Friday, April 19, 2013

Blooms, Sprouts and Fruits

There's a lot going on right now here at Mr. B's, with stuff blooming, sprouting and setting fruit left and right.  Let's start with the blooms, beginning with the new stuff and ending with some updated photos.

Climbing Don Juan; bought what was labeled as CDJ last year that turned out to be something entirely different,  but this year they got it right.

The 1st chive blossom of the year; I always let them go to seed.

The 1st sunflower of the year getting ready to open

Daylily scape from one I'm not sure the name of.

The plumeria I bought last fall is leafing out.

The cannas are really going strong.

The irises are in full swing.

And now to the sprouts; not pictured are the potatoes, of which 11 have sprouted and one is almost ready to bloom, and the tomatoes and habaneros shown in an earlier post.

Lemon grass I bought at a local market, beginning to root.

Marie's NOID tomatoes

Peter pepper, also from seed Marie sent me.

Purple tomatillo

Uba tuba peppers; can't wait until I get some fruit to show you.

And last, but not least, the fruits, all of which are in the front yard.

Anna apples, ready to pick in about 6-7 weeks.

Ein Shemer apples, my 1st crop, also ready in 6-7 weeks.

Grapes, Red Ruby Seedless, I believe; should be ripe in early July.

Eureka lemon, won't be ripe until Fall.

I found out my daughter's favorite flower is sunflowers, since they remind her of her Great-grandmother on my wife's side, who always has lots in her garden.  Since she's away on a cruise she won at work, the grandkids and I are going to surprise her by building a raised bed in her front yard and planting it with a dozen different types of sunflowers; pictures in my next post.

Monday, April 15, 2013

More Blooms, Spring Swap 2013 And Taking Care of The Goodies

The blooms are coming fast and furious now that Spring is definitely here, so here's some eye candy for you.

Blue Moon rose

Blue Salvia, Salvia nemorosa


Climbing America rose

Climbing Joseph's Coat rose

Miniature roses

Amaryllis 'Red Lion'

Siberian Iris

Rose Garden

Once again the Spring Swap, held this past Saturday, was hosted by Linda and Ken, and once again the pizza was outstanding. It was great catching up with old gardening friends and meeting new ones, my grandson Kaleb made a new friend and I managed to snag a few great plants.  As evidenced by the next photos, I'm not the only one who's garden is bursting with color; these are all from their front yard.  I got so caught up with catching up that I forgot to take any photos in the back yard, which is equally as impressive.

I got a Kalanchoe (plus one for my neighbor) and Stapelia variegata from Jackie, and three plumerias, E.T. MardiGras, Danai Delight and Novelty from Mike.  The plumerias were well established, size wise, but weren't potted and had been transported all the way from Yuma, AZ with their root balls and soil contained in plastic grocery bags, so I had to find something to plant them in.  Since I already had lots of redwood boards, I decided to make planters today.

Here is my set up for cutting the boards to length.

Here I've laid out the materials for a planter.

Side panel completed

One planter completed.

Bottom view showing the notches for the legs.

Inside lined with landscape fabric to keep the soil in.

All three planted and placed on a pallet.
I'll be adding more pallet "decking" as soon as I can find more free ones.  I laid weed blocker fabric under the pallet to try to keep the grass and weeds at bay.  The ladders were a dumpster find and the planters on them were seeded with thyme and tarragon.  Everything is on a timed drip system so watering is a breeze.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere, At Last!

The taming of the backyard continues and today I installed new piping to multiply the single hose bib in the back into multiple watering stations.  I noticed when I tied the new pepper bed into the existing 1/4" drip line that it wasn't getting much water, so I figured the line was at capacity or beyond and action needed to be taken.  Using 1/2" PVC pipe, I connected to the existing hose bib, then ran the pipe along the side of the house to the corner where I used a 4-way connector so I could run three lines off of the main line, then installed water station #1 on the 1st line.  I added a "Y" shutoff valve so I can use the hose and also have a timer connected to a drip line for the hanging pots and the rose bed which was basically how things were configured before I started the project.  I ran a second line in a trench to the new pepper bed, buried it and installed another timer to water that bed, the ladder planter and the other three beds I'll be building.  I ran the third line along the back of the house, installing a tee at about the halfway mark for a future line to additional beds that are planned and capped off that line, then did the same at the terminal end, where I installed another timer to water the potato patch, which also wasn't getting enough water.  Whereever I installed a new timer, all I had to do was cut the existing line at its' new terminus and add a line plug, then connect the remainder of the line to the new timer.  I didn't bury most of the line because it's up against the house and we get below 32 so seldomly that I'm not worried about freezing.

Water station #1

Water station #2

Water station #3 and the potato patch.

I also decided it was time to relocate the Aloe vera, as it was out of proportion with the other plants in the wheelbarrow succulent garden, so I planted it up in a pot I bought several months ago on clearance at Target, even though I had no clue at the time what I'd use it for.

I planted some dwarf sunflower seeds in a hanging basket next to the ladder planter on Sunday and already 2 of them have sprouted!

We had very windy conditions on Monday with gusts up to 30 mph here at the house and despite the wind the only damage was the loss of two hollyhocks, but there are still ten left, so I guess it could be worse.  The cannas are getting ready to bloom, which I find amazing since only 2 1/2 months ago they pretty much died down to the ground due to the "Big Freeze".  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pepper Plot and More Blooms

Spent some more time cleaning up the backyard and decided that the small strip of garden there just wasn't sufficient, so the plan is to add raised beds in it's place; instead of having 12 square feet of planting bed, I'll wind up with 40 square feet of raised beds.  I built the first one, using the same technique and materials as all the others I've built, the only adjuestment was the dimensions, which are 5' x 2' x 1'.  Using the "square foot gardening method" I can sow 10 different types of seeds in each one.  This one was planted primarily with peppers, with the list consisting of Pasilla Negro, Pimient de Esplette, Uba Tuba, Sweet Banana, Shishito, Takanotsume, one I saved seeds from that I no longer remember the name of, and Peter pepper.  The planting was rounded out with Purple Tomatillo and a NOID slicing tomato.  The Peter pepper and NOID tomato seeds were to me by my friend Marie Niemann in the Salt Lake City area.

The 1st of many planned raised beds in the backyard.

There are lots of things blooming, or about to bloom in the garden, so let's take a look, starting with the backyard.

Culinary sage

My neighbor's vine coming over the wall.

Red salvia came back from last year.

Miniature roses

Blue moon rose.

Climbing Joseph's Coat rose
Now to the front yard for more blooms and some fruit.

Amaryllis getting ready to open; I need to do something about those ants!

Salvia nemorosa.

Double hollyhocks

Found one stalk of singles among the doubles.

Last year's free irises in bloom.

Grapes beginning to bloom.

Cannas have bounced back from the freeze and are ready to bloom.

Looks like I'm finally going to get some nectarines.

Even after thinning them ,the Anna tree is loaded with apples.