Friday, May 20

It's a jungle in here!

Some shameless bragging here... The tomato plants have gotten off to an excellent start, as clear from the photo. Not all varieties have sprouted, though - I think some of the 5- and 6-year old seeds have failed finally & I'll toss the rest if there are any left in those packets.

This year's new seeds from Seed Savers Exchange have had a 100% germination rate, resulting in lots of extra tomato plants. I may end up gifting plants away, not to mention the tomatoes I anticipate later this summer.

In the forefground are two pea plants, the dwarf variety that can be put into containers. I hope to pot those & harden them off this week - next year I need to start them earlier and the plan is to make spring gifts of the potted plants as a pretty centerpiece.

"Topsy-turvy" flower planter

An impulse buy late last year, this 'Topsy-Turvy' planter came home for $2 or $3 from an end of season clearance. This one allegedly attracts hummingbirds, but is pretty much the same as any other upside-down planter. About 3 or 4 gallon capacity, which I have filled with a blend of compost, peat moss, and polyacrylamide granules (SoilMoist) for water retention. Then, I planted four Wave Petunias (three in the top, one in the bottom) and we shall see how well they grow. My biggest concern for now is the weight of this - at least 25 lbs, probably closer to 30.

The overall construction of the planter is pretty nice, with reinforcing straps inside the bag, and metal weight bearing structure.

I found (since we had a short-notice frost warning), that placing this over a bucket will support the weight while not crushing the flower growing from the bottom. Is it worth the retail price? I'm not sold on it yet, but for $3 at the local discount store, it was worth an experiment.

Wednesday, May 18

Tree Progress

"What am I supposed to do with these sticks?" That is what I said 8 years ago as I surveyed the "DNR trees" we got. I regretted the cost, even though it was about $1 per tree. They looked hopeless - bare-root, about 12" tall, and caliper (trunk diameter) thinner than a pencil. Pitiful start for the grand forest I had envisioned on the back of the property.

Following the directions provided with the trees, we used a tree spud (a.k.a. planting bar) (rented for $5) to put them in fast. Then we put a slow-release fertilizer tablet about a foot from the roots, and about a foot deep (punched the hole with a crowbar). After a month or two of careful watering during droughts, they were left on their own, and they have grown well.

This photo was taken this week, with my extremely cooperative dog posing for a size comparison. The cedar in the photo is 7-8 feet tall, and is about average for the first planting of those little sticks 8 years ago. I wholeheartedly recommend the DNR programs if you have the patience to wait for the trees to grow in, or need to re-forest a large section of land.

Monday, May 16

A friend in the garden

Just hanging out in the lawn clippings that I use as mulch.

Things I should have learned by now....

It's been years and years since I started this gardening would think some basic lessons would have sunk in...

  • If there isn't enough space to walk between planting beds while planting, it won't get any better for weeding. (The onion bed is 15-foot square this year...Gak!)

  • Don't let radishes go to seed.

  • Don't let volunteer radishes go to seed, again.

  • If you cut off a taproot weed at the soil surface, it's going to grow back.

  • Check the forecast for late spring frosts prior to spending hours planting annual flowers.

  • There will be critters in the compost pile, expect it. ( a little vole was in there today)