Gardening Archive

MY garden!

Posted June 25, 2017 By Ruth

I have Tree Swallows nesting in the nest box closest to the garden.  I had to move that box a bit further from the garden a few years ago, when the nesting pair got fussy about me being in the garden while there were chicks in the nest, but haven’t had any issues since.  Well, not seriously, they get fussy about me working the row closest to the nest when there are chicks in the nest, but that’s manageable……

Till this year.

As I was planting those pepper plants last week (Wednesday) the Swallows started fussing when I walked the row closest to them.  I figured the babies were hatching, tis the season.

Friday I had a few minutes and headed out to do a little weeding…..and got driven out of my garden by dive bombing Swallows before I’d gotten the furthest row done!

Dammit, its MY garden!  I was here first!

I like Tree Swallows, they eat mosquitos, and deer flies, and the like.  But they don’t get to claim my garden either.  Once this set of babies leaves the nest I’m going to have to move the box again……..

2 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Garden Update

Posted June 21, 2017 By Ruth

Despite Husband’s and my best efforts the weeds are trying to take over the garden.  I shouldn’t be surprised I guess, considering I was trying to do everything with a bad arm (which is mostly back to normal at this point, thankfully).

Remember this baby tomato seedling?

I planted it a month ago today.

Here it is today:

ALready in need of a 2nd cage.  So much for not overwhelming myself with tomatoes this year.

Also, Bill Bean Tomatoes:

and Black Gypsy Tomatoes:

The corn bed, which has turned into potatoes and corn:

a volunteer Melon Pear plant!

There was a BUNCH of them in the two tires that I had the Melon Pears in last year.  I might not have been able to tell the fruit was ripe, but clearly that didn’t matter!

This year’s Melon Pear plants:

Jalapenos:

Black Pearl Peppers:

This year’s incredibly wet spring resulted in over 90% of my sunflower seeds not even sprouting, and more than half of what did sprout just dying.  I’m going to have exactly TWO sunflower plants this year.  Dammit.  I debated just covering the now empty tires with black plastic for the season, but decided this was my chance to try a BUNCH of different hot peppers.  Baby plants arrived today.  Hopefully the season will last long enough to get a decent crop!

I also had to restart a bunch of melon plants, for what is likely the same cause.  Though SOMETHING (insect not mammel) was munching the hell out of them too.  Not happy, though at least there everything is short season enough it should work out.

BTW, I didn’t even get those tomato seeds started till AFTER I broke my arm.  So beginning of April.  And they were still that big when I planted them mid-May.  I started 3 of the Black Plums for a friend and he couldn’t get over how big the seedlings were in comparison to the store bought ones he usually buys.  I have no clue what I do thats so different, but clearly it works……

I also got the deer fly traps setup and out today, a bit later than planned, but hopefully early enough to keep them from being a pain this summer!

6 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Garden

Posted May 23, 2017 By Ruth

Everything’s planted, caged, got its water hose set, and mulched with straw!

Volunteer rattail radishes.  I knew I didn’t get them all picked last year, I didn’t realize how many I didn’t get picked.  Nice to know they’ll reseed in my climate though.

Volunteer potatoes.  I guess there were more surviving potatoes than I realized!

Black Pearl peppers, seeds given to me by a friend of mine.

Black Plum tomato.  Still my favorite tomato.  Mostly because of the flavor, but also for the reason shown in the picture above.  Thats a two-foot tall seedling, standing happily on its own.  They barely need caging till they’re closer to 4ft tall.

9 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

waiting……

Posted May 15, 2017 By Ruth

 

Those are my seedlings, tomato, pepper, melon, etc, waiting for the weather to warm up enough for them to be planted, picture taken last night.  Average last frost is today.  If the weather predictions hold I might be able to start planting out tomorrow.  Tonight we’re supposed to drop to the low 40’s, but after that….the lowest they’re predicting is 50 for the next 10 days.  The tires keep the dirt warm enough that I can plant as soon as air temps allow me to.    The lights in the picture are C9 non-LED christmas lights, they produce enough heat to keep the little greenhouses nice and warm.

Course, planting is going to be an exercise in frustration too.  I still don’t have full use of my right arm yet, its better, but not 100%.

4 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

I can breathe again!

