Welcome to our 2014 Garden

24 February 2014
I put the panels back on the greenhouse - about a 6 hour project to place the panels and clips.  Then David helped hold the nuts while I put the center bolts through the poly panels and tightened them down. He and mom were out starting the pruning of the pear trees. I potted 12 blackberries dug from the floor of the greenhouse using #3 & #4 pots.  The blackberry patch is at the front end of the greenhouse and their roots send up runners in the floor of the greenhouse. What I trimmed off of the blackberry canes that went in the pots I placed in a bucket of water until I can root tone and pot them.  We haven't done that before but I'm trying it this year.

25 February 2014
I drove over to Emmett this morning and spent $200 to buy over 1500 used tree farm plastic pots. There were 100s of 1 gallon and 4 gallon mostly.

I built a 2 tier shelf for one side of the greenhouse using free pallet wood from the nampa mill.  I also potted a couple dozen Albion strawberries in 4" and 6" pots and planted 12 Abe Lincoln tomato seeds just to say I planted something. The weather yesterday and today was 60 degrees and warm and breezy.  The soil around the strawberries is totaly tillable and not too wet.

3 March 2014
I filtered a 3 cu ft bale of peat moss through some hardware cloth.  It filled a 2 cu ft bag 2 1/2 times (5 cu ft).  I considered the fluff factor.  I had just filtered a 64 qt bag of Miracle Grow Miraiax Potting Soil through the same filter and used the same fluff factor (not much actually).

4 March 2014
I filled (6) 96 count pencil-hole seed starting tays with our filtered peat moss.  I mixed a coffee can of vermiculite with a 2 cu ft quantity of screened peat moss.  Then I planted seeds in those 6 trays.

5 March 2014
I gathered up some 4" empty pots and filled them with screen peat moss.  Started late and didn't have time to plant them. The weather since 2/25 has been pretty rainy.  My 2000 gallon rain tank filled up today.  It will overflow if I don't start using it somewhere.

6 March 2014
Got up early and planted the 4" pot trays I filled last night.  I ordered some misting tips and tubing connectors today.  I also ordered another 7 way valve for my original sand filter.  We blew one out last year from too much pressure.  The side blew out of the filter.  The valve is good but doesn't fit the original one.

Seeds started so far:
Peppers: Anaheim, Early Jalapeno, Pablano, CA Wonder Sweet Bell, Cubanell Red Swee Bell
Tomatoes: Siletz, Roma, Martino's Roma, Early Red Chief, Cherokee Purple, Abe Lincoln, San Marzano

10 March 2014
I got to visit with the Wards today in S Meridian. He was the head of the organic gardeners group.  He is gone now.  The family used to help around the greenhouses and couldn't wait to show me around.  I was actually there to buy a cash register for my farmers market booth.  What a treat to find out about their greenhouse experience.  I'm going to have to return for another visit soon.  I also ran out to the Sunny Slope this side of the Snake River above Marsing to pick up some Giant Kiowa Blackberry and Boysenberry starts from Rich Hellweges place near the top of the hill there.

11 March 2014
I went over to Robert Hunts tractor garden at corner Maple Grove and Ustick in Boise to get some starts of the K816, Heritage, Autumn Britain raspberries, and Cabot strawberries.

25 March 2014
I planted 60 Seascape bare root strawberries on the 22nd.  Today we planted 84 Monterey bare root strawberries - both varieties from Lassen Canyon Nursery in northern California.  The Heritage raspberries that we got from them last spring as "tissue culture" plants are doing great this spring.

March 2014
A 2 cu ft bag or 64 quart bag filled (28)  1 gallon pots.

4 April 2014
I got out some yellow and orange bell pepper seeds.  Since it is month later than the pepper seeds I started in the greenhouse I decided to germinate these seeds in the house first.  So I put them on a wet paper towel in a ziploc bag. Then I put them in a small box on top of the cable modem in the office.  I also put a remote thermometer sensor in there so I can tell what the temperature is.  It seems to be a constant 85 degrees.

7 April 2014
I finished pruning the small pear tree and started on the plum tree.  There is never enough time in the day!

9 April 2014
I bought a few 6 pack tomatoes at the Fred Meyer sale tonight for 3.49 each.  I wouldn't have but they are so big.  I can get 4 packs smaller tomatoe at D and B Supply for 1.50 each. Varieties include Bush Early Girl, Old German, Celebrity, Champion, Better Boy.

We're going to Jenna's wedding in Logan tomorrow for a couple days.  The weather here has been so warm and dry. So I hooked up the Fackrells pond pump to a long hose and watered all of the new transplants around the yard from our 2000 gallon rain collector tank.

Yesterday I planted most of those pepper and tomato seeds that I was germinating on the box on my cable modem. There are still a few seeds that haven't germinated but most have. Some of them were placed in the box on 3/4. The others were placed in the box on 3/6.  I was seeing 2 day and 4 day germination on both the tomatoes and the peppers at 85 degrees.  It took over 1 month for the tomatoes and peppers I planted in potting trays in the greenhouse on 4 March to come up.  Many are still coming up in there but some, especially on side that the heater faces, are up 3 inches.  It was time to transplant 96 count tomato trays a week ago.  I just haven't had time.

