May 22, 2011

Garden Fridays: May 20-22

Back in late March I started seedlings indoors hoping that at least half of them would survive. They grew so well that I had to split them into multiple new pots, and now have many more plants than pots. I’m almost done finding space for all of them, but here’s how things grew:

Seedling starts:
Red patio bell peppers: 3 pots
Slim jim eggplants: 4 pots
Ida gold tomatoes:  3 pots
Siberian tomatoes:  3 pots
Genovese basil: 1 half of small window box
Coriander: 1 half of small window box

What I ended up with:
(most original pots had 2 seeds per pot)
Red patio bell peppers: 3 plants
Slim jim eggplants: 3 plants
Ida gold tomatoes: 5 plants
Siberian tomatoes: 6 plants
Genovese basil: hardy plant on windowsill
Coriander/cilantro: seeded and bolted.
Cucumbers: 6 pots, 6 plants (after splitting seedlings)

After an unseasonably warm spring (no complaints here) I decided to harden off the seedlings a week or two ahead of schedule which means they ended up getting planted 2 weeks ahead of schedule (original garden set out date was first week of June). I’m looking forward to many good garden eats this summer, but need to figure out a sustainable way to get rid of bugs. They are eating everything! Damn slugs! I’m opposed to pesticides for a number of reasons - but I can truly grasp the damage bugs and pests can do. I’m trying to do some companion planting and am rethinking red chili spray. Let me know if you have any good suggestions. Lady bugs? Spiders?

The spring garden goods are giving up quickly. The lettuce is exhausted, the radishes gave up (or were eaten) the spring onions have all disappeared; the cauliflower was eaten by something which eventually killed it, but the the broccoli and red cabbage are hanging on for dear life (I found some pests, and have posted below).

Have I really been at this since January? Oh and quickly, if you’re a transplanted gardener and you move abroad, or really anywhere, don’t give up - you’ll find your way. I have managed to buy bags and bags of soil (and do not own a car), salvage pots at flea markets and convince Karl to bike them home, and found an online garden center which specializes in plants and seeds for the season/latitude/climate. The one thing I couldn’t find and eventually gave into buying was plant fertilizer. I wasn't sure if compost would be good enough (it’s manure I bought) and bought some liquid plant food. Don’t worry, I won’t give in and buy pesticides - but I’m close.

Here’s the ongoing photo-doc, enjoy:
Spring goods looking stressed out:
spring pots
Broccoli with lettuce

Some looking a bit better:

Pests in action:
Plant pests
plant pests

Cauliflower fail:

Seedlings getting hardened off:
Hardening off
I should mention that these guys doubled in size over 10 days once they were set out.

The four pots below are pear melons (Solanum muricatum) from the annual Bloemenmarkt in Leuven, compact/container tomatoes, and the strawberry pot (that came from last year’s Bloemenmarkt - an annual flower and plant market held in the Ladeuzeplein the last weekend of April or first weekend of May) that has shared it’s home with swiss chard, a red cabbage plant, leftover lettuce seeds, and now, a cucumber:
Container Garden

I eventually gave up the idea of individually staking everything and made this very make-shift trellis out of a leftover clothes rack:

The best part is the opposite ends can be also be trellised; now I can plant some beans once I salvage more pots:
Container Garden

Because I’m crazy and I still have multiple seed packets and have realized my big huge sunless windows still manage to grow things that are placed upon them (even when Mr. Duds steps in the plants, or eats them), I started dill and marjoram. I was inspired by SIP containers of the Green Roof Growers blog:
Dill and marjoram

No windows in this apartment get left out. Tomatoes, mint, basil, cilantro, patio red peppers (that I stuffed in a window box!), and thyme. (Franks - stop laughing at my bad use of punctuation):
Windowsill mini garden

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