Asiatic lily (lilium). There is great enjoyment from growing one of my wife’s favorite flowers for her. With 30 bulbs to plant, it is going to be a challenge to find a place for them. Time is also another factor. Usually, lunch is made during my kid’s nap. Today, I postponed lunch and got to work as quickly as I can. On a good day, I may have a three hour window.
For this gardener, fall is a somber of time year. The season signals the end of the growing year. There are less flowers blooming and less fruits and vegetables to pick. Things appear to slow down a bit in the gardens. On the contrary, fall can be full of hustle and bustle. Fall is the season when bulbs are planted. It is also a great time to “spring clean.”
The Front Garden is a bit grown in and is in need of some landscaping.
February is coming to a close but not without a few surprises to be found and a conclusion to be had.
Last year was the first time that ranunculus was planted. When it died off, the tuber was saved but not properly stored. Mold got to them and whether they’ll grow was up in the air. A fresh stock of ranunculus was purchased and planted as an insurance policy. The growth of the ranunculus from the new stock pretty much indicates that last year’s molded stock will not grow again.
I pass by this amaryllis at least several times a day and did not noticed that it was sending up a flower bud. What is exciting is that this is its first flower bud. In 2012, I purchased an amaryllis bulb and grew it for the first time. When the flower died, I left the plant along believing that the flower would reappear the next year. Instead of a flower, side shoots shot up. It was then that I figured out that in order for the bulb to flower again that it was necessary to cut back all of the foliage. Otherwise, it will form bulbils. With four bulbils of various sizes, I planted them and three years later, the largest of the bulbils is ready to flower. Exciting!
Here is momma amaryllis in the terracotta pot and her offspring. One of the offspring only has one leaf blade and has a ways to go before it will flower. Offspring #4 not pictured.
Last year, fennel was planted for the first time. It was a surprise to discover how big the plant gets. Fennel also seeds profusely. This is one of the few fennel that seeded itself.
The weather has warmed up for a couple of weeks now. Night temperatures have not fallen below 60 degrees. Now there is finally time to start more seeds. While it does not look time consuming, it was a bit of a surprise that this took a over an hour to do. One of the tasks was mixing up the 50/50 soil mixture of clay and peat moss. Then filling up the containers. Continue Reading
The garden is still pretty dormant in January. There is not too much to do but to prune, plan, and pace hectically from the anticipation for the weather to warm up. When the pacing is not enough, the best part about January is that you can actually go outside and prune.
The best time in the year to prune is dependent on the climate and plant characteristics. Generally, pruning occurs after the threat of frost has past. Left alone, the plant will bud when the weather begins to warm. However, pruning stimulates the plant to bud. If there is frost, the buds will be damaged. Here in Zone 10, January is generally accepted as the ideal time to prune.
There is not a lot for me to prune this time around other than the roses. Upon the task, it was discovered that the roses had orange fungi (aka ‘rust’) on them. Since the roses were to be pruned all the way back to just the branches, I was not overly affected. As for how the fungi go on there, it was related to the week of down pour. Fungi spores are everywhere in the dirt. With the rain drops reaching the dirt at terminal velocity, the spores are sent upward by the resultant force. From the lower part of the plant, the fungi make their way upward. The best recourse is to spot the affected areas early and remove them with care.
The mold abatement process needs to be carefully handled. When not, the problem is actually exacerbated. Careful handling practices are mindful of mitigating spread of spores. These practices include:
Literally carefully handling. The affected area(s) needs to be disturbed as little as possible so as to prevent the spores from being dispersed. The same care is needed once the affected parts are cut from the plant.
Dispose of into the refuse container. The trimmed parts need to go into the refuse container; and not into a compost pile.
Wash: hands, any intermediate containers used, and cutting implements
This Mr. Lincoln rose was received bare rooted last April. The plan was to put this Mr. Lincoln rose into the ground on this day. However, it was decided that it might be better to allow it to hang out in the pot for a bit longer.
Though I have found that roses are like weeds. As long as the root is present, it’ll grow.
