Sunday, May 31, 2015

White Wonder Cucumber Sprouting!

Just five days after planting white wonder cucumber seeds, they've already sprouted! I can't wait to try these white cucumbers, they're going to be so unique! 

My trellis that I used for my cucumbers last year is still intact, so now all I need is the plants to grow! 

The seed packet for white wonder cucumber. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Found Strawberries in the Garden!

I'm As I was watering some perrenial flowers the other day, I noticed some bright red spots in the garden. To my surprise they were ripe strawberries! 

I was a little shocked, I knew the strawberry plants were there and I knew some of them had berries on them but they had grown and ripened so quickly! And to do so in a drought! 

It was a pleasant surprise and i immediately picked them, washed them off and enjoyed the amazing juiciness you can only get with a homegrown berry! 

Find out why my strawberries are growing randomly in my garden here! 

Bolting Turnip is Going to Seed

It looks like one of my many turnip plants has decided to bolt! No, it's not running away from the confines of my raised bed. This turnip plant has decided to grow really tall and skip producing a turnip in order to flower and produce seeds. 

It doesn't happen all the time but plants will do this if they are stressed. Unfortunately, it means I won't get a turnip from this one plant (don't worry I still have plent more!).  

When plants start to go to seed (usually when you notice flower buds forming), the plant focuses its energy on the seeds of the next generation. Sometimes, this can be delayed by clipping off the flower buds (you can do this to most herbs) however, it won't help with turnip. 

From my research online, turnip usually bolts to seed when it's stressed by one or two things. The first is poor soil. Considering I added healthy compost and soil to my raised garden this year, as well as the fact that other plants are fine, I don't suspect it's the soil. 

The other reason is stress due to too many hot days. Bingo! It's actually been a pretty warm May for southern Connecticut, especially after coming off a record cold start to the year! Turnip is a cool weather crop and therefore doesn't do well in the hot weather. 

I'm guessing this one plant thought it was just too hot to do the work of producing a turnip and decided to go to seed and let the next generation do the work! 

The rest of my turnip should be ready in ages more weeks! I can't wait! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Raspberry Flowers!

The first of the raspberry flowers have opened up for 2015. I actually noticed one flower on each of my raspberry varieties. The photo below is of the flower on my Fall Gold raspberry plant. This is the first year I'll be getting the golden, yellow berries! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stages of the Blueberry in Photographs

The blueberry, its the gorgeous marble of fruit that is loaded with antioxidants and deliciousness! This healthy treat from Mother Nature is considered a superfood but do you know what it looks like before it turns blue? 
Below are some photos I took of my blueberry plants in my backyard and the progression from flower to fruit. I think many people underestimate the beautiful bell-shaped flowers of a a blueberry bush. They also don't realize where the actual blueberry starts to form! 
If these photos encourage you to grow some of your own superfood, blueberries in your backyard, here's some facts, tips and tricks! 

The first photo is of the blueberry bush in bloom. The beautiful bell-shaped flowers look so delicate but are in fact pretty hardy. They form in clusters and will eventually become blueberries. They can also come in various shades of white, blue and even red! 

At the next stage, the flowers begin to fall off leaving a small and thin blue base behind. This is in fact the actual blueberry! 

Before the berries start to beef up, they look like these green flat stars. It's actually pretty interesting looking! 

The final stages, from the green plump berries to the ripe blueberry and it's famous blue/purple color! Photo from Wikipedia commons.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fall Gold Raspberries Buds!

I'm getting super excited! For the first time since I bought my Fall Gold raspberry plants, i'm finally seeing some flower buds forming on the plant. This means I'll have the very cool looking gold raspberries this summer! Woo-hoo! 

The berries are very similar to the red heritage raspberry, which I am also growing. Both plants will bear fruit and ripen around the same time, providing what I hope to be a beautiful assortment of raspberries! Both varieties are sweet and delicious, excellent for eating fresh. The only difference is the color. Red Heritage raspberries are your traditional bright red, these will be a beautiful yellow, gold color! 

Below are pictures of some of the buds forming on my Fall Gold raspberry plants! 

and what they should look like at harvest time! This photo is from wikipedia commons 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Garden Filling In! 5-18-15

Finally, after 23 days with no measurable rain here in Connecticut, we got about .33 inches of rain on Saturday morning. Not a lot but enough to give my garden a boost. Add in some sunshine and warm temps on Sunday and my garden is starting to fill in nicely! 

I love the way my garden looks! 

Radishes all lined up! 

Turnip getting bigger! 

Kale is getting big!!! 

The vegetable garden isn't the only area doing well. My blackberry plant is taking off as well! 

Even the flower buds are forming, which will eventually turn into delicious blackberries! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

First Harvest of 2015: Kale

I'm happy to announce that on the afternoon of May 13th 2015 I was able to harvest the first crop out of my vegetable garden! This crop being a few (6) Kale leaves! 

Kale is a cool weather crop and can handle colder temperatures, so I planted them in early April this year to try it out. Even after such a terribly cold winter, April and May have turned out to be pretty mild, allowing my garden to take off! 

