fuzzi's 2012 Garden Diary
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The vegetable garden is too big for me to handle on my own anymore, so I have decided to try "raised bed" gardens, close to the house and with no need for paths.
I bought a simple raised bed kit at a yard sale. This past weekend I set it up.
1. First I ran the lawn mower over the spot for the garden
2. Then I took a heavyweight box (an air conditioner was packed in it) and laid it flat on the ground...this is to smother weeds
3. I placed the raised bed sections on top, and trimmed/fit the cardboard
4. Then I took some landscaping fabric/weed barrier and laid it down in the bottom of the raised bed
5. For better drainage and to help reduce the amount of dirt I was going to use, I laid down empty water bottles in the bottom:
6. Then I added a mixture of top soil, peat moss and composted cow manure into the beds:
7. Finally, I planted tomatoes in the top/deep section, adding cardboard "collars" to help direct the water to the base of the plants:
Now I have to plant the bottom section...
This is great!
I wonder if I could do a raised bed on my patio. It's all cement, so I would need a ton of dirt, but it's the only way I'd be able to grow any root vegetables. I'll have to decide soon if I want to grow any potatoes. I'll share a picture of my patio for input.
Are there any other plants you plan on cultivating in your raised garden?
A co-worker raised potatoes last year inside a trash barrel. She said it worked fine.
What a great idea! Love the pictures. Potatoes in trash buckets! Anyone know how many feet of root space one needs?
fuzzi, I'm looking forward to seeing pics as your project progresses through the summer.
(3) Rozax, I know that Square Foot Gardening has a section on creating raised beds for patios. If you don't have a copy of the book, I'm sure the public library would have one you could borrow.
You might be able to research on the web, too.
These gardens do take a lot of soil, and that's why I put the bottles in the bottom: they also should aid in drainage.
Note: I did not buy all 'garden/container' soil, as it was WAY expensive. I bought 10 cubic feet of top soil ($1.47 per 1 cu bag x 10) plus I bought two bags of composted cow manure, and only used one. I believe it was about $6.00 per bag. The peat moss I had on hand, but did not use a lot of it (a little peat moss goes a looooooong way!). I used my hands and my spading fork to gently mix the different 'dirts' together, so I did not disturb the bottles on the bottom of the planter.
I'm not sure what I'm going to plant in the bottom...I was thinking of planting sweet potatoes or maybe some lettuce and other small root veggies like carrots and beets.
In a raised bed garden, the soil never gets walked on, so it stays loose. Because there's no soil compaction, you can plant much closer than in a conventional garden (I put my tomatoes about 14" apart). Also, you can companion plant, like planting basil or onions or radishes between the tomato plants.
(4) I have heard of people using old tires to grow potatoes, in fact, I think they used a mix of leaves and dirt. You stack up the tires on top of each other, and plant the potatoes at the top. When it's time to harvest, you just remove the tires. No digging!
Thanks for the comments and encouragement, I'll post more pictures as the season progresses. :)
I raised potatoes once in a large flower pot. It worked, though my cats nearly destroyed it, and I started late, so the potatoes were really small. :/
Checking Square Foot Gardening now!
I went around my yard and took some pictures this afternoon:
Annuals waiting to be transplanted
Some sort of weeds in my yard, but they are pretty
Mexican Heather on my back steps
fuzzi, your climate has been nicer to you than mine has been to me )-:
fuzzi, those are buttercups. They are very aggressive, but yes, put on a great show in the spring.
Yup... buttercups. You'll want to pull those out, the sooner the better.
Are they buttercups, really? They don't look exactly like the buttercups I recall from my childhood up north.
Maybe these are Southern buttercups? :D
Will they be okay in my lawn? I don't mind a weedy lawn...
(10) Wait...by June it will be in the 90s and humid every day, and it does not cool down much at night. I have to have air conditioners, or I cannot sleep.
I love the Spring and the Fall here, but I don't care for the Summers...just too hot!
One thing I do dig up whenever I see it in the lawn is chives, aka 'onion grass' or wild onions. They thrive here in the South, and will take over a lawn despite all efforts to eradicate them.
A friend of mine asked a neighbor how to get rid of the onion grass, and the neighbor replied "Move". Ack!
You can mow them, but they will invade your flower beds, as well, and choke out less hady specimens. I have an armed truce with mine.
I love your pictures, and will check more out later (I'm due back from lunch), but I can tell that you are in a cooler climate:
1. You can grow tulips
2. You can grow lilacs
I also love your garage. It looks like you live in an older neighborhood, like where my grandmother lived in Connecticut.
I love lilacs. We have one in the nearby park. I wonder if I can get one for my patio.
Yes, the lilacs smell heavenly.
I do live in an older neighborhood, but I built the garage 20+ years ago.
Thank you! A lady in our division (at work) brought in a bunch of them last fall, after she'd thinned out her iris beds. I managed to get about 5-6 of each color, and put them in the ground before the first frost.
Today one of the white ones bloomed. :)
I went outside before dark, and looked at my tomatoes...I could swear that they'd grown in the last three or four days!
Note to self: take more pictures tomorrow...
A friend of my sister's thinned out her daffodils about a month ago, and gave us an enormous box full. We've planted them all along the front fence, plus scattered patches in the rest of the yard.
