Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I've been making use of this out back using paper mulberry branches, and will soon be cuttings back my HUGE Bolivian Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) out front to use in the center food forest out back to nourish the soil and suppress weeds. Refurbishing the front bed that contains the 'Teasing Georgia' climbing rose that I pruned HARD a few days ago is the first time I've used rose canes cut off as part of a chop-and-drop layer on the open areas of the bed where a few hundred nasturtiums plus many hundreds of seeds of white sweet alyssum were sown Saturday. This was MUCH easier than hauling the thorny canes all the way out back to the compost barrels, plus was an easier way to add lignin and humus formers to a bed that has gotten sandy....I'm thinking/hoping that the nasturtiums, glads and white sweet alyssum will grow right up through them as they sag and decay... I might even add tithonia stalks to build up the soil there based on what I see the seedlings do. Today was my legal watering day, so I spread a 25 lb. bag of cheap white clay Publix cat litter all over the bed, then gave it a DEEP watering tonight....in about 10 days, hopefully, hundreds of seedlings of 'Dwarf Jewel Mix' nasturtium and white Sweet Alyssum will begin to emerge through the fresh thin layer of aged wood chips mulch then the chop-and-drop layer of rose and turnera trimmings. Tomorrow I will splash onto that entire bed a Nutrient Soup of dried chicken poop, fish emulsion, trace elements and feed grade urea that steeped in water. In about a month I'll decide if I can add a layer of short pieces of Tithonia diversifolia stalks to add phosphorus and lignin formers as I want that bed's soil to get rich and damp. One red pentas, one dwarf yellow allamanda, one Lantana camara, one blue 'Victoria Salvia' and one Red Porter should round out the color palette. Barring hard frosts or freezes, this bed should look stellar by February. As soon as the new glads bulb order arrives, I'm planting about 5-6 dozen in this bed too as I want a riot of color and flower forms...the LAST thing I am is a formal gardener!
Monday, December 9, 2013
Perfect weather, low 80s, nice breeze, big turnout, TONS of food, no plants or seeds as usual, just food and conversation though some of us brought seeds, plants, produce to share with friends. Great way to wrap up a fine weekend., always nice to see favorite people. The Bayshore Garden Club is a very picturesque place for our monthly meetings.
Friday, December 6, 2013
This year was the first time that my 'Triumph' muscadine grape did not bear an abundance of fruit....I got just a token harvest. I wonder if the cause was last winter being SO mild that I did not have to cover tomatoes or even basil, so it got very little chill. It grew lushly in our first wet summer in eight years but gave me just several handfuls of fruits. On the other hand, the "Gray Street Grape" on the hen house bore very heavily. It seems that "Gracie's Grape" on the north end of the hen house may have died....I'll know for sure next spring.
Finding one of these growing wild in west Tampa in 1987 helped inspire me to move to Denver. It is a flower arranger's dream.....each floret is attached to the main stem by a tiny stem that behaves like copper wire....which ever position you push the florets to they stay! I'm assuming these seeds are the wild hybrid....I can't think of the name of the hybrid that I planted in Denver clients' garden. In Denver a true perennial...made a dense underground mat of rhizomes, utterly problem free...fingers crossed for here!
I love Everwilde Farm seed company....I just placed an order, mostly of things I grew in Denver just to try here as experiments that I'll not hold my breath over. Just $15 plus $4.50 shipping for literally thousands of seeds! Ordered: Broad Windsor fava bean, mixed coleus (a nostalgia order as coleus was my first plants obsession when 19 in Albuquerque), Obedient Flower (more nostalgia....finding one in the west Tampa trailer park I lived in in 1987 was one of the inspirations to move to Denver where it THRIVES), Scarlet Nantes carrot (I usually grow Danver's Half Long), McKana columbines (LONG shot for Tampa!), Maximillian Sunflower (LOVES Denver, long shot for Tampa). I'll be sure to share the results of these trials.