April 27, 2010: Rainy Days & Tuesdays (part 1)

***Today's blog has so many photos, I'm doing it in two parts. Please scroll down for part 2.

Of course, I should have known it would rain today, since I gave the entire garden a double soaking yesterday. Not to complain, though. We get so little rain here in Eastern Washington, every drop is welcome. I braved the wet, and pushed a cart of seedlings out to enjoy a big, natural drink. When the sun comes out, they should put out a new growth spurt.

Tomato and pepper seedlings enjoying a spring shower.

This past week was spent planting out more seedlings, as well as moving all the potted plants from the patio table into the garden. I left the one Gartenperle tomato on the table to give Mr. Granny something to baby. That will be his own special tomato plant, as he's not allowed in the main garden. I doubt I'll ever train him to be a gardener, and I really think he doesn't have the slightest interest in being one, anyway.

Mr. Granny's Gartenperle tomato, complete with moisture meter,
to let him know when to water.

You may notice I've changed Mr. H's name to Mr. Granny. Many of us read Mr. H.'s (H with a period) blog, and my references to Mr. H (H with no period) are getting confusing.......thus, Mr. H (no period) will from now on be known as Mr. Granny. I think that name fits him better anyway. *snicker*.

Anyway, back to the garden.

So far, seventeen tomatoes have been planted. The main indeterminate garden, with its green bottomless buckets, holds one each Cherokee Purple, Kellogg's Breakfast, Sudduth's Brandywine and Nyagous. Four more indeterminates were planted behind the garden shed, against the back fence, and drip irrigation lines put in place for them. Those were two Cherokee Purple, one Brandywine and one Eva Purple Ball. There are two more spots to plant back there, but possibly too shady to grow anything well. I'll utilize those for a couple of leftover plants later on. Six of my larger (nearly bottomless) pots have been set over the metal fence posts that I was going to have Mr. Granny remove, now that I'm no longer fencing in the north garden. I decided they would be good supports for the several varieties of dwarf or very small determinate tomatoes I'm trying this year. They contain one each Minigold, Clear Pink Early, Golden Dwarf Champion, Sibirskij Stambovyj, Husky Red Cherry and Dwarf Champion. There are two pots of one each, Dwarf Champion and Golden Dwarf Champion, in the east garden, and Mr. Granny's Gartenperle on the patio table. Today was to be the day we set up the containers for the cherry tomatoes, but the rain has delayed that job.

Buckets, pots and in-the-ground tomatoes.

The raspberries are absolutely loaded with blossoms! I'll bet I get enough berries for jam, as well as fresh eating this year. Last year I got only a few handfuls that were eaten right on the spot.

Beautiful raspberry blossoms!

Exactly one year apart, (top) raspberries April 2009 and (bottom) raspberries April 2010.

The Contender bush beans are putting on their first leaves, the corn is about an inch high, and the Butternut squash have poked their pretty little leaves out of the hill of compost. I'm seeing some red globes beneath the radish leaves, and the lettuces are beginning to look like real plants, rather than small seedlings, even though the green ones are still recovering from being eaten by birds.

Contender bush beans.


Butternut squash.

Cherry Belle radishes.

Red Sails lettuce.

Buttercrunch lettuce, still showing some bird damage.

Last night I replanted the beets. I don't know whether it was the lack of rain/irrigation water early on or the quail that came through the garden, but hardly any of the beets came up. I've never had a problem with beets before, and the seeds were new, so I don't quite know what happened. I'm thinking this moon planting business isn't worth the hassle, so I ignored the moon phase and planted the root crop at the wrong time.......the "right" time didn't work, so why not.

TA-DA!! The first harvest from the Washington garden! The spinach needed to be thinned, and the thinnings were large enough to eat. I pulled two of the Walla Walla sweet onions to add to it, and we had an excellent wilted spinach salad for dinner.

The first thinning of the spinach bed gave us......

Enough for a big wilted spinach salad.

Continued (below).....


  1. WOW Granny you have been very busy! Everything looks great! I have tried to follow the gardening by the moon also. The weather, plants, time and moon just don't seem to cooperate with each other. My little garden helper is back from visiting with his mom...so, we will get "The Italian" to take our picture with our fork. It is an old one!

  2. I sure hope Mr. Granny takes care of that gartenperle, because i'd like to see what they look like.

  3. Things are really filling in! All your tomatoes look really happy too. I have been planting a few things opposite to the moon planting as well. It is kind of a pain isn't it :-)

  4. Robin, I'm so looking forward to adding you to The Garden Fork Club!

    EG, if he's half as attentive to that plant as he was to the ones in AZ, it should do well. I do hope it grows true, not like my supposed Tumbling Tom did last year.

    Dan, it is a pain. I missed out on some of the best times for planting, mostly due to the "barren" dates. I think I'll just revert back to my old way of planting when I'm darned good and ready to plant.

  5. It's so exciting to see a bit of a peek into what will be coming soon to our neck of the woods. I love the tomatoes in the bottomless buckets. What a wonderful way to plant them.

  6. Whoohoo the first of the spring planted veggies to be harvested is always reason to celebrate.

  7. The Mom, the four bottomless buckets I planted last year worked so well, this year I have a dozen of them!

    Daphne, they sure make the tummy celebrate ;-)

  8. Same weather scenario here AG...and I also watered yesterday... : ) Everything in your garden is looking fabulous!

  9. Wow Gran, you've been a busy girl! I planted 9 tomato plants last weekend and took your advice - I bought calcium tablets and crushed them. :)

    I love the picture of your raspberries. I can't believe how far along they are.

