Category: backyard farm

May 13, 2018 Disaster! A runaway tomato cage …

May 13, 2018

Disaster! A runaway tomato cage decapitated one of my tomato seedlings today as I was preparing to plant mine in it’s final home.

The victim wasn’t the seedling I had planned to keep for myself, but ‘you break it, you buy it’. So, now we have a two-part science experiment.

Hypothesis A: the root ball and remaining stem will send out new shoot(s) and continue to grow

Hypothesis B: the rootless stem will produce a new root system and continue to grow

It’s maybe not as hopeless as it seems; tomatoes can grow roots nearly anywhere along the stem and particularly from leaf nodes. This is why you should bury tomato seedlings up to the top few sets of leaves when you plant them. The deciding factor will be if the planted stem can hang on long enough to grow new roots.

I might be buying a seedling for myself next weekend!

April 17 Just a quick update on my tomato see…

April 17

Just a quick update on my tomato seedlings – they’re coming along nicely, most with two sets of true leaves after just over 2 weeks. Three of the original set didn’t sprout so I replanted those – that’s why a couple seedlings are behind the others.

The sprouts are maybe getting a little leggy; the setup I have doesn’t let me put the light as close to the pots as I’d like. I’m not too concerned about it, though. When I plant my tomatoes I always bury them up to the top few sets of leaves anyway, because tomatoes will grow roots from the buried stem and leaf nodes. This actually improves the root structure of the plant!

April 5, 2018 First batch sprouting, second b…

April 5, 2018

First batch sprouting, second batch sown.

March 26, 2018 Started up my veggie garden ye…

March 26, 2018

Started up my veggie garden yesterday with two new self-watering planters from a local startup called Patch Planters.

Last fall I decided I wanted to downsize from my large storage tub planter (not coincidentally while I was mucking out roughly 40L of soil from said planter).

I saw these little guys at the BC Home & Garden show a few weeks back and was intrigued. The planters are small (shoebox sized), lightweight, and collapsible. Each holds about 4-5” of soil and roughly 3L of water. They’re made mostly of materials I’d describe as “sort of like tarp” and “some kind of coated paper? fabric??” so I’m a little skeptical of how well they’ll hold up after a full season outdoors, but I’m excited to find out!

Right now I’ve got a third of each planter sown with an Easter Egg radish and a mesclun. Over the next two weeks I’ll fill in the remaining two-thirds and see if I can’t get a succession crop going.

Ah my small green babies, how you have grown! Tomato cages are…

Ah my small green babies, how you have grown!

Tomato cages are great for tomatoes and all, but I find them really helpful for squashes too! I don’t have the horizontal room for sprawling stems, so the cage helps funnel that growth upwards instead.

Tomato & zucchini update!

Tomato & zucchini update!

Bucket trio! Red Robin cherry tomato, selected because I…

Bucket trio!

Red Robin cherry tomato, selected because I thought a compact determinate variety would be a nice change of pace from the ~5’ tall Sungolds of the last two years.

Purple Beauty sweet pepper, which I picked because honestly, how do you pass up a purple pepper? It’s like something out of a nursery rhyme.

Ronde de Nice zucchini, an heirloom variety whose fruits are the approximate size and shape of pool balls. Again, I picked this one because it seemed weird.

All three of these plants need lots of water, so I put them in self-watering planters made of nested 5 gal. buckets. I’ve had lots of success with this style of container!

May 26, 2017 Top-down, left to right: 1. Peas! They’re…

May 26, 2017

Top-down, left to right:

1. Peas! They’re about eye-level now (cheating because the soil’s about knee height)((also I’m 5’2″)) and should be developing flowers soon!

2. I planted these a couple weeks ago, golden beets along the edges (husbo loves beets, apparently) and rainbow carrots down the centre. The germination rate is good, helped by a burst of warm weather. Beets come up thickly because the seeds are actually clusters, and carrot seeds are too tiny to space out evenly. I’ll have to thin these out in a week or so.

3. Herbs! I still haven’t planted a basil like I intended, and now I think I may just abstain and let the thyme and sage have the extra space.

4. Nasturtiums (left) and poppies (right) are starting to show tiny buds tucked among the masses of leaves

5 & 6. Strawberry and blackberry flowers, respectively. I can’t wait for delicious berries!

May 4, 2017 We had quite a hot day today, smack in the middle…

May 4, 2017

We had quite a hot day today, smack in the middle of two weeks of normal early May low-mid teens temperatures. The forecast said this evening was going to bring a cold front in off the ocean, and the resulting mix of cold and hot air masses were expected to cause a major thunderstorm – to the point that Environment Canada issued a severe weather warning.

In anticipation of heavy rain and hail I covered the heavy planters with acrylic and moved the light ones closer to the house to bring them under the protection of the little overhang above the deck. The peas I could not move to shelter because there was no space left, so I kludged together this little tent out of garbage bags and clothes pins.

I was hoping to at least deflect the worst of the hail, but we’ll never know if it would have worked because it’s a quarter to midnight and it stopped even raining hours ago. I think there were two lightning. That’s it, just two.

May 1, 2017 Behold my deck garden in all its panoramic…

May 1, 2017

Behold my deck garden in all its panoramic glory!

I shuffled everything around yesterday into the configuration it will more or less keep all summer. Things with higher water needs (peas, greens, eventual tomato/zucchini buckets) are along the railing where rain falls unimpeded. Things with lower water needs (herbs) or which can tolerate a bit of drought (wildflowers) or which like the extra warmth provided by the wall OR which just fit nicely there are along the house wall.

The side-by-side compares of the herb planter and the dwarf blackberry are April 11/April 30. These guys all seem to be steaming along happily!

The little plant stand keeps the wildflower boxes out from underfoot, and gives them all equal sun exposure.

I’m so glad it’s May! Soon it’ll be time for tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots!