Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
Well, the greenhouse is empty, and the garden is full.
Last year we built two raised gardens, each 4'X8'. We had torrential rains that spring, and we believe the 'good' stuff leached out of the carefully prepared soil. We had moderate success.
This year, I've mixed plenty of compost from a variety of sources into the soil. I also started seedlings in the greenhouse (I wouldn't even care to imagine the fun Angus the Cat would have had with the seedlings and their pots of wonderful soil had I attempted this in the house), and did my best to get everything in the ground on time.
After rearranging the soaker hose, the lettuce plants went in, followed by the tomatoes and peppers. You can see the lavender and sage, both with lovely purple flowers, and catnip that survived the winter. The onions and garlic went in several weeks earlier, though it's hard to see them in these photos. In an attempt to save the lettuce from the hot sun, I rigged a bit of a tarp overhead.
The tomato seedlings did very well, and I planted 5 in the garden on the right, then put 3 more in pots just because I couldn't stand to toss them out. They're starting to perk up after the transplanting. The largest tomato plants have flowers and the tiniest tomatoes on them!
I added marigolds in and around the garden, as well as a cluster of sunflowers on the far end of the garden. Everything is changing so fast! I love this time of year!
I love to see plants come up in the garden. This year I planted a lot of seeds and started them in the greenhouse, hoping for a nice head-start to my gardening venture. To my delight, most of them sprouted and grew nicely.
But when it came time to plant them in the garden, I realized two things. 1) I had planted too much lettuce for the space I'd alloted, and 2) summertime comes quickly here, and they'll soon begin wilting in the heat.
My solution? A bit of an experiment, really. I wanted to try growing the lettuce plants indoors, as effectively as possible, and without soil.
This is what I came up with. Each plastic tub has a water/fertilizer mixture in it. I'm mixing a couple of fertilizers, so I'll let you know how they work. The plants in the tub to the right are in cups with orchid mix to help support them. There are holes in the cups so the water gets in and the roots can grow through.
The tub on the left has much smaller holes and no cups. The plants go directly into the water beneath the lid. I stretched a piece of plastic wrap across the top to help support the plants until they get big enough to not fall through the holes in the lid.
In each tub there is an aerator from an aquarium with a single pump powering both. This should help keep the water aerated and from becoming a stagnant mess.
Each lettuce plant had only two leaves when I 'planted' them a bit over a week ago. Can you see how much they've grown? I placed a grow lamp above them, and they seem to be doing quite well in my cobbled together experiment. Any suggestions for a set-up like this?
Is there a better notice that Spring is near than sweet daffodil faces? Last fall I planted a variety of daffodils. Our winter was so mild, they started blooming several weeks ago.
Lots of flowers I consider annuals survived the winter. Petunias have greened up and are blooming their heads off. The gerber daisies decided to winter over, and the purple one is in full bloom, while the yellow one is lagging a bit behind.
Every day, actually, every moment in the garden brings something new. The basil and lettuces in the little greenhouse are coming along nicely, and the tomato plants will go out in a few days. The lilac bush has leaves AND flower buds. I LOVE lilacs! The roses have put out new shoots and even the hydrangeas have tiny leaves beginning to sprout on their limbs. I have to admit this is my favorite time of year.
Today's project was to help correct a drainage/erosion issue near the front porch. The land slopes and allows soil to wash from the front yard, across the driveway, and into the carport where it settles in a muddy swamp to navigate on our way to the cars.
My thought was to put gardening trim along the edge of the driveway, then I filled it in with top soil and planted ajuga. They won't grow very tall (except the flower stalks, and that's fine with me), and will be very traffic hardy once established. Here's before and after:
The ajuga will spread quickly and fill in the space, and should hold back the soil that washes downhill. I'll try something similar a bit uphill to minimize the erosion. Right now, I think I need to find a couple of stepping stones to help navigate the path.
The calendar says it's February 21. We're likely to have cold temps, ice, and/or snow next month. But if you ask the flowers, it's spring.
I planted a variety of daffodils last fall, and two of them are open. Others have fat buds getting ready to burst open, and I'll collect their photos as they bloom.
Last weekend, I spread compost over the garden area to take advantage of the (hopefully) rain we're supposed to receive this week. I've planted red onions and garlic in the bed already, and will start some seedlings this week.
Here are a few signs of spring at my house:
Gerber daisy (such a mild winter, they survived. I will trim the dead leaves once I'm sure winter is over. Right now, they're insulating the plant)
Oh, and dog hair. If the dogs are shedding, is the cold weather over?
