Saturday, 14 May 2016

Hardening Off and New Plants from Yuko

I have neglected to get my seedlings outside to harden off lately and I have only a week or two before they are ready to be transplanted.  Hardening off is a process that allows seedlings that have grown up inside to essentially get acclimatized before fully transplanting into an outdoor garden or container.  And why is that important?  Well, let's look at the sun damage on some brassicas that I put out a few weeks ago without properly hardening off ...

After a veeeery long week at work, I rewarded myself by heading to Yuko's annual plant sale this morning.  I think the same thing every year ... I do NOT need anymore plants, don't overdo it!  And then I buy a bunch of plants because she usually has so many interesting options.

I was hoping to pick up some Jimmy Nardello peppers as the one I bought at her plant sale last year was the first time I had tried them (and loved them!).  Unfortunately, she said her tomatoes and peppers wouldn't be ready until next weekend (her sale runs over two full weekends).  Or maybe it is fortunate ... after I returned home, I set aside some of my own peppers and tomatoes that I will be giving to a friend and then did the count - I have 40, !!!!, yes 40 pepper plants.  I'm pretty sure with that many, some will be neglected.  Yowza.

But that didn't stop me from buying a bunch of plants - again.  One plant I bought but is not pictured below is another Marina di Chiogga squash.  I bought two from Yuko last year and, although not particularly productive, I did like the squash itself.  I saved some seeds of my own but decided it was easier to just buy one of her plants.

And here is what else I bought, starting with some flowers ...

Viola - "Johnny Jump Up"
Periwinkle Blue
Tiger Lily

And this is a combination of flowers and veg ... the beans are edible but only with a lot of preparation, so it is mainly grown for the flowers:

Hyacinth Bean

And on to edibles. 

Lovage - my first time growing it

Celery - what the heck, I'll give it a try

This next one is wild garlic.  I bought some from Yuko a few years ago but must have done a very bad job with the planting as it all died - I mean really, when things grow "wild" how bad does it have to be to kill it?!  So I'll try it again in a different spot this year.

And this one ... oof.  She conned me into buying it with all the talk about how great it is for you - bitter melon.  In last year's post on Yuko's plant sale, not only did I mention my general dislike of bitter asian vegetables, I specifically referred to bitter melon. So now maybe you understand my impulsive nature of purchasing plants - I can't help myself.  So now I am growing bitter melon (but I refuse to look after it once it is planted).

And the one I am most looking forward to is this red currant bush.

I am quite excited about growing this but somewhat overwhelmed considering that just a month ago I purchased this Goji berry plant from the farmer who sold me the hay bales I have this year.

So now I have two new fruit bushes to learn about with the red currant and goji berries.  I'll be googling a lot to figure out the best approach.  Containers maybe?  Or is in ground better?  How big do they get?  Acidic soil preferable like most berries?  Are these perennials or not in my northern climate?

Any advice on these is appreciated as I have had little luck in the past with fruit!


  1. I don't have any advice to give about the fruiting plants but can say that the Hyacinth Bean is well worth growing as an ornamental, it's really pretty. And bitter melon is pretty too if you aren't as impulsive about actually eating it. :-)

    1. OK, well if the bitter melon at least looks pretty when growing, I won't feel so bad ...

  2. I planted a red and a white currant plant a couple of years ago (in the ground) and they have grown like weeds. I think they are pretty easy to grow, all things considered. I added a pink one this year based on Daphne's recommendation. You have 40 pepper plants? I always put some of my extras in containers, though sometimes keeping up with the watering is a chore.

    1. Yes, luckily I have lots of space for containers, I'm pretty sure I'll run out of garden space.

  3. I think we all have a problem with impulse purchases when visiting an interesting garden center. I stopped off today to pick up some parsley and wound up with some Black Cherry tomatoes I may or may not have room for.

    1. Yes no doubt, it's a common trait in gardeners I imagine!

  4. Ha ha, I remember you going to the sale last year too. I like the attitude 'what the heck, I'll give it a try!).
    I have redcurrant just planted in the ground, no need for acid soil. They can be very prolific with pretty strings of flowers and then currants. A nice fruit once your taste-buds get used to them (rather sharp) I eat loads in the summer.

    1. I've heard they are terrific for the health benefits, but honestly haven't eaten them fresh before. Hope I get a chance to try them.