Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Garden is almost all planted

I have spent the better part of the last 3 days working in my garden and I almost have it all planted. I almost said I was almost done, but garden work is never really done. Anyway, it is going to have quite a different look this year. I am adding two things I didn't have much of last year: color and height. I have planted many flowers. You can see the yellow Tickseed in the near right corner along with the red geranium and purple violet I got for Mother's Day. My chives and sage are still blooming. And I have planted Cosmos, Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Indian Blankets, Bee Balm and flowering herbs like dill and anise hyssop. Those beneficial insects will be swarming! I also have the pea trellises (you can see the peas are now half-way up the trellises I built). There are several small peas popping out on the plants and they should be ready to pick in the next week or two. I also had my 7yo son help me build the 7 teepees for the pole beans in front.

Besides the flowers and herbs I already mentioned, here's a list of what I've planted this year:

* Tomatoes - Cherokee Purple (3)
* Tomatoes - Brandywines (2)
* Tomatoes - Roma (4)
* Tomatoes - Black Cherry (1)
* Tomatoes - Golden Nugget (1)
* Tomatoes - Green Zebra (1)
* Tomatoes - mystery (1) - I forgot by the time I got it home what it is
* Pepper - bell "Big Bertha" (4)
* Pepper - Sweet Banana peppers (4)
* Pepper - Habeneros (4)
* Pepper - Jalepenos (4)
* Eggplant - Black Beauty (3)
* Peas - approx. 80 plants
* Beans - green bush "Blue Lake" (1 row so far)
* Beans - black bush "Black Turtle" (2 rows)
* Beans - green pole "Kentucky Wonder" (63 plants)
* Corn - sweet yellow "Country Gentleman" (4 rows in a block)
* Cucumber - (forgot the variety) (2)
* Beets - Tall Top Early Wonder (2 rows)
* Radishes - Crimson Giant (1 row inside pea trellis)
* Lettuce - mixture (1 row inside pea trellis)
* Broccoli - (1)
* Cauliflower - (4)
* Cabbage - (2)
* Garlic - (4)

I have to admit, I've bought Beauregard Sweet Potatoes, but they have been on the bottom of my priority list and I'm too exhausted to put them in tonight. But I will do it tomorrow definitely!

Here are some more photos I took today:
Sage in bloom.

Pea trellis with plants growing half-way up to the top. Also the sage is a lot bigger in this photo than the last one I took.

My one surviving broccoli plant. I don't know if it will produce much to eat, but isn't it pretty?

One of my eggplants. This photo shows two things I've done to organically help along my garden. First, I used bathroom dixie cups with their bottoms cut out to make cutworm collars for my eggplants. This should prevent cutworms from severing the stem at the surface of the ground while the plant is young and vulnerable. Also, I am mulching all of my established plants with grass clippings from lawnmowing. It does an amazing job of keeping the soil moist as the sun is already beating down on us. Unmulched soil is caked and cracked like concrete. But when I scraped away the grass clippings just next to the cracked soil, it was cool and moist and loamy. Perfect!

Today's local weather:
High temp: 78 F
Low temp: 58 F
Sunny and warm

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My garden is ready!

Here's a picture of my garden this morning. I spent hours yesterday working in it getting the last of the mulch out (9 more bags did it, for those of you keeping track). I also dug in the last of the composted cow manure. Well, most of it. You can see in the front left bed that I got the manure spread out but it didn't get dug in. By the time I got to that point yesterday around 6pm, my back and legs were calling foul. I could barely move so I thought I should stop. I had also intended to plant my sweet corn and bush beans, but I didn't get to that yet. Hopefully I'll do that either tonight or tomorrow night.

The large yellow flower is actually my collard greens leftover from last fall. They are about 5 feet tall now and covered with pretty yellow flowers. Just behind them are a couple of chive plants that are full of little round purple blossoms.

Also, in this picture you can see how my peas are growing right up the mesh on the trellises just the way they're supposed to. In front of this trellis is one of my sage plants. The sage is covered with purple buds about to burst open.

Today's local weather:
High temp: 66 F
Low temp: 44 F
Sunny with a little breeze

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kids, this is why you need to study math in school

So after a week of daily rains, it finally stopped raining today! Yay! I headed to the store to buy mulch for the walkways in my garden. All this rain is making the weeds go crazy in the garden and I have to get it in shape before the end of the month and big planting time.

I tried to carefully calculate how much mulch I'd need to buy to cover only the walkways. Using my written garden plan, I figured that I have 192 square feet of walkways in my garden. I did a google search to find a formula to help me figure out how much mulch I'd need to cover an area that big with 3 inches of mulch. The formula was something like (192 X 3) / 324 = no. of cubic yards of mulch. Based on that info, I figured I needed 1.77777 or about 1 3/4 cubic yards of mulch. OK. Simple enough, right? My problem came when I got to the store. Because I'm planning to transport it in my minivan and I want to use it today, I don't want to buy it in bulk and have it delivered. I just want to buy the bags of mulch and do it myself. Well. The bags contain 2 cubic FEET of mulch. On the spot in the crowded store I had to convert cubic yards to cubic feet. Now, I am pretty good at math, but it is a use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing. I haven't had to figure something like this for a long time. I figured each bag = 2 cubic feet so 3 bags would equal 1 cubic yard, right? If I needed 1.75 cubic yards, 5 bags should be about what I need, right? Wrong. Here's how my 5 bags looked after I spread them on the walkways in my garden:

Obviously I miscalculated and vastly underestimated the amount of mulch I'd need. Based on the coverage of these 5 bags, I think I need 9 more bags for a total of 14 bags. I give up trying to calculate the number of cubic yards.

Anyway, what I did was put down several layers of newspaper pulled from the recycling bins and I covered that with about 3 inches of mulch. This hardwood mulch is only for the walkways since it isn't good to have it so near the vegetables. I plan to use grass clippings to mulch the vegetables just like last year. The one corner I did finish looks pretty good. The empty bed in the middle is where I plan to plant some sweet corn and sweet bell peppers.

And take a look at one of my chive plants. Isn't it beautiful?

Today's local weather:
High temp: 64 F
Low temp: 50 F
Mostly cloudy