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Building the garden – Garden Happenings

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece….Claude Monet

 

I think I’m going to add “building the Garden” to the site more, because that is exactly what is going on. We have all the hardscape in, now I have to add my own personal stamp by building up the beds with veggies and beautiful flowers.Adding garden decorations, etc. My main objective is to be able to get some good harvests with the fruit and veggies and to also attract birds, bees and hummingbirds!

Yesterday was exciting! I had several squash blossoms open, so I was able to pollinate my female flower. This is how I did it. Hope it worked.

Did another one today!

IMG_2785Oh no something is eating my Bok Choy – snails or slugs I suspect. I first tried using cooled coffee sprayed on the leaves but that did not do the trick. There was more signs of munching the following day.  I put down some slug & snail bait to hopefully fix this problem.

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Finally warm enough to take out my Frangipani, which I just adore! I have grown these when I lived in NY and had them in their natural state when I lived in Hawaii. Last year I ordered one online (I think from Stokes Tropicals). It was just a stick about a foot or so long. It had an amazing amount of growth in one year. I’d say the Frangi is now about 3 feet tall. The flowering picture is how it looked last year. Love those beautiful pink and yellow blooms!

Kept it simple with the spice garden and decided to put it in these planters outside my kitchen door. Have Basil, mint and spearmint (found these still growing in my raised beds, so transplanted them here. Strawberry, Nasturtium, which look great on salads. Cilantro and parsley. These are what we use the most, will see how it fills in. I think it will look great when the Nasturtium and strawberry fall over the sides.

Planting happenings

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade….Rudyard Kipling

Been busy, busy, busy…..

Finally got around to planting my onions, which were previously growing in separate small pots, to get them going before I was able to get them out.  They look a bit of a mess, will see how they grown. Onions are a first for me.

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Planted my two strawberry. There are about six in here and I planted them towards the front, leaving the back empty. Once I start to get baby plants hanging. I will root them and add them to the back portion of the planter. I am looking forward to keeping these alive in the greenhouse over winter. It would be a hoot to have strawberries in the winter months.

IMG_2766Planted my St. Joseph  Coat rose on the other side of the trellis. I think it will look good with the dark purple of the Night Owl rose.

Whiskey barrel all planted with some assorted colors of Morning Glory, white Moon Flower and several red Cardinal Climber vines, these are a first for me, hope they do well.

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Got one bed done, boy it’s hard trying to figure out what goes where. I have never created a entire flower bed before. I am going with higher in back, medium on side and smaller front and center. My beds are about 3-4 feet in width.

IMG_2771Starting from back left – Love lies bleeding – dk. red. Cornflower – purple. Zinnia – orange/coral. Echinacea – yellow. Zinnia-Green/lime. Balsam – mixed.

In the corner on the green trellis is several red Cardinal Climber’s

Front row from left – Sea Holly – purple. Blanket Flower – Orange. Dally – mixed. Trigrida – mixed. Iris – purple

Will  be back tomorrow with more. I want to get out early before it gets hot. It’s been in the 80’s here for the past 7 days – yikes!

Veggie Planting done – Yay!

 

We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest…. Voltaire

 

Got all my veggies planted – so happy! Going from top left to bottom right. Tomato bed, has two of each – Beefsteak, Plum and Green Zebra. Bok Choy, Broccoli Rapini, Kale. Collards, Brussel Sprout and Eggplant. Eggplant and sweet pepper. eggplant, sweet pepper, squash and cantaloupe. Squash and Fennel.

The other day, I noticed tons of bugs on my Trug.

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I mean these guys were all over the left and right side, top and bottom and they also in the soil. I was thinking of a fast way to get rid of them,because I wanted to plant this bed, so I put up a large pot of water on the stove and got the water to a bear boil. I ladled the hot water on and around where the ants were crawling, and I did manage to get rid of a lot of them, or so I thought. A few hours later I still saw many, although not as many as before. I heard from reading online that ants didn’t like cinnamon, so I went back online to research this further. I found out that not only do they not like cinnamon, meaning they will not go into areas where it has been applied. Also, aunts can’t disgust baking soda and if you mix equal parts of baking soda with sugar and sprinkling this mixture on the infected area, will actually kill the ants. The sugar will attract them, and they can’t tell the difference between the baking soda and sugar once it’s mixed together. I used both these methods and I’m happy to report there are no more ants!  I sprinkled the baking soda/sugar mixture on just the two sides where I saw the ants crawling and sprinkled the cinnamon very lightly across the dirt. I am so very happy to say they you do not have to use chemicals in your garden to have good positive results.

