[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
I have to find the software before my camera can attempt to upload photos to this temp laptop, so this is a pathetically picture free entry, which is why I've been delaying it.

I really hate talking gardening without inundating you with pretties.

Maybe I can come back and add the pictures later and it will look like a real entry. ;)

Lucy has been spotted multiple times in the neighborhood. If there were some way to catch her I would, but alas.

The chicks are grown enough to be in the pen now, but so tiny compared to Top Chicken, who is still my most reliable layer despite being a year older than anyone else in there. The bantams, Fluffy Buffy, Tiger, Nana, and Raven, are adorable in their difference, and absolutely frightened of everything except people. Rooster is huge, but has not yet crowed, so we'll see. Rooster thinks sie is a duck; plays in water and walks on the female ducks. Little Red thinks that Rooster is the bestest thing EVER. They are inseparable, they even sleep together. 0.o

The ducks need their own entry, because watching multiple marriage, fowl style, is just hysterical.

The tomatoes are doing well. I've gotten four large tomatoes off the Patio tomato, the Roma has a ton of fruit on it, several of which are starting to ripen, and the various heirloom tomatoes are looking good. I have baby tomato plants doing fairly well in my kitchen window, taken from the...thing...the little branch that tries to grow that you pull off...I forget what that is; I've been putting the ones from the heirloom varieties in seed starter mix and seeing how many want to become new plants. 8 so far are looking good. No idea whether they are Mr Stripey, Homestead, of Black Krim though, because I don't label things sufficiently. ;P

I think I have proven the fact of companion planting. One bed has two tomatoes, a Black Krim and a Homestead (I have four Homesteads, two Black Krims). Those two tomatoes are INSANELY tall. I've had to tie up the cages, because the plants were tipping over the cages and crushing the other bedding plants. Why are those two so tall and such a darker green then their compatriots? I strongly suspect it is because there are two basil plants and a tansy in that bed. Tansy to keep away insects, Basil to make nightshade happy. There will be more basil here soon. Oh, no! Don't throw me in that brier patch! Anything but that! (A reference the current generation of children will not get-along with clapping to save fairies).

The peppers are doing well. I've harvested several banana peppers already, and have lots of bells on the plants getting big. The beans have a few *tiny* little beans growing out of previous blossoms, 4 or 5 that I noticed today. I'm still harvesting some arugula, though it does keep blooming in the heat so it is a bit more tart than usual. Fortunately I like that.

The blueberries are suffering. .The rain barrels are empty now, so they are getting hose water. They do not like it ("or it gets the hose again" just floated through my head). Our water is EXTREMELY alkaline. :( Various suggestions and internet searching has me now putting the hose water into an empty rain barrel to about half full, letting it sit for 48 hours, then dumping in a bottle of apple cider vinegar just before I water via soaker hose. That seems to be helping a bit, as they have some tiny new leaves coming in again. ~whew~ May be able to save them yet.

The squash and zucchini and the volunteer plants have TONS of blossoms all over them. I really hope things get fertilized so we can see what the volunteers are. :P

The potato plants are finally starting to peek up a bit. I have some more to throw in and then it is time to cover them again. :P

Mental note for for future: Do not plant anything next to the chicken pen that you aren't growing to feed *to* the chickens. It just does not work.

Other problem seems to be spider mites and some sort of tiny white mites which are attacking the tomatoes and *decimating* the marigolds. I have made up a garlic and pepper tea, and we'll see if that helps. ~crosses fingers~

Strawberries are doing well, though now that the tomatoes are high they are very much shaded. :)  Okra is just sad. Like a lot sad and very tiny. And the beans by the back are being eaten by something...I suspect something that roams the night since I've now had several mornings of "huh, I now have one less plant than I had before, how annoying is THAT!?!".

We bought mallard deritive ducklings at Easter. Yes, that was dumb. Dang they are fun though. It has yet to be determined whether they will go straight to the freezer at adult weight, get their wings clipped and go loose in the yard, or have a ramp built and be encouraged to enjoy the creek while still considering our yard for nommy treats.

They really are fabulously fun. We have the play yard set up and a casserole dish has been temporarily made into a pond so we can sit in with them and laugh at how ridiculous they are.  Looks to be a Mallard (Jane the Strange-Peaches duck), a Peking (Sunny, Monkey's) and a...something that looks like it is a mix of both, with pink AND black on both bill and feet. That would be Peepers, my duck. Monkey likes to hunt pillbugs so that Peaches can hand feed the ducklings. I prefer to sit until a fly lands on me then lean slowly forward until the mallard, Jane the Strange, notices... she eats the fly right off me. I find this amazingly satisfying for some reason.

