Transplanting Outside & Potatoes

It has been a very busy week – and I unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to post this last weekend – when the pictures were taken.

The weather here in Illinois has been unseasonable warm.  Would you believe that it is targeted to be 90 degrees in two days on Monday?  Yes, NINETY degrees!  For the most part though, the temperatures have been between 64 and 80 though.

Last weekend I purchased the potatoes.  I was a little later at purchasing them this year – but about two weeks earlier getting them planted.  I went to our local Rural King – where they had Kennebec / white potatoes for 35 cents a pound – and got about 13 pounds worth.  Just cannot beat those prices!  I remember when I bought a five pound bag of potatoes for over $7 at another store a couple years back.

Kennebec Potatoes

So, the potatoes were planted a foot apart in the garden areas.  Last year they were planted about 10 inches apart and the yield wasn’t great – so I am backing off a bit to the more recommend 12-inch spacing.

In addition to the potatoes, I got the final number of copra onions transplanted to the front flower bed.

Copra Onions

Lastly, all of the lettuce was transplanted outside.  When I seed the lettuce, I always plant three seeds in each black seed-starting container.  That way I only need 33% germination to ensure at least one comes up.  Well, even though the seed is at least two years old now, almost all of the lettuce sprouted.  In the very first seeding of lettuce, I did thin them back to only one per cell – but in the second planting, I left all of them in.  Amazingly enough, that allowed me to fill the lettuce bed with two weeks worth of lettuce – and I was able to get them out of the sprouting containers without damaging them!

Patio Garden

Even a week later, all of the lettuce is still alive.  I have more lettuce that I started which is still under the fluorescent lights downstairs – so in the event that I need to replace any, I have some spare.

Lastly, the other thing that was done was the tedious process of planting the Sugarsnax carrots.  I had to use the garden claw and manually cultivate the carrot bed on the driveway.  I then made small holes in the soil with a pencil and dropped in one seed of each.  It took over an hour to plant approximately 487 carrots.  None have sprouted yet!

To finish off, I have some other pictures of around the garden.

First is the grapevines starting to bloom.  I had a scare when I saw the vines dripping with water after I pruned them – but the water has now stopped and they are growing.


Next is the strawberry patch.  They certainly have perked up – but there are still patches of dead areas.

Strawberry Pyramids

The Granny Smith apple tree has also began putting on blooms.  I had to get the deer netting put back around it to keep the deer away – as they have been trotting through the forest area behind our house for a week now!

Granny Smith Apple Tree

The front garden still is hanging in there – not a lot of growth in the celery or onions.

Front Garden

And Cascadia Snap peas!  About 75% or more of them have now sprouted and they are coming up very well!

Cascadia Snap Peas

That is all for this edition.

Planting Outside / Grapevines Dripping Water

It is unseasonably warm this week – and has been in the high 70’s to low 80’s.  It is to continue next week as well.

So, it was time to get some things planted outside.

About 308 Cascadia Snap Peas were planted behind the garage and next to the house by the chicken wire fencing.  Here is the back garden all ready to go:

Back Garden

In addition, the 11 Ventura Celery plants that have been downstairs under the ‘germination station’ were all planted in the front garden – all one foot apart.  I gave them a little bit more room this year – and we are not planting nearly as much since it went unused.

Ventura Celery Plants

I also got all of the rain barrels connected up and so they are ready to go.  We got a little bit of rain last night – amounted to maybe 75 – 80 gallons of water total – so not a lot of rain.  But, it allowed me to ensure there were no leaks in the system this year – and also flush out the dead algae.

Rain Barrel System

Next, I got rid of the soil in the large tote container that the Anaehim Hot Peppers grew in last year.  It was mixed in with the patio bed.  The Oregano overwintered very well and is adding more greenery again.

Patio Garden

Next was looking at the strawberry pyramids – but I think they are well past gone.  Well over half of all the strawberries are now dead.  I just hope that there will be enough runners this year from the other Tri-Star strawberry plants to backfill the dead areas.