12 April 2014
I put on a seed starting class at the request of the staff at the Idaho Indoor Farmers Market where we also displayed greenhouse, other gardening and irrigation items.  The Fackrells brought down their  wheat grass growing system for display.  There were 6 plastic trays showing the 6 days process of growing wheat grass from wheat seed.  The grass in the 6th tray was 4 or 5" tall and so green!  It was a huge hit.

12 May 2014
Frost on the ground.  I took pictures of frost on the strawberries.

14 May 2014
Planted 2 rows of corn

17 May 2014
pulled all of the plants out of the greenhouse to harden off.  Placed them along the fence by the road under the neighbors trees at the west end of our home.  They get enough sun, wind, and cold to harden off there.

19 May 2014
I wheelbarrowed all of the sand out into the garden.  I changed tiller engines because I can't find a bolt to thread into the shaft of the Chinese engine to hold the key in the pulley and it kept sliding out.  But the original 8hp engine that Wayne tuned up for me acted like the timing was off and lugged down real bad.  It starts with one pull but lugs down under load.  So I parked the Troybilt tiller and used my Merry Tiller to start tilling in the sand.  I transplanted Ranch raspberries to fill out the row and I transplanted Canby Thornless raspberries to fill out the row.

20 May 2014
Today we received approval from the NRCS Caldwell office for an Equip Grant 30x70 high tunnel no heat plastic film steel hoop greenhouse.  It will be a challenge to find a place for a greenhouse that big to fit on our lot.  I have 3 places in mind but I think that the NRCS will want it in the "cultivated" garden area and not somewhere that we don't cultivate like our back yard lawn area.  I will find out more in a couple of weeks. We applied for this greenhouse back in September or October 2013.

Frost on the rooftops but no frost noted on the ground.  I was gone during the sunrise and don't know for sure but no greenhouse plants outside in the yard were damaged.  I tilled in the rest of the sand today.  Planted the seed potatoes I purchased from D and B Supply.  There are 10 or 12 each of Pontiac Red, Burbank Russett, Ucon Gold, All Blue.  The All Blue came from the Glenwood Market produce booth (old potatoes).

21 May 2014
I planted a full 60 foot row of different kinds of tomatoes.  I planted a full row of mixed color bell peppers.  Then I planted a full row of peppers including Orange Bells, Jalapeno, Habanero, Anaheim.  I hooked up drip tape to all of the first 6 rows of the garden on the grapes end.  I weeded the multiple variety row of raspberries where the 2 kinds of black raspberries are.  It rained this afternoon.  I checked with a shovel to see that the rain soaked down almost 2".  I haven't watered our original raspberries yet this year.  They look good but won't produce as well without water and fertilizer.  I have had time to do anything but prune them in April.  I'll water them tomorrow morning.

30 May 2014
I planted another 5 rows of tomatoes and a full row of peppers.

5 June 2014
I planted the zucchini, and squash row next to the water filter system and planted the cucumber, beans, and canteloupe trellis row.

7 June 2014
I brought triple stack bunny cage and both plant racks home from the market booth tonight.  Next week we'll be handing out leftover greenhouse plants for free.

9 June 2014
I planted another row of tomotoes, a row of celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

10 June 2014
I Planted 10 plants of our family heirhoom Kennington Big Red tomatoes.  I cleaned out all of the weeds from the area against the north fence behind the original shop where they are protected better against cross polination.  I turned the irrigation on them to drip all night.  I gave 3 or 4 of these to Kathy a couple of weeks ago to plant in their yard.  Kathy is the daughter of Hugh Kennington of Ontario, OR.

This week all of the strawberry varieties are fully loaded with ripe strawberries more than they ever will any time again this year. The rows are solid red.  Our Sequoia produced for the first time up and down the row.  flavor is good but berries are smaller.  I haven't fertilized yet this year.  I didn't even pick 1/4 of the strawberries today. We put 10 pounds of strawberries in the freezer today both frozen whole and puree.

Yesterday I ordered (2) 1/2" venturi type fertilizer injectors with syphon tubes, syphon filter, and syphon flow regulating valve.  They should be here by June 26 or so.  Then I will be able to use our rabbit manure tea to fertilize the garden, fruit trees, and lawn more automatically.  I had ordered one of these injectors a couple of weeks ago but cancelled the order when I found out that they are British Standard thread instead of NPT thread like we normally us in the USA.  But I discovered that 1/2" and 3/4" are 14 threads per inch in both types.  And since I can't find them for a good price in the NPT, I went ahead and ordered the PSP thread injectors.  They were $20 each set.