What a great idea. I love big swaths of daffies, or tulips, or both mixed together!
I love daffodils, too! We have some in front of our house, but a large area would be nice.
Our yard is a work in progress... :D
Woo! My nursery order arrived!
I hope the weather is good for the weekend: I have strawberry plants, 'walk on me' thyme ground cover and periwinkle ground cover to plant!
Walk-On-Me Plant is a creeping thyme that grows only 3" tall. (Also called Mother of Thyme). Plant around flagstones or for a decorative, dense-growing ground cover. Walk on it and the whole area will be filled with the aromatic smell of fresh thyme. It grows well in partial shade to full sun and hard-to-plant areas. Spreads rapidly. Has small evergreen leaves and clusters. Plant 6-12" apart. Field grown plants. Deer Resistant and attracts butterflies.
For shady areas beneath shrubs, and in other dim places, even where grass won't grow, you can have a 12-month carpet of thick abundant, evergreen Periwinkle ground cover. In May, shade-happy Periwinkle gives you a wide profusion of beautiful lavender-blue flowers that make the dullest part of the yard look like a showcase! It grows so vigorously, you can put periwinkle in poor, stony soil, on steep banks, in rock gardens -- practically anywhere. Does better in shade than grass -- but likes the sun, too. Plant 6-12" apart for a lush carpet Grows 4-5" tall -- all without special care. You get healthy, nicely rooted plants ready for easy transplanting. Deer resistant. Evergreen.
This is why I'm happy about my ground cover arriving:
This is my front yard last April:
Across the front you can see the little azaleas I had planted the autumn before.
And this is last October, as I was planting creeping junipers on the slope:
I want to plant the thyme around the junipers, and the periwinkle under the tree just to the right of the 'junipers' picture above.
21: Tomatoes grow fast, don't they? I need to get new batteries for my camera tomorrow. These plants have changed so much since the last pictures I took!
Rozax, if you give them optimum growing conditions, they will grow very quickly!
I am not sure if you do as I do, but I always transplant the tomato seedings DEEP, so just their top leaves show. The plants will form roots all along the stem that is in contact with dirt, and the theory is it will do better for that extra rooting.
oh! that is a tip I had forgotten, although I've heard it before. What a great idea.
A word about periwinkle (which I also have in my yard). Here in Maryland, it is considered an invasive species by the National Park Service.
ah! invasives. Me? I hate 'em. Blackberries. English Ivy. Scotchbroom. These are the ones we fight, every year.
Privet should be on that list...the planting of it should be illegal, too. It's taking over areas of my yard...grr..
SqueakyChu, thanks for the information. I'll keep it on one side of the driveway, away from the wooded side of the yard.
I don't want to be a party pooper as I'm new here. :)
Very nice group, by the way!
My periwinkle is still in my garden as it was taken from the garden of a dear friend who died some years ago. The blue flowers in spring always reminds me of the great times in years past at her home in Baltimore (Maryland, USA).
My periwinkle is also in a confined space where it won't spread, but I really don't have the heart to pull it all out.
I joined a local group called Rockville Native Network in which I've been learning a lot about native species and their role in the rehabilitation of our environment. A book I'd highly recommend is Bringing nature home : how native plants sustain wildlife in our gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy. It's excellent!
Thanks for the book recommendation, SqueakyChu!
And thank you for the compliment on the group. I see us as a bunch of people who like to get their hands dirty (in the garden).
Ah, how I love the first dig of the Spring, finding earthworms and ground beetles and big white grubs...
28: And I was worried about planting them too deep. ^^; I brought them down to the bottom 3/4 of the pot, but I'll definitely bring them down to the bottom leaves for their final planting.
Welcome to the group, SqueakyChu! Would you like to share a garden journal/diary with us?
Would you like to share a garden journal/diary with us?
I'm thinking about it! :)
oh, please do! Nothing fancy, just a few words as the season goes, with some photographs, if you can. We would love it.
I did some weeding this morning, and planted carrots, lettuce, basil and chard in the tomato planter.
I also planted a couple of summer squash in the bottom section: we'll see if they wind up growing too big!
I weeded too and moved some paving stones and pulled some grass out of places where the lawn mower and weed whacker will not go.
I need to get some paving stones or something for my patio. When lawn maintenance comes around, stuff gets blown under the fence. :/
Pictures from this morning:
Closeup of 'Sundrops'...they could be invasive but they are easily ripped up
Iris from my garden (top view)
Iris garden...okay, it's not much, but it wasn't planned. Last October someone gave me a bunch of irises and I just threw them in the ground!
Look who's living in my outside/garden closet!
He looks like he's saying his morning prayers.
I've tried to get Sundrops to invade my garden before. I love their color. But they don't seem to like my microclimate.
I'm sorry to hear that they don't like your area, Ruth.
But I can send some Evening Primroses in the Fall, once they get thick and crowded. :)
Don't let me forget, feel free to NAG me...
Oh, they seem to love other yards, just not mine. Perhaps they object to the dominant weed - buttercups.
Mine are in full bloom right now, I'll try to get a picture tonight.
I was thinking about how you have your periwinkle confined.
Then my husband, after seeing me get close to heat exhaustion trying to dig up parts of the front yard in order to plant ground cover, offered to use his Mantis (rototiller).
