Garden Good News, Garden Bad News…

The lettuce, kale and broccoli raab are doing well (in fact, the broccoli is in the fridge awaiting the wok):

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The peas died after I put them outside a month or so ago.  I direct planted new seeds in the pots and got new seedlings, plus the dead ones I'd cut down came back!  Now my peas are small but mighty:

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My cucumbers are absolutely dead and my lima beans are mostly dead–in fact,t he lima beans seem to have some kind of blight.  There is definitely something wrong with the leaves.  I stuck new seeds down in these pots too–both the cukes and the lima beans.  We will see.  If they grow, it will be September before I harvest anything…

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The bok choy was A) overcrowded and B) getting too much sun?  Or something?  Anyway, long before it started looking like anything I would recognize as bok choy, it has bolted.  Which is bittersweet because the flowers are pretty.  I'm going to let them do their thing and then pull them all up and plant something else there–probably more kale.

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I moved this box into a shadier spot and put the box with strawberry seeds (not yet sprouted) in the sun.  I'm probably going to break down and buy strawberry plants. I'm also going to have to buy pepper plants, because my pepper seedlings died just from having the window opened on their window sill!  The tomato seedlings, on the other hand, share a tray with the pepper seedlings and growing very slowly, but are standing up to the open window just fine. Maybe I'll buy one plant in case the seedlings bite it when transferred, but maybe they'll make it.

Meanwhile my "fun" planter, this big concrete urn on one of the balconies, is full of seedlings I got from shaking some of those random wild flower seeds in it.  Lo and behold, who knew windshield wiper fluid was a native prairie grass???

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Just kidding!  That's my drip watering device.  I stuck about six pinholes around a milk bottle, filled it with water (in this case, water with blue plant food in it) and buried it halfway in the urn.  I figure the flowers and grass will grow up around it and hide it, but I can water it by filling the bottle.  By the way, the larger of the seedlings here are transplanted sunflowers, so that's one thing that didn't die in the great migration outside.

Oh yes, and the squashes seem like they will probably pull through.  Lost about 90% of their large leaves the first week out, then I learned to look at the weather and see the wind speed predictions and put them down by the patio wall to shelter them on high wind days.  They got some baby leaves growing and are putting out buds now.

Lesson learned:  direct-sow the early things and buy baby plants for the late things.  Seeds don't save any money if it all dies and I have to buy plants later anyway.  The whole "hardening" thing is just not working out for me.  Any tips?
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7 responses to “Garden Good News, Garden Bad News…

  1. Just a couple of thoughts:
    1. I tried to start seeds for years but it never worked very well, so this year, I just went to the garden store and bought plants. So I endorse that plan, for anything you can’t start directly outside.
    2. I’m just putting summer veggies into the ground now, and am surprised that you tried cukes when you did, especially in Chicago. I had thought of them as post-frost-planting plants, myself. And I would have thought the same of lima beans, although I’ve only ever planted green beans myself, because lima beans: ew. ;-)

  2. I put the cucumbers out as soon as the 10-day forecast had overnight lows all above 50, which is what my book said to do. But who knows?

  3. Oh, and my book also says lima beans need a long growing season, but I figured I’d beat nature by starting them inside early. Yeah right. I guess I can’t have lima beans in Chicago. Which is very sad because while store-bought ones are just so-so, I love fresh ones. You have a long growing season, you should give fresh ones a shot! It’s practically a different vegetable.

  4. Shannon, for what it’s worth, I think you are doing amazingly well for your first year, especially compared to this failure of a gardener! Most of my stuff is less than an inch high, still. Peas and beans are doing great but I think a half-dead person could grow those.
    Think of all you’re learning :)

  5. Go for the lettuce, sster. An actual zombie could grow that!

  6. Oooo, you’ve inspired me to post photos of my own freshman gardening efforts. I LOVE your watering bottle idea. I plan to steal it immediately! (The idea, not your actual watering bottle. *smile*)

  7. I adapted the bottle idea from blog reader and armchair ecologist, Stephanie’s advice–for the record.

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