Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gardening Update: Thursday 9/24/15


I went outside this morning with the goal of watering my seeds and plants.  The weather report was calling for 40% chance of rain in our area but I've learned not to trust those reports... it usually doesn't rain when they say it's going to.

Once outside, I decided to dead-head the roses... and that's how it got started.  I got distracted by other tasks such as taking pictures of my plants and pulling weeds and 2 hours later, I still hadn't watered anything!  But I have pictures to remember my morning.

As I mentioned, I dead-headed the roses.  I still have several of them that are flowering...

And also some new buds (the focus didn't work right on this picture and it was too sunny for me to realize!)

Speaking of flowers, one of the mint pots (sweet mint, perhaps? I lost track) is flowering.  I think it's the first time that I see it flower.

The strawberry plants are confused too... they started flowering again!

These plants are coming back from the dead with some flowers. I had bought them in... (checking records...) March 2013!! One is a penta and one is a verbena.  I'm glad I wrote that down somewhere, I'm horrible when it comes plant names!

The raspberry cane decided to flower again as well. I wonder if I'll actually get any raspberries this winter?  They dried up on the canes this summer and I got pretty much nothing. Well, fewer than 10 raspberries were harvested.

The hibiscus that I grew from a cutting from the neighbor's bush is doing great and has new buds that are forming.  I'm thinking I might want to take another 2-3 cuttings from his bush so I can have more hibiscus around my patio.  The flower are gorgeous and save for aphids, I haven't had any problems with it.

Speaking of hibiscus, the roselle is part of the hibiscus family and look how gorgeous my grown-from-seed roselle is right now!

I'm so glad I planted it in ground right there. It's doing great!  I'm thinking about starting more from seed.  I think I still have some....

Veggie-wise, we have some action to report:

One spinach seedling is emerging. Just one.  OK, so this might be a weed. I'll be pissed if it is!

The lettuce seedlings that I transplanted don't look too healthy.  I took the picture through the screening that I installed to keep bugs and squirrels out so it's hard to see, but trust me, I'm not sure I'll actually end up with healthy Romaine lettuce :(

Some collard green seeds have germinated.  Woohoo!  I hope those turn out to be as awesome as the ones we had last winter.

And this is some kale that has germinated as well :) No cabbage action yet.

Now, the pole beans... have pretty much all germinated. Already!  I planted them 4 days ago!  Here is bed #1.  The pictures don't do them justice. They're actually bigger than it looks here.

and this is bed #2.  Hopefully I'll have bona fide bean leaves to photograph soon!

My acorn squash is still doing well.  It stopped growing so it's the size of a large grapefruit.  The vine doesn't look very healthy, though.

I noticed a new male (wait, female?!) flower today but it'll probably fall off like all the others have.

My green pepper plant is growing several peppers right now. Again, the plant doesn't look very healthy (lesions on the stems, spots on the leaves, it might need fertilizer... which I just bought. I'm going to re-read the comments on Amazon tonight, someone was talking about mixing the fertilizer in water and letting it sit for a while for the best results...)

The re-emerging sweet potato vine is making a run for my composting bin!

I had to harvest this tomato today since it started to split.

But the plant has a lot more tomatoes that are growing :)  Here are some of them. Smile for the camera, girls!

One of the Ichiban eggplant plants had a hard time adapting to its transplanting in a new bin and I harvested its 2 eggplants that were all puckered up.  Thankfully its sister is growing more fruit :)

 One of the zucchini seeds has germinated too!  I need to find a way to protect it... Darn it, I should have made another tend... Wait. I think I have and old one I might be able to use (talking to myself, here).

My serrano peppers plants are very prolific right now, even as the jalapeƱos have slowed down. I harvested several peppers today, just to encourage the plant to produce some more.

Unfortunately, the squirrels aren't deterred by hot peppers... they will dig everywhere. I hate them.

This is today's harvest:

So to protect my plantings, I made tents by using rebar (reusing some and also buying 2 "sheets" of it for about $15).  I cut it to size with my bolt cutters.  It's so easy and yet  I felt so tough doing it!

This has got to be one of my favorite tools... with the pitch fork!
I made hoops with the rebar (it's not thick rebar so it's pretty easy to bend it into shape) and draped them over some of my self-watering bins.  Then I reused some screening material that I had bought several years ago to fashion tents.  Those are awesome because they let water and light through, yet provide a little bit of shade and more importantly: protection against bugs and squirrels.  As a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself!), I decided to use binder clips to hold the screen in place.  I reused all the binder clips that we had in the house and also bought a box of 50 tiny ones from Target for just $2.15.  

