Okay, here I am with about 10 billion other bloggers getting all twitterpated because Lost is finally back on tonight. I love this show, well more like creepy stalk it. I have the DVDs of all the past seasons. I have a special pillow I sit on in front of the TV to watch the show. We tape it to look at background stuff later (milk cartons, photos, newswpapers, writing on the wall). I did not realize until last night that I should be looking for anagrams and playing with all the numbers. I mananged to get Manly Man sucked into it last season. He internet searches for stuff about the show. So that is what I am doing today. Waiting for 8:00 central time to feed my obsession.
I worked for a dear friend today. We cut back and pruned some of her Buck roses. They were very large as she has not been able to prune them. They were part of a rose trial and had to be left completely alone - no pesticide, no fungicide, no fertilizer, no deadheading, no nothing period. I don't know how she did it. I'd have cheated and deadheaded. This is why I am not allowed on rose trials.
It was a very pleasant, if somewhat cold day. I really enjoyed myself. I came away with some goodies; cuttings of five types of Buck Roses to propagate and cool colored eggs from her chickens. Yes, the chickens lay colored eggs -green and brown. The varieties (of the roses not the chickens) are Enchanted Autumn, April Moon, Earth Song, and Barn Dance. Oops, I seemed to have mislaid a label again and don't know the name of the fifth rose. Aren't the other names lovely. Oh yeah, here it is, it's called Prairie Flower.
I am still waiting for your zones. Here is the map. Make me happy. Participate in the poll.
Okay, for all my sisters, you are in zone 8. Oh, not you Birdie you are in zone 6, I think. Are you still in Texas?
Cut the legs out of an old pair of jeans. Sew a single seam making a triangular tube. Cut the narrow end to allow your hand to slip through. You now have Gardeners Gauntlets. They will keep your arms safe from thorns of all kind. Just slip your favorite gloves over them. This saves about $50 against the purchase of rose gloves and you are recycling.
I am pretty sure I linked this wrong. Here are more tips.
It's still funny. Monkey #2 saw a pregnancy test add on T.V. He can read and understood what it said -PREGNANT. He asked "Why would you people (meaning women) stick that in your belly button?" "Well," I said, "That's not what you do with it, you pee on it." He turned purple and stormed out screaming that we are all CRAZY PEOPLE (still meaning women).
Okay, I can see that people are visiting this blog, yet you are not sharing your zone. What is this zone I am obsessing over? Is it a body part? Is it a diet? Is it the no go area in my baby monkey's bedroom? No. The zone I am determined to get out of you is your cold hardiness zone. Go here to see a nice map. Then you can come back to my blog and participate in my nice poll. It's just over there on the right.
I am working on a quilt that is one of those things they use to get you into the quilt shop. They give you the patterns and fabric for one large block and three small blocks for a very low cost. You have to finish those blocks and take them with you to the quilt shop to get the next months blocks. At the end of the year you have a quilt top and the quilt shop has a lot more of your money than you intended. Mom and I spent an entire day figuring out how to cut these things and I spent two hours today on one tiny little block. Something was off on the measurements. Anyway, the tiny purple block is the block I worked on today. The larger star is something I am making for the silent auction auction at our MG spring seminar. The other picture is my old hand cranked sewing machine. Yes, I really use it. I made the star by hand, but the little purple thing was done on the machine. Oh, I love the name of the little purple block. It's called Monkey Wrench.
I still want to know your zone. Vote on the right.
I have been visiting as many garden blogs or blogs written by gardeners as I have had time to hunt down and read this weekend. Here is what I want to know. What's your Zone. This is not a weird, middle-aged pick-up line. I really want to know. What plants can you grow that I can't(garden envy). What plants can I grow that you can't (braggin rights).
I am in zone 8a. We stay hot as Hades from May to September, fall weather hangs on quiet a long time, winter weather is relatively short, and spring weather is heartbreakingly brief. We run out of rain and sometimes have water restrictions as early as June. We were actually under water restrictions for more than a year after a particularly severe drought. Those restrictions were lifted last summer. Many gardeners in our area practice some sort of rain water harvesting to supplement our rain, city water, or well water.
I will see if Nancy would mind my posting a picture of her hillbilly rainwater harvesting operation. We have been able to avoid using city water in the greenhouse for at least two months. The plants seem to prefer the rainwater. I am pretty sure most plants do not thrive on chlorine.