The greenhouse is nearly empty now, sort of sad, but getting way too hot during the day. It was over 92 in there yesterday. This is the time of year, we do cleaning and sprucing up the benches with some paint where needed. The greenhouse needs a very light power wash as well.

Got two varieties of strawberry yesterday and will put them up in pots. I plan on rooting the baby shoots, so I won’t have to buy more. Will show you an easy way to do it.

Got all my flower down on a list which I’m sorting various ways. Trying to come up with some plans for the beds.

OMG, the UPS man just delivered some of my plants! Doing the happy dance.

More tomorrow.

 

Planting and other exciting things.

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
and the soil and sky as canvas…. Elizabeth Murray

Yesterday was a very good day in the garden. I amended all the soil in the raised beds using about 10 large bags of organic compost and than added earthworm castings to all the beds and watered it in. Got quite a sunburn (it was around 80 degrees here) and boy is my back sore today!

Cleanup is certainly coming along.

I planted out my Trug  with two Fairy Tale eggplants, two sweet peppers and a couple of carrots and fennel. Along the sides I added some dwarf Marigold and in the front a few different varieties and colors of Nasturtium. The eggplant seeds were from last year and I did not have success with them (I planted them out too late), so I have high hope this year, they look amazing.

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All-America Selections winner. Tender, plump and sweet, these luscious-looking mini marvels are little jewels of delicious creamy flavor. The short, slender fruits make tasty conversation pieces, with their beautifully marbled purple and white tones. In clusters of six fruits, the mini eggplants 4-5″ x 1″ grow on prolifically branching compact plants. Perfect for growing in containers.

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Everything looks so tiny now but I’m sure this is going to fill in nicely. I will probably have to add some support to the back row of plants at some point. Sooner than later is probably going to be best. There is a mesh zippered cover that goes on the black plastic skeleton  to help keep out pests, but I need the bees to be able to get in there to pollinate, so I will leave it off for awhile.

I also planted another Sugar Baby watermellon and a cucumber on a trellis. I want to have them in several places around the garden, so I can tell which area they grow best in.

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This may or may not work out, but I am learning as I go along.

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Got to clean up my poor Banana Tree and give it some fertilizer (as soon I find out which one is best for Banana). We have several baby shoots coming up! I hope there are no hornets in there, they have been out and about looking for places to make hives and  I saw one buzzing around yesterday – yikes!

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I must figure out what I’m going to do with this Passionflower vine. It was growing and taking over everything last year. I need to find a good support for it to climb on. I may move it. I’m thinking about options and will revisit this at a later date.

So,today I plan on planting some Tomato, more Squash, Bok Choy and Collards. My lettuces are still rather small, but I want to get them planted before it gets too hot. I really want to get the veggies done and than concentrate on flowers!

 

A little of this, a little of that

Gardening is an exercise in optimism. Sometimes, it is a triumph of hope over experience.
….Marina Schinz

 

Yesterday I took a good number of plants out of the greenhouse because the temps in there were almost 93! The outside temps were between 60-70’s so out they went for a nice breath of fresh air. I checked on them this morning and everyone looks mighty happy.

I had the planter in the lower right picture in the cold greenhouse over the winter and I just love the mossy patina it has on it, I hope it stays.

I also took the plunge and planted some of my squash, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumber on the cattle panel trellis. I can’t wait to see how it progresses. I am not worried about cross-pollunation, because I am not going to be using any seeds that these plants may produce.

This video gives more detailed information on the subject.

They look so small on that big cattle panel trellis, but I have no doubt they are going to go crazy now that they are out of those little nursery pots.

 

 

Big squash blossom as of this morning. Too bad no male flowers to pollinate.

