Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Week Of Afternoon Gardening

Different work hours this week gave me the chance to do some gardening most afternoons.  I just didn't have time for blogging until now.

Monday, we had rain which is fine.  I'll take all I can get.

Tuesday, was gorgeous!  I captured these pretty sights.

Purple tulips in full bloom.

Grape hyacinth.

Golden euonymus.

Lamium.  This grows under the junipers in The Forest near the rain barrels.

On Tuesday, I also opened one of the winter sown containers and transplanted some of the mystery flowers.  I planted them with the wildflowers in the alley.  I have a gap where the phone company had to dig when they replaced our line last fall.  The transplants seem to be doing well.  I think I'll divide the other containers and get them settled in the ground soon too.

Otherwise, on Tuesday I did a lot of weeding.

Wednesday, was cloudy and cooler.  In fact, it often looked like it could rain, but didn't.  I spent most of my garden time mixing potting soil.  I don't have a magic formula with three parts of this, two parts of that and 1 part of another.  I simply started mixing in the wheel barrel until it looked good.  I used some commercial potting soil with some good garden soil and some of the compost we acquired

I placed my large containers around the garden.  Each got the soil mix, some moisture crystals (that's the gel stuff that is suppose to help hold water for your plants.) and some slow release fertilizer.  Then, more soil to cover the crystals and the fertilizer.

I use upside down pots in some of the large containers so I don't need as much soil to fill them.

Looking good with the containers filled on the patio.  I don't empty all of the soil from the large galvanized containers on the patio each year, but I do add compost and stir up the soil adding the crystals and fertilizer.

I even set up the water container with the fountain.  No plants, snails or fish yet.

When I filled the hanging baskets, I put some newspaper in the bottom to help hold the water a little while and give the plants a chance to soak it up.  With our wind, it is impossible to over water a hanging basket.

It will be so nice to get bedding plants and just plant them!  The containers are ready.

Thursday was another beautiful day.  Warm and sunny.  I turned on the fountain and enjoyed its tranquil sound while planting seeds.  Vegetable seeds and flower seeds.  I also transplanted another winter sown container to the alley.  The roots on those winter sown plants are so healthy.

We're harvesting so much lettuce right now, I'm sharing it with friends.  However, I missed some succession plantings of radishes because I just pulled the last ones and don't see any that will be ready again for awhile.  Another reason I planted more vegetable seeds.

I also constructed a little teepee trellis of bamboo for some red cardinal vine seeds I'm planning to plant.

Friday is suppose to be a bit windy and we have other activities going into the weekend that will likely keep me from the garden.

Have a great weekend.  I'll see you back here on Sherlock Street next week some time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An April Shower

It can still rain at Garden on Sherlock Street.

In 2010, I posted a rain gauge report each time I emptied the rain gauge.

This year, I've created a page in the right hand column where I will log rain fall amounts and rain barrel statuses.

We have a chance for more rain tomorrow.

From Laundry To Garden

I received this wicker laundry basket as part of a gift during one of my bridal showers eighteen years ago.  It has had many uses.  Most recently as a laundry basket.

Recent reorganization of the laundry area left this wicker laundry basket without a purpose.

I've decided it looks good in the back garden.
I know some day it will deteriorate.  Eventually, it will end up as part of the garden.
Right now, I'm trying to decide what flowers to plant in it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Plants Are Arriving

Another package arrived with a plant at Garden on Sherlock Street.  Eventually, this should be a large 'black magic' elephant ears plant.  I was surprise it already has leaves.  I thought I was going to just get a bulb.  Maybe it sprouted while in transit.  It is going to hang out in the house a bit before getting a home in the garden.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Windows For The Winter Sown

My winter sown seeds are doing quite well in their containers.  I need to get them used to being out of the containers.  I have cut windows in the side of each milk jug, but I still have them tucked in by the back steps.  I hope to get them ready to transplant in early May.  Any advice you have about this transition would be appreciated.

It is still a mystery as to what they are.  I'm hoping they make it to blooming so I can figure it out for sure.  I think they'll make a nice addition to the wildflowers along the alley.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Compost, You Haul

Our city has a great service for gardeners.
A free compost site.

People bring plant material to the site.

The city piles all the plant material into rows, and turns the rows until it becomes compost.

The compost is put into a pile for residents to take home to their gardens.

On Sunday, we backed the truck up to the compost pile and started shoveling.

We put tarps on the bottom.  Not because we think it will keep the truck bed clean.  It doesn't.  Because when you get down to the last bit when unloading, you can just pull the tarp out of the truck and not have to sweep together the last bit to be able to shovel it.

Loaded and ready to head home.

We backed the truck up to our garden and unloaded.
We removed the last two pea stakes to be able to open the tail gate.

I recently posted about "harvesting" soil from our wild area for the new planting bed.  While I filled the holes with a lot of plant material, the holes made it a bit hazardous to walk there.  My wonderful husband was right in suggesting we fill in the holes and level the area better.

There is more leveling to do but I'm planning to use some of the compost in other parts of the garden too.

My WH counted 12 FULL wheel barrels from the load.  Plus, I filled several buckets to carry compost to different places in the garden.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Casualties Of The Wind

Friday's intense wind roughed up the tulips and daffodils which were already open, caused some blooms to come off one side of the lilac in the back garden, removed a lot of mulch from everywhere, deposited various pieces of trash in the garden, tipped one of the teepee trellises over onto the grill, tilted a weather vane to a 45 degree angle and damaged some of the pea plants.

