Author Topic: Garden Journal  (Read 2355 times)

William Schlegel

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Garden Journal
« on: 2022-03-27, 08:14:55 PM »
I think we need some general garden musings type threads. So starting one here.

I rototilled today and yesterday. The soil is in good tilth. I think the April dry period normal to my area has started.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Greenie DeS

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #1 on: 2022-03-28, 11:12:44 PM »
I really enjoy these threads.

Looks like I'll be moving 1200km mid to late June. I've planned out a primarily direct seeded multispecies grex for the new place (will include promiscuous tomato and pepper grex transplants, plus direct seeded corn mixes, ans mixrs of squash, beans, melons, lettuce, sunflowers, many greens, many root crops) and I'm working on my plan for up here. I've put some glutinous barley and triticale  and crossed radish seed into pots on the deck for seed increase hopefully before I go; I guess I should keep the other pots for digging up plant starts to come with me.

Meanwhile my fancy apple seeds arrived and need to go in their fridge medium; the snow is off the south slopes and I could plant between the haskaps as soon as the soil unfreeze, the pigpen-slash-tomato-trial-field is ankle deep mud and would be ready to be sown in grain if I wanted to do that with it. I'm debating between something I'd like (greens? It's weird to think of planting something but not being here to take seed from it) and something saleable if I need to put the property up (rye or sunflowers or cover crop barley?)

I have a bunch of starts indoors, including pepper grexes from doe hill and greek pepperoncini last year. My hungarian black x matchbox cross pepper pod is on its way towards ripe, and one matchbox x Hungarian black pod is ripe but I'm not sure if it's one I crossed (the cat went after my markers). Another that's certainly a cross is full size but not coloured yet.

Micro-dwarf tomatoes Moment and Fat Frog are full of green fruit. My hydroponic Sweet Baby Jade is finally flowering so I can take its pollen for those two micros.

Tomato starts are currently all my planned breeders, they're getting a little leggy since I don't have a fan on them yet but they're plugging along.

My chinense peppers are loving life, they're just gorgeous dense plants. By comparison my pubescens are dropping some lower leaves, I think they'd also benefit from air movement. Annuums, shocker, look like I expect peppers to look.

I have a bunch of experimental pepper varieties in waiting to separate from their plugs until more grow lights arrive shortly, and I'll likely plant a bunch of my bucket of unlabeled tasty tomato seeds (everything that ripened last year that tasted good but wasn't specifically labeled when it was brought to the house, including promiscuous and named varieties) just to see what happens. I don't think I could actually not grow tomatoes out there no matter what. Lucinda, about whom I'm very excited, is doing well.

Still keeping an eye on my possible cross of KARMA miracle, the regular leaf one. Nothing to note there.

5 skirret seeds have germinated out of 18 planted. Rhubarb is 100% germ. Dahlia coccinea are lovely and have some neat variation in leaf shape and colour. The early teff looks like you'd expect - I don't have an eye for grass.

I need to look up when artichokes can go out, and I need to seriously irrigate my greenhouse. It's dead dry from winter.

Steph S

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #2 on: 2022-03-29, 03:46:09 PM »
That's what I was doing in the greenhouse today - dumped all the tomato containers from last year into the big tubs, watered well and dug in some chicken manure pellets.  I usually or often do this when I'm nearly ready to plant but this year I decided to work on making the worms happy before I plant.  A fair few tomato roots left there for worms to chew on.  A few worms were spotted in the process, but I want to see more.   We had a couple of very nice days for yard work although the ground is still frozen, I hope to have thawed garden compost to work with soon.  Of course, it's snowing now, but...  soon.

Greenie DeS

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #3 on: 2022-03-30, 09:26:21 AM »
Yesterday was potting up peppers: C praetermissum, targo mures, aji marchant, aji delight, sarit gat, haskorea, chimayo, aji delight, shishito, greek pepperoncini, early japapeno, piment de bresse. today will also be potting up peppers: birgit's locoto, mad hatter, sugar rush peach, KS white thai, sugar rush variegated (looks like black leaves), habanero pastel, brown ethiopian biber, szedged 179, pickles, rocotillo, brown egg, cnario, rocoto mini brown, rocoto marlene, santa lucia yellow seasoning, zavory, trinidad green scorpion.

I'll also pot up the half-dozen exserted orange tomatoes I saved from the middle of the promiscuous patch last year and planted at the same time as the second set of peppers. They've shown an interesting germination pattern: three of them germinated within a couple days, and now a second set is germinating all at the same time about ten days after the initial seedlings, and generally both sets are in one cell. Maybe I'll wait a couple days and let the little ones fully leaf out.

