Garden Update, 4/26/21

Spring is finally here; time for an update!

Since my last update on 4/12, I have not done much seed planting–mainly repeats of previous starts, just in case.

Seed sowing, 4/15/21:

Carrot, DragonSeedSavers
Carrot, Shin KurodaBotanical Interests
Carrot, Sugarsnax 54 (pelleted)Johnny’s Seeds
Carrot, Uzbek GoldenBaker Creek

The carrot bed is finally up! No germination yet, though 😦

Seed sowing, 4/16/21:

Basil, Mrs. Burns LemonPark Seedsseeds
Rudbeckia, Gloriosa Daisy Prairie SunPark Seedsseeds
Rutabaga, Navone YellowBaker Creekseeds
Eggplant, Listada de GandiaBotanical Interestsseeds
Tomatillo, Grande Rio Verde Botanical Interestsseeds
Beet, CylindraJohnny’s Seedsseeds
Lettuce, Little Gem Baker Creekseeds
Chives, CommonBaker Creekseeds
Onion, Tokyo Long White BunchingSustainable Seedsseeds
Lettuce, Green Sweet Crisp (Salanova)Johnny’s Seedsseeds
Tomatillo, PurpleBaker Creekseeds
Cabbage, WakefieldSustainable Seedsseeds
Cabbage, Napa One Kilo Slow BoltBotanical Interestsseeds

This was my last big batch of seed sowing this year. I added in a rudbeckia I’d just received and a basil that a you tuber had recommended. I resowed my eggplant and tomatillo as the seedlings have not been looking healthy and these nightshades take forever to grow. I also did succession plantings of lettuces, onions, and brassicas. One thing I did find out from this batch was that rutabagas and cabbages germinate overnight and grow insanely fast. Too fast, in fact. I ended up turning this into microgreens and eating them right out of the trays 🙂 I’ll plant them again later once I actually have some beds prepare for them.

Seed sowing, 4/20/21:

Cabbage, Nero di Toscana (Dinosaur)Baker Creek
Nasturtium, Cherry Rose JewelBaker Creek
Nasturtium, Tall Trailing MixBaker Creek

I received a new nasturtium and needed some more trailing nasturtiums, so into the dirt they went. The Nero di Toscana cabbage is actually more like a kale, and didn’t germinate nearly as fast as the other cabbages.

My main focus the last two weeks has been on my live plants and on WTH I’m going to put everything.

This past weekend, I received a bunch of Purple Passion asparagus crowns as well as some Joan J Thornless raspberry canes, both from the same Amazon seller from whom I picked up my green asparagus. Raspberries went into large fabric containers for the time being because I’m just not up to digging up every single bed in my yard this year. I tore out the obvious 30 year old raspberry canes and placed the fabric bed on top of it; however, due to raspberries having rhizomes, who knows what the full extent of the 30-year-old root structure at the moment. (All I know is we constantly find random raspberry sprouts everywhere in the backyard.) Golden raspberries should be on the way, but as they are from Stark Bros, that’s a dicey bet–all of my orders from them keep getting pushed back, and as I found, they don’t give cash refunds. 😦

I’ve received all three of the apple trees I ordered. Two from Gilby’s Orchard in MN (the Haralson and the HoneyCrisp dwarf trees) and look as good as bare root trees get. They are both 4 ‘ tall and have a few branches, and flower buds are already starting. I potted both up in extra-tall fabric grow bags as my plan currently is not to put anything large into the ground until I know exactly where I want to put it.

The third apple tree, a dwarf Fuji apple, was originally ordered from Stark Bros, but they kept pushing their delivery dates back 3-4 weeks, so I eventually canceled it. I then saw this particular apple also listed on Home Depot, so despite having ordered it through Home Depot last year and the order eventually having been canceled on me, I went ahead and ordered it there as well. I honestly expected it to be canceled like last year, but it shipped almost right away. When I received it, however, it was nothing more than a long stick with a few roots sticking out perpendicular to the base of the tree. Truly a Charlie Brown’s apple tree. It was also marked “standard size”, not dwarf. I contacted HD right away, and amazingly, within minutes I had a refund approved and was told to keep the tree and dispose of it as I would. (I checked their reviews for this particular tree and almost all of the reviews from this month said the same thing–they received a standard sized tree, contacted HD, and got a refund. So clearly HD is having an issue with that particular supplier.) I also noticed that the entry on their website now reads “standard sized Fuji apple”, not dwarf. The sad part is that I was in my local HD the other day and saw several lovely, tall, potted standard sized Fuji apples for the about the same price. (Wish my yard could fit a standard sized apple, but alas, I live in the city.) No one local seems to have dwarf Fujis, so it’ll probably have to wait until next year. As for the poor tree I did receive, I potted it up and we’ll see if it’ll grow. If it does survive, I’ll keep it potted and pass it along to someone else once it gets too big.

