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Garden notes and pictures – May

Eating asparagus, some strawberries, onions, various lettuces and greens, rapini, collards, radishes, parsley, sorrel, and thyme.  Potatoes are growing quickly so “new” potatoes are not too far in the future.

Garlic and Onions

After that nice rain we had yesterday I noticed that about 8 garlic plants had turned brown over night. I pulled them up right away because I’ve had that happen before.

The root rots and the plant dies. It doesn’t happen to all of them, but it does happen to some. I’ve come to be on the look out for this especially when we have ongoing cold overcast and/or rainy days.

Also happens to a few onions each year. And no, I’m not 100% sure what to call it although my first guess after researching when it first appeared 5 years ago was pink root.   What I do know is that it’s best to get those weakened plants out immediately since the fungus (if its pink root) can stay in the soil for years.

Always rotate your onion (and garlic) crops so that a bed only has onions every 3 years; 4 is better. Some sources suggest 6 years which would be almost impossible for me.

Looking at an angle across garden rows.

Lettuce all Year (or at least 10 months)

Lettuces from last fall are stalking and look great.

I’ve been starting and transplanting new lettuces since mid February. Once a jug or flat germinates, I start more.

I’ll continue to plant through June although if it turns really warm I’ll have to start it inside where it’ll be cool enough for germination. After that I’ll resume starting seed in mid August through October.

If you want lettuce continually as I do, you’ve got to succession plant or more than likely you’ll find yourself without lettuce for a few months. Of course, there are lot’s of secrets to getting a continually supply even from lettuce that most folks consider “finished”. (See this post for one. )

Winter rye was ready to cut the last week in April. Laid it on top of its stubble.

#1 – onions in the meadow bed; #2 – cut winter rye; #3 – mache seeding; #4 – single onions; #5 – a group of onion seedlings planted to produce sets

Asparagus

As regular readers know from prior posts the invasive roots from the monster trees on our bordering property have pretty much ruined my asparagus beds in the garden. The picture below will give you a better idea of what I mean.

The widest part of the red handle is 3/4 of an inch wide. The asparagus on the left are from an asparagus plant put in 3 years ago on the other side of the property. It has no root competition from the invasives. The asparagus on the right are in the garden and have to compete with the roots. They still taste good, they’re just much smaller and getting smaller every year.

asparagus comparison – ones on the left have no competition — ones on the right do

I started 3 different varieties from seed this year. Now to find a place to put the seedlings so they can grow undisturbed until next spring. I transplanted Connover’s Colossal seedlings in a grow bag. A garden bed will house the other varieties for the year; just not sure where yet.

Then next year I’ll move all to a permanent location as far from the invasive trees as possible. This will help insure that I have some asparagus to eat after those root totally diminish the other plants.

asparagus seedlings – If you have maple trees you already know those brown things in with the seedlings are maple seeds. They fall like rain from my big maples.

Tomatoes

I dug a hole in some of the rye stubble and put in 5 tomato plants yesterday.

I’ll put in at least 15 to 20 more plants over the course of the next couple of weeks. I’ll also pot up a few seedlings to have on stand-by just in case I lose a transplant for one reason or the other. (Back up is always a good policy.)

tomato seedlings ready to transplant

Peppers

Pepper seedlings are tiny. That’s nothing new around here. See this post.

An observation: the seed that I saved from last years crop of a certain variety germinated more quickly than seed from other varieties that were purchased. Also the seedlings are larger. Other variables could account for it, but I’m definitely making a note of it.

pepper seedlings from seed I saved last year

The borders are starting to bloom and it’s most welcomed.

Pink tradescantia is not as strong a grower as the blue, but I just love it.  Makes me want to have company so I can decorate the plate with the flowers (which are eatable).

 

I never tire of these royal purple iris. Elizabeth’s gold, my early day lily in the picture below, has an abundance of blooms this year making the purple iris show up more than ever.  Also note the blue tradescantia behind the iris.

 

Elizabeth’s gold.

 

Planted last year, these snapdragons are at least 2 1/2 feet tall.  In spite of the wind and rain we had last week, they’re still standing straight.

 

Easy Going is a floribunda rose in my fence border.  Blooms are beautiful and prolific!

Final Thoughts

I hope you are enjoying your garden.

My thoughts are of you as I tend mine.

________

All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved.

18 comments to Garden notes and pictures – May

  • Patricia

    Beautiful. It was as though you were singing with joy as you walked us through your garden. I can see Bill in your beautiful canvases. God bless you Theresa.

