Kinky Hose Garden Project Update – June 3, 2015

We had a very wet May this year in Central Oklahoma (we don’t mean to brag, California). Although our salad greens and carrots have flourished with the partial sun, our vegetables that require full sun seem to have stalled a bit. That being said, everything at the Kinky Hose Garden Project is very green, and we are excited that June is here. With that in mind, here is a little more specific information on the project so far.

A word on Days to Maturity: We direct sowed some seeds into the garden; others, we transplanted from potted plants we purchased. For the plants we purchased, we will count days to maturity from when we transplanted them into the ground. For the plants we sowed directly into the garden, we will add a week (as you are supposed to start counting after germination, and we were not diligent enough to record the day). Next year, we will endeavor to be a little more scientific in our approach, but hey! Gardening has many variables that determine its success, so we intend to use “days to maturity” as a guideline and nothing more.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)

Tomatoes

We have two Better Boy tomato trees. In truth, these are just tomato plants, but they are growing to outrageous proportions. Both have started about a dozen fruits, but those fruits have exhibited little growth in the last few months. We purchased these plants from Lowe’s Home Improvement store (I know… I know…) back in April, and they are definitely on their way.

5-2-betterboy5-2-sanmarz-1

5-2-sanmarz-2

 

We wanted to grow some saucing tomatoes and found some San Marzano plants (actually, my mother found them). We only have two plants, so we won’t be making too much sauce this year. These are growing like mad as well, with well over a dozen tomatoes on one plant, and about 6-8 on the other.

We recently realized that, although we love tomatoes, we did not seem to have all that many actual tomato plants, so we went to our local nursery (Big Creek Nursery & Landscape) and picked up some Juliet and yellow pear tomato plants in early May. The Juliet tomatoes (we did not find any Sweet 100s which was our plan) produced quite a few fruits this last week, so we are happy about that. The yellow pear tomato plants have also been producing a lot, but they have not really exhibited much growth over the last two weeks and are still very green. We attribute this to a cloudy and cool May.

5-2-yelpear-2

Counting down the Days to Maturity since the date we transplanted these plants means no tomatoes until late June, early July. It is difficult to see all those green tomatoes and have to wait, but we are trying. We only hope the lettuce lasts, so we can enjoy it all together in a salad.

5-2-juliet

 

Peppers

Like with our tomato plants, our bell pepper growth has been marginal. We have one purple bell plant that produced a small, but happy little pepper. After a few insects found it, we harvested that little guy. It seems it was destined to garnish our tacos out that night, which it did in tasty fashion. We hope this early culling gives that plant some room and nutrients to grow. The other (red) bell pepper plants seem to be doing fine, with small peppers starting. One plant has a juicy looking beauty that we are eagerly awaiting to ripen.

5-2-bellpepper

The Anaheim peppers are doing well, but the jalapeño plants are not. In fact, this little guy seems to be suffering quite a lot. His roots are shallow and not establishing. He may need to relocate.

5-2-jalepeno

Our lunchbox snack peppers (purchased as seed at Jonny’s Selected Seeds) are struggling to get going. We did not start any plants indoors and planted in mid April. In point of fact, we did not start anything indoors, as this is our inaugural year at the KHGP. We planted these on or around April 18 (44 days ago). They have a 60 day wait until maturity (80 before they get to their fully ripened colors). We expect that a warm and sunny June will change our pepper outlook. We just hope the little lunchbox pepper plants start growing with the warmer temps. Stay tuned for updates on that.

 

Herbs

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Our herbs are doing great! We have been enjoying the sage, basil, lemon thyme, cilantro, and chives for weeks. The only problems we are having are with our cilantro and our rosemary. The cilantro is bolting, but we are deadheading any flowers and have planted other seeds nearby, hoping they catch up soon. The rosemary came from a friend as cuttings. We have asked a lot of these little plants, which were planted during our very wet, cloudy, and cool month of May. We have yet to harvest any rosemary for fear of stressing the poor little things. These are tucked in the back of one bed, shaded by our gargantuan tomato plants. We were considering relocating these into isolated buckets to see what happened, but after the sun came out, things improved. We understand that rosemary roots well and relocates well when it is young. Cross your fingers, because their current location is doing them no favors. All other herbs were purchased as plants already producing the goods, so we are enjoying these with great delight.

