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For the past few days now, it has been nice enough for me to get outside with my shovel! I got to dig out a new bed (only three more to go) and get some weeding done.
The only thing we have blooming right now are hyacinths, the anemone and primroses. The tulips are either done or not ready yet, the peonies are just starting to pop back up, All the other flowers are still in my little germination station, but those are all summer flowers anyway. ;o)
And the darn slugs have mounted their attack on my kale! I had to cut up some 2 liter bottles to try and protect them from the slimy little vegetation eating monsters, and I just put those on today, so we'll see what happens with them in the next few days. Maybe they'll grow better now that they have some protection from predators.
And I took out all the mint in our garden yesterday and put it into one of those long box planters so they can live on the deck and take over the whole planter if they want. I think I got all of it, but we'll see in the next few weeks. . .
The weather finally cooperated (for a couple of days) and I was able to get outside and dig some things up! And put some things in. I finally got our peony bed dug out (and planted some Swiss Chard, beets, cilantro and dill among the peonies that were finally starting to come up).
I planted some kale starts (red, italian and wild) and those went into three different beds (planted with some garlic) - and they are spaced apart pretty well so it should be easy to control the slug population. . .always a problem with leafy greens in our yard. . .
I also put in some blueberries into some tires on the other side of our yard (where the sunflowers, potatoes and corn will eventually go, amidst some small flowers), and I sowed some colombines, daikon radish, culinary poppies and my 4th different try for purple coneflower. If none of my purple coneflower comes up, I'll break down and buy the plant so I wont have to deal with this again!.
So as of right now, ALL of our beds have something worthwhile in them (and growing!) and all I have left to prepare is the beds onthe other side of the yard, and do some maintenance in the herb bed (which won't be the herb bed when I'm done with it). And then I can start inside and on our deck.
So it's actually kind of sad. . .my first round of hot weather seeds failed (cayenne, sun gold tomatoes, and green zebra tomatoes). IF they came up, I killed them. And what's worse, I did it with the peas and lemon cukes, too. Transplanted those guys and they withered and died. The good news with the peas is that I have them direct sown outside and they are starting to pop up out there so I won't have to worry about it. ;o)
The cukes and tomatoes I tried again (and the cayenne pepper). I've got them sprouting, but I think I killed the tomatoes cuz I transplanted them too early, I think. The Sumter cukes I started this time took off way too fast (faster than I expected), so they HAD to get transplanted. I dusted some RooTone on them and they seem to have suffered no ill effects from the transplant. . .but I did the same thing with the tomatoes and they started drooping instantly. I've got some more, so it's all good. Gardening is just an experiment, right?
The garlic I've transplanted looks good and it looks like the oregano is coming back (I didn't kill it after all!). . .and all the plants I got (lemon balm, thyme, oregano, sweet woodruff, etc) ALL look really good. I'm glad I didn't mess those up. The clippings we got look a little thirsty, and I've been watering them, so we'll see if those take. . .
I transplanted my first round of Cilantro. Thank God for easy to grow plants, or I'd be pretty depressed and surrounded by death right now. . .and I got that transplanted with no problems (so far) and the same thing with the Tokyo Green Onion. Only one of each plant survived, which I thought was a little weird, considering the amount of seeds and space they had to grow. I put the pansies in that container instead, since my mom uses those flowers for food decorating. Now she can just grab them off the sill instead of trekking out to the garden.
Outside, my raspberries are coming along nicely. Lots of new shoots and older canes. Can't wait to harvest those! Raspberries have to be my favorite berry EVER!
My strawberries are doing pretty good, too. They took nicely and I'm pretty confident we'll be able to pick enough of them for at least a really good fruit salad. ;o) Planted some tulips in front of their tire and I threw the lady bug in there for luck. . .
I planted more irises by our tree in the back. . .I forgot to mark them all, so we'll be pleasantly surprised when they flower and I'll just take pics and mark them then.
Picked up MORE seeds. Planning on starting them in trays pretty soon here - today or tomorrow, weather depending. If it's nice, I'm outside.
Have a couple more existing beds to dig up and a few new beds to dig out still. . .my back hurts already!
Cabin fever is setting in. . .too much rain when all I want to do is dig in my gosh darned garden!
I just got home after about a week long stint of work (lots of overnights this week) and was super excited to start digging and direct sowing some seeds since it's looking like the snow has retired for the year, but as soon as I get here, it starts raining. And hasn't stopped. It's actually kind of depressing.
