Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Backyard Garden. Some call it a lifestyle; *I* call it a pain in the (pick a place).

Diane sent me a care-package that included not only seeds but live plants, so I got forced into starting my backyard garden [not because Diane forced me, but because the live plants needed to get out the soil...mixing it up with nature.] As Emeril would say, "BAM!" I'm TRYING to use the Square Foot Gardening method. Diane's shipped plants took up the first 6 squares. Well, actually, North End (left to right) 01. Egyptian Walking Onion (whole square) 02. Spearmint (whole square) 03. Fire Ants (whole square) 04. Elephant garlic (whole square) 05. Lemon Balm (whole square) 06. Peppermint (whole square) 'twas yesterday, methinks, that I turned over the soil out there and made the squares; added the necessary stuff to make soil today. On day 1 I got 4 fireant bites with 5 more today (and I didn't even try to go beyond the supplement phase today!) Slot 3 is an open slot until the fireant killer kicks in. Did some errands and still had a little steam left, so did three more squares using seeds and plants acquired during the errands: 07. Planted three Black prince tomato seeds (You gave me enough seeds to test the "fittest will survive" philosophy, Diane!), a few turnip seeds around there, too and a Doone Valley Thyme PLANT. 08. Planted a few Martian Grant Tomato seeds, a few Cayenne Chile Pepper Seeds, a few Top Crop Bush Beans, and a few cilantro PLANTS. 09. Planted a few chard seeds, a few Aztec tomato seeds, a few marigold seeds, and a compact basil PLANT. THEN...I ran out of steam, showered and washed my hair; I smelled like a wild animal. I'll take this up again tomorrow after my teeth-cleaning appointment...the planting, I mean.


No. 2 said...

Mom, I got this comment when trying to reply.

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Diane said...

I think I forgot to tell you via email: the skinny green things without a label were garlic chives. One other note: The "Martian Grant" you mentioned is Martian Giant. Wasn't sure if it was just a typo on your part or my atrocious handwriting. Just in case you wanted to look up info on the variety.

Um, I didn't send the fire ants, did I? I found a big ol' colony of them in the spearmint as I was digging it out. Or they found me. Either way, it was friggin' painful. I rinsed off the whole tangle well before packing it up.

Are you direct-seeding the tomatoes outside in the ground or starting them indoors? Oh, when you transplant the seedlings out (or when you direct seed or seed sproutage if not starting indoors), stick a nail in the ground right by the stem to prevent cutworms from killing them. You can do all kinds of fancier collar dealiebobs but I find it cheaper, quicker, and easier to just stick in a nail by each one. It keeps the cutworms from being able to encircle them and doing their nasty deed.

You know I love talking gardening and smelling like a wild animal! Better yet--talking gardening WHILE smelling like a wild animal!

Oldnovice said...

"Mom, I got this comment when trying to reply."

Yeah...I made a bunch of changes to settings and the template yesterday. One of the changes I made was to allow anonymous posters 'cause #3 likes to act the fool on occasion. I then thought about how someone might comment in a TOTALLY offensive way and how I'd like to be able to moderate those comments (after the fact) I clicked on that option, the world ended, and Blogger finally just came up again long enough for me to unclick it. We're back to as normal as we're ever gonna get.

"the skinny green things without a label were garlic chives."

I know. I already have garlic chives in a pot, so I threw those away. I didn't want to mention it because Steve went to the trouble of digging them up on his way to work and I felt guilty.

Martian Giant. Duly noted; I'd written it down as Martian Grant in all my files, and yeah...I've been lookin' up ALL this stuff, creating databases, blah blah. My every move is documented in detail because I can't rely on my memory anymore.

Nah...these fire ants were busy sucking on my hand the day before I got your spearmint anywhere near that square.

"Are you direct-seeding the tomatoes outside in the ground or starting them indoors?"

BOTH. I figure my grandmother never had a greenhouse, grow lights, etc., so I'm setting a FEW seeds outside as well as a few seeds indoors. May the best seed win!

Nails, eh? I just got to the part in the book where the cutworms were mentioned. Is there anything exclusive to the nails like iron or something or would something else do that prevented the worm from circling the seedling? We're handy-impaired, ya know, so nails aren't something we have laying around the house.

I'm havin' fun doin' this right now; thought I'd be all achy today, but I feel fine...energized even...gonna do a little more planting after my morning session with the dental hygienist. I've decided to change my plan already. :-) (figured you could relate to that). I'm gonna plant 32 squares along the north fence. That's the area where I told you we'd had some flowers years back and the bed was cordoned off with bricks. I really like the way that area gets the MORNING sun as opposed to the hot afternoon sun. I'm currently working on the 16 squares east of the bush and there's 4 or 5 more feet in the east corner that I'll devote to dill and zucchini. After that, though, I'm gonna go for west of the bush for another 16 feet before thinking about the other three sides of the yard.

The north fence garden bonds me with my neighbor's dog. She's a fairly new addition to that family and love-starved enough to lay by the fence and listen while I talk to her. Sure beats her barking at me! Also, the distance between the fence and the bricks is just about 15 or so inches, allowing me to lay a 2-3" weed-free mulch atop a tinfoil "gutter" at the fence while still giving me the foot I want for the garden.

