July 28, 2010

Apparently I’m a Hibiscus Farmer

I am not a farmer.  As a matter of fact, any legit farmer might be offended that I use the word “farmer” at all.  To all farmers, my sincerest apologies.  I think my only saving grace might be the inclusion of  the word “experimental”.      And that’s what it’s all about.

I didn’t start off with a plan this summer.  Over the past few years I’ve been breaking away from my desire to over-tend (aka: overkill in the garden) and just do my best and see what happens.  More of a “you win some, lose some” attitude.  Tomatoes are the staple.   Cucumbers are always planted but cucumber beetles are a constant battle  Everything else is fair game.   Experiments abound.

Typically I have one or two Hibiscus on my deck.  Last week I posted about a clearance sale at Walmart.    Initially I brought a couple home.   These poor things were parched.   Can you say '”bone dry”?   With a little TLC, in a few short days they were looking  good.

07 27 Hibiscus BUD

And then…..
07 27 Hibiscus BLOOM

I had to go back!    There were still some left but this time they were saturated.   The pots sat in liners that had no holes!   Not to be deterred, I bought ten more.  Does that make it a farm?  For me it does!  They all have to fit on to my deck……and taken inside for the winter! 

07 27 Hibiscus Farm I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

During the transportation of these babies I broke off a good size branch so it’s been dipped in rooting hormone and potted up. 
07 27 Hibiscus CUTTING
Hopefully I’ll have another one for my collection farm.

July 23, 2010

Out & About – July 22 Edition - Fertilizer Friday

I’m joining the weekly Fertilizer Friday meme hosted by the wonderful Tootsie.  You can pay her a visit too!   By clicking here.

This week has proven to be a random happenings kind of week. 

I pruned back the petunias in my hanging baskets and collected seeds for next year.
July 9 Petunia Seeds

The last of the Leeks were pulled.   I love to let them bolt and have the papery scape burst open to reveal the inside.  But that’s just me being silly (and experimental).
July 22 Leek scape

In my little neighborhood the backyards are kind of pie shaped and meet in the middle.  Thankfully, we have been blessed with the greatest neighbors.  Very “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  This is a view of one part of my backyard.  Looking right from the deck. 
July 22 Timber About 20 minutes before this picture was taken, I mentioned to my husband that a mammoth vine had climbed the tree overlooking my veggie patch and the tomatoes were not doing as well as they should because they needed more sun.  Next thing I know, our neighbor is up the tree on a ladder roping the tree to take it down.  Do you see the diagonal white line in the center of the picture?    Well hubby is on the end of that rope (behind our SHARED compost bins) pulling the tree while our neighbor is on the chainsaw.  He is obscured by the overgrown grapevine and hydrangea.  Poof!  Done!  My veggies should be happy!

From this vantage point if I were to look left (wish I had taken a picture), there is a small creek with a bridge and pretty much forest on the other side.  I use it to store nursery pots and there is a compost bin there too.  While I was walking the puppy  a couple of days ago, I was startled (doesn’t take much to freak me out, critter-wise) to see this….
July 22 Frog This guy has apparently taken up residence in an old kiddy pool.  A quasi Club Med for frogs and friends.  Knock yourself out buddy!

At the risk of boring you to death, be forewarned this is but yet another blurb about my daturas.    You may want to run off at this point and that’s cool.  Run!  Run!  (This is the first year that I’ve grown them from seed and I just want to keep track.)
July 22 Datura

July 22 Datura PM What a difference a day makes!

Have a wonderful week but first,  head on over to see Tootsie and more garden aficionados!

July 16, 2010

The Experimental Farmer, Experiments – Fertilizer Friday

I’m joining the weekly Fertilizer Friday meme hosted by the wonderful Tootsie.  You can pay her a visit too!   By clicking here.

Last summer while visiting my daughter in her city apartment I decided that she needed a little color on her mini balcony.    I visited the wonderful Atwater Market and came home with a tomato plant and a couple of daturas.  At the end of the summer when the plants produced seed pods I brought a few home to try my hand at starting  my own this year.
Datura - Seed Pod

I started them in peat pots on April 30th, 2010.  Fortunately they “took” (hurray!) and have become quite lush.  But as all of us know, leaves are nice but bring on the the blooms!  A week ago today when I took a peak, this what they looked like…..

