Garden Diary 2008
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Went to Home Depot & got 2 bags Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix
w/poultry litter and 1 bag Miracle Gro Organic Fertilizer, also with poultry
August 08 Changed lawn services. New lawn service came in and did major clearing of the entire garden, front & back, and it looks great, though I do not share the same sensibilities as the owner of this new crew. They will handle much of the work, including pruning, but will not touch the fruit trees or weed in the back. They also refuse to trim trees. Whatever. So A went out and pruned the Jackfruit and really butchered it, as the branches tend to split when cut halfway through. But it’s done, and the tree is topped off, and the lawn crew did cut everything in the back to 1’ above the fence, as requested, and took out a lot of stuff I asked them to. Actually they only forgot one plant – the climbing ‘Old Blush’ rose that has for so many years been a nuisance because is was planted in the wrong spot. But the next time I came they took it out for me, even though it was hard to communicate, since they all speak Spanish and almost no English. But I did get one of them to understand me and they seemed to get the idea that I really was very happy with the job they have done. And I am. Hope they continue to do as well. The Mound looks really good, but a little empty, and now there is space in various places for new plants. I think it would be good to put some stepping stones on the Mound before it gets overgrown again so I can walk up onto it and harvest Pomegranates and generally get to the plants for maintenance. The retaining wall of railroad ties is rotting, but I think it will be alright when it falls, as it is already leaning and should just make a gradual rise in the end when we finally remove the ties.
8-27-08 Gearing up to grow a real vegetable garden this year again – so excited! So today I ordered a bunch of seeds from: Baker Creek, Kitazawa, ECHO, Pinetree & Southern Exposure.
9-3-08 Met DC’s friend from the Portuguese congregation (DM) at Home Depot this morning and bought: 40 bags eucalyptus mulch, 20 bags Black Kow manure, 20 bags Organic Compost from cow manure, 2 flats ‘Margarita’ & 2 flats ‘Blackie’ Sweet Potatoes, a Thryalis, 2 flats magenta Periwinkles, and Triazicide & lawn fertilizer (requested by A). Rented the truck and took all home. Helped unload the mulch & showed him what to do. He did a wonderful job and I am so pleased! Only got as far as the front, but that’s the most important part. He’ll come back another week to finish the back and we’ll do the same deal of renting the truck, etc. Will need a little less this time – about 30 bags mulch, 20 bags each Black Kow & 20 bags Organic Compost. Didn’t have him do behind the wall or around the Magnolia or the mailbox garden – will have him do it next time, mulching behind the wall with 2 bags of pine bark. Have decided the pine needle mulch is not a great idea, as it seems a bit allelopathic.
9-19-08 B came over & we traded some seeds. Inventoried seeds & small pots. Will give away most older seeds.
Cleaned Potager – left some Water leaves in one box.
Harvested 5 nice Sweet Potatoes – the last for the year. Moved
Blackberry plants to succulent beds.
Planted new plants: ‘Blackie’ Sweet Potatoes along front of
Mound to hang over the retaining wall (noticed there are a few coming back
nicely on the S side), ‘Margarita’ Sweet Potatoes along the back
of the bed between the front windows (very dry there, but also put some in
empty spots in the middle so they will peek out here & there and I hope,
fill in any empty space eventually), most magenta Periwinkles along the front
of the bed between the front windows, and maybe 6 in an empty spot along the
sidewalk side of the R/P Ct in front of the Milkweeds.
Spread bird netting over Potager beds. Had enough to properly
cover two of them and used short stakes topped with small plastic pots to
hold it up at the corners. Placed stakes and pots, then took about
6’ lengths of netting (it’s about 6’ wide, so this made two
squares), folded in four to determine middles, and cut slits in a plus
pattern in the center of each piece. Then spread out each piece,
slipped it over the teepee of stakes in the center of the bed, stretched it
over the pots, and anchored the netting to the stakes under the pots with
twist ties. This leaves the center of the teepee exposed. Hope
the birds don’t figure that out! Used scraps of netting and some
chicken wire to cover the other two beds. Doesn’t look half bad,
as the netting is black and essentially disappears. Need another
package of this so I can properly cover the other two beds and then use the
scraps to cover the middles. Will order some next month, along with the
last of the seeds I want.
Need only a couple of Rattlesnake Pole Bean seeds and a couple of Luffa
Gourd seeds to round out the Potager. Didn’t rain yesterday or
today – turned the sprinklers back on automatic so they will go off
tomorrow. Cucumbers are getting big – need to pot them up in the next
few days. Wish I could get a self-watering container or two made that
fast! D will not come until next Saturday rather than this one, but I
should have time to get the truck rented and turned back in, with him here
and the stuff unloaded so he can get started before I go to the service
group. One of the Peppers, another Tomato and the Wonderberry came up.
Need to plant more Bulbing Fennel seeds as well – not enough are coming
up in the single 4” pot. Maybe a flat with several 2” or
3” cells would be best. One of the Collards is not coming up, and
everything else in that family is, so best plant more of that as well.
Should have 4 plants going altogether, I guess.
Went to Alexander Nursery yesterday and today at lunchtime and got a carload
of plants each time. The owner, Brian Alexander, is really nice and a
plant person at heart. They have so many unusual things that no one
else has. Turns out his wife was raised a Witness, but her parents were too
fanatical so she basically ran away as soon as she was able and won’t
talk about it now. But he was ok. He gave me a free plant in
exchange for bringing him cuttings (in about a month) of a Bog Sage he sold
me – it was his last one and he needs to propagate it. Took Lola
along today and we also stopped at Flamingo Road Nursery. She got a few
things at each place and I bought some more Dwarf Chenille for the Depot
garden. See details in garden expenses section. Made detailed
notes and took pictures of the Potager and the bed between the front windows
for Lola. May add these to my website later on, along with pictures of
further growth. Took pictures to document the entire garden as it is
now for reference when planning without having to be home or to go outside.
on a new staging area for unplanted plants after two sprinklers turned up
broken this morning, one right by the old spot. It was too hot and
sunny there anyway, and things tended to dry out. So now I will put
things on the North side, near the compost pile and inside the fence so no
one can walk away with stuff and I have privacy to work with them.
