Happy Winds-day

“Winnie the Pooh: Happy “Winds-day”, Piglet.
Piglet: (being blown away) Well… it isn’t very happy…f-for me.
Winnie the Pooh: Where are you going Piglet?
Piglet: That’s what I’m asking myself, where? W-Whoops! P-P-P-Pooh!
Winnie the Pooh: And what do you think you will answer yourself?’

Yesterday I walked outside into the garden with Zeta, my Maltese-bichon mix beside me. Even though it was still only late August, the sky was grey and cloudy and the wind cut through me. It was a blustery day. I heard the call of geese overhead as they flew by in formation towards an unknown destination.

Zeta being the ultimate guard dog that he is at 14 lbs proceeded to bark at them. Quite satisfied with himself as they flew away, knowing it was all his doing, he trotted over to the deck and lay down.

Zeta

Zeta

It felt like autumn and strange to be planting summer flowers, but I put them in their places anyway.  I was really happy with my purchases from the nursery the other day.  Especially so with the pale blush abutilon.  The flower petals were as thin as tissue paper with a beautiful center pistil. This was one of the first flowers I picked up at the nursery.

Care is very easy-use warm water and keep the soil evenly moist. Soil must be well-drained; use a container with a hole in the bottom and set it in a tray to catch excess water.
Use a liquid-soluble fertilizer on your abutilon every two weeks during the growing season in spring and summer, and don’t feed it during the fall or winter. Alternatively, use a granular slow-release fertilizer once a year in early spring.

Now all I need is my hole digging friend Karen to help me get the rest of the plants in the ground!

Pale Blush Albutilon

Pale Blush Albutilon

The Great Blackberry Patch

Blackberries

Blackberries

Four and twenty blackberries baked in a pie…

I thought sure that was how the rhyme went when I was little.  Maybe it just foretold  my love of blackberry pie or maybe that I would one day have a “Great Blackberry Patch”.  Behind my garden shed I have a good-sized piece of land.  It would be the perfect place for a vegetable garden.  It gets full morning sun and is really quite roomy at around 20’x 30′.  Many times I have pictured the cherry tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, green beans and lettuce all growing organically out there.  Feeding my family from the land just like my grandma did when I was a little girl.  But that, I have come to realize is not going to happen because that piece of land belongs to the blackberries.

There weren’t that many in the beginning (compared to now) and I actually thought I could clear them and the weeds that came along with them when we bought the house. The vines at that time hadn’t produced berries so they seemed relatively useless.  I started small on my own digging cutting and going through about three gallons of Ground Clear a box of band-aids and a tube of neosporin.

Blackberry Bramble

Blackberry Bramble

It didn’t take long before I realized it didn’t work.  I couldn’t believe it.  How deep were theses roots?  We tried several more ways over the following years to remove them, even going so far as removing 18″ of old dirt back there until finally I just gave up.  The blackberry bramble had won.  Now other than just keeping it under control as best I can, I have stopped battling the blackberries behind the garden shed.  They have begun producing a multitude of sweet berries that make a yummy  “Four and Twenty blackberries baked in a pie” kinda pie.  My garden behind my shed didn’t turn out to be vegetables but it did become something maybe even better, The Great Blackberry Patch.

Cheryl in the Garden

Transplant Tips

Wecome

Welcome

This is a great article on transplanting from about.com gardening

Success Tips for Transplanting and Moving Garden Plants – Water!

When You Water Can Be as Important As How Much

By , About.com Guide

Summer is never the best time to move or transplant garden plants. The sun is too intense and the heat is relentless. However, sometimes you have no choice but to move your plants during the hot months. You can successfully transplant garden plants at any time of the year if you follow a few simple guidelines:

  1. Water the garden plants to be dug and/or transplanted the day before your do it. This insures that the whole plant will be hydrated, leaves and all, when it’s time to transplant.
  2. Dig and/or transplant when it is overcast or during the cooler evening hours.
  3. Water the plant immediately before digging or removing from its pot. Soak the root ball so that the soil will adhere to the roots, when it is dug from the garden.
  4. Never leave the roots exposed to sun, heat or wind. Don’t remove all plants from their pots and place them in the garden. Remove just prior to planting.
  5. Water the hole before you place the transplant into it.
  6. Place the transplant into the hole and fill it halfway with water. Allow the water to settle the soil around the roots and then finish filling the hole.
  7. Lightly firm the soil around the transplant.
  8. Once again, water the whole plant, leaves and all.
  9. If possible, shield the new transplant from direct sunlight for 3-5 days. Use a floating row cover or lean a board in front of the transplant to block direct sun.

Check the plant daily for the first couple of weeks. Transplants will need watering every day, if not more. If it is wilting, water the plant. Depending on the weather and the plant, you may need to water twice a day until it becomes established. The larger the plant and/or the less roots to top growth ratio, the more water will be needed.

All of this may seem extreme, but the shock of being uprooted is stressful to plants anytime of year. In the heat of summer, this extra precaution is vital to easing the transition for your transplants.