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Archive for April, 2009

Ugh! I haven’t been able to work on the tree nursery, and home depot didn’t have peat moss or affordable manure, so that sucked. Meanwhile the trees were still in the fridge and I felt bad so I quickly planted them [heeled in] under the bush by the a/c unit. This is temporary, but at least they’re in dirt and can come out of stasis. Hopefully I’ll get myself together someday soon and finish that area. I need to shovel out the rest of the gravel (I got out just under a quarter of it), dig out the flag pole thing, then add my soil amendments and turn it over. It should take me a week of working everyday. Ah, there’s the rub.

I got notice today that Burpee’s is sending my plants and they should arrive tomorrow! Whee, I’m excited. That means I’ll soak them overnight and be planting on Friday.

I also started more tomato seeds, as half of them didn’t sprout. The ones that did are growing nicely but there aren’t enough. So hopefully these new ones will grow. Also my saved watermelon seeds were duds so far. So I’m starting more of the original packet. And more celery too. I think I’m supposed to be planting outside now, but it’s still so chilly! Someone on the forum said it’s 8 degrees cooler than it’s supposed to be this time of year. And it has been kinda dry too, if you ask me. Oh, well. I’ll wait cause otherwise the seeds will just rot. I think my parsley and carrot seeds just rotted cause I didn’t see any sprouts. And my arugula is still just standing still with two leaves—waiting for warmer weather I guess. I need to get more lettuce seeds cause only 2 or 3 sprouted from each batch. Darn! This is much different than last year, for sure.

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Good news: my arugula seed is sprouted and I have lots of tiny seedlings! That was saved seed, too. Bonus! No other seedlings yet in that bed. I hope the lettuce seeds survived—I heard that those small seeds are only good the first year and this is the second year for that seed.

I got a different plant catalog in the mail and it has excellent variety and prices! I can get birch trees, rosa rugosa, even paw paw if I wanted. And they have a “fruit cocktail” tree that grows 4 kinds of stone fruits. Cherry trees, humongous strawberries, blueberries, etc. I’m going to hang onto it for next year. We’re seriously going to take out the crabapple tree and replace it with a clump of birch trees.

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Idiot gas men!

Yesterday I started the work out back for my tree “nursery”. I just tidied up the wood border and hoed out some crabgrass. I also stirred my compost. I was out about an hour and I was pooped! I’m very sore today in my arms and hands.

As I was cleaning up yesterday I noticed that my daylily bed wasn’t right, cause I was missing two clumps by the gas meter. Well, one clump was definitely on it’s side and in the wrong place. My bulbs weren’t coming up there either. So today I had to excavate the bed and find my plants. I found one clump of dayliles intact, but misplaced. Don’t know what color it is. I found my new bulbs planted too deep and struggling. The asia lily bulb divided over winter (yea!) and sent up two shoots, but since it was completely buried, the leaves were stark white. I only found 25% of the roots of the other daylily clump, and all were broken and half dried up. I was pretty sad about the whole situation.

Here’s what happened: this winter (don’t know when, might have been Jan/Feb), the gas men came to replace some pipes or valves on the gas meter. They were here less than an hour. After they left, I went to check on my bed and it did not look that disturbed. Seriously, it did not look like it’d been dug up. So la-di-da until now when that area isn’t growing right. In order to excavate it, I seriously dug that whole section up 12” into the ground. What a waste! I was so pissed, all I could say over and over was, “Idiots!” Cause the gas men did not ask me if I had plants in the bed. And they covered up so well, the bed didn’t even look disturbed. What happened? While digging, I found a rusty nail, a rubber gasket, several pieces of duct tape, and lots of styrofoam pieces.

After that, I snuck over the flimsy barrier to the highway [our property borders an actual highway] in order to dig up the rogue tulip. Last year we got one tulip and the flower grew over 3′ tall. There were three tulip shoots today, I dug with the shovel and . . . broke each leaf off the stalk. All three. The bulbs were much much deeper than I thought. I only ended up finding one. I don’t know what’s going to happen to it with no leaf. I planted it by our a/c unit just in case it survives somehow. I guess I was trying to be fast cause I was trespassing and didn’t want to distract any drivers out there. Or attract attention of a cop.

I was so disappointed by these activities that I came in and laid in bed for an hour.