Conversation with middle child "Your shirt is dirty do you need to take a bath" him "I took a bath this morning" Me "Why did you put a dirty shirt on your clean body" him "I didn't use soap or shampoo." "How did you get the seat of your pants hung up on the dog kennel while you were wearing them?" Kurt says "do egg shells have a lot of protein" Me "No, did you eat the eggshells?" Seriously dude, don't eat ham in the bathtub either "What did broccoli ever do to you?" question from a neighbor kid when I took a butcher knife out to the garden Who ate apples in tbe bathtub? Aunt #5 a.k.a. #1 Sister-in-law, "Did ya drop him on his head?" Okay, somebody please put perfume on the dog Dont ever ever ever take your shoes off in my truck. The toxic smell is killing me Things I have found in the washing machine: Swiss army knife, unidentifiable fur, exploded stuffed animal, screw driver, a cat, an 8 year-old, rocks, sticks, hotwheels. What I dont find in the washing machine: Matching socks. Get that off your head and get down here If I call Logan a dork, my mother will pinch me when he tells on me. Whos backpack is in the dishwasher? For the love of god what is that smell Dude you just french kissed the dog My naked brother is right there singing Who put my perfume on the dog? Kurtis GET DOWN FROM ON TOP OF THE STOVE
So the massive batch of banana chips is finished. Manly man says "what are you doing." " I am putting the banana chips you don't like into a baggie." He watches me for a minute as I pick at each single banana chip stuck to the dehydrator tray. He takes the dehydrator tray from me, turns it upside down, pats the backside of the tray and all of the banana chips fall out. Stupid banana chips.
It didn't freeze and the bunnies are still mad at me.
It is also cold and wet and miserable. Winter makes me seriously crazy. I need to be outside, bad. I wish I was a brave, tough, stoic gardener who could work outside in all kinds of weather. Like our Daddy Jake- weather didn't keep him inside. Sadly, I am a cold, wet weather wimp. I run outside, my nose starts to run, I start to whine, and I run back inside. This takes about 14 seconds. Below are purchases I made this cold wet afternoon on a trip to a big box store with my manly man. He bought me Schlotzky's. I love him. The seeds are out and I picked some that will grow in the early spring, before we get to 10,0000 degrees outside. If you live here in Texas this happens fast. Spring is maybe our shortest growing season.
I found Mary Washington asparagus crowns. My asparagus was really hurt in the drought the year before last.
Notice the wheat penny I found yesterday and the jelly stain one of my monkeys left on my table cloth-nice. My mom made the quilt block, isn't it pretty?
Need to take these new purchases to the greenhouse and get them started.
Okay, I have problem. I love our bunnies. So it's about 11:00 and we have sleet in our forecaste. So I go outside, in the dark in the middle of the night again to put the bunnies in a carrier and bring them inside. Well, as you know, my coordination has not progressed much. I got Starr in the carrier (she is the squirely one) and I was holding Lucy, she is our lovin bunny. I came out of the garden and put Starr in the carrier on the deck rail and went to open the door. In that attempt, I knocked Starr in her carrier into the Joseph Schwartz rose bush on the other side of the deck rail. Pandemoniumin sued with the German Shepard, the pair of tailless cats, and the Manly Man all participating. The bunnies are fine and inside. I did not fall down in the night, I just dropped the bunny.
Okay, the voting is over and it looks like Kurt gets his own blog. Remember when I left my license at home he called 911 and reported me to the police, remember when he ate an apple out of the compost pile, remember when he peed in the garden, remember when he peed on his brother, remember when he spray painted the garage, remember when he stalked the Meme, remember when he french kissed the dog, remember his baby punkin head, remember him singing nekid. Go to Kurt to see what he puts on his new blog. He will be starting work on it tomorrow.
I grew the cucumbers to make the pickles that Meme loves. I did not grow the bananas to make the banana chips that Logan loves, but manly man does not love. Below is a picture of the pickles and banana chips just to tease the Meme.
I received a food dehydrator for Christmas. My man asked only for banana chips. This week I made them. The thing about banana chips is that as long as they are warm, they are not crisp. I dehydrated those stupid bananas for three days and they were still bendy. I finally gave up this afternoon and unplugged the machine. Behold ten minutes later I had perfect, crisp banana chips. Nobody tells you this kind of stuff and they really, really should. Well I'm telling you all now, though I cannot imagine a situation where anybody who reads my blog would ever be making banana chips. If I know you, and I do, you will wait until I make them for you.