He said he could not use it around the tree, due to the roots.
So I think I'll get some of those edging stones, the types you can use to make a small wall...make a border around the tree and then throw in some soil and plant the periwinkle in there!
That way it will be partly confined! :)
(not my house, just an example of the stones I am thinking of getting)
Be careful to not pile up too much dirt around the tree trunks. I've heard, do not know anything for sure, that piling up dirt around a tree trunk can kill the tree.
Maybe some little research is a good idea.
That's an excellent suggestion, thank you.
BTW, it's a Sycamore tree, and it sits on the edge of the ditch/bank. It's roots go out at least 20 feet from the trunk (as I've discovered as I try to dig!).
Maybe this weekend (weather permitting) my dh can get the rototiller going, and break up some of the sod for me in the front yard...I don't want my plants to die because I've not transplanted them yet!
Tomatoes are about the same, the weather has been cool and I don't see that they've grown, but the Snowdrops are going crazy in the garden:
My tomato plants are still lounging around in the little new green house. It's been cold and raining! Daffodils are looking tattered. But oh, my, the strawberry plant leaves are beautiful!
Mine have grown a lot since last week. G+ decided to be a little more cooperative this time, so I could finally post more pictures!
>31 maggie1944: Maggie1944, periwinkles and the three you named, plus Cape ivy, are the bane of our existence. We spent several hours pulling them out last Sunday, and will do it again this weekend. :-(
Updates as of today!
My front porch:
The guardian of the porch:
Blueberries are a popping!
Perennial garden, see the sundrops all over?
Day lilies in perennial garden
Something I planted (probably lettuce) is coming up in the raised bed garden, but the pictures came out too 'fuzzi' to see properly.
What a lovely front porch! The flower pics are gorgeous and your calico cat made me grin.
I like the blueberries, too, when they get ripe and if the critters don't eat them first...
Thank you for the compliments, I like having a porch with a roof (it faces east). I keep my Christmas cacti, Poinsettia, Jade plant and Angelwing Begonias on the porch all Spring, Summer and Fall, until the frost hits. My Peace Lily also likes the porch, and does very well except when the outside cats nibble it...what is it about Peace Lilies? My indoor cats love it too. :sigh:
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw---
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate---
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)
- "The Duel" by Eugene Field
First I laid down cardboard by the side steps (we do not have a back door), and then laid cypress mulch over it, to totally smother all weeds.
Wait til you see what I have planned....
(it's not done yet, I ran out of energy and was running out of daylight)
This is what I am attempting to build, "Tipsy Pots":
You sink a rebar/rerod a couple feet into the ground, then thread a large clay pot over the bar through the drainage hole and lay it on the ground (I might put a saucer under it, we'll see). Then you add other pots in the same manner, largest to smallest, but lean them sideways.
I've been wanting to do this since I saw it in a magazine about three years ago. I think I'm going to plant strawberries...
Update: the seedlings are a poppin'!
Summer squash is up!
Swiss chard seedlings:
Basil (or lettuce) seedlings:
Nice!! Strawberries are a great idea for the pots - I hear they really like it in containers. I look forward to seeing how it works out.
Steal it! Steal it!
I saw it in a magazine "Birds and Blooms" about three years ago. I saved it, and left it open to the article, to remind myself of what I eventually wanted to do.
You could even make a row of these, as a 'screen' for a patio or porch...and it's really easy! The hardest part was sinking the rebar deep (it needs to be at least 2' or more into the ground to support the weight of the soil and pots), but I had my grown son help using his father's fence post driver, and it only took a couple minutes of his time. :)
oh! dang! I want some of those. I want some of those seedlings popping up through the dirt. But what I have is: Rain, cold, rain, cold, rain, cold....
OK. I do have lots of evergreen trees, fresh leaves on those other trees, green grass growing like a storm, fresh air, lots of birds singing! And no new pictures because of RAIN.
How would cherry tomatoes work with tipsy pots? At the rate they're growing, I'll need to repot them soon.
Rozax, maybe if you used fairly large pots, or just planted them in a couple pots on the bottom.
I used a 1/2" rebar, but if you were using large pots, you might need to get something thicker/wider.
SqueakyChu, I think that would be an excellent idea!
P.S. The strawberries are showing green already (they were brown and dormant when I planted them) !!!!
One of my coworkers gave me some morning glory seedlings!
I have heard that they do not like to be transplanted, so I'm thinking of cutting the bottom off the plastic planter, and then planting the whole thing in the pot.
Anyone have experience with this situation?
Nope. Except when the pot is made of "poop" or some other biodegradable substance. Then it works like a charm. My sunflower seeds are going into the ground that way and they look very happy!
Rain, rain, and maybe a day or two of sun. Magnolia tree has sent out one or two very brave blossoms.
I love Magnolias!
I tried an experiment with the morning glory seedlings:
1. Two of them I just snipped the drainage holes on the bottom so there was one long drainage 'slit', and planted them
2. Two of them I cut off the entire bottom of the (plastic) planter and planted them
3. Two of them I gently remove the plastic planter and planted them.
We'll see how they react...
Addendum: from 6am this morning...
