Summer 2012 garden
Hello, I live in Sacramento, California, USA and every year I have a small garden in my back yard. The climate here is terrific for gardening. My favorite things to grow are tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, sun flowers and pumpkins. This year I’m trying winter squash. The harvest is delicious and nutritious. Hopefully I’ll have harvest to share. Mother nature is awesome.
Welcome to my diary. This year I plan to grow:
Early Girl Tomatoes
Costoluto Fiorentino / Canestrino Di Lucca Tomatoes
Green Dragon Burpless Cucumbers
Early Sunglow Corn
Sweet Banana Peppers
Green Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers
May 6, 2012
I started this year’s garden by preparing 2 areas and planning where things would go (jump to the map). The soil was hand spaded and steer manure was mixed in. Next I started seeds in containers: Acorn Squash, Kabocha Squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and sunflowers.
May 10, 2012
I purchased 3 plants from Walmart and planted them – one Cherry Tomato, one Early Girl Tomato and one Sweet Banana Pepper. My friend Nilo gave me some Costoluto Tomato plants and I planted them.
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May 14, 2012
Seeds in containers are sprouting.
May 17, 2012
I transplanted seedlings to the garden and planted seeds in the garden: corn, beets, lettuce, arugula.
May 19, 2012
I bought and planted vegetables from Ace Hardware: one Ace Tomato, one green bell pepper and one red bell pepper.
Here is a map of the garden as of May 19, 2012.
May 23, 2012
The cherry and Early Girl tomatoes are taking off, as well as the sunflowers and pumpkins but only half of the corn seeds sprouted.
May 25, 2012
Only half the corn sprouted so I replanted the missing plants to maintain the 5 x 4 matrix of plants. The tight matrix is important for pollination. I added wire cages to the 5 tomato plants.
June 7, 2012
Joi sent me a bunch of interesting seeds –
Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
Russian Black Krim Tomato
Great White Tomato
OSU Blue Tomato
Sweet Mild Pepper
Dragon Tongue Bush Bean
Mexican Sour Gherkin (Mini Mexican Watermelon)
I decided to plant these in my garden instead of my second and third corn plantings. It may be late to plant and I’m not sure what climate these plants like but what the heck. Here are the tomatoes and peppers started in containers:
At night I cover the fresh dug earth with an old window screen to try to prevent the cats from digging there.
Green tomatoes! Both the cherry and Early girl are starting to produce fruit.
Everything is growing well except the beets which the cats like to stand on.
The healthiest most vigorous plants are volunteers sprouting out of the compost pile, could be pumpkins or squash.
June 14, 2012
The garden is doing well. Joi’s seeds are sprouting – some tomatoes, melons and of course the beans. I see the first Costoluto Tomato fruit.
Jun 18, 2012
Added manure to established plants, gave the seedlings some Schultz plant food.
June 26, 2012
I noticed my tomatoes are not setting fruit, the flowers are dropping off. An Internet search suggests low temperatures (under 55 degrees) and lack of pollination could be a problem. Sure enough, the last 3 nights have been in the low 50’s.
Sacramento weather has been unseasonably cool the last 4 days and the garden growth has slowed. Forecast is for warmer weather ahead.
June 29, 2012
The weather has warmed both day and night, the garden is growing and tomato and pepper plant flowers are setting fruit. Lots of bees are visiting the flowers.
July 3, 2012
Garden continues to grow.
July 7, 2012
Sacramento is entering a hot spell, upper 90s and triple digits for days, the garden grows faster. I transplanted the tomato seedlings to the garden. One sunflower is as tall as me.
July 10, 2012 – 2 month update
It’s been 2 months (since May 10) since the first store bought tomato plants were planted and the first seeds were planted. Everything is doing well except the beets were struggling and I pulled them to make room for more tomatoes. The gerkin and pepper seeds Joi sent me failed.
I am eating cucumbers and arugula daily from the garden.
