Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carrots and Gooseberries

My husband came home yesterday and wondered why I had gone out in the pouring rain. It was the garden of course. He told me that I had put it in black and white on my blog that I would be resting and I wouldn't garden. What can I say? In all the major planting that I've been doing, I forgot to check my carrots. Remember my experiment?

Carrots starting to germinate

One of the ways I was planting carrots was in TP that had been soaked in water and the seed allowed to germinate inside then planted out. I noticed the little green head of a carrot poking up. Whoops. I was supposed to plant when I saw the first hint growth. You know I was supposed to check on them. I didn't. Some of the roots were already over an inch long. So they had to get in the ground right away. It was hard planting in the cold rainy weather. The worst part really was that I was running this strip down the middle of the tomato bed. My arms barely reach in that far. So I was straining to hold myself up and not fall into the middle. But at least they are planted. I hope they survive their neglect.

Today was a beautiful day. In the 60Fs and mostly sunny. My townhouse mate and I were going out together this time to plant. I let her dig the holes for the three gooseberries (Hinnonmaki Red, Invicta, Trixia) from Nourse Farms. OK I still shoved dirt back in and raked a bit, but I was trying not to strain my arm too much. I did OK.

Two of the plants were beautiful. Well the roots were beautiful. Above is just a stick. The last one was pretty sad. They obviously start them in plugs about 1 1/2" x 3". Then they transplant them. Well the plug was obviously root bound and they didn't do anything about it when they transplanted. The roots had grown too and they were starting to strangle the plant. The root system just wasn't very healthy. I carefully unwound the poor kinked roots so they could grow straight again and not be twisted into their neighbors. I hope it works.


Then we went to plant cranberries. We moved half of the piles of pine needles off of the area and into the front where the blueberries are. Both will be mulched with those. Hopefully it will help bring the pH down. The planting on my side went smoothly. The planting on the other side was slower. I had said to mix the peat moss into the soil when they prepared it, but it was just on top. So I had her mix it in before planting and remoisten the soil. The layer of plain peat had just shed all the water from yesterday. It didn't soak it up at all. Peat can be such a pain when it is dry. Mixing it with the soil helps keep it from happening.

While I was out I planted four rhubarb plants. I was going to get some from a friend, but I couldn't resist it at the garden center. The problem with having a garden that is all planned out and all the plants ordered is that you can't just pick things up when you see them. It has been killing me this year. I see something fun and I can't just buy it. Like mints. I saw a whole bunch of mints (I forget where) and I so wanted to buy one, but I have them coming in the mail, so I'll have to wait for them. So far that has been my one spontaneous plant purchase this year. I'll only get more if something dies or I decide to plant something other than what I have under my lights.


  1. 4 rhubarb? You must really like it.

  2. That's an interesting twist. How did you prevent the TP from just falling apart? I need to get my carrot seed mats done!

  3. EG, lol no that is what came in the packet. They said three, but it had four. I don't know if they will all live or not, so I just planted them all. What I'd really like in the back of the rhubarb is not rhubarb, but comfrey. But I didn't order it this year. I want to wait until the garden is up and running for that. So two will be ripped out if I actually do that.

    Thomas, When I rolled it up, I put plastic wrap between it. Then when I planted I took it off. Otherwise it would never hold up.

  4. You're going to wear out the title of your last post, if you go on this way. Not to mention wearing out yourself. No, actually I'm just jealous because I'm so far behind. And I may try that trick with the carrots, which are so tricky to germinate.

    Yes, I've been absent too long, but it's good to see you're still at it and still giving out great tips.

  5. Four rhubarb really isn't very much...

  6. I'm thinking of getting gooseberry. Either that or currants (or both). Supposedly they do well in partial shade and that's all the area I have left.

  7. I like to ignore injuries - this sometimes works... sometimes. Anyhow, glad to hear that you had a digging partner. I had blueberries planted up with pine/leaf mulch though I did ammend the soil with sulfur a few times and then afterwards it was just the mulch. They did fine.

    Tam: Ribes do quite well in part shade, especially currents from my experience.

    Interesting carrot experiment.

    Rest that arm!

  8. I'm still waiting for my outdoor sown carrot to germinate- ugh! The wait! So how long did it take them to germinate- or to the point when the roots was small? I think I may try this :). We finally got blueberry planted, then strawberry. My lettuce is almost all transplanted and I just today popped a few chard seedlings in.

  9. Glad to see you getting back to the carrots...after your last post about them I made up carrot and spinach tp tapes and they are hanging here in the living room, waiting for me to hear that yours I'll wet them down...THANKS!

  10. Kate, lol yes I am aren't I. But I see the end of it soon. Well then the summer plants will have to be planted up, but they are easier as there is less digging.

    Karen Anne, well I haven't a clue. I was going to put in two, but since there were four in a pack that is what I did. I'll find out when they grow up.

    Tam, mine are in partial shade. I hope not too much shade as they only get a little western sun. Hopefully they will still be able to produce.

    Ottawa Gardener, I tend to also. I'm hoping to avoid the sulfur, but might have to if the plants yellow out. Usually we have such acidic soil here, but the new stuff they brought in was 7-7.2. Way too alkaline. We did mix in peat moss too to help out. But even peat isn't quite acidic enough.

    Tessa, I am too. I haven't seen any sign from them. Well I seeded all my carrots (inside and out) on April 8th. So I probably should have planted them out at four days. But outside carrots often take two weeks to come up. They are much slower.

    Deb, There is a warning with that. If you didn't double over the TP and used glue instead the glue will dissolve in the water. Both would work very well. Or just folding over worked ok (though the seeds really wanted to fall out until it was very moist. And make sure to use plastic wrap to hold it together. Otherwise you will pick it up and the TP will just fall apart. I wanted TP because it would fall apart and the carrot leaves could break through. I figured paper towels might be too strong.

  11. The garden plan is a great way to start... but those finds and other purchases will end up happening and the garden will evolve into what it needs to be. But the planning and initial structure gives it good bones to start from. :D

  12. Hi Daphne! Great to 'meet' you! :)

    I've been hiding from the delivery trucks as well.. it sure is easy to order things during the winter... and it never fails they all arrive within the same week! I've twisted my knee on a tree root and everytime I dig.. it takes about 3-4 days to recover. Quite frustrating!

    I'd love to know where you ordered your mints from. I found, what I think might be, a reputable source on ebay.. but would love to find a regular vendor for that sort of thing. Will you be putting your mints in pots or in the ground?

    Take it easy and be careful with that arm! I know... easier said than done for a gardener..!


  13. I'm following your carrot experiment, love the TP idea.

  14. How nice to have someone to help you with your planting.

    I am very interested to see how the carrot experiment turns out. I've never heard of that way before.

  15. Cool, I never known that you can germinate carrot that way.