Victory Garden 2011: week of 6/6 - 6/14

A week ago we were having a LOT of wind! I happened to be on the phone with my mom at the time and she was telling me what she had learned about tomatoes during this stage of development - they need to be kept at 70 degrees and they are really sensitive to the wind. And while she was sharing all of this with me, I kept watching my poor little tomato plants getting whipped around!

As soon as Tips got home I went out there and began to build a protective plastic wall around my tomatoes to block out most of the harsh wind. I wasn't able to handle all the plastic by myself, so I went back in and told him to come help me.

This is what we built using 4 three-foot long rebar, twine, plastic and rocks:




Hopefully I can give a decent tutorial without step by step photos! So Tips drove the rebar further into the ground than I did so that only the top 2/3 of each rebar was above ground. Then we strung & tied the twine from rebar to rebar at the top and at the bottom of each rebar. We cut the length of the plastic as long as the tomato portion of the row and folded it around the bottom piece of twine, stapling it with our regular stapler from the office desk. Then we wrapped the plastic up over the inside of the twine and back over to the ground, where we secured it with large rocks. I also sliced some lines from top to bottom along the plastic to let some wind through (or else it would have turned into a large wind sail!). We then recreated what we did on the long side at the end of the row since that plant was still being beaten about by the wind. Can you believe how much these tomato plants have grown in the last 13 days! I took the pictures in last week's post on 1 June, so for my tomatoes to more than doubled in the last 2 weeks seems incredible to me! I guess protecting them more from the wind has allowed them to actually grow!

Since my peas seem to have stunted growth and I noticed a couple of them were completely dried out and burned this last week - I decided to use the row covers to cover my peas. Peas really are a cool weather crop and I really hope that by covering them (like at the end of the tomato row) with the row cover and giving them some shade they will do better. If they don't make much of an improvement in the next 2 weeks I'm going to rip them out and plant my pole beans in their place.

The pea plant in the bottom right hand corner is the largest.



















Strawberries look the same except now I finally have a new flower on one of the plants! This is the first flower to form since I transplanted them!

The corn and bush beans have come up and seem to be well rooted - I haven't noticed any crows in our garden pulling out corn seedlings - so covering them with the row covers seems to have prevented that early feast of the corn!

I finally have a cantelope seedling! I don't know why the other 2 haven't emerged - I'm really hoping the seeds didn't rot in the ground, especially since I waited to plant them until after I had started them in a wet paper towel in a ziploc bag and they developed early roots!

The row closest to the house has 2 pumpkins, 2 spaghetti squash and 3 zucchini plants - but only one of the zucchini plants has pushed through! I hope the spaghetti squash and pumpkin come through soon!

I planted half of a row with lettuce seeds and the other half with carrot seeds - both were some older seeds my mom gave me. None of the lettuce have come up, but my carrots seem to be doing pretty well:
I guess I'll just need to replant some NEW lettuce where the old seeds didn't come through.

I also started some pumpkin seeds from 1994 that my mom gave me last year. They actually sprouted when I started them in the damp paper towels in a ziploc bag, although it took a week longer than the newer seeds (unlike the 1974 pumpkin seeds my mom gave me at the same time she gave me the 1994 seeds) - and since I had already planted my pumpkin seeds I decided to use these pumpkins as my landscaping plant in our flower bed closest to the house this year. Cheap AND it will cover up the bare ground pretty quick and thoroughly once it gets going! I'm also going to do this in the flower bed closest to my neighbor's house where I planted the sunflowers.

One of the 5 sunflower seeds I planted directly in the ground has already sprouted through! Yay! Hopefully the others start coming up this next week!



And since it has been over a month and most of our grass seed did NOT sprout, I decided to weed the entire patch, loosen the soil with my rake and re-fertilize and re-seed (with probably 3 times as much seed as it tells you to use) yesterday. Then I called Tips when he was on his way home from work and told him he needed to go buy some mulch after he got home since I had re-seeded and it was windy again last night. We thought it was going to rain and it sprinkled a little bit while we were putting the mulch down over top the grass seeds (we didn't use mulch the first time we seeded), but the clouds passed so Tips put the sprinkler on last night when I was reading a bedtime story to Tips Jr. I think it was a good thing I had soaked the grass seeds pretty good before Tips got home from work though.
I anticipate that a month from now this little patch of our front yard will be green with lush Kentucky Blue Grass!!!

And here's an overview of the entire garden:

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