I made a pleasant discovery at another big box store. My partner dragged me into a local Walmart last week so that he could pick up a belt, and of course I wandered over to the garden center. Where I found, to my surprise, many of the fertilizers and other soil components I was already using, and at a much cheaper price. And, even better, I found DAHLIA BULBS–2 bulbs for $5 a pack, and a good variety of them. So of course I picked a bunch up. I wish I had know earlier that Walmart sold dahlia bulbs; it would have made this year’s dahlia experiment so much cheaper. I even picked up a few things I hadn’t planned on trying this year, but since they were so cheap and I never go to Walmart, I figured now would be the time: elephant ears, hollyhocks, peonies, and some kind of golden potatoes. (I also got a clematis, but it didn’t survive.) I only chose dahlias that I could see were already sprouting, so I was guaranteed that the bulbs are viable. I’ll put an expanded list of my dahlias up in another post; it’s gotten a bit ludicrous, honestly.

Finally, I did get some of my roses planted, with help from a good friend. I was replacing some 20 year old peonies along a side fence with some huge Double-Red Knock Out roses I picked up at Costco the other day. My friend wanted the old peonies, so we both benefited. And let me tell you, 20-year-old peonies have bulb clusters. Hopefully they will survive transplant; though they haven’t yet bloomed, they have already sent up a good amount of foliage, and so weren’t dormant when we pulled them. The roses look great planted next to the fence and in a year or so should be bushy enough to start providing a pretty, fragrant privacy screen.

Next up: finishing all of my raised beds, and filling them with soil.

Live Plant Update 4/12/21

So, a lot has happened in the garden in the last ten days or so. I am finally up and mobile (and in PT, oh joy) and am able to get out and do some of the larger planting. Luckily, last week my orders of living plants started rolling in.

First to arrive was a Coral Knock-Out Rose I ordered from Home Depot (I was getting impatient waiting for the nurseries and garden centers to send out my plants, so I did finally buy a few from Home Depot). My plan for the rose is to create a screen between myself and my neighbors on the right side–our fence is a picket-style fence that is only 3′ tall, and the lack of privacy is killing me. The rose was smallish, in my opinion, for a 1 gallon rose, but seems healthy and has a ton of fresh growth on it. I know it’ll take a few years for it to turn into the screen I envision it to be, but hopefully it’ll be a great yard decoration until then.

Next to arrive were my Night-Blooming Jasmines (Jessamine). Trying to veer away from large corporations (on the whole), I canceled my order with Burpee and found a dealer on Etsy who had amazing ratings and a decent price on the jasmine. I ordered three plants, thinking that they would be tiny and I’d need three or so to fill up a large pot for my deck. They were not. They were exquisitely packaged and each were at least 10″ tall and fully bushy. And, despite our week of 50s/60s temps and on-and-off again rain, they are thriving, with plenty of new growth. It looks like I’ll need to re-home at least one of them, as these are in no way hardy to my zone and I’ll have to bring them inside to overwinter them.

Next up were my strawberries from Johnny’s Seeds. All of the 25 bare-root strawberry plants in my order were healthy and moist with long roots. I planted about 18 of them in my Greenstalk and the rest went into small planters to give away to friends. The strawberries are not much to look at now, but since I took the pics they have sprouted–and at least one of them has been eaten by some unknown critter 😦 Which is probably why the smallest order is 25 plants–they assume I’m going to lose some of them, one way or another.

I think in the future, when I buy annual or biannual live plants, I’m going to stick with Johnny’s. They are the only company (aside from the Etsy dealer) that delivered the quality product that they said they would, when they said they would. They are a bit more expensive than places like Burpees or Ferry Morse, but from all I’ve seen and heard, they are extremely reliable. I have an order of sweet potato slips due to arrive in May; hopefully they’ll be of the same quality.

This week a few other plants have arrived: a ZinFin Doll hydrangea and a small order of Jersey Knight asparagus roots, The hydrangea was from Home Depot (same order as the rose) and arrived in pretty good condition. The plan for that is to also be a living screen blocking off part of the fence with my next-door neighbors. I hear that hydrangeas grow fast, and sooner is better than later. (We also have a ten-year-old QuickFire hydrangea next to the house, which is about 8′ tall at this point and looks like a small tree. If the ZinFin Doll gets anywhere near that height, I’ll be happy.) The asparagus was a last-minute panic buy from a random seller on Amazon, but the crowns arrived today in very good condition–I was highly impressed. Assuming we have no rain, they’ll go into the ground tomorrow.

New plants that are on the horizon: two Limelight Prime hydrangeas, both to help block the fence on the other side of my yard. Also, after forty-four years of waiting, I’ve finally ordered a red Japanese maple to fill in the empty spot between the garden and the back of the house. Bloodgood Japanese Maple, I can’t wait to add you to my growing menagerie of plants. ❤

A mature Bloodgood Japanese Maple tree