Sunday, May 21, 2017

Excessive Heat

We just came through our first heat wave here, with temperatures reaching an unofficial 95° on Thursday.  I had just finished planting the gardens the week before.

Losses were reasonably heavy, about 35 plants out of 700 or so.  I ended up replacing those with things I purchased locally, mostly Durango and Safari marigolds and some coleus for both sunnier and shadier areas.

And those losses were after running cooldown watering in the afternoon for two to three minutes, plus watering more heavily an hour or so before sunset.  Unfortunately, it simply got too hot too fast.

Repel Garden Rabbits

I have families of rabbits living under my Thuja, with the consequence that it's open season on the gardens until they mature a bit (I plant flowers, not vegetables, but the damage is still very bad).

Over time, I've looked up and cooked up a homemade repellant that works fairly well. Here it is:

In a one quart sprayer (or multiply by four for a 1 gallon sprayer, and so on):

1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp dish soap
1/4 tsp white Elmer's glue (optional but very helpful) (distasteful to rabbits, and helps the solution stick)
1 tsp Neem oil (optional but extremely helpful) (helps the solution stick and mildly distasteful to rabbits)

Spray plants lightly; no need to soak the leaves. 1.5 quarts covers 2,000 square feet of flower garden around here. Reapply after moderate or heavier rainfall, this should stick through light showers.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Soybean Meal Down

I fed the lawn right around the first of May but neglected to blog about it.  If you were waiting for me to announce the feeding, you're still in good time, though!  The window is very wide.

I applied 15 pounds per thousand square feet, and dropped the GrubEx at the same time.

I fed the gardens yesterday with 9 pound of Milorganite per thousand square feet and 12.5 pounds of soybean meal per thousand square feet.  Since I have 2,000 square feet of garden, it works out to half a bag of each.  I'll use the other half around the first of June.

May Photos

I've really been negligent about posting photos this year, so I made sure to take some late yesterday after I finished the gardens.

Here's the standard lawn photo.  The lawn recovered beautifully from last year's drought, with a little help and some judicious applications of urea.

The gardens are in but these are Day 1 photos.  They're always a bit sad looking until the plants establish and start to grow.  The light brown edge on the gardens is where I've killed the grass to re-establish the edge.  The light brown in the gardens is the soybean meal to feed the gardens!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Hardening Off

I set the plants out to harden off yesterday, a fairly long hardening off period comparatively speaking. The weather looks as though we won't freeze again this season, but I have a tendency not to trust that. I'll allow the flats to sit out until at least May 6th before planting.

Until then, the flats will gradually move out into the sun from the north wall.  Right now, only the marigolds are getting any appreciable sunlight as their hardening off period is essentially nil.

I did plant the pots, both front and back for a total of about 15, last night.  However, if the weather turns, I can pull those close to the house and cover them very easily.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Last Flat

Or, Flat #12.  While the Moonsong marigolds are still being pokey, I can handle four flats in the office if I absolutely have to.

So I started the last flat.  This one is composed of some final Janie Primrose Yellow marigolds, some Harlequin dahlia, some Cosmic Red cosmos, and a scant few Strawberry Fields gomphrena.  That last is only 12 plants, a trial this year, and the only larger amaranth I've ever grown (I've grown celosia in the past, but those are much shorter).

The season, although spring, still feels a lot like late winter...but at least spring is well underway in the cellar!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Flat #11

Flats #9 and #10 are being a bit pokey about sprouting, with the Moonsong Deep Orange marigold being rather slow this year.  I do build time into the schedule to account for that, but not a full week.

So I now have three flats in the office as I added the Janie Primrose Yellow marigold to the mix late on Friday evening.  Even if everything is very slow, I can handle the fourth and last flat if I have to.

I also started 12 coleus--Giant Exhibition Marble.  But those are sitting on a ceramic tray on the windowsill as they're not particularly touchy.  They'll be slower in the colder air, but they'll sprout.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Flat #10...

I'm coming in to the finish line (as far as planting, anyway!) at just about the average pace.  The Inca II marigolds sprouted quickly, as expected,  and made room for the Moonsong Deep Orange marigolds and Janie Deep Orange marigolds.