Radishes, kale, Swiss chard and turnip are all growing in my garden right now! 

I planted some kale by seed and a few kale plants I bought at the garden center. The larger kale plants are from the garden center and are the ones I harvested from. 

In all, I cut six kale leaves from four plants. I didn't want to cut too many because I would like to try sustainable harvesting, which means I cut a few leaves here and there to prolong the harvest and increase the yield! 

I ended up putting the kale leaves in a bean salad like dish! It's delicious! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spring Heat Means Growth!

Boy have we turned a corner! From a record cold start this year to the now summer temperatures in early May, Mother Nature decided to give us New Englanders a nice break! 

This break is also doing my garden well! Below is my turnip plants, which are really starting to establish themselves. I just thinned them out a week ago! 

Next are the radishes! One of the fastest growing vegetables you can grow. These were planted using seed tape (which I LOVE so far) and were planted a week ago but should be ready to harvest by the end of the month (only 22 days!) 

My Swiss chard is also starting to establish itself and is beginning to look less like a sprout and more like a plant! 

Note* all the white petals in the photos are from the Cleveland pear trees that grow in my yard and my neighbors yard. Unfortunately, they're just ornamental and not actual edible fruit trees. I wish they were though! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Good & Bad of my Strawberries

I love strawberries! The little red berries are so sweet and delicious, not to mention healthy too! Strawberries are actually one of the first edible plants I tried to grow! 

Although it was the first edible plant I tried to grow, I have yet to master growing strawberries. However, I've been lucky in some ways and unlucky in others ! 

(Above is one of my strawberry plants in bloom - taken 5/4/15) 

When I first planted strawberries, I bought a small packet of about 20 plants. They were condensed in a small bucket no larger than six square inches. They were a June bearing strawberry, a classification that I had no idea meant at the time! I planted them in my backyard but they ended up dying by the end of the summer (most likely because there wasn't enough sun light). 

Now, here's where the luck kicks in. The following spring, out of no where, strawberry plants began to grow in the garden by the front porch. This was great news because I thought I had lost all my plants, they also seemed to do very well up front, where they got full sun all afternoon. 

We let the strawberry plants stay there for a few years and the began to spread like crazy. I would also get a few good strawberries every year! Finally, it was too much and I had to remove them from the front landscape. So I moved them to the south western side of the house and have just left them to grow on their own. See the photos below. 

Now the bad luck. I've attempted to transplant them to other areas of the yard but they never seem to take. I also tried to transplant some to a container last summer but they didn't survive the winter. 

They're still awesome plants to have and I love seeing the white flowers blossom early in the spring but I wish i could organize them better for a better yield. 

Duke Blueberry Plant Flowering!

Finally some warmth! After a ridiculously cold winter, we may hit 80 degrees along the Connecticut coast today! Wait a moment while I dance around and cheer! 

With the warmer temps, everything is in blossom and that even includes my newest blueberry bush! 

My Duke Blueberry bush has blossomed. I bought it a few weeks ago to replace a Sunshine Blue blueberry bush that had succumb to the icy cold grip of winter. 

It's still a small bush, so there aren't many blossoms on it but I'll take whatever I can get! I can't wait for the rest of my berries to flower and start growing! 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Facts, Tips and Tricks to Growing Blueberries

Want to grow your own superfood? Maybe you needs some tips or tricks to increase berry production on blueberry plants? Or maybe your just curious to how blueberry plants grow! No need to look any further. 

Check out my latest article on Hubpages called "Facts, Tips and Tricks to Growing Blueberries"

In this article, I explain some cool facts associated with growing blueberries while also giving some tips and tricks I've picked up over the years. I also share my own experiences growing this superfood. Blueberries are an excellent addition to any container garden, backyard garden or landscape. It's definitely worth growing, especially when it comes time to harvest the delicious berries. 

Enjoy the facts, tips and tricks! Hope it leads to your own mini blueberry production in your own backyard! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Kale is growing!

The kale plants and seed that I planted in my square foot garden two weeks ago are beginning to take off. Although Kale is suppose to do fairly well in cool temps, I wasn't sure if I planted it too early or not. Here in southern Connecticut, we usually don't plant anything before May 15th. However, even after a very cold winter, we've gotten lucky with a fairly descent April. The result is progress in my garden! 
Check out my beautiful kale plants in the morning sun! 

And the kale seeds I planted are now sprouting! 

Fruit Canes Already Growing for Next Year!

My raspberry and blackberry plants are looking great! The taller canes that will bear fruit this summer look very healthy and have already begun to sprout numerous leaves. (I can't wait for the delicious fruit!) 

Another sign pointing to my plants being healthy is the new canes growing up from the soil! 

Above is new heritage raspberry canes. They're only two inches high but they'll grow all summer and even produce a small crop of berries in the fall. Then next spring they will produce a much larger crop of berries before I cut them down.  

Above is a new Apache blackberry cane sprouting up. This cane will grow all summer and then produce blackberries next spring and summer. 

So far, growing raspberries and blackberries have been pretty easy! I wish I had more room in my yard to
Let them spread more!