2017 Season

Feb 17 – Planted celery (10 days – 2 weeks to emergence)

Feb 18 – Planted apple seed Ivar kept

Mar 18 – Planted broccoli, jalapeno peppers

Mar 20 – Broccoli sprouted

Mar 22 – Planted tomatoes, zinnia flowers

Mar 23 – Planted Elsie’s yellow tomatoes

Mar 24 – Zinnia’s sprouted. Heated mat seems to really make a difference!

Mar 26 – Tomatoes sprouted (cherry first)

Mar 27 – Peppers sprouted

Mar 29ish – Cleaned out asparagus bed.

Mar 31 – Pruned some apple trees. Beautiful night.

Apr 1 – Beautiful day. Overseeded bare spots in pasture and near orchard. Pruned back raspberries to about 50%, re-mulched paths.  Burn pile. Tulips sprouting but getting eaten by deer, some bulbs pulled up.

Apr 11 – Lisa came and helped with the first planting. Measured vegetable bed into 4′ rows and columns using twine. Planted potatoes, beets, peas, and onions.

Apr 13 – Planted asparagus crowns.

Apr 16 – Started sweet potato slips (put 4 potatoes in water — no sprouts after 5 days)

Apr 17 – Planted spinach, kale, lettuce (in outdoor starting pots), carrots.

Apr 24 – Transplanted broccoli

Apr 25 – Transplanted celery

Apr 26 – First asparagus harvest from last year’s planting! Yay! Asparagus sprouting in second bed.

May 13 – Planted sweet corn, transplanted lettuce and spinach, seeded some additional lettuce and spinach. Celery and broccoli still not thriving after a week of strong sun and good weather. Might be a little dry. Nitrogen deficiency seems to be the bigger issue. Other, grown from seed plants seem to be doing great. Peas, onions. Carrots and beets struggling under wood chips. Better approach is to pull chips completely off section, not just row. That way they do not fall back in on seedlings.

May 14 – 2 potato plants appear to be sprouting.

May 15 – Transplanted 1/2 tomatoes (4 out of 8). Expecting heavy rain the next 3 days.

May 22 – Very cold, rainy previous week. About 6-8 inches of water and 40’s temps. Ruinous to the annuals. Looks like corn may have rotted, everything else looks stunted/set back 3 weeks. Researching greenhouses/hoop houses for temporary use this time of year. Planted cucumber, pumpkins, acorn squash and rutabagas.

May 23 – Planted another row of beets. After almost 6 weeks, the existing beets still almost nonexistent.

2016 Season

Feb 22 – Planted first seedlings: tomatoes (cherry 3G, rutgers 1G, yellow cherry 2G), broccoli, lettuce, purple & white coneflower, zinnias)

Mar 6 – Transplanted Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, lettuce. Replanted more lettuce.

Mar 17 – Tulips sprouting

Mar 18 – Transplanted more plants, planted more zinnias

Apr 3- Planted onion bulbs

Apr 5-6 – Compost site opens. Hauled ~24 cu yards of wood chips (8 trailers full).

Apr 6 – Planted 16 asparagus crowns

Apr 25 – Transplanted zinnias outside in tulip beds (while tulips are still blooming)

Apr 28 – Planted lacianto kale inside

May 4 – Transplanted 2 tomatoes and 6 broccoli into main plot.

May 1 – Zinnias were not sufficiently hardened off. Most barely survived.

May 10 – Asparagus growing well. 11 out of 16 planted have sprouted and healthy spears about 2ft high.

May 13 – Very cold and wet week.

May 14-15 – Frost (4 days after Mother’s Day). Covered tomatoes but uncovered too soon I think because both were lost. Zinnias all died in frost. Lesson learned.

May 18 – Transplanted Cherry, Rutgers tomato into main garden plot.

May 19 – Transplanted 2 yellow cherry tomatoes into main garden plot. Good weather this week.

May 20 – Set posts for kitchen garden

May 21 – Planting day! Planted carrots, beets in raised bed #2. Covered with clear plastic to warm up and help germinate. Planted bush beans, Lacianto and Red Russian kale and heirloom peas (against cylindrical trellis) in main bed.

May 25 – Planted parsnips in cluster.

May 26 – Extended main garden boxes by 20′. Laid down cardboard.

May 27 – Kale germinated (6 days).

May 28 – Peas, beats germinated (7 days).

May 29 – Beans germinated

May 22-Jun 4 – Very wet, almost constant rain.

May 31 – Lacianto Kale seedlings totally eaten by slugs. Onions and Russion Red Kale next door untouched. But has been so wet.

