It is time to start seeds.. even with frozen ground and a foot of snow.
This is our repurposed incubator seed chamber… an old box built to hold lead acid batteries. It is heated with a 7watt bulb, and is inside the house near a south facing window. This is the first time we have tried this and are finding the temperature for the seeds is high and much more stable than any of our other methods.
For instance, in the greenhouse, it might soar to 34C in the daytime and near 0C at night.
There is a thermometer and humidity meter inside as well, and the transparent lid allows us to easily check when walking by.
Archive for gardening
It is time to start seeds.. even with frozen ground and a foot of snow.
It is the time of year to consider the frozen veg gardens and what needs to be done before the upcoming spring melts and turns them into mush for a few weeks.
Step one is to remeasure and recalculate our square footage, especially in some of the newer, rejigged beds.
We have gone up from about 1650 ft^2 last year to just under 2000 ft^2 this year.
Some of it was planted with garlic last fall and some overwintering strawberries, but the vast majority is fallow at the moment.
First we look at adding nutrients in the form of composted sheep manure (0.5,0.5,0.5). We have been applying one 15kg bag to 25 ft^2. 2000/25=80 bags at about $3.50/bag is about $280. Wow. That sure creeps up fast.
We looked at bulk compost but you cannot know what its ratings are, how clean it is, and what other items might be in there. One yard of bulk is approx $38. You can get 11 bags x15kg for about the same cost. Is 165kg from bags the same volume/mass as one yard? Hard to tell. The bags are normally quite compact and the bulk is in volume… I think we would have to measure out 15kg of bulk compost and then move the entire pile to find out how many kgs it is.
Bulk *must* be cheaper… but how can you tell?
Once that happens in April sometime (totally dependent on weather and ground conditions), It is time to look at top dressing the veg beds with garden mix earth. Another 7 yards will be coming in by truck and used to fill up low sections of the newly built areas, top up on the remainder of the beds and maybe do some lawn topdressing and grading around the house. What is leftover will go to the flower beds, as they have gotten quite flat over the years.
This weekend will likely see some peppers being seeded and the greenhouse fired up with a small heater for the cold nights. The actual seed racks in the greenhouse are covered in heavy duty plastic to provide a warm tent volume, which is easier to heat as well. This is the first year of the new poly greenhouse transparent panels overhead as well.
Despite one of the driest summers on record… a level 3 drought condition was decalred by the local Conservation Authority, on site irrigation helped to produce one of the better years for the Napanee Community Food Bank Garden.
Napanee Food Bank Garden 2016 Harvest Summary
beets 5.5 bushel
cabbages 97 indiv
carrots 2.5 bushel
cucumbers 0.25 bushel
green beans 6.83 bushel
green onions 2.5 bushel
hot peppers bushel
kale 14.5 bushel
Lettuce 12.75 bushel
onions 3.45 bushel
other varied 1.5 bushel
peppers 9.25 bushel
squash 8 indiv
swiss chard 18.5 bushel
tomatos 16.75 bushel
turnips 3 bushel
yellow beans bushel
zucchini 0.75 bushel
Total Bushels 98
Along with 97 cabbages and 8 squash
Here is our master list of garlic types planted on Fri & Sat 2016 November 4&5
The missing numbers are ones that we have decided not to plant this year.. so 81 – 5=76 types.
Each type had at least one row of 6 cloves planted. For ones we really like, we planted 2, 3 or 4 rows (up to 24 cloves).
All in all there were 76 types and 98 rows of 6 or 588 cloves this year.
The types we decided not to plant this year were:
Alberta Hardy, Argentine4, Kettle River Giant , Rodrigo, Ted F1
mostly because they all died off in the winter of 2015/2016.