July 9 Dat Bloom A bud!    Yahoo!

One week later…
Datura - July 17 Five times the size in just one week!

Another of the little experiments that I recently decided to attempt was one that I came across on one of my absolute favorite blog “Chickens in the Road”.    (If you haven’t been there before, you should run there right now.  The blog’s author, Suzanne McMinn, describes life on a farm – the animals, making cheese and butter, recipes, etc.  She has a phenomenal writing style with a great sense of humor.) 

OK.  Back to the experiment.   I grew celery for the first time last year.  I got teeny tiny celery starts (1 inch tall) from a local farm.  I planted them and all went well.   I harvested 4 or 5 celery and they looked pretty good.   Not tight and chunky like the grocery store kind but still pretty good.  A short while ago Suzanne posted that she was growing celery.   But using a method that had never occurred to me.   She cut the base off of her store bought celery and planted it!  So that’s what I did on Monday.

July 12 Celery

This photo was taken today….

Celery July 16 Just 5 days old!  How cool is that?

One last quick thing.  I can't speak for other areas but in my neck of the woods, Wal-Mart has hibiscus on clearance. 
July 9 Hibiscus
Just $3!
July 9 Hibiscus COST

And that’s my story for today! Have a wonderful weekend!

July 9, 2010

Hot! Hot! Hot! – Fertilizer Friday

Oy-vey!  It’s been hotter than Hades in this neck of the woods.   Stifling, thick air.  Buh!

Gardening has not been a pleasant activity.   Hubby has been kind enough to water the veggie bed and I’ve been tending to the potted plants. 

I’m keeping my posts “short ‘n sweet”.    Lest I am consumed by the heat monster.  Never to be seen again.

July 1 GrapesConcord grapes

July 1 Hydrangeas 
Hydrangeas are acting very strange.   The bloom puffs are small!

July 1 Peas Peas have arrived.  Purty, eh?

July 1 ZucchiniZucchini is “working it”!   My fingers are crossed.  Curcurbits have been having a rough time the past few years.

July 7 Blanket flower
Blanket flower.

July 7 BrugsBrugs are doing fine!   The sticks from a few weeks ago are coming along quite well.  Despite my reservations.

July 7 Hibiscus BUD Remember this?   Well we now know the color….

July 7 Hibiscus Tada!  Perhaps not my favorite color but love that it’s a double.
(P.S.  Walmart has the 6” pot marked down to 1/2 price right now.  Just $3 here.  So I bought 2 more today.)

July 7 Chickadees
Feathered friends.

July 7 Titmouse Tufted Titmouse.

July 7 Chickadees 2
My little chickadees.

Alas, the silliest creature of all……
July 7 Smudgie
Smudgie.  Settling down to "chill" in a pot.  Kooky cat!

That’s it for this week.    But there’s much, much more over at Tootsie’s blog.   Check it out.

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th America

Just a quick post to wish everyone a wonderful day of celebration.

Not quite red, white and blue but.....almost!

Enjoy and be safe!

July 2, 2010

Catching Up on Fertilizer Friday

 For the first time ever this post actually has something to do with fertilizer!  Imagine that!

So… on May 21st I took this photo of my brugmansia.  I didn’t have high hopes for it.  The 3 that I have were mere twigs and just behind schedule IMHO.

2010-05-21 001 2010-05-21 063

So with the passage of a few weeks and lots of water and fertilizer…July 1 Brugs
I am hopeful!

A day or two ago I posted about my 2 newly acquired hibiscus plants.  One is pink but the other was not tagged so the color is a mystery.   
July 21 Hibiscus
But the proverbial “cat will be out of the bag” in a couple of days.   A flower is ready to pop!

And to everyone back home…..
July 21 Flag

I’m linking to Tootsie’s Fertilizer Friday.  Pop on over for more garden beauties.