A garden is a love song, a duet betweena human being and Mother Nature.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Propagation with cuttings and water

My Magic Window

I am constantly seeing what I can propagate in water, and surprisingly...more than you would think possible. And in some cases an excellent success rate, more than 80%.  Besides the Ivy, I have Gardenias and bat wing begonias.  Both are from plants that I had propagated last year off of cuttings. 

Here is what I have learned:

First: Clean water is a must, I constantly change out the water in my cutting bottles.  So its a good idea...if you can...to have your Magic Window above your kitchen sink or in the bathroom.  Makes it easier.

one year old gardenias from cuttings

 Timing is everything with gardenias, after the bush has flowered and new bright green growth has appeared take your cuttings.  I go down and make a cut right above a leaf node, my cutting are usually between 4-5inches long. 

Pinch off about two inches of leaf so you have a nice stem to go down in the water.

Be patient, keep the water clean and before you know it you will see tiny bumps where the leaves were that you pinched off.  These are the roots forming.

Once your Gardenias have a good root system established you can plant them in a small growing container.  As they grow be sure to transfer them to larger pots.

one year old begonia from cutting
These are allot of fun because they root up so quickly.

Make cuttings that give you a long stem with two leaves.  Remove any flower and extra leaves, my stems are about 1-2 inches long.

These will push out roots rather quickly...almost too quickly.  I have actually taken cutting from my cuttings while they are still in water.

After a good bit of roots have developed pot them in starter pots. 

I propagate these year round I bring my potted ones inside to take cutting from keeping them in a sunny location and watered.   

Before the first frost in the fall, I will take cutting from those that remain in the ground.  Giving me a yard full of there bright green leaves and red blooms year round.

The Front of the House

First off lets start at where we enter...Not a bad looking home, but very dated,  with the hedge going across the front...ick.  But baby steps first, my goal is to landscape without spending much money.  In other words use what I have.  And I can do this in several ways, cuttings, separating and collecting seeds.


Underneath this giant window is a built in planter box...at first glance you would think...OH so many choices, what to do with this.  But...see the over hang?  Yep...dry shade. Well, I could put a rain barrel under the drain pipe right next to it and run some drip line from it to keep that area watered...this would take care of more than one issue. But that would be costly.  Any suggestions?
And here is the other issue that could be resolved with a rain barrel as well.  Isn't this special, the drain pipe go's right across the path in front of where you would step up onto the porch.  Who thought this would be a good idea? And the drain pipe directs the water to the side of the house where there is an erosion issue! UGH!  really people?  This leads me to the water fall and the delta.
I am standing in the back yard looking towards the front at the street.  CRAZY!  When it rains this turns into a water fall and becomes a swampy delta at the bottom.  Second problem, I know you say throw some trees, bushes and plants in...cant do it.  The home is on a septic system and it is in the back yard.  This is the only accessible rout to the septic.  But I have an idea to make it a long curve, wide enough to get a truck down but curvy.  Also I have started a plan to slow down the erosion. What is this amazing plan Carrie, you ask?
MONDO GRASS...and lots of it.  This place is covered in this Stuff.  And it is one tough plant, you can plant it anytime of the year...no matter the condition and it thrives.  This bed is in the front yard at the top of the waterfall slope, we just planted it.  I will be moving some shrubs and separating some hostas to put in this bed.
This bed is an established bed of mondo that has helped slow down some of the erosion.  I have a few azaleas that were moved from another part of the yard in this bed.
And here is the top of the hill where it all starts at.  At one point Crape Mertals were planted, good idea, wrong spot.  But they will stay, and I will transplant and move Mondo Grass, Lilies and Irises up along the road.  I would like to get some Hydrangea as they have an incredible root system...but the cost.  What is a girl to do?  Any suggestion or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I know my dears, its been awhile...but the truth is...I have been living in a house that I don't know how long I will be here, or if it will ever become a permanent home.  So I struggled with doing any permanent garden. Putting money, sweat and time into something I would have to walk away from.

