good thing with brassicas is that they don't get too damaged with freezing. They can still be used normally even after getting being exposed to too low temperatures. As long as they are not kept indoors in between.

According to this data, I've done my seedling transplanting this week.
I still have 50 more tomato seedlings to transplant but they will wait another 2 weeks to get a bit stronger.

Other than these seedlings I've planted and sown everything that had to be planted at this time of the year. Now all that is left for us is to wait and watch how our garden gets greener every day...hopefully not from all the grass and weeds that keep attacking us past few years.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Frost in May

The usual weather in the beginning of May can be very moody here. From huge amounts of rain to very warm or extremely cold weather. These past few days we had it all.

After a very dry April, May came with lots of rain, we've had a total of two days without rain past week, which is not enough for the land to dry so we could do our work. I've only managed to place a part of the poles, while the ones for my nets are still on the ground waiting to be placed.

The other problem with the beginning of May are is very low morning temperatures. Although right now they are around 8°C, which is not too cold the weather reports say we should get another frosty morning around Wednesday.

This frosty morning could be very deadly to some of my plants because we already got one a week ago and some of my plants have been damaged.
Potatoes got some frost bites, as well as Zinnias and a part of my tomatoes.

The worst thing is that I kept my tomatoes indoors almost every night, but the weather report was wrong, predicting much higher temperatures so I left them outside covered only with agrotextile.
That one night they were out all of the tomatoes that were closer to the fresh air got burned.

The situation with seedlings isn't great but they are still alive and in pots. The worst situation is with sunflowers, cyclanthera and zucchinnis. I should have transplanted them already but morning temperatures are keeping me from doing it. They all freeze on temperatures slightly over zero and with the chance of morning frost transplanting is a huge risk.

So what do we do? The same old story we've been doing whole spring. Covering all the seedlings every night, bringing the delicate ones indoors and if the morning has the frost damage than all of my tomatoes spend the night in the bathtub.
At least they haven't started producing tomatoes yet.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The same old story every year

 Past few years spring has been a mix of very moody weather starting unusually warm and by the middle, bringing a few very cold mornings. The worst possible combination for plants and trees.
Seedlings start growing too fast and then are stopped abruptly or even killed by below 0°C temperatures.
By the looks of it, this April won't be any different. First 2 weeks we had very warm weather and then on the Easter day weather started changing. Now the new forecast is saying we'll have next few days with very low daily temperatures and below or around zero morning temperatures.

This, of course, means a lot of trouble with frost sensitive plants, especially with seedlings. Many of them stop growing at temperatures below 5°C and freeze on 0°C.
This means that I had to rearrange my seedlings one more time.
Greenhouse is filled with frost senistive flowers and some of the tomatoes and the rest of less sensitive flowers will just be covered with agrotextile.

I still have some tomatoes that were sown late and are small. They have been moved to the house again.

Other tomatoes have overgrowen my greenhouse and are now beeing moved on daily bases in and out of the basement.

Most peppers haven't moved from the windows yet and will be staying here until this frost days pass.

The only seedlings that are strong enough and frost tolerate to be outside are cabbages. They should be transplanted outside but they will have to wait for a few sunny days first.

Now all that is left is to hope this will be the last frost date wel'l have this year.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Growing strawberries where they want to grow

A few years back I've had a big garden bed full of strawberries. They were the type of berries that gave fruits throughout the summer and we've had plenty of them the whole year.
then something happened and they started disappearing. Feeding them with fresh soil and manure didn't help, using different methods of weed protection didn't help either and after a while, we were left with no fruits.
Then my mom bought other strawberries but they were not the same variety and this new one gave fruit only once a year.
Also, the new strawberries didn't like our garden so they also started disappearing so we did the only sane thing to do. Took them out and planted them in pots.

For the past 5 years I've had strawberries only in the pots, but past year something changed,
First I've noticed that on my old strawberry bed there were lots of new, young strawberry plants. I thought it would be a good thing not to touch them and see if they will produce any fruits.

Then I thought why not try transplanting my potted strawberries to the garden too. So I made a little experiment. I planted 2 strawberry bushes on one part of the garden. I didn't even make a bed for them. I just removed the grass and planted then in a first shaded place I could find.

When the flowering time came I was really surprised, both self-grown strawberries and my planted ones had plenty of flowers and soon after that, they were filled with fruits. They gave fruits only once but they were still delicious and very very large fruits.

So this year I decided to transplant the rest of my potted strawberries to the same spot where I've planted my strawberries last year.
They grew over the last year so now I got plenty of new strawberries.

I did the exact same thing like I did the last time. I didn't bother with bed preparation and weed removing. I just prepared a hole, placed some manure and planted my strawberries.
It seems that the less I mess with them the better they grow.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Moody March

March is usually one of the moodiest months in a year. It's weather can variate from extremely cold and snowy to warm and rainy. Usually, we are used to this changes, but after this March I can safely say that this has been one of the weirdest months in a long time.
After a very long period of very low temperatures with the beginning of March summer came storming. In just a couple of days from below zero temperatures we jumped to very warm 20°C (68F) and the temperatures stayed the same almost whole month. The coldest morning was in the beginning of March with -2°C(28.4F) and the rest of the mornings were over the zero and freezing point.
The warmest days brought us temperatures around 25°C(77F) which is very unusual for our country in March. In many places, century temperature records were broken many times over the month.
Besides being the warmest March it was also a very dry one. There was almost no rain in March. We got two days with 2mm of rain in the beginning of March and later not a single drop.

Did this kind of weather affect my garden? Yes, it certainly did.
Although this warm weather brought good sowing conditions the lack of rain is delaying the germination of plants. It has now been three weeks since I've sown my carrots, peas and onions and still no plants. Today I've noticed that the peas are finally showing.

Warm weather is doing wonders for all the trees and flowers. Still, even here the extreme heat is visible. Everything is blooming at the same time. The Bleeding heart which usually blooms here around the end of April is already in full bloom together with all the trees and summer flowers.

The unusually warm weather is giving me troubles with my seedling too. It's been too warm lately so we stopped heating the house.
The moment we stopped heating my seedling started getting leggy so even though is too early I've moved them into my outside greenhouses. If the temperatures drop I will bring them back inside but for now, tomatoes are staying outside.

Flowers had to give the greenhouse room to tomatoes

Peppers are also not too pleased with this weather. Temperatures are prolonging the germination time since I don't have the temperature over 25°C indoors. I've moved them to the window which is in full sun during the day hoping this will help them grow.

Now my main concern is that the weather will change drastically during the April and that we'll get frost temperatures again. Let's hope the moody March weather will continue during the April but with more rain.