Jun 1- Sprinkled slug granules over most garden starts. Expanded and filled main garden bed. Now 28×24 ft.

Jun 2 – Filled expanded garden with wood chips. Replanted Lacianto Kale.

Jun 3 – Filled kitchen garden with compost, peat moss, covered in wood chips.

Jun 4 – Mulched walkways between raspberries, asparagus, strawberries and flower beds.

Jun 5 – Finally a break in the rain. Planted corn.

Jun 7 – Replanted carrots. Sprinkled everything with ash.

Jun 12 – Poor results so far on garden. No potatoes ever sprouted. Beans, peas growing extremely slow. Tomatoes look worse than when I transplanted. First kale crop lost to slugs. Main guess is over-wet soils and poor drainage. On the plus side, weeds are non-existent.

Jun 16 – Asparagus plants continue to worsen; yellowing and losing foliage. Research shows over-watering can cause this. Water was pooled along the paths under the woodchips and the box itself was extremely wet, especially on the side where more plants were yellowing. I punched holes in the plastic walkways and pulled back some of the woodchips. Last 30 days: 4 inches of rain since Jun 1st (2 weeks), running about 2-4 inches above normal.

Jun 18 – Garden turned a corner. Asparagus looking better, potatoes sprouting (! I think) more green in general.

Jun 22 – Garden continues to worsen. Everything stunted, yellowing. Attribute to nitrogen deficiency. Underlying soil must not have been rich enough for woodchip planting. Supposedly deep mulch takes about 3 years to really start producing, may need nitrogen supplement first two years. Original B2E experiment had leaves, chicken litter mixed in, must have been enough supplement. Started fertilizing with fish emulsion today. Repeat every 3 weeks. Also spread compost from chicken coop over planted rows.

Jul 1 – Blueberries begin to ripen, but competing with turkeys to catch them.

Jul 3 – Cherries beginning to ripen.

Jul 6 – First tomato (yellow cherry) and 2nd pea pod. Overall garden is growing, just a bit slow, say a month behind. No potatoes ever sprouted, those were trees (bur oak and walnut).

Aug 15 – Raspberries beginning to ripen. Massive quantities, much bigger than last year.

Aug 18 – B2E garden continues to impress.. no weeding except a few stray grasses. All veggies coming in nicely, just delayed about 1 mo.

Aug 20 – Raspberries still just beginning to ripen.

Aug 22 – Harvested lots of tomatoes.

Aug – Corn sprouted fungus due to very wet season. Heirloom corn was not very tasty.

Oct – Mostly not enough growing season. Everything about a month late (or should have been started a month earlier). Cantaloupe did not grow to maturity — almost all melons had some disease/external in skin. Plenty of gourds. Sweet potatoes grew well but died early due to frost and didn’t turn out (not sweet and still white).

Oct 15 – Cleared out garden.

Oct 17 – Fenced in garden, bringing chickens out to pick through for a week (or so).

2015 Season

Feb 26 – Ordered strawberry starts (for April 20th delivery — revised to April 6th due to warming)

Mar 10 – Unseasonably warm spell melts all the snow.

Mar 23 – First seeds planted indoors: cherry and rutgers tomato heirloom, saved from last year

Mar 30 – First seeds sprouted

Mar 31 – More seeds planted indoors: broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes: roma, brandywine pink (h), mortgage lifter (h), marglobe (h). 95% (23/24) germination on first batch.

Apr 3 – Broccoli germinated.

Apr 5 – First tomato sprout (brandywine) of Mar 31 planting.

Apr 8 – Strawberry starts arrive, planted 24 in two raised beds.

Apr 9 – Planted indoors Sweet Alyssum, Purple Coneflower.

Apr 10 – Eggplant germinated.

May 16 – Planting day! Tilled up garden and prepared beds: 2 tomato, 1 pea, 4 corn, 1 potato, 1 onion. Planted all but tomato seedlings. Still to plant: beets, cucumber. Then, bee-friendly garden. In no-till: melons. Used herbicide over the dirt (had no effect on weeds).

May 17 – Finished planting beets & cucumber.

June  – Very bad year for garden growth. About 40% germination on corn. Peas very slow growing. Most other crops lower than usual germination. Only potatoes doing well.

June 5 – Replanted cucumbers, did 3 hills instead of 5. Put watermelon in the other 2 hills. Finished bee friendly garden beds. Planted sunflower seeds and transplanted sweet alyssum (and planted seeds).

June 6 – Planted borage, transplanted wild bergamot and seeds.