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These are the seeds I’ve already started or will start for this year:

Tomatoes:

  • Siletz, a small red globe, early determinate type
  • Green Giant, a green-when-ripe type with potato leaves
  • Carbon, a black type
  • Pruden’s Purple, a pink beefsteak with potato leaves
  • Marianna’s Peace, a pink beefsteak with potato leaves
  • Black cherry, the only black cherry heirloom type
  • Grushovka, a determinate pink paste
  • Lime Green Salad, by Tom Wagner; a dwarf plant with small green-when-ripe fruits. Supposed to be really tart.
  • Anna Russian, a red/pink oxheart with wispy foliage
  • Japanese Black Triefle, a russian heirloom. Black paste type.
  • Giant Pink Belgium, a pink beefsteak

If some of these seeds/seedlings don’t do well, I’ll just plant a few of another type. But my max is 20 plants.

Peppers:

  • Habanero
  • Purple jalapeno
  • Romanian Rainbow, a sweet bell type
  • Yellow bell, seed saved from a store pepper
  • Sonora Anaheim, a mildly hot pepper for salsa

Beans:

  • Purple Queen bush beans, use like any green bean
  • Yellow wax bush beans
  • Italian red rose bush beans, planning on using these as a dry bean
  • Lablab beans, used mainly as ornamental but will eat the bean pods

Watermelon: Bush Sugar Baby

Corn: Early Sunglow (hybrid)

Zucchini: 8 Ball (a round type)

Salad Crops: Chard, cilantro, broccoli raab, mesculan lettuce, arugula, mustard, carrots, celery, parsley

Perennial Crops: asparagus, raspberries (4 kinds), strawberries, rhubarb, chives, mint, cat mint, lemon balm

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On Saturday, the 4th I took my tomato and watermelon seeds to the parent’s house to start. It was fun explaining what I was doing and pointing out different varieties, etc. I think my dad was acting like it was a big waste of time because he was insanely jealous.

Today I finally got some more potting soil so I went ahead and planted the seeds: watermelon, and 11 types of tomatoes. I wasn’t going to plant the Giant Belgium, but I went ahead and started two seeds anyway. We’ll see! Only one had started to sprout already. I think it was a Marianna’s.

The city has changed its mind and is now going to cut down the dead tree and grind the stump. They offered to plant a maple but I said I’d already ordered my trees—which is true but they won’t be big enough to plant on the street for 2 years yet, probably. So I don’t really need the chainsaw blade after all. But it’d be nice to have on hand just in case.

I also got my Arbor Day trees in! They were actually shoved in the mailbox, can you believe it? 10 trees and a bush—all tiny and thinner than a pencil. Not much more than rooted cuttings. I need to prep the area by the compost pile so I can plant them out there and tend to them regularly until they’re big enough to transplant in 1-2 years. So right now they’re in the fridge. But I should get to that no more than 1 week or so. So I’ll be busy really soon! Too bad it’s darn cold outside!

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Leaky hose bib

I was thinking again about the hose bib cause now that my seeds are out I need to water twice a day. I wasn’t going to let that hose bib beat me! So with some fresh research and a determined attitude, I fixed the hose bib! I took pictures too. And the rubber washer I got was a perfect fit. The old washer was old and brittle. It’s also leaking from the faucet handle, but it’s just a few drops when it’s turned on. But the main leak is gone, so no more wasting 3+ gallons a day! Wee woo!

The grass is coming back to life and I need to weed n feed, but we are lacking in funds right now. I may even have to cut the tree down by hand cause we can’t get a new chainsaw blade. Grr! Also, my rain guage didn’t survive the winter. I kinda thought that water would freeze in there and burst it but I never actually got around to taking it down. Darn.

On a good note, dandelions are back in and Chessie is thrilled! She likes crab grass too.

I also read through my newest recipes and they all sound so good. I can’t wait to try them with my own produce!

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I tossed the seedballs around outside at my parents house this Saturday. They didn’t get very far, so I stayed close to the corner of their lot. We’ll see if anything grows. My mom seemed excited, but I didn’t get to tell my dad about them. He’d probably har’umph the effort anyway, so whatever.

I started a bunch of seeds outdoors this Sunday. I sowed: parsley, arugula, mesculn, lettuce, broccoli raab, and carrots. I still need to sow mustard, celery, and cilantro.

My seedlings are pathetic! The only ones thriving are the chard. Kale is pathetic, broccoli raab is good, celery is a dud. The broccoli raab was doing so well I decided to direct sow. I’ll put the prestarts in the potager. Need to resow kale though.

Next week: tomatoes and watermelon!

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