Saturday, April 28, 2012

Guilty doofus

I feel guilty because, while spot spraying dandelions in my front yard, I had to shoo away bees in search of nectar. Pesticides have been implicated in colony collapse disorder (CCD) in bee hives. My understanding is the pesticides in question are insecticides and not herbicides, but still. I subscribe to the Safelawns blog and hope to have an eco-green lawn someday, but I will get there with baby steps.

I'm a doofus because I can't remember where I moved what last year, or where I planted what, either. And I'm impatient. The hostas and bulbs that I thought had rotted in the ground over the winter have proved me wrong. The only plants still MIA are the hibiscus (notoriously late to the dance) and the bleeding heart, and I have not given up hope yet.

Recently planted:
'Latham' raspberries - These went into a raised bed. There were only 4 in the 5-pack but that is really all I have room for anyway.
'Patriot' blueberry - This plant went into a pot because I haven't decided where to put it.
'Ozark Beauty' strawberries - These went into a 4'x4' raised bed, 7 rows of 7 plants (plus four extras).
'Jersey Supreme' asparagus - These also went into a raised 4'x4' bed, 5 rows of 4 plants (and one extra).
Magic lily, aka Resurrection lily, aka Surprise lily, aka Naked Ladies - These went into the bed along south side of house, a bed that is made up primarily of pink flowers, but not much shows up in August, until now.
Potatoes - I planted two varieties, Yukon Gold and Carola, 2.5 pounds of each, into six grow bags.

I invented a new technique for planting asparagus and strawberries into raised beds. At least, it feels original to me. First, I removed about half of the contents of each bed. Then I laid out the plants, providing each with a hillock to raise the crown above the roots - for the asparagus, I squeezed some dirt into a ball, for the strawberries I made furrows.

I filled the beds back in, in layers, lifting the crown of each plant a bit to keep it above or near soil level. The strawberries are already sprouting new leaves; the asparagus appears to be pouting.

Indoors, I still have tomatoes and basil and rosemary plants waiting for warmer weather. The tomatoes and basil I started April 1, thinking they would be just right in about 6 weeks. These plants, however, are a bit precocious.

I potted them up once and I'm not doing it again. They will just have to wait.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And more stupid robin tricks

This robin appears to be trying to build a nest in the reflection in the picture window.

We got duck eggs

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lemon tree very pretty

And the lemon flower is sweet. So sweet, in fact, the scent of this one plant fills a large room and seeps into the rest of the house. Cloying!

Last year, its first one in my care, this Meyer lemon tree gave me two lemons. So far, it has six blossoms on it this year, five at the very top.

I plan to train it into one main trunk as it grows, or maybe two intertwined, if that is possible.

Proof that the sweet potato is producing slips. Since I plan to plant sweet potatoes around June 1, there is plenty of time for these to get large enough to be ripped from the mother potato and to develop their own roots. I hope.

Proof that there will be basil as well, to be planted with the tomatoes come mid May.

Since it will be a month before 'mater planting, I decided these leggy beauties needed to be transplanted into larger pots (or cups, as the case may be) to develop more roots.

These are actually paper cups inside of plastic ones. I should be able to simply rip off the bottom of the paper cup and transplant, using the top of the cup as a collar. If I had planned ahead, I would have chosen red cups, as tomato plants supposedly respond favorably to the color red.

Remember that pair of mallards I thought I had chased a way? I succeeded in getting them out of the backyard but not off my property entirely.

This is the female, nesting under a peony on the south side of the house. The funny thing is, my son and I had noticed the nest on Easter Sunday, but I thought it was a rabbit nest. Imagine my surprise when I checked it out the next day.

I wonder if she has nested here before. In previous years I had noticed a depression in that flower bed, but since I don't usually pay much attention to it until later in the season, I might have just not known the nest was actively used.

Here is the wine bottle edging I mentioned in my previous post. This idea is not original with me - I saw just such a display while visiting the Master Gardener gardens at IPFW one year.

And just to be clear, I did NOT empty all those bottles myself.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hard to keep up

I've been gardening but not blogging about it (obviously) even though I use this blog to help me keep track of what I am doing in the house and garden. So here is what I have been doing:

Planting onions:
Still spindly

Planting shrubs:
These are in the ground now, despite the tree roots left behind by the silver maples

Transplanting rhubarb:
A tractor tire is forever

Transplanting parsley:
Cement block planters - where are the flamingos?

Discouraging mallards from nesting in my yard:


Encouraging wrens:
See serviceberry blooming in the back?

Anticipating praying mantis hatchlings:
Sorry about the craptastic photo

The peas are up, although germination is a bit spotty. I moved a hosta from the west side of the laundry room to the north side of the West Wing, so it will get less sun; moved a yarrow into the hole left by said hosta; transplanted a crocosmia into one of the patio beds; forgot to water a transplanted tiger lily (I'm afraid to check on it). I have been watering everything else, though. Stupid weather.

The patio beds are partially edged in (empty) wine bottles that have been multiplying in the garage. I've been whacking at the honeysuckle vines, in hopes of rejuvenating them. I mowed and spot treated some dandelions with Weed-B-Gone, since doing that last year seems to have made a difference. My neighbor across the street had a sump pump problem and tore up the carpet in his basement as a result; that carpet is now helping suppress "weeds" (a.k.a. mint, lemon balm, thistle, garlic mustard) in the garden.

And plants have been arriving: raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, asparagus. Potatoes too. There are Roma tomato plants started inside, along with basil. And the sweet potato is *finally* starting to sprout, just after I ordered a heat pad for it.

Is that everything? Probably not, but it's better than nothing.