The Garden Diaries - Resumed

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Recent activity

Tarrador 3 years ago


TarradorFinal Fruits

We harvested out the last tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and carrots from the garden. Went the whole year without cultivating a single watermelon of successful cantelope but that won’t stop me from trying again next year. Having beat back bugs, vine borers and mold, I am going to go for some minature zucchini and patty pan squash.

We decided not to sow a winter garden due to my December schedule. The rest of the vines and bushes we pulled up, along with the weeds and grasses that crept in while I was too busy to maintain the garden properly. It is going to lay fallow through the winter while we redress the area between the two beds, build up the raised beds another layer and add more dirt and compost. I’m going to stake down some black plastic over the dirt to keep stray seeds out and to hopefully smother the weed seeds that remain. There is also an ant investation that I will have to decide how to deal with.

The carrots came out very nice, lovely, sweet and brilliant orange. But they are still stunted looking from the hard packed soil. Next year I’m dividing and area with lots of compost, hay, loam and good drainage, and using that for my root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and beets.

Reconstruction of the garden should be done by the end of January. I plan to replant in mid to late March. 17 months ago


TarradorFelix Fruits, Falls

The garden is largely done now except for the carrots which need harvesting, and one stubborn pepper plant that continues to grow small, twisted red peppers. I’m averaging about 1 pepper every two weeks off it. The basil has long since gone to seed and gone woody. It was a very good season for tomatoes and beans. I successfully beat back all the squash killers, beit bug, worm, or mold, and got some HUGE zucchinis. Not much on flavor, though, and it makes me want to try something more exotic next year. Nary a melon survived the ants and other bugs, and I never got one bigger than a baseball. All the same it was a successful season overall, I thought. I’m debating about planting any winter crops, based upon my Nov – Dec schedule. I’d like to get in some broccoli, chard, kale, and leeks. I’d like to sow some beets, but I’m concerned that they would be too young if we got freezing temps in January.

Felix the Fig Tree has been doing very well in his pot in the front flowerbed. He has been producing and dropping a lot of fruit, but none of the figs are much over an inch long. And the ones that are ripe are not very sweet. The tree needs has been dropping his leaves, which is kind of odd, but all the branch tips are budding with new leaves. I just keep pouring water on him for now, and I guess he will be ready for transplanting into a larger container in the spring. I brought him in Sunday evening just before the temperature dropped so the buds would not suffer in the cold. He now occupies most of my kitchen sink where he can get sun and plenty of water. I will put him out during the temperate days, but bring him in when it gets too cold. 17 months ago


TarradorOut of the Garden, Into the Frying Pan

Making use of my summer fare from the garden. I have an abundance of tomatoes despite the chipmunks. The zucchini and squash are spent but they produced better than in previous years and I have plenty in the fridge. The watermelon has not produced a single viable fruit yet, nor has the cantaloupe, although it did have several fruitings. They were all wrecked by bugs and ants. Cucumbers are almost done; the last few have been kinda bitter. More basil than I know what to do with so I blended a bunch with some garlic and oil to make a basil paste spread. That should keep for several days.

During the week I’m eating very clean, saving the weekends for pleasure eating. Last night I made an enormous bowl of sauteed kale, garden tomatoes, and mushrooms. I was supposed to add sweet potato cubes to it as well, but I roasted the potatoes the previous evening and left them in the oven overnight (thankfully I had turned the oven off, just didn’t pull the potatoes and forgot about them). Didn’t trust eating them the next day. Two big glasses of water and some fruit. Enough ruffage to move a Canadian log jam. Feeling a bit out of sorts as I come off carbs and sugar, but losing weight at a desired pace. 20 months ago


TarradorFelix Flourishes

I haven’t made many entries this season on the garden. The squash did very well until blighted by powdery mildew. I cleaned up as much as I could and cut away the most infected parts of the plants and the ones that survived are on the rebound. I may get a few more zucchinis this year with no sign of squash bugs.

