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

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.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sweet Peas and Bachelor Buttons

OK well the Bachelor Buttons and Sweet Peas I planted in the fall have bloomed.

The bachelor Buttons are doing very well, several blooms have opened with promises of many more to come. I got these seeds from Annie's Heirloom Seeds.
 On the other hand we have the Sweet Peas...wa wa.  The very few blooms I got had a very faint scent with an overtone of mildew, I just don't think they are a southern flower.

 I thought starting the seeds in the fall would make them more friendly and at home in Georgia but as you can see...I was wrong, as soon as the temperatures started to rise, and in defense of the Sweet Peas it the heat came in fast and Hot.  So out they will go to make some room for something else that can take some hot southern twang.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gardening Bet

I know I am a little behind on my Post...the seeds came about three weeks ago.  We ordered all Heirloom seeds from Baker Creek and Annie's along with seeds we collected...they are in the yellow envelopes.
The beets got planted...In fact my garden bed will be nothing but Beets and cucumbers this season.  The kids and I each choose two things to plant...well in Trinitys case much more, she is growing a cut flower garden.
I planted several different varieties of beets; Cylindra, Bull's Blood (from last years pack), Golden and Chioggia.  Early April I will be planting Boston Picking Cucumbers and Alex will be planting Mexican Sour Gherkins.  In late April Alex will plant Melon Boule D'Or.  And Trinity will be putting in,  Love In A Mist, Zinnia Lilliput, Zinnia Polar Bear, Dwarf Coral Mix Cockscomb, Bright Light Cosmos  along with Morning Glory Carnevale Di Venezia for fun and several of the seeds we saved from last year.

Alex and I have a bet going as to who will have the best garden as you can see he thinks he is going to win.  The looser has to treat to lunch at our favorite diner along with gloating rights.  We are well know at the local diner so this will be very painful for one of us.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Propagation now in Pots

I thought I would give an update on my Propagation Post from November.
As you can see it has been going very well.  I have a big table set up in front of the sliding glass door in my basement and they really seem to like it there.
The Bat Wing Begonia's and the Wax Begonias were my most successful.  Between the two the Bat wings won by a small margin.  And this is very nice because as most of you know the new specialty begonias are very expensive.  The mother plant is doing well and seemed to have enjoy the trim.
As you can see she is putting out new leaves and enjoying the bright light in the school room...we gave her a heart to show how much we love her.  She was purchased from Kroger at the end of the year for $3.00 and worth every penny!

The Coleus and Inpatients rooted in the water, but each and everyone one died after the transplant to the bean cans I saved.  This year I may try rooting hormone on cuttings and then putting them in soil. 

I also rooted, in water Variegated Ivy it got transplanted to some hanging baskets that I had ferns in...I wanted it to trail down the side and look and pretty.  It is doing very well. Several types of succulents (that you can see in the photo) were just stuck in some soil I had about an 80% success rate with these.  I found that the trailing sedum type didn't do as well as the others. 

Also I must say in Georgia we will have several days, weeks even.  Where we have nice weather, during these times the kids were recruited to help me carry my transplants and all the ferns I divided outside.  I made sure they got the best organic soil, have been misted and watered on a regular basis...The plants not the kids.

Once they have been in the ground or at there outdoor destination I will post how my propagation experiment is progressing.  Hopefully this will help everyone who wants to increase plants without decreasing wallets.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting Rid Of Crack and Pathway Weeds

Forgiveness is...
The scent a Violet leaves
On the heel that has
Crushed it.
Author Unknown

Toadstool Tips
(extra info)
If you really want to get rid of weeds growing in pathways. Then I have a simple solution for you.

Boiling Salt Water
Take your biggest pot fill it with water, bring it to a boil add a whole container of table salt. And pour it on. I have a brick area around my fire pit that I ladle it on twice a year.

What is Going On

Though it is winter I do have a few days to enjoy working out in the yard.  With plenty of sticks to pick up  and an unbelievable amount of acorns rake up I have more than enough to do.  But on a few nice days I turn the garden and compost.  The parsley is still nice and bushy and I have even seen a few Swallow Tail larva.  In the fall their caterpillar form was munching out...one of their favorite foods and I have plenty to share.  Especially since I will enjoy the winged beauties in the spring.
I planted Sweet Peas (flowering variety)

 and Bachelor Buttons in the early fall last year.

 They have gotten nice and full but alas no flora.  I have added Phosphorus and Potassium on three separate occasion.  Maybe In the Spring I will see some action...if not, they've got to go!