[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] the_yardening
Let's see, I updated after Thursday's planting, so...

Saturday I covered the new plants with various plastic and glass containers. I ran out before I'd covered everything, so I used light covers to support the plants I then put a comforter over. It worked, but now I need to clean my comforter, and I've come to the conclusion there is a reason all the gardening books end up mentioning plastic gallon jugs. I had a vinegar jug and yup, that was by far the simplest.

So I've put out word that I need plastic jugs, and it looks like I should be able to collect enough to have a frost-cover collection soon. I'll just keep it stacked with the garden stuff, which will make these things easier. :)

Sunday all I did was check things and tend chickens, then Monday it was back to work.

I put a few more plants in the ground, a couple of Homestead tomatoes (I've heard good things) and a few banana peppers. Then added another layer of mulch to the garden boxes. I've pulled out the soaker hoses and once they uncurl a bit I'll be putting them in the side beds and adding another layer of mulch to those. Before that I should really find the courage to use my drill on the masonry and put in the support for the faucet divider. :S

(btw Gryphynshadow: I looked up the mulch thing, I think it may be sawdust you were thinking of that leaches nitrogen...no mention of that in my text for bark mulch....if I'm wrong, can you link me?)

Today it has been drizzling warm rain on and off since before I woke up, so I decided it was bulb day. I transplanted the tulips that have been living on my dining table, and then went to work clearing the bed where the zucchini and squash are going.

It has great soil, is in the garden half of the back yard, and is next to the fence that separates the living and working spaces, so the trellis for them to climb is already present. Not a huge amount of sun, but it is only feet from where the okra was happy in previous years so I think it should be fine...especially once the Big Event folks help me remove the old chicken pen panels.

Problem one: it was full of rocks.

Problem two: it was full of bulbs.

The lady who owned the house before me had beautiful landscaping...lush and inviting, it is still the reason people step onto my gorgeous stone patio (also her doing) from the house and go "I LOVE your backyard!" She was very into bulbs, especially various lilies.

I could not bear to just plant over them, even if I thought that would work. I mean, she might haunt me, it would be so disrespectful.

So I dug them out, carefully lifting from underneath. Wow. The number of them in there was astonishing. Believe me, that is a deep pot I've set them in.

Question, you more experienced garden types:  Some of them look like the one on the left- single bulb, couple of leaves. Some of them look like the one on the right: lots of lumps and lots of leaves, seemingly like multiple bulbs only kind of attached.

My guess is that is what people are talking about when they refer to "dividing their plants" but I'm not sure. Am I supposed to separate the lobes or leave them together when I replant them?

I've put some back in the ground, in the bed close to where they used to be (those that were one bulb) but on the living side of the fence.

...but that still leaves quite a few, especially if those big multi ones are more than one. Anyone want an unidentified bulb that is probably some kind of lily? I have this many left:

Told you it was a deep bowl.

In the process I found two big earth worms,

one in each bed I worked, which I ceremoniously transplanted as well: one to each of the new side beds. They are going to be lonely though, I may have to buy some worms soon. ;)

So now you are caught up. Tomorrow, once I've had confirmation of whether or not I'm getting blueberries while I'm there, I'll head to Lowes (again), and get the boards I need to put in that bed for the baby zucchini and squashes. Maybe this time I'll even remember to look for an indoor clothesline like my mother suggested, so on days like to day I can still dry laundry. :P

Poor homeless babies...

Date: 2011-03-08 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dirtwitch.livejournal.com
Sawdust does rob the soil of nitrogen as it decomposes. And, that is mostly because there is so much surface area, being in such small bits. A thin layer is ok, inch or less, more, not so much, and it compacts...can dry out and make a hydrophobic layer that sheds water.

Cocoa hulls are wonderful, but you MUST put them in a big bucket, and wet it thoroughly, and slop in on the ground, at least 4 inches thick. (If you just drop it on the ground, you can't wet it, it will shed the water, and be less than useful.) I have had clients freak out because it then 'molded' but, duh! That is GOOD! it will dry too, and become hydrophobic, but just keep breaking it up, with a light shovel, or your hands. It decomposes rapidly, both good and bad, good for the soil, absolutely terrific for worms.. but it means you must keep reapplying it each year. Sometimes I have put a couple three inches of that, and a couple inches of wood chips, medium or small, on top, that helps, too.
Wood chips will rob nitrogen, too, but much more slowly, so you can keep up the the nitrogen loss.
If you decide to do blueberries, drop me a note, I will tell you what I did. They are apparently hard to keep growing well here, but I got an earful at the nursery. Be SURE to get blueberries that will pollinate each other, 2 is ok, three better, and ASK THEM at Lowes or where ever! They don't ALL pollinate each other. And they MUST be a southern variety.