1 garlic acropolis greek
4 garlic Armenian(2015)
5 garlic artichoke formidable
6 garlic barcelona red sp
7 garlic bubbas chesnock
8 garlic carpathian
9 garlic chesnock red
10 garlic chilean silver
11 garlic chloe
12 garlic czech broadleaf
13 garlic dujanski
14 garlic F3V
15 garlic french
16 garlic genki
17 garlic georgia crystal
18 garlic georgia fire
19 garlic german red
20 garlic german white
21 garlic Hungarian(2015)
22 garlic inchelium
23 garlic italian lorenz
24 garlic japanese
25 garlic japanese sikura
27 garlic Khabar
28 garlic korean purple
29 garlic lucian sicilian
30 garlic magnificent
31 garlic Marino(2016)
32 garlic mennonite
33 garlic metechi
34 garlic Mexican Red Silver
35 garlic musical/music
36 garlic northern quebec
37 garlic northern siberian
38 garlic omas
39 garlic persian star(2015)
40 garlic phillipino
41 garlic polish jenn
42 garlic purple glazer
43 garlic purple stripe sicilian
44 garlic red rezan
46 garlic rose de lautrec
47 garlic Rosewood(2015)
48 garlic russian red
49 garlic Saltspring Select(2016)
50 garlic seversky palisek
51 garlic shouldice
52 garlic siberian marble
53 garlic Sicilian Gold(2016)
54 garlic silver white
55 garlic silverskin40
56 garlic slovak
57 garlic solent wight
58 garlic spanish antihelion(2015)
59 garlic spanish roja
60 garlic spicy korean
61 garlic Susan Delafield(2016)
62 garlic sweet candy(2015)
64 garlic Ted F21
65 garlic Ted F23
66 garlic Ted F3
67 garlic Ted F30
68 garlic Ted F40
69 garlic Ted F7
70 garlic tibetan
71 garlic transylvanian
72 garlic ttv5
73 garlic us polish
74 garlic us republican
75 garlic us romanian
76 garlic Wettergren(2016)
77 garlic wild garlic
78 garlic wyld garlic
79 garlic zimo
80 garlic unknown (have notes, just have to find the notes)
81 garlic Kostyns Red Russian(2016)
It took us two days, 1 hour after work on Friday and almost 2 hours Saturday morning, to get the approx 500 bulbs of garlic planted in Veg bed #5. Both days were cool and a little breezy, but at least not raining.
Saturday we were out after sunrise, but the sun had not yet touched the garden bed when we started.
This year, we staked out the bed and ran a rope between each end. This would act as a guide for the dibbler, placement was much better and the rows actually lined up a lot more! The 6 dibbles are 6″ apart. Last year we did spaced the dibbler from one row to the next at 10″ hoping that the garlic would have enough space to grow larger. That did not affect them in the least. This year we are spacing rows 6″ apart when planting different types, in a bid to save space.
When planting the same type, we are spacing at 4″ and a little offset from each other.
Fridays planting after work got us from A’s to M’s (alphabetically to help keep everything correct).
Saturday saw us do the rest, including the ones we could not find the day before. The last job was to tear apart 3 bales of straw to cover them to the winter.
The garlic bulbil project was planted Thursday after work and we covered it as well with straw on Saturday.
To aid in record keeping, we planted by a spreadsheet printout on a clipboard, alphabetically with all of the signage pre-printed and attached to 12″ stakes, as a cross check.
When we were done, we walked around with an audio recorder and read out all of the names.
Then we went around again and took digital images of the signs, to ensure that we keep the 75 different types separated come harvest time.
The master list will be transcribed and posted here in a few days.
Prior to the garlic prep mentioned below, we had to clean and store the potato crop, to make room to work on the garlic.
This is a sample of one of the ten varieties we planted this past year, Yukon Gold, celebrating its 50th year now in Canada.
Basically this is just brushing the dirt off the spuds, checking for any bad ones (they get tossed) and stored in an open plastic bin and put into the cold room on a shelf. The 60 hills took a few hours to go through.
Time seems to be in shorter supply every trip round the sun. This year we seem to have fallen behind so much so that it may be another couple of evenings outside in the dark, cold, and wet, trying to get the fall planting done.
The last two days of cold we have been prepping inside the garage.
Garlic bulbils go into labelled large styrofoam cups, perforated on the bottom, filled with potting soil.
There are approximately 75 types/bags of garlic shown here.
The garlic planting cloves themselves need to be broken out of, or cracked, the garlic bulb. Some are easy, most are not. We use just our hands and fingers, no mechanical aid, in breaking them apart.
The chosen seed garlic were in labelled paper bags, stored in the cold room since harvest and drying in August. This was my first year at cracking the garlic. In the past we have done it out in the garden as we plant, with Kim doing the work. That may explain why our typical garlic clove planting sessions run 4-5 hours for about 500 cloves. Hopefully this year, with the advanced prep in the garage, it should go faster. I can’t recall which type this one shown above is, but they look like four large cloves, so my guess is probably Mennonite.
We have also inventoried the signage and prepared missing ones, cut the 1×2 sticks down to a standard length, and are almost ready to go!
