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My Garden although it may be small is my garden. I love working in the garden and showing or telling others about it. While you are here take a look around. There is a lot to see. Take a look at the other blogs I love to read. Leave a comment if you like. But most of all. Enjoy your time here, and come back soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Important things to know and understand Part 1

When it comes to gardening it is very important that you know your first and last frost dates. It all depends on where you are. Every location has what is called a zone. Knowing what zone you are in is very important for many reasons.
Here is a typical map of the USA with the different zones on it.As you can see it isn't as simple as locate your state and you'll find your zone. Some states have up to 3 different zones in it. Some maps can also show for example zone 6, 6a, and 6b. Not to worry when looking at seeds you are zone 6.

Now for the reasons for the zones. Frost dates have a lot to do with how the zones are figured out....as is the topography of the area. Take Florida...most of that is zone 9 but there are a few spots that are 10 and 8. Some for their location on the globe and some also becasue of how the land it's self is. I have found that this site http://cdo.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/climatenormals/climatenormals.pl?directive=prod_select2&prodtype=CLIM2001&subrnum%20to%20Freeze/Frost%20Data%20from%20the%20U.S.%20Climate%20Normals is pretty good at determining the zone you are. Pick your state from the drop down menu and then find your city....sometimes you have to chose the closest one too you. But it tells you a whole lot of information. Including the number of days in each period. For example I live in Hopewell Junction...a small town, so the closest location on the list for me was Poughkeepsie. The list tells me that on average I will have 116 frost free days a year. Some years more some less. Knowing this number and the first and last frost dates allows me to plan the garden. If a plant is going to take longer than 116 days from sow to harvest then I know to start them inside.

Some maps are very specific about the hardiness zone to include the a and b of most zones. Others are not. Some will tell you one number and another site may say another number. Most seed packets tell you a range of zones they grow well in. So that is very helpfull if you can't find a consistant zone. Again for my location I have seen 5b-7... but most say 6.

Knowing the dates is important but knowing the zone is a little more important. And honestly sometimes eaiser to deal with. You know what month winter starts and usually ends sometimes that is enough information to know when to start planting.

Another site I have found very helpfull for me is the Burpee site http://www.burpee.com/.
Not only can you order seeds but if you customize with your zip code there are articles and other tools that can be used. I found out that second season veggies should be planted now. Or at least started inside then planted. They are a great source of information on each seed they carry.

Until next time I wish you call a wonderful day. Remember the more you know the more you can grow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Growth Over time - The Pea

Given that I had to search the internet to find pictures of what each of my plants would look like at different stages I thought I would add a section here for each plant that I grow....from seed-harvest and beyond if possible. Growth Over time will be part of the Title and the lable.

So to the life of the Pea:

In the begining there is a seed. Either saved from previous years, given by a friend, or in my case bought from a store. The important part about this is chosing the kind of Pea you want. There are many and some will do better in your zone than others. Sometimes experimenting isn't a bad idea either though. The variety that I got on the package said 2' tall vines that need no support. Well that was wrong...they did....but besides that there is a lot of information on the back of seed packets so be sure to look. For this kind it said 63 days to harvest. This number is suppost to be from sowing to harvest not transplant to harvest...Mine? 66 day..not too bad if you ask me. Pretty darn close. So here are pictures of the plants at different stages/times. Hope this helps

Day 4Day 7Day 12Day 13 After transplanted into GreenhouseDay 24Day 28 Showing signs of needing supportDay 49Day 58 Buds have started to appearDay 66. Harvesting ready podsDay 69. After a few days of harvesting a few pods a day it looks as though they are starting to die off.

There are still flowers forming and a few pods still growing so I may get more out of them yet.

I hope that this is helpful to others

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The many color's of the Tomato

It all starts with the pretty little yellow flower....

It is important to know that not all of these blossoms will become a tomato. Those are called false blossoms. I belive it all depends on what else is going on in the plants life. When my two developed their frist tomato's (3 each) there were several other blossoms but none turned to tomato's untill it seemed that the ones growing reached their full size.

As the flower nears the end of it's bloom a small green ball seems to form. As time goes on the flower is reduced to just a brown dried up flower that hangs out on the bottom of the growing tomato. Some times it will fall off. Once the tomato has begun to grow the flower is actually no longer needed.

Every day we watched to see how big these guys were going to get. At one point it seemed that they just stopped growing. Of course at this point we thought for sure that the change from green to red would happen. We were very wrong. It was actually almost 2 weeks later that finally there seemed to be a small change in color. But in gardening terms 2 weeks was like 2 months...

Finally the very very gradual change from green to red started. We had to do a double take because at first I wasn't sure if it was a change or not. They suddenly looked a little yellow...still green but a hint of yellow.