    I'm having issues with my beets as well. Only about half germinated and they are growing VERY slowly.

    I'll have to do a tomato planting demonstration one of these days! I curious to see how you do it.

  10. Thank you, Sunny.

    Thomas, I'm hoping this second planting of beets comes up. Maybe Mr. Granny put a hex on them....he doesn't like beets!

  11. I love the Mr. Granny. Show him who's boss! Your garden is looking fantabulous as always. Look at all of those pepper plants!

  12. Ribbit, I should have named him Mr. Granny from the beginning. It really does fit him, especially now that he's retired and doesn't mind helping with the housework as long as I do all the gardening ;-)

  13. "That will be his own special tomato plant, as he's not allowed in the main garden." You had me laughing so hard at that! I am sure he'll do great! I am so glad I knew that you did so many tomatoes in containers, since that is what I did this year - it helped ease my nervousness about it. And your corn does okay in a container? I got some dwarf corn (about 3 ft high) to try this year but not sure where to plant it since I don't have an area to do traditional rows, so I was thinking the same...

  14. Where to start?

    Mr Granny?! - Fabulous!
    Raspberries - Gorgeous patch and it will only get better from here on out.
    Tomato Plantings - Looks like you will be set for another record setting year in 2010!
    Harvest - MMMMmmmm... spinach! One of my favorites. I was just celebrating the spinach patch coming into it's own on my blog post this week.

  15. Mr. Granny, I like it.:)

    It's been raining here as well but is far too blustery and cold to set our tomatoes out...we have a couple/three weeks to go. When was your last frost date? I'm jealous that you can plant so early compared to us. I like Mr. Granny's one plant garden.:)

  16. Erin, I've never grown corn in containers before, but EG does it and his grow fine. I had the corn seed (free), and it's a shorter 5' variety, so I decided to try it. I planted 14 seeds, two in the center and 12 around the outside, and will thin to seven plants in each barrel. The variety is not one I would have picked out, but free is good, and certainly good enough for an experiment. With the tomatoes, I feel huge holes in the bottoms of the containers, which are then set on the ground, is the way to go. That way the roots can seek their own depth. Of course, the tomato top table is another story ;-)

  17. Kitsap, my spring spinach is already showing leaf miner damage. That's a real problem here. The fall spinach fares much better, but oh...the taste of the first spring spinach is oh so worth the trouble of sorting through those leaves.

  18. I've never gardened by the moon and, even though I'm not always successful, there are a lot more things to blame than the moon!

  19. Mr. H, our normal last frost date is May 1, but most years it's actually a couple of weeks earlier. I'm really pushing it this year, as everything is about two weeks early. The extended forecast had nighttime temps in the mid forties for the entire week, so I took a chance on the tomatoes. Now that forecast has dropped to the high thirties, so I'll be pacing the floor for the next week or so.

    I won't be planting my peppers out for another two weeks. I did leave them outside, an a wind protected area of the garden, last night. I haven't had the nerve to go look at them yet, but they should be OK. I think I should put them back inside the shed at night for at least another week.

  20. Jan, neither had I, and I probably won't again. I think we'll all have a lot of successes and few failures regardless. I've always just trusted my Crockett's Victory Garden book and my gut instinct, and have done just fine.

  21. I just discovered your wonderful blog! I haven't had a chance to read all your posts but envy your garden so far this year. I too am planting my garden (I am in Oregon). I just have a couple questions - 1. I see in your photos that you start seedlings in the red cups and I see them also in the ground. Do you leave the plants in those red cups, are the bottoms removed for the roots??? 2.the green buckets - why? Do the plants grow better in the buckets rather then direct in the ground? Sorry if these are silly questions, but I want to do well in my garden this year and you know all the tricks. I wish I could talk to you in person!!! Oh, I could learn SO much from you!

  22. Terri, I don't start my seedlings in the red cups, I start them in soil blocks and then plant them into the red cups when the roots begin to grow out of the blocks. That gives me some really strong plants when it's time to put them into the garden, and most of the cups are kept from year to year, and reused. I have a problem with cutworms here, so I've left a bit of the top of the cup to serve as a cutworm collar. I've only done that with the tomatoes (and a few flowers)that are planted directly into the ground. Those were from old cups that had broken and couldn't be used again, otherwise I'd have protected the stems with collars made from heavy paper or light cardboard.

    The buckets were used...because I had them! I got a dozen of them last year, to make into self watering containers. That didn't work out for me, as the tomato plants became rootbound and eventually died, so I decided to utilize the buckets this year by removing nearly the entire bottoms, so the roots could go as deeply as they want. I had grown four tomato plants that way last year, and I was very happy with the way the buckets performed. It allows me to plant all around the base of the tomato plants, as they are kept quite high off the ground. Right now I have bush beans growing on one side of the main bed, and lettuces on the other, with the tomato buckets down the center. I also like (and use) the buckets for cucumbers. One thing, good support needs to be provided for the buckets. The tomatoes get very top heavy, and can topple over in the wind...I learned that the hard way!

    In other words, no. The plants don't necessarily grow better in the buckets, I just had 12 buckets that I wanted to get out of my shed!