I went out and got a few more flower seeds (who can ever have enough flowers?), so I guess I could start those today, and maybe plant up my Sumter cucumbers and stuff. It really is a poor substitute for being outside, though.
And I went down to the river the other day, while I was away from home, and picked up a few river rocks that I think I will make into garden markers for some of the veggies. Maybe that can be my rainy day craft project for today since housework does not sound appealing in any way, shape or form today. Except for maybe a load of laundry. That's about all I have in me today. . .
Maybe later I'll actually get to taking more pics of the house plants, and updating about all the plants we've got going so far. . .
This weekend, I ventured out to a new craigslist friend in Bothell that hooked me up with some really cool plants. I planted most of them (just one lemon balm left!) but I'll get to those when I update about outside. The point of this post is about clippings. .. .
I got rosemary, two different lavenders and a daphne plant as clippings. . .she dipped it into Rootone and we stuck them in plsatic bags till I got home and was able to put them in some dirt (half steer manure and half topsoil). I've got them under some lights and have been misting with water. . .it's been two days and nothing, so no news is good news at this point, right? They would be showing some not so good signs by now if it wasn't working, right?
Spanish Lavender. . .
Daphne Odora. . .
French Lavender. . .
Rosemary. . .
24 February 2011
Since most of my hot weather seeds were an epic fail (thanks, Jiffy Pot, for the lesson), I've decided to try again since I've got plenty of time left to do so. . .this time, I'm using the seeds tray that I emptied earlier and starting all the hot weather seeds in those. I'm just going to plant a little more than I need to accommodate any that commit suicide during transplant (I claim absolutely no responsibility).
In the hot weather tray, I've got the following:
1. Cayenne Pepper (2nd try) - in 6 cells, 2 seeds per cell
2. Sumter Cucumbers - in 6 cells, 1 seed per cell
3. Green Bell Peppers (2ns try) - in 6 cells, 2-3 seeds per cell
4. Red & Yellow Mini Sweet Peppers (2nd try) - in 6 cells, 2-3 seeds per cell
5. Husk Tomato (2nd try) - in 6 cells, 2 seeds per cell
6. Green Zebra Tomatoes (2nd try) - in 6 cells, 2 seeds per cell
And I switched my indoor set up. Moved it into the office/spare room/storage/now grow room. Cuz I trashed most everything (or planted up), there really isn't much space to take up yet. I moved the red container of cilantro and green onion downstairs and the potatoes. The lemon cucumbers and peas went upstairs to the kitchen sill and the hot weather seed tray is in the office, along with the lone green zebra that's struggling for life. . .
So I think I waited a little to long to plant up the seedlings in tray 1.0 (the cucumbers and peas). So this morning, I went in and planted up what was still alive and scrapped the rest (the leeks or borccoli weren't doing anything in that tray). And I have also decided that I'm not a fan of the Jiffy pots - they lose too much moisture from the paper cup. Only that one tomato has come up, so all the Jiffy pots, minus that one, I also scrapped. The cucmbers and peas that I was able to save have been planted in the big plastic cups and have been moved the a kitchen window sill that gets lots of light, so hopefully those will take off. . .
The kale is not doing anything either, so I think those'll be replanted as well. Since I've emptied the seed tray, I think I'm going to try and start all the hot weather plants in that one tray, and maybe move my indoor setup into the house so it'll be easier to heat. I know I've talked about it before, but it really seems like the way to go, at least for the hot weather seeds.
In the brown container, the Cilantro and Tokyo Green Onions are doing allright - for some reason, the cilantro seedlings keep dying. . .maybe I need to change the soil? Not too sure about that one. . .the ones that are left seem pretty strong and so far, none of the green onions have died. I want to let them grow a little more before I plant them up, just so they are stonger and will hopefully not die, but if this continues with the cilantro or spreads to the green onions, I may not be able to afford to wait. . .
And one of the potatoes has finally started to sprout! wooho! It's not much, and only 1, but the others are starting to look like they want to sprout as well. Hopefully they take off here pretty soon and I can get them in the ground after the snow melts and I can warm up the soil a little bit. . .
And last, but not least, the Detroit Red Beets are probably going to have to be planted up pretty soon. . .and a couple of the Golden beets as well.
And the rest of what I've got going has nothing new to update.
My mother has had this cute Meyer Lemon Tree for about 3 years now and has had no issues with it until this past year. The fruit is not ripening as it has in the past (too small and they don't ripen before they fall) and it had a spider mite issue about a month ago, for the first time ever.
