Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm baaaack!

I've taken a little time off from blogging to re-prioritize my life.  I'm now only working part time and I'm loving it! I'm back at Bayer and it feels like home. I'm in a good place right now.  I realized I was struggling with keeping up with the blog because I wasn't writing about what I like to share.  Sadly, I don't like to share my thoughts and feelings et al.  but I do LOOOVE to share about my garden.  So I'm changing this to really speak to gardening.  I hope you'll stick around.

I'm going to take my blog in a bit of a different direction. I'm really into gardening these days, and I'm so proud of how my little garden is doing.  So I'm going to do ongoing updates to my garden. I'm trying to keep it organic and so far it's been successful.

This first one will be long and probably broken out into multiple days. I want to share what I'm growing, how it's growing and what I'm learning.

It all started way back in February when I decided to expand my successful "test" garden from last summer.  

In my test garden I had one row which was about 12 feet long and 2 feet wide.  I planted transplants of:
2 Zucchini Plants
2 Bell Pepper Plants
2 Broccoli Plants 
And started from seed
1 Pumpkin Plant
1 Watermelon Plant
Multiple Cherry Tomato Plants which became a bush of unimaginable height and width.
In containers I planted transplants of Beefsteak Tomatoes and Romaine Lettuce.
The Zucchini, Pumpkin and Cherry tomato Plants were wildly successful.
The broccoli & Romaine bolted.
The Beefsteak and Bell Pepper Plants produced a modest amount of fruit later in the season.
I learned a few things:
  1. Container Planting needs regular amounts of water. (and I forget to water regularly)
  2. A Plant can be saved from Powdery mildew. While maintaining organic gardening.
  3. Pumpkin Plants take a lot of space.
  4. Never plant more than one healthy pumpkin seedling.
  5. I love gardening.
So in February just as the seeds hit the shelves at the local Home Improvement National Chain I was there, buying all kinds I thought looked interesting. Then I entered my locally owned garden center for the first time as a real, honest to goodness gardener. 

I started by reading everything I could find.  Which is pretty much how I do everything I do.  For months I bought every book or magazine I could find on organic gardening. And then when I had exhausted all books and magazines I could find, I surfed the web.
Somewhere along the way I discovered garden planner and began planning my yet-to-be-tilled garden.  This is what I finally planted:

Garden 2011
So without further ado, I bring you the indoor seed starting:

These pictures were all taken on March 15.  I think I may have started my seeds just a little early considering I couldn't put them outside in the ground for 2 months after this picture was taken!
Things I learned:
  1. Grow lights are not necessary. My lights are the cheapest shop lights from the National Home Improvement Chain.
  2. A timer IS necessary.
  3. A heat mat is necessary for some plants to germinate (Peppers, Petunias, Okra et al.)
  4. Don't attach your heat mat to the timer.
  5. Cats eat plants.
  6. After you remove the ":greenhouse lids" you have to water everyday.
  7. The lights MUST stay between 6 and 8 inches from the tops of the plants.
  8. Plants grow at different rates.
  9. Label each individual seed pod not the row or section. (Unless you like playing "What am I planting?")
  10. Lots of plants look very much alike.
  11. Don't plant tomatoes and zucchini in February. :)
Be back tomorrow for the next update, May 15th!