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Rain, Rain Go AWAY!! ~ Weekly Garden Update

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It seems there is always something to gripe or worry about when it comes to gardening. Last year, many of my cold crops were long planted by now – in fact, I finished up in March {except for the potatoes}. This year, it has been so cold and wet, with frozen, snow covered ground until the beginning of April even, that I am just now getting my cold crops in. And I’m really fighting a ton of rain and unseasonably cold weather still! It has been raining almost every day out here {but at least the creeks and rivers look nice again}! After the drought we had last year, the rain is really welcome; I just wish it would consolidate itself, get warm, and then rain a steady 1 inch per week. 😉 Please, and thank you very much!!

IMG_1989This weekend, we were able to make a bit of progress on planting the cold crops, finally. The only reason I am even able to plant them at all is because we did a very nice job of prepping the garden last fall. I’m very glad we spent a day cultivating and mulching late last fall because my soil looks really nice so far this year. I sure hope that means good things for my garden. If you haven’t seen the before/after pictures of the way my garden looked late last fall, head over here. Makes me shudder just a little bit to see all of those weeds!!IMG_1974Anyway, in between rain storms this weekend, my husband and I planted some sweet peas, red onions, shallots, lettuce, kale, carrots, and spinach. We also mulched my potatoes with straw we cleaned out of a neighbor’s shed. Thank you, Art!! Free garden supplies are very nice.  I sure hope the potatoes grow well! I have a few more cold crops to plant – I’d still like to add more peas and onions {if it will stop raining!}

IMG_2018 And I’m still trying hard to keep my seedlings alive. I transplanted a few of the tomatoes last week and stunted them in the process. You can see by their yellow leaves that I messed up on watering and some of them look really sad.The new leaves are looking better, but they are small and spindly still.

IMG_2019The second batch of seedlings looks better. But there are few in there that I need to try to move too, or else I just need to pinch them out. I don’t have a lot of seedlings and I’m hesitant to just kill the spares. IMG_2020My husband helped me out by creating a new “greenhouse” of sorts. My seedlings are in our basement where it is chilly and dark. I’ve grow lights and a heat light on them to help, and he covered the table with plastic to try to help moisture stay in. It seems to be working, I think. 

I am worried that my seedlings won’t be big enough when the time comes to finally plant them, though. It is really, really windy on my hill and I found out last year that my little seedlings don’t like all of that wind. I will need to find someway to protect them a bit when I do plant them. If anybody has an ideas, please let me know!

And that’s my weekly garden update. How’s your gardening going in your neck of the woods?

Linking up: TGP

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankTricia says

    I actually think your seedlings look pretty good. It is normal for the cotyledons to yellow and drop off as the true leaves become well developed.

    The rain is going to be particularly hard on the potatoes. They tend to get fungal diseases and rot when the soil is cold and wet.

    I find that tomatoes are relatively forgiving on small seedlings (as well as leggy and otherwise poorly developed seedlings. When you plant them, heap the hay up around them so you can just see the top set of leaves. The hay will provide them protection from the wind, too much sun, and other stressors as they get established and they will grow out of their protection as they become strong.

    The brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) should also be alright if they are small as long as they are stocky and have good root development. I find they are prone to getting leggy and that they adult plants are always weak when they do. You can give them the same treatment as the tomatoes, but don’t bury them too deep. Make sure they are getting good light or pull back the straw some after a couple of days when they have settled in.

    I have personally given up on starting peppers and eggplants. We live in Wisconsin, and these crops are generally marginal in our climate. You need to start with a good, strong, large seedling if you want to a have a reasonable chance at a crop from them. However, the seedlings require quite a bit of heat to grow well and we just don’t keep the house warm enough for them. I figured out I was just throwing my money away trying to start them from seed, so I buy plants. You are further south so your results may differ.

    • blankMichelle says

      Thanks for your reply, Tricia. I appreciate your suggestions! I’m a bit worried about the potatoes too. They had a nice protective crust on them when I planted them so I help that hopes them. I started peppers and eggplants – but they are very, very small. It’s not that warm in my basement either. We’ll see how they do. My brassicas are leggy. How do you get them to grow stocky?? 🙂

      • blankTricia says

        The trick to reasonably stocky brassicas is lots and lots of light. I gave up on them too at my old house, but now I have south-facing windows where I put my seedlings and usually have good success. Unfortunately, my brassicas germinated just before all the rain. We didn’t get even a little bit of sun for over a week and they are quite leggy this year as a consequence. I’d say they are probably twice as tall as yours and no true leaves yet.

        You may have better success with peppers and eggplant than I do. The basic problem is that the climate here is just really marginal for growing them. We can’t set them out this the end of May and the season is over by October and it is never warm enough for their liking. If I do everything right I get a reasonable yield about half the time and if the seedlings I set out aren’t six inches tall and growing rapidly when I put them in the garden, I’ll be lucky to get one fruit per plant before the season is over. Even at the best of times, eggplant and peppers (especially sweet peppers, I have better luck with hot) don’t give me the kinds of yields that plants better suited to our climate do. I’m about ready to give up on eggplant.

        Tomatoes really are the weeds of the nightshade family. I have put out tiny tomato plants with good success. I have put out leggy tomato plants (bury the extra stem) with great success. I have planted tomato seedlings where the soil all fell off when I tipped them out of the pot because they basically completely failed to develop a root system and I still had maybe 80% success. I even set a bunch out too early. A late frost froze them all back to the ground, but half of them came back and yielded almost as early as the plants I bought to replace them.

        • blankMichelle says

          Our weather is hot enough for the eggplant and peppers, although we need to wait almost as long as you do to plant them. I’m not really a huge fan of either one, honestly…but I do like to grow a few. I had a few more eggplant seedlings pop out today. And my biggest one put on a second set of leaves overnight. The magic of growing seeds!! The tomatoes are looking better and stockier. But the brassicas are still really leggy. They’ve got that constant light there from the bulbs. Must just not be the same as sunshine. I’m very hopeful that they will all turn out ok. Where in Wisconsin are you?

  2. blankVickie says

    Your tomato seedlings look like mine! Good luck with your garden this year. I’m trying out a few varities of tomatoes that I had never heard of before and so far, so good! I’m in California, so our weather is a bit different. I think it’s too late for me to try any broccoli or brussels sprouts this year. I’ll give them a go in the fall. I saw you on the Tuesday Garden Party linky.

    • blankMichelle says

      Hi Vickie, I’m trying out new varieties of everything this year! Could be a recipe for disaster. We’ll see… Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your volunteer potatoes.

  3. blankzentMRS - Love in the Ktchen says

    I’ve had some seedling problems this year too. The temperature sensor on my heat mat came out of the dirt on my hot pepper seedlings and way overheated the poor little guys. Good thing I have plenty of seeds. 😉 Hope yours grow nice and strong!

  4. blankLexa says


    Your garden looks great. I know that the rain and cold is frustrating for you..but remember that drought that you all had last Summer. Your soil really needs all of that moisture. The warmer weather will be here before you know it!

    You have such a lovely place to garden. Endless space and sunshine. It would be really dangerous if I had all of that room!

    • blankMichelle says

      I know, Lexa…last year was a terrible drought. I sure wish it could just work out that everyone would just get the weather they need!! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. blankmjskit says

    Please send some rain to New Mexico!!! We are dry as a bone down here. I’m thinking about not even having a garden this year because of our water shortage. Good luck with yours! Looks like you are off to a great start!

    • blankMichelle says

      Oh I’m sorry! We were horribly dry here last year. It’s terrible. I almost felt bad griping about the rain… but I sure wish I could send it to you!!

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