Monthly Archives: April 2012

Yes! Fig Trees Are Making It This Year

Last year, I took some cuttings from our very mature fig trees. I tried to root them in perilite – that didn’t work. No roots formed, even with rooting hormone. I have had great success starting avocado plants in zipper baggies filled with moist peat, so I decided to do that this year with the figs.  I took cuttings about 10 to 12 inches long, dipped them in rooting hormone and planted the ends in the peat in the zipper baggies.  Within about 6 weeks, roots had formed and I decided to plant them in these half gallon nursery pots.  I’ll leave them in these for the summer  – unless I decide they need more root room.   I water these pots from the bottom – I pour water into the trays they are sitting in (black microwave dinner trays).

I am so thrilled – look at those beautiful leaves.  They are getting bigger daily.  Next January, I plan to take a dozen or so cuttings, and from better branches since I now know what I am doing.

4 fig tree cuttings made it

I am keeping the 2 stems that had a root ball when I transplanted them from the baggies to these pots because the very tip of each twig has a green leaf bulb. I discarded the one cutting that really, fully died.

By the pots with the fig trees, you can see baggies with stems growing out of them. Those are some more avocado seeds sprouting.

I use zipper baggies and close them while the roots form. This keeps the moisture in.

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Waltham Butternut and Cucumber Sprouts

Last year, I had nothing but trouble with something cutting my sprouts off at the ground in this raised bed. This year I planted the seeds in ‘cutworm collars’, which simply means trimmed down toilet paper rolls. I cut about a third off of the length, stuck about an inch in the dirt and left about an inch above ground. The seedlings before the post are cukes and the seedlings beyond the post are Waltham Butternut.  So far, so good. You can actually see the brown paper rolls better than the seedlings. If you look to the right, beyond the cattle panel, you will see 4 sprouts, those are summer squash and zucchini. I want to utilize that area of the bed and I think those plants will be compact enough so as not to crowd the vines growing up the panel.

In the middle walk way you can see an orange hose amongst the castor plant seedlings – most of them have to go.   I do not allow castors to grow in the vegetable beds and there isn’t much room in the walkway for them either.  I hope to transplant some of them to the edges of the garden – some are too big, but maybe I can still dig up enough roots on some of them to transplant.

I have laid dried leaves, mostly oak, as a mulch.  I have to mulch, otherwise the soil dries out too quickly.

squash and cuke seedlings

This is a closeup of the sprouts:

Waltham butternut and cuke sprouts

I am having a problem with sand running down and settling along the log that was used as a bed border.  The sand actually has risen to the top of the logs, so I sunk some corrugated metal along the inside edge of the bed.  All sorts of scraps come in handy while budget gardening.

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Potatoes Growing Right Along

I’m growing potatoes this year, just a small bag of seed potatoes. I planted 2 in a large pot, in about 8″ of soil. They have grown over a foot, and I have added at least 8″ of leaves/mulch/potting soil. I am intending to cover the stems up to the top edge of the pot and hoping for a pot full of potatoes. We’ll see how this works. I am expecting potatoes to grow in the soil at the bottom, and as I understand it, the covered stems should produce potatoes along them also.

Potatoes growing in a large pot

The other 8 seed potatoes were planted in this row, about 8″ under the soil in the ditch. They sprouted up about a week ago. I need to cover the ditch with the dirt on either side, adding lots of leaves in the mix.  I hope to be able to cover the plants up to that wood wall on their right.

Row of potatoes

To the right of this row are carrots that are close to harvesting.  On the left, to the left of the wood laying on the ground that I am going to use as a bed border, bush beans are going to be planted, with pole beans along the raised cattle panel that is further left.

I am trying to use any small area that is plantable and use what ever scraps of materials that I can find to tend my small garden.

Last year we planted some potatoes in this general area, but they caught some virus that turned the leaves yellow and killed the plants.

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Overview Time Again

Here are some early spring overview shots of what I’ve got so far this year:

Looking north over the 3 raised cattle panels:

Looking north over the 3 raised panels

Looking west from near the gate:

Looking west from near the gate

The open area for the tomatoes, maybe about 3 dozen plants:

Area for tomatoes

The area west of the greenhouse:

Area west of the greenhouse

I have learned to put hay in the walk way. Most of it composts by the following spring. Great stuff – a bale of old, rotting hay.

Looking south from the greenhouse door area:

Looking south from greenhouse door area

Looking east across the raised beds to the greenhouse:

Looking east across raised beds to greenhouse

The last of the cabbage is about to be harvested and more squash plants are being continually seeded and peppers planted in the middle row. The cucumbers and Waltham Butternut squash has sprouted on the row with the cattle panel. It will probably be best to pull most of those onions – the ones with the seed heads. They are last year’s onions. Onions go to seed in the spring, after a winter frost. I really don’t know if I want the questionable seed, but for the seed stalks that aren’t in the way, I’ll leave them and see what happens.

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Compost Pile

This is the new compost pile. About 2 months ago, I flipped the big stuff from the old compost pile and added all the weeds I pulled getting the garden ready for spring planting.

Compost pile

I wish I was able to build retaining walls, but haven’t yet been able to get it rolling. I was considering using old wood pallets for the side and rear wall.

I still need to use my 1/2″ square wire mesh framed screen to screen the old compost pile, but before I could get the job done, these volunteer squash popped up. I hoped that they were summer squash, and thus would get some fruit within a month or so, but no, these look like winter squash. I might end up pulling them, tossing them in the new compost pile, so that I can finish using the compost they are growing out of.

volunteer winter squash on the old compost pile

Although it is quite obvious that the compost pile never heated up enough to kill any seeds it contained, the finished compost is still dirt like. This compost pile did it’s thing over the past winter. The new pile will heat up very well this coming summer. Twice a year I flip the compost pile. I flip it between the 2 locations you see – the new pile and where the volunteers are sprouting. After I flip the undecayed material from the old pile to the new, I put a framed mesh wire screen over my wheel barrow and shovel the compost onto it, shaking it to pass the fully composted material into the wheel barrow, and the uncomposted stuff left on the screen is dumped into the new pile.

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