Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Early summer update

Wow! Time flies when you're having fun, eh?

Before I went away for two weeks in May, I planted out the chile plants we ordered from Cross Country Nurseries, around May 10th or so. I thought it was a bit early, but C. remembered that last year we planted at about the same time and had great success. I think it was colder this year (we had nights in the low 40s where I was in Michigan!), but the plants are still alive and kicking. It's been quite hot the past few days, so I am hoping that they will really kick in the coming weeks. Here are the varieties we're growing this year:

Salmon, Szechwan, Jalapeno Early, Fire, Takatsume, Punjab Small Hot, Mirasol, Carmine, Lester Williams Red, Tasmanian, Chocolate Habanero, and Harold's St. Barts. I've also got seedlings that I grew myself, both on the windowsill and through winter sowing, using seeds that we saved from the previous year: White and Red Habanero, Island Hellfire, and a couple others whose names escape me at the moment. Those plants are going to have to go in pots as I've run out of room in the big garden plot I made last fall! (Laying down cardboard and shredded leaves in the fall to create a new a plot is a really easy, fool-proof approach!) I'm going out of town for the weekend, so I'll take care of those when I get back next week.

I had some success with my winter sowing, even though I had such a late start. I didn't get things planted until February and March! Here's what I ended up with this year, and what I planted in the ground yesterday, all tomatoes.

Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Accordion, Bonny Best, Fuzzy Peach, Coyote, Black Krim, Yellow Pear, Black Seaman, and... a mystery volunteer from last year.

In addition to all this, I planted in marigolds, and there are sunflowers, walking onions from my mom's place, strawberries (we just ate some this morning – YUM!), three varieties of garlic, two varieties of peas, Mexican cucumber. These were all winter sown. I also bought from a local nursery some Brussels sprouts plants and chives, as well as a couple hot cherry pepper plants (not that we needed them, really). I'll also be adding in some pansies to the main garden plot, and after doing some reading about companion planting would like to add some nasturtium and zinnia.

All in all, this has been a fun and successful planting. Now, the waiting – will things grow? Will they flourish?

One thing I am doing differently this year is using mulch – I know, duh. I've used grass clippings so far and they seem to be working well, but I also splurged and got some cedar mulch with a gift certificate I got on my last birthday. I have yet to put it down as I want to get everything in the garden first so I don't have to mess with it too much, but I am excited to see how it will look and whether it will make everything grow that much better. I'll definitely have to water less, and hopefully it will help with pests like slugs, too. Hey – I read today that kelp, seaweed, makes for great slug repellent mulch. Go figure! I wonder if the kind I can grab from Lake Ontario would fit the bill.

I will be getting some photos up next week. I'm pretty proud of my efforts this year!