Posted February 23, 2017 By Ruth

Donno if its just the extra few days, or if the steroids and inhaler did the trick, but I can breathe, and although I’m still coughing I don’t feel like I’m hacking up my lungs anymore either.  Woot!

I finally managed to plan out my garden for the coming summer, and now desperately need to get seeds started.  And heck, ordered, as I never even finished that.

Empty holes are so I have fiddle room.  Once everything else is planted they’ll be filled with sunflowers and lettuce.

Gotta do taxes, now that I can think again.

Gotta finish this woodworking project.

Heading back into work today, for the first time in over a week, they ought to be thrilled.

Its been absolutely lovely here the last few days, I spent some time just enjoying the sun.  Even saw Bluebirds yesterday!

Storing tomatoes

Posted January 2, 2017 By Ruth

Ran across an interesting article on long term storage of tomatoes in dry (sifted) wood ash.  Digging around a bit more and it turns out that this isn’t actually a new idea, and that it actually works.  Science abstract here (gotta track down the full text, they tried various levels of moisture).  Additional info here.

Kinda cool.  My problem with trying it here is the moisture content.  I gotta see if I can track down the full article from the testing to see what moisture levels weren’t worth it.  We tend to be pretty damp here through the fall at least.

General updates

Posted October 27, 2016 By Ruth

I may be, finally, done with the whole sinus infection thing for the season.  Cross your fingers for me!

Work…..well, the Department Supervisor I was previously griping about has moved along.  Which is cool.  But it meant they had to find a new one.  Three people within the company applied, two from my store and a 3rd from another nearby store.  1-guy with previous department head experience, ran the receiving dept like a champ, doesn’t take shit, GETS THINGS DONE, but also can be abrasive to deal with as a fellow employee (though every customer interaction I’ve seen him deal with he was always polite).  2-woman currently working in the paint department, has previously worked in the garden department, zero department head experience, occasionally a bit of a flake.  3-current MET team member from a nearby store (not going to try to explain that, but it means he hasn’t actually worked in an actual store department in 8 or 9 years but technically has some department head “privileges”), previous garden department experience from before he joined MET, no actual department head experience.  My vote was candidate 1.  They hired candidate 3.  On first impression he seems like a nice enough guy……and if he makes it TO next summer, much less THROUGH next summer, I’ll be very surprised.  Yay.

In addition, one of the full time employees in the department is having some personal issues that have devolved into legal issues, and I knew from personal conversation with her that it was coming to a head this week and that management had approved her taking the week off on short notice.  I don’t have a problem with that and I’m crossing my fingers for luck and doing my best to offer friend support during the whole mess.  However as a department employee I’d expect management to have done SOMETHING to inform the department (at bare minimum our new department head) that we’re going to be short a person all week.  They don’t have to explain anything, “personal emergency” covers it just fine.  I had forgotten that her whole mess was this week, till Monday afternoon at work when I couldn’t find her, and the dept head didn’t know if she’d come in, and I paged her, and got a call back from management telling me that “she’s out sick”.  I asked said manager if she’d let the dept know we were short a person?  “Well no, but she was sick…..”(no she wasn’t, but really? can’t you at least take the 30 seconds to call the dept and let us know we’re going to be short a person?? Arg.  I managed to not actually SAY that…..).  This particular assistant manager is new to this store (as of this summer) but this sort of thing is standard to most of the managers in this store.  Only one is good about letting the department know that she just took a call out call.

Yesterday at work I was having a bit of day myself.  On top of being short a body in the department I managed to whack my head on a ladder about an hour into my shift.  I’m fine, and knew I was fine then, but went in search of an ice pack in hopes of stemming the goose bump.  The Store Manager caught me with it and freaked out cause I’d hit my head at work.  I managed to convince her I was fine, but promised to not drive the forklifts for the day (not that I’d planned to, having the forks in the air and discovering I was dizzy after all would have been a bad thing).  On an interesting note, the fact that I’d bumped my head and therefor might not be 100% managed to circulate through-out every member of management and dept head in the store within the hour.  Unlike when someone calls out…..

Have I mentioned that working retail sucks?

We finally got cold enough that the garden is done except for the broccoli that I tried to plant in the spring and just bolted instead due to the heat.  I’m leaving it alone for the moment, I want to see how tall it gets.  I actually got potatoes, I wasn’t sure I would since the plants almost all blighted fairly early in the season.  Course, most of them are tiny, and the ones that aren’t are either buggy or sprouting already…..I need to finish digging them up, and then I might just replant the sprouting ones to see what happens.

