Monday, January 28, 2013

STATE OF THE GARDEN: 1/28/13


I continue to deal with the bougainvillea that have taken over my fence, and are pulling it over with their weight. Since I worked on the other one for a couple of weeks and got it down to a quarter of its previous size, I decided to start on the one over by the mango.


Only the half free of the mango is in bloom. The rest hidden under the mango looks dead, but most is very much alive.

This bougie is growing into the mango.


While working on it, I discovered a bird nest from last season.

I mostly filled my 65-gallon horticulture bin with bougie debris, and removed perhaps a quarter of the plant.

It's a start. After that I cleaned out the bed over by the shed where I planted the grapevine, and put down some mulch. I started with dirt and weeds, as well as the rubber vine that grew from behind the shed and rooted down into the bed uninvited...

And my poor pitiful crape myrtle, which was also being taken over by the rubber vine. (Note that I believe the crape myrtle goes dormant in winter, and therefore looks dead right now. Usually it gets leaves and flowers in spring. It only has a few leaves right now. However I don't know whether it should be this bare. So we'll see whether or not it "springs" back.)

You'll also notice that all around the crape myrtle is this weed that grows in a carpet...

It's amazing that as you go to grab a handful, you find it is growing by runners, and a whole strip will come up...

And before you know it, you discover something like this cement pad is growing beneath it...




When I was done, this is what the bed looked like.


And this was my pile of debris (I have to be careful to not cut down more than the garbage guys will pick up. Last time we did a large amount of work, we had to bribe the garbage guy with $20 and load the debris into the truck ourselves to avoid paying hundreds to the claw truck for pickup.)

I also came across leeches in/on my bag of mulch. It was the first time I've ever seen leeches, other than in horror movies. They are creepy!
video

Otherwise this is what is going on around the yard:

My bean and pea seedlings continue to grow, but I had this one little guy that was slow to make an appearance.



But once they appear, they sprout up so fast. This was the next morning...


My yellow cherry tomato is growing like gangbusters right now, and more flowers are coming in.

My jalapeno pepper is growing, and a few flowers, but the plant isn't growing that much yet.

Same with the Better Bush tomato. The plant hasn't really grown, hasn't really flowered, and the two tomatoes on it haven't shown any obvious increase in size. Yet the Brandywine tomatoes that I sprouted from seed are growing around the outside of the cage.

The passion vine is loaded with new blooms every day, and still smells like grape juice!

I had put columbine flower seeds in this decorative vase. I keep checking for some sign of it doing something.

Now the other day I spotted a couple sprigs of green popping up. Trouble is, I can't know that they are columbine flowers. They could be weeds! Only time will tell.

My grapevine is doing well so far.

It's beginning to twine around the trellis.

These pictures were taken before I laid down mulch, and I swear that the vine looks to be a deeper green today, after the mulch and a good watering. Or maybe it is just the contrast of seeing it against the dark mulch that makes it look darker.

I also have a prickly pear cactus that was stuck against the back fence behind the shed, and I noticed yesterday that it is flowering as well.


I've started collecting the pieces from my mahogany seeds, hearing that they make good mulch. So I figured I could use them as mulch in some of my potted plants.

I also had to do a round-up of lubber babies. The nymphs are making an early appearance this year, thanks to our warm winter.

This was my third batch removed from the yard. I've already removed a few dozen. Smaller batches than I usually have, but earlier in the year.

The whole time I worked in the yard, Zook waited patiently.



By the time I was ready to go inside, he was falling asleep.


Such a good boy!

So I am slowly making progress on the yard. I dread when they rains begin, as that will mean mowing the yard at least once a week, and I'll have quite a time trying to keep up with the mowing and the weeding and everything else that is needed. (Mowing in 95 degree temps is absolutely no fun!) Ugh!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

STATE OF THE GARDEN: 1/19/13

Well, I've been doing a lot of work in the garden-- at least compared to the usual-- and I'm finally making some headway.

I'm slowly getting the bougainvillea cut down. I did a batch of it last weekend, and another batch this weekend. I'm hopeful maybe I can get most of the rest next weekend. I started on the really thick branches today, and filled the 65 gallon bin again.

This was it when I started last weekend...

...and this is where I stood after today.

I had sprouts left over from my seed experiments, and I hated to throw them away (I hadn't thought beforehand about what I was going to do with any resulting sprouts). So I stuck 2 of the bean sprouts on the sides of this windowbox...

...and I planted 4 bean seeds and 4 pea seeds in the front and back. Three of the pea seeds have just begun to peek above the surface.

 I also cleaned out one of the deck planters and put 14 sprouts in there, along with 2 pepper plants and a tomato plant.


In the back left, I put 3 Big Red Ripper Pea sprouts (I'll thin to two)...

...and 3 Garden Bean sprouts in the back center...

...and 4 Royal Burgundy Bean sprouts in the right-back corner (which I'll also thin to two).

And I stuck 4 Brandywine Tomato sprouts around my tomato cage, and was actually surprised to see them sprout up as they did (since they hadn't yet actually "sprouted", and I wasn't sure whether the old seeds were still any good).

My jalapeno plant has two little peppers started, and a couple more blooms...

My sweet bell pepper plant seems to have a couple of blooms coming in as well...

I also have a Better Bush tomato plant in this planter, and it had two tomatoes started on it when I got it, and now I see a bloom or two on it.

I also have two pots of herbs, and the top one also has an heirloom yellow cherry tomato plant, and I noticed today that it has a couple of blooms coming in.

I also have a strawberry pot, a papaya tree (I need to get a couple more to plant along the fence), and a passion vine that is loaded with buds.
My first passion flower just bloomed...

It smells so good! Very sweet, almost like grapes, and I can smell it from a couple of feet away. I can't wait until it has more blooms!

And my strawberry has a couple of blooms.

I also finally repotted my poor pineapple. I started this thing probably 4 years ago or more, but it has become stunted. I figure it is probably due mostly to it being in too small of a pot, and a lack of water. So I repotted it today, and gave it a good dousing. Look at the two pots compared!

We'll see how it does now that it has room to grow, a good drink, and a nice spot in the sun.

My one banana tree that was cut down a few months ago continues to grow, but the other three of them remain small. We'll see what happens with them.

My grapevine continues to hang in there. We'll see what happens with it.

My backyard came with what used to be a shade garden before I cut down the ficus, and I've considered getting rid of these snake plants...

But I'll tell ya... these things have been in bloom lately, and boy do they smell good! Sort of like jasmine.

Now I'm second guessing whether to pull them.

I also noticed the other day that I have some blooms on the mango. And those blooms have now changed over to tiny little fruits.

And I also trimmed the mango the other day (I know it isn't the right time of year for it), so I could walk under it. It was hanging too low over the deck, and it was getting impossible to mow under.


My goal this year is to take better care of my garden, and to fertilize my plants. I want to see what happens with the mango and loquat after some fertilization.

After I finish taking down this one bougainvillea, I need to work on the other one that has been taken over by the mango.

I'm trying to decide whether I am going to completely take them down, or if I will try to keep and manage them. I hate the thought of trying to manage those thorny things!

So I'm making some progress, and I'll work on it some more next weekend. But I'm done for today!