Garden Timeline

2014 Growing Season

JANUARY 2014

Jan 13 - Grow Room Framing

Building a 4' x 8'x 8' grow room in the garage. This way lighting and heating can be controlled.

Jan 28: Grow Room Completion

Wrapping the frame with black/white poly film. Insulation will be added to the bottom all the way around. Next comes lights, heater, and fan - all thermostatically and timer-controlled.


FEBRUARY 2014


Feb 19 - Seed Planting

Jiffy 50mm (the largest) peat pellet trays holding 144 seeds. Peppers and tomatoes were planted first (Feb 19) while cucurbits and flowers were planted 3-4 weeks later.


Feb 14 - Seed Selection

After research and evaluation, over 40 different heirloom seed packets were purchased from Baker Creek, Territorial Seed, and Annie's Seeds.


MARCH 2014


One secret to growing from seed is to use the best grow lights you can. 2-3'x3' HydroGrow LED fixtures were used, putting out enormous amounts of tuned red-blue light. So bright that sunglasses are needed around these monsters.


After about 2 weeks, all peat pellets were placed in Solo beer cups with drainage holes. These tomato seedlings are about 3 weeks old in the grow closet.


After 4 weeks, all seedlings are ready to be transplanted to 1-gallon black pots and moved from the closet to the garage grow room. Cucurbits, because of their delicate root system, were moved into 3-gallon pots.


Mounding and shaping the beds. Each bed is 4' x 4', with a central path and branching side paths. This ensures your reach is never more than 2' in any direction.


APRIL 2014


After a couple of different attempts, dome-style cloches proved to be the best in terms of structural stability against wind. Notice the black plastic film - this warms up the soil and is great against weeds and soil pests.


Moving day for all tomatoes, cucumbers, and zuchini. Melons came out a week or so later.


The grow room is literally bursting at the seams - every square inch is taken up by growth...and the cucumbers are vining.


Planting day for all flowers. Cloche coverings were removed whenever it was a nice day to harden off the plants.


Short tomato cages were built from wire fencing to support the tomatoes and provide climbing for the cucurbits.


May 3 - Ready for Rain

Because plastic by itself will radiate heat at night, Reemay blankets are placed over the Gro-Therm to keep nighttime temps a bit warmer.


Cloches showing Gro-Therm perforated plastic film - this keeps the daytime temp 10F warmer underneath.


Dragon's Egg cucumber. Cucumbers did great for part of the season, then all slowly withered and died.


Moon and Stars watermelon showing good leaf growth. It didn't do so good later on. Next year, will keep under a cloche the whole season.


Butternut squash did great all season, up through Halloween. Massive growth and output.


All pumpkins did great all season, especially the Black Futsu, with consistent growth and fruit.


Okra did so-so, with green okra faring (and tasting) better than orange okra. The plants never grew more than 2 ft tall, with all leaves falling off (but still producting fruit) early in the season. But the fruit picked tasted wonderful raw.


All peppers did great throughout the season, with tons of fruit (which the slugs loved to chew holes in). Plants were surprisingy hardy and produced slowly-ripening fruit through Sep into Oct.


Beefsteak tomatoes showing trellis system - each side had 3 plants for balancing weight. The plastic hoops came from the cloches when no longer needed.


JUNE 2014


Ornamental sunflower which grew about 3-4 ft tall and had many beautiful blooms throughout the season.


Beautiful Scheherazade Lily, one of several varieties of bulbs that were planted in March.


The Green Zebras produced, but the fruit flavor was just so-so, will not plant again in 2015.


Second harvest included Boothby's Blonde, Dragon's Egg, and Beit Alpha cucumbers, Green Zebra toms, and an Albino Bullnose pepper.


Paul Robesons were my favorite tomato in the garden, this dark beefsteak had an unbelievable flavor. Will plant twice as many in 2015.


JULY 2014


Sunseed sunflowers are known for their flavorful seeds. Unfortunately the birds and mice thought so as well as all heads were stripped clean in a matter of a couple of days. Didn't get to enjoy any.


Caspian Pinks are another Russian favorite - the sauce made from these is divine and needs no other ingredients for a stellar sauce.


This harvest had more cucumbers, peas, and a smattering of cherry tomatoes.


Jimmy Nardello is an absolutely heavenly Italian heirloom. The flavor is both sweet and smoky, and tastes best eaten fresh off the plant. The fruit is as tall as the plant and produces tons of fruit. Will plant twice as many in 2015.


More Jimmy Nardellos - these small plants produced an astounding number of large peppers.


This is the first harvest that had lots of tomatoes of each variety, including Paul Robeson, Caspian Pink, White Tomesol, Black Cherry, Sungold, Yellow Pear, and Yello Hartsmann. Also picked the first Black Futsu pumpkin squash.


"Horn of the Bull" peppers are slow to grow, turning a bright orange when mature. Flavor is citrus sweet - these are massive in relation to the size of the plant.


The Indigo brand of cherry tomatoes were a new thing back in 2012 and touted as being a true black tomato, containing the same compound in blueberries that makes them dark. Look like clusters of grapes on the vine. Taste is a so-so. Will not plant again in 2015.


AUGUST 2014


Pumpkins and squash were pruned and trained to climb up wire arch trellises. This space-saving technique allowed the planting of multiple sprawling cucurbits that otherwise would have been impossible in such a small garden space.


Harvests throughout August were massive - what is shown here was harvested twice a week.


Of the four watermelons planted, only one Moon & Stars plant survived to bear fruit - this is one of two melons from the plant. Taste was melt-in-your-mouth candy sweet.


The lemon squash were sprawling and gangly and could not be trained to grow up the trellis arch. This summer squash was absolutely delicious however, with a distinct buttery taste and mouth-feel.


SEPTEMBER 2014


Mature garden showing 7 ft tall cherry tomatoes with a butternut squash climbing down the other side of the arch.


The albinos were somewhat slow growing and while showy, were not all that tasty. Will not plant again.


This is without a doubt the best cantaloupe ever tasted - sweet, creamy, almost like butter. Of the six plants, only one survived to grow two fruit, this is the larger of the two.


This Japanese pumkin (squash) is related to the Kabocha pumpkin and prized for it's delicious soup. two plants produced about 5-6 fruit each.


Pumpkins growing on top of the trellis arch, which bowed considerably under the weight when these were full grown.


Growth for the tomatoes has slowed, while the peppers and winter squash are still producing full steam.


October 2014


Harvest continued throughout October of
Butternut squash, Black Futsu squash, and Jimmy Nardello peppers.



My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

Claude Monet