In the photo below, you'll see how the wind whipped some of the pea plants so much they dug cones into the soil and the stems constricted.  I planted more pea seeds by the wind whipped plants and watered everything well.  I probably replanted about one fourth of the peas.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keeping The Hoses Off The Plants

Last summer I found myself dragging the hoses to our new planting beds and running over the strawberry plants and the flowers in the bed off the patio.  So, for Christmas, I put garden hose guides on my wish list to Santa.  He delivered two new garden hose guides.  I put the frog by the sidewalk and the dragonfly caddy corner across the stepping stones.

The frog looks like he's guarding the path.

The dragonfly seems to be saying, "this is a nice garden.  Come fly here with me."

The other day I found this artichoke garden hose guide made by the same company.  I brought it home.

It is by the sidewalk opposite the frog.

I'm on the lookout for one more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hours And Hours Of Wind

After I posted this morning's video, it started to snow.  Eventually, the sun came out.
It is still windy.

High Wind Warning

This started overnight.
It is suppose to do this most of the day.

At least we missed the severe weather yesterday.
There is some rain which is good.
I haven't seen any snow flakes as predicted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The (Lacking A Lot Of Yellow) April Tour

I kept waiting for the forsythia in the front garden to bloom before taking this month's tour photos, but it appears the last cold snap must have taken out several of their blooms as they look kind of sparse.  So, here's the April tour with less yellow blooms than I was hoping for.  Waiting did allow me to include the new teepee trellises in the back garden photos.  Just go back one post to see the tour or you can find it in the right hand column in the Tour Garden on Sherlock Street page as well.  We are waiting for a cold front to come through tonight hopefully bringing rain with it.  However, Friday night might get below freezing breifly.  I don't think it'll be cold long enough to cause any problems with our (hopefully) full rain barrels. Enjoy the tour!

Tour April 2011

Front Garden


Back Garden

Side Garden



Vegetable Garden

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teepee Trellises

On Saturday, my wonderful husband made two teepee trellises for the decorative gourds we like to grow.
It's likely some other vines will find them too.

We've been considering different plans for quite some time.
I found these plans online from Organic Gardening magazine.  Here's a look at how they went together for us.

First of all, we both looked and looked, but could not find a concise list of materials needed to make the teepee trellises in the article. It is a simple plan.  We figured out the materials pretty easily. 

To make one teepee trellis, as we like to call them, you'll need:
*four 8' 2X2s (This is a standard length.  The article didn't give the length, but 8' fits with the other measurements the article provides.)
*two quarter inch 4 1/4" long carriage bolts with washers and nuts
*eight 4' 1X3s (It seems to have 1X3s, you need to 'rip down' 1X6s.  The lumber yard can do that for you for a small fee.  We opted for eight 4' 1X4s instead.  1X4s come in 8' lengths.  You just saw them in half.)
*thirty-two 1 1/2" deck screws (We used 1 5/8" deck screws because we had them on hand.  Just make sure your screws won't poke out on the other side of the 2X2s.)
*four 12" wood or metal stakes (We used metal because we had them on hand.)
*twine ( I always have twine.)

We used basic lumber not cedar, redwood, etc.  We didn't seal or stain them.  They should last us a few years.  If we really like them, the next set may be made of something more expensive.

Tools needed:
*safety goggles
*your favorite drill
*drill bits (1/4" to drill holes for the carriage bolts and a skinny one to drill pilot holes for the screws.  Plus, a bit to put in the screws.)
*wrench for the nut
*tape measure
*2 to 8 clamps to help hold everything together.  (No clamps are seen in the online instructions, but my WH enjoys using clamps.)
*hammer to drive in the stakes
*scissors to cut the twine

Put on your safety goggles.

Put two 2X2s together and drill a 1/4" hole 14 inches from one end.  Insert the carriage bolt tightening by hand.
Spread the 2X2x legs four feet apart and attach the first 1X4 12 inches from the ground with two screws on each side.  Clamps helped hold the 1X4 for my WH while I was planting carrots.

I don't know if it matters, but we made sure the "top" 2X2 leg went the same way (in this case left) for the two sides we used together. One teepee trellis goes left and one teepee trellis goes right because my WH made one each way with the first two he created. So, he made sure the last two he created also had one going right and one going left. We used the two rights together and the two lefts together. I hope that makes sense.

Here are the other 2X2s bolted together and waiting.  Our carriage bolts are longer than necessary because I forgot that 2X2s are not actually 2" X 2."  They're less.  I picked up longer carriage bolts than needed.

Space the other 1X4s along the 2X2s 12 inches apart and attached them with the screws.  You can space them closer if you wish.  See the clamps holding the boards for my WH?

Tighten the carriage bolt with the wrench after all the 1X4s are secure.
Repeat the process to make the other side of the teepee trellis.

My WH made two teepee trellises.  These plans can easily be altered to make smaller teepee trellises.

After figuring out where we wanted to place the teepee trellises, we leaned two sides (that have the top leg going the same direction) together and tied them securely with twine.

My WH drove a 12" metal stake into the ground at each leg and I tied the legs to the stakes with twine.

We repeated this with the other teepee trellis.

We will cut the twine at the end of the season when we clean up the garden, remove the stakes and lay the teepee trellises somewhere for winter.

Here they are. Ready for vines.

I love the shadows they made on the ground in the last photo.