Here is the finished result:

The one in the background is over my 4 ft x 4 ft plot where I transplanted the collard greens seedlings and planted more collard greens, kale, and cabbage.  The gray one to the left (in the front row) is over 2 bins containing my lettuce transplants.  The dark one in the center is over the bin where I'm hoping spinach will grow.  And to the right...

This is a long one that is over 2 bins containing the carrots and radishes seeds that I just planted today.  I had a problem with the center section because technically squirrels could have ducked into at that point and gone into the bins.  This isn't a perfect solution but I just put 2 plastic rounds (meant to be put at bottom of pots) straddling the 2 bins. It's really flimsy but hopefully the dumb squirrels won't try to test it.

I had some rebar left so I decided to use it to finish corralling the raspberry canes.  My enclosure (made from a large pepper cage that I just opened up) was only on 2 sides.  I tied the rebar portion to the pepper cage portion with a plastic tie that I found while I was deploying the screening material.  It'll do the trick, I think.  While I was at it, I also pruned the dead canes.

 Let's take a tour of the back of the garden really quickly:

The oranges are still getting plump...

I won't be getting any lemons this year but hey, the lemon tree has some new growth!

One of my blueberry twigs was completely dead but this other one grew a little branch off its main twig. It'll be a loooooong time before I ever get any blueberries, though. Part of me keeps on thinking that I should just pull them out.

My plum tree looks dead... but then again, this little tuft of life has just appeared.

I didn't take any pictures of the nectarine trees. The one in the back of the garden seems OK.  The one North of the orange tree isn't. It's lost a lot of its leaves and I'm not sure whether it's because it's Fall or because there's something wrong with it.

Nature-wise, I saw this glob of bubbles in the "grass".  I guess it's some egg of some kind. Hopefully not of a spider?!

 Our sweet neighbor planted some ground cover vine to stop the erosion between his property and ours but it's the invading kind, kind of like kudzu and it was threatening to take over our little rock walkway that Greg built.  Everything in this picture is our property. Just a couple of years ago, it was the continuation of the berm that we have in the backyard, covered in mulch. Not it's covered with this stuff.  Today I took some pruners and have it a "haircut" by cutting everything back to the edging...

And there, at the border between our neighbor's property and ours, I lifted the heavy mat of vines and pushed them back.  I should have cut them off but my pruners weren't sharp enough for all of that. I need to sharpen them and got back.  They had almost completely taken over our little Japanese boxwood to the right and are threatening to invade our backyard.  So I'll be cutting this suckers off for years to come, I'm afraid.  Arrgh.

 Lastly, I received my Rubbermaid garden shed from Amazon today. Yes, this is the one that cost me just over $7 because I redeemed a lot of Discover Rewards and Swagbucks gift cards.  It came into pieces but was super easy to put together (the whole thing took me 10-15 minutes and that's because I wasn't sure of what I was doing.). I put the extra potting soil in there, and later on I put the big bag of Perlite and also wanted to store the peat moss in it. Only the peat moss had become invaded by ants (aaarrgh!) so it went back into the backyard.

I like the shed! It's low profile and a bland color so it... blends pretty well.  The only thing, I suppose, is that I would be easy for someone to climb on it to reach our windows so I might just move it to position it right between the 2 windows.  I'd have to move the strawberry bins, but I've been thinking that maybe this isn't the best location for them anyway.

Well, that's it for today.  I didn't take any pictures of the patio or the herbs but nothing has changed there.

I'm off to cook dinner now! Thanks for visiting. I hope to have exciting new seedlings sightings to report next week :)

1 comment:

  1. I love that Roselle. We can buy Penta and Verbena here as annuals, and I like both of them. How lovely that they are coming back for you. Your roses are beautiful. I can't grow a rose to save my life, so I basically grow what is "native" to our area. My mother can grow roses....I can hope that someday the gift will pass down to me.

    Fantastic how quickly your new seeds are growing. As far as squash and zucchini are concerned, do you think you may have to pollinate the flowers by hand? I am fortunate that I have a lot of bees in my gardens. I think it is because I have so many varieties of flowers that seem to attract bees.


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