May 27, 2010

Stuff's a growin'

Things are movin' and shakin' so it's now time to do some thinnin' and steakin'. (The "g" on the keyboard must be stuck or somethin').

We have lots of successful tomato plants at this point so we moved a few that were clumped together from box #4 to #2. We also created a bamboo tee pee for them to grow on.

The lima beans (clump of green in the middle with pointed leaves) are taking off so we put up two steaks with string so we can tie them up as they get bigger.

We added the same support system here for the Blue Lake green beans.

Last year we bought three of these green growing spirals to use in the Flynwood garden. We never got to plant a Spring/Summer garden last year so we held on to them until now. We took three more tomato plants from box #4 and transplanted them into box #1 and set up the growing spirals. We now have three different types of vertical growing assistants for tomatoes: growing spirals, tee pees, and a tomato cage. We'll evaluate at the end of the season to see which one(s) worked best.

A bit of water for the transplants...

and we officially have four boxes in use.

An overview of all four boxes.

The potato patch is growing like crazy! We are excited to see what is happening under ground with these things.

Here is one of over two DOZEN pumpkin plants that Rebecca and I planted last week. In one week's time, they have broken ground. Our front yard is going to be one big pumpkin patch.


May 21, 2010

TY Gets a Summer Helper

For those of you who didn't know, our niece Rebecca is staying with us this summer. She has an internship at Presbyterian Cancer Rehab & Wellness as a Copy Writing Specialist.  And she's participating in a work study program at TY's Veggie Garden (of course).  Her first lesson?  How to turn a compost pile (Tom wasted no time).

Tom gave her all the ins and outs of brown vs. green, this amount of water vs. that amount of air, etc. He was also envious of her tres chic hat than his functional broad brim.

Then she got to work, moving the contents of bin three into bin four.

And like the true Florida girl she is, she did all gardening in flip-flops.

And after about an hours worth of work, Rebecca had all contents moved into bin four.

Things are coming up in the garden!  Woo hoo!  Here we have a cucumber plant, a tomato plant and some cilantro...

 marigolds and Swiss chard...

nasturtiums and beets..

lima beans...


marigolds and dill...



peppers and tomatoes....

and potatoes.

What we've planted up to now has primarily been in boxes three & four.  This weekend we moved into box two and planted tomatoes, parsley, two different kinds of peppers, okra, and green beans.

Tom transplanted two of the mammoth squash plants into box two so they'd have plenty of room to spread out.

When we moved in there were two dirt patches the previous owner used for flowers.  The one in the backyard we are using for potatoes (which, as you saw above, is doing very well).  The one in the front yard we designated as the Great Pumpkin Patch. Rebecca and Tom planted seeds that we saved from last October's pumpkin.

They planted a LOT of seeds (about 30).  If all of them come up and produce pumpkins, we're going to have to open a pick-you-own pumpkin for the neighborhood kids.

Once I finished watering the boxes in the back with Jerry Baker's Green Up Tonic (beer, amonia, Karo syrup, plant food, and dish soap), I watered the pumpkins.  The white puddles on the ground form because of the dish soap in the Green Up Tonic.

Rebecca illustrated her idea of the size she believe the pumpins will grow. After the final watering we said a prayer around the pumpkin patch. The prayer was that our patch might be deemed the most sincere in all the land, productive, green, and of course full of pumpkins. If so, then on Halloween The Great Pumpkin will rise, fly through the air and take toys to all the children of the world. In the words of Linus, "I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see." God willing. :)


May 3, 2010

Things are a bloomin'

Last weekend we were busy bees working in the yard.  We didn't post anything because most of the work was more like lawn maintenance than gardening (mowing, weed whacking, trimming hedges, mulching trees, etc.)

This weekend, however, it was back to the garden. We put our irrigation system to the test (see previous post) and IT WORKED.  The two rain barrels were full and were due for a downpour today so we emptied out the rain barrels into the garden via a "Y" connector and two soaker hoses. It took a while to empty them, but we did.  And, as you can see in this picture, there's some green stuff growing!

We didn't take pictures of everything, although everything HAS sprouted at this point.  Some things are still pretty small, but they're there.  Below are the limas which are taking off!

Chard and beets are doing well too (they both look the same at this stage so we just took the one photo).

Cucumbers starting out great....

and squash is off to a good start as well.

Tom's impatience with a lack of sprouting tomatoes and lettuce got the best of him. So he started 2 little containers of worm castings and planted the same tomatoes seeded in the garden beds, and the same kind of lettuce. As a test to see if the worm castings were good or bad for seed soil, he sowed even more tomatoes in potting soil. We'll be curious to find out if anything sprouts, and how long. It took 14-17 days for germination in the raised beds. Tom's betting the small containers will yield faster results ... but you never know until you try.

This picture was taken when we first moved in - a little less than one year ago. As we've been workin' the yard, we've sized up different areas to see what potential they have; where might be a good place for berry bushes, potato patches, pumpkin patches, cut flowers, etc.  We'd been keeping an eye to see what a patch off the carport might be good for, since we both hated the eons-old monkey grass it contained.  It gets about 2 or 3 hours of sun so it will be ideal for items that don't need full sun.  So two weekends ago when we were doing lawn maintenance, I moved all the cement blocks out of the way and started digging out the monkey grass.  I do believe this is one of the hardest manual labor jobs I've ever done! (She did an awesome job! :) ~T)

This weekend I got all of it out and re-arranged the cement to make a narrow bed.

Tom broke out the ol' Mantis Tiller and worked the dirt.  He threw in some wood ash and composted horse manure (courtesy of brother Dan and cherished horse Flamenco), a little muriate of potash, and the bed was ready to go!  We'll see how lettuce does here since lettuces will grow in partial shade.  Got the first lettuce seeds down.

There are two patches (one in the back yard and one in the front) that the previous owner used to plant flowers.  This one in the back yard is lined with the evil monkey grass so it will need to be dug up as well (Tom censored out Yvonne's cursing from this sentence ~ the editor).  For the time being I cut it down to nubs with the weed whacker.  We'll just keep mowing over it until we have a chance to dig it up.  In the meantime, Tom tilled the center and threw the same additives as in the lettuce bed (but more muriate of potash), then planted potatoes. (The potatoes Y speaks of ... well, they sat by our back door for a couple weeks way back in October. I never put them in the worm bin. Instead, I did the easier trick of placing them in our storage room, locking the door and forgetting about them. Lo and behold, the dang taters sprouted, in the dark! So why not plant those suckers and see what happens?)

When we moved in last year, we noticed this tree along the back fence.  We're pretty sure it's a pecan tree but some kind of funk got to it and we never really saw what these "fruits" turned into.  We're going to do some research on it and try and manage the funk and bugs to see what we can get it to produce.

Here is a more up close shot of the "fruit".

Toms has been working the compost and it is moving along.  Two weekends ago he put all the grass clippings in the bin on the right and the piles already reduced by 2 feet.  About every 7 days or so he turns the pile. It has a sweet smell, and we're still adding to it. He waters a little along the way so the microbes will be moist enough to eat away at the pile. Last week he watered the pile in stages for the first time, and in one week the pile really heated up. It was almost too hot to hold throughout the pile, as he turned it. (He insisted I take this photo as he's crazy about making dirt.)