We used a diluted soapy spray on the tree and that seems to have effectively eliminated the mites, but now the leaves are turning yellow.
And upon further inspection of the soil, it seems that some root is exposed and there is some white mold looking stuff in the soil by the drainage holes in the pot.
I am not really into fruit tree maintenance so I have no idea how to fix this. . .maybe change out the soil? Add some ammendments? I'm really just not too sure. . .any sugestions would be much appreciated - my mom loves this tree and I would hate for it to die on her. . .
So I'm still on a mission to find some perennials for my yard (and my friend's, now) so we went over to her friend's house since he has a massive house with a huge yard that hasn't seen a spade, lawnmower, or garden tool of any kind for many many moons now. . .I told him we were going to hunt for some perennials for me to take home. My friend grabbed her kids, and I grabbed the tools and off we went on our plant finding mission.
I had never really walked the yard there (it's too overgrown and we always stayed in the house), so it was really kind of interesting to be in the yard during daylight hours. I found a few irises, a couple of rose bushes and some primroses on our first run through (and those were just in the front bed by his walkway). I really wish I had my camera that day. . .
So my friend supervised the kids as they raked the leaves in the yard and I went to town on digging out the garden bed in the front. It looks to be about 3' deep and around 15-20' long. My goal was to dig up that whole bed and redistribute the plants in that bed and take whatever is left over. I was a little too ambitious. I got about 8' into the bed, but while I was digging, I found an irrigation system (I almost wonder if we're going to find a dead gardener in our attempt to clear his yard). I think if we replace a couple of the pipes, the system could be used, which would be awesome so all our hardwork doesn't wither away and die. . .we'll see though.
The kids had a great time raking all the leaves, too (weird, huh?). They got to have a little outside science lesson and went on missions for "new" plant and "bug" species (and actually found a cute little seedling that kind of resembles Seymour's plant from the Little Shop of Horrors), and even found a frog! And the 2 year old wanted to help me plant flowers. I'm gonna make them all gardeners if it's the last thing I do!
As we were all out in the yard working (which apparently is not something that happens often there), this charming older (than me) lady pulled her car into the drive. . .I thought it was weird since neither my friend or I recognized the vehicle and come to find out, she used to live in the hosue we were working on in the 80's and SHE is the one who planted all the cool plants that I was on the mission for in the first place! So she walked me around the yard, pointing out the locations of all the plants she planted and I'm super excited to go back! There's a pretty little Lilac tree back there, a few Silver Dollar plants, some more bulbs that I like, a tea rose bush (that I still need to find) a Dogwood (that may be a little too big for me to take home), and some pretty little perennial flowers she described.
We uncovered some stone in front of his porch, and I suspect that it goes out to his driveway in between these huge flowering bushes. . .we'll totally see next time I go over and take care of some yardwork (after the snow stops). . .I can't wait to see what else is there! And I'll definitely be bringing my camera (who knows what else we'll find?). . .
So the rain has decided to let up for a couple of days - I guess my little sun dance worked! Yesterday, I helped my friend weed her little garden in the front of her apartment and moved some of her bulbs around to make it look a little more planned. . .I found the bulbs as I was weeding under one of her rhododendron trees.
I found some purple hyacinths that were coming up and I moved them to a more visible location with better light, so they should be happy. I also found some Easter Lily bulbs that my friend had raked over last year, so the bulbs were pointing the wrong way and never came up. I ended up with 5 of those, so I scattered those around the hyacyinths. One should be dying back as the others are coming up so it should be cute.
We also went to Molbak's for a spade (so I could move the plants) and ended up walking out with some perennial sweet peas that I planted by her porch so that they can grow and wrap around her pole. . .I can't wait to see her front yard come summer!
I also trimmed back her rose bush, some pine needle like hedges, her rhodies, and this small bush with lemon thyme-like leaves (only WAY bigger). It got dark on me before I could finish, but I'll hit those the next time I go over there and once I'm done with that, I'll move on to the back. She's got a lot of shade there, so it'll be challenging to find interesting, low maintenance plants (she's a plant killer) that will look good back there. Any suggestions? It's a shady, woodland habitat.
Since today is a little too soggy out for me to get in the garden, I'm inside, updating this blog and getting housework done.
I took Lily for a walk this morning, before it started dumping too hard and when we got back, we did a little inspection of the outside. . .checked in on the Irises I planted last night (gotta love gardening by deck light) and some of the bluebells, raspberries and strawberries.
