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Yesterday I started an entry to this blog . . . unfortunately, after several paragraphs, and photographs - I don't know what I did, but suddenly a new forum page opened, and all was lost. This was the second post since my last one this happened to.
Too tired after a full day of weeding, I just didn't feel like doing it all again . . . even went to bed extra early.
(moral of rant - uh - story . . . save draft, often)
Anyway . . .
This morning I was up at 5:30am, ready to start the day. Made coffee and then an unexpected rain shower started. By 7, I was ready to tackle tidying up the side yard for some photos.
The 3 Sisters corn, beans and squash are growing. But not as quickly as I thought, and not without some problems.
While I didn't really think the corn would do that great, the reason it seemed like a good idea was that it provided a natural trellis for the beans. I have some beans that seem be be growing faster than the corn, even though I did not plant the beans til the corn was over 6" tall. (The source of info for this said 4").
Some bug is definitely eating the corn leaves . . . and other things in the garden. I think it might have been those really big and nasty looking eastern lubbers . . . those creepy black grasshoppers. I plucked 4 off the sunflowers and herbs yesterday and, except for the bug I listed for identification, I don't see anything else except some tiny flies.
e crazy page thing just happened again. Lost another paragraph. ..............................
Anyway . . .
The squash and the cucumbers have lots of flowers, but I think all the rain we've had over the past week or so has caused many of them to drop off. I don't see any fruits forming on any of them, just flowers. We my get a few days of dry weather, so maybe I'll see some progress.
Now that the sunflowers have bloomed, the garden is getting a bit scraggy looking. Not all the hollyhocks are blooming and after pulling up all the flax and dill, I've got some empty spots to fill. The dahlias, however, are just starting to bloom. The zinnias, while still blooming . . . are showing the signs of too much moisture.
I haven't fertilized recently, and its showing. I'm thinking about planting some more sunflowers. Seeing how slowly the corn is growing, I think the sunflowers would have been a better bet for the pole beans. I may plant some more beans by the remaining sunflower stalks.
The moonflowers are blooming and starting to take over everything. They've grown up and down the trellis and over to a sunflower stalk and others things. I need to tidy it up a bit. The other one I planted by a sunflower has grown everywhere except on that stalk, even with encouragement. It has, however, secured the bamboo torch.
Below are some new photos . . . I still have more to do.
To date, the weeds are winning the battle.
Blessings to all,
Looking a bit raggy, even with a load of rain. My soil is sandy . . . more so in some spots than others. Was going to amend it this spring when all the hollyhocks, zinnias, dill and flax started coming up, so I wasn't sure how to do it. I'm thinking of adding a layer of top soil mixed with black kow.
The hollyhocks are looking rather sad. Hopefully all the damage to the leaves was caused by the eastern lubbers I disposed of. Found another one a little while ago . . . flush . . .
Very sad . . . needs more flowers and nourishment. All suggestions welcome.
Zinnias needing some loving care.
WOW! I can't believe I haven't been here for a while. I got busy working on a class I taught and barely got to take care of the garden. The good thing about gardens, if you give it enough water . . . it will survive.
So does the weeds.
I took a few pictures the other day . . . one of the hollyhock that's beginning to bloom and one of my sunflowers. Today, my son and I were looking at how huge some of the sunflowers were and we wondered how tall they were. He's about 6'2", and so we decided to take a photo with him in it.
The really tall ones were from seeds I got from alchemyworks.com. I bought several varieties from Walmart and Lowes, but they don't get as tall as the ones the Alchemy Works website, even though they claim to.
I've really missed checking in to the garden guide community. I going to play some games in the forum now.
See ya. Judy
I've been so busy lately . . . indoors. It's really starting to get hot here in Florida . . . mid-80's expected today, and mid-70's this evening. It's starting to heat up early in the morning, so I have to get up with the sun to be able to get any work done.
Plucked a few - a big pile - of weeds this morning after preparing the soil and making the mounds for the3 sisters squash and beans. I'll probably plant them tomorrow.
I found a website that tells you when to plant seeds by the moon. Most gardening by the moon sites really don't tell you when to plant seeds and transplant very clearly . . . but all the seeds I've planted so far by the method at Organic Garden Info (dot com) seems to be working.
Most also go into the zodiac sign the moon is in, but this one determines what seeds to plant by their germination rate. They also utilize the week just after the new moon and the week after the full moon for planting and transplanting, which seems to differ from the normal gardening by the moon method. Here's the link to the site. They also have a calendar here.
