Tag Archives: spring

Tomato and Basil Time!

With spring in full force, my thoughts have turned to tomatoes and basil starts as I’ve been trading and selling them.  The Kent Community TimeBank has given me an outlet for them where I don’t need to worry about the exchange of money.  The truth of the matter is plant starts represent mostly time as they have to be treated like infants so the KCTB seems to be appropriate.  The basil has been more popular than I would have ever imagined, so I’ll make an effort next year to produce more.

On 5/12/2013, I attended the Foods Not Lawns Cleveland plant swap.  I traded 4 tomato starts (1 Mega Cherry cutting from my AeroGarden and 3 Sweet 100 Cherry starts).  In return, I received two Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, two Long Purple eggplants, and a whole bunch of comfrey plants.  Comfrey is useful as a nutrient mulch because it accumulates minerals well.  Just chop it down a few times a year and put the leaves in your compost or around your heavy feeders (tomatoes, corn, broccoli, etc).  Who needs to buy chemical fertilizer?  Not this Snarky Gardener.

The AeroGardens have been producing well, giving me Jalapeno peppers, basil, cutting celery, parsley, and tomato cuttings (for starts).  The Mega Cherry tomatoes are just getting ripe, and will be eaten seconds after they are ready.  I will be saving the seeds from the red pepper to see if I can get them to grow.  Practice makes perfect when it comes to seed saving.  I tried to save the seeds from a green one, but they never spouted.  I should have better luck with the riper Jalapeno.

Mega Cherry tomatoes – 5/7/2013
Jalapeno peppers and Thai basil – 5/7/2013

Of course, with all these starts running around, I planted 6 in late April and early May to get some from under my feet (even with a chance of frost still possible).  This chance became reality on 5/13/2013 and 5/14/2013 as temperatures fell into to low 30’s overnight.  Overturned pots became makeshift protectors inside the steel fence tomato cages.  I did lose one Sweet 100 Cherry tomato plant as the pot I covered it with was too thin and holey.   Luckily I have more plants where that came from.

On 5/12/2013, the first of the potato leaves poked their heads out (and were promptly frosted).  I’ve been checking on them from time to time, finding a few that turned rotten.  I’m not sure if this was caused by using the leaf mulch (it’s pretty wet in places) or the potatoes themselves, but I pulled any that didn’t look good.  Fortunately the Snarky Gardener is smart enough to have extra potatoes that he didn’t plant the first time, so those will fill in any open spots.

Potatoes sprouting up from leaf mulch – 5/12/2013
Potatoes coming up by my kale – 5/17/2013

Spring has sprung!

After several days of warmer weather (70’s) and rain in the middle of April, my garden finally started jumping up.  The spinach I had planted in March under 2-liter bottles have spouted.  My Oregon Snow Peas are also popping out of the ground (I thought they were goners with the long cold early spring).  But the real surprise was my overwintered Red Russian kale.  I even took them off my garden plan as they didn’t look good in late February and early March.  With the warm sun and then rain, they have really perked up.

Red Russian kale – 4/13/2013
Spinach sprouts among the leaves – 4/13/2013

It also looks like I’ll be collecting Seven Top turnip seeds as they are sending up flowers.  I let them go last fall thinking I could eat them this spring but forgot all about whole biannual thing.  I had enough greens to eat one meal, but I’ll let the plants use the rest of their strength to make babies.

Seven Top Turnip Greens going to seed – 4/27/2013
Seven Top Turnip Greens going to seed – 4/27/2013
Seven Top Turnip Greens going to seed – 4/27/2013

On 4/27/2013, I planted the first of my many tomato plants (four Sweet 100 Cherry plants) inside the cages in “Tomato Row”.  I’m a little early (or am I?) but the 10-day forecast looked good plus they were getting root bound. I also planted the only mini pepper that grew from the seeds I started (sigh). I have a pepper-producing AeroGarden mini Jalapeno that I may plant outside plus a mystery pepper I received from Amishland Seeds with my Amish Paste tomato seeds.  And I have a plant swap with Food Not Lawns Cleveland in a few weeks, so hopefully my pepper population will be increased over this one lonely plant.

Full garden view taken from the south – 4/27/2013
Caged Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes and Sugar Snap Peas – 5/4/2013
Planted Fenced Backyard Garden Plan- 4/30/2013

In April, I joined the Kent Community TimeBank.  The KCTB is an organization that allows for the trading of services between community members using a simple yet cool website.  So far I’ve given 2 hours of weeding to one member and received strawberry plants (which I planted in the northwest corner on 4/27) and compost from two other members.  The time bank allows me to use my gardening talents in the local community while receiving other valuable services (I’m looking at you, dog groomers, graphic designers, and equipment renters).  The best part is I’m getting in better physical shape without those pesky gym memberships.

Strawberry plants a Kent Community TimeBank member delivered on 4/27/2013

Fenced Back Yard Garden Plan for March 2013

March is finally here and my garden planning is in full swing.  I’ve changed my plan literally dozens of times through February as I keep refining it to perfection.  Of course it will change even more times in March as I actually put plants into the ground.  My starts are doing well and will be ready to transplant in a few weeks.  Not sure which ones are going in right away (under 2-liter bottle cloches most likely), and which ones will get the hardening off treatment.  For now I’m playing it by ear as to who goes out when.  I’ve also decided to go pea crazy as I’ve been reading too much about nitrogen fixing and cover crops lately.  I’ll purchase my peas when I go to get my spring onions and potatoes at the Garden Spot in Ravenna in a week or two.

Fenced Back Yard Garden Plan – 3/1/2013