There’s a faucet right there, as well. Planted the new herbs in
10-23-08 Made two large and one medium self-watering container, from 21- and 18-gallon storage bins, using their lids for the false bottoms. Used concrete blocks (double, to get rid of them) as the supports in the large ones, and only a pond basket and duct tape in the medium one. Not sure if this will be enough, but will probably use the same formula in the other three 18-gallon bins I have right now. That will leave two pond baskets, which are not tall enough for the shallower containers or for the large ones. Transplanted the ‘Roma’ Tomato into the medium, and placed an Ultomato tower in it, then found out it is a determinate variety. Mr. Stripey is indeterminate, so I’m thinking of moving the ‘Roma’ to one side and combining it with Mr. Stripey in the next day or so, as the latter is also good-sized now and ready to transplant – I have time before it’s necessary for the seed-grown ones. This container went directly across from the Patio door so it will get maximum sun. Transplanted a “hill” of Melon ‘Sakata’s Sweet’ into one of the large self-watering containers, and two of Melon ‘Tigger’ into the other. Not sure what to use as support – placed these at the N end of the TVA on the brick pad that will someday host a bench with an arbor over it. This is where the shallower one with the salad greens is sitting. It was very hard to drill holes in the large bins and their lids – will probably not make more of these. Can use the three single concrete blocks I have left as supports for three more medium self-watering containers to house the other tomatoes we will have by the end of the season. There are materials to make three more shallow ones as well for more salad greens to be sown every two weeks. Figured out the cost for each large self-watering containers is $12.00 (not including the concrete blocks, since we already had them 10.50 for the bin, 1.50 for the fill pipe), a medium $8.50-$10.50 (7.00 for the bin, 1.50 for the fill pipe, 2.00 for the pond basket, if used), a shallow $14.50 (6.00 + 7.00 for the bins, 1.50 for the fill pipe – using an old nursery pot for the wick, so this is free), and a bucket-type for Cucumbers $5.00 (5.00 for the bucket, already had pots, wicking material is old cloth and the fill tube is old garden hose, so these are free). Haven’t made any of these last yet – gotta adapt the ones already being used, and it may be too tricky now that the plants are growing up their support – will probably wait for the next round of patio cucumbers to do this. The ones outside are in pots too large for the buckets, but again, I may use the other size for the next round and modify them to be self-watering. Some of the seeds just planted are already up! Car insurance adjuster came today and I showed her around the garden, pointing out all the edibles. She enjoyed smelling and tasting everything I handed her!
10-24 to 26-08
Ordered some more seeds from Park Seed, as well as bird netting, seaweed, and
a copper markers and engraving set. Labeled fruit trees and shrubs for the
lawn men to see. Used the last of the zinc labels and rehabbed the
previously used ones by prying off the letter strip, turning it over, and
bending it the opposite way back around the support wire. I’m
pleased with the quality – they did not seem to weaken much at the
bending point and none offered to break when bent backwards. Will get
some more of these. Mulched the self-watering containers with melons
and tomato in them. The seeds in the salad one have germinated, but the
plants are too tiny to mulch, and I may not do it with them anyway, since the
rows are only about 2” apart. Many of the seeds planted last have
germinated on the patio already. Toured Maria around the garden this
morning. Had our first Squash flower on the 25th and our
first Cucumber flowers in the TVA on the 26th!
11-14-08 Took garden produce to M & M at the physical therapy appointment. For each, I packed: a pint of Myer lemon juice, freshly squeezed today, one kale plant and two pak choi plants, a Rattlesnake pole bean flower and two stems of Flowring Pak Choi flowers, plus herbs: basils sweet & Purple Ruffles, fennel, lemon balm, stevia & parsley. Checked the self-watering containers yesterday and found that the worm castings I poured down the watering tube in the tomato container (not the melon or salad green containers though) had solidified and would block water poured in, so I had to take out the tube, poke out the castings, and add lots more water. Seemed to work ok, but I’ve taken out the tube for now because it still clogeed when I put it back in. Seems to be fine just adding water through the hole now.
11-16-08 Planted most of the seedlings sitting in the center of the Herb Circle, leaving only the Tomatoes and peppers and Johnny Jump-Ups. In the Tropical Vegetable Area, six Hollyhocks and six Sunflowers (two varieties of each) went in the SW corner, three Rattail Radishes and two Collard plants (one each of two varieties) by the Cucumbers and Sugarcane and the Jackfruit, a Wonderberry and the Chichiquelite to the N of the the Jackfruit, as well as the Thai Watermelon Rom Doa, which replaced the Chatchai that died. In the Herb Circle, all the Bachelor’s Buttons went in the NE & NW sections, all the Sweet Alyssum in the SE & SW sections, two Bronze Fennel plants in the SE near the Dill, and three bunches of Plantain in the SW quadrant by the center aisle. The Pandora leeks went by the bunching onions near the Bulbing Fennel in the Potager. Happy with how the Hollyhocks are doing – the ones that survived (only a couple died) are getting bigger and look healthy. So prospects for the ones planted today are good. The sunflower seedlings were quite large, maybe a foot high, but should do ok. The contrasts of shapes and colors should be good with the Hollyhocks. Can’t wait to see the flowers on everything planted today!
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