Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Update

We are frozen. I mean really really frozen. This morning my truck door was frozen and wouldn't open. I have never had that happen in my whole life. Earlier, I went out to pot up some garlic cloves for garlic greens (I'll explain in a little bit) and found that my potting mix was frozen solid. Again, that has never even happened in my whole life. I don't live in Texas for this. Seriously, winter needs to go back to Canada where it belongs.

I read about the garlic greens thing on some cooking site. Can't remember which one. Apparently, you can grow garlic in a pot on the windowsill and clip off the growing green shoots and cook with them. Since I can't really do anything other than start a few spring veggies on top of the dryer, garlic greens sounded like a perfect fix for a gardener going through withdrawal.

Stay warm y'all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Rose Pruning

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The freezing weather has left us for a while. Today it was fabulous and in the 50's. I was able to work in the garden and let the sun shine on my face. Woot.

Manly wanted to take advantage of this weather and wash his motorcycle. That is when he discovered that one of the pipes had burst. It was in the wall behind the outside water faucet. No worries. He fixed it right up and we are back in business.

One of the roses is right in front of the faucet and had to be pruned so he could fix the pipe. I just kept pruning after I had made room for him to work.

I believe that I could actually give rose pruning lessons. I am good at it and the roses thrive.

Here is the short list of how I do it.

Get prepared - Wear long sleeves and gloves. Own a good pair of pruners. Mine are Felco.

The first step is to cut the sucker back. My roses are allowed to be as tall as my shoulders and must be within the boundary of the flowerbed edging, which makes them about 3 x 4.5 feet.

After the rose pruned to the right size, check for dead wood and crossed wood. Dead canes should come out to avoid spreading disease and for aesthetics. Crossed wood needs to come out for the same reasons. The canes will rub and open the plant up to disease problems. Crossed canes also look bad.

The final thing I do is look deep into the bush and check for canes shooting off in weird directions. I take those out, which opens up the rose bush.

I try to cut each cane just above a spot where there is a little node poking out in the direction in which I want the rose bush to grow. It, isn't always possible, but this helps avoid crossed wood and wonky growth in the future.

Today, I pruned Maggie, Mme Joseph Schwarts and the Mutabalis. These are big rose bushes. The container shown in the picture is about a 20 gallon cattle feed bucket. If you know anyone who raises cattle get yourself a couple of those buckets. They are very useful in the garden.

I do not compost rose canes. I did, but then was injured by thorns later when I turned the compost. I burn the trimmings in our little Chiminea.

These are directions for areas where roses really do not go dormant. Ours' stay pretty much evergreen.

Happy Winter Gardening y'all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Don't Live in Texas for This

I have tried not to complain. I really have. Well, I've been complaining nonstop on Facebook and Twitter, but I spared y'all because, well I just respect you a little more. However, I have had enough. This winter is killing me. I cannot remember a winter ever that has been as cold as this winter. We have had multiple freezes. The potted plants have been inside more than outside. This makes the Monkeys happy because they do not have to transport plants as often. Tomorrow it is supposed to get down lower than it has been since 1997. Ironically, that is the year I married Manly.

Here are a couple of real problems. The lemon tree is in full bloom, but has no pollinators in my kitchen and I do not know how low the temperatures have to get before broccoli and cabbage die. I've never had to consider these things. The broccoli and cabbage are on their own, but that lemon tree is another issue all together.

I asked twitter last night if I should hand pollinate the lemon or not. The answer was yes. At that point the conversation got kind of dirty. I'll spare you. After I suggested ripping off the stamen to pollinate the blooms. Someone gently suggested I use a paint brush. Well, I couldn't find a paint brush so I used one of my extra special make-up brushes. The lemon tree apparently did not like being molested by a make-up brush as it has dropped a lot of blooms.

We will just have to wait and see if we get anymore lemon babies after all of that.

Stay warm y'all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Resolution Just a Little Different this Time.

It is that time of year again when we make those New Years resolutions. I think I have resolved to lose weight every years since I was 13. Didn't work out too well, although I am eight pounds lighter than I was this time last year. I'm going to call that a success. I always strive to be a better housekeeper. We are going to put that in the failure column. Every year I am going to have an amazing garden. Well it is a garden, but I wouldn't look too closely. There are more weeds than intentional plants. I won't call that a success or a failure. I love my garden as if it was a person pretty flowers and weedy mess.

This year I want to go about this resolution business a little differently. I have a couple of bad thought habits. I tend to regret the past and worry about the future rather than living and thinking in the present. This year, I hope to break these habits. Regret and worry do not serve me well. Being with myself right here and right now in the present is what I need. So it won't be about how I will be thin in the future. It will be about what I eat and how I exercise now. I won't think about the garden that will be or regretting the neglect that lead to the current state of disgrace. It will be about the gardening I will do today. I won't worry about how hard it will be get the book written. I will just write or edit a little today. It won't be imagining when I will be able to speak that second language or why I haven't learned it yet. It will be about the work I do on that language today. It won't be about my misspent youth, it will be about my happy middle age.

Happy New Year Everyone