The whole thing strikes me as odd...like adopting a kitten when you don't want a cat. At least we can eat them when they get bigger though. Try that with a kitten and you get in all sorts of trouble. ("If you're so evil: Eat. This. Kitten!")

The lack of rain has been hard on just about everything. I do not enjoy living in the Sims game.

rosebud;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!;!
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Mostly because: omg we need rain and the trees need to stop mating so enthusiastically.

I just want to be able to breathe and open my eyes all the way. Also, constant-multiple-day-long headache is uck.

So I'm still making progress but much much more slowly. ~sneeze~
picture proof. :) )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Today was another day of random garden bits. Peaches and I planted the rue, lavender, thyme, and two other herbs I'm too lazy to go look up in the dark, as well as putting the purple basil in with the Black Krim tomato, and getting the Sweet 100 (the one the neighbor recommended) put into a hanging pot. (I've run out of space in the garden boxes). Monkey and Peaches had a lot of fun searching through the dirt in the pot for snails before I transplanted and hung the tomato.

words! )

pics! )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Woke this morning to puffy eyes and sneezing.

Thanks, trees.

Decided this was not going to change my plans to work in the yard.

So there.

Today's accomplishments:

are behind the cut, with pics )

[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Let's see, this morning I went to the garden center, list and cash in hand. Shopping without my son is not as fun, but it is easier to take the time to FIND all the things on the list. :P

So now I have the rest of what I need to roof over the chicken pen (finally!) and finish chick proofing the bottom half, as well as a plunger to replace the one the gnomes ran off with.

I also got what I needed to plant blueberries. Four varieties: Alapaha, Premier, Tifblue, and Climax (hehe, climax, heh). All rabbiteyes, so they should cross-pollinate.They are now planted in 4' x 4' beds in the side yard, with plenty of organic peat mixed in to the soil. As soon as I finish testing the soaker hose there, I'll mulch over it, and take pics.

I've laid out and tested the soaker hose for one of the south side beds, but I've got it weighted down and am waiting for the sun to soften it up and unkink it before I mulch over it. Otherwise it will be like playing whack a mole.
more...with pics! )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
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?)
cut for gratuitious photography )


[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
Because yesterday I had unexpected wealth of labor: and so we went to Lowes and spent the money that should be coming in soon (what? why is that bad?) and go the spring garden going. It are pretty.

It is also random. I read a book that mentioned that while research is great, and planning helps you not have to undo, if you find yourself using it to delay, just stick something in dirt and dive in. Yeah, you may spend time later correcting mistakes, but at least you'll have your hands in the dirt now.

I took it at its word. Several cedar fence boards, a pile of soil, and some plants later: The garden boxes are planted with peppers and tomatoes (my neighbor recommends I add a sweet 100 to my tomato collection..and that in future I try to time my labor availability for after March 15) and the new beds on the side (where the chicken pen used to be) is planted with marigolds, geraniums, a couple heirloom tomatoes, basil and fennel and a handful of other herbs.

I'm waiting until after Saturday to put the tulips in dirt (they are on the dining table now) but I did pot up the rosemary. Hopefully the pot I put it in won't be too shaded. We'll see.

cut for photos )
[identity profile] gailmom.livejournal.com
The next step in our garden installation is to start the front yard conversion.

Of course, it's not like we've finished the previous steps, but simultaneous projects never hurt anybody, right?

We decided we should take advantage of our willing house-guest while we have him, so we are tackling the section of lawn between the driveway and sidewalk as soon as we can get our materials together, which will take about a week. I'm headed out of town next weekend, so I don't know if they will work on it then, but certainly the weekend after we can get a start on it.

This is the smallest section of lawn to deal with, so it seems a good place to start. It has a large shade tree in it, and we will be putting a brick patio into place between the tree and the sidewalk, then installing the walkways and raised beds [livejournal.com profile] gryphynshadow  planned in the rest of that area. This means, of course, that we need to do something about the lawn.

I Googled "sod removal" and came up with this article. Of the methods available, we'll actually be using two. The physical removal of sod via shovel (for the patio area) and the smother method for the garden/walkway area.

This begs the question of how long it might take for the sod to die, given that the grass is dormant now. I am guessing we can smother it, put the garden beds and walkways over it, and let it do it's decomposing thing under all of that, rather than waiting.

We shall see.

Pics to follow as the project progresses! Wish us luck. :)

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