12 June 2014
Picked a full handful of Polana raspberries.  They are dark red with rich heavy flavor.  Size is 7/8" long by 3/4" wide.  It is the first to ripen.  I see a berry starting to turn red on a couple of the others but non are "ripe" for picking like the Polana. 

Last night I picked all but the last 10' of our 50' row of sequoia strawberries.  From that we'll put about 10 pounds in the freezer.  Jeanie is coming tomorrow to pick her second batch.  She traded me some piano parts for strawberries.  Last night I picked the first 4 HUGE cabot strawberries. 

Last night I finished cleaning the scrap wood and old irrigation lines out of the "pumpkin patch" next tot where the big juniper trees were on the south side of the pumphouse lot.  It is ready to till and plant.  I also started to clean up the chiken coop stuff I brought home last year behind the new shop and never did anything with it.  It looks real messy.  It will take me a couple of days to get it cleaned and the area ready to plant again.  I got so behind last year in yard maintenance.

30 June 2014
I picked the last of the Albion strawberries tonight. The spring crop is done.  The Sequoia strawberries have been done for about a week.  The cherry crop is pretty thin from frost damage this year.  I have picked about 75 pounds of cherries - mostly from the back tree.  The frost tree was pruned and may have more heavily damaged by frost.  We have only seen 3 cherries with worms this year.  Someone said it is because there weren't any cherries last year.  Our cherries will all be picked and done by 4 July.

I picked 2 gallons of Canby thornless raspberries tonight. They are soft.  The size is still smaller .  There are lots of nice sized berries but most of them are smaller.  I think the plants are still becoming established.  I am mostly unimpressed with how soft they are.  It has been impossible for us to eat them from a bowl raw because they are messy soft.  They weren't ripe enough to pick 2 days ago and now they are too ripe.  Not sure I like that.

The ranch raspberries and Polana have been nice and firm and large berries. They are the favorites so far.  The strawberries are off and the raspberries are on full blast.  All varieties are ripe now and ready to pick.  The latest to ripen are the original no name berries on the east fence.  The Heritage are the last to ripen for the spring crop and they are now ready to pick.  The ranch raspberries have been on for over a week.  The Canby are just now fully ripe.  The Willamett are ripe last week.  The K816 and Autumn Britain are new plants this spring but now have ripe berries.

I signed the NRCS contract for a high tunnel greenhouse Wed 2 weeks ago.  The agent called me Friday to say our contract is now complete and we can go ahead and order our greenhouse and irrigation system.   The Ada County Development Department finalized their rules for my greenhouse on Thursday.  Peggy and I decided to order a 30x48' greenhouse. The NRCS had approved us for a 72x30 but the county is making it pretty tough to apply for and we really don't have a comfortably large place for is.  The 30x48 will fit nicely and we won't have to do a notify the neighbors type application at the county zoning department because a 30x50 is the limit for simple building permit.

I picked 1/2 gallon of black raspberries from each of  our two plants tonight and another 1/2 gallon yesterday for the family gathering.  They are loaded with berries.  I can't tell any difference between them in size or flavor.

7 July 2014
I turned in the application to Ada County Development for the Accessory Use Permit for the 60' x 35' high tunnel greenhouse. We thought we'd just do the 30x48 but I changed my mind again.  I want the biggest one I can get for our garden.  The 60' length will let us keep our little road through the garden whereas the 72' greenhouse would have crossed the road.  The permit fee was $280 so they can mail out notices to all neighbors withing 300' of each corner of the vacant lot that we are using for the greenhouse.  Once approved the zoning certificate will be $100 and the building permit itself which is based on the value of the greenhouse will be $120.  So we will spend $500 to get a building permit for the greenhouse.  It would be $220 if it were 1500 square feet or less. But I am applying for an oversized accessory use building.

10 July 2014
Yesterday I transplanted some butternut squash (they are too thick in their row) into spots among the pumpkins and other squash where the seeds didn't germinate as well.  It is 99 degrees outside but the weather cooled off a bit and the clouds appeared so I thought it best time if ever.  Today they will look wilted but they are doing well enough to survive.

I picked a gallon of "original" thornless raspberries.  I picked another gallon tonight.  I don't have time to pick the whole patch. They are just now in full picking mode whereas all of the other raspberries are winding down.  These "original" raspberries are our first variety we got from a neigbor so we don't know the name.  They are small and crumbly still - not as bad as last year.  We still didn't prune, water, and fertilize as well as we should have.  They are thornless this year and they are totally loaded with berries. We were freezing the raspberries in 1 quart greek yogurt plastic containers.  I found some square 1 gallon + 1 pint ice cream buckets on Craigslist yesterday so I washed them and transferred all of the raspberries into the larger containers.  They stack more efficiently in the freezer.  There are 8 of those so far.

I took a pound of Monterey strawberries to the inlaw last night.  Those strawberries are the only ones still producing well.  They are nice and big and real pretty red but still have a unique flavor. Remember that these were new bare root starts on March 25.  So next spring they may go off earlier but also produce earlier.  We'll see.