2023 Garden Observations

Overall Comments

The spring garden produced enough corn and peas but the squash, tomatoes, and bell peppers struggled and produced little fruit. Notes below cite the reduced sunlight issue for the tomatoes and peppers.

The fall garden was not planted due to the extreme drought.

Weather

3/21/2023 – This morning was the last frost in what has been a mild winter since the deep freezes just before Christmas. Yesterday morning, the temp fell to 28° with a solid frost and stung: the new hydrangea leaves; the amaryllis blooms; the azalea’s new leaves; the rud bud tree’s new leaves; hydrangea’s new leaves.

After 3/21 and into early April there were many mornings where the temperature was in the low 50s before 4/12/23 when the corn was planted. However, the prediction is for two more low 50°’s mornings within 5 days after 4/12.

4/13/2023 – The evening after sowing the corn there was a 12-hour rain of 3.61 inches that last all night. Surely washed out a lot of the fertilizer.

4/17, 18, 19/2023 – Sunrise temps were in the mid 40’s. The corn has only been in the ground 5 days.

5/16-19 – Total rain was 4.47 inches with a windy day of 20-25 MPH with a 35 MPH gust. Corn blew over but stood up well by 5/22.

7/28/2023 – A 1 in. plus rain occurred and there was no rain until 9/2/2023 of 0.24 in. and no more until 10/6/2023 of only 0.96 inches. VERY dry fall with all days in the mid 90°.

9/5 to 10/5/2023 – No appreciable rain.

10/9 to 11/13/2023 – No Rain

Crops

Basil

  1. 5/23 – Planted in the garden seedlings 18 inches apart that Mary grew from seed in Grow Boxes in the greenhouse. The seed was Prospera® DMR (CG1)Organic (F1) Basil Seed. Had good luck and few disease issues last year.
  2. 7/24/2023 – Pinched the tops about 3 weeks ago and now have some branching but still tall and skinny.
  3. A row of transplants in the Garden with a drip line did OK. Spaced out 12-15 inches and had no disease issues.

Beans – Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans

  1. Sowed about 30 feet at 6-inch spacing on 6/27/2023 in the cabbage row that was pulled today as it was too hot.

Brocolli – Green Magic

  1. Sowed on 4/31/2023 and there were some mornings where the temp was down into the low 50s during germination.
  2. As of 4/17, there are many two-leaf sprouts showing.
  3. 5/22 – The plants we bought have been eaten badly and fruit worms were in the one head that matured. Pulled them all. Those that sprouted from seed never got over 2 inches tall.

Cabbage – Cheers

  1. Sowed on 4/31/2023 and there were some mornings where the temp was down into the low 50s during germination.
  2. As of 4/17, there are many two-leaf sprouts showing.
  3. 6/27/2023 – Something has eaten many holes in the leaves. One we bought looked like it might form a head but the others were pitiful. The rest of this week will be in the high 90s so pulled them all and sowed Kentucky Wonder Beans.
  4. Need to sow much earlier if they would produce.

Corn – G-90

  1. Experience after a hard rain on the newly sowed seed.
    • Sowed April 12 and the predicted rain for that evening did occur and was more than expected; i.e. 3.4″ inches fell from 7 pm until just after daybreak the next morning. The temperature at sunrise was 56°. The predicted low temperature for the mornings of the 17th is to be 52° and on the 18th 50°. But the sunrise temps were in the middle 40s.
    • The seeds were planted 1.5 inches deep. Next year consider the advice here to sow 2″ deep.
    • On 18th (6 days later) no seedlings had appeared and I was concerned for the packed soil. Used the 4-tined hoe dragging over the seed slot breaking up the crust.
    • On 4/20 (8 days after sowing) green seedlings began appearing. Does not appear to be a good stand.
    • Rain was predicted for 4/21 but did not arrive so ran the sprinkler for 30 minutes each from 3 points.
    • 5/2/2023 – Cultivated with Fergie to break up the thick crust. Should have done that much sooner.
    • 5/4/2023 – Side/top dressed corn with 15-0-15 to replace what washed out in heavy rains.
    • 5/9/2023 – Corn is still yellowish green. 15-0-15 has not improved it. Found this article at Purdue University Ext. that says it can be due to low temps in the 50s as we have had.
  2. The stand is not great and gaps are random and small so maybe the cold nights hurt some germination. Likely not the planter.
  3. 5/16-19 – Total rain was 4.47 inches with a windy day of 20-25 MPH with a 35 MPH gust. Corn blew over but stood up well by 5/22.
  4. 5/22 – Side dressed with 33-0-0. Stalks are at random heights.
  5. 6/27/2023 – About 25% has blown over to some extent but the cobs are still developing. We have pulled about 6 5-gallon buckets in the past week of nice cobbs and put away.
  6. 7/15/2023 – Bushhogged them as we had all we needed and to give away some.

Cucumbers

Poinsett 76 – Germinated well and produced well, again. This will be our go-to variety.

