Things are coming along

Well things are coming along around here. Here is a pink oriental poppy.

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gardenapril09-006Here are the golden yellow California poppies, there is usually a little patch out front and a few here and there around the yard.

gardenapril09-0071Where did all those tomatoes go? Well, I gave some away some are in containers and others have been planted out into the garden.

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The next picture shows 6 tomato plants in large cage made of concrete reinforcing wire. In the center is buried a large olla, an unglazed clay pot. By filling the pot with water, it gradually seeps into the soil around it.

gardenapril09-017Next to that group is another batch of tomatoes. I did not have another olla handy so this one just has a depression in the middle to water into.

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gardenapril09-012More baby ‘maters. These are the Princepe Borghese, an heirloom Italian drying tomato.

gardenapril09-008A yummy cauliflower.

gardenapril09-0112wow, look how big the potatoe plants have gotten!

gardenapril09-014They aren’t amber yet, but here’s my ‘waves of grain’. This is winter wheat heading out.

gardenapril09-016Here’s a little baby apple. this tree was mislabeled in the nursery so I’m not sure what it is. I just know it’s _not_ the Granny Smith I though it was.

gardenapril09-019More purple peas. These however are the Sweet Magnolia, a purple sugar snap pea from Peace Seeds.

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Daily Change

Gosh, this time of year the look changes almost daily. Still trying to clean up and clear out some junk and work on some new projects in addition to the garden, working and babysitting grand kids. whew!

Here’s the first oriental poppy of the season.gardenapril09-001

gardenapril09-002The crimson clover is also blooming up a storm.

gardenapril09-004Here’s my ‘girls’. They lay 4=5 eggs a day right now. With bright orange yolks.

Make your compost do double duty

Now I know a lot of folks have cold compost piles, that is basically just a pile of yard waste slowly rotting in the corner some where. But if you make hot compost piles then make it work over time for you. My recent piles have run about 150 degrees. When they cool off a little I dump some dirt on them and plant in them! If it’s still cold at night I put an old window over the plants to help keep them warmer.

gardenapril09-022Watermelons seed planted March 1st. Have survived quite a few nights with 32 degrees and have several leaves on them. This compost pile was about 100 degrees when the seeds were planted.

gardenapril09-0201These are baby blue hubbard squash, started in 2″ soil blocks. The compost pile is about 140 down in the middle of the pile. [edit May 2, 2009, this pile is now up to 165 degrees and has been for over a week]

Got ‘Maters?!

Spotted the first little ‘mater of the year on an Imur Prior Betagardenapril09-0091

Did a little planting around the place today too. This was just an old wooden box sitting around.  I went to move it and it was disintegrating, so I tacked on a crude trellis, lined it with a recycled heavy duty trash bag and filled it with potting soil.

gardenapril09-0111gardenapril09-0151Here you can see 2 Trombocino squash in the back with 2 Tangerine Gem marigolds in the front. {They are edible and the leaves smell like citrus} In the center is a Texas Tarragon, another edible marigold that smells like licorice.

crazy weather

What’s up with the weather? I mean one morning it’s 50 degrees & the next morning it’s 32! And I found out the hard way that my patio is about 10 degrees warmer than my garden. Lost some tomatoe plants that were in the ground, but the ones still out on the patio are thriving and full of blossoms.

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I dig my dinner

Like I said I’ve joined up with Freedom Gardeners everywhere in the 1 million pound harvest challenge. Here’s a great link for you:

digmydinner-copyI can’t seem to make the link work with the picture so go to http://www.freedomgardens.org for more info. Growing your own food is easy. Plants and seeds _want_ to grow, that is what they are designed to do. You just have to give them the right conditions to let them do their best.  Most veggies like full sun and rich fertile soil.

If your soil isn’t so great you can make it better. Adding manure, compost and organic fertilizers will help bring poor soils into better condition for plants. Properly managed gardens just get better and better every year. So if not everything does well the first year keep on trying. Many factors affect plant growth, soil and air temperature, water and weather are also big factors besides soil fertility. Keep a garden journal where you write down what you planted and where and make note of how it does. If it doesn’t do well try and figure out why. Maybe you planted too early or too late or that spot doesn’t get enough water or that’s where it floods when it rains. All of these can affect plant growth. Then adjust for the next year.

Even experienced gardeners have plants that don’t grow as well as others. Figuring out why and correcting it is part of the learning curve. However, every year there is always something that does really well and yields bumper crops so rarely is there a total failure. Happy growing!

Tally HO!

I have joined up for Million Pound challenge, that is growing a million pounds of produce collectively, see http://www.freedomgardens.org for more information. Marche’s tally was 17.859 pounds of veggies, mostly mache, claytonia, kale, chard, chickweed, with a few carrots, beets and peas. Also 126 chicken eggs. whew, that’s a lot of eggs!

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Check out these little baby plums, mmm can’t wait for them to get big and juicy!

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who says veggies aren’t beautiful?! The pea flowers on the left are Dwarf Grey Sugar peas [like the flat pea pods in Chinese food] and the ones on the right are Blueshokkers, an heirloom blue/purple shelling pea, usually dried and used for soup I understand. This is my first time growing the shellers, so we’ll see!

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Under the lights, in 3/4″ soil blocks are eggplant and pepper seedlings. The group of eggplant seedlings in the back look like they have all germinated and are ready to move up into 2″ soil blocks. Soil blocks are pretty cool, you use a little tool to scoop up a peat & compost mix and press it into blocks, complete with indention in the top to take seeds. The 2″ blocks can be made with a hole that just takes the 3/4″ block, so ‘potting on’ is really easy, with no shock to the little plant.

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Here are some of those 70 some tomatoe plants that have been transplanted to larger pots and recycled containers. Yes, there are a couple of old ice chests and some plastic storage boxes that I’ve made into self watering containers as an experiment. Since we only get 12-18 inches of rain a year, and have been in a long term drought, anything to save water is good.

A little tour of around the place

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this is my Rex buck, Stanley [no I didn’t name him that, my 7 yr old grand daughter did. Where she got the name from I have no idea].

gardenmarch09-023The tomatoe forest. Since I hadn’t gardened in a few years most of my seeds are pretty old. So I planted extra. I ended up with over 70 tomatoe plants of eight varieties. Since I don’t really need a dozen Yellow Pear tomatoe plants I will probably give some of them away. Here they are in 1 gallon pots on my back patio.

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Here’s a peek into the greenhouse. This is built onto the south side of my house and when completed will help warm up two bedrooms and the bathroom during the day. It is only about 7 feet wide. Right now it is about 16 feet long. As soon as the humongous tree stump is out of the way, I’ll be able to extend it the length of the house, nearly 30 feet.

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Here is that stubborn old tree stump. I had the tree cut down about 15 years ago because it was hollow. Another tree in the same row narrowly missed my brand new roof when it broke in a storm, so they all came out. However, the stump is still alive and sending up shoots and spreading it’s roots. I’ve been diggin and cutting on this thing off and on since last fall. I’m hoping just a couple more days work will get it out of the way so I can finish up the greenhouse. Of course I have a crazy life, so no guarantee when I’ll get that much free time!

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Here are some of the pease. The row on the left are Sugar Snaps, these were planted last September. In the raised bed on the left are Maxi Golt, just beginning to bloom, they were planted in December.