We filled out the paperwork to go to the state Master Gardener Conference in April. I will be attending with four of my mg friends. I am hoping to take classes on kitchen gardening, butterfly gardening, tomatoes, organic gardening, and seed saving from open pollinated vegetable varieties. We are sending the registration in early, as the classes are first come first serve. I'm really excited about the organic gardening class. "Organic" has been a no no word for master gardeners because we are only supposed to give out "researched based information". Hopefully, they will give us "researched based information" on what we have been doing successfully all of our gardening lives.
We have two days left to vote for, against, or indifferent with regards to Kurt getting his own blog. He has been reading your comments and emails and hopefully he has responded to everyone. Thanks for supporting his effort.
If you wondered what the KRM:dlm was on the last post, it is used when one person (initials in caps) dictates and another person ( initials in lower case) transcribes. Which means I typed that post for Kurt. On his blog he will have to read it and write it himself. I will be his editor to keep out anything too crazy. He has been known to moon people. You just thought tongue up nostril was the worst of it.
It took longer than I expected, but the organic fire ant control finally took care of my scary ant problem. The ants set up house in my compost pile and in a container I use to collect stuff for the compost pile. They were also foraging in the worm bin, but I did not put the stuff in there. I was afraid it would hurt my worms. The product said it would work in three days, well its been two weeks and I was about to give up. When I checked on the infested areas this afternoon, no signs of ants. I know the treatment, Spinosad, is not selective, but I think using a bait will keep it from hurting too many of my good bugs. Also, it's winter and most of the good bugs are not around or at least not active. I hate using pesticides even the natural types. I love my butterflies, ladybugs, and praying mantis. We have so much fun watching the caterpillars in the summer. We have gulf frittilary, giant swallowtail, and black swallowtail butterflies and caterpillars living and feeding in the garden. I won't kill most bugs, but fire ants are the acception. As long as they stay away from places where we work and play, I let them be. I have been told that they will keep fleas and ticks under control, so they do have a purpose. When they get into my compost pile, worm bin, or container plantings, all bets are off. They have to go. I just use dish soap in the containers and water it all the way through. I'm pretty sure this does not kill them all, but it runs them off. In the worms bin, I have had to drench them with orange oil, water and soap, and then dig out the dirt and compost after they are gone. They don't seem to like molasis, and the worms seem to love it, so periodically I add molasis to the water when I need to get it the bin contents wet. Hopefully, this will keep them out of my way for a while. Wish me luck.
You want to know whats fun. Telling Michael about babies. He does not want to know where babies come from. Occasionally, he will come across a piece of information regarding baby making, come to me and innocently ask for clarification, and then totally freak out when I explain it to him. Today he heard the word uterus. I told him that's where you keep a baby before it is born. He ran away and I have not seen him for two hours. I can't wait until he asks one of his aunts why she has a blanket over the baby she is holding. I hope she shows him.
I figured out that gardening actually burns more calories than walking does. I gardened for five hours today for about 1370 calories. Which equaled about 15 miles. I'm counting them as miles towards my exercise goal. I'm worn out.
It happened again. I felt sorry for the bunnies because it is cold outside. I went out to the garden to give them a banana. They like bananas, but they fight over them. I cut them in half to avoid this, but they still fight over one of the pieces. I've done my part. I cannot make these two bunnies any smarter. Aaannywaay, it is really really dark in my garden at 11:00 at night. I had to sidestep a tailless cat and then went "behind over teakettle" (watering can) and down behind the broccoli. I know you were out there. I heard you snicker.
I wonder if I can spin this into solar garden lighting. Baby are you reading this. I know you don't want the mother of your children to fall down at night outside by herself in the cold dark garden because she feels sorry for rabbits. Well sure, I could just put the watering can away. No, I have not been drinking. Really.
The dollar store lady thinks I can sell my homemade shopping bags. They are made out of crochet thread. This one was done on the green knifty knitter loom. I have made five so far. The other four are bigger. The broccoli with it is out of the garden today.
My best friend is known to my boys as Meme. There is a hardy hibiscus by that name and we gave her one as a gift. She planted it near her deck and it was little, but doing fine. When her husband was doing dirt work to put in their new pool, he pretty much mangled the poor meme with a bobcat. She threatened him with his life, dug up the sad little nub of a plant with it's roots and put it in a container. That thing came back, bloomed, and now she is germinating it's seeds. Below the previous post is a picture of Rose Mallow, another hardy hibiscus. I don't have a picture of the meme, but it is a solid light pink with heart shaped leaves.
