Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Freebie Hanging Basket Filler

This odd little ivy sprouts all over my garden beds.  I believe it can be a perennial since I think a few plants came back in the same spot in the garden.

hanging pot of wild ivy

I have to dig it out of the vegetable garden because, as you can see, it grows all over the place and I can’t have it growing and twisting all over my vegetable plants.  It really is an interesting plant and I don’t want to kill it.  I got the idea last year to put some in a hanging basket and see what happens.  It happened very nicely so this year I have filled about a half dozen hanging baskets with ivy plants that I dug out of the garden beds.  Very prolific.

This lower basket has been growing for about a month, the top basket was planted with 3 sprouts a few weeks ago.  You can see how this ivy grows and puts its leaves outward toward the sun.  It gets the late afternoon sun and seems happy enough.  As the growing ends get jammed up against the porch roof, I pull them down and wrap them around the basket hangers and they go from there.  By the end of the summer, it should be a jumbo wad of ivy.
wild ivy in a hanging pot

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What Is This Plant?

I don’t know what this plant is.  It’s leaves are the spittin-image of giant ragweed, but this one is sprouting from a cut down, 6″ diameter tree stump.  Several of these shoots are growing out of the ground right next to the stump, as you can see.  I know giant ragweed has been described as a lot of biomass, but I think this is an actual tree, not just a weed.  These things grow all over the place – all very large, but I can’t say that I have actually seen a ‘tree’ of this leaf.  I will make a point of monitoring them this season to see if they ever develop a seed/flower head.

what is this plant?  friend or foe?

The closest tree that I could find with some what similar leaves is the sassafras tree.  I have lots of short plants that look like sasafras, but these leaves in question are different – they are leaner and have 5 lobes.

A mystery.  I do have regular ragweed sprouting all over bull-dozed areas.

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Too Much Rain – Peppers Water-Logged

We have had a very unusual week of rain and my peppers don’t look too happy.

The new leaves, grown since the rain which left the soil in the beds drenched, are curled and deformed looking.
water logged peppers

All of the peppers in the raised beds have these curled, defective leaves.  The few peppers in pots that didn’t get rained on look normal.

Doing research, the most likely cause of these leaf issues are either too much water and/or temperatures too cool, which it is with all this rain.  Peppers like it hot and dry.  I have to hope that things will dry out and the peppers will grow back normally.  The beds are filled with fertile soil rich in humus and organic matter, so they drain well.  The problem is that it has rained just about every day.
water logged pepper leaves

You can see that the older leaves look just fine, but the newer leaves that grew during the rainy time are deformed.  I started my pepper plants from heirloom seeds that I save and use year after year.  Gotta hope these plants make – I’m counting on all of the peppers – AND the fresh seeds for next year’s plants.

The swiss chard and squash are loving this rain.  I’m not sure about the beans or tomatoes – they don’t look just great either.

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2 Types of Pine Tree Seedlings

I dig up pine tree seedlings that sprout in unfortunate places where they won’t survive long.  I have seen 2 basic types of seedlings.  I don’t know how to tell what variety of pines these seedlings are.  I have a few of the type in the round pot.  It grows slower and has shorter needles.  The tree in the square pot is the predominant type of tree seedling that I find.  It has longer needles and grows much faster.
2 types of pine tree seedlings

They both seem happy once they adjusted to their new surroundings.  I may have to pot them up a time or 2 before they are ready to go into the ground in the woods – about 18 inches tall.

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Planted 2 Of My Third Year Figs Into The Ground

This is one of the 2 – 3rd year figs that I planted in the ground.  It is a big step for the little fig babies.  They can no longer stay in a warmish store room during the winter.  Hopefully it will grow a strong root base to allow it to survive the winter.  It might possibly freeze to the ground this winter, hopefully not.  It is planted in red clay, under a couple of 60′ pines, at the woods edge.  The other fig is planted about 15′ further back, to the left and a bit further into the woods entrance.  I dug a larger hole and filled the space with a half bag of cheapie manure around each fig.  I have developed the tendency to use bone meal on all of my plant’s roots.  I put a handful of bone meal around the root ball for this tree. I mulched around the fig with regular old shredded wood and bark, as you can see.
3rd year figs in the ground

These figs came from cuttings from 2 enormous 20 year old figs.  It will probably be many years before these trees are large enough to provide enough branches for cuttings.

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Lavender Seedlings

I love to start plants from both seeds and cuttings.  While I have a large lavender plant to take cuttings from when I try to root them, I also have started many lavender seeds.  (Most of them died because at the time I couldn’t keep the seedlings moist).  This nifty, roomy 6 place tray is from the recycle shelf at a big box store – I have gotten quite a few nice trays and pots from the recycle center – recycled them right into my green house!!.  Note that this potting container is sitting in a tray to hold water so that the plants don’t dry out.
lavender seedlings

These are shelves on a little junior green house shelf, waiting for my real green house to get moved over here.  Note 2 of my brand new seedling trays sitting in a no-hole bottom tray to hold water and keep the seeding trays moist.  On the second shelf, to the left of my lavender is a recycled tray with a few coleus in it.  I am so pleased that a few coleus survived.  They are easier to propagate from cuttings, but I also like to start seeds.  Unfortunately, most of this batch of coleus dried out.  So, with new propagation/seeding trays, I am starting another batch of coleus.
lavender seedlings starting

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Yellowing Squash Leaves – Chlorosis?