  • Ray Kent

    Your pictures today gave me a real boost after going out and checking what I have planted so far this spring. We are not in danger of flooding near the house but the ground is so saturated there is no where for the rain water to go. I’ve had to dig as trench from my surrounding bushland to get it to a ditch. I have seedlings past ready to go outside but no way to do it. What I have planted in tunnels seems to be surviving but suffering from lack of sun with 3 more days before any promised. Nature will have the last word and I know I’ll be gardening soon.

    Have a good day. Ray Kent

  • Toni Melvin (Brock)

    What a wonderful way to start my day! With a joyful walk thru your garden! Such abundance.
    Seeing the picture of your onions planted in a bunch to grow sets just confirms I planted mine too far apart this year. I wonder if I can just dig them sooner?
    Your flowers are absolutely beautiful.
    Thank you for the much needed nudge to tend my lettuce production more closely. I chastise myself when I have to buy lettuce from the store.
    Happy Sunday to you 🙂

  • Frank

    Hi Theresa,
    The elevation here at the edge of the Black Hills is about 3400 feet, so spring arrives a little later than yours. The last freeze date is the end of May, so I’m just now starting to get the garden into shape. I’m moving the compost pile from the northeast corner of the garden to the southwest so as to take advantage of the summer shade instead of having it dry out so easily. I’ll plant tomatoes where the pile was. Lots of work ahead!

  • Julie Martin

    I am so enjoying your monthly updates with the pictures and notes! I have tons of trandescantia also (really reseeds!) and didn’t know the flowers are edible–super! I get know about planting onions in bunches to replant later; that will make planting from jugs so much easier! I also got excited about asparagus after your postings and have no where to put it; grow bags! I never thought of that and I can prepare a bed for next year too; your posts teach me so much! Julie

  • Theresa

    Thank you Patricia. I too can “see” and “hear” Bill everywhere. He’s so much a part of me that it sometimes seems like I’m just waiting for him. Appreciate your including him in your comment. He loved TMG readers as much as I do!

    Ray, I’m so glad my post gave you a lift. Hopefully the sun will show itself soon and some of that ground will dry out enough for you to do what has to be done. Had you not been able to dig the trench to get the water to a ditch I hate to think of what it would be like. Your attitude always inspires me Ray. After I read of your situation I determined to have a better attitude in my situation. Thanks Ray! Love knowing you and having you as part of my TMG family.

    Toni, I usually plant onions 4 to 6 inches apart.
    You can eat onions anytime during their growth, but if you want to cure them and have a supply for the winter you’ll want to wait until the tops fall over. Then you know they’re mature and ready to cure.

    Glad to give you a nudge about lettuce because garden is lettuce is so far superior to that stuff they call lettuce in the store. 🙂

    Hey Frank! Sure was great to see a comment from you. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you.

    Your last freeze date towards the end of May makes me appreciate even more being able to start things sooner than folks in elevations like yours.

    Great idea about moving that compost pile. And I just know your tomatoes will LOVE being where the compost has been.

    Keep in touch Frank! I’ve missed you.

    Julie, I’m delighted to learn that you enjoy these updates and find them helpful. So many things come up in the garden over the course of the month and it’s nice to mention them in a chatty way by reviewing the month.

    I, like you, am only recently learning that tradescantia flowers are edible. They make such a beautiful garnish for salads! I’ve read that the leaves and stems, although said to be rather bland, can also be eaten. Some folks braise them like asparagus and think they taste similar to spinach.

    By the way, I’m still thinking of how much you enjoyed using your little pocket handsaw that you ordered after reading my post http://tendingmygarden.com/empowering-partners/.

    I received an email the other day from reader and friend, Kate, in NC. She said, “Just wanted to follow up on a post you did recently about the little folding hand saw.  I bought one, and had the chance to use it this weekend for the first time.  I cannot believe how easily it cut through branches.  Just as easy as using my little chain saw, but so much more convenient.”

    I think that’s some proof that all this “power tool – need” is a lot of marketing and just not true. The right hand tool can get the job done and make it easy.

    Thank you all for commenting. It made my day today.
    Theresa

  • Sandra

    Boy, does this bring back memories, Theresa.

