Friday, June 13, 2008

garden work

zephyr tomatoes
parsnip watering
Today's garden chores:

1. Fertilize. The main thing I wanted to do was fertilize today. Everything is growing so fast and I don;t want the nutrients to run low. I scattered granulated 5-10-5 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) everywhere and watered it in well. I also added some Miracle-Gro Tomato Food (18-18-21). My dad found a nice article on tomato culture with fertilizer recommendations. "Tomatoes respond well to fertilizer applications, especially phosphorus. Excess nitrogen fertilizer can result in plants with extremely vigorous vine growth but little fruit production. Apply 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of a complete fertilizer, such as 5-10-10, 5-20-20, or 8-16-16 per 100 square feet of garden area. Work the fertilizer into the soil about 2 weeks before planting. An additional side dressing of a nitrogen fertilizer may be desirable after the first cluster of flowers have set fruit." My soil tests said my nitrogen was very low, so I went ahead with the 18-18-21 on the tomatoes.

2. Sow soy beans. I seeded more soybeans in my community plot. They have two problems. The row is next to the potato bed and the potato plants just won't stop growing. I didn't know they got so big! Also the seeds I planted earlier have been dug up and eaten by some critter. Maybe a chipmunk? Birds? So I replanted lots of seeds a bit out of the way of the potatoes and covered the soil with row cover.

3. Transplant lettuce. I transplanted a bunch of little red summer crisp Batavian lettuce seedlings. The spring lettuce is definitely getting bothered by the summer heat now. It is bolting in my shady garden. Time to get the Batavian going. Its supposed to do better in the heat. I planted it at the edge of the squash bed and between the tomatoes. I like to fill in all those empty spaces....

4. Transplant perennials. I've been picking up flowering perennial plants here and there to add to the bed next to my house. I planted several plants today, along with some annuals I grew from seed: zinnias and cosmos.

5. Weed parsnips. I was so thrilled to learn what a parsnip seedlings looks like and to find that I had some in my plot! Today I removed all of the weeds and left behind about ten parsnip plants! I'll seed more now that I know what's what, but still ten is not bad.

6. Water.

- I already have summer squash forming! I've never had this so early. Both Zephyr, yellow with green tip, and zucchini.
- Tomatoes are blooming. Its usually 30 days from bloom to fruit. They look good. About 1 foot tall now.
- The carrots are starting to grow well now and develop nice long roots.
- Lots of beetles on the pumpkin plant. A black beetle with yellow stripes. Funny just the pumpkin and not other squashes.
- I can't hear any wren babies yet, but I expect I will soon.
- My giant sunflowers are almost 2 feet tall.


Blicky Kitty said...

Thank you for this wonderful blog. I'm a pathetic beginner. Can you achieve the same results from organic fertilizer? I've been using bone meal, cow manure and leave mold.

Anonymous said...

How often will you put the 5-10-5 on your garden?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't believe how big those potato plants have gotten!

Leslie said...

Kathy, the parsnips ... for three years I planted parsnips and they never came up ( I think old seed was the culprit ) but like you I was always wondering, "what does a parsnip look like?" They are a wonderful crop to overwinter, so you have something in the dark days of spring to make a chowder from

Anonymous said...

Black Beetle with Yellow Stripes is a Cucumber Beetle. I usually use Rotenone Pyrethrins.


Anonymous said...

I can't get over how big everything is in your garden. It is amazing what some rain can do for plants. After months of no rain we had about a 10 minute burst on Friday night and Saturday I think that all the plants had grown and they all looked so refreshed. The high today is 106 so I doubt they will look refreshed when I get home from work. haha
After seeing your gardens I am planting some stuff closer together next year.

kathy said...

About the fertilizer questions - I've never tried to make an organic fertilizer, so I really can't help much here. I would love to try to go organic someday.

I do know that it can be tricky to get the proportions of nutrients right. I would recommend you do a soil test to see if you are adding enough.

The compost is going to be your important source of nitrogen. I have had trouble with compost. If its not well decomposed, it can tie up nitrogen in your soil. There are other nitrogen sources too, like blood meal or seed meal.

Just looking at your ingredients, you seem to have all of the nutrients. By my addition, equal amount of manure and compost plus a third by weight of bone meal should give about 2-5-2.

I hope someone else will add a comment here if they can help on this question!

kathy said...

About the question on how often I fertilize - usually 3 time per year. Once before turning the soil in the early spring, once when the plants start (mid June) growing rapidly and again when the tomatoes set (mid July). I usually go ahead and fertilize the whole garden whenever I fertilize. (Don't fertilize after mid-August.)

Anonymous said...

I am the food writer for a regional paper on the South Shore and I mentioned your wonderful blog in my "tidbit" section:

kathy said...

Thanks so much! I am so pleased that you enjoy my blog!