At this point, the only things remaining are a flat of Janie Primrose marigolds and a flat of assorted late-sprouting things.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Flat #8...

The zinnias, as always, sprouted in just a few days and are already under the lights.

I started the Inca II Gold marigolds, and the Vanilla Improved marigold today.  Those are on the heater and should be sprouting very quickly as well.

Atypically for March, we're going under a blizzard warning for 18-24" of snow and very high winds tonight, so it's nice to have a bit of early spring under the lights downstairs.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Halfway Point

The ageratum did well, the Impatiens are slowly coming along but being rather dodgy about it.

Regardless, the days are passing and the zinnia have to start.  As of this evening, I planted 72 Dreamland Scarlet zinnia, and 72 Magellan Scarlet zinnia.  Two different cultivars tends to slow down the spread of the inevitable fungal issues in the garden.

Those should sprout rather fast, clearing the deck for the larger marigolds which will start next.

Still, the zinnias bring the grand total to six flats, of the 12 I do, so that was the halfway point for the planting!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Last of the Early Stuff

I started the ageratum and Impatiens (Sunny Lady lavender) a few days ago, which is the last of the early season plants.  From here on out, I have a short lull until the zinnias begin in a week or so, followed by the marigolds and a few oddballs like the coleus.

Ageratum definitely benefit from a few extra weeks than you think they'd need, and even so, they'll go into the ground as fairly small plants.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Moving Further...

The weather here has been more like May than February, with highs in the mid-seventies.  That's projected to change late tomorrow, with weather more appropriate to late March.

Still, it was time to finish the last of the Salvia splendens "Flare" and begin the Profusion zinnia.  I'm growing both yellow and flame (almost red when they open, turning a reddish-orange when mature).

I had tried the cherry last year, but the flowers tended to bleach too much in the gardens.  Some ended up a pale rose, which isn't nearly dominant enough with the other plants.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Moving On...

Most of last week's plants did very well, with only the heliotrope having a more limited sprout percentage.  However, a 67% sprout isn't terribly bad for a plant that can be very difficult to sprout from seed.  It just doesn't compare to everybody else's 100% sprout.

This week, the Salvia farinacea "Rhea" start, along with about half the Salvia splendens "Flare." Those are on the heater as of right now and should be sprouting slowly by mid-week.  Both benefit from a bit more time under the lights to grow in before planting in mid-May.

While temperatures outdoors are a most unusual 67 degrees, it's not May just yet...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Launch Date: Today!

Today officially kicked off the 2017 gardening season with the start of some of the annuals for this year's garden.  Currently planted and on the flat heater are the Easter Egg plant, annual vinca, Melampodium, and heliotrope.

Only the heliotrope is new this year while all the others are heirlooms.

Sprout should complete in the next week or so, at which point the heater will be taken over by the blue salvia ("Rhea").

Saturday, November 19, 2016

2016 Lawn Additons

I just came in from winterizing the lawn. Although temperatures are nearly seventy out there, we're forecast for a thirty degree drop this evening with snow and sleet.  Tonight seems to mark the end of the growing season, and if not, I can always cheat and nudge a little extra nitrogen onto the lawn in December if I have to.  I used urea to winterize as I found a very inexpensive source ($15 for 50 pounds).

This year's heavy hitter was soybean meal, as usual, with some corn early in the season.  We're in the midst of a moderate drought and have been for months, so fungal and disease issues weren't a problem at all this season.

I did spray ferrous sulfate yesterday, which has noticeably enhanced the color on the lawn.  Given the long period it was dormant this summer, I'd like to keep as much of the lawn active as far into the winter as possible.

Date N P K Iron Organics Other Notes
5/16/2016 1.21 0.60 0.19 0.00 25.0 Soybean Meal, Cracked Corn
8/1/2016 1.05 0.30 0.15 0.00 15.0 Soybean Meal
9/1/2016 0.88 0.26 0.13 0.00 12.5 Soybean Meal
10/1/20161.34 0.26 0.13 0.00 12.5 Soybean Meal, Urea
11/19/2016 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.0Urea

Total per K ft:    5.48     1.18     0.60     0.00     65.0     650.0 active organic total