Sunday, May 22, 2011

Miracle Plants of the Urban Ranch

There are two of what I call miracle plants on the Urban Ranch. One is this little rose bush and the other is a peony bush beside the front of the house.

This little rose bush was planted back when the house was built in 1965. It grew into a big strong plant and produced many years of gorgeous roses. When I put in the first patio by the front door I dug out the rose bush roots and put a plain patio block patio over the area where the rose bush was. Somehow it crept under the patio and sprouted up right in front of the bench which was spring garden area at the time. Every year I cut the little rose bush down to the dirt and kept it there but it just kept coming back. The patio you see here was built about four years ago and once again I dug up the root and not only built a patio over the area but put in a wall around the patio. This wall although not very high where the rose bush is has a concrete block foundation so it goes down under the ground a good 12 inches. It took two years but once again the little rose bush that just wouldn't die crept under the patio and under the block foundation and sprouted up beside the outside of the wall. It's determination to live was incredible. Not to be deterred. I continued to try to kill the little bush. I dumped brush killer on the plant after I cut it off with the lawn mower. For an entire year the little bush survived the toxic poison being fed to it and although quite sick looking once again sprouted up last year with vigor. Upon seeing that this little rose bush just wouldn't give up, I finally gave in and gave it a trellis to climb and told it not to fear I was done trying to kill it. It can live long and prosper.

The second miracle plant is this little peony. This once is a story of natural disaster and not one of me trying to kill it. About four years ago a killing late frost killed this little peony late in the spring. It turned black and died dead or so I thought. Summer came and went with no sign of life. The next spring still no sign of life. Summer came and went again. I thought well I guess the little peony is really dead. The next spring one little sprout pushed its way up through the dirt. It produced one tiny little flower that year. Last year it produced six blooms and this year there are nine buds on the plant ready to bloom. I can hardly believe these two plants are still part of the blooming display of the Urban Ranch but the proof is in their strength.

We should all have the strength and stamina that these little plants have. They just wouldn't give up. When all the odds were against them, they stood in faith as long as one small spark of life still existed in their little roots. I should take a lesson from these two plants and note that when the whole world seems to be against me, just keep on standing up and moving forward.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This is more like spring!!

I like this time of the year. Well, other than the bad weather. Nebraska hasn't had any bad weather in my area. The temperature has been a little extreme. One day it's freezing, the next it's in the 90s, and then back to the 40s. I've never seen it quite that extreme before. But, hey, that's climate change for you. I'm just glad the snow is gone and the flowers are blooming.

Here's a picture of the total garden as it looks today. I still have to get the tomatoes and the green peppers mulched in. Of course that's right after I get the watering tubes down to the roots of the plants. Everything is right on the edge of being turned up for the summer.

You can see the radishes are growing quite well but the lettuce is struggling a little. It's my first attempt to grow lettuce ever. I just opened the package and flung the seeds out on the dirt and tried to cover them up a little. I'm quite sure that's not the proper way to plant lettuce. I will have to try again in the fall. You really can't see the onions planted on the bottom of the picture but those pesky helicopter seeds are really invading everything right now. I haven't decided yet what will go in this bed when the lettuce and radishes are done, but I'm thinking some late tomato plants. I read that a stem from a producing plant can be cut, rooted, and planted just like a transplant. I think I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Next is my poor man's living patio trellis beautification. Phase one is completed and the hanging baskets are Impatiens. Last year I tried pole beans but there just wasn't enough sunlight to grow them well and the turned out pretty pathetic. Hopefully, this year will be better with shade plants. The sides will be begonias in containers. I may try the vertical wall planters in the future. They are a fascinating concept for growing.

You can't really see them yet but there are eight green pepper plants in this bed. You can see the watering system for the plants. It will take another couple days to get the system up and running like I want. I really need to do some cleanup after things are functioning.

The potatoes are finally planted and will be mulched up as high as the bed will with stand. I've read that as the potatoes grow if mulch is added the potatoes with keep forming right in the mulch. I use straw for mulch. It seems to work the best for me. I just get it from the local seed and feed store.

At this late date, the cucumber seeds will just be planted directly into the garden. Mom never grew any thing to transplant outside. She even plant the tomato seeds directly into the garden. They seemed to do quite well for her.

I hope all is well with everyone's garden.