Couldn't find vermiculite. The guy working in the garden center at Home Depot didn't even know what it was. Found small bags of perlite and got one for putting a little bit around planted seeds, but I'm using red lava rock sand as a substitute in the soil creation experiment. Turns out that horticultural vermiculite lost favor while I was looking the other way due to asbestos concerns.

There IS something primal involved with gardening (or smelling like a wild animal).

No. 2 said...

Man, those fire ants are brutal. I remember when I mowed your lawn wearing your sandals. Ouch! They itch worse than mosquitos!

I do find it funny Mom that you waited until you were retired to become all domesticated. Cooking, gardening, etc. I am glad you are finding some hobbies, though.

Oldnovice said...

"I do find it funny Mom that you waited until you were retired to become all domesticated."

Let this be a lesson to ya, Diane; they like to rub it in once they're older. I COOK now; I didn't know how to cook when they were kids. #1 used to tell folks: "My mom's idea of a home-cooked meal is a microwave lasagna with a salad and cottage cheese."
Fortunately (for THEM) their father knew how to cook. He and I can duke it out someday on Iron Chef <-- attempt at Food Channel joke!

Oldnovice said...

Didn't feel like more gardening yesterday, but I need to get a few more plants out there before they wilt. Got these at Whole Foods on our monthly trip this week: Rosemary (because I'm not convinced my current bush will come back after I let the drought of last fall turn it all brown) and Dill. I'll supplement and plant 3 more square feet with the above-mentioned, lettuce & radishes, contender bush beans, spinach, Yellow Perfection Tomato and beets. Just a few tomato seeds will be sown outside; I think I used 3 for the Martian Giant experiment.

Time to get all stinky again!

Th3Yungin said...

You know, I've never really had a problem with the nukers...

I'm a bit of a one-trick pony in the kitchen as well. If it doesn't require a frying pan, i'll probably not do it. Either way, i'm more likely than not to just grab some kind of basic food, that requires no preperation (expecially candy).

I'm not bad at it; i just have other things to occupy my time. Like trying to graduate, and replace my car...

Diane said...

Oh, don't feel guilty about the chives, ya goober. I told ya to throw away what you didn't want/need.

Cool on direct-seeding some of the seeds and having a few indoor-started ones for backup. I'm far too anal about it all to do that. I need to count out each and every seed, track its every stage, fondle daily, and otherwise mother-hen them to death.

Nails just act as a physical barrier to the cutworms. Just use whatever you have--tinfoil, popsicle sticks, q-tips--as long as it won't rot away too quickly.

Oldnovice said...

Finished off the Northeast end of the garden today, did more research on what I was planting and planted all the tomatoes and peppers inside that I've already planted outside.

1/4 of the garden is now in with the additions of:

March 4 planting

13. Danvers half-long carrots
Carrot, Danvers Half Long
Top Yields for Storage

Blocky-topped, tapered roots chunk up nicely at 6 to 7-1/2 inches. More-than-generous yields. Stores well and stays crisp. 75 DAYS.

petite yellow marigolds
This dwarf, French type, produces 1" yellow flowers that resemble miniature carnations. Perfect for borders, edgings, in masses or in containers.
orange bell pepper
Large, thick-walled, sweet bells. Though later maturing and lower yielding, the quality and flavor is the best of any orange bell we've grown. Fruits are large, blocky bells, 3-1/2" wide by 4" long. An outstanding variety.

14. cabbage (one in whole square), radishes all around it
15. Tiger-like tomato
Don’t know the type…there are several, apparently.
Plant as early in the spring as possible and stagger plantings once or twice per week, planting only what can be harvested and sold during that interval. The quicker growing leaf lettuces may be planted until the end of August.

16. collard, Tennessee Green Pod Bush Beans
17-20. dill, curly parsley, dark green zucchini and Italian parsley (whole north east corner)

Gonna share the seed bounty with a neighbor down the street. Since I'm not sure what I still want to plant from Diane's offerings, I asked her (the neighbor) to make a list of what she wanted and how many seeds. I can then create tiny little envelopes and transfer. Already planted all the zucchini. Can't be sure if the envelope I bought only contained 6 seeds or if I dropped them, but they're gone. Ran into a lot more fire ants today, but they didn't bite me. Maybe I already stank too bad. Dunno.

Tomorrow will be spent on something else if it rains. We keep getting forecasts of rain and then very little in reality. If it doesn't rain, we'll start digging west of the bush on the north fence. My dog buddy'll be disappointed because I can only scratch her nose through a gap in the northeast end of the fence. The weather's been steadily in the high 70s and 80s, so I'm gonna keep planting outside until nature spits in my eye and calls me stupid.

Oldnovice said...

Got a good rain last night; beat the storm home, actually. Lots of stuff sprouting out there. Can't tell what's weed and what's not yet, so haven't pulled out anything except obvious grass.

Didn't get such a strong storm as to create MUD, so today we'll start on the garden west of the bush. I know...been saying that for a while now, but we might actually DO IT today...just plow up the stuff that passes for dirt...for at least one 1'x1' square. LOL.