The Lennox & Addington Horticultural Society (aka the Napanee Garden Club) met last night (Wednesday 2016 October 19th).
There was a good turnout of 21 people for the second regular meeting since early summer.
The meeting started at 19:00 with the business of the night, agenda, minutes from September and announcements.
This was followed by a demonstration of splitting hostas (now is a good time to do that).
The meeting adjourned around 20:30 with a round of refreshments.
Fall has come. The frost-killed (-3.4 for 30 minutes and 6 hours below 0C on Sunday September 25, 2016) heirloom tomato plants got pulled out of Veg Bed #9 yesterday and we added another coarse of garden mini-ties (3.5″x5.5″x8′) and another 3 wheelbarrels of triple mix garden earth to the pile.
Two basil plants and a couple of geraniums? remain behind for now. As do a *lot* of immature tomatos that came off the plant when pulling out the stakes and the tomato cages. Hopefully the seeds of those are not viable (we saved seeds from ripe tomatos earlier), as there are a few hundred of various types that I did not clear out of the bed first 🙂
Just in case we decide to plant the garlic bulbil project in this bed, it needs to be ready. Having the bed a little taller also helps the soil depth (over a foot at the right end), and the don’t-have-to-bend-over-so-far in general.
Once we purchase a few more 6″ spikes, that top coarse can be nailed down and then we can add a little more earth as well, to bring it up almost to the top.
From past experiments, if we take it up to the top and hill it in the middle, we actually lose soil in rains as it runs out over the edge.
The Lennox & Addington Horticultural Society (aka the Napanee Garden Club) met last night (Wednesday 2016 September 21).
There was a good turnout of 19 people for the first regular meeting since early summer.
The meeting started at 19:00 with the business of the night, agenda, minutes from May and announcements.
That followed by a roundtable of short verbal presentations from all those present on the summer garden events and notes.
The meeting adjourned around 20:45 with a round of refreshments provided by Prez Tom Bridge.
The worst of the heat and drought have almost given rise to cooler wetter conditions, but not quite yet.
This is raised bed #1, containing heirloom tomatos. They are still mostly small and behind with many of the blossoms some weeks ago dying off.
Raised Bed #4, having had garlic in the fall winter and spring, was harvested in July and then allowed us to transplant heirloom tomatos from pots, into the ground. They are a good 2-3 weeks behind the rest of the tomatos but otherwise as doing ok.
Raised Bed #5 is mostly potatos. Only a few varieties have died off with the others still bushy and hopefully growing large potatos. There are a few scattered tomato plants here and there that are also doing ok.
Raised Bed #8 did hold the garlic bulbil project over the fall, winter and spring, and were also harvested in July. Now there are late growth lettuce, radishes and a couple of strawberry plants transplanted in.
approximately 500 bulbs of 75 types of garlic were harvested by 2016 July 21. They were washed, sometimes a layer was peeled off, and they were hung up to dry on these racks, undercover but with shade and airflow. Normally we let them dry for 3-4 weeks. Because of this summers high heat and drought conditions, it looks like they are ready for processing after only 2 weeks. We will take a closer look this weekend. Processing involved cutting off the roots and most of the stems/stalks/leaves, then measuring and weighing each bulb. They are then put into paper bags, labelled with amount and type and stored in our cold room (which is not cold at all at this time of year). Sometime in late October or early November we will replant our selected seed into a new bed and cover with straw for the winter.
Tomatos are having a very tough time this summer in SouthEastern Ontario. Looks like we have had 13mm of rain in the last 30 days. These are two plants of Lemon Drop and even though they have produced a couple of ripe tomatos, the plants are very small and the overall yield will be pretty bad.
We also recently transplanted some “extra” plants from pots into the newly vacated garlic bed. They are very very small in comparison to the tomatos that were transplanted into the ground next to the garlic bed two months back.
If we thought the tomatos were not doing so well, the peppers are even worse. We lost a lot of them after transplant and had to purchase some grown plants and put them in with the rest… and still they are not doing so well. There may be 2 plants with 3 peppers on them so far, with at least 4 others dying off. Daily watering is no match for slow rain.
It took 3 sessions (days) of 2 hours each to dig up, clean up, rinse off, identify, hang up and tag approx 75 types of garlic with about 500 plants in all.
They are now hung, uncut, upside down in an outdoor shed under shade and with good ventilation for approx 3-4 weeks, until dry. This will help them survive through the winter for eating purposes but also prep them as seed for a fall planting in October/November.