June 7 – Very easy hoeing after 1/2-inch rain. Best new skill this year, so much easier weeding if I just stay on top of the hoeing every few days. Only about 10 out of 50 onions. Almost full germination on beets. Several potato sprouts from last year’s beds!

Mid-June – Replanted corn. Strawberries ripening — excellent taste.

Late-June – Great beet crop, using for salads daily.

July 1 – First blueberries ripening.

July 3 – First raspberries ripening.

Couple of trips out of town and the weeds got away from me by late July. Gave up trying to manage by the end of July. Total redo on the bee friendly garden, but most other crops yielded fine.

Aug 6 – First sweet corn of the season, and the best corn I ever grew! Lasted 2 weeks.

Aug 20 – Second raspberries ripening on new canes 5-6′ tall. Healthier crop even than last year.

Sep 8 – Garden pretty well spent. Tomatoes mostly done, potatoes waiting to be harvested. One watermelon still going…

Sep 13 – Major raspberry harvest — 2.5 gallons! Still strong growth and expect several more large harvests before frost.

Sep 26 – Constructed large no-till box ~ 24 ft x 8 ft. Plan to expand across the entire garden as more wood mulch becomes available .

Oct 12 – Raspberries continue still — we stopped collecting after filling 4 gallon bags.

Oct-Nov – Converted more garden beds into no-till plots after another lackluster year of traditional gardening. Raspberries cut down to ground and mulched heavily (6 inches) with woodchips. All raised beds covered with paper and mulched. Finding chips a constant struggle. Great source at compost site, and free, but scarce and lots of competition.

2014 Season

Feb – Seeds started

Apr 10 – Pulled back hay from raised beds. 2 tulips visible.

Apr 21 – transplant seedlings to 4″ pots (mostly tomatoes)

Apr 23 – Cut seed potatoes

Apr 30ish – Seed potatoes starting to rot (couldn’t plant due to rain), threw out

May 3 – Began hardening off transplants, cut seed potatoes, hauled truckload of compost for new raised beds

May 4 – Built first of 4 new raised beds. Woodchips delivered.

May 5 – Planting Day! Prepared bed and planted blueberry patch. Tilled large garden, made ~7 rows with footpaths between each. Filled footpaths with wood chips.

May 6 – Planted 4 rows of potatoes (2 in each bed).  Trouble with plastic mulch–airfoil effect pulls plastic off bed. Mulched blueberries with pine needles.

May 7 – Reinforced plastic which continues to be a problem — not sure if will last the season. Maybe 1.5mil is too thin?

May 8 – Planted peas and onions between thunderstorms.

May 9 – Worked on no-till bed — laid down amendments, covered with paper mulch.

May 10 – Built raised bed. Finished no-till bed.

May 14 – Deer eating tulips, strawberries. Added more pine needle mulch to the blueberry patch, mulched the walkway. Mulched the raspberries. Started marking out where apple trees would go.

May 18 – Planted tomatoes (finally night time temps will be warm enough). In no-till, planted tomatoes, cucumber, corn, beets, potatoes, onions and beans.

May 22 – Filled and mulched two more raised beds. Potatoes, peas, onions all sprouting well.

May 24 – Planted strawberries, corn, cucumbers, and eggplants.

May 25 – Planted beans, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon. Planted annual flowers around house — poor selection at stores — should have grown from seed! Remember to do this next year. 

May 26 – Planted salad bed: Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, iceberg and matchless lettuce, and carrots.

May 28 – Planted pumpkin patch.

May 29 – Transplanted sunflowers along barn.

May 30 – Planted shallots. Corn germinated.

May 31 – Beans, cantaloupe, watermelon germinated.

Jun 2 – Pumpkin germinated

Jun 4 – Hilled potatoes (about a week late). Next year set up for easier hilling — had do haul dirt from elsewhere, too labor intensive.

Jun 5 – Transplanted zinnias into two of the flower beds.

Jun 7 – Transplanted zinnias into the other two flower beds. Planted red lettuce for Ivar and Elsie we picked up at the farmers.

Jun 12 – Trellised peas. Something eating beans (probably rabbits).

Jun 15 – Finished re-mulching blueberries. Planted sparkle strawberry runners in pots for transferring to other bed.

Jun 20 – Cut back tomato vines. Weeds have completely taken over unmulched beds. Looks like sod in the corn, bean and onion rows.

Jun 25 – Zina weeded beans.

Jun 26 – First Harvest! Harvest lettuce, cucumbers.

Jun 27 – Cut back strawberry runners, tomato vines. Harvested and cooked Swiss chard for dinner. Corn, beans look pale, may need fertilizer.