The morning glory seedlings are in the long planter to the left
fuzzi, I am so going to use your tipsy pots. I have so many deer here that I cannot grow anything, but I could put a stack of these right by my door and hopefully the deer won't be that brave. Although they do come right up and look in my windows sometimes. Hmm, wonder if I could put a short stack in my garden window for herbs......
Right now I am surrounded by a sea of mud and rocks. The backhoe that dug the trench for my water line destroyed my yard and driveway. I have a little tractor that I can scrape dirt around with, but the backhoe guy said that it would be three weeks before the ground is firm enough to drive equipment over--either by myself or a landscaper. I have a very high water table and the water was literally running through the trench like an underground river (of course 10 days of broken line didn't help, either).
I was reading a book about wildflowers last night, and it mentioned how to plant when you have deer and rabbits: they don't like scented foliage or grasses for one thing.
I can't recall the rest, but I'm sure a web search would help you find some things you could grow!
yes, I was going to suggest that too. I know there are things deer do not like.
Got out of work early today and headed for the garden centers...
...found some vinca at Lowe's for 1/2 price: they are just pot bound but I can fix that, quick!
I also found some "Ice plants", which I have not grown before: they look somewhat like Portulaca, "Moss rose".
And I bought three more pots for the top of my Tipsy Pots!
I finished the Tipsy Pots on Saturday, planting the last two strawberry plants in the last two pots at the top. They are all growing like weeds, and seem to enjoy the location and medium they are planted in.
Saturday morning I dug the weeds and grass from the front of the house, and in the evening I planted the 1/2 price Vincas all across, just in front of the bushes. Last year I put Marigolds there, but this year we're doing Vincas! They handle the dry and hot weather really well.
I also planted a few Marigolds around my Japanese Maple, where my son accidentally mowed them down last week. Now I have a more permanent edging around them, so hopefully we won't have an accident again!
66: Tipsy pots -- fun!
76: The morning glories in my yard behave like weeds and are not easily discouraged, so I'd have no qualms about transplanting, but maybe there are less hardy varieties.
83: my son accidentally mowed them down last week
Oops. A neighbor kid occasionally mows the strip of grass along the sidewalk and weeds the strip of garden along the side of the house. Last summer I let him use my weed whacker for recalcitrant patches, and discovered afterward that my bleeding heart had been reduced to a stub. (Fortunately it recovered this year.)
qebo, there are wild morning glories all over the place, and they can be extremely invasive, but tame ones in a planter are fine for me. :)
Pictures from Sunday:
Vincas in front of the porch
Tipsy Pots with strawberries growing! (note the Blue Jay on the gate in the background!)
Japanese Maple (with replanted Marigolds)
Front Porch as of Sunday, May 6th
Left to right on porch:
Mother-in-law Tongue, Peace Lily, Jade Plant, Christmas Cactus (1 small, one large, and one more on the shelf below), Pointsettia (grey pot), birdhouse and an Angel Wing Begonia. Below the bird house is some sort of succulent a lady at church gave to me (it's planted in a sea shell) and on the bottom is a Gerbera Daisy.
(Edited to add names of plants on porch)
Snake plant!! I have one that is at least 37 years old, but really much older. It belonged to my dad who died in 1975!
Wow, that old???
Here they call it "mother-in-law tongue" as well.
I was given a piece of it from my former boss, probably about 6-8 years ago. I keep removing the offshoots and give them away.
It's a great plant for people with a 'black thumb': lack of water or light doesn't seem to kill it...
I guess I'll have to put it in my will...."I bequeath to my great granddaughter, my Mother-in-law plant..."
(if I ever have one, I don't even have grandchildren yet...sniff sniff)
Forget the will. Do it now! I'm in the process of rooting one of the stalks that my husband accidentally lopped off when taking apart a cabinet. The cabinet door fell on the plant. This rooting is going to my future daughter-in-law who is marrying my younger son in only 11 more days. :)
I forgot it was also called the "mother-in-law" plant. Thanks for the reminder! I think I'll give it to her for next week at the "rehearsal" (we're not doing a rehearsal) dinner.
LOL! Giving your daughter-in-law to-be a "Mother-in-law Plant"! I love it. :)
I wish your son and his future wife the best in their lives together. :)
I actually have two of these snake plants. The second was rooted and grown by my older son (now 31 years old) when he was taking horticulture while in high school. :)
This year my son decided to start a vegetable garden. I didn't even know he was interested in such things. That makes me happy as gardening was my dad's favorite hobby (aside from listening to Orioles baseball on the radio and watching what my mother used to call "fake" professional wrestling on TV). Anyone here remember Haystack Calhoun?! :)
I imagine this conversation taking place...
"Oh, where'd you get that mother-in-law plant?"
"From my mother-in-law, of course!"
Horray! Another gardening enthusiast! We should all be growing more food!
Love the Mother-in-Law plant stories, but I need another picture, please, which makes it very clear what this plant looks like, ...
Snake plant (Sansevieria), also known as mother-in-law's tongue:
Photo by Wikimedia Commons
Here's a close up of the leaves:
They are really 'leathery' and tough, with a sharp point at the top (hence the names).
yup. I've seen them, and have never wanted one. I guess that is why I do not have, nor ever have had, a mother-in-law. }-;
Wow! Look at my Snake Plant!
I've never seen such a shoot before, not coming from this plant.
It looks like it's going to blossom...woo!
