Saturday, April 14, 2012

April Garden Update (AKA Brag Thread)

Man, have things grown!  The tomatoes are going crazy, the artichokes are producing, and I've been picking strawberries for a week now so they're just starting to hit their stride.  The peppers are growing taller every day, the onions are bulbing up and the potatoes have bloomed so it shouldn't be long now 'til I get to dig them.  The garlic is still looking good, no brown leaves yet.  I even today got a few snow peas.  I'd really thought those were just too late. 

I planted yard long beans and spaghetti squash last week and they're sprouting.  I also set out the Aunt Molly's ground cherries and pineapple tomatillo plants I started from seed. 

But the best part is I HAVE GREEN TOMATOES!!!  TONS of them.  I should make a list of which ones are producing first.  The Celebrity has two on it, but it's certainly not the first one to set.  I think I'll take a notepad out there next Thursday and write down which have tomatoes on them now, then do that again when I start picking.

And now for the pictures...

Garlic in front, artichokes in back.

Strawberries with yard long bean sprouts.

Asparagus with leeks in front.

Trellis for yard long beans.

Onions bulbing up.

The whole family, from top: BJ, Mickey, Nellie and Squint.

And now, for the serious brag portion of this thread: TOMATOES!!

Planted middle of Feb.: viewed from the south, facing north.

A sea of tomatoes. Pic taken facing south.

Overwintered Black Giant with new green fruit.


I better get the salt shaker ready.


  1. Okay, now that I've (mostly) recovered from my extreme early tomato jealousy... Could you share your artichoke growing secrets? I started some from seed last fall and just moved them where they will have more room. I had no idea they got so big!

    1. Sure, Kari! I think what made the biggest difference was amending the HELL out of those beds and working the soil very well to loosen it up way down deep, probably eighteen inches. I spread multiple bags of turkey compost on each (two or three inches), along with plenty of fertilizer (both 8-2-4 and 4-6-4, organics from work), Minerals Plus, and some humate, then turned it all in well with a spading fork. I gave them liquid seaweed immediately after planting (and every so often after that ~ once a month or so, sometimes with some aerobic compost tea), mulched them well with pine straw, and kept them covered with floating row cover during the first few frosts 'til they got tough enough to withstand it on their own. (I will admit the first frost caught me by surprise and damaged them a bit, but they recovered like champs, and the next three or so frosts I covered them.)

      I planted them last fall. One I'd had in the garden for a year or two in an area that wasn't very well amended or worked. It never got very big and only made a few buds, but did make a couple pups. I transplanted it to the beds, divided one of it's pups and put it in another bed, then planted four seedlings with them. Surprisingly, the seedlings are producing more than the older one and it's pup, though the older one is MASSIVE, probably because it's actually four or five pups all growing together. I'll divide them next year I think.

      BTW, where are you? I think our mild winter down here in Texas helped mine a lot. They seem to be kind of "Goldilocks" plants ~ don't like it too hot and don't like it too cold.

  2. Thanks! I thought I amended the hell out of my soil, but now that I've read your description, I guess I only amended the heck out of it. ;) It looks like if I want artichokes, I will have to reform my Darwinian gardening ways and actually pay these guys some attention.

    I am in east Texas, near Tyler, and we had the same mild winter. I think I only covered mine when it was predicted to be in the mid-20s, but they were in a more protected area than they are now. They are still pissed off at me for moving them, but I hope they forgive me soon and start perking up. I don't think I'll get any 'chokes this year, but I want some next year. Must. Have. Artichokes.

  3. Yep, they'll get over being pissed. They're really strong plants. Hell, that older one I transplanted? Last year I ran it over with a 6 foot tiller attached to a 50 horsepower John Deere tractor. Yeah. Hence why I moved it. And it's bigger than all the other ones now.

    So they'll survive a LOT. But will only thrive it seems if you baby them a bit. And the more you baby them, the more they thrive.

    BTW, I ate artichokes for dinner night before last night. And again last night. *ducks the compost being thrown from East Texas*

  4. Ha! I think I'll go out and tell my 'chokes that they should be grateful that they haven't been run over by the tractor... yet. That should perk 'em up!

    I don't have much spare compost, so I am flinging the tough ends of my asparagus in your general direction. I have pretty good aim, but not much distance, so you're probably safe. ;)

  5. Hi Linda, I just came across your blog and wanted to let you know that I love your enthusiasm for gardening. It's quite inspirational. I'm starting my own little garden this Spring and your photos and descriptions provide a wonderful narrative for what I hope to achieve by the end of the summer.

    All the best to you!

    1. Well, thank you, MLe. Welcome to the club! It's so much fun.

      Or do you already know that? I can't tell if you're just starting a new garden, or starting gardening period. If the latter, one piece of advice I always give new gardeners at work: You're not really gardening if you're not killing a few plants. It happens, with regularity it seems. Try not to let it get you down. Just don't give up.

      Starting small and growing from there will help avoid that. The garden you see here started out about 20 feet by 30 feet three years ago, and was built with the knowledge gained from years of gardening elsewhere. It takes time, but what fun it is to spend that time!


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