My grow lights are still not here.

I have some "Black Alberta" barley which is is not hullless, seems like "hulled" is the new "flammable/inflammable" in some write-ups. It's visually gorgeous but I have no way to use it for myself. I think that can go into the pigpen before the mud sets to keep the clay from tightening up, along with some greens for a yield. If I plant through it later on, so be it.

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #4 on: 2022-04-01, 08:26:43 PM »
Going to be planting things like Ninfadora (Capsicum chinense - variegated foliage/unripe fruit), Indonesian Variegated x Sangria F5 (Capsicum annum - white variegated ), Sugar Rush Stripey (Capsicum baccatum) - perhaps some corked peppers, bleeding calyx types as well. Also growing another chinense called Yaki Blue Fawn - has some annum and chinense parents.

Some of these peppers have different genes / mutations for their variegation or other traits. Sugar Rush Stripey for example, only has variegated fruit - other white variegated peppers have it on their leaves - this probably means some other mutations are responsible for both of these traits. Attempting to combine them, even in a sterile cross could be fun. Oh yeah, and Sugar Rush Stripey's variegation shows when it is ripe - meaning it is probably nice for markets.


Also planning on doing similar tests with tomato varieties. Cherokee Tiger Black (Chartreuse Foliage) Lutescent / Honor Bright (Yellow Foliage) Stick tomato (Interesting Growth type) Painted Lady (White Variegated - Striped Fruit).

I wasn't very interested in variegated tomatoes before, because they seem to be weaker than regular tomatoes. But, combining them with Dwarf Varieties could create some nice ornamental / edible patio plants.


Most of the seeds I have planted so far have germinated - some of them haven't really been openly traded / sold in the United States before. I got a seed permit to get those ones, they should be fun to grow and share with others.


I have mentioned before that I will be moving at the end of this year - at some point after this, I will try and make some berry patches / gardens when there. I probably won't be able to do much the first year.

I will be taking some Sambucus racemosa cuttings from the woods, bringing some Rubus cuttings as well. I will be moving outside of Sambucus racemosa's comfort zone - I will just apply mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture, putting it under a tree should help give it some shade as well. Pretty much want the species because there is a single mutant in the woods that produces red / yellow bicolor berries.

Some of the things I have planned out to go in this garden / growing area:

Oso Berry - Blue Sausage Fruit - Musa sikkimensis - Musa velutina - Musa basjoo - Yucca species - Asimina obovata / other "wild" Pawpaw species - Trifoliate Orange (Some zone 8 Citruses as well) - Medlar (Pretty much the edge of their comfort zone) - Amelanchier arborea - Amelanchier canadensis - Blueberries - Rubus species - Prunus species, some other trees will be in that area either for shade or supports. Some of these will be right on the edge of their comfort zones, may not perform that well - I will do some hybridizations with some things to help them out.

Akebia vines - Cucamelons (Melothria species) - Perennial beans, some other things as well.


I have quite a few Solanum species growing right now, can't wait for them to grow and then go into the garden when everything warms up.



William Schlegel

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #5 on: 2022-04-03, 08:32:08 AM »
Hard frost this morning. 21 F according to weather.gov and 25 F according to weather underground. My wife was out trying to save her ranunculus corms with water but she doesn't know if it did any good. She said the tomatoes in the greenhouse looked fine.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Steph S

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #6 on: 2022-04-03, 10:51:45 AM »
We are still having freezing temperatures pretty much every night, but above freezing in the day.   The coldest night in the forecast this week is -3C, but with days above zero the ground is slowly thawing anyway.  Frost heaved weeds are ready to be raked but the wind is howling this afternoon so I think I will leave it another day.

Greenie DeS

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #7 on: 2022-04-04, 12:28:04 PM »
I was halfway through a post about it being almost snowfree on my south-facing and level unshaded ground yesterday, walked away from it, and this morning it is snowing again. Grass and the first weed cotyledons are just starting to consider emerging in the warmest places, like against south-facing greenhouse or house walls.