I've NEVER seen a snake plant blossom. Could that be to my many years of neglecting my plant?! :)
100> I only had it happen once. The bloom was very white and waxy. If it hasn't already it will start to ooze sugar. I had mine on a deck and the ants thought they were in heaven.
Just as a look-see comparison, fuzzi's plant has much more elbow and root room than most snake plants I've seen. The value of her sunlight/shade on the porch may have something to do with it as well.
I repotted the Snake plant(s) a year ago.
I water it, infrequently, from the bottom.
It has a shaded/protected eastern exposure.
Aside from that...????
According to several sources on the web, Snake plants bloom when potbound, or if old.
Mine has been more potbound in the past than now, so I'm wondering if the location is the key.
You can't see it in the pictures, but the end of the porch is totally shaded by Rose of Sharon bushes. The only sun the plants get is maybe a little early morning sun (it faces east) and that's it.
But being in the South, the sun is bright in the spring and summer, even if it isn't direct.
Here is a picture I took last night, about 7pm, of my front porch:
The Snake plant is on the right, next to last away from the camera.
Notice the Rose of Sharon bushes (trees???) at the end of the porch. They not only shade the porch, but screen a bit for privacy, too.
Here's a closeup of the New Guinea Impatiens, at the end of the porch. To the left you can see my Gardenia (I have two) and behind the railing are the two Rose of Sharon bushes.
And one more, my Angel Wing Begonia, next to the front door.
I've had that begonia for several years. It gets huge on the porch during the summer, but when winter comes, I bring it inside, where it loses most of its growth.
Thank you! As in all things around me, it's a work in progress. On the other end of the porch, I have started a Clematis vine, and hope that it eventually will cover the other end of the porch with leaves and blossoms.
I'd love to do that, qebo, but the summer is too hot even in the evenings to sit outside.
But I've sat outside and just enjoyed the early morning sounds and sights on a number of occasions, just not during summer...
Ah. Early morning on the porch with that first cup of tea. Heavenly - and the only time you can really claim as your own, sometimes.
oh! coffee. Yes, let me go get my cup. I love early mornings, although perhaps not this early... it is 4 am here... my RA symptoms woke me up, so I'm up and ready to - well, read my LT threads.
Your porch is lovely. My porch is way too chilly this morning for coffee out there. But today is supposed to be sweet and warm. I hope to get the tomato starts into some better pots today.
I'm drinking my cup as I type, freshly brewed, black and strong (that's the way the doctors AND I like it!).
I'll be back for more gardening 'chat' when I'm on a break or at lunch. :)
I am going to see if I can't take a couple of pictures and post them on my gardening thread before I leave for the Whale Watching trip. We shall see....
meanwhile... I love good strong hot black coffee, although I confess, having become addicted to cafe au lait I now put milk in mine.
116: Whale Watching trip
117: Oh wow, I wanna go!
Yeah, really. At least give us photos!
yes, camera will be with me! Pictures will be available next week probably
Just checking in...having my morning coffee and enjoying the front porch. My yard still looks like a construction zone--so I'm taking refuge on the garden board.
Karen--Wow whale watching sounds wonderful! I've never been--is it only a certain time of the year?
yes, it is a springtime kind of a thing
We have a "resident pod" who live in Puget Sound for many months but there are times when they go elsewhere, Hawaii I think. I really should go find a book in the library today and do a little reading...
Your growing season is way ahead of mine so I really enjoyed looking at your pics--especially your irises. I love irises, except when I have to divide them when they are old (and when the grass gets entrenched around their roots grrrr).
Welcome, tiffin! I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures.
The irises are about done blooming, now I'm waiting for the day lilies to start...soon, I hope!
So, tiffin, I need tutoring about iris! Can I dig them up and divide them even if they are not "old"? What is "old" to an iris, any way?
I planted 4 different kinds (Siberian Iris) and my little water logged plot has given one permission to thrive, two to do OK, and one to just not even poke its head above the dirt. I'd like to take the thriving one and divide it across the plot so its more even. It's been in that spot last year, and now... so after this growing season, can I dig it up?
How To Divide and Replant Iris:
Maggie1944, in the first couple of years, the iris rhizomes replicate, making an iris "patch", for lack of a better word. They grow away from that first rhizome, which is in the middle. Eventually that part doesn't bloom any more and even the outer plants seem to flower less or have smaller flower heads. At the end of the 3 or perhaps 4 year mark, in August, it's time to dig up the whole kit and kaboodle, cutting off diseased or pulpy bits with a sharp, clean knife (I won't even compost these so I can keep the compost soil disease free). I replenish the soil, doing a thorough weeding, and set the ones I want to keep back in the garden. The rest I put out at the edge of the road in grocery bags with a FREE sign (they're usually gone in half an hour) because there are too many to replant.
Occasionally other gardeners in the area will drop off one of their prized irises because they know I love them. I have picked up the beautiful reds and pinks I cherish this way.
The Siberians I have just left alone so far. I know some people divide them regularly but mine seem to stay in a nice clump near the bird bath. If you do divide them, make sure to take about 4 fans, replanting them about an inch deep. The best time for Siberians is in the Spring but August is ok too, if you can't do it now. ETA: don't let their roots dry out while you are dividing them.
