The slope is filled with various trees. Left unchecked, the trees will grow in. The work performed three years prior which cut back the vegetation is no longer evident. The most aggressive grower on the slope is the pecan trees. Where they have been cut back, new trucks have grown in. They’ve grown quite tall and now was the time to start cutting them back. This time, I took the task in hand. With my trusty folding hand saw, I make my way up the grade. The trucks were not very big so the thought was that it was going to be a quick sawing session. Well, I learned something about pecan wood this day. Pecan wood is harder than I thought. Not only did it take a lot of work on a 1% humidity kind of day, the felled trees are heavy.
Being a recycle centric person, I salvaged the wood. I am not sure what I will do with it but I have a few of ideas. With the large trucks, they will either be used for smoking/grilling or as dirt retainers. The smaller branches will be used as stakes or kindling.
The Moro blood orange tree has been in decline for some time now. With fruit on the tree, the task of planting it into the ground was held off. It is time to plant the tree now that the fruit had ripen. Further, new leaves are growing. There is a rush to plant now as opposed to later when the shock of planting will disturb the leaves. Having lots of prep for spring to complete, planting the blood orange tree is a priority item.
When the compost bin is at capacity, this pile accepts the overflow. On this day, compost was needed.
There are usually grubs to pull out for Ernie and Bert (the resident Redfoot tortoises) to snack on.
In the compost pile, plants will try to grow. Usually I would find avocado pits sprouting. On this day it took me a little while to determine that this is a pineapple. Of the handful of pineapple tops that are in the compost pile, this one sprouted a new sprout. It has been planted. Now we wait to see if it will grow further.
When you are a gardener, people know that you are the go to person when it comes to plants. They may ask for plant sitting favors. Fellow gardeners will share their plants with you. Once in a while, you may be called upon to foster a plant. I had such opportunity for the first time when a friend with a couple of Roma tomato plants sent a text over asking if I would be interested in fostering them. They were used for a photo shoot and now they needed a home.
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.
This planter in the front of the house was untapped dirt. Where the wood sorrel grows, it will be replaced with root vegetables. First some prep needs to be done.
January 25th, 2015. The wood sorrel is turned into the soil to add nutrients.
February 8th, 2015. It would have been nice to have turned the wood sorrel in earlier so that it may be broken down more. To speed things along, compost is added on top. Afterward, ‘Scarlet’ carrot seeds are indiscriminately sowed.
These seeds were purchased last year for $1.99. With lots of seeds in the pack and many carrots grown, they have turned out to be a really great value.