Planted broccoli today...

mulberryknobMarch 30, 2014

and will plant tomatoes tomorrow. I know it's still early for tomatoes, but I have buckets to cover them if I have to, and backups as well, so in the ground they go.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Yay! Now it really feels like spring, doesn't it?

The tomato plants I put in the ground are doing great and I do not regret planting early.

This afternoon I weeded and Tim mowed, which meant I had grass clippings and chopped-up leaves for mulching, so I added mulch to the beds as I weeded them. All five raised beds that are planted are now weed-free and well-mulched.

I hope to start putting more plants and seeds in the ground later this week, if this forecast continues to look good. It was pretty windy today, but aside from the wind, it was a perfect weather day. I'd like to plant more stuff tomorrow, but don't know if I'll have any time to work in the garden until about Wed or Thurs.

I've had cabbage white butterflies flitting around the yard and garden, but so far the only thing I've seen them land on are the snapdragons. My broccoli and cabbage plants are still fairly small, so I hope the butterflies leave them alone. I could spray the plants with Bt if I have to, but I'm hoping I don't have to.

Today the ladybugs were out and about in the garden. I hope they can find something to eat. I haven't yet seen any little pests that I know the ladybugs like to eat.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Well now...ya went and did it. I'm following tomorrow evening ....I hope. Would have been tonite but ran out of daylight. I've got around a dozen brocs, cabbage and cauliflower ready to go in the dirt.....

And I'm gonna throw caution to the wind and plant a few maters myself. Like Mulberryknob - I've got back-ups so what the heck?!

My biggest worry at the beginning of this garden year is how to do it with a cat. One picked us late last November. I am NOT cat person...but some way ...she's still here. She loves laying in the new lettuce table...(which is a feed trough). She's found her way into the COVERED WITH FROST BLANKET onion bed!!! (uh-hum. Sorry. Really made me mad.)

Yes, Dawn. It really does feel like spring...right Dorothy? (and that darned cat is talking to me outside the back door as I type this....ha!)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:53PM
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We have cats again after a few years without. Didn't really want one, but daughter called one night last spring--after 10pm--and begged us to rescue "a baby kitty" from their malamute. A stray of course, and they already have two cats so didn't want another. When they arrived they came with a small but almost full grown female, who disappeared for two days a week later and came now we have two cats. I kept a female kitten and had them both fixed. The mother cat loves to be petted so all day today as I was on hands and knees planting broccoli she was rubbing and plopping down next to me. But what made me get mad and run her away was as I was picking up my tools, she DUG UP a newly planted broc. It's bad enough that a rabbit got 1/3 of the newly planted pea tops. I'm not going to have a plant-digging cat too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 10:41PM
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Mulberryknob, I would trade a #3 washtub full of armadillos, and throw in some boot also for that plant digging cat.

I wont be planting any tomatoes for a long while. All I have are purchased plants, and $.50 each I cant risk them.

I have planted 50+ broccoli and cabbage (also purchased). I may have jumped the gun on these plants, but at this point they look fine. My beets, spinach and kale are less than 1/2" tall. I even bought 3 artichoke plants a few days ago, I expect to have trouble with them, I don't think I have ever seen an artichoke plant before.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Paula, I distract the cats from places where I don't want them by planting catnip and cat grass in a shady spot just for them. That mostly keeps them out of the places where I don't want them. Still, a couple of our cats persist in thinking that floating row cover on hoops over a bed is a wonderful invention called a Cat Hammock. I yell at them or squirt water at them and that works for a little while.

Dorothy, We always have cats and I cannot imagine how we'd survive without them. They are great for rodent control and that, in turn, helps reduce the number of snakes we have prowling the yard. I'd hate to see what our snake situation would be like if we didn't have the cats. Mine sometimes do aggravate me in the garden, but I just replant what they dug up, etc.

We do have a female tabby named Ranger whose sole purpose in life appears to be to rub all over me and love all over me while I am planting, so I take her into the house if I need to get some planting done. After I plant, I close the garden gate to keep her out and then let her back out of the house. She is the sweetest cat in the world and loves, loves, loves the garden, but you cannot get a bit of planting done while she is around.

Larry, You're a bit further north than I am, but in my heart, I feel like winter is done with us. To me, this feels about as much like a 'normal' (if there is such a thing) spring as anything we've had in recent years.

Y'all be careful planting anything today through Thursday, because hail up to the size of baseballs and wind gusts up to 70 mph are in our region's forecast for the first few days of April. We had hail in Marietta today. It was very small (pea-sized to marble-sized) and it missed our house, but it was hail nevertheless.