Oh, Great! Now I have one more To Do in the garden. Springtime is so much fun, isn't it!
>128 maggie1944:: It is! I just spent the whole afternoon out there. Stiff but happy.
So I posted a little bit about my trip and some pictures here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/135973
Just stopping by for my Saturday morning cup of coffee on your beautful porch.
My 'gardening' plans such as they are include working on the lawn. Earlier this week, I gave up and used the brush hog on the tractor to mow down part of my lawn. I HATE doing that because it makes the lawn look like a 5 year old took an electric clippers to it--but at least now I can use the lawnmower on it and make it look decent. And since the tractor didn't sink out of sight when I crossed the no-man's-land trench where they buried the new water line, I can use the front loader on it to pick rocks from the trench line.
Brush hog and front loader--you can imagine what my yard looks like right now.
Which is why I come sit on your porch and enjoy your flowers.
Thank you, Janet. My porch has made some changes.
While I was out this morning, I stopped at a yard sale and found a nifty plant holder, consisting of a central 'pole' with about ten 'arms' that radiate out, each ending in a metal 'dish', just the right size for a small to medium plant pot!
Of course I snatched it up immediately and brought it home. I've not finished 'arranging' the plants on it, but once I get it the way I want it, I'll take pictures and post them here.
The tomatoes in the raised bed garden aren't growing much, and don't look green and healthy. I was thinking that maybe I didn't add enough nutrient-rich ingredients to the soil mix, so I amended it today with some well-rotted compost, coffee grounds and 'garden soil'. I then did what I rarely do, and gave the plants a 'boost' of fertilizer, to help them along.
The lone tomato plant I planted in the front flower bed (no better place for it, no room) is doing very well and looks wonderful.
Something is eating all my marigolds, and I am not a happy camper...I think it's those nasty and disgusting slugs. In the past I have tried beer traps to no avail. So far the eater-of-marigolds has not touched the Vincas in the front beds...hopefully that will continue.
I've more plants to drop in the ground, but I'm feeling a tad worn out (long week at work) and have been taking it easy this afternoon, even sleeping for about an hour!
Pictures to come, soon, promise...
A friend in England picks the slugs off one by one and throws them in a pail of soapy water. I don't have that kind of patience.
tiffin! Your friend is very brave. Slugs have nasty bites! Really, my Aunt used to pour salt on them and watch them shrivel! Yikes. Ortho sells something called "Elementals Slug and Snail Killer" which says it is safe around pets and wildlife. It is an iron phosphate formula which kills them and whatever they do not eat, just melts into the soil, and rejoins nature. I think it is an organic solution to a pesky problem!
I hope you'll be able to find it. Washington State's state mascot animal is either the slug or the gooeyduck. neither is pretty.
I'm not feeling the "go do the weeding" thing, either. Think I'll read. It is, after all is said and done, my first favorite hobby.
Who started this silly 'state mascot' thing anyway?
I have no idea what our 'mascot' is, nor do I really care.
Since it makes no sense, there must "be a buck in it"...of cour$e...
I was joking (-:
No idea if we have a State Mascot
gooeyducks are just funny!
The geoduck is the mascot of The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA. :-)
I would love to try that tipsy pot thing with strawberries but with the squirrels around here, I doubt I'd get to eat one. Do you put net over yours?
For the slugs, a spray bottle of ammonia works just fine. And ammonia is a source of Nitrogen for the plants. Just avoid spraying on leaves, as it's too strong, and you'll get some die-off.
Well, you got me, Karen...I took that 'mascot' thing seriously....
tiffin, I just started them so I don't know if the squirrels would bother them: it's by the side door to our house, and we have (currently) about four stray cats we feed. I don't think anything is going to bother them once they start bearing berries.
Now, on the other hand, I caught a blue jay making off with blueberries! There are plenty of berries, though, so unless he invites all his relatives, I'm not concerned.
Pictures to follow...
My new plant holder
Tipsy pots progress
Solitary tomato plant in my front flower bed
New Guinea Impatiens
Red Bellied Woodpecker
On another thread you said it was hailing.....how did your garden do?
I'm very thankful, the gardens did okay. I think I lost some blueberries, but the little tomato plants don't look injured.
The hail was marble-sized, penny-sized, but it didn't last for more than about 10 minutes. If it had kept on, or if the hail had gotten bigger, we would have had damage.
Pictures from the deluge, after the hail had melted:
The ditch in the front yard, by the road, was running about 12" deep or so, and I mean running!
We got approximately 6" of rain last night, between 6pm and midnight or so...
From the kitchen window this morning, about 6:30am.
The Blue Jay is on the left, eating from the 'small bird' feeder! He/she's a smart one!
The Downy Woodpecker is on the 'log' feeder, eating from a peanut butter and lard mixture.
Psst...this is what it should have looked like if I had a better camera:
I love woodpeckers! We also have downy woodpeckers when I put up suet feeders. I took them down in favor of a hummingbird feeder, but I have yet to see one hummingbird.
Our blue jay (whom I named Jay Leno) steals cat food from the dish of our feral cats. I even saw "Mr. Leno" feeding some cat food pellets to "Mrs. Leno"! :)
This is the first Downy I've seen here, at our current house. We do get some Red Bellied Woodpeckers, and I've seen Pileated Woodpeckers fly by (we've a lot of woods on one side). They are HUGE!