I hadn't quite decided what I was doing here in the North with my whole garden. I've decided to seed a hundred or so tomatoes from my last year's "this tasted good but I didn't label it so who knows what it is" mix, put in-ground last year June 10 and harvested early to mid sept. It contained the following at plnting, though they didn't all ripen:

Alexander B, Ambrosia red, Big Hill (Lofthouse), Big Hill series panamorous (Lofthouse), Bloody Butcher, Brad (Lofthouse), Brad F2 (Lofthouse), Cabot, Carbon, Cherokee chocolate, Cole, Czech bush, Early siberian, Exserted orange (Lofthouse), Galina, Glacier, Gobstopper, JD's special C-tex, Jory, Karma miracle, Karma purple multiflora, Katja, Kiss the sky, Lime green salad, Longhorn, Manitoba, Martino's roma, Maya and Sion's Airdrie Special, Mikado black, Minsk early, Moravsky Div, Native sun, Northern ruby paste, Old italian pink, Polaris, Q-series panamorous (Lofthouse), Rinon rippled delight, Ron's carbon copy, Rozovaya bella, Siberian, Silvery fir, Silvery fir tree, Store green cherry, Stupice, Sugary pounder, Sweet apertif, Sweet cherriette, Taiga, Uralskiy ranniy, Van Wert Ohio, Violet noir, Wildling panamorous (Lofthouse).

I'm also probably going to put some of my hard-selection magic manna corn in, I have a lot of the seed, it has a poor germination rate, only about 30% of the plants ripened seed last year, I'd like to see what it does this year.

Those two are mostly for curiosity, since I'll probably be gone before significant harvest.

Meanwhile I cut back my dahlia coccinea starts and am attempting to root the trimmings because why not? Peppers all look good, some appear to be budding out so I must have let them get a little too rootbound before potting up. Chimayo especially seems to want to get on with things.

My matchbox peppers are ripening and flowering and flowering some more. I might as well start a tray of seeds from the cross-pollinated but not emasculated fruit. Meantime each leaf node is pumping out clusters of lovely white flowers, I cannot believe how heavily they seem to want to produce in this second year.

Sweet baby jade tomato is flowering now, as are fat frog and moment. I've been putting off doing the cross because of those fiddly little flowers but it'll happen in the next few days.

My saved Exserted Orange pollen trap seed has yielded mostly tomato-leaf and some potato-leaf seedlings.

I have five skirret plants growing well, as is my teff and asparagus. My elderberry and currant seeds got knocked over by a cat, so they'll go out into the top of a large outdoor pot and hopefully I'll notice and ID them if/when they start.

My breeding tomatoes indoors are getting leggy; I'm going to cut them back and really dig out that fan to put on them, or maybe move them up to my desk where there's more air movement. I'm debating potting them up into 1-gallon pots or just planning to run with flowers in the current 4" to get my crosses. Maybe gallon is the way to go.

Down south I'm starting 100 each of my hot and sweet pepper grexes, both a combination of new-bought seed and saved seed from up north.

Also will be starting 100-150 plants of promiscuous, a-class flavour seeds harvested up north in mid-August.

50 plants each of KARMA miracle, my saved crossed sweet amarylla tomatillo (with the goal of keeping the sweet character and maintaining the early/size of the tomatillo for a fruit to eat out of hand), saved exserted orange pollen trap seed, the orange/red promiscuous bicolour I really liked the taste of but that didn't  ripen till a little later, mikado black, and lucinda.

10 each of silvery fir, minsk early, Brad, Sweet cheriette, either KARMA purple MF or KARMA purple (my labelling here when I saved them left something to be desired) and a locally-adapted Barry's crazy cherry.

5 each of: grocery store green, galina, maya & sion, a golden currant from a friend, rozovaya bella, uralskiy ranniy, early annie, and red plum.

I'm not planning to do any staking etc so I'm steering clear of the vinier indeterminates for the most part.

I've got my corn packaged up for planting down there and the rest in storage.  The new garden for the first year will be a7000-10000 square foot triangle, I'm allocating each corner a corn grex. Sunflower plantings will cut the breeze between corners a little but I'm expecting some crossing between blocks, and hoping for plenty of crossing within:

A corner for flour corns: I'm very curious to see how my five different accessions of Painted Mountain do next to each other; I'm going to plant them in adjacent strips so I can keep an eye out. I have one from the gulf islands, one from the lower mainland BC, one from interior BC, one from the Annapolis valley on the other coast, and one from Baker Creek. Then my saved Magic Manna (mostly starburst), "american indian flour corn" from Salt Spring seeds,and some of the original Magic Manna hat I planted last year, before it was heavily selected for the North towards starburst manna.

The flint corner will contain atomic orange from Baker Creek, saskatoon white from Adaptive, cascade ruby gold from Adaptive, New York red flint from Great Lakes, assinibione flint from Heritage Harvest, homestead yellow corn from Great Lakes, gaspe from Great Lakes, gaspe I saved from Heritage Harvest, gaspe from Heritage harvest, and gaspe from John Sherck.

The third corner of the triangle field will contain my field corns: early riser and oaxacan green dent.

