Worms and Flowers

Good Beginnings

Posted in Farmer's Almanac, Garden by Lzyjo on March 21, 2010

PhotobucketPhotobucketWhether  it’s education or building a house we know building a good foundation is the most important part. In the garden a good fence makes for a good foundation. I have a large bale of fence hanging around and I used it some last year, but for the first time I unrolled it totally. Now I have a good perimeter about 15′ by 10′ fenced in for all my precious greens coveted by the rabbits. The freshly plowed garden is so nice. I love having a clean slate to work with. The bare ground looks empty though. I’ve fixed that by planting my big bag of homegrown sunflower seeds. I have a good blend of different sunflowers that have dehybridized, which means things will be getting crazy when the multi-headed medusas start blooming. Even the seeds look wild. Mostly purple Photobucketwith some darker purple stripes and the odd grey seed here and there. Hybrid sunflowers are bred to make one big flower on one long stalk. When they revert back to their natural genes they produce flowers all along the stalk. In some cases hundreds of flowers on a single plant. While I was in the process of taking down last year’s fence before the plowing the cows invaded the area, munching everything down to the ground. Even my cabbage was gone. Luckily the Blue Solaize Leeks were still fine thanks to their sturdy “trunks” under the surface. I dug up the leeks and transplanted them to the front flower bed where they can flower and go to seed this summer. I can’t wait! Blue Solaize did really well over the winter for me. They survived our colder than average winter and looked pretty good to boot. So I’m excited to have seeds from them. I so love that blueish- green color of leeks. They’re starting to put out new growth again. Yay!

I’ve plotted the garden on paper in CorelDraw. I like to plot the garden on paper before I plant, but rarely have I followed the plan to a T. As you can see, I am PhotobucketPhotobucketgrowing corn again. Last year was AWFUL for my corn so this year I have decided to grow more! Much more! We’ll see. I choose Silver Queen becuase it fared the best of the three types I tried. I may end up regretting this decision, but I’m going to do a few things differently with the corn this time. Planting using the Square Foot Method and trying a baby oil/mineral oil trick I heard about for keeping the corn ear borers out.

This year I won’t be growing nearly as many hot peppers and I’m not starting any from seed. I have a few overwintered peppers and they should be more than enough. (More about them later.) Good grief, I had way too many last year. A few weeks ago I threw away pounds and pounds of hot peppers that were still in the freezer. I filled an entire white kitchen bag and it was HEAVY. It really smells like spring around here. While I’m weeding the beds the sweet smell of pansies and muscari drifts past my nose. The self-seeded pansies show their splendid variation. Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are already up and the Muscaris are blooming. Even the bees are busy, visiting the muscari, chickweed, and all the other flowers that bloom in an early Spring lawn.

According to my Farmer’s Almanac Calendar Friday, March 19th was St. Joseph’s Day, a feast day celebrated by Catholics, Lutherans to honor the father of Jesus, St. Joseph. Some Catholic countries like Spain and Portugal celebrate Father’s Day on St. Joseph’s Day. The Farm’s Almanac included this proverb.

If St. Joseph’s Day [is] clear,
so follows a fertile year.

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Here it was a clear as can be — the clearest weather we’ve had for a long time.

How was the weather on your St. Joseph’s Day? Do you think it’s going to be a fertile year?

Finally Fall?

Posted in Friday Garden Update by Lzyjo on September 25, 2009

Fog doesn’t seem half as bad as rain, in fact the foggy mountain view is my favorite because it covers up that U-G-L-Y cell tower.

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What a relief! A brief respite from the rain! I think I was getting a bit of, oh, I hate to say it, cabin fever. Already! But I got it all out of my system!

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The peppers are STILL going, if a little too strong!! There are also a few green tomatoes on the indeterminate Amish Pastes, more on that another time.

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This is the first year I have grown fennel, and wow, it’s smashed my expectations. It is a truly wild and crazy plant. Just look at that multitude of tangled and twisted flowers. Magnificent. Too bad the caterpillars haven’t touched it! It’s shoulder height on me and I am 5’9″. Wild! And that’s a lot of seeds too!

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I’m not sure if there is a month that does not go quickly, but this one certainly did! It seems like the peppers were just waiting for the equinox before they turned red, it’s all happening so quickly!

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One thing I don’t mind about long rains is the indisputable growth spurt. This cabbage has really taken off, far out-pacing the cauliflower, for whatever reason.

