Friday, October 9, 2009
Working With ChallengesEach weekend, I walk through the Farmer's Market to see friends, hear the music, watch the people and exchange opinions with the farmers selling produce. I make some purchases and we all agree it has been a cool summer, with three shorts bursts of hot days. Their produce is no larger than what I grow in the back yard, so we are all influenced by the cool dry weather, from this inland valley to the fields by the Pacific Ocean. Mother Nature is showing us changes that are necessary so things will be better in the future. I hope one of the changes will bring us rain. Meanwhile, I want to continue to improve my gardening skills.
I inadvertently planted my row of heirloom tomatoes directly over a deep gopher tunnel, or the gopher used my soft soil to make tunneling easier. Whichever way, gopher ate most of my 1 1/2 pound green tomatoes, all of the smaller toms, and the roots on all the tomato plants, as well as several pepper plants (yes, the entire plant,) eggplants and sweet basil plants. This vegetable garden season was very short. A search for the main tunnel where I intended to put a trap, led a crooked route under the peppers, potatoes, sunflowers and finally ended under the fig tree. I decided to plant more wisely next year.
Then, at the end of August, a miracle happened: My neighbor's 30 pound male cat, who rarely enters my yard any more, entered one night. (I knew because my female cats, locked in for the night, were putting up a fuss.) The next morning, the upper half of a fat gopher was lying on the garden path where it couldn't be missed.
It was too late for the tomato plants, but the rest of the garden began to revive, and through September, gave lots of peppers, eggplants, beans and squash. It will soon be time to rejuvenate the soil and prepare a winter garden. Quick growing green plants will be in order, as well as the onion shoots for eating next spring.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
June SolsticeThe longest day of the year will be here in four days. Then the days will become shorter, yet hopefully, for the garden's sake, warmer for at least three months. Like all other humans on Earth, I get so busy, the days fly by, and it requires calendars, journals, clocks, and friendly reminders that certain things have to be done to maintain the garden as the season moves and plants respond.
More water is needed now that fruits have burst forth. More water and more feedings to maintain plant health. The soaker hose system is working well, but when it comes to feeding the plants, I pull away the chopped leaves that keep the ground cool and wet longer, and scratch the powdered nutrition into the dirt below and around the soaker hose under the plants, and return the leaves to protect the plants.
The eggplants get more calcium, and the peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and canteloupe get a rich, high potassium fertilizer based nutrition. Everything is bursting with flowers and fruits, and it is important to keep it that way.
The squirrels are salivating over the fact the trees are loaded with fruit. I have one tree each of apricot, plum, fig, peach, lemon and persimmon. Each day I pick up a half bucket load of half eaten cots, figs and plums, and for human consumption, the fruits are not ready yet! To keep the fruit from splitting, I stopped watering the trees a month ago.
To my distress, I planted one of the heirloom tomatoes directly over a deep gopher tunnel. While all the other tomato plants shot up and have started putting out green tomatoes, this one was a runt, slow to grow. The water went down too quickly, which was my clue. I removed the cage, and by digging below the plant found its roots exposed. I packed more enriched dirt beneath the plant and hope for the best.
I recommend trying the Italian "Chiogga" beets. Mild and delicious. Not found in most markets. Uncommon even in a Farmer's Market. Grows like the standard Detroit beet.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The joy of springWhile others celebrate the arrival of May and its bouquets of early flowers, I am celebrating the emergence of many vegetables in patches around the yard, and the fruit trees loaded with fruit this year, despite a shortage of helpful insects.
The fruit trees are now decorated with old CDs swaying in the wind, flashing a warning to the birds to stay away. The Yukon Gold potato plants are of a size that now I pile the chopped leaf mulch and dirt up high around the plants. Because of water restrictions in this area, when the corn, pole bean seeds and potato eyes were put in, I laid a soaker hose over them before covering them with dirt. All the seedlings popped their tender green shoots up within a week. The soaker hoses are turned on for about 30 minutes every third day or so, depending on the mercurial jumps and falls in the weather here. The celery stalks are now tied up to look more like celery, and cages have been set around the tomato plants. The hot weather plants, peppers, eggplants, and squashes aren't doing much just now, for 60-70° is still too cool for them, but they look healthy. I try to keep the dirt around all the plants loose so the roots can breathe, especially after watering.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thank you all for my newbie seedsThank you all you seed collectors for sharing your "loot." Thank you p1mkw for the carrot seed. They are now in the ground. Thank you Mittsy for the Eastern Purple Coneflower. Thank you Pamsaplantin for Lovage and Blazing Star. And thank you all you Texans: LorraineR for Sneezeweed, Bean Vine, and Marigold Tagetes; Lazlo for Texas Star Hibicus and Turk's Cap; Aardvarck7 for Morning Glory, and by the packaging, I suspect you are responsible for Apple Gourd, Dwarf Snapdragons, and Yellow Bells. And thank you whoever contributed the Black Hollyhock and Mammoth Sunflower.
Since the area I live in is now under restriction due to the Light Brown Apple Moth, which devours any and all fruits and vegetables, I have cut back on the veggies I usually grow to give away, and will have more focus in growing the flower seeds you have sent. This is a new adventure!
Friday, February 27, 2009
On Being A Newbie In Dave's GardenI entered Dave's Garden three days ago, then later wondered why. My entire adult life has been spent in the world of medical matters and healing. But is not a garden and the process of gardening very healing? There is pain, and there are tough times and failures, but there is also such joy and healing of the spirit when success happens. In reading the entries in the various parts of Dave's Garden, it is very clear that people want to help people, and the love and generosity abounds among those who love to garden and get their fingers dirty. It convinced me this is where I want to be. I grow vegetables and fruits in my back yard the organic way, and hope to be smarter about it with the help of my new friends in Dave's Garden.
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