My garden heart couldn't take it anymore...and I have come to a decision.

"leave it better than you found it"

 Makeing the world a more beautiful place is what we gardeners do...one more tree to fill the world with oxigen, one more scoopful of organic matter and another flower to make someone smile.

So I shall be posting on this sorely neglected yard and its redemption.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tomatoes, squash, peppers Spring 2014

This post is more for me so I can keep track of the garden, but I do read over other gardeners post like this and I do enjoy them...so I hope you like it too.
I laid out more tomato boxes, last year I used the smaller concrete bricks, but the concrete glue
didn't hold up as well and I had to re-glue them.  I took apart the back raised bed and used the cinder blocks to make several more tomato boxes.  These didn't have to be glued together and gave me little pockets to plant flowers, herbs and such.

Tomatoes this year:
From Last years seeds from Annie's:

Green Zebra
Juane Flamme
Black Cherry
White Queen

This years seed from Pikes:
San Marzano
Speckled Roman

Planted in the pockets around the tomatoes:
Left over seeds from packets various places and collected from last year seed heads:

French Marigolds
Single Red Marigolds
Yellow full head Marigolds
White Vinca

Genovese Basil

Zinnia Giant Double Mix
Radish French Breakfast

Zinnia Lilliput Mix
Cosmos Bright Lights
Zinnia Polar Bear

Pepper plants were purchased at Pikes all Organic

(1) Gold California Wonder
(1) Sweet Banana
(1) Ancho Ploblano
(3) Jalapeno
(3) Bell Boy

Strawberry seeds from Annie's were directly sewn in the front block squares across the front

Other squares are from seeds planted in other places that too many seedling popped up so I moved them.  I also planted gardenias that I started from cuttings.  And some sweet alyssum that came back from last year.

Summer Squash was planted along the back.  It is Annie's Summer Squash mix seed that include:

Blaco di Triste, Black Beauty, Tondo di Piacenza and early prolific straightneck.

The speedwell also known as virronica is doing very well.  I had to separate it last year into four plants.  This year all but three will need separation again.  This is an awesome plant one of my favoirites.

The second bed had the Annie's Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers seeding everywhere, we enjoyed them last year so I thinned them out and transplanted them on the trellis to the left.  The transplanted beautifully.  Along the back trellis is the same squash as the other bed.  On the front are so strawberries I got two years ago from Walmart.  I really don't care for them.  They are small and don't produce well.  The ants have been fighting me on the front left, it will be dry for awhile so they will get some grits.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

How The Garden Grows in July

Lets start with the things that are doing good and then we will interject a few of the lessons I am learning

The Green Zebra Tomatoes seem to be the winner thus far...though we haven't had one tomato yet.  I didn't start plants indoors this year.  I planted the seed directly in the soil, so that gave them the late start.  And then this wonky weather we have been having - Going from drought to flood.  But the Tomatoes have been hanging in there and I have been adding Bananas, egg shells, compost and manure.  So over all I am well pleased.
This is an Asian Pear tomato, it rained last light so the drops of water give a special effect to the photos. I got the Tomato seeds from Annie's she had an offer of fun varieties. Asian Pear, Green Zebra, White Queen, Juan and Flame (Hillbilly).  All are doing well except White Queen.  She looks a bit frumpy but I am thinking its the flood of rain.  Still I am keeping a close eye on her. Here she is below.
The cages keep tipping over, so I am going to figure out something today to keep them from doing the domino effect.  They are in raised boxes that the cage doesn't fit down over to the ground.  I should have thought of this when I first saw this. 
These are Alex's Mexican Sour Gherkins his vines are flooded with these little jewels.  We are looking forward to trying them and seeing how they are... I was hoping to get enough to pickle.  My cucumbers are producing here and there but not enough for bread and butter pickles...second year this happened.  Also my beets are very tiny and bitter.  I think this is the lesson I was talking about earlier, I inter planted lettuce with the beets and I think the lettuce zapped all the nutrients out of the soil.  I will try again next year.  I am going to pull what is left of them and get the bed ready for the pumpkin seeds I bought.
Trinity's flower garden is just OK the Morning Glories are beautiful and always seem to do good no matter what.  One Cosmo and one cockscomb  is flowering, I think she has too much shade.  The yard is full of mature Oaks and its hard to find a good sunny spot. 
The Hanging baskets are looking lush and sexy, these are the results from the $5.00 root bound 4 ferns I purchased from the Grocery store last fall.  They turned into 14 plants.  The Ivy was from a plant I have had for years.  And I purchased the impatiens to tuck in.  They looked very scraggly last fall when I divided them up.  But with TLC they have turned into show stoppers.
Here is my stairway...the photo doesn't do it justice.  Little ferns are peeking out between the bricks and the Begonias were just trimmed for rooting.  The plant on the red stool (top right) I call Mother.  I got her last year and started taking cuttings.  She has sired over 50 children and grandchildren.  Some of them are in the silver buckets on the right.
Ta Ta For Now