  • Betty Dotson

    So glad to see your post this morning. I covered my tender tomato & bean seedlings last night in case of frost. I just came back in from uncovering them & decided to check to see if you had posted before I went back out & I find all of these beautiful pictures (except for your poor asparagus). I know it makes you sick. I want to prepare new beds for more asparagus. Some of my new ones are still small & I won’t harvest them. The larger ones I eat as I garden. Poor Alfred is still waiting to taste fresh asparagus! we’ll have enough for a meal any time now.

    I’ll have to go to my hillside garden to check on my tradescantia. We planted some paw-paw seedlings there Saturday that we started spring 2 years ago by potting up a paw-paw fruit. So excited! Can’t wait to see the Zebra swallowtails that will come because they have more plants to lay their eggs on! Zebras are one of my favorite butterflies!

    I want to order one of the pocket handsaws, but I am having a lot of trouble with arthritis in my hands and I’m not sure I could use it.

    Heading out to the garden to work on getting another bed done so I will have a shady place for my lettuce seedlings.

    Thanks for the update. It made my day!

    God Bless,
    Betty D

  • Toni Melvin (Brock)

    When you grow your onions for sets to plant the next year do you wait for the tops to fall over?

  • Theresa

    Yes Toni. And then cure just like the big ones.

  • Susan Leitson

    Hi Theresa,
    I thought I had written you but I must have only imagined it. We moved to a new house with an already established vegetable garden last fall and thanks the the previous owner, harvested many “blessings” in butternut squash, okra, tomatoes, butter beans (it took me quite a while to find them!), purple hull peas, black eyed peas in over abundance and did I say tomatoes? I was still harvesting tomatoes in December and would have harvested more but I experimented and the other ones I Left on the vine green ended up freezing. The ripe ones i picked eventually ripened and we were still eating tomatoes in Jan and Feb. With the previous owner’s help, we tilled a section he had used before and planted many radishes, turnip greens, and lettuce. The radishes were great and I found a recipe to roast them which was delicious as I’m not crazy as my husband is for raw radishes. Plenty of turnip greens which my husband favors. The lettuce did not come up until the following spring much to my relief. Other lettuce seeds I Planted never came up because I hadn’t learned about mulching with straw yet. When I did get the straw, it looked like it had seed heads though they were dry. I was concerned but Lowe’s assured me it was straw so I guess I’ll find out.
    I made a big mistake when I had mowers pile up leaves into the garden. I had asked them to shred them but they didn’t and it was impossible for my husband to till when the ground beneath the leaves was so soggy. We tried pulling the leaf mulch back but it was a mess. I tried hoeing the paths. they weren’t as wide as they needed to be and I gave myself a serious case of tendenitis.
    I planted some tomato plants and they have been growing well but are mostly all leaves and only 2 tomatoes from 3 plants so far. Can I do something to get them to bear more fruit?
    My zucchini and cucumbers are doing well but the okra is puny and strugggling. I’m still learning and look forward to doing things your way going forward.
    Thanks Theresa!
    Susan

  • Steve Gillaspie

    Theresa,
    I sent you pictures of the plants that I put too much wood ash in the soil mix. Not sure you got them. I am hoping you can see the results. Pretty dramatic from spindly, deformed looking to where they are today. One exception is eggplants are still suffering from other problems. I have had a difficult timegetting you the pics. and information.
    When you respond I will fill you in if you like.
    Blessings
    Steve

  • Theresa

    Sent you an email Steve.
    Theresa

  • Hello Theresa,

    I just realized yesterday that I haven’t seen any posts from you of late. I hope that all is well with you.

    I wanted you to know how much your wisdom means to us in our baby steps of growing our first garden.

    Many blessings
    Beverly

  • Theresa

    Beverly, I appreciate your noticing and letting me know.
    I’ve been going through a very difficult time, but hope to post again soon.
    There’s so much more I’d like to share.
    Thanks for reading and caring Beverly.
    Theresa

  • Theresa

    Susan L,
    I just noticed I had not answer your question about your tomatoes.
    Don’t know all the details about your garden, so I can’t know for sure, but the thing that comes to mind first is too much nitrogen.
    Do you add things to your soil that would account for that?
    It’s a very common mistake that many make.
    It causes a lot of leaf growth and hardly any fruit.
    Hope this helps Susan.
    Let me know.
    Theresa

  • Julie Martin

    Theresa,

    Sending you hugs; let us know what you are going through. Everyone cares. Julie

  • Theresa

    I sure needed your encouraging words, Julie. I’ll be in touch soon.
    Much love sent with this reply.
    Theresa

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