National Pickling – Germinated well and produced well but the fruit was yellowish green and ugly. The flavor was ok but not what we want. Do not plant again.

Flowers That Bloomed Great

  1. Zinnia – Dahlia Flower Cherry Queen from Outside Pride – Dark Red* from Outside Pride.
  2. Benary Giant Scarlet Zinnia from HOSS
  3. Zinnia Elegant Dahlia Flowered Canary Bird from Outside Pride* from Outside Pride.
  4. Zinnia Benary’s Giant Mix Seed from Harris Seeds
  5. Benary Giant Yellow Zinnia from Hoss Seeds

Okra

  1. 5/7 – Sowed Cajun Jewel Okra and it germinated quickly despite the first nights being a little cool.
  2. 7/19/2023 – About half of the row is producing but not much.
  3. Saved a lot of seed.

Peas – MS Silver Crowder & PEPH/Top Pick

Both germinated even though the sunrise low temp for two days was 50 & 51°. Daytime highs were in the mid-80s. Have a lot of wide gaps in the rows but otherwise, the seedlings are consistently spaced. Very soft hill was hard to push through with the seeder and the wheel locked up often. Should have pushed slower and may be use the old spreader’s back wheel to firm the hill before seeding.

  1. 6-26-2923 – Harvested first pods of the PEPH peas. The MSSC will start next week.
  2. 7/15/2023 – Both have produced peas and we got all we wanted. Mowed down with the corn.

Peppers

  1. Planted sweet peppers bought at G&D first.
  2. 4/21/2023 planted the peppers Mary raised from seed in the greenhouse.
  3. 7/19/2023 – Most have produced a few peppers. Maybe the very wet past 4 weeks have been an issue.
  4. Bells had produced only a few small fruit by the end of July. Minor fruit production continued into Nov. but all were small. The disease resistant variety was resistent and now there is one that has the larger more standard fruit.
  5. Cayennes did ok but were small fruit
  6. Cajun Belles are too spicy and did not produce many. Do not plant again.

Squash & Zucchini

  1. Dunja Zucchini – Did well again until the heavy rains and winds of July and it quit. That is what happened last year. Need to find another variety.
  2. Dark Star Zucchini – Came up but did not grow. Only 6-12″ high when harvesting fruit from the Dunja. Do not plant again.
  3. Grand Prize yellow squash – Produced well until the rains began and it quit. Did not harvest much for the number of plants.
  4. Betternut 401 Hybrid Winter Squash – Produced ok but not as much as past years. Likely due to the very wet time during flowering and fruiting.
  5. Butternut-Waltham – Did not produce anything.

Tomatoes

  1. Varieties planted
    • Betterboys from seeds – Good germination in the greenhouse and lots of blooms after moving to the garden. Then the pecan tree fully leafed out, limbs drooped over the row, and blooms all but quit.
    • Celebrity seedlings bought at G&D – Did not produce much likely due to not enough sun time.
    • Big Boy seedlings bought at G&D – As of 6/15 the plants are the largest and healthiest of all and producing fruit.
    • Grape bought at G&D grown in a large pot next to the greenhouse was producing grape tomatoes 2nd week of June.
  2. Good flowering and fruit set although no pollinators. Daily tapping the stakes to shake the plants and blooms worked until the heavy rains of late June thru July.
  3. The first side dressed with Control Release then more heavy rains so side dressed again with the 13-13-13 + 0-0-60 at 2:1 as tried last year here.
  4. Gave up on all of them in mid-July and mowed them down to spray the crabgrass.
  5. NOTE – This row was in the south half next to the pecan trees 66 ft. from the east fence and largely partially under the tree’s overhang; particularly on the south end. The row did not get the needed 6-8 hours of sun time and that is why they did not do well. They only got 4-5 hours.

Shallots

Tried about 8 bulbs planted in the fall garden in a row with drips going as there was no rain this fall. In early Dec. they ____________________________________________

Spinach – Sun Angel; First time we tried it and failed.

  • Sowed on 4/31/2023 and there were some mornings where the temp was down into the low 50s during germination.
  • Appeared that some germinated but soon were gone. Again we failed to grow spinach.

Varieties that have done well and to be considered for future gardens.

  • Basil – Prospera® DMR (CG1)Organic (F1)
  • Kentucky Wonder Bush Beans
  • Brocolli – Green Magic
  • Cabbage – Cheers
  • Corn – G-90
  • Cucumbers – Poinsett 76
  • Okra – Cajun Jewell & Spineless _______________
  • Peas – MS Silver Crowder & PEPH/Top Pick
  • Peppers – ________________________
  • Squash
    • Grand Prize yellow squash ?????????????
    • Betternut 401 Hybrid Winter Squash
    • Zuchinni – New One – Desert zucchini plants are compact and very productive, producing very uniform, straight, dark green (almost black) zucchini with faint light speckling. Highly recommended.
  • Tomatoes
    • Betterboys
    • Find a slicing tomato ________________________
Print Friendly, PDF & Email