This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT


You know you're a gardener when...
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Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

May 23, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

 

 

So much to do, so little time. We all try to get as much done in a day as possible- often times it’s less than we’d like. It all takes time to establish a new yard and getting a foothold is a challenge. But little by little it’s all coming together.

The weather has finally started warming up- late this year (thanks a lot La Nina) and it just happened to be my first year growing anything. It is time to start moving the cool weather crops out and moving the warm ones in. Since I had an unexpected absence recently, I was a bit behind with sowing warm weather lettuce. I did get some sown as soon as I returned only to find that something had found them quite tasty in the nursery- which is, at present, in the garage.

 

These were sown in a 200 cell plug flat. Instead of tossing them I set the survivors in a bed far away from my crop area and hoped for the best- just in case the offenders were hiding in the soil, I didn’t want them finding everything else. So far there are some that are doing okay. So, back to the drawing board for the lettuce.

On the warm weather crop front I’ve sown some melon (2 kinds), squash (2 kinds), more chard and some other things like sunflowers, etc. I’ve purchased some lemon cukes to try this year and I’ll be sowing my green beans in long paper pots (or what I like to call my version of root trainers). I’ve decided to grow bush varieties of beans with all the wind we’ve had this year and I don’t expect that to change (thanks again La Nina). I didn’t really feel the need to have to run out there and save my trellis from being blown away- there has been quite enough of that with tunnel plastic and shade cloth!

A few of my tomatoes have buds on them- very surprising considering they were horribly neglected in my absence. They have really bounced back nicely. I gave them some extra TLC as they had purple leaf undersides- a phosphorus deficiency, no doubt. Now they look great. I’ve planted one out in the greenhouse bed. The labels were messed up too- but luckily I have 3 positive ids and 2 of them were the bigger tomatoes, so I could choose which ones should go in the greenhouse ground beds.


    

This tomato was given to me by my neighbor.              This is one I started from seed.

 

Peas are doing nicely-

 

Compost bin #1 is built, but not finished. I have to do the front and add some hardware cloth on the sides.


I worked on adding some more small in ground greenhouse beds-

   


The new grass area is looking very nice- Here is a before shot.


And after…

I really love what we’ve done so far…

 

Spring crops are continuing and starting to finish up- I’ll have a gap as I lost some replacements, but It’ll all work out.

I hope your days have been sunny and your harvests yummy!

 

Happy gardening,

Tessa

May 14, 2011

Chicken Coop Tour!

 

So a friend of mine invited me to go enjoy the local Chicken Coop Tour here in Bend/Redmond and I almost didn’t go! Boy am I glad I did!

We managed to see 8 different setups, all of different sizes, with a 3-year-old in tow. I have now got so many ideas of how our chicken set-up should be that my head is swimming! We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about chicken breeds and their care- very nice! Here are a few highlights-

This coop was built with old hot rod parts- very creative. The little girl there was the creator’s daughter who was running around with turkey poults in her coat pocket- their little necks looking like they’d break any minute! She said they were ‘pocket perfect’…and indeed they were.

 

We loved these…

 

There were a lot of recycling examples. I have plenty limbs around my home to make this cool roost.

 

Interesting chicken tractor- I could make this. It would get the job done, moving the chickens onto my beds, but I’m not sure I like how they look. I’m sure they could be prettied up!

Tractor inside- nesting box and roost
Below- food tube

Recycled 2 liter bottle for water- nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickens weren’t the only thing we saw- this animal was so funny! The guy, I mean! He was a big guy and that pig was taking him for a walk :)

 

 

And all kidding aside…

Cute little tail!

And finally…the deal of the day! I found a watering can. It’s not a haws, but an old French design from the 1800s and I like it! It has a wonderful fine rose.

 

 

We saw so much more- and some small, nice backyard setups, but this post would end up being way too long to list them! I’m inspired now to get our chickens, but it will have to wait a while- say a year or two. I have all my ideas on paper now and we’ll have done all the research by then. In the meantime I can enjoy my friend’s chickens as she’ll be getting them soon! Maybe someday she and I will be in the annual Chicken Coop Tour…

 

Happy gardening,

Tessa

May 10, 2011

Amazed…again!

 

It’s been almost a month since my last post- sorry about that! So much has happened in the last few weeks it’s hard to know where to start. I’m just now getting a chance to get some things done- including a post.

I’ll start off with how grateful I am to the Lord for His grace! To explain, my dad had a stroke recently, and he also has an aneurism in his brain that has been there for probably 30 years. The amazing thing is that his brain did a work around and created tributaries to get blood to the rest of his brain…all this time! The veins on one side of his neck have no flow and haven’t for years, apparently! How the docs missed this, all this time, is beyond me as my dad is faithful to get his checkups regularly and do what the docs tell him- he wants to be around a long time and healthy- so he does what he needs to do- He’s very responsible and practical that way. When I stayed with my parents for the first week dad was home he was walking around with a cane and talking with a scratchy throat- almost as if it had not happened! And he’s almost 80! We purchased him some superman underwear to go home in! So you can see why I am so grateful! I’m grateful that, for whatever reason He has, God wanted my dad around a bit longer…after all, one of the best things to be in the whole world is a daddy’s girl!


On the garden front, I’m amazed again. The day my mom called me, I was right in the middle of potting up some tomato babies- everything stopped at that point. I came home expecting total death in the greenhouse and tunnels as I’d told my daughter not to worry about it. The tunnels were left up so the plants in it had quite a range of weather while I was gone. Cold, hot, very windy, no water, even some snow- thankfully, they were at least mulched. It’s very interesting what plants do to survive.

When I returned, the first days I just wandered around and watered. I noticed the peas were up; I’d just planted some pre-sprouted seeds before I had to leave and they hadn’t been watered at all.

 

The wonderful ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ lettuce had turned a beautiful burgundy in response to the weather extremes- interesting. I just removed the outer leaves and gave them a really good soaking.

I did lose a few, but this is how well they bounced back- They were really dark burgundy, but as they bounced back, I started seeing some green in there. Below is how they looked after I transplanted them originally-

I’ve harvested some and they taste great!

The other things planted looked haggard, but survived too, with the exception of the chard. This shot below was taken a few days after I’d arrived home- weeded and watered and thinned- not too bad! Everything in the first tunnel, which was the first planting, survived really well (spinach, beets and a few lettuce.)

 

The story is a bit different in the nursery- the lupine, beets, broccoli, and all the chard that I hadn’t transplanted are compost. The tomatoes I had potted up survived thanks to Patrick getting home before me to water them. They looked sad yesterday as I again potted them on to the next and final size pot before they’ll go in the garden- I think they are suffering from a phosphorus deficiency, as the undersides of the leaves are purple-ish.

Not all of what I started is there; I never finished transplanting the micro-blocks the day mom called- so I’ll be sowing some more soon.

Some of the flowers I’d sown a while back have survived too- Yarrow and Foxglove. I’ve also started quite a bit- Lettuce, Columbine, Bellflower, Jacob’s Ladder and more…

More to start as we’re finally getting some warmer weather- hopefully soon we’ll have some nice tomatoes to go in our salads! This was picked fresh this week- it has Lettuce, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Radish, Mache, Spinach and Beet greens.

 

Happy Gardening to you, and I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Tessa