Lily loves the bluebells. . .even though it looks like she's trying to poop on them. . .
The Irises were purchased from another lovely lady Gardener in Bellevue at a great price ($2 per tuber). And we went a little crazy, of course, and got $12 worth for $10 since the one I really wanted, she wasn't sure she had, but we did leave with some white, dark purple, brown/rust, and maybe a lavender. . .the whites I am saving for something special and the brown/purples I planted by some of the bluebells under the tree. . .I wasn't sure about the light, but I dug where there was grass so I'm assuming that if the grass grows, there's enough light for the irises in the same spots, right? And I potted one for the deck. We'll see how that does. In the pot, I put a tbsp. or so of Fish Bone Meal directly under the tuber (as per the instructions on the box). The ones I planted in the ground I put no Fish Bone Meal in adn the light is similar. . .so it's battle of the soil.
Does Fish Bone Meal REALLY work? Probably, but now I'll have proof!
The strawberries we got from a lovely lady in Bothell who shared her Everbearing strawberries with us at the bargain price of $1 per plant! So, of course, we got 5 since it's such a great deal, but I want to put them in a tire that we have. . .and there's only room for 3. So I shared our extra with my friend who shared her bluebells with me. I think it's a good deal. ;o)
The "new" strawberries
And our raspberries are coming back. . .I was a little worried there for a minute. All the canes looked dead for a good long while there. . .but they're budding so I figured we're good to go!
You can't really tell in the picture, but there are some new leaf buds popping up on the canes, as well as new shoots coming up from the ground.
Oh! And I've decided to change up my plan for the new beds. Instead of putting a 9' x 9' bed in the back corner, I think I wanna add a border to the fenceline first (gets better light than the corner), and maybe expand to the corner next year. I figure the 1st tire will house a blueberry bush (and maybe the 2nd, or 3rd - just haven't decided which one yet -- OR -- I may just add another tire in front of the empty fence post in between the 1st & 2nd tires) and the rest will be potatoes, when they're ready to go out. No luck sprouting them yet - as it turns out, that process is only super easy when you DON'T want it to happen.
And I still need to compile my noted from my seedlings re: progress. . .since it doesn't look like it'll stop raining any time soon, I just may have time today to get that done. . .
11 February 2011
Round 4 - Day 0
Round 3 - Day 1
Round 2 - Day 23
Round 1 - Day 28
My daytime plans fell through this morning which has left me with an overcast day with hours of unexpected free time on my hands. The result: more seeds to start. Well, and a little clean up as well. I've been so busy that my gardening area was getting a little cluttered and was screaming for some organization.
So after I cleaned all my containers for transplanting up and starting seeds in and prepared them for soil and all that, I mixed up my standard mix for seedlings and got to work. The Mesclun Mix went into another of the red containers that I've got, and this time instead of covering the seeds with more of that standard mix, I covered with straight potting soil. It seems to me that the sprouts would have an easier time popping up without obstacles in their way.
I also am trying to start some bell peppers from seeds that I saved from an organic green bell pepper and mini yellow and red sweet peppers I bought from the store. These guys are just for fun. Hopefully they grow and produce and will save me from procuring some sweet pepper seeds, but if they dont, at least I'll not be out anything but some potting soil. ;o)
I also found some blueberries that never got planted last year, still stored in the peat and plastic in the burlap sack, so I took those out and planted them some pots. I was going to put them outside in tires, but when I took them out of the plastic and peat, they kind of disintegrated so all I had to work with was a small root ball with a tiny dried out stick sticking out of it. For these guys, I mixed up 1 part Fish Bone Meal with 3 parts Aged Steer Manure and 3 parts Potting Soil to see if that may help bring them back to life. I'm hoping since they were store properly that they may still come back, but we shall see. . .
And then I decided to change my potato set up for chitting (thanks for the info, bsmitch!) and moved the potatoes to an egg carton and covered them with a damp paper towel. . .switched it up now instead of waiting cuz it just makes sense to me to add a little moisture (paper towel) and air flow (egg carton). So here's how that looks now. . .
And I almost forgot. . .I decided to move the Kale upstairs to the dining room since that first seedling has yet to emerge from the soil, and nothing is happening in the other 3 bottles. Hopefully the light and heat upstairs will motivate them to get to growing! haha
And then I've got updates and growth charts for seed started in Rounds 1 & 2, but I just haven't had time to type it up, so I'll probably do that later, after I make my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Gotta love the unexpected free days!