April showers may bring May showers, but more importantly, they often bring severe weather right at the time we have lots of young, tender plants sticking up out of the ground.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:47PM
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Well, it rained today. Tomorrow I plan to plant tomatoes.
Larry, that's ok, you can keep the armadillos.
I haven't seen either of these cats catch anything yet. They keep eying the birds at the feeder as if they would like to catch one.
But both dogs went to the mailbox with me today and both jumped into the brush on the side of the drive--and came out with young rabbits which they carried to the house. That's 3 for the year.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:50PM
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DH talked me out of planting tomatoes today. I said I would hold off for another week and look at the forecast again. So I topped each container off with compost and watered it in. We have enough buckets to cover them in case of frost and I have backups so I'm really wanting to do this.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, If the potential for severe weather wasn't so high today, I'd be putting a lot of plants in the ground. It is getting ridiculously warm here already, which makes me nervous. I sure hope it doesn't heat up too much too early.

How lovely that you got rain! We had rain on Monday---about 30 raindrops' worth of rain and it only took about 3 minutes for all 30 raindrops to fall. Hail was falling in Marietta so I ran and moved all the flats of plants to safety under the patio cover so they didn't even get the benefit of those 30 raindrops. I got all the plants to safety, a few raindrops fell, and then the sun came out and I moved the plants back out into the light.

Our low temperature early this morning is about as high as our usual high temperature for this time of year, and that's just not a good thing.

I'm wishing I had put my tomato seedlings in the ground at the same time I put the purchased early tomato plants in the ground because I'm starting to get nervous about the early heat being a bad omen......

I could put some tomato plants in the ground today, but then I'd have to worry the Wed/Thurs severe weather would get them. Any time I ignore the word "hail" in a forecast and plant anyway under clear blue skies, a severe thunderstorm will pop up out of nowhere a couple of hours later and destroy what I have just finished planting.

Sometimes I just have to ignore the weather forecast and plant anyway, but today won't be one of those days.

It is possible we have had our last frost here and our last killing freeze as well, but I won't feel certain about that for another month. The coldest night in our 7-day forecast is 45 degrees.

At our house it is the cats catching the rabbits, and they don't kill them---they regard them as big, wind-up toys and just want to play with them. Tim and I usually can chase the cat and get the rabbit away from it. Then we take the rabbit a long way from the house and release it there, where it has a chance to hide and stay out of sight of the cats or dogs.

Obviously, if the veggie garden wasn't fenced to keep the rabbits out, we wouldn't bother saving a rabbit from the cats because we wouldn't want rabbits around. It still frustrates me that they will eat pretty much anything and everything I grow in the flower beds around the house, but I plant stuff in the flower beds anyway and just accept that occasionally I'll lose a plant or several plants to rabbits.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:55AM
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I got onion sets & tomatoes in the ground. I got 10 free tomato plants at Southwood Nursery, a promotion thing to help feed the less fortunate. They were around a foot tall so I transplanted them already & prayed for no freeze, tornado, or hail.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:53AM
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I think I planted broccoli too early, both Dawn and Dorothy warned me about that. It looks like I will be eating Button Head stew all spring. I have 4 Packman plant trying to head up already. They were purchased plants planted on 3-08-14


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:31AM
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I think you're right, Larry. The buds on that little head are at picking stage. Sorry. The earliest I have ever planted was in MidMarch in '12. I planted 4 week old plants because the weather was so warm. But I normally plant 6-week-old plants the end of March.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, Dorothy and I both noticed over the years that when we purchased plants, they often either bolted or gave us buttonheads. When we grow our own, we don't have that problem. I think it largely is a matter of purchased plants being exposed to cold temperatures at some point in the process...whether it is during their shipment from the greenhouses to the stores or after they arrive at the stores or whatever. Exposure to cold temperatures early in a broccoli plant's life almost guarantees buttonheads. It also could be that the plants stayed in their starter pots too long before you bought them and brought them home.

Like Dorothy, I used to plant earlier in March but had erratic results. After I switched to growing my own and making sure I had them at the right size (roughly 3-5" tall and with between 3 and 5 true leaves) to put into the ground near the end of March or earliest April, I've been a lot happier with the yield. Nowadays if I have a crop issue, it is because the weather decides to start hitting 90+ degrees a week or two after I put right-sized plants into the ground. Since we cannot control the weather, there's nothing we can do to avoid that.

Broccoli is funny that way. It seems like it would be so easy to grow, but it is really persnickety about temperature swings, particularly early in its life.

If you could find freshly-arrived plants in stores now, you likely could replace your broccoli buttonhead plants and would have a good chance at getting a good harvest. Just be sure to search for transplants the right size and that aren't rootbound.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:50PM
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I doubt I will try to find any more broccoli, I also have had trouble with purchased plants. I expect I will just wait and replace with warm season plants.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:20PM
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