Archive for May, 2009

Lousy Spring

May 28, 2009

What a disappointing Spring this has been here in NE Ohio. Now “disappointing” is not “disastrous” but it is certainly well below normal. I have had some really nice heads of lettuce and frisee but everything else has struggled. I just pulled up our second planting of spinach when it started to bolt prematurely. I also pulled out my spring crop of radicchio when it started to bolt. Beets are just sitting at 3″; aurgula bolted after the first cutting and new lettuce is growing very slowly. It has been one of the most inconsistent Springs in recent memory.

We had lots of rain early and then we have had about a month of almost no rain to speak of. The ground is bone dry. We had hot followed by cold followed by hot and then followed by a few days of near, or light, frost. As you know, spring crops like consistency and this Spring has been anything but consistent. My big concern now is my crop of favas. They are flowering now but they like cool and wet … and we have warm and dry.

The Summer crops are OK but even they want rain. Have you ever noticed that you can water all you want but it is never the same positive effect as a good soaking rain. We have had serious rain in the forecast for the past several days now but no significant rain yet. The forecast for the next two days is for rain but I am getting cynical.

Imagine if we actually HAD to rely on the garden for most of our food.


Close but no damage

May 19, 2009

The weather here in NE Ohio was unexpected. Some strong low pressure centers in the south pulled some very cold air down from the far north. The cool temps were good for the “spring” crops that don’t like heat but not so good for the developing summer crops. I had all of my peppers and tomatoes in the garden, even the spicy hot peppers that really don’t like temps much below 50 at night. Sunday (5/17) and Monday night threatened frost. So, out came the floating row cover. We didn’t have a frost but it came very close … 34 or 35F. While it didn’t kill plants it will certainly set the peppers and the tomatoes that are not in Walls-o-Water back a bit. It will take some hot, rainy weather to get them back to normal early summer growing. Long-term forecasts are for much more seasonable weather. BTW … such unseasonable cool temps ARE an indicator of global warming since they are the result a much more active (warm) atmosphere globally.

Another reason to do raised bed gardening

May 14, 2009

Check out this article in today’s (5/14/09) NY Times about lead levels in the soil of urban gardens. If you do raised beds with a lot of compost you are actually remediating the lead. Read the whole article for more info.

New Blog

May 12, 2009

I am starting a new Garden in our Oberlin House. Instead of incorporating it into this blog I have started another. You can find it at

If you are thinking about starting a new garden, you can follow the blog and see how I go about beginning one.

Bad weather. Frost?

May 11, 2009

This past weekend was not a very good period here in NE Ohio. We had a heavy cloud cover, lots of rain squalls and some really hard winds … often the winds were of the micro-blast types of short intense duration. It made it hard to keep row cover in place.
The forecast for tonight (5/11) is for scattered frosts with a general low of 36. That means that everything that is not already covered with have to be covered.

I put in some Celeriac plants yesterday. They will take all year to develop their fat bulbs.

UPDATE: No frost. Got down to 37F Forecast tonight is 36F so one more night of concern.

May Day report

May 4, 2009

Well … actually May 2nd.

Lettuces (cimeron, speckles) and frisee ... not bad for early May.

Lettuces (cimeron, speckles) and frisee ... not bad for early May.

Early may has been somewhat wet with temps slightly above average for NE Ohio. Temps are highs near 70 and lows in the mid 40s.

All of my plants from the basement are now outside getting hardened-off with a trip to the garage if evening temps threaten to go below 50. The tomatoes in the Walls-o-water are doing really well.

A pest for me is that my compost harbored too many squash and tomato seeds that didn’t get killed by the composting process so I have a ton of little tomato plants and squash plants growing where I spread compost. No problem, they are easily killed by the hand hoe.
I had my first run-in with slugs … they really messed with my second planting of lettuce. So, out came the Iron Phosphate.

Not been a great year for asparagus. Too hot a week or so ago and too dry until just recently. We get enough for a few meals a week but not much size to them.

The arugual has been eaten several times and is now awaiting regrowth. The radishes are being harvested and the mustards are there to look pretty.

The arugula has been eaten several times and is now awaiting regrowth. The radishes are being harvested and the mustards are there to look pretty.

I have started to harvest arugula and radishes. Lettuces are at the small head state (cos and bibb types) and we’ll have some for dinner this week.

First planting of beans (french haricots)

First planting of beans (french fagiolet)

Green beans are starting to form real leaves from the first planting and the second planting has gone in. I have also started out a third planting of lettuces (a red leaf type and some more Speckles (bibb). I direct seeded these and will thin them to proper spacing.

Direct seeded spinach (the wintered over planting is long eaten)

Direct seeded spinach (the wintered over planting is long eaten)

My red onions that I started from seed and set out as small plants have been getting bothered by squirrels … nibbling the tiny bulbs. Gotta get to those squirrels.

Mighty Hunter!

Mighty Hunter!

Ludovick, our young male cat, harvested a young rabbit for his breakfast yesterday. I gave him a piece of my breakfast bacon as a thank you and he wolfed that too, Good cat!