Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Rainy Misty Day in Virginia

And the perfect day for a greenhouse update. Remember a couple weeks ago when we planted tomato seedlings, covering them with plastic and setting them in water trays?

They're up! These are all Better Boy's, the big round red ones that are perfect for slicing up for burgers, or freezing, or just eating off the vine. By the middle of May, they will be ready to set out.

Lettuce is a little over 8", and in sad need of thinning and transplanting. Thinning is something I always have a hard time doing - the little plants are so green and enthusiastic, I hate to kill any of them. I've already transplanted part of this crop, and will probably move more this weekend.

Over the last few weeks I've been unable to refrain from picking up a few seedlings -mostly green peppers, bok choy, broccoli and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. The bok choy and broccoli can be set out this weekend but the green peppers and tomatoes need to wait. BTW -green peppers love heat - make sure you give yours lots of mulch. I've also used black plastic around mine -it seems they can't get enough heat, as long as their roots are kept damp.

The former potato bed still has potatoes coming up - the plant on the left is horseradish, while the smaller plants on the right are new potatoes. By practicing companion planting, in this case putting horseradish with potatoes, the possibility of insect damage can be avoided. While others in our area were inundated with Japanese beetles on their potatoes a couple summers ago, my plants stayed almost beetle-free - thanks to having horseradish plants sprinkled in among the potatoes. Horseradish is a perennial that reaches 2-3 feet in height, and easily spreads (everywhere a piece of root is left, a new plant will come up). The root can be grated and made into sauce. I enjoy the plant - it's a beautiful green, large and leafy, and needs no special care or watering.

And of course, the blueberries are leafing out, and flowering. Berries should start appearing during May-June. This is a good time to start collecting old CD's at yard sales for decorating the berry bushes and lettuce beds. By using these, I've eliminated the need for protective netting or wire fencing against bunnies and birds. The dangling CD's reflect light back and simulate movement to both birds and four-footed snackers. This is one of the new plants we added in February. The older five year plants are almost 5 feet tall, and loaded with buds.

Maybe this is the year we'll need a bucket to hold all the berries!

1 comment:

  1. Everything's coming along nicely - my tomatoes are beginning to make an appearance too.

    Don't kill your little baby lettuces that you want to thin out - eat them!