I have about 2 summer squash plants in one bed that have leaves that are yellowing and decaying.  This is one summer squash, planted among other squash.  Only this one plant has this issue.  The older leaves turned yellow between the veins, then dried to whitish.  The edges curl up and the leaf finally dries up.  The new inner leaves are fine for a while.  I decided to cut these bad leaves off, leaving the hollow stems, just in case it is a virus.  You can see the plant to the right, it is just fine.
yellowing squash leaves

This other plant, thru the raised cattle panel, about 2 feet further along the bed, also has some of these leaves.  I decided to cut them off also.
yellowing squash leaves

I have done a search as to what could be causing this problem.  The most likely culprit seems to maybe be chlorosis.  Chlorosis is a nutrient deficiency although I don’t know what nutrient it could be.  I found this: “Iron, sulfur and manganese deficiencies cause yellowing in the younger leaves first, while nitrogen, magnesium and molybdenum deficiencies first afflict the older leaves”.  I have what I need to rectify nitrogen and Mg deficiency:  blood meal and epsom salt.  It won’t hurt to spread a little bit of both around.  However, I still don’t understand how just 2 of a dozen plants have this problem.  I also have some organic fertilizer with lots of trace elements in it.  I think I will spread a bit of these 3 substances around these plants tomorrow.

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Overview Time

Time for another overview of my garden:

This shot shows all 6 long beds – 3 are straight in front.  To the left is my new garden shed.  The area around the shed in in the process of being developed.  I plan to plant about 4 more blueberry plants and many wild black berry bushes in the area this side of the white shed.

This front bed has hot peppers on the left side of the raised cattle panel and summer squash on the right side.  Directly under the panel, winter squash is growing.  This bed has Waltham Butternut.  You can see onions hanging over the edges.  Earlier this year I planted onions around the edges of most of the beds.  I have bark and shredded wood chips as ground cover between my raised beds to discourage weeds.

overview of garden

I plant marigolds all over the place – in the edges of the raised beds and in small pots placed all over.  If I didn’t have so many seedlings drying out and dying this spring, I would have many more pots of marigolds all over.  This bed has summer squash (yellow and zucchini) on both sides of the cattle panel.  Early Winter Butternut squash is growing under the panel and will grow up the panel.  I grow my winter squash vines up the cattle panels.  I planted a couple of peppers at the ends of these beds.  This bed has Dwarf Kale going to seed.  I didn’t particularly like this smaller leafed kale, but I so enjoy Brassicaceae plants going to seed.  I am using bamboo poles to hold the kale plants out of the way so that the squash planted around them have plenty of sun and space to grow.
overview of garden

The bed at the top left has summer squash this year.  Last year it was my pepper bed.  I try my best – with my limited space – to rotate crops each year.  The bed at the top right – the one with my winter tent hoops still up, has a batch of Autum King carrots at the front corner.  I need to pick most of them soon.  A few of them are already going to seed.  I am also letting a couple of these Slo Bolt leaf lettuce plants go to seed.  I have the time because this is going to be my Basil bed this year (love that pesto) – but my basil seedlings are not all ready.  Some are already in, as are some peppers.  The swiss chard at the back of this bed will all be harvested and dried when my latest batch of basil seedlings are ready to go into this bed.  At the top left are some large pots with tomatoes, mentioned in another post.  Between the beds are bark and wood mulch, in the beds is leaf mulch.  I mulch all bare dirt.
overview time

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Seedling Trays Make It So Easy

I found propagation/seedling trays with – most important – no-hole bottom trays.  Without my greenhouse, this spring I lost so many seedlings – overall at least half of what I started – because I simply couldn’t keep the plugs wet.  You can most easily see a tray under the deep-root seedling tray on the right.  These trays allow me to water from the bottom – I only need to make sure there is water in the bottom tray and then the seedlings won’t dry out during the hot day.

After over-paying by 2x+ for 10 of these trays on ebay, I found greenhousemegastore.com.  I have NO affiliate link to these folks – I am mentioning them because their prices are so great and shipping is so reasonable and my problem is SOLVED!  I am soooo thrilled!  You don’t know how great I feel now being able to start hundreds and hundreds of seedlings and knowing that they won’t dry out and die!!!  I have to start my winter broccoli, cabbage and all the other cold weather crops in August.  Without constant bottom watering, nothing would easily survive here in hot, dry Texas.

The deep-root tray on the right has pine tree seedlings in it.  When I find a pine seedling in the wrong place (under a bench, in the garden, in the middle of the yard – where ever the seedling sprouts ) I dig it up and plant it in this tray.  The tray to its left has basil sprouts (the cells with missing plants had sprouts that dried out and died!  So I re-seeded them today and put it in a no-hole bottom tray).  The tray on the very left is a deep foil pan – how I used to start seedlings until I got a hold of these seedling propagation trays.
seedling starter trays

This is a seedling tray with marigold sprouts.  This is one of my 2 older 72 cell seedling trays (Now, I have plenty of these trays), sitting in one of my new 1020 no-hole trays.  Haven’t had a problem with any seedlings drying out since I got these.  Loving it!
marigolds in a seed starter tray

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