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After I planted them, I gave them a good drink of water mixed with fish fertilizer. I have been seeing good reviews on this one…boy does it smell bad! Will see how it does on my plants. I got it on Amazon.8446BAAA-9F9E-43BB-8ACF-EFA9614C0B00 2Today, I will be putting the rest of the mushroom compost on some beds (don’t have enough for all the beds, need to go get more), and begin to plant a few veggies in the beds already amended.  I think peppers, which are a good size now and some additional squash. I have another trellis that I want to grow more of the squash on, and I think I can plant some tomatoes! I have three varieties – Beefsteak (Indeterminate), Roma (Determinate) and Zebra (indeterminate)

The most simple explanation of the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes is that determinate tomatoes bear their crop all at once, while indeterminate Tomatoes bear fruit over the course of a season. Indeterminate varieties tend to grow longer vines and will require more support in terms of staking or caging over the course of a season. Determinate varieties often (but not always) tend to be more compact and manageable.

A word on Zebra Tomato, which look so cool. I got the seeds last year and didn’t have much success. I am trying again, hope to get some of these beauties growing good!prod002001

Green Zebra is actually the result of four heirlooms bred together. Whatever, it’s a beauty, with exquisite emerald green skin, dark green vertical stripes, and gently flavorful green flesh. Ready to be eaten fresh or canned and enjoyed year-round. High-yielding indeterminate plants produce oodles of 1 1/2-2 1/2″ fruits.

 

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This is my sad, sad little Philodendron, which I bought last year and never got around to planting. I am going to get it out of that pot, into the ground and will post a picture of it in a month or so, we can see how it’s doing. I pruned it in the fall and it spent the winter in the cold greenhouse, time to wake up there little plant!

Things are budding around the garden, and it’s such a pleasure seeing plants wake up from their winter’s sleep.  Patio peach on the left Blueberry on the right.

I have been logging all my plants on a spreadsheet with pictures and the plant’s details. My hope in doing this is to first keep a record of what I planted this season and make notes on what did and did not work. The other is to help me figure out how to best arrange my flower beds. Size, color and what would look best together. I am still finishing up getting all the plants listed and than I can start to plan the beds.

Ok, time to get out and start my day, more tomorrow.

 

 

 

Aphids, flowers and squash, oh my!

I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make
something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal,
to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole
as we make our personal work of art upon our land…..Julie Moir Messervy

 

Yesterday I was transplanting seedlings from their communal pot to individual pots and I got my cockscomb and Black Eyed Susan done and decided to take a look around at some plants that I had sprayed with Neem about a week or so earlier for Aphids. I have a very mild case of them (I think). They really seem to like Zinnia. I have about 6 different varieties and they are on them all to some degree, noting too bad. They are also on my Kale, and Bok Choy, so everything once again got a spray of neem. I will continue to keep an eye on these plants, and today I will be inspecting everything in the greenhouse for signs of them. I have been looking into getting some ladybugs to help control them in the garden or some lacewings. The only problem is keeping them in MY garden. I think I am going to wait a bit until I have some flowers growing to keep them interested in staying put. I have been removing several plants out of the cold greenhouse to make room for other plants once they are acclimated. Ran out of potting soil – again! gosh I go through that so fast. I have a lot of seedlings I need to repot, so another trip to the store for more dirt.

Funny thing happened….I have been trying to grow Eustoma-Lisianthus, they are very beautiful flowers used by florists in flower arrangements. They are very long lasting for cut flowers.

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I got some seeds to germinate, so I was so proud because they are rather fussy to grow. I posted pictures and information on the website “all things plants”.

These are the pictures I posted

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As you can see from the tag – this is a blue Eustoma, I was so proud, it’s growing so nice. Well as it turns out, from getting some responses from my post that this is indeed a tomato plant! I must have gotten some tomato seed in my soil bin when I was planting. You see nothing is perfect in my garden! I am happy though to have such a healthy looking tomato. Can’t wait to see what type it is – hahaha.

These are the actual Eustoma seedlings. They are so tiny, and from what I understand they grow very slow (I planted these in Feb). I will just have to keep an eye on them, hopefully they won’t turn into tomatoes! To be on the safe side, I ordered about 5-6 different plants because I really want these in my garden this season.

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Our 10 day forecast here in Charleston is showing temps to be daytime 71-81 and nights 53-60, so I think by next week I can start to plant out my squash, and some other things. I have been bringing them out everyday, so they should be good to go. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but according to the Old Farmers Almanac, I should be ok (keeping fingers crossed).

http://www.almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states

My squash really need to get into the ground, and I can not wait to have them growing on the cattle panel trellis. This one is growing like a weed. The female flower has a small embryonic fruit between the stem and the blossom that will fall off if it isn’t pollinated. The male has no little fruit; the flower joins the stem; and it has the pollen. Both must be blooming at the same time for the insects (bees or other little winged pollinators) to carry the pollen from the male to the female. Very often one type will bloom before the other, so if it is early in the plant’s life, patience is the key! If there are no flying insects to do the pollination, you can hand-pollinate in the early morning after the dew has dried but before it gets too hot, either by picking off the male flower and kissing the female flower with it, or by using a small watercolor type paintbrush and dabbing pollen from male to female flower.

What fun!

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Male on left, female on right

7-Male and female squash flowers

Here is an example of how it’s done. Gosh I hope I get some male flowers blooming at the same time, gotta go look at that plant or it’s going to be too late to save the fruit.

8-Hand pollinating squash blossoms

Lots to do….spring has finally sprung – super!

 

Accumulation of plants and more

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow….David Hobson

 

Yesterday I had many of the plants scattered around the yard trying to get them accumulated to being outside. Honestly, I pretty much kept them out the entire day because the greenhouse temps were around 90-92, so it was cooler outside in the shade. I will do the same today to a batch of different ones. I weed wacked all the weeds growing around my raised beds and around some plants in the yard. I really want to get rid of all the grass in the greenhouse/raised bed area and put down some sort of pavers and gravel, maybe next season. I also took some plants out of the cold greenhouse and left them out overnight because they are pretty much accumulated. The Mandevilla, looks exceptionally well considering it was locked up in a cold greenhouse all winter, and I watered them very little. They are growing and the leaves are beautifully glossy and a nice green. go figure, plants are amazing.

 

Also trimmed all my roses. I had black spot on the one on the right and sprayed it all down the other day with neem, I don’t know if it was the right thing to do but I pruned off all of   those effected leaves, I also sprayed some neem on the soil around the plant to kill any fungus that may be lurking around. Also gave it a good drink of water mixed with some epsom salt. It looks pretty good now.

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IMG_3891I have to try and locate the tags on this and the one above with the black spot so I know what variety they are!

Palm, was really large last year and I didn’t know if was alive before I started pruning it. I’m  glad to see it is!

IMG_3893Our bottle brush is doing just great, it just loves the location we put it in last year and it’s growing super fast. We have lots of buds on it and I can’t wait to see them bloom. This is one of my favorite plants.

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These are the only two plants I have in all the raised beds at the moment, My rosemary and Lavender from last year. I will be moving them, I think to the new “herb garden” bed we made outside the kitchen door.

Ok this has nothing to do with gardening. This is my Muscovy duck, well he isn’t really mine, but we sort of adopted him after his mate was killed, so sad. She had a broken wing from probably being hit by a car. She was surviving though and I think maybe a dog or some night creature got her because she couldn’t fly away . We found her floating in the pond and Mr. Muscovy duck was like pecking at her, as if he was trying to wake her up. My husband fished her out of the pond and I feel he is waiting for her to come back, I feel so sad for him. He comes and lands on our little dock every night and he lets me get within inches of him (if only he would let me pet him). For some reason we only got the two this year, we usually get more. We have plenty of Wood Ducks and Canada Geese and many other water fowl. The last two pictures are of the Mrs. R.I.P

One last non gardening thing. Sunset was beautiful last night! See Mr. Muscovy and my dog Thurman – a crazy lovable Cairn Terrier (Think Toto,The Wizard Of Oz)

IMG_3066Today I need to transplant a lot of seedlings growing together, partially because I want them to grow larger and not fight for space and the other is because we have a plant swap in my sub-division and I want to be able to give some plants away. Got a late start this morning, so gotta run. More tomorrow :>)