Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fall Plantin'

Since the rain and cooler temperatures have hit, my gardening humor has improved tremendously.  A couple weeks ago I sowed seeds for my greenhouse.  I used several varieties of cool season determinate tomatos I bought last year from Tomato Fest. I have stored them in the freezer and they have germinated fine, but I planted extra seeds just to be sure.  Our favorite variety was the Black Seaman ( a black tomato).  The flavor and texture just seemed better than the others, which were a tad mealy, but still tastier than store bought. The sunshine seemed to be more sporadic last winter than usual, so I am interested to see how things compare this winter.  I plan to do 10-12 tomato plants in the greenhouse--last year I did 6.  I will also keep 3-4 of the Sprite grape tomato plants--the kids have loved the small tomatoes this summer, and the ones from the greenhouse last winter were good, but few in number.  The tomatoes have germinated well, and have just developed their second set of leaves so now I can transplant them into a cell of their own.

Some of the peppers have germinated--they can take up to 3 weeks.  I planted both red and yellow bell peppers, and a few of both varieties are up.  Green peppers are still reasonably priced, even during the winter, but the sweet colored ones are crazy expensive. It looks like I will be able to house at least 6 plants and up to 10 if some more seeds germinate. 

While looking through my leftover seeds, I found some bush baby watermelon that I tried in the garden last year.  They only get about 3 feet around in a "bush" formation.  I threw those all in the flat too, thinking it they sprouted, it would be fun to stick it in their too.  3 little sprouts came up, so I will find a place to put'em.

I bought several different lettuce mixtures last spring--enough to last us through the winter.  So I will soon sow long planters of that so we can harvest them this fall.  I plan to sow some every couple of weeks to keep it in different stages. 

I took Cami out with me last Monday before the wonderful 3 1/2 inch rainfall came and planted beets.  I had around 12 plants germinate last spring, many less than I sowed!! But enough that I was able to make some pickled beets and excite myself in the possibility of doing it again.  I have never tried to plant anything for a fall garden, so this is new terrain for me.  It seems that the beets have sprouted much quicker and consistently than they did in the spring--maybe I planted too early then?  While hoeing the rows, I found a number of onions hanging out in the soil.  The last 2 years I have noted that the tops of my onions were rotting off at the junction to the onion, thus causing me to have to pick them earlier than I thought I should.  But this year I decided our mulch is too close and keeping the moisture on them long enough to do damage.  Will try a different method next year.  Anyway, the onions I found were still small, but edible--and Jeremy used them in the pico de gallo the other day, delish. He is now the pico de gallo king and is fixing it regularly.  I am eating a huge amount of salsa on a chip, hoping to consume more salsa than chips, praying that my jeans will still fit in a couple of months!

But, I'm not just veggie gardening.  The other night we went to a friend's to collect some kittens. She has a FANTASTIC garden and pond.  I was admiring her passion vine (which I have never seen in person before).  It has a fabulous subtle scent.  She talked about planning on trying to root some next spring to make more plants. My inner light bulb went on.  She grabbed a pair of scissors and I went home with a clipping.  I stuck the end in rooting powder and into some tall plastic pots saved from high country garden plants.  The small leaves that were on there haven't wilted yet, so I am hopeful that I will have 2 passion flower vines overwintering in my greenhouse.  I told J that he would have to build me a different arbor, and then I would have to decide where to put the new arbor to show off the vines. . and he just ROLLED his eyes!! Can you believe it? It's a good thing he loves me!!

The cooler temperatures have refreshed  my desire to be out in the gardens! Some weeding is now getting done--it seems that they don't mind the hot temperatures as much as my plants do!  We have decided to rebuild the waterfall this fall or next spring to include a real pond, instead of the pondless resevoir.  We (um, that is--the kids and I) are just dying to have some fish to watch-and I am really excited about trying to do some water plants, and am considering a place to try some bog plants!  Jeremy has Ok'd the project--not that I have to have him "OK" my projects, but if he does, I also know that he will more willling to not complain when I whine about needing some muscle power from him!  I have also decided on the location and am getting a more definite vision in my head--which has got to happen first!  I have located a couple of spots to incorporate a couple of different variety of blue spruce, and a smallish growing white pine tree that I saw at the garden show last spring.  I am finding that these shrubs and hardscaping components are what makes my garden exciting, even in the winter--and is a super addition to keep the birds close enough to my windows that I don't have to look hard to spot them! 

It never hurts to dream!!  This weekend will find my guys at the race track, and I am planning on a day trip to Wichita with a girlfriend and fellow gardening buddy to "dream a little dream" at the cool garden centers that they have in the city!! The coolest part of the trip is that I have been to most of the centers, but she hasn't. And I can HARDLY wait to show her what she has missed out on--I feel like a kid at Christmas!!  Hope everyone is enjoying the promise of fall in the air!  I can assure you that THIS family is!!


  1. You have such great ideas going there. Just remind J, "happy wife, happy life." :-) I hope all your greenhouse growings do well. So cool that you have a greenhouse--that you have space for a greenhouse. Your home is out in the country, right? Do you have a shelter belt? I would so want a shelter belt to slow those winter winds and birds love them! Even our little "forest" of junipers is a bird haven in town. Happy garden dreaming/planning!

  2. GonSS--yup, we live in the country--and wouldn't be anywhere else!! And yes, we do have an established shelter belt north of the house--that, some elm trees, and 2 lilac shrubs were the only form of vegetation--aside from the cursed bermuda grass--here when we moved! The birds do thrive in the trees-now I am trying hard to attract them from the trees into the yard where I can enjoy them!!

  3. Sounds like you have a good plan to lure the birds in. Our little lot had only one cherry tree (which died), some tiny arbirvide which we've rearranged and two lilac shrubs when we moved in. Gotta have trees and shrubs for the birds. I've lost count on the total number we've added. The neighbors on either side of us have one tree total between them. I keep thinking we look like a bird oasis. There are some tall trees across the alley which helps. Happy planting!

  4. I'm REALLY excited for Saturday!! WOW! That's a cool flower on that vine.
    I didn't have a problem with our onion tops rotting, but something ATE the tops off all of them! =( Nothing like having to dig your onions up like potatoes.

  5. Isn't this cool spell great??!! That's a really interesting-looking tomato. LOL about the "salsa-to-chip" ratio!! I love good salsa and chips. :)

  6. The rain and some of the extreme hot days made my tomatoes really wither. Including my peppers. now, they are having some brown parts already. Although the rain is really good for the soil, sometimes when the rain goes really hard and a really hot weather comes the day after, the plants tend to really be affected.

  7. Changing weather every hour or day is really a big problem for all the gardeners. All the plants will be really affected by it. That’s why our plants gets wither then the soil have cracked with the total heat here. I just hope that my plants can survive this kind of situation. The passion vine is really amazing and I would love to see it in real.