I got Sharpblue, Misty, and Sunshine Blue, from Raintree. All pollinate each other and are southern varieties.
You are working do hard! it all looks SO great!

Date: 2011-03-08 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dirtwitch.livejournal.com
Good for blueberries! Yeah, I just had to learn the pollinating thang, since there were always wild blueberries where I lived before, I never had to worry about it... or, that there were southern varieties...

Me, I WOULD put the wood mulch down 4 inches thick, provided that the soil under is good. This is especially good for perennials, and veggies that are more singular, like, tomatoes as opposed to lettuce. Any mulch less that 4 inches is decorative,and will not do what you need. The suns uv rays penetrate up to 3, 4 inches and will suck out your water, activate weed seeds, and kill the microorganisms that you want. Ew! I am not talking about 'decorative' bark you buy in bags, more, the kind of wood chips you get from a chipper, or from your local debris dump, where they give it out for free or low cast, after they chip the stuff that folks bring in. And, I do disagree with Gryphynshadow, (oh, so sorry!) it can be break down and make good stuff, it just takes longer... but, it is not great for small veggies at all, but really good for what I mentioned above. More later, gotta run!

Date: 2011-03-08 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gryphynshadow.livejournal.com
out at the community garden, they used wood chip mulch in great huge thick layers. they didn't put in enough compost, which was super bad when combined with that wood mulch. that poor dirt was... yeah. I've rarely seen people trying to grow plants in such bereft and sad dirt.

if you use wood mulch, don't let it dry out, break it up when it clumps together (dry and clumpy, it'll block water and air from the roots, and Mama Nature will try her best to fix that problem by attempting to break down the wood. for the microorganisms to break down wood, they need nitrogen as food, which is why it 'leaches' nitrogen from the soil.)

if I were going to use wood mulch, I'd do a three inch layer of compost, then a much thinner layer of wood mulch. the wood mulch, to me, is more decorative than functional... mainly because it doesn't actively help build good soil. properly maintained, it can be a net neutral product; I'm super lazy, tho, I prefer net positive products. things that do more than one job at a time. lol. I like to to use compost as mulch, with less rotted or partial compost on top as a water loss preventer; partially rotted hay or straw, or for things that like a little acid, pine needles.

with wood mulch, you'll need to scrape it to one side when you want to add more compost. partial compost you can just mix in, add fresh compost and then layer leaves or half compost on top again.

like I said, I'm kinda lazy when it comes to mulch. lol.

I think you'll be able to make the wood mulch work for you. I doubt you'll do what the community garden people did (let it dry out, applied it in four inch thick freaking layers).


I love reading about your gardening adventures.

(and, yes, that's dividing. rip those suckers apart. they'll be fine. each separate bulb that has leaves coming out of the top can be pulled away from it's 'mama' bulb and planted separately.)

Date: 2011-03-09 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dirtwitch.livejournal.com
Also, I forgot, your "bulbs" are agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile. It is not really a lily tho...it does make giant flower things, like onions. Flowers that look like a starburst, from light blue to deep blue. I like the deep blue the best...

If you have problems with snails or snailish things there, you may want to curtail the number of agapanthus you have. They are complete snail hotels and havens....
I generally planted them as a border along a fence, in a nice line (tho, I am not usually that into making lines...) Since they are messy looking plants often, I usually didn't plant them in a bunch. They can be so pretty tho! and drought tolerant, in my experience. And yeah, just rip them apart, you can't hardly kill them, so hardy... nice plant. Hmmm... maybe I will get some later!

Date: 2011-03-09 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dirtwitch.livejournal.com
omg! That is EXACTLY permaculture, yay for you! Duh, yeah, of course, that would be a great way to get 'free' chicken food! Never having had chickens, I would not have thought that, but, you are exactly correct, and Doing It Right... heh!


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Suburban Permaculture Project

May 2011


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