A day or so later most started to make the change. Some changed faster than others but that was neat to see as you could really see the different colors they can be. I had read that once they start the change it is usually a day or so later that they are ripe. That I found out to not be true. At least in this case. It was actually 6 days before they seemed ready.

Something else I learned was that the bigger the plant the longer it will take to ripen. Bobbet...the big girl that she is started changeing first but Bob's were actually done first.

Here in the basket you can see the full 1st harvest. The bunch of 3 on the left is from tiny Bob and the bunvch of 3 on the right is Bobbet. Bob's seem to be smaller but are more uniform in the red coloring. Bobbets seem larger but not a ripe looking. Both sets of tomato's formed at the same time. But one grew larger much like the plant it's self.
Is this due to Bobbet being in the Greenhouse? I am sure that that is why she got bigger faster. But is that why her tomato's were bigger? Or was it the plants size that made them bigger. Since they are both housed with in the Greenhouse now and both have blooms again I am hoping to find out. Bobbet is indeed much larger than Bob but both get the same amount of sun now and have plenty of space to stretch. Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long beautiful hair...

Nope not going to break into song....I am going to talk about Corn....and all it's hairy parts.

Buddy dog here is a 4 year old Pure breed Chocolate lab. He was kind enough to sit for me so I could take a picture to show the height of the corn compaired to him.

Next to him the corn is just begining to show signs of progress other than getting tall. The top tassle like part that is actually very important to pollination is just starting to grow out from the middle of the leaves. Untill this point all we have been seeing is new leaves growing and growing and growing....and the corn getting quite tall. Infact it is now over 5ft tall....actually it's over 5'5" tall....as I am 5'4" and it is taller than me.

Next in the stage of growth is where we begin to see something between the stalk and leaves but not at the top but part way down...almost the middle for some.

Just below this new development you can see a very destinctive bulge in the stalk....on the opposite side of the new growth. Almost kinda looks like the Corn stalk is pregnant.

The kids are now standing next to the very tall corn looking at the progress and seeing that the top tassle parts are now fully uncovered and even spread apart. Pollinisation of the corn has begun. It won't be a whole lot longer before we will get to enjoy the ears.

And now to the title of the post....Hair has begun to show it's self as well as the husks of the ear. Long and beautiful a sure sign that it's almost time. As of now we have 6 ears that are in the process of developing. So far only one per stalk. Hopeing for the rest to start and or one of the stalks produce more than one.

Here you can see the beautiful hair along with the stalk and the bulge below.

Although this picture is a double it allows me to show some of the things that we have learned this year. Although clearly the corn is doing very well you can see that the stalks to the left in the picture are much shorter than those to the right. The ones on the right get more unfiltered sun through out the day. The others do get sun all day but part of the day it does get filtered thru the greenhouse. So not quite direct sunlight. And also due simply by location of the house and this garden the ones to the left....expecially the ones not in the picture are the first to loose the afternoon sun to the shade of the house. Next year we are going to plant our corn in another spot. One that will get more sun unfiltered in anyway and this way all the corn will loose the afternoon sun basically the same time.

So far (knocking on wood) we have been lucky in that we have not had any major pest issues. Whether it is due to the companion planting of Garlic Chives in with the corn or pure beginers luck I have no idea.

Another thing that I have learned with this is the spacing requirements on the seed packets are indeed there for a reason. Although my corn is doing well they do seem to be a little crowded...at least at the top. When the harvest is done and I till the garden I will see for sure with the root system. As long as pollination still happends and the roots don't seem to be crowding then I will know better how to plant next year.

The Pea's are comming.

Yesterday was a great day in the life of my Greenhouse. Some of my pea's were finally ready to be picked. Getting very tall and seeing lots of little flat pods all over them I was checking daily to see the progress. Finally the day arived where a few handfuls of them were nice and fat. A sign that they are indeed ready to be picked.

So after a quick watering for the morning I got my basket and special cutters and went to town finding all the fat little pods. Kinda felt like an easter egg hunt. But let me tell you easter eggs are easier to find....at least they are usually different colors. Every thing here is green.

After a good few minuets maybe 2 handfulls of peas were removed from the plants and brought inside. The remaning peas on the vine will be watched.

Just look at that little pod full of peas. The kids all begged to try some, and of course I let them. Shannon is holding up a pod for me so we can see the little guys inside. The kids loved this part. It was almost like Christmas. How many can you find in one pod. You just never know.

Although not enough for a meal I would say a good little bit have harvested. So we can't eat them as a veggie to a meal but we can just eat them like this.....

Later in the evening while checking the greenhouse again more were found to now be ready. Whether I missed them that morning or they were just now ready I will never know. But who cares. For the next few days at least once a day we will be finding pea's that have fattened up and are ready to get in my belly.


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