(And Freki's already been to Sonic for ice cream. She says it's never too cold for that. She also keeps eyeing the swimming pool, but I think that's rushing things a bit.)
What, if any, signs are you seeing at your house that Spring isn't far away?
The monsoon season appears to be over, and while Freki frolics in the swimming pool, the garden is growing!
Every so often I find a plant that needs to go in some nook of the yard. For instance, we have a section of fence behind the compost pile that could use a bit of livening up. After considering wisteria (I love the sweet, lavender blooms, but the plant becomes quite heavy over time, and the blooms only last a short, though sweet time) and trumpet vine (whose blooms again do not last into the hot summer), I ran across exactly what I wanted.
I have a bit of an affection for hydrangeas, and have none at this house. So, when I ran across Pinky Winky at a local nursery, problem solved! The area is often moist, but the soil drains pretty well, and there is abundant light, though not late afternoon sun. PW tolerates part shade to full sun, and will become a rather large bush. I might need two. :-) When it blooms, I will post pictures.
For now, the veggie garden is gearing up for the first harvest, and I can hardly wait! Just look at all the veggies ready for a week or so of sunshine!
We've already harvested carrots. Can you see the tiny green bean? It's the curved bit between the stalks. The eggplant and zucchini nearly doubled in size in the first two days. And these are blueberries from a bush I planted just yesterday. Don't want the birds to get the first crop!
How is your garden growing?
The garden is full of beautiful flowers, many already forming tomatoes or cucumbers or other yummy veggies just waiting for a day of sunshine. I believe we've had 25+ inches of rain this month. Yikes! At least I haven't had to water the garden (yet). And just look at how it has grown!
So, today I have a guessing game. See if you can identify all the lovely blooms in the photos below. I was surprised by how beautiful a couple of the flowers are. Do you have a favorite veggie bloom or one that is unusually pretty?
It's raining outside. It has been raining, well if not for weeks, then it sure seems that way. I finally got the yard mowed yesterday, but storms opened up again last night, and the 'kids' are bored today.
There will come a time--any minute, in fact-- when I will close my eyes to the mud and simply open the door and let the dogs out to run. They will come in later, filthy but tired and happy. Fortunately, I can leave them in the utility room behind the dog gate to dry off and lose some of the mud. It will require a stiff brushing before they are allowed back in the house, but it is a process that seems to work.
As you can see, Angus and Freki have become buddies, and each one seems to delight in annoying the other when he or she is trying to nap or chew a favorite toy. They try to share the loveseat, but hilarity quickly ensues and off they go, chasing each other through the house.
Can you see how innocent they are? Uh, huh. Don't let their sweet faces fool you. They are plotting something. My guess would be a romp designed to get them tossed outside. Ben will take one face full of rain and sulk to come inside. Freki will dart off across the yard in search of her ball, and show up at the back door with a puzzled look on her face when I decline to join her. What rain? It doesn't faze her. Playing ball is obviously much more important.
The rain has been good for the garden. The beans are sprouted and almost doubling in size every day. The tomatoes have flowers on them, as do the peppers. There are tiny sprouts from the green onions and recently seeded carrots, and I harvested a bit of cilantro the other day to put in some meatballs.
It is so exciting to watch it grow! And if I have three muddy dogs, at least the garden is happy, too.
Gardening is fun. I love the colors of flowers. They are cheerful and something about tending them is very satisfying to me. If I lived in a closet-sized apartment with no windows (believe me, there would have to be windows), I would grow something under a florescent bulb. For a lot of plants, I have two green thumbs. I definitely have my limits, but we won't mention those poor plants.
At the new house, I have an opportunity to grow more than a couple of tomato plants in pots (actually there were a couple of pepper plants, several herbs and a watermelon vine that took over the patio, but that's another story). The problem is, I don't have time to weed, tend and harvest a large garden like my parents had when I was a kid. So, when 'square-foot' gardening was mentioned, I checked it out.
Above is the garden as it looked last weekend. I had started a few plants from seed, and you can see parsley, cilantro, oregano thyme, catnip, green onions and a tomatillo plant in these beds. Each bed is 4X8 with 1 foot squares marked off for planting guides.
Monday, I added a few more plants. There will be tomatoes (Roma, Big Boy and cherry), eggplant (I need to give you my recipe for eggplant patties), peppers (red, yellow and red sweet peppers, poblano- need a jalapeno), zucchini, yellow squash, sage, cucumber.
I hope to harvest on a rotating basis, adding more plants during the summer so veggies are available all season.
And of course I added flowers!
Do you have a favorite veggie to grow in the garden? What do you think about these planters?
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