This year I spent $17.73 on the garden – $6.47 on steer manure and $11.25 on tomato and pepper plants. All the seeds I planted were either from previous years, given to me by Joi or saved from squash and pumpkins previously purchased. Nilo gave me tomato plants. Squash volunteered from the compost pile. The tools and cages I had from previous gardens.
The garden is over crowed again this year and plants are overlapping but I think they’ll be OK. Here is an update map for the newer plants.
July 10, 2012
The first tomato is ripening. It is a cherry tomato. The corn is starting it’s pollination dance and the first ears are forming.
July 11, 2012
July 14, 2012
First big tomatoes, Early Girl, are starting to ripen but the next few days will be cooler, 80s day and high 50s at night. Planted some more lettuce.
July 17, 2012
Tomato Hornworm attack! I found some tomato leaves stripped and caterpillar poop but I could not find the worms. Hopefully a bird or something ate it.
July 25, 2012
I am getting cucumbers, arugula, Sweet Banana Peppers, lettuce, corn and tomatoes from the garden. Bell peppers, winter squash and pumpkins are forming.
Except for the cucumbers and sweet peppers, the yields so far are not so high. I get one cucumber a day, the corn cobs are skinny and the tomatoes are slowly ripening.
July 29, 2012
The garden is well but overcrowded and becoming a jumble of vines and plants.
July 30, 2012
August 2, 2012
August 13, 2012
Sacramento is in the middle of a several day heat wave with 100 degree plus days.
Cucumbers, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes are producing. Lots of winter squash are growing. Ace and Costoluto tomatoes are very slow to ripen.
September 5, 2012
The sunflowers are drooping and the corn is long gone. Tomatoes are not prolific but I eat a couple a day. The cucumbers are still producing but they seem to turn yellow and bitter fast.
September 6, 2012
Squirrels and birds finished off all the sunflower seeds. Here is a short video of a squirrel pigging out. It’s OK, I let the birds and squirrels eat them. The Sunflowers really drooped over this year.
September 12, 2012
My previous composting project was a failure. Over the last year I thought I could compost by just tossing the kitchen waste in a pile on the ground and it would decompose. Fail. It simply dried up. Not compost. So today I set up a real compost bin. Today I filled it half way with fresh lawn clippings and some dried kitchen waste, mixed it and since it was dry I added water till water seeped out the bottom. Hopefully it will compost. On the good side my fake compost pile never attracted flies or vermin. (Update: Wow it worked. I think the lawn clippings were the key along with using a real bin and keeping it moist. It looks like composting is happening, the pile is shrinking and giving off heat. It’s looking like compost. Tons of maggots appeared. Freaked me out until I did some research, they are soldier fly larvae and all good.)
Harvested today: Costoluto tomatoes, lumpy cucumber and dragon beans. Made salsa.
September 23, 2012
A little visitor in the garden, a Praying Mantis.
September 26, 2012
The weather has been consistently in the 80’s and 90’s during the day and 50’s at night all September.
The peppers are about over and the cucumbers are finished producing. All the tomatoes are still producing, but only a few a day. Winter harvest of pumpkins and winter squash look good.
Unfortunately the tomato seeds from Joi had a late start. Only the OSU and Trifele fruited and I doubt they have the time or temperature to ripen. I look forward to trying them again next season.
Panorama of the backyard.
The garden was a success this year with a steady stream of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. The corn and sunflowers did well. Winter squash and pumpkins were plentiful. The arugula grew well, the beets failed. I was happy to share the bounty with friends.
I love gardening. It is relaxing to dig, plant, water and get dirty. Watching the plants grow from seed to fruit is awesome. The fresh vegetables are delicious and nutritious. Observing nature is amazing – squirrels, birds and insects were all plentiful this year. Bug life was particularly entertaining this year – Carpenter bees pollinating, huge garden spiders with their huge beautiful webs, the Sphinx moth, soldier fly maggots in the compost and the always cool Praying Mantis.
Thank you mother nature.
Some final fall and winter pics:
See you next year. Happy New Year 2013!