I have one sunflower blooming. I planted them all at the same time, and they are suppose to grow 12' . . . but this one decided to bloom on May 1st . . . all the other ones I planted at the same time have surpassed its growth. Maybe a different variety got into the seed pack accidentally. I wish the white ones had come up. Was hoping to have a row of shorter white sunflowers in front of the larger ones, but they either didn't germinate or some kinda critter got to them.
Harvested some flax, made a garland . . . need to make another one. I like to hang them in the garden to dry. I think that may be the best way to re-seed it. It does look a bit weedy after it sets seed . . . but has lovely delicate blue flowers that fills in the garden beautifully otherwise.
I'm going to have lots . . . and lots . . of basil this year. I'll be able to have pesto all winter! The cilantro . . . the 2 plants that are growing seem to be doing well. Never had much luck with it, but at least I have 3plants! I may try planting some more seeds next week.
The neon orange hibiscus seems to have lost some of its bright spark, it could just be the sunlight . . . maybe later this afternoon the blossom color will pop.
Corn Sprouts May 5, 2012
Noticed the sunflower bloom late May 1st . . . was surprised. Didn't expect it and I don't recall seeing it early in the day!
Same sunflower May 5th.
My garden flax garland.
Lots of basil, some parsley, cilantro and sage growing.
My neon Hibiscus. Usually so neon the flowers actually glow.
r vine is taking over the old windmill trellis. Large sunflower in background.
ther photo of sunflower, with tansy growing in foreground.
Every morning . . . checking, checking, checking . . . on my 3 sisters corn mounds.
Today, the first signs of life have appeared.
Yesterday, when I checked on them, the only thing I saw was an open peanut shell in the middle of one of the mounds. I suspect a squirrel, but I didn't see any digging into any of the mounds, just the open shell. I don't know where the peanut could have come from as I do not have any and neither has anyone else around the house. Why the creature who left it there did is anyone's guess. Today, the shells are in a different position than they were yesterday.
The photos are not great, but I'm just trying to document my progress on this project.
Setting up for my night in the garden . . . Pete, my cat , keeps me company.
Usually the first thing I do after starting the coffee brewing is go outside and check my garden. Some days, the order is reversed. Watching my garden grow is very exciting for me.
While 64 degrees may not seem so cold, in Florida, this time of year it is very unusual. It's a good day for getting lots of work done in the garden though. Hard work to get you warmed up. I just don't have the umpth to get started. Even with 2 cups of coffee . . . so far.
It's forecast to also be cool this evening, so later on I'll be getting my fire-pit ready for tonight. I save clippings from my most magical plants and add them to my drying basket for my evenings in the garden. It's still early in the New Moon phase, and tonight will be a lovely evening to meditate on the different projects I have in mind.
I'll be adding the dried honeysuckle vine wreath I made from pruned stems. The magical folklore of honeysuckle is that its powers are for money, psychic powers and protection.
I'll also be adding little circles of flax. Early on, I kept seeing these little seedlings sprouting up in the garden. Looked very weedy, but unlike most of the weeds . . . these were only in my circle garden beds. Weeds, at least around my house . . . do not just stay in one spot. They must be from seeds I threw in there.
So I waited. Last fall, I had lots of hollyhock seeds and others that I just scattered around my flower beds. I wasn't quite sure and didn't remember what I might have cast, so I just had to be patient. When they started to flower, I could see that it was flax. I wasn't sure I wanted it in the garden at first, but after the zinnias that had self seeded started to bloom among the flax, I actually loved it. it fills in nicely. Checking my books on the magical properties of flax, I see that it's magical powers are for money, protection, beauty, psychic powers and healing.
There's a few more things in my drying basket . . . later I'll have a look and see what I'll be adding to my fire tonight.
The sunflowers seemed to have doubled in size from yesterday. Once they get to going, it's almost magical they way they grow. The first time I planted sunflowers was about 3 years ago, when I first made my garden. You can't help but think of the children's story "Jack and the Bean Stalk". Surely the sunflower was the stalk the beans grew upon.
I have a moon flower vine growing between 2 of them. When they are fully grown my garden indeed becomes a magical place to be under a full moon. Even more so when the hollyhocks start to bloom.
Much to do in the house this am.
More coffee please.
Everything looks real happy this morning. It did rain after all, plus the sprinklers were set for Sunday am, so everything got a good soaking. I'm glad, as some of the hollyhocks looked a little droopy last evening.
It also rained a bit more this morning and it's still cloudy, so we may get a little more.