Jul 8 – Harvest peas — two gallon bags.

Jul 11 – Cucumber harvest, one large flat. Pickled 6 quarts, 5 pints.

Jul 12 – Picked ~1 qt blackberries (perfect ripeness now ~Jul 10).

Jul 13 – Weeded the corn (yay!) and fertilized with blood meal. Some tassles forming. No-till corn is less germinated but way healthier. Transplanted indoor herbs into larger pots. Becca’s pickles are amazing. Iceberg A lettuce is gross, but buttercrisp is good and holds up well in the summer heat.

Jul 16 – Picked another round of huge cucumbers, about a dozen. Peas are starting to die off, will need to do another harvest. Beets ready for harvest.

Jul 19 – Elsie’s B-Day! Harvest lunch included broccoli, lettuce, carrots, peas, cucumber, beets. Cabbage is also looking ready.

Jul 23 – Harvested more broccoli. Reminder for next year: succession plant broccoli! We only need about 1-2 heads per week. Also, Becca wanted me to tell you how much we like Buttercrisp lettuce, and it holds up really good in the fridge.

Jul 24 – Had some 3-week old peas (harvested on the 8) amazing how fresh and crisp they stayed in the fridge! Next year need to harvest daily and throw in refridgerator bags. We can enjoy these for a couple months I think!

Jul 28 – Tomatoes started ripening this week.

Aug 5 – Peppers (cherry bombs) ripening.

Aug 6 – Dug 65 lbs of potatoes out of 1.5 rows (the red norlands and the no-till patch). About 1.5 lbs yield per foot of planting.

Aug 7 – Harvested 7.5 lbs of beets (at least 3 weeks late — but still tasted amazing!!), eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers.

Aug 11 – Harvested 9 lbs of tomatoes.

Aug 13 – Picked 7 ears of corn. Tiny, but delicious. Best recipe: put ears in cold water, bring to rolling boil 1 minute, remove from heat. Next year: space corn at least 2 feet apart. do better job of weeding early on. Saw tomatoes at Zoo exhibit. No foliage below 1/2 of plant.

Aug 25 – Picked all remaining ears of corn. Most were overripe though still tiny. Best tasting about 2 weeks ago (Aug 13!).  Picked some carrots. Removed most plants from lettuce box. Carrots would do better will fuller sun (their own box with beets, for example). Ft. Laramie strawberries continue to produce/ripen, though they are not great eating. Will probably pull up both beds and replant Jewel’s next year.

Aug 26 – Harvested 5.8 lbs of tomatoes, 3.8 lbs of cherry bomb peppers (1.25 lbs per bush), 0.8 lbs of cayenne peppers. Peppers are the ultimate organic grower: no pests. Over 95% of the harvest were perfect condition, despite being on the ground, overripe, etc.

Sep 6 – Harvested onions — 21 lbs total. 2 lbs of shallots. Very disappointed in main crop. Weed pressure made everything puny. Exception was no-till plot — onions were HUGE by comparison.

Sep 12 – Harvested remaining potatoes before overnight frost (!!): 34.2 lbs of Gold Yukon (1 row), 25.4 lbs of Gold Russet (2 rows) + ___ lbs already cut. Yukons were much better growers, much higher yield — possibly less affected by weeds because finished growing earlier.

Sep 13 – First frost.

Oct 4 – Garden cleanup. Lisa & Zina helped pull all the old veggies and removed plastic from garden. Dad and I landscaped around the house.

Oct 24 – Sprayed down the raised beds, mulched with leftovers from trees.

Lessons Learned 2014

  • Black plastic mulch is by far the best, if i can figure out how to see through it. I should have used it for my melon mounds as well.
  • Wood chips (no-till) works second best (compare corn, potatoes) except germination was low.
  • Succession planting greens is the way to go.
  • Drip irrigation not needed this year AT ALL. Never watered garden after initial transplanting.
  • Bush beans disappoint again, but at least I got a harvest this year. Switch to vining beans next year.
  • Space corn rows 2ft apart so i can fertilize/side dress easier.
  • Pea trellis: use two poles with square fence end to end. Plant one row of peas along. Done!
  • Peppers are the ultimate organic grower. Do best with black plastic due to heat.
  • Best tomato sizes are cherry to medium. Larger (beefsteak) varieties rot due to split growth, taking too long to ripen, etc.
  • Main Lesson: don’t plant more than you can effectively weed. Almost a total loss on onion crop due to weeds. Can’t “make it up on volume”.
  • Potatoes needed to be mulched. Weeds greatly suppressed growth and made it difficult to dig out. Straw would likely be best.