10 February 2011 - Day 0
Today, I ran into Molbak's in Woodinville to grab some Fish Bone Meal and, of course, I get sidetracked and walk out with more than I intended, and way less than I wanted. . .but I did walk out with the bone meal, another seed tray and the seed catalog that I've been waiting over a month for (and still did not receive). I also picked up a few more seeds while I was out earlier in the day, so my plan for the day was set.
I had picked up some Colombines, Nasturtiums and Hollycocks for my own pleasure and placed the colombines in the fridge and I'll plant those in a week. The Nasturtiums I plan on starting in the next round of seed starts, most likely within the next couple of weeks, depending on space.
I mixed up my standard soil mix for seeds (a combo of aged steer manure, potting soil and perlite), filled up the cells and got out my seeds for the tray.
In the seed tray I planted the following:
1. Hollycock - (1 seed per cell x 18 cells) planted 1/8" deep
2. Echinacea Purpurea - (2 seeds per cell x 9 cells) planted 1/8" deep
3. Red Kale - (3 seeds per cell x 3 cells) planted 1/8" deep
4. Black Beauty Zucchini - (1 seed per cell x 3 cells) planted 3/4" deep
5. Yellow Squash - (1 seed per cell x 3 cells) planted 3/4" deep
I'm keeping this tray on the window sill in the dining room which receives about 6 hours of direct sunlight and indirect sunlight all day long, so there should be plenty of sunshine for these seeds and hopefully the kale in this tray won't take as long as the kale I've got in the re-purposed water bottles in the garage. If they do germinate faster, I will most likely be moving all the plants I can out of the garage. . .we do have an empty guest room I could take over till the weather warms. . .
Two days ago, I picked up some potatoes (purple, honey gold, ruby fingerlings and a white flesh Japanese sweet potato) and am chitting those by placing them in indirect light in a relatively warm room (in my case, the dining room under a plant stand) until they start to sprout.Chitting is a method of preparing potatoes or other tubers for planting. The seed potatoes are placed in a tray (often in egg cartons) in a light and cool place with a little water. All but one of the "eyes" (sprouting parts) of the potato are removed, leaving the strongest growth only. Once the sprouts are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, the seed potatoes are planted in the ground.
So we're starting to see a few more sunny days and I'm starting to get more motivated to get outside and do some things. . .
A few days ago, my friend invited me to come over and help liberate some of her bluebells that have taken over her front beds. . .and being the great friend that I am, I rushed over to help her out. We barely made a dent in her bed and I had about 30 bulbs to take home! I finally got to transplanting them today. . .I had an idea where I wanted them, but didn't realize just HOW many I had until I went to start planting them. Holy cow. I spread them out all over out yard. They should be pretty when they establish themselves in the coming years. . .
The oregano and garlic container is not looking so hot. I'm gonna mix it up a little compost tea and see if that helps. If not, oh well, I guess. The sage is looking pretty perky, too. The other oregano is still looking pretty good and we've still got plenty more garlic, as you can see. . .
Sprout Update - 7 February 2011
Round 1: Day 24
Round 2: Day 19
The Green Zebra sprout is doing pretty good. No new sprouts for any of the tomatoes, though. I think I am going to make some foil lined cardboard boxes to keep like 4 of the Jiffy Pots in to help retain some heat and moisture for those and see if that helps. If there's nothing new in the next couple of weeks, I'll scrap those and try again. . .
No new lemon cucumbers, but I have noticed that the one closest to the heat lamp (but second to sprout) grew and opened two true leaves to the first one's one true leaf. The third has seed leaves that look slightly misshapen, so we'll see what happens with that one.
No real change with the broccoli. The second one STILL hasn't popped up above the soil line yet. Kinda weird, I think. But it's the first time growing broccoli so we'll see what happens.
I think I'm slowly weeding out the weaklings in the pea section. So far, three have turned a little brown and started to wither. They didn't grow very fast (as compared to the others), either. So I think I'm okay with it. If the healthy looking ones start to turn, then I'll start to worry.
The mallow is looking a little thirsty, so I think I might have killed them. They get water at least every 4 hours when the lights are on so I'm not sure what the problem is with that. I'll make it a point to soak them a little more than the rest adn see if that helps.
The rosemary is still pretty much the same. No significant change there.
One of the kale bottle is showing some signs of life. I think a seedling is about to pop up. It's in the bottle that is most exposed to the heat light, so that's probably why. . .
And last but not least, the garlic chives are slowly worming their way up. . .much like the Tokyo Green Onions did. . .
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