A couple of years ago, I had a fresh water sprinkler system set up to water my garden. I have lots of herbs and I didn't want them to get watered with re-claimed water. Disgusting stuff. The 3 sisters are planted in an area where it not set up, but since that zone only had 1 sprinkler head, I can just turn that zone off and water by hand when it starts to grow.
A few days ago I started some seeds. Poppies and Foxglove. I have an area that is mostly shaded, but gets a little bit of late morning sun and some evening sun. I've tried for years to grow poppies and have never had any success. Searching for info on foxglove, it seems to grow in zone 9 "except in Florida". I did find info and and a photo of some growers in Lithia, Fl . . . which is on the Gulf Coast and quite a bit further south, who have been successful . . . so I'm up for the challenge. I don't know if I can get them to grow until next year, but I'm going to try.
The thing about zone 9 in Florida is that it's a hit or miss kind of zone. We're like on the border of being able to grow both tropical plants and plants from zones 8 or even seven. It just all depends. Location in the garden is important. Some things that require full sun needs some shade from the heat. Some things landscapers said will not grow here are growing in my garden. I have a Lilac bush, from my grandmother's tree that's doing quite well. I even moved it this spring without any problems.
Hostas . . . they said it wouldn't grow here, I think because of the salt . . . but they're growing. This is the 3rd year. Again from plants I got in NC on a trip to visit my parents. One plant, however didn't survive . . . I think because I planted it in a spot that just got too much sun. The one that did live is in a shady spot and somewhat protected.
Our winters are hit or miss too. We usually get at least one good freeze, which is enough for some plants. This past winter was very mild, but we did get a freeze in late Jan/early Feb. Winter was over by Feb. 15th.
Some years, like the winter of 2010/2011 was extremely frigid. If you didn't know you were in Florida, you'd have swore you weren't. A very long and cold winter. Which means you have to protect the more tropical plants. For the most part, the things I have will sometimes freeze down to the roots, but will come back bigger and better after a winter like that.
Anyway, just going to post a photo of my little foxglove seedlings. I noticed them yesterday . . . they really seem to have like the rain . . .
Ok, looking like we might get a nice rain . . . I made the mounds for the Three Sisters corn and beans.
The recommended size for each mound is 18" wide, 4-6 inches high, flattened. One article also recommended putting an indent in the middle so water can pool a bit. Did this with my knuckles.
I poked each of the 4 seeds . . . spaced 6" apart, 2 inches deep then watered fairly well. Thinking we might get a good rain, I didn't want to over-do it. Right now, the sun seems to want to come out, so I might turn on the sprinklers for that zone a bit later. I don't intend to water the plants with the sprinkler system reclaimed water, but until they actually sprout I'll use it.
I then covered each mound with a generous portion of cayenne pepper, and one I also put fresh coffee grounds on. It will probably take me another 5 days to add grounds to the other ones.
I guess I'll know tomorrow if the squirrels have tried to dig them up.
OK, I was lazy yesterday.
In my own defense, looking for answers on the web can sometimes take a lot longer than you expect. I seem to have a knack for having the question nobody has an answer to. It may be out there, but I don't want to search a week to find the answer.
The first question is about finding the right soil mix. I know that I probably need to go to my local extension and have all my soil tested. But I'm not going to do that, yet.
The next question that popped into my head this morning was squirrels . . . 2 were playing near where I plan to plant the corn, and I know they're the culprits who dug up some of my sunflowers seeds.
So, left to my own imagination . . . I created this soil mix. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I'm going with it.
I mixed 1 bag (1 cu.ft.) of top soil, 1/2 bag Black Kow, 1 handful each of bone meal, blood meal, epsom salts and cayenne pepper into my wheelbarrow.
I added the cayenne pepper as it was suggested as a soil amendment to deter squirrels. Don't know if it works, but I'm willing to try. The article didn't say how much however, so it may need more. I'm also going to try putting fresh used coffee grounds on top and a wire mesh cover. Hopefully the squirrels won't dig up the corn. Another article suggested that blood meal on top of the soil is a deterrent . . . along with having your kid pee on the soil. Don't know if I can persuade my son to do that . . .
As a back up, I'm going to plant some in little peat pots, just in case.
Edit: PS . . . I also added a handful of corn meal . . . for Corn Mother's blessings . . .
I stayed up a bit late last night . . . finding it hard to get myself in gear and out to the garden this am.
More coffee p[lease.
The only thing I need to do today is finish weeding the area, mix the soil and make the corn mounds. I don't want to plant the seeds until tomorrow . . . when the moon phase and sign is good.