I found a hair dye that advertises to dye brunette hair purple (or blue depending on which box you buy) without needing to bleach first.  Its supposed to be a more subtle color, of course, than if you bleach first, but I’ve always  kinda wanted to dye my hair blue or purple……a check of the dress code at work shows that it doesn’t actually mention hair color…..I might have to see if I can get them to freak at me…….

General update

Posted October 12, 2016 By Ruth

I’ve spent the last few weeks dealing with sinus infections.  The first one wasn’t bad, I never even had to call out of work, and the antibiotic seemed to the job right quick.  Except I was constantly stuffy.  Which I didn’t immediately worry about, I do have allergies, then last week, wednesday, I suddenly had a bad sore throat.  Back to the doctor, on Thursday, by which time I had massive post nasal drip, sinus pain, and an elevated temperature not quite high enough to call a fever.  I’ve been calling out of work since.  Well, Monday I tried to go into work, I didn’t even make it through two hours before giving up.  Trying again today, wish me luck.

Monday night they were predicting a full frost, and infact we had freeze warnings for us and surrounding counties, so after a nap (after coming home from my aborted attempt to work) I went out and picked the large majority of hot peppers.

kimg1222

There was just one or two.  That’s 99% of the remaining Jalapenos, and probably 90% each of the Habaneros and the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  I only picked the ripest of the Buena Mulatas though.  I had to then take one more of the garden before the frost hit:

2016-10-10_15-15-52

And one to document one more time the giant heights the Chocolate Habanero plants hit:

kimg1223

I was also amused to discover that the watermelon plants were trying to revive themselves and even had a couple fist sized fruit on them.  I debated pulling out the frost blankets and trying to save them, but I doubt we REALLY have enough time left in the season to get those fruit grown and ripe, so I didn’t bother.

And we did indeed get a solid frost:

imgb3015

At 8am, when that picture was taken, it hadn’t even burned off in the sunny spots.  The tomatoes and the watermelon did indeed not survive it.  However the hot peppers are all still going strong.  I’ve found that for what’s supposed to be a hot climate plant hot peppers in general have an incredible frost resistance.

I did find two more hibiscus plants (which I forgot to take a picture of, my excuse is I’ve been sick), both with flowers that are solid dark pink.  I planted them right with the planting of two of the bi-color hibiscus I planted previously.  The solid pink ought to set off the bi-color nicely.

General update

Posted September 26, 2016 By Ruth

We came within a couple degrees of a frost over the weekend, but got lucky, so the garden still grows.

Since I’ve already got 15 quarts of tomato sauce stored away I decided to smoke half the tomatoes to go into the next batch, I figure if we hate it we’ll still have plenty left of the normal kind.  I’ve basically stopped picking tomatoes, there’s going to be a million volunteer plants next year, but I managed to totally overwhelm myself with tomatoes this year…..

Hot peppers are still going strong.  The Buena Mulatas would make a very pretty decorative landscaping plant if anyone was so inclined.

I picked a total of 5 pumpkins this year.  I haven’t had a chance to process any of them yet, but a couple are pretty big.

My supervisor at work is on her way out, I forget when she said her last day is, but its only a couple weeks.  Now the wait to see who they put in her place.  I know who I’d like to see in the position, but only time will tell.

Arty has managed to get into something he’s allergic too, he’s got a nasty raw itchy spot on his belly.  I noticed a week or so ago that he was itchy, and gave him a bath.  Extra itchy isn’t unusual for him this time of year, he goes through a shed period now, but I was keeping an eye on him just in case.  The bath seemed to help a little, but not as much as I’d hoped.  Then yesterday he was rolling in something (dammit dog, do you want another bath!!) when I noticed the raw spot on his belly.  So we’re off to the vets in a bit to make sure its not bacterial or something.

Otherwise there’s not much going on here right now, normal fall-winter prep stuff.  We’ve managed to not have to kick on the furnace yet, but I’m not sure that’s going to last much longer.

Jalapenos

Posted September 7, 2016 By Ruth

KIMG1178

That’s just about two pounds worth.  First batch of jalapeno pickles made last night.  The rest went into the freezer to make jelly out of later.