February 7th, 2015 Update:
Pruning does not magically turn the weather warm so we impatiently wait some more. During this time we go over our seed inventory, check the plots in the garden, and plan out what we will be growing. All the while, we have our eyes out for new plants to try. This is the period when restraint is often times difficult to practice. Going over the many seed and plant catalogs while not wanting to purchase more than the dirt we have for them is difficult. There will always be a new plant to try to grow and each new season is an opportunity to satisfy that urge. The fun is in deciding on what new plant or plants to grow.
January 29th, 2015 Update:
Last year I learned of Holy Basil but also discovered later on that I was growing the wrong variety. Now I have the seeds of the variety basil that is also known as kra pao. It’s the variety of basil used in traditional Thai dishes.
This year I have many goals with the garden. One of them is to grow enough corn to last me through the year without having to buy corn from the supermarket. The other is to grow more of the ingredients that make green curry. With the corn, I am curious to know the yields and taste between heirloom and hybrid varieties. To maximize the growing season, I selected the ‘Dorinny Sweet’ heirloom corn for its cool climate characteristic.
February 11th, 2015 Update:
The Dorinny Sweet heirloom sweet corn sprouted after about a week and a half.
Or can you? The always difficult choice of choosing between maintaining an open space or realizing a garden to its maximum potential is a conundrum faced by a good number of gardeners.
While there may be space to build and grow a serious garden, your family’s need for open space may supersede that want. As with most conundrums, sometimes the best we can do is to settle and get what we can get.
Last year, the idea to dig holes into the lawn for planting was conceived. I already had a good number of pots with plants in them. Why not turn that idea around? Instead of pots above the ground, the ground was turned into pots. Holes would be dug and replaced with nutrient rich soil. Then a plant would be planted. In some ways, these were better pots. A plant’s roots have a better chance expanding into the hard dirt than it does trying to push through plastic or clay pots.
Holes were dug. The side and depth of the hole was dependent on the plant’s needs. This year, I am planning to expand on this practice. I am starting with the far end of the lawn. It is the part of the yard where it can be seen from the living room. I prefer to grow flowers here. Already back there are roses. Now, I am adding ‘Red Sun’ sunflowers to the view.
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow. Other than protection from bugs and slugs early on, they do not require too much.
Using a trench shovel, five holes are dug: about a foot apart, about 10-inches deep and 6-inches wide. The dirt that was dig out is piled for back filling later.
Before back filling the dirt, compost is added and mixed in to turn the dirt to soil. Plants love compost; even low maintenance plants like sunflowers. While sunflowers do not need much, as a gardener, you’re going to provide your plants with as much as your able to. Just like you would your children.
Many of the plants in the garden do not get sowed directly in the ground as they are unable to survive the onslaught of slugs and armadillidiidaes (pill-bugs). Even in these old yogurt containers, they are in peril. Out of the eight sunflowers that sprouted, one was taken down by a slug. The sunflower seedlings were eventually moved to the drought tolerate garden. Up here, they are safer. Slugs do not hangout here. The soil is dry and there is very little for them to much on. Further, it is quite the journey for them should they want to snack on these seedlings. They’ll need to cross through a dry path and scale a two and a half foot brick wall. To give them credit, it is not that they are unable to, it is not worth their trouble to. The same applies to the pill-bugs. There’s not too much for them up here worth hanging out for.
Here’s one of the ‘Red sun’ sunflower in the morning after it was planted into the ground. All but one was chewed on in some form or another by slugs. I am hoping that they are mature enough to withstand the slugs.
It is starting to warm up here in Zone 10 and the gardening has already begun to spring into full movement. Seeds are sprouting, flowers are blooming, fruit are ripening, and it is about to get crazy up in here!
This weekend (February 6th, 7th, & 8th, 2015) was a productive one in the garden. I had many pictures to snap, new ground to break, Ranunculus tubers to plant, and carrots to sow among other fun gardening activities. There were even a couple of surprises. Stay tuned for the updates.