5-2-rosemary

 

Cucumbers

We planted Spacemaster 80 vining cukes (as seed from Park Seed). These little guys are doing well, but they have yet to take off vining. Days to maturity is 60, and we planted these on April 18 as well. We are hoping our four plants are busy rooting and will shoot up soon, giving us a harvest date in late June.

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Green Beans

We planted three varieties of bush beans: Provider, Royal Burgundy, and Rocdor. They are doing well and have many budding flowers, each one a future snack (gardening is a brutal endeavor, isn’t it?). We planted the seeds on April 18 (44 days ago), so we hope to see some real action in a few weeks.

5-2-greenbeans-2 5-2-greenbeans

 

Bunch Onions

5-2-onionsOur Deep Purple bunch onions from Jonny’s Selected Seeds also went in the ground on April 18. These have a 60-day wait as well, but we see some great things happening. We planted more about two weeks ago, so we expect to have some throughout the growing season. As you can see, these are on their way to becoming very tasty.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Salad Greens

5-2-saladWe are perhaps most happy with our third raised bed, which is reserved for carrots and salad greens due to its location in partial shade. We have been dining on spinach, arugula, and green ice lettuce for a few weeks now, despite the days to maturity estimation. We have yet to harvest an entire lettuce plant, as we hope to slowly pick away at them throughout the summer. If this proves to be a disaster, we will simply harvest and plant more seeds. We may have gone a little overboard on the spinach, but we happen to love the stuff, so that is OKAY with us.

We have a few Russian Kale plants as well, but we are allowing these to reach their full potential before harvesting (mid June?). In truth, one of us at the KHGP is not a fan of kale, but we know someone who can’t get enough of the stuff. These plants are for her. The kale growth has been steady, but slow. The days to maturity on the kale is 50. These sprouted early, which puts our Kale harvest at mid June. Here is a picture of our kale, happily growing in their own little corner.

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Carrots

Our scarlet nantes are growing steadily as well. We still have three weeks or so before we can expect any harvest from these.

 

Days to Maturity

Crop

Days to Maturity

Date Planted

Expected Maturity Date

Cucumber

60

April 18

June 24

Green Beans

55-60

April 18

June 19-24

Bunch Onions

60

April 18

June 24

Carrots

62

April 18

June 26

Green Ice Lettuce*

45

April 18

June 9

Spinach*

37

April 18

June 1

Arugula*

45

April 18

June 9

Kale

50

April 18

June 14

Better Boy Tomatoes

70

April 18

June 27

San Marzano Tomatoes

80

April 18

July 7

Juliet Tomatoes

60

May 7

June 17

Yellow Pear Tomatoes

75

May 7

July 2

Herbs*

Varies, but we are already harvesting and enjoying

*Already enjoying these on our plates.

A Few Other Garden Considerations

Compost

We built a cheesy little compost bin out of pallets left over from our raised garden bed project. We simply screwed a few together and created a make-shift lid to keep some direct sun off of it. We turn it every week or so, but we are not very diligent. There are times (especially after mowing) when the compost is nice and hot (ll that grass provides a ton of nitrogen, dontchaknow). Lately, however, too much rain and not enough sun has cooled it off somewhat. That said, the… whatever it is… at the bottom of the heap smells like earth, not decay; we hear that’s a good sign. But, it is still a little too clay-ish and not dirt-ish enough to call it compost, we think. It is also quite damp and matted. We think we aren’t turning it enough, and it lacks oxygen; we intend to alter our approach and see what happens in the coming weeks. We also want to build a better bin eventually.

Birds

We decided to attract more birds to our yard in May by adding a few feeders (seed and nectar). In time, we hope to transform the Kinky Hose backyard into a diverse ecosystem, as we discuss in Gardening Tips: Attracting Birds, but we have to start someplace, don’t we? Unfortunately, we placed one of the feeders a little too close to our garden and ended up with a lot of weeds. We moved the feeders away from the garden are enjoying the birds (especially the hummingbirds). They do not seem to be bothering the garden at this point.

As you can see, the theme of the day is “Wait and see.” We have been able to taste at least some of our crops, and we are cultivating as we go. We had a wet May, but expect a warm and sunny June. And remember, May showers bring June tomatoes. At least, I think that’s how it goes.

KINKY-HOSE

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