My goal with the sunflowers is to find multi-branching small-flowered types and work on a reasonably-sized, edible bud that subs in for artichokes.

Understory of the corn/tomato/squash in the triangle will include a dry bean mix and a ton of greens: a lot of different brassicae, lettuces, maches, claytonias, chenopodium, chicorum, etc that is not yet finalized. Squash is also not yet finalized.

Excitingly I've lined up three dozen apple tree maidens for spring planting, though I have yet to get my fun seeds from Steven Edholm into bags in the fridge.

I've acquired some wild asparagus seed I'm also excited about but it won't be going anywhere until next year. Keeping an eye out for perennial foods that are good with wet feet over the winter. I suspect I'll be looking into a lot of currants and quince.

Meanwhile I'm threshing grains slowly, and slowly packing up my seeds into longer-term (vacuum sealed, freezer) storage if I think they won't be used this year. It's a slow process; I need to make my peace with waiting on some very exciting things till next year.

William Schlegel

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #8 on: 2022-04-04, 08:57:14 PM »
Potato leaf exserted orange would be fun! Though that could mean there are or were potato leaf genes hiding in the population at my place!
« Last Edit: 2022-04-04, 09:03:51 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Greenie DeS

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #9 on: 2022-04-04, 10:15:35 PM »
How well isolated was your population?

I'm quite enjoying these serendipitous surprises, but the waiting is so hard. I'm forced to keep planting more to keep me occupied.

William Schlegel

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #10 on: 2022-04-04, 10:31:00 PM »
I didn't isolate the F2 at all, F3 and F4 populations which I sent off to EFN and Snake River were isolated by 150 feet from any other tomato. So it is possible I introduced potato leaf into it in 2019 but I've never seen it expressed. It is also possible the unknown father in 2018 could have introduced it. I think I still have seed samples from all three different years. Plus a sample of the sister variety orange hill Joseph sent me.

My plan for this year is rather to allow it to mix with other exserted types.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Randy Simmons

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #11 on: 2022-04-07, 02:41:51 PM »
It's still in the thirties here and planting time for okra is another five or six weeks off but got the last of my okra seed last weekend.  I'm always tempted to buy more but want to save room to replant some of what I save from last year's Cajun Jewel.  It seemed to grow the best of what I've tried in my garden so far.  This year I want to landrace okra and see how much I can improve on last year.  I have seeds for Kandahar Pendhi, Ultracross, Motherland, Alice Elliott, Clemson Spineless, Choppee, Wright's Pot Belly, Jing, Sultani, and Cowhorn.  When visiting my father I saw Baby Bubba and Go Big and bought them on impulse.  Going to plant a mix of all the new varieties next to patch of saved Cajun Jewel and see what happens. 

One seed of MMS x BH F2 germinated so rather than plant ten of them together, my plan is to put that one plant in a container with Exserted Orange. 

William Schlegel

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #12 on: 2022-04-07, 04:15:43 PM »
I have a packet or two of Okra I have been meaning to plant including a grex from a fellow in California. Probably needs planted because I have had it a few years now. Joseph's famous strain has been off the market a couple years because of crop failures or what not. My wife has been eating a lot of Okra lately it works with her new diet she has been trying out so growing it makes more sense now!

I also plan to plant MMS x BH F2 but from the anthocyanin strain with other exserted tomatoes including exserted orange, exserted tiger, and the tropical fruit tasting one if I can spare a few plants of the latter for crossing blocks. I am waiting for the potato leaves to come out and then I will thin out the regular leaved ones on that strain and only keep the potato leaved ones so that the crosses will be obvious next year.

Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian parent material and shallow 7" silty clay loam mollisoil topsoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Randy Simmons

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #13 on: 2022-04-07, 06:11:15 PM »
Unfortunately I am very late to the game.  I found an old post of Joseph's on Tomatoville and ordered the varieties he said worked such as Sultani and Cowhorn.  I already have Cajun Jewel.  I wish I could have gotten some of his original seeds.  Ultracross looks promising with its diversity.
« Last Edit: 2022-04-08, 06:06:45 AM by Randy Simmons »

Greenie DeS

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Re: Garden Journal
« Reply #14 on: 2022-04-19, 08:02:00 AM »
There was snow in the forecast and it's been a dry spring, so I broadcast-sowed two kales from the local seed swap, my edible chrysanthemum, some poppies, some lettuces, some beets, and some cilantro in and around my shadier haskap bed between the bushes.

I also broadcast white clover seed into my pathways.

Now there's 5cm of snow and another 5 expected. It should settle the seeds nicely.

The migratory birds have avian flu this year so all my birds are inside my greenhouses for awhile. No early greens for me!