Strawberry Pyramids

At least we have some nice-looking daffodils in the bed alongside the road!


And the Granny Smith apple tree also has some small leaves starting as well.  I’m going to have to get the netting back out to put around the tree to keep the deeer away.

Granny Smith Apple Tree

And this then leads me to the final picture of the post – the grape vines.  Last week, I severly cut the grape vines back.  One of the grape vines (flame bunch supposedly) has been taking over the grape arbor and the concord seedless vine has been growing much slower.  So most of all the vines were trimmed way back.  I also had to get the grape arbor straightened back up – as it was leaning on one side (a little bit of concrete and it is good now).

Well, I was in shock when I went out to look over the garden yesterday – and I saw several places where the grape vines were dripping water!  Wow – it was almost like the vines were nothing but a big straw from the ground and there was a pretty good drip of water from the vines.  The water was dripping from where I had pruned them just the week before.

Because this year has been unseasonably warm, I pruned too late in the season.  Finally when I went out there today, it seems like some of the pruning joints have “healed” by sapping over.  Below is a picture of one of the larger cuts that I made.  Kind of hard to see since I couldn’t get the zoom to work right.

Grape Vine Pruning

There is a somewhat transparent sap that has formed over the cut.  But, there are still at least a half dozen other places that are still dripping water.  Hopefully they will heal up soon as well.

8 Weeks Until Last Frost – Lots of Planting

This has been an exceptionally strange winter – never have I remember a winter in Central Illinois being as mild and warm as it has been here.  Heck, just this past week, we had a day where it almost got to 70 degrees.  Unfortunately, with that strange weather, there have been many bad storms hitting the midwest and leveling complete towns.

Therefore, the title of this entry is – ‘8 Weeks Until Last Frost’ – but is it?  Today is is only 34 degrees outside – more typical for this time of year.  But because of the mild winter, will the last frost be pushed back more this year?

Anyways, today most of the other main vegetables were planted.  I planted four Red Cherry Tomatoes, six Roma Tomatoes, six Best Boy Tomatoes, five Premium Crop Broccoli, five Green Goliath Broccoli, five Snown Crown Cauliflower, and 13 California Wonder Peppers.  I also did plant six each of Simpson Elite Lettuce, Red Salad Bowl Lettuce, and New Red Fire Lettuce.

Last year I planted twice as many broccoli and cauliflower as I am this year.  That is because I learned last year that they were planted too close together.  Thinking of planting them closer together, I knew that the product would be smaller – but I expected it would increase overall yields by placing them closer.  Nope – didn’t work that way.  Really could have also been due to the low levels of light in the areas planted as well.

Last week I also planted six each of the Simpson Elite, Red Salad Bowl, and New Red Fire lettuce.  I will be planting as such until they are ready to be put outside.  Last year I planted two other varities – Buttercrunch and Parris Island.  I opted to not use them this year – as I’m not too fond of the storing capabilities of Buttercrunch and Parris Island.  Parris Island is a romaine lettuce – but it seems that you can only store it for four or five days in the fridge before it goes bad.  Buttercrunch seems to last a few more days, but it also starts to go bad.  The other three – those I’m planting this year – seem to stay upwards of two weeks in the fridge.

Now for some photos.  The Copra Onions still are manging to survive – even though the “bulb” is out of the soil and the roots are burrowing down in.  I didn’t do an exact count, but there are about 100 Copra Onions that are remaining out of the 300+ that germinated.  Again, DO NOT put onion seed right on top of the soil – always burry about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.  Lesson learned.

Copra Onions

I had to move around the ‘germination station’ today in order to add another fluorescent fixture – and get prepared for all of the new containers going in.  So, I decided to take the Ventura Celery out and bottom-water them (allows the water to soak up through the holes at the bottom of the containers).  This helps prevent any kind of diseases or fugus growth on top of the soil.  The celery is doing very well.

Ventura Celery

And lastly, here are the lettuce seedlings that were just planted last week.  Growing pretty good!

Lettuce Seedlings