Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weeding and planting
The weeds always seem to grow faster than the plants.   This year it seems to be exceptionally so.  The first round of grass has sprouted up through the straw mulch.  I've discovered that the best way to deal with the evil grass is to pull all the mulch off the garden beds and pull it out by hand, then return the mulch back to the raised bed.  Fortunately two of the beds to be de-grassed were not planted yet which made it ever so much easier.  Sweet corn will be planted in the beds.  This will be the good stuff and is being planted inside the fenced area.  The parts for the gate still reside in my side yard waiting for assembly.  It's a little more difficult to get things done now that school is out and Bradley is home during the day.  He's just not going to be a gardener.  My inspiration to get him to help was no work no eat.  Since we were planting sweet corn, and he dearly loves sweet corn, he decided it was OK to help plant the corn.  Imagine that?
One half weeded Urban Ranch bed

The Urban Ranch backyard raised beds have suffered because of all the time spent at Terra Nova Gardens.  Here is a half weeded bed that will become tomatoes.

Weeded and planted tomato bed

In this picture the garden bed has been weeded, mulched, planted, and the automatic gravity feed watering system has been set up.  Now all that's needed is enough rain to keep the tank full.

My cucumbers all died when I planted them in the ground for some reason.  They were all started again.  Usually cucumbers just grow without any problems for me.  The bell peppers are just out of sight in another bed and are doing well.  The tomatoes at Terra Nova Gardens are doing really well.  They are the standard Rutgers.  The tomatoes at the Urban Ranch backyard are volunteer Rutger tomatoes and are growing gangbusters.  I may just throw all the season end tomatoes in one of my garden beds and see how many will come up in spring next year.  I transplanted four this year and left one right where it came up.  Only two plants of chard grew but they look healthy enough and will be the center of the salad plate very soon.

An interesting thing has happened at Terra Nova Gardens.  Remember the rail fence that was built from trees on the back bank of the property.  They were cut in six foot lengths and buried two feet in the ground.

Sprouting post at Terra Nova Gardens

The posts are sprouting branches.  All of the posts but two are trying to continue to be a tree instead of a post.  I'm leaving them go to see what will happen.  It might just be a last dying wish to keep growing or it could actually become a living tree fence, so to speak.  It's the craziest thing I've ever seen.  Has anyone else experienced this phenomena?

Turkey egg in the straw
I'm not sure why mama turkey laid an egg out in the hot sun with no cover at all.  It's an easy prey for the night creatures that go on prowl at night.  Normally, I would not have let Bradley touch the egg but it was already cooked from the sun and abandon, I'm guessing.  We left it where we found it but I suspect it's gone by now.  Bradley wanted to take it home and eat it.   Hmmmmm.

Pumpkins are looking good

I was some what concerned that the pumpkin seeds would be in jeopardy of being eaten by the foraging turkeys but only one mound of seeds were scratched and eaten.  Apparently, they weren't impressed with the taste of watermelon seeds. The rest were untouched.  There's no life to see in the potato tires yet but potatoes take a while to appear so my potato expert neighbor says.

My parting comment is a video on my gravity feed watering system.  I thought maybe a video would help with understanding how it all works.

To all the best of gardening all through the season.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Planting begins
I have been pushing the limit trying to get the garden beds ready to plant.  Terra Nova Gardens has been partially planted.  The tomatoes and bell peppers were planted today.  Inside the fence has been completed except for pathway wood chips.  All the garden beds have been mulched with straw to keep the moisture in and the weeds out.  Next week the cucumbers, zucchini, and sweet corn will be planted. 
Fenced Garden with mulch

Here's the look of the first year fenced garden beds.  In this picture the mulching is not quite done but now it's finished.  The two beds in the middle of the picture are the tomatoes and the bell peppers.  The left is the tomatoes and the right is the bell peppers.  Along the right hand fence will be the cucumbers for this year.  Along the front fence will be zucchini on the right side and I'm not sure on the left.  Up the unmulched left side will be the peaches and cream sweet corn.  Out side the fence will be the cheap yellow sweet corn.  That's mainly for the wild turkeys.  Maybe they won't try to raid the fenced in garden if I give them plenty to eat.  It could back fire and attract every corn loving critter in the neighborhood.  This gardening adventure is a total experiment this year.

My neighbor across the street from where I live has taken an interest in my inner city garden project and asked if he could plant some things.  I've designated a 30'x30' area to the left of the picture above for him.  He has watermelon and pumpkins planted and wants to plant some potatoes.  He heard that planting inside old tires works good for potatoes.  I spent the day scouring the hillside behind my property for old tires that have been dumped over the side of the hill.  I found a total of nine tires for him to use.  There could be more but the head high weeds prevented me from getting a good look at anything other than the bottom third of the hill.

I always wanted to see if I could actually grow the three sisters.  This is combination planting.  A row of mounds that are five feet apart are planted with corn.  After the corn reaches four inches in height, pole beans are planted in the same mound.  Mounds half way between the corn/bean mounds are planted with squash of choice.  Mine will probably be acorn.  The plan, if it works, is for the corn to grow tall, the beans to climb the corn, and the squash to cover the ground and keep the weeds from growing.  Heaven knows I need that to happen.  From what I've read the squash will also prevent the corn loving critters to eat the corn as they don't like feel of squash leaves on their feet.  I'm not sure turkeys have much feeling in their feet.  That's why only one third of the open garden area will be the experimental three sisters.  The rows of mounds are five feet apart.  All in all it should be a great experiment.

I hope to have a video for you in the next post.

Have a great day planting in the garden.