Our jays steal the cat food, too!
And one of them visits my blueberry bushes. I don't mind, since he/she's not invited a whole mob to join in!
Oh boy, I wish we could get some of that rain up here. It's wicked dry.
We have a downy who visits the telephone pole and bangs on the metal bits every day, then he goes over to the old tv antenna which we've never taken down and lambasts it for a while. Woodpecker loudspeaker system! Our bluejays (about 6 of them) sit on the feeder, bob up and down, and YELL at the kitchen window when the seeds are low. Not shy guys, are they!
I love watching my birds, tiffin!
The Downy might be showing off for his mate. I could be wrong (!!!) but I think I read that woodpeckers do some of their 'drumming' to attract mates, and maybe even to warn other woodpeckers to stay away from their territory?
I'd love to send some of our rain your way...the yard is soggy and soft, and more rain is in the forecast:
We are expecting sun for a couple of days. The yard is a sponge full to the brim of water.
I was away this weekend, visiting a sick relative, so the gardens were neglected.
And now it's raining again, not sprinkling but the heavy stuff that floods. Oh well.
On a REALLY EXCITING NOTE: I saw my first Bald Eagle on Saturday, as I drove over a bridge across a lake here in NC. It flew right past my car, about 20 or so feet away!!!
That's one bird I'd never seen "in the flesh" before...woo! I was ecstatic!
(not my photo, I couldn't snap a picture while driving)
I have little green tomatoes!
No pictures, I've not had a chance to take any since I got home, as it keeps RAINING here.
Anyone see a man around, collecting animals....????
I would have had a hard time controlling the car if I saw an eagle so close. That must have been thrilling.
We got rain yesterday too. I was glad because it broke the hot spell, until I remembered I had left the new garden chair cushions out. Dang! Inevitable, with me.
We're expecting some impact from a nearby tropical storm today.
My plants are still sitting on the porch...I hope the winds don't get too strong.
I would have had a hard time controlling the car if I saw an eagle so close. That must have been thrilling.
I've been known to almost drive off the road while exclaiming "Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!" because I saw an unusual bird...
Can't do that on a bridge though, huh? I can just see you trying to focus correctly.
Well, I could have done that on the bridge, but the end result might have made me and my car rather wet...
Oh boy...I need to find a support group for those who can't stop buying plants!
Thursday we went to the Farmers' market, and I purchased a lavender plant, an herb (think it was marjoram) and a small potted Eucalyptis tree! Today the local Maxway store had small potted annuals for .50 each! I bought 8 Geraniums and 2 Caladiums. Where I am going to plant all these? I have no idea...
That's like coming to LibraryThing hoping to stop spending money on books!
Well, I don't know what is going on, but one by one all my strawberry plants are wilting and dying. I know they've had enough water, and the soil mix is new, not from the garden so a virus is not as likely.
Nothing besides the corporate type, qebo.
I think I'll give each pot a handful of compost, to 'inoculate' it so to speak. Often there are good microbes in compost that can help take care of soil borne disease.
The good news is that the plants were 100% guaranteed, so I can mail them back, but I don't want to do that, I want my strawberries to GROW. :(
How I Spent My Saturday This Week:
The idea is to KILL the grass/weeds in the front yard, on the slope, so we don't have to mow it anymore.
I need to go back out there at dusk (it's almost 90 degrees right now!) and spread out what mulch I do have in order to keep the plastic from blowing away...
I have been doing this for the last year or so, and I so much love that I have less to mow. Now, I need to build a deck over some more, and then there will be even less! Woo hoo - be gone grass!
Good! I am glad to hear that it worked for you.
I need to get one more sheet of landscaping plastic but will have to wait until I get paid, next week.
What materials did you use?
I bought the landscaping cloth that advertised it would kill vegetation. I piled some rocks, and some paving stones on it. Now I've got a little tent over a part of it. I also pull weeds out of it.
Under the green house I put landscaping cloth, and then I piled on gravel for the floor of the green house.
I have heard of laying down newspaper, or cardboard over the landscaping cloth, or under it. It can make quite a mess though as it deteriorates.
no, but that is because my ultimate goal is to make a dry creek bed-like feature with rocks. Later, I may dig some specific spots and put in some plants along the sides/edges. I have a lilac bush I'm putting in one spot but I've not yet begun to prepare the dirt.
ETA: I think the cardboard/newspaper works well under dirt if you put enough dirt on it.
I think I have diagnosed my strawberry issue: either Southern Stem Blight or Anthracnose. Neither is curable.
I hope the rest of the plants don't get it. :(
>173 maggie1944:: I mulch around the blue spruce, increasing the circumference as the tree grows. I take the top layer of sod off and then use thick layers of newspaper and just put the natural cedar mulch right on top of it (a thick layer). It has worked fine for keeping the grass & weeds at bay but I haven't used it anywhere else.
I pulled out the dead strawberries this morning, and planted marigolds instead.
I took a cheap tarp cloth - discount stores like Ollie's or Big Lots sell them really cheap - and just laid it down behind the house. It's easy to move and I can even skim it over the brambles. The heat kills the plant life below it in just a week or so, and I drag it on to another spot.
(180) I thought of doing that, but wanted something more permanent to kill the weeds/grass.