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The leeks are also doing well. These are exceptionally pretty ‘Blue Solaize.’

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Ah, another of my favorites, the fair Merveille des Quatre Saisons! I love the way the greens and blushing purples mix, it’s almost like an optical illusion.

There are good things about fall, when it’s not raining!

I hope you all saw some blue sky, before it gets worse this weekend!

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FGU #3 Squash Bug. It’s a Noun and a Verb!

Posted in Friday Garden Update by Lzyjo on June 5, 2009

It’s Friday and time for another Garden Update. This week the garden has really turned a corner.

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The corn is growing up. The first planted rows are starting to show tassels.

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There are tiny green tomatoes on the tomato plants.

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The squash plants are huge. This flower is bigger than my hand!

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And, a sure-sign it’s summer, I squashed the first squash bugs on the zucchini plants and I also squashed the first squash bug eggs! Arrrrg!!!

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This week the sunflowers have beat my prediction. The tallest ones are now about as tall as I am!

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The first cucumber flowers are starting to open. I’m not Miss. Cleo, but there may be pickles in our near future!!

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The winter squash and melon vines are starting to branch out. This is Waltham Butternut.

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And Charentais. I have a strange feeling that I may have planted another Butternut here instead of Charentais. O well. I think the other hill has a couple.

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Our pepper patch is doing great, I did a head count from the photo and I think there are 18 plants. Enough already!

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This week also brought the first, much anticipated, harvest of new potatoes. The yellow ones are Charlotte, quite delicious, and the beautiful pink ones are Huckleberry. I was a little disappointed that the Huckleberries didn’t have the beautiful colored flesh like the seed potatoes did, perhaps it’s because of the climate, or because they are new potatoes. They were delicious nonetheless.

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The harvest of two pounds of new potatoes brought my total harvest to a whopping $6.55!

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Friday Garden Update #2

Posted in Friday Garden Update by Lzyjo on May 29, 2009

I’ll start with the good news. This week we harvested our first salad, somewhat delayed by temperamental seedlings that went and died on me. We ate it before I could take pictures, but the Kentucky Limestone Bibb Lettuce and Merveille de Quatre Saisons were both wonderful. We also had our first substantial harvest of both kinds of peas that were made into delicious peas pulao and aloo tikkis. Both recipes can be found on the same charming blog, Dil Se… We’ve had great success with Divya’s recipes, both Indian and Western.

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All I can say about the Blauschokkers, is WOW! There is nothing puny about these peas, they are monstrous. I can’t wait until autumm for pea soup made with these! Although the Blauschokkers, advertised to grow to 6 ft, are the same height as the Dwarf Grey their yields so far have been very good, the pods are enormous and filled the many large peas. I was surprised to see that my fingers were stained pleasantly purple after shelling a bunch of these.

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After a few nights of rain showers, the zucchinis are really getting big! This one is already taking up part of the path.

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Uh, oh, male and female flower buds ready to go. Let the onslaught begin! I am bracing myself.

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This is the squash that had a snapped stem last week. When I went out to  replant the hill, which I did, I noticed the new growth was still green, so I mouned up some earth around it to support the flimsy broken stem and it seems to be growing. I’ll see what happens.

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The peppers are finally making strides, with the biggest ones starting to bud. I think these were somewhat held back by the flooding and cool weather.

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The tomato plants are also coming along, looking bushier all the time. Note to self, obay rules of crop rotation and companion planting. These toms are planted next to the potatoes and are suffering from infestations of Colorado Potato Beetle larvae.

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On my morning CPB patrol I was so dismayed to see this snapped stalk on my healthy blue ribbon-worthy potato plant. I tried to earth it up, but I think that portion will die. Now I know where to look for new potatoes first!

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Here is the “whole shebang,” so to speak. Some of the corn is 18″ to two feet tall. I had to hill them up because the wind was blowing them sideways. The sunflowers are even bigger this week, about mid chest height, I am predicting shoulder height by next week. Despite my news year resolution to stay ahead of the weeds, they are getting the best of me. I am committing to weeding one block a day until I am caught up, then I will do it again.

I’ve planted string beans at least three times. The beans and the carrots have all been munched to the ground by some hungry critters, leaving me with large patches where the are more weeds than anything else growing. Drat.

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To end on a bright note, the first Asiatic liles opened and they are looking gorgeous. It’s funny, the flowers look so bold and red until you look at them next to roses, then the orange-red cast becomes apparent.

TGIF, everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

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