Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jude guarding the compost

Anytime I'm out back working on my little homemade table performing various tasks, Jude usually gets bored and sits in this one particular spot just peering out into the woods. Anyway, I decided to share a photo of this daily experience with you. It always makes me smile.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Plum trees in full bloom

Well, it's definitely on now. Close inspection of the trees doesn't reveal any sign of the plum curculio so far, but that will surely change in just a matter of time.

Their presence will be both numerous and unwanted, of course.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wintersowing some flowers

With just a few weeks until the arrival of spring, I decided to go ahead and wintersow several varieties of flowers to be used in the landscape this year. Cosmos, Coleus, zinnia, marigold, bachelor button, allysum, and petunia are just a few that will find their way into containers around the property later, and it's much cheaper than buying transplants at the store. Here's a few of the seed packs......

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yard cleanup

It's amazing how many sticks Jude drags into the yard during the cold months each year. Just as hints of spring arrives, you can bet that I'll spend an afternoon picking up limbs, sticks, and twigs so that the lawnmower won't find them when it's time to cut grass.

Anyway, today's weather was perfect for it......BTW, some of the twigs are from pruning the grape vines earlier....

A little cabbage seedling

A while back some cabbage seeds were sown in some containers by the shed - in hopes that something green might emerge from the frigid soil in the backyard. Squirrels foraging for fallen acorns dug most of them up, but a few of them survived, thankfully.

Anyway, I went ahead and relocated 4 of them to the protective confinements of the largest raised bed, and we'll see how they'll do in there.

Slugs, cabbage worms, and cabbage loopers really do a lot of damage to cabbage each year, but thankfully there are some microbial control methods that will allow me to keep them in check later on. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Peach trees in bloom

February 25th is not the ideal time for this to be taking place. March 25th would be more preferred, but this winter has been far from what one would consider to be normal. The plum trees are getting in on the act too, and a liberal spraying with Imidan will happen in another week or so.

It's highly unlikely that the trees will produce anything this year, but it's good to be optimistic at times. Oh well, wish me luck!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Filled and ready

My "garden" consists of several raised beds and containers scattered around the property, but none are more important than the one that is closest to the road. At 4 ft wide, 25 ft long, and 14 inches deep, one will be surprised at the annual yield that can be acquired from it if intensive planting measures are followed.

With 4 trellises attached throughout, vertical crops increase the yields that much more.....
A typical planting for this one raised bed will be:

6 squash plants
4 watermelons
16 ft row of pole beans
20 okra
16 corn
8 peppers

I know it sounds like a lot for the space, but you'll just have to see it to believe it.......I do it every year. Lol.

Anyway, the bed is topped off with fresh compost, and ready for this years planting......I can't wait.

Backyard compost

It's a beautiful thing to an avid gardener. That's why I make lots of it each year - especially since it can be used to fill the many planters and flowerbeds constructed around here. The large bin in the picture was completely full f ingredients back in late fall, but has since decomposed enough that the entire pile has shrank by roughly 25%. That's a good thing.......This will amount to a lot of finished compost a year from now. :)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wintersowing tomato seeds, part 2

Now, just 5 weeks later and with very little attention, here's a healthy looking seedling growing in it's new little greenhouse.  The best part - since mother nature germinated it, the plant is already acclimated to it's surroundings. No brief daily ventures outdoors for this little fella - no sir! Just plant and protect from frost.....

For the record, anything can be done this way - flowers, veggies, etc.


Wintersowing tomato seeds, part 1

Wintersowing is a method of propagation in which a person plants seeds in recycled plastic drink  containers (I use 2 liter coke bottles), keeps the soil moist and located away from direct sunlight - and when it's time, Mother nature will germinate the seeds for you. It's really simple. Just cut the bottle in half, make some drainage holes in the bottom. Fill that with soil, plant your seeds, slide the top half of the bottle over the bottom half, and add water weekly.

Leave cap off unless frost is expected, and bring indoors If temperatures get below freezing. Here's a couple of containers prepared a few weeks ago.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pepper seedlings

A quick glance at the contents of the largest propagation system shows that the pepper seedlings are doing pretty well so far. As a matter of fact, some thinning out is needed pretty quick, because those small containers won't support 3 individual plants later.

Anyway, most are beginning to get their true leaves too - which is a good thing. I hope friends and family want some pepper plants later, because I'll have like 30 extra to give away. Oops..... :)


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jude's paw

Poor Jude. She has injured herself somehow, and I feel so bad for her. A trip to the vet this morning indicated a puncture wound of some kind on the padded part of her paw, and a week's worth of antibiotics will hopefully take care of it.

If not, we'll need to surgically explore the wound to fix it.

Anyway, my gardening buddy will hopefully be back like new real soon, because things will get heated up pretty soon around here on the gardening front.


Plum tree about to bloom

It's at least 2-3 weeks too early for fruit trees to begin blooming, but the weather this year has certainly been far from what one would consider to be normal so far.

It's not a good thing, but us backyard fruit growers have to take each season as it comes. With so much time remaining before the average last frost date for the area, it's most likely that a killing frost will ruin this year's peach and plum crop. 

Within a week, these little buds will be opened flowers......


Overwintered mums

Mums are really pretty flowers to have growing during the cold months - but expensive, at the same time. That's why I decided to really take care of those purchased for the wagon last fall - by keeping them watered and bringing them indoors when nightly temperatures fell below 20 degrees.

Well, as you can see from the picture above, my hard work has paid off. New growth has emerged, and should be a beautiful bouquet of yellow flowers again very soon.


An answer to the Plum Curculio

If you have stone fruit trees (plum, peach), then you know exactly what the Plum Curculio bug is. It is a weevil that lays an egg on a maturing fruit, which in turn hatches into a larvae that bores into the fruit which completely ruins it. The tell-tale sign of damage is clear gel oozing from a tiny hole in the fruit.

Anyway, Sevin and Spectracide are completely useless against this pest, but thankfully there is something available that is downright deadly to it. Imidan wettable powder - although it can be a challenge to find at times.....

Anyway, I'm ready for the little devils this year, and just hope a late killing frost doesn't mess things up for me.