I have been getting a lot of calls about pruning back dead/frost killed folage, mostly bananas and cannas.
I cut bananas back at about waste level. Doing this forces the plant to come back a taller than cutting it off at ground level, which is the suggested pruning method if you are trying to produce bananas. Our growing season is generally too short for a banana to produce fruit. By leaving a "trunk" the leaves are pushed up higher producing a taller plant faster. A&M suggests using the prunings as mulch. Makes sense.
I cut cannas back to ground level. This is a messy, mushy job, but it really needs to be done to keep things neat and clean and to avoid diseases.
Well, I missed my window of opportunity again to get my garden caught up. It was warm Saturday and I worked in the vegetable garden for a while. Sunday it was too windy, yesterday I was covered up in MG work to get our awards applications started. Now the temperature is dropping again. I am still going to plant this afternoon. If I put it off much longer, I wont get it in.
Okay, here is how I got confused. Ipomoea is sweet potato (Ipomoeabatatas) and morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor). I know you are not supposed to eat the morning glories. However, a call to poison control a few years back reassured me that Logan(8 years of age) and Rhonda (39 years of age) would not die from eating the flowers, but they could have visions from eating a lot of the seeds (I didn't share that part with them). When Logan tasted Datura we had a problem, that is poisonous and he had a numb mouth for a while. Turns out he spit it out when it didn't taste like the morning glories.
My lovely sister decided to eat the tuber of an ornamental sweet potato vine (Ipomoea). No she is not three. I was afraid it was poisonous, not so. You may eat it if you like. It doesn't look quite right though, kind of whitish instead of orange. She said it tasted good. I'll take her word for it. Seems like my b-i-l said his websearch showed that it was actually related to regular sweet potatos.
It was a beautiful day. I prepared the bed for the new Swiss chard. Going to head back out in a minute and make room for spinach, lettuce, beets, and greens. I would like to get these in the ground before Monday to take advantage of a possible rain. I brought the before mentioned veggies home from the greenhouse. When I got home my in-laws were here and I sent almost all of it home with my mil. That's fine, there is plenty more where those came from. Nancy had a row ready to put some in her garden too. Word of advice, don't ever let bone meal get wet PEE-YEW (even worse than Logan's tennis shoes).
rIf you begin to notice container plants not looking their best, it is likely time to repot them. Some plants need to be moved up to a larger container, some can be replanted in the same container. First, take the plant out of the pot (I know duh). Inspect the roots for problems (rot or root bound). If the plant is root bound gentle tease the roots apart. A little root pruning will not harm a potted plant. If it appears the rots have begun to rot, it is likely that the plant is over watered or the container does not adequately drain. This may smell bad. Check the drainage and make sure to allow the plant to get to the damp side of dry before watering again. If the plant is too large for the original container, repot it one size up. If it is a good size for its pot, return it to the original container. I like my plants to be level with the lip of the container. I add enough potting mix to raise the plant to about 1/4 below the lip level, place the plant, and add more mix around the plant and just over the root zone. Don't plant the too deep. The plant should begine to recover soon. Container plants may be mulched just like bedding plants. Some choices are cedar mulch, colored wood mulch, expanded shale, and washed rock. Mulching helps retain water and prevent soil from being washed from the pot during watering.
For a quick fix to refresh the containers simply add a layer of the potting mix to the top of the container and water with fish emulsion or other liquid fertilizer.
I like to customize my own potting mix. To make one gallon of potting mix use two parts soil less mix (the cheap stuff) and one part screened compost. To this add 1/4 cup bone meal and 1/4 cottonseed meal or blood meal. Watch out for cats if you use the blood meal. I also like to water the plants once a week with fish emulsion. This smells bad but works great (again watch out for cats) There are plenty of good commercial products that allow you to skip these steps.
It's still cold. I was hoping to work today, but it is still too cold. Hopefully, tomorrow will be warmer. The greenhouse had a few frost burned plants even though we had it heated. Most everything is okay, though.
We keep the rabbits in the back of the garden between the regular compost bin and the worm bin. I felt sorry for them tonight because it is so cold and went out to make sure they had plenty of water and food. Well they were out of water and they are always hungry. On my way back inside to refill the water bottle, I tripped on an old 6" container and almost fell into the borage (a medicinal herb). I made it inside and got their water and food back out to them, but boy was I embarrassed. I don't know who I think will see me out in the garden on a freezing Tuesday night at 10:00, maybe just the rabbits. I guess I just gave anyone who happens on this blog a pretty funny visual.