170: The idea is to KILL the grass/weeds in the front yard, on the slope, so we don't have to mow it anymore.
In most of my yard I shoveled sideways under the grass to dig it out, then covered the ground with cheap plastic tarps. Now I'm prettying up with landscape cloth and mulch. In the areas I've prepared as garden beds by stirring up the ground and mixing in compost, grass sprouts on occasion, but in manageable quantities.
176: I think I have diagnosed my strawberry issue: either Southern Stem Blight or Anthracnose. Neither is curable.
:-( How did you diagnose?
What are you planning to put on your slope once the grass is gone?
(182) qebo, I started trying to dig the grass/turf/weeds, but the roots were so deep and strong, I had to give it up: I overheated myself and only got a small area done.
I went online to diagnose the problem, and those two diseases matched the symptoms very closely.
(183) I'm going to have the creeping junipers, and then put some phlox and other ground covers in between the junipers.
Two weeks later...
...the weather turned hot all of a sudden, and I just can't do much outside in the heat, even when at dusk, it's still HOT.
The tomatoes and squash in the planter are NOT doing well, and I suspect it's due to the soil not being rich enough:
Since I took this picture a couple of days ago, I have aerated the soil, added a layer of homemade well rotten compost, and then a layer of fresh grass clippings. I've seen earthworms in the soil, so this should encourage them. I'll give the plants a drink of dilute generic MiracleGro, just to pep them up, or give them a jump start.
Remember the tomato in the front garden, the extra one that I just dropped in there? It's doing great! See picture below:
I finally was able to take a picture in which the hydrangeas actually look blue, but they still look a bit washed out, and I can't balance the color without really making the foliage and surrounding plants look weird:
Just imagine these a bit darker blue...
And here's my current porch view, with the Caladiums that I bought for fifty cents each showing up beautifully! One is green and white, the other is red and white:
I just realized you can't see the red one very well, but the white one is prominent.
The perennial garden is doing well, if a bit 'untamed' right now:
The black eyed Susans and purple coneflowers are looking pretty good! You can also see some yellow day lilies in the foreground, still blooming.
And finally, my red/orange day lilies, which are doing very well:
All for now. :)
Woo! It is cool this evening, so I braved the mosquitoes and puttered around the yard...
...to be continued tomorrow...
Thanks, they're showing up online a little different from how my eye sees them, but it's close. :)
Seeing your "snake plant" (also called mother-in-law's tongue) reminds me. Last month, I gave a cutting of that plant to my daughter-in-law just for fun, just a few days before she married my younger son. :D
What kinds of birds visit the bird bath? I get none now that the daylilies have grown tall (and could be hiding my cats!).
All kinds visit the bath: doves, bluejays, robins, woodpeckers, blackbirds, as well as the little ones: finches, nuthatches and chickadees. There's a Brown Thrasher that's been hanging around, but I've not seen him actually take a bath, yet.
I removed the marigolds from these pots, and planted my bargain geraniums instead. Right now they look a little weak, because they were pot-bound when I bought them.
My eucalyptus tree, purchased a couple of weeks ago. I have an idea where I want to plant it, but until the weather cools down in the fall, I figured it would do well in a large pot. I've wanted a eucalyptus tree for years.
My Japanese maple, looking better than it has since I planted it, six years ago! You can see where I put the marigolds around it, and mulched with grass clippings. Yes, there are weed seeds in the clippings, but the earthworms love them, and I want the earthworms to be happy and procreate.
Day lilies by the side fence.
My poor suffering strawberry plants. You can see that one of them is attempting to produce strawberries. I hope some of them survive this ailment that has wiped out about a third of my plants.
Very funny! Love your photographs. I may have to get it together and do some of my own, on my little garden thread. I've been neglecting it.
Oh that sad plant with the dangling strawberry! And then are you going to eat it?
Love the smell of eucalyptus. That is a sad looking little strawberry but everything else seems to be doing well. I like the cartoon! One of my faves, which hung on my bulletin board for years, came from the now defunct Punch magazine from England. It had two men in suits and bowlers walking along a sidewalk with umbrellas tucked under their arms. In several gardens along the way beside them were very large bottomed women bending over weeding or planting. Caption: "This is what I hate about Spring."
@qebo, I don't think so!
Tiffin, I loved Punch: when I was growing up, we had an anthology of Punch cartoons. I can still remember some.
The morning glories have been blooming, and I have neglected to share pictures:
Climbing up one side of the railings by my side steps
A picture from the side: the stripes don't show, maybe it's the light?
I agree, it is pretty.
I noticed this morning that my coreopsis is about to bloom!
What a delicate and lovely morning glory! Once again, awestruck at the incredible beauty of the world.
Thanks for sharing your garden. It always inspires me to get out... and get my hands dirty.
The perennial garden looks like a jungle, but it's almost all flowers:
Purple Coneflowers back left, yellow Coreopsis (tall) in middle, Black-eyed Susans in front, Sedum around the birdbath, and Shasta Daisies in the back, to the right. In the background, right, you can see the raised bed with my squash and tomatoes.
Carefree and happy, growing hap-hazardously are the Black-Eyed Susans
Shasta Daisies, prim and proper
This topic was continued by fuzzi's 2012 Garden Diary, Part Deux.
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