Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mid-May Garden Photos

For my records, here are photos from a nice day in mid-May. I remember thinking that this was some promising gardening weather. However, we've been back to the 50's (the high) for a while now, but maybe we'll make it into the 60's this week. The garden has changed since these photos, especially that green perennial flower row in the middle.

From the SW corner....
From the SE corner...
Our semi-retired computer that I still used for photos decided to put itself fully into retirement. I have a work around for now, put still not the best solution.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beans in, photos stuck

Some travel and a stubborn computer are still holding off photos. However, Monday, I did plant bean seeds.

The tomatoes I planted out last week are looking good. I think the clue for when to plant tomatoes is when the volunteer tomato seedlings start appearing. Also, I now see regular volunteer sunflowers in addition to the red sunflower seedlings that appeared some time ago. Must be a sign that things are warming up, even if it is rather gray.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Just a note

Tomato seedlings were planted out May 18th. Some were quite small, but I was ready to move them out of the garage. While that weekend was warm, I knew it wouldn't last so I have put my A-frame window cloches over them. Photos will be along when I return to the computer where the photos are sitting.

In the bed I posted about May 5th, the beet and lettuce seedlings are sprouting. The carrot section was disturbed by Emily & other feet, but I did find a few sprouted seedlings.

The covered wagon cloche is a jungle and has blooming calendula, borage and chives. The chard and lettuce plants are bolting, but now I'm harvesting lettuce & chard from non-cloched patches. Time to decide what I'll use that cloched spot for next. Maybe start some zucchini, cucumbers or squash and use the cloche to provide some warmth?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Slug Retraining Program

Slugs have found the fennel seedlings and quickly chewed two of them down to stubs. The others all had signs of damage like the photo below. Something had to be done. Now, I don't mind having slugs meet their end, but I don't like to put out the poison to do that. I decided to try the same training program I've use with the cats, Dear Husband, and myself, for that matter.

Simply change something enough to make the bad habit less convenient or satisfying, or offer a better option. If the cats start sleeping somewhere I don't want them to be, I put something in the spot for a few days that encourages them to find a new place. By the time the "something" is removed, they've found a new place. It's best not to give a DH example. (See, the training has worked on me too. And removing the cats or DH is not an option!) Ok, sometimes it works, at least.So what to do with slugs? I decided to try coffee. First, I used the coffee grounds from my french press. However, that didn't go too far. So, I coarsely ground up some old coffee beans I had. Now, I don't know that it is the coffee that has much effect on them, but I thought they might not like the texture. Again, the purpose is simply to make things different enough that they decide to go elsewhere. I once used some old sheep wool trimmings around broccoli seedlings with success too.
All but one of the seedlings have new growth now (photo above), even one of the stubs. The other stub might still pull through too. The new growth is not being eaten, either.

If nothing else, I'm hoping the training simply distracts them long enough for Petunia to show up and eat them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

...And a day in the farmer's market

Part II of Saturday's excursion:
My tomato seedlings are slowly coming along. The ildi seedlings are doing the best. It has just not been the spring for tomatoes. I added a nice tomato seedling from the Port Orchard farmers market. Here it is in my "basket" for the day. It was a cloudy day, but not unusual for a northwest spring.
Below, are just some of the booths. With this cool spring, there wasn't very many vegetable booths, but there were a good number of plant booths. All sorts of other things too. Notice the bakery booth on the left side of the photo. They were using a dresser drawers and top for display, and a few other interesting old furniture pieces too.
Found this watering can at a shop as we walked around town. As you saw in the first picture, it came in handy to carry things too.
Back in the home garden, I just noticed that some of the beet seeds and lettuce seeds planted last weekend have sprouted. The carrot bed, on the other hand, has been disturbed by assorted feetsies several times. Just have to wait and see where I get sprouts.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A day in the park...

DH and I have found we can easily be distracted from any to-do list items. Today brought such an opportunity when we decided to visit a park in Port Orchard, Washington. The gardening part of the excursion will be posted tomorrow.

It was a very large park, with sports fields, playground and even miniature steam engine railroad getting ready for rides. See the little silver train by the man with the blue tote? It was used to carry in supplies to this little station area! The railroad has been created, funded and operated by the Kitsap Live Streamers club.

As we walked further along a trail, we saw something through the trees and went to investigate. A table for two in the woods along the tracks? A special day in the plans for some train enthusiasts? We will probably never know...

Below is a photo from the end of the trail, looking out across the park.

Ahhh...but what do we have here? Could it be a World Wide Flash Mob III event? Yes! At promptly 10 am, a mob of geocachers gathered, logged in, dropped or picked up travel bugs and swag, had a snack, a group photo and mingled!

For 15 minutes that is! It was very well directed by the man with the megaphone and the crew who promptly managed the distributions, table moving, flag waving etc.

And then at 10:15, after the one minute warning to wrap up, we disbursed. Well, most disbursed. You'd think geocaching well suits the discrete and independent spirits. However, don't dismiss the social side of the geocacher!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Finally, a day of spring!

After a disappointing Saturday, weather wise, a beautiful spring day popped up on Sunday. And this little pansy also caught my attention. It has popped up in one of the little succulent pots that sit on the fence in the garden. I cannot imagine how a pansy ended up in this spot!
So what did I do with some sun? Turned over the winter mulch in one of the beds and removed more rocks. Then planted carrots, beets and another planting of lettuce and chard. A few spots of marigolds also. The full green bed, above, has assorted perennial flowers. The columbine is almost blooming. The rhubarb is in the right end of the bed. I've finally joined the others of you who have been harvesting it. Made a rhubarb & berry crumble on Sunday night.
I wasn't going to plant the whole bed, but I did, figuring that I could use any nonsprouted parts for succession planning. You can see by the damp places above, that I planted a row down each side of the bed and a double row in the middle. I've tended to plant across the bed in the past, but that didn't work so well when I had to put in the soaker hoses last year.

As watering usually moves around the seeds and the soil, I made a little planting trench for each row, watered it, and placed the seeds. Then, I covered them with soil. It will rain before long and give it another dose. However, tonight, I noticed footprints through the nice, level bed. I'm sure that disturbed some seeds too.

Eventually, I'll place a soaker hose in the bed down the alley on one side of the double rows and back on the other side of the double rows. If anything sprouts, that is.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

GPS Excursions

Last Sunday, we made it out for a walk and a little geocaching. In the photo, above right side, you can see some new leaves just sprouting (finally). The biting critters where just sprouting too. I've been in agony since later Sunday when the bites around my ankles starting welting up. Mosquitoes, I guess. The first bites of the season are always the worst.One of the found caches! As a small cache, there isn't room for more than the log book and a few trinkets. Appropriate to have a bug in there.
And a bracket or pore fungi... may be called Artist's Fungus. It was more distinct in person, I think.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day Treats

How special is this? Come home late and find green things warming the front steps! Yes, May Day Love is in the neighborhood, even if April backslid to winter. A Hellebore - a perfect new addition to the shade bed. And locally sprouted geraniums and flowering sweet peas. Yeah - a chance to try sweet peas. I could not get a single one to sprout last year. I love my neighborhood! (Hope May Day can stretch out to the weekend for this delinquent May Day participant.)