Saturday, May 9, 2009

Concord Grapes Came Back

I was very pleasantly surprised that my concord grapes came back this year. However, I think they are only producing leaves and no fruit. Lots and lots of leaves!

Cam and I were reading that grapes need well-drained soil to thrive. I'm afraid those boxes really hold moisture well. The soil seems to very damp inside, so the square foot boxes were probably not the best place to plant those grapes . . . Oops, it's a bit too late. I guess that's a mistake I'll have to live with.

I do wonder how much the grapes have rooted since last year. Is it too late to transplant them somewhere else? Would that kill them?

I think the soil may be contributing to why they are not fruiting but instead growing lots of new leaves. Opinions anyone?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

First Attempt at Blueberries

Another first in the garden this year are the blueberries. I bought two blueberry plants at Lowe's recently and planted them next to each other. Both looked very healthy; one was already flowering. And now I have the very beginnings of blueberries!

Sadly, all the blueberries are on the same plant (plant #2) . I am hoping plant #1 catches up soon--so far, it seems to be growing leaves instead of flowers.

Blueberry plant # 2 is very plentiful. And I am so excited.

As you can see in the second picture, this plant has many, many bunches of blueberries. I have read online that birds absolutely love blueberries. So I am going to have to put netting over plant # 2 very soon.

I would love to share the blueberries with the birds, but sadly, I don't have a huge blueberry garden... so the birds will have to stay away! I can't wait until this ripens!

Does anyone watch Jeff Poppen, the Barefoot Farmer, on PBS on Volunteer Garden? ( Recently, there was an episode and he talked a little bit about growing blueberries. He said that they can take 6-8 years before they are plentiful and give lots of fruit. I don't doubt that. My little plants are very low to the ground right now, but I am looking forward to watching them grow in the upcoming years.

The Barefoot Farmer also mentioned that blueberries grow much better if you put different varieties next to each other. It's better for cross-pollination.

Plant # 1 and Plant # 2 are the same variety, so I am now in the hunt to find a different variety of blueberry. Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Something new: Topsy Turvy

I'm trying something new this year: The Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. It's one of those "As Seen on TV" things, but Cam and I thought it was very cool, so we decided to give it a try.

For Easter, we set one up for my 94 year old American Grandmother. She used to love to garden, but now because of her age, it's not something she can safely do. We put the topsy turvy on her porch, planted two cherry tomato plants in it, and hung it low enough so that she can water it without any discomfort. So far, her tomato plants seems to be growing fine in it.

At Cam's house, we "planted" two Mr. Stripey tomatoes in the Topsy Turvy. We hung it on one of the satellite dishes in the backyard.

It was very easy to set up. All you do is slip your plants through the hole at the bottom and fill it with potting soil (with time-release vegetable fertilizer). It did become very heavy, though, once the soil was added. It's a two-person job!

I am very interested in seeing how this works. If it works.

According to the company's Website (, you can use the topsy turvy to grow fresh herbs, zucchini, eggplant, and even peppers. It apparently also minimizes pests and diseases because your plant is above ground. Hmmm.... We''ll see.

We paid about $10 for this at Wal-Mart, so it won't be a total loss if this fails.

At least I won't have any problems with cutworms with the topsy turvy! I'm excited about the Mr. Stripey tomatoes too! But more about that once it begins to fruit! I can't wait!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring Garden Update

Hi Everyone,

I have officially started to garden again in the garden. I'm getting a late start, mostly because I was unsure of when to start. We've had several cold spells in the Nashville area, lots of rain, and a tornado that came through Murfreesboro (a small town an hour away from Nashville).

It's almost May, so summer is practically here, but I started to plant seeds and transplant seedlings into the garden. I'm still using the square foot boxes, but I'm letting them "go wild" this year--no wooden bars to separate smaller boxes.

We have some herbs and fruit that came back this year, and I'll be blogging about those later this week. I am going to try to blog at least once a week, but depending on my work schedule, I may not be able to blog as much as I did last year. Blogging does take a lot of time, so I'll do my best.

This spring/summer season, I've growing the following in my garden:

* Broccoli
* Black from Tula tomatoes (Heirloom)
* Cherry/Roma tomatoes
* Mr. Stripey (Heirloom)
* Peas
* Red cabbage
* Crookneck Squash
* Onions
* Garlic
* Oregano
* Sage
* Sweet Basil
* Stevia

If Cam and I have more time this summer, we're going to build either raise beds or more square foot boxes to grow even more vegetables.

I know it's getting a little late, but I haven't started any lettuce or spring mixes yet. I hope to be able to do that soon. (Hopefully before the heat comes).

I am extremely excited about all the different varieties of vegetables and mints I've started.

Cutworms are the biggest pests that we've faced in the garden this year. They've cut all of the bush beans seedlings that we planted in the garden, three heirloom tomato plants, and three of the peas that we're attempting to grow.

We didn't have any luck growing peas last year because we planted them so late in the season; it was already June when we tried. But with these cutworms, I am worried they're not going to survive this year either. *sigh*

These are the only pea plants that are remaining:

I think we'll try bush beans again later this summer. To combat these evil villains, we've cut plastic straws into 2-3" sections and wrapped them around the stems. Hopefully, this will work and we can save our remaining plants.

We got the idea of plastic straws after reading this gardening forum:

If you are interested, there are photos of the process on the forum.

Info on cutworms can be found here:

I've found the U of Minnesota's Website extremely helpful.