May 15, progress in the greenhouse

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SUNFLOWER.  A few days ago I started some Sunflower seeds- this variety is light yellow, different from the traditional dark yellow types. Each plant should have several blooms as opposed to one giant bloom at the top of some dark yellow varieties.  Sunflowers are an annual plant, lasting just one season, reproducing each year from seed.

I’ll use them for cut flowers and leave some standing for goldfinches to enjoy.  When they are in bloom the goldfinches land on them and pick at the seeds in the center.  Just one flower will pack in tons of seeds- if you have ever looked closely at a sunflower seed in the shell, it is sort of diamond shaped from nature’s packaging.

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SPINACH.  Here are the spinach plants starting to grow and get wild.  They all have their second leaves and are about ready to put out in the garden.  I like to pick a few leaves here and there as needed.  The leaves are best when small and fresh.  The leaves need to be eaten up before the weather gets too warm and the plants go to seed.  If you’re not watching, all of the sudden the plant will put up seed stalks and then they are pretty much done and not good to eat.

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SWEET BASIL.  Yum!  The basil is growing well and has good color.  The leaves already smell good, but if I eat some now, there won’t’ be much left to grow.  I expect to wait a couple more weeks until the plants are a few inches high before they get transplanted outside.  Basil needs heat as opposed to lots of sunlight for best growing conditions.

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LETTUCE.  Here is some green leafy lettuce.  Some of the seeds are growing fast and some are not.  I don’t know if the others will catch up- good thing I planted plenty.

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MORE LETTUCE.  This lettuce is mixed leafy greens, including dark and ruffly varieties.  The seeds are quite small so each container got quite a few seeds.  This lettuce can be quite crowded and then thinned over time, using the plants that you pinch out for a sandwich or salad.

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YELLOW CHERRY TOMATO.  These plants are coming along quite well.  I just saw a home made pizza on the cover of a magazine with sliced red and yellow cherry tomatoes!  I will give it a try this summer- add sauce, herbs and cheese!

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RED CHERRY TOMATO.  These plants are also growing well, and are 4″ – 6″ tall.  This weekend I’ll transplant them to larger pots  and keep them in the greenhouse for another couple weeks until they are 18″ high or so.  I like to grow cherry tomatoes because they start to ripen earlier than the full size tomatoes and have a longer season of enjoyment.

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Another view of the cherry tomato plants.

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Here are some heirloom Purple Cherokee seeds that I started about 10 days ago- maybe a little late, but they should grow fast and be strong plants.  The large purple fruit is worth the effort.

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YELLOW MARIGOLD.  These plants are chugging along.  They seem to look just like marigolds from the very beginning.  I’m going to wait until they are just a little bigger before putting them outside where they will have to withstand bugs and slugs.  I generally pinch the first bud to make the plants bush out.  You have to sacrifice the first bloom, but the multiple blooms after that are worth the wait.

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CUCUMBER.  I like the full green leaves on these cucumbers- each new leaf is folded, grows up, then gracefully opens out.  These plants are growing fast enough right now to be able to notice the change from morning to night.

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GRAPE.  Our latest addition to the garden.  The 3 grape plants are all the same type, though it will be a surprise as to what type, since they didn’t come with a tag and I forgot to write down what type they were.  I’m pretty sure they are not Concord, but what they are, well that’s a great question.  Stayed tuned…..

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