Since I need to wait til the corn has germinated and at least 4-6 inches high before planting the beans, squash and cucumbers . . . I'm not going to make those mounds until then.
The only thing that sometimes gets me when trying to plant by the moon is that I have time on days that don't follow the plan. I will say, that I did transplant some alyssum on a not so good day and time, but while slow to recover - they did and are starting to bloom.
Maybe I'll plant 1 mound in each of the 2 areas today just to see the difference, if any, in the germination and growth rates over time.
Supposedly you shouldn't do any planting during the last quarter of the waning moon, and never during a void of course moon. The new moon comes in tomorrow at 3:18 am edt, and the moon will be void today from 2:34pm-12:05am tomorrow.
The website where I found the info on planting seeds by the moon does recommend planting seeds at the new moon, so I'm going for it tomorrow. Plus, they're calling for an 80% chance of rain tomorrow . . . which may or may not pan out. Living near the coast, sometimes everyone all around us gets loads of rain and we'll be dry as a bone. Would be nice for the seeds to get a good start with a soaking from a nice rainfall.
Here's the info on the Burpee seeds I'm planting: Sweet Corn Obsession Hybrid, BurpFree Cucumber, Summer Squash Early Prolific Straightneck, and Garden Bean Blue Lake White-Seeded.
With the exception of the corn, which says to sow in my area between March-May, all the others give sowing times from March-September.
Well . . . one more cup of coffee and off I go . . .
Yesterday I started clearing out the areas I wanted to try growing the Native American 3 Sisters Corn, Beans and Squash.
Today, I marked the spots for the corn mounds with . . . corn meal, asking the corn mother to bless my garden spot.
I'm not sure how successful I'll be with the corn. I'm not sure if they will get a full 6 hours of sun. The area is on the west side of the house and does get lots of sun during the day, however, I need to plant it so that I can still walk through the side yard to my sorta medicine wheel garden.
I'm not as concerned about the corn growing ears as I am that it grows the stalks for the beans. I think that will happen.
I'm mixing top soil and Black Kow to use to make the 18" wide x 4" high mounds. I may add bone meal and blood mill and some epsom salts to the mix, though I'm not sure if I should.
I found some great instructions on how to do this here. However, due to space constrictions, I'm not going to have as much corn as they suggest.
I'm just going to plant the corn in a triangle pattern on both side of the side yard, with pole beans planted on the same mound as the corn. I'll be planting squash and cucumbers between them and on the sides. I'm not sure I'll be planting enough corn to get good pollination, but, as I said, I just need the corn stalks for the bean support.
I'm also not sure how much sprawl I'll have with the squash and cucumbers. It is really a test.
I didn't mark the spots for the squash and cucumbers yet. Will have more photos when I get to that point. The corn needs to grow to about 4-6 inches before I plant the beans and squash.
Hoping to find some info on a mystery plant I found this spring, as usual good info was found here at Garden Guides. They have some lovely features for the home gardener, including this blog area. This is the perfect place to share my endless activities in the garden.
I started my garden about 3 years ago. Turning my dead back yard lawn into a place where I could cultivate and grow plants with magical properties according to folklore.
If you think you can create your vision for a magical garden in one year . . . I wish you all the best . . . but must say, from my own experience . . . it will takes years before I really know what I'm doing and accumulating all the plants I would love to have.
Living in Florida, seasons here are really a hit or miss. You have to start early, like January if you hope to get a lot of preparation work done. This year was perfect. Cold/cool days in January, February, and March. I did get a lot of work done. Last year we went from cold to hot overnight. It gets really hot in Florida, so if you don't get up early when you have a cool morning, you miss out on even the most mundane chores because of the heat.
I do try to plant during the appropriate moon phases and astrological signs. That's not always possible, but I do try to plan for it. It's my own personal test, to see if it works. Perhaps this is a good place to catalog the details of my endeavor.
Yesterday, I started pulling the weeds, and grass from the area I want to try planting the Three Sisters. This is a Native American planting of corn, beans and squash. The corn stalks grow and are natural bean trellises. The squash seems to also maintain itself around the base of the corn. I don't know if will work. I think the area I have to use will provide enough sun, but I'm not totally certain. 6 hours is considered full sun.
I won't plant the seeds until Saturday or Sunday. The moon will be new and in the sign of Taurus, an earth sign. All the seeds have a short germination rate, so this should be a most opportune time to plant. For more info on seed germination by the moon you'll find the info here. It's the organicgardeninfo.com website. They also have a monthly calendar.
I just getting use to using this feature. I would be great if they had a preview function.
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