Spinach


I’m calling this post the Daytime Update because since I took the pictures I’m posting below, there have been new developments that I need to capture when I get home tonight!

These pics were taken on Saturday, 5/9.

There has been some notable growth this week on most fronts.

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I don’t have to baby the peas anymore, as they’ve found their own way to the next tier of the netting. It’s so amazing to see how each plant curls its little tendrils around anything it finds on its way up. Nature is amazing.

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The spinach leaves are starting to get bigger and bigger, and the lettuce is taking off too….if things keep going at this rate we’ll be having greens sooner than I thought.

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I’m going to have to thin out the carrots a bit….I tried dropping one seed at a time but it’s next to impossible! I’d say I did pretty well considering the size of those things. There are only a few places where there are double sprouts growing.

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I’m starting to question the “pole” designation on the Kentucky Blue beans I got. They’re looking awfully similar to the bush beans planted in front of them. In fact the bush beans are taller right now. Do pole beans start off the same way as bush beans and then start to climb eventually? I’m seeing online that there may be a bush and a pole variety of Kentucky Blue, which doesn’t make sense to me. But the seeds from Fedco clearly say “Pole Beans”.

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The broccoli and cauliflower continue to look awesome, but still no heads forming. I’m getting impatient! I haven’t seen any evidence of insect damage yet. I did find a tiny worm on one of the pea leaves yesterday, but I’m pretty sure he blew from a tree in the high winds we had yesterday. I picked him off and I’ll keep an eye out to make sure he was a loner. If not, I’ll be spraying some BT on the nearby brassicas.

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Here is the first public glimpse of the onion plants I got from Dixondale Farms a few weeks ago. They’ve let their old leaves die off and new ones are sprouting up now. I was a little worried about these guys dislodging from the soil because they didn’t have long root systems, but they established new roots and have their feet firmly planted now. I’m still questioning this 4 per square recommendation but I’ll leave them alone until I have reason to think they’re crowding each other out.

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Now on to non-veggie related topics. We’ve been focussing on the interior of the house since we moved in a few years ago, and now we’re trying desperately to fix our neglected lawn, which has erupted in moss over the last couple years. Where there isn’t moss, there’s patchy, ugly grass. There is a clearly defined line between our lawn and our neighbor’s. I attribute that to their use of chemicals, which we don’t want to use. So we did a lot of research starting with Garden Web, and set up a plan of action. I so wish we were closer to some farming areas because we can’t seem to find a source for corn gluten or alfalfa meal. Both are excellent natural fertilizers. I don’t think we looked hard enough, honestly. The farms aren’t THAT far away. We managed to find some other kind of organic lawn fertilizer at Ace and picked it up along with the appropriate seed and lots of lime. We also bought an aerator, despite my husband’s insistence that he can just “do it with a pointy stick”. Sure you can! Now let’s get real and put the aerator in the cart.

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I’m not going to use peat pots anymore. They dry out so quickly that I keep losing plants from lack of water, even though I check them every day and water accordingly. Within 24 hours my peat potted plants went from looking okay to looking dead. Most of them sprung back to life overnight but one pepper and one eggplant are beyond hope.

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Everything I have grown in peat pots has had one problem or another. But everything that went into plastic containers is great. This makes an even stronger case for getting block makers next year. The tomatoes in the plastic cups are going like gangbusters!

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Outside, the peas I planted last weekend have all sprouted and are looking pretty strong so far.

Kentucky Blue pole beans and Golden Rocky Wax beans

Kentucky Blue pole beans and Golden Rocky Wax beans

Provider bush bean

Provider bush bean

And some other updates…

Sugar Snap peas and Harmony spinach

Sugar Snap peas and Harmony spinach

Sweet Salad carrots

Sweet Salad carrots

Clear Dawn and Dakota Tears onions (the newly planted onions don't look too great but I think they need more time to establish themselves)

Clear Dawn and Dakota Tears onions (the newly planted onions don't look too great but I think they need more time to establish themselves)

Valmaine lettuce

Valmaine lettuce

Packman broccoli

Packman broccoli

Snow Crown cauliflower

Snow Crown cauliflower

Marvin checking out the camera

Marvin checking out the camera

Boy, are my peppers looking sickly or what? I’m baffled.

