Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pruning My Rose Bushes

I have not been a good mother to my 4 rose bushes. These bushes are important to me because they were given to my husband's grandmother, who lived in this home before us for many years. I really want these old bushes to live a lot longer, so I was frightened when I saw that all of them are not looking well.
On Saturday, 10/20/12, I pruned them, cutting off all dead wood and spent flowers. Then, my 3 year-old daughter helped me rake in some rose food into the first 3 inches of soil all around the bushes. While raking, I made wells around each bush so they will allow the water to soak in better instead of draining away. Then, we gave them lots of water and I have been giving them a good drink each day since. I hope to see new life soon. They look pathetic at this point. I am hoping that the bushes can now focus their energies on creating new stems and flowers and getting strong before the winter comes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Some additions...

Yesterday, I was able to plant the soaked pea seeds along the bottom of my newly acquired wire trellis that goes all the way up our block wall. This should be the stretching room those vines are wishing for, unlike past seasons when I greatly underestimated their potential height. 

My garden is mostly covered with some light-weight netting as part of its defense strategy  I used some stakes for supporting the netting over the areas where I have new seeds growing. The netting is there to prevent birds from pecking at my seeds and neighborhood cats from pooing and digging in my soil. 

Our friends who gave us some manure also gave us some little plants today. 

2 broccoli plants (below)
This is my first time doing broccoli and since I wasn't expecting it, I ended up planting it in the location that I was planning to plant more zucchini seeds. I will just plant a few more zucchini seeds on the single hill and that will be good for this year. I am limited in space for the winter season because of the location of the sun and sunny areas in my garden area.

 And 5 little tomato plants (below). He called them Czechoslovakian tomatoes and he has enjoyed them in his garden in past seasons. He said they will need to be covered when it gets colder in the winter.

And I am excited to see some little tomato plant seedlings in the pods that I experimented with.

Last year's pea trellis is now placed over this wild invasive plant that has provided a beautiful green covering and purple flowers in the springtime without any efforts or watering on my part. Last week I had the idea to put the trellis there and see if it can crawl up and cover some of our ugly wall. If it does crawl up, I will keep it well trimmed so it doesn't go to crazy. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall Garden Begins

This beautiful morning, I planted:
3 heirloom brandywine tomato
3 cherry tomato
3 yellow tomato
2 rows of my old cilantro seeds and 2 rows of organic cilantro from the free seeds
1 zucchini seed (unfortunately, I didn't realize that was all that I had left, so I'll need to get more.)
1 row of romaine lettuce
1 row of crisp head lettuce

And, I failed to soak my sweet pea seeds yesterday, so I got those soaking to be planted tomorrow.

Yesterday, our neighbors/friends offered some horse manure that they had left over from preparing their garden soil. So, my husband brought over a wheel-barrow full and we spread it over and mixed it into our prepped garden area. I've heard that horse manure can increase weeds in gardening because the horses eat the weeds/grass and poop out the seeds. So we'll see from our experience how horse manure affects our garden. Part of the learning experience!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Freebies & Learning about Soil

I haven't yet had the opportunity to plant seeds in my prepared garden soil, but I did plant 14 tomato seeds (red cherry and heirloom brandywine) in some little starter pellets (Jiffy) last Saturday the 29th of September. I've never seen or used these before. I got the pellets from a Craigslist poster for free along with some seeds, a soil testing kit and some fertilizer spikes. 

My 3 year-old and I had a good time acting like we were scientists today testing my soil with the free kit. 

Neutral pH (7.0) level
Nitrogen (N)- medium
Phosphorous (P) - high
Potash/Potassium (K) - very low

I found some great information about the quality of garden soil to help me learn about these necessary nutrients HERE
In response to these results, I will be adding more nutrients to my soil in the form of fertilizers and I hope to start a compost system soon as well to add more organic matter.
And those seeds will be planted very soon!