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How the Vegetable Patch is doing

Well things are looking good here in Georgia, The beets are popping up and getting thinned out.  I am really looking forward to some yummy tasty beets.  My kids love them too and thats a good thing.  Another good thing about beets is that you can eat both the leaf and the root.
This one here is Chioggia it has white and red stripes like a bulls eye when you slice it, Way cool! I can't wait to see it.  The bed is laid out like a grid with old metal blinds I took down (gotta let the sunshine in).  We are also looking forward to the Golden beets.  Won't it be pretty to have a beet salad with all these different colors.
Here is my Boston Picking Cucumber with its first real leaf.  My hope is to be caning Mamas Bread and Butter pickle recipe this summer. YUM!  It has some lettuce poking up next to it keeping it company...I sprinkled some throughout the beets and pickles, making the most of my small bed. It'll get too here in a few weeks and the lettuce will bolt.   So they make good bed partners with slower growers (they encourage each other). The kids and I are going to see if we can grow lettuce in the shade with succession planting throughout the summer. I hope so cause the taste and texture of home grown lettuce is way better.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tomato Raised Beds

I found this idea on Facebook at The Unintentional Urban Farmer, they are full of great ideas.

First the Shopping list for 5 of these.
2 X 8 X 16 Concrete Blocks 20 @ 1.27     $25.40
Caulk Gun                                                      2.67
Heavy Duty liquid Nails                                  2.40

40lb Mushroom Compost                              3.97
50lb Cow Manure                                         4.97
1.5CF Organic Soil Conditioner                     2.97
3CUFT Sphagnum Peat Moss                       11.97
Left over Vermiculite from other bed              Free

Total Cost for 5 raised bed pots with soil     $54.35  
That is $10.87 each (You can't even buy pots for that)


First I went for the graveyard look, though I tried laying them on their side and clamping them it didn't work out very well.  The clamps were too short and I had to rig two together to squeeze one side, so I could only do one at a time, I found the weight of the blocks was enough.  Plus I couldn't work on the patio where it is level because then I would have had to carry these down to the lawn...way too heavy for that.  I left these overnight to dry and they held very well.
Then I went for the modern art look, the graveyard was scaring the kids. I got in a hurry and only let them sit a few hours,The liquid nails did say it would set up in 20 minutes...it didn't hold.  But this turned out to be good, if I wanted to move these it would be hard to do and having two L shapes that rested together on the ground very nicely worked.
Child labor is always a must when doing yard work, plus its free.  Alex is using my new yard toy...that I love!  Its a plastic cart wheelbarrow thing.  Its light enough to carry, if you have more than one they stack and you can wheel it around the yard.  I have used it so far for mixing soil and picking up all the darn sticks to take to the road.  I can see me getting another as I keep my soil in this to pot plants.
Here is the end result with the tomato seeds all tucked away.  Its still a bit cool here, I found a roll of plastic in the garage with vent holes already in it, so Alex help me cover them up and anchor them with rocks for now.  You can see our garden beds in the background, they are doing really well.