Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birds Beware

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It's so nice to see the birds chirping, it really feels like spring this year!  In fact, the birds are rather friendly too: Chriping away as happy as can be.  Even walking on the ground of our back yard without a care in the world....
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My cat is especially fond of their presence--Don't worry, I've been keeping my eyes on her. :)
So I know I said I would update last weekend, but planting was delayed once again.  Yesterday I finally managed to get them planted but I just so happened to choose the hottest day of they year and well, they don't look so nice right now so I'm saving that update for later.  Plus, I still want to grab some peppers and borage, so assuming my plants make it through this heatwave, I'll "reveal" it all. (And give them time to hopefully revive themselves a bit)

Anyways, just a quick update. Hope everyone had a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Companion Gardening.

I heard a little bit about something along the lines of companion gardening from my mom the other day.  For example, you know how tomatoes go great with basil?  Turns even planting basil near your tomato plant will help enrich the flavor.  And well, since I love home grown tomatoes, and I want these to taste perfect, I found out of some other companion plants.  This is what I have narrowed it 
 down to based on my own preferences:
 
Basil: To repel insects and improve tomato flavor. 
  
Borage:  Repels the tomato hornworm.  Also said to improve taste, and attracts pollinating bees. 

Onion:  Said to be a companion, I was planning on growing green onion anyways, so I can’t imagine there being a huge different
Parsley:  Attracts many beneficial insects that feed on the bad, damaging insects. The foliage attracts worms that feed on the parsley leaves rather than attack your tomatoes. 

Also, these plants work very nicely with bell peppers in case you were w wondering. If there is anything that I'm missing out on, let me know. 
 
NOTE: When using companion herbs make sure they are compatible with everything else you’re growing.  Some plants are actually harmful to the health/taste of certain plants.  Click here  for a handy index of all plants and their companions.

So it looks like I'm going to plant some new seeds this weekend, along with getting bell pepper sprouts since they are apparently known for being finicky.

Thank you to everyone for the advice, comments and follows! I truly appreciate them all.  
Expect a new post by this weekend when I finally transport my plants.  Until then!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sprouts and Droughts.

Confession: I actually started this project a little sooner than I started blogging about it because, well, the thought of starting a blog didn't occur to me until after I already did some work.  However, not a whole lot of progress has been made so you really didn't miss out on much.  Regardless, here is a little update on what has been going on behind the scenes.

The Good News:
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I have sprouts!














I hear sunflowers are incredibly easy to grow, so I'm not sure how much of a triumph this really is, but considering how my last attempt at growing sunflowers went, I'm pretty excited. (Long story short, I grew them directly into the ground (vs a pot), and nothing came of it.)  These sunflower seeds are apparently inported from Holland, so I wasn't very optimistