Posts Tagged Books

Starting to get ready…(this post should have been posted on July 18)

Tomato Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm

So, I remember myself saying that,thank heavens I haven’t had any tomato hornworms, and lo and behold, what do I see staring right back into my face? You guessed it! The dreaded hornworm! I really could only find one, but it had made a great meal of the tomato plants so out the tomato plants have come. Unfortunatly, most of the heat had done them in.

So, out with the old, in with the new! It’s time to get ready for fall. YAY! My little tomato starts had to be restarted so they are about 10 days old right now, and looking good. All but 2 have sprouted. Which is a pretty great percentage, all in all. I hope to have some nice plants for next month. We shall see. I keep rotating them in the south facing window and in the mornings I put them out on the back patio. So they seem to be doing fine,with that.

Last year, in the winter, I decided to start some plants early, because I really had the spring planting bug, and all the plants sprouted, did fine, and looked wonderful. For about a month. Then, they all started wilting and dying. I discovered that they actually need some air blowing over them, like they would if they were outside, because otherwise they get wilt. Interesting.

Melon growing up a trellis.

Melon growing up a trellis.

The melons (canteloupe and watermelon) are really going to town right now! Love it! I discovered last year if I could just hold them through the squash bugs and the heat, that in late July early August, they would really take off. And that has held true this year again. So, my advice, when they look like they can’t hack it anymore, baby them along, and they will reward your efforts with more melons! Awesome little plants. I have a variety of melons out there right now. And the melon in the picture above just got picked yesterday. Tasted wonderful, too.

Zucchini

Zucchini

These new little zucchini plants are doing fine. And just when I was congratulating myself on gettng all those dreaded squash bugs, what do I find infesting one of my little plants? More of them. I am telling you, these things are everywhere. I just keep picking them off and putting them in my little jar and this does seem to be a good way of killing them, but not preventing them. How about a magic wand?

I used my first compost the other day in the old tomato bed. I pulled out some new compost from the bottom and integrated it into the bed. I think that bed needs some calcium. A few of the tomatoes had blossom end rot, which I think means the soil needs some calcium. That compost had some egg shells in it, so hopefully that will help.

 According to Mary Irish, in her book, “Gardeing in the Desert Southwest, you can plant fast maturing corn right now. So, that is what went into the old tomato bed. I haven’t really had much luck with corn fertilizing very well, eve though they are planted 4 across, 12 long. That should be sufficient according to all the literature I have read. I will let you know how it turns out. They are all just sprouting right now. I love to see those little plants poking themself up out of the dirt. I love to go out and count how many have come up since yesterday.

Last week I FINALLY got my automatic watering system put in. It works fabulous, except I need to adjust the length of time, I think. It’s only watering about 1 inch depth, instead of 2-3. But it does save me about an hour a day. Which is great, if you ask me.

With the kids back in school, and the weather not quite as hot, I am finding myelf thinking about what I will plant in October. Time to plan…

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SFG layout

Overal view of left side of garden

Overal view of left side of garden

Overall view of right side of garden
Overall view of right side of garden
Smart Pot
Smart Pot
Zucchini
Zucchini

Planning a semi-permanent garden style and layout is definately a big decision. I think that more than anything, it’s important to read as much as you can about a certain style and gather as many opinions from different people as you can, as well as attend some gardening classes if they are available. And even then, the only way to learn how to garden is to get out and garden!

For such a long time I would buy books, magazines and just dream about gardening and what I would do if I had a garden. And then one day I realized that if what I really wanted was a garden, I was the only one who was going to do it! It just really hit me that sitting around dreaming and thinking about it wasn’t going to get it done. I needed to get up and do it. Now, our back yard has been through a few phases in the short 4 years that we have lived here. I have been a fan of Mel Bartholomew’s book, “All New Square Foot Gardening”, after purchasing his previous edition off of a sale rack at the local book store. I have pored over those pages at night and carted it around in my car to read when I had spare time. So, I knew that I wanted to try it. So, I carted home some cement blocks from Home Depot and made a 4 foot by 4 foot square and filled it with soil and started a garden. It didn’t look very pretty. And I discovered that black widows loved to get up in the brick. This freaked me out and freaked my kids out. So, we moved the garden to the back corner of the yard.

My husband took all spring and into the summer 2 years ago to put the fencing in. That was a definate chore. But, necessary, considering that we have a crazy dog who likes to run through everything. And, it does look nice. But the general layout was done by me, with cedar boards screwed together as directed in Mel Bartholomew’s book. I did one bed at a time, because it was hard work. And I filled them with garden soil, one bed at a time, for the same reason. So, now I have 4 long beds measuring 4 ft by 12 ft. and 2 beds measuring 3 ft. by 12 ft. I don’t find the thinner beds easier to work with. They are both very easy to garden and plant and turn the soil over in. I have loved this style. I rarely get weeds in them, for whatever reason, I am not sure. I do get weeds in the pathways, which are now covered in small pea gravel. I do have to water every day, though. But the soil is so wonderful to work with, I can handle that. And I really have no tilling to speak of. My opinion of the square foot garden is all positive and if I had to choose all over again, heaven forbid, I would do the same thing.

I am trying a new thing this year. I purchased a “smart pot” from www.gardeners.com and put some russet seed potatoes in it. It is a pot that is a permeable fabric. It definately waters well. We will see how it does. I am kicking around the idea of purchasing another one to put some red potatoes in it.
In the picture above of the overall view of the left side of the garden, you can see that some of the broccoli has gone to seed. What happened was that in the fall, I planted some cabbage and broccoli in that bed. I then proceeded to schedule our family up so much with holiday activities that I was pretty worn out and just couldn’t muster up any energy to garden. I don’t think I watered that garden more than a handful of times. So, it was extremely nice of the weather to cooperate with me and give us all that rain. But when I went out to check out how the garden was looking a couple of months ago, I found the broccoli all gone to seed and covered in bees. And because I really need those bees, I have kind of left it that way for them. They really don’t bother me at all when I am watering. They are just busy little bees…
As you can see, the zucchini have gotten so much bigger since the previously posted picture. Seeds are the way to go! So easy, so much cheaper, and if they don’t sprout, put another seed in! No big deal!!!

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An Awesome Book

A Slice of Organic Life

A Slice of Organic Life

I recently checked this book out from the local library and found it to be very interesting with ideas on “green” things to do around your home. Although I did try their idea of killing grass with vinegar and found that on bermuda, which is so much like a weed around here, the remedy didn’t work well, the rest of the book seemed to be very informative. I would even consider purchasing this book for myself.

My little baby chicks are coming along nicely and doing well under their little heat lamp. I’ll have to post a pic soon. I strongly suspect 2 of the 3 are roosters. We shall see…

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