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Luckily, they’re the only plants that seem to be struggling. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but last night I raised the grow lights to at least 1″ above all of my tomatoes. This morning when I was leaving for work I walked past them and did a double-take. They were all touching the lights! And when I came home from work tonight, they were growing inside the lights! I think the warm (read: HOT) temperatures outside this weekend translated into not-as-cold temps in the basement where the plants are. It must have been enough to give them a little growth spurt. Amazing.

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I’ve got some little zucchini and yellow squash plants growing inside now, and cukes have just broken the surface. Those will go out in a couple weeks.

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Outside things are really hopping too. We had very warm temps this weekend, 85 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday. It really set things in motion for some of the slower plants. I hope everything will stay happy until it cools down again later this week. I know prolonged heat wouldn’t be good for the lettuce and spinach. But I think the sun has warmed up the soil temperature so that the plants could thrive.

Snap Peas

Snap Peas

Harmony spinach

Harmony spinach

Sugar Snax carrots

Sugar Snax carrots

Valmaine (I think) lettuce

Valmaine (I think) lettuce

Packman broccoli (the new growth looks really good)

Packman broccoli (the new growth looks really good)

Bed 1 (and Calvin)

Bed 1 (and Calvin)

Bed 2 (and Calvin)

Bed 2 (and Calvin)

I got my Dixondale Farms long storage onion sample pack on Friday. They estimate approximately 20 plants of each of three varieties. Listen to this…I got 60 Copra, 60 Red Zeppelin, and 40 Sterling plants! I split them up into three groups, gave a third to a coworker, mailed a third to my cousin, and still had enough to fill a 4X4 bed with 4 per square, plus two empty squares in another bed. And they cost $10.50 including shipping!

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Well okay, before I start getting into the problems, let’s look at some things that are going well.

Let’s start outside, shall we?

It was a very foggy evening tonight…the yard looked so serene. Except for the PVC obstacle course!

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On Saturday I planted more seeds: a second round of spinach (2 varieties), a second round of lettuce (4 varieties), a second round of carrots (first round sprouting now), and leeks (already sprouting). I planted the second round of broccoli and cauliflower plants as well.

The peas are starting to send out their tendrils! It won’t be long now before they’re climbing the trellis.

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The spinach is progressing slowly, but I do see some growth from day to day.

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The garlic is growing like gangbusters! I think there has been a burst of activity since I hit it with some seaweed fertilizer last week. The forsythia bloomed overnight as well.

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Not everything looks so good though…..

…..am I the only person in the world whose lettuce isn’t showing any sign of growth after surfacing two weeks go? I mean, all four varieties…nothing!

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And the cauliflower has some red leaves. After some reading I think this is a boron deficiency. Here is one of the affected Cassius plants:

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This started happening inside to both cauliflower and broccoli. I doused the younger seedlings with seaweed fertilizer before it started affecting them and I think it might have done the trick. Here is a younger Snow Crown cauliflower:

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Has this happened to anyone else? The plants are still strong. I hope the newer growth will look healthier and that this won’t affect the heads when/if they develop.

Let’s venture into the basement….

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Here is one of 3 Orient Express eggplants that germinated:

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The tomatoes are all looking really good, if a little short. I’m keeping the lights so close on them, I think they’re building up their stems and spreading out their leaves instead of growing leggy. I’m really pleased with the stockiness of the plants so far.

Sungold:

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Brandywine:

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Now here’s the 64K question. What is happening with my pepper plants? They are strong and healthy, and yet they’re developing purple leaves!

Here’s an unaffected Marconi:

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But then here’s a California:

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And a Jimmy Nardello:

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See the veiny purple sections on some of the leaves? They are much more purple than the pictures show…..Wordpress sure does desaturate the hell out of pictures. They look so nice before I upload them. Anyway, there are a few more affected plants as well. It doesn’t seem to be bothering the plants, I just can’t figure out what it is! I read one website that said not to put peppers on a heat mat, which they are, but another site said to keep them warm. One site said it could be a phosphorus deficiency and another site said it’s stress and it happens sometimes but it’s nothing to worry about. I’m sure if I dig around the internet long enough I’ll find someone who thinks aliens sneak in during the night and inject the leaves with a purple radioactive dye. Can anyone give me any insight? I don’t want to blindly fertilize without knowing for sure that they need it for fear that I’ll overfertilize them and stress them even more.

Ah well, as the garden turns….