The rains and heat worked together to split all my watermelons before maturity. Some kind of boring bug drilled holes into my cantaloupe and an army of ants moved in and set up a vacation home. I’ve gotten a dozen nice sized cucumbers off the vine but it looks like it is about exhausted and not producing so I may replace it. The basil blew up and needs to be cut and processed, the rosemary and lavander is getting taller and bushier. I’m getting about 5 tomatoes a day out of the garden of different shapes and sizes. I’m trying to be vigilant and pull them just short of fully ripe because the chipmunks have been gnawing on them and ruining them. I’ve lost about 15% of the crop so far to them.

One big success, at least in the initial steps, has been Felix, my fig tree. We picked him up from Whole Foods in a little pot and he was only about a foot tall. He had a few hard little fig fruits on him. I have wanted a fig tree for a long time but it was never practical. I am going to try and keep this one in a large container and trim and restrict his growth but still be able to harvest a decent supply of figs in the summer.

At first I thought it was not to be, since within two weeks of bringing him home all the fruit and leaves fell off and he looked like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I tried more watering but made sure there was good drainage and that did not help. I was going to move him to a larger container but did not have the time, so I sat him in the pot he was in into the larger container. Then we got a couple of weeks of regular rain and the container filled with water, not draining away. Felix drank it up and in a week was flush with fresh sprouts of leaves. I poured off the water every couple of days, then let the rain refill it and let it set a couple of days. This seems to have fixed what was wrong. I knew fig trees needed good amounts of watering, and it looked like he was finally getting it. He has begun producing fruit again, although the figs are all quite small. I will get around to transplanting him soon while he is strong, then trim and shape the new branches to control his future growth. I hope next year he will produce a good quantity of fruit. I may even get another fig tree to keep him company. 21 months ago


TarradorRadishing!

We had some lovely, ravishing radishes come up very quickly. Only about 30 days and they are practically climbing out of the soil. I think I’m going to do another run of common radishes to see me through the summer, then plant in some kale or collards for the fall. By then the beans should be done as well and I will have a big enough space in the garden to accomodate the leafy greens. 22 months ago


TarradorCinderblock Garden Resurrection

We’ve spent two weeks tearing down the old raised bed, redesigning it into two beds, seperated by what S. wants to call a “green space”: an area of grass between the beds with a bench for sitting. This means the beds will have a lot less area in them than last year, but in truth I under-utilized the space anyway.

The chore is having to cut up and shovel all the earth around the bed, in order to move the raised beds to their new boundries. The red clay and granite is very hard to chop through. We are almost done cutting the trenches where the cinderblocks will lay. The plan then is to replace the blocks, going two, maybe three high. I will fill them with all the original dirt from the orginal bed, which has been composting with leaves and peat and soil for the winter. I’m going to fill some of the blocks’ holes with sand one layer deep to prevent grass and weeds from growing up in the holes. Then I’ll fill the remaining layers with dirt and we will plant herbs and flowers in the cinderblock holes. The interior will be for the vegetables. I also have to redo the irrigation to accomodate the two beds.

The big advantage, despite the reduced area, will be the ability to get at the plants without walking in the garden, which was a problem last year. I hope bug investations will be easier to notice and control this time. I still want to be very clean and organic, but I’m not losing plants and vegetables again to pest.

We need to get this done soon, hopefully this week, so I can move some of the starter plants that are maxing out in their peat pots. 2 years ago


TarradorFalse Spring

Ramping up to begin a new garden for the new year, but no progress to post yet. The unseasonally warm winter has fooled a great many plant and trees around here. We’ve had no snow, not even a hard freeze. It’s not safe to exhale until late February, but if we get a hard cold spell I will be surprised. I’m still planning to do all my early sprouting indoors, not putting anything out and in the ground until late March. Possible exception would be some lettuces and spinach in containers.

Walking up to the door I noticed the weather had caused the tulip bulbs I planted last year to send green shoots up. Maybe we will get an early bouquet of pretty blossoms lining the door in a couple of weeks with no foul weather to discourage them. 2 years ago


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