Monday, February 18, 2013

Garden update 2-18-13

I was able to do some garden work this past weekend. Not as much as I would have liked to get done, but still a fair amount.

The blueberry bushes have been fertilized, got nice new mulch put down on top of the soil, and are all ready to burst into bloom. One has even started to put out some flowers already. I've got four varieties (having a few different varieties near each other helps with overall production). All are of the "Rabbiteye" type of blueberry, which works well in our hot and humid climate. The varieties I was able to find locally when I bought the plants were Climax, Tifblue, Premier, and Powderblue.  The Tifblue is already blooming, the Premier bush looks kind of scraggly but is covered in tiny buds. The other two are somewhere in the middle. Another point of having different varieties is that they bloom and bear fruit at different periods during the season, so it's good to have an early variety, a mid season variety and a later variety so that you have a longer harvest season. My four bushes are still young, but will produce a bit of fruit this year. I don't know how much they'll produce when they reach maturity, it'll be interesting to see though.

I also planted five Better Bush tomatoes in large pots to put in the front of the house where we get full sun, along with some small yellow marigolds as companion plants for both the health of the tomatoes, and to provide a pop of cheerful color against the green plant and terra cotta pot. Better Bush is a hybrid that does well in my climate and is suited for containers. It makes tomatoes that are bigger than a cherry or salad tomato, but not a giant slicer. Pretty much an all purpose little tomato. If they do well for me, I'll be using them mostly to make homemade marinara sauce. They were an impulse buy at the garden center Sunday morning because they were such big and healthy thriving plants.

Then I got the two heirloom "black" tomatoes in large containers too. The variety is "Black Russian" and they are supposed to be compact plants that produce well. Heirloom tomatoes have been really hit or miss for me. But these were from a reliable supplier, and planted in fresh new rich soil in the prime sunny spot of my yard. So they have the best odds of doing well.

I also got my two jalapeno plants into their pots. I always seem to have more jalapenos than I need, they are very productive little plants here. So this year I chose two varieties, Purple pod jalapenos (which are green inside and are as hot as a standard jalapeno) and "Tam" jalapeno which is a hybrid that has all the jalapeno flavor with only mild heat.

The seedlings are doing okay, the Lipstick peppers are doing the best, the Ghost peppers doing the worst. The Little Finger eggplant somewhere inbetween. I think at least some will make it to transplant stage. But I really need a lamp/heat mat setup to sprout seeds in the winter for spring planting. Next year...

My next project in the garden will be to transplant all of the bell peppers into their containers (and the one funny little "Red Peter" pepper. After that, I will prepare all the March planting (cucumber seeds, bush bean seeds, herbs, eggplant, zucchini, and at the end of the month the melons. And in the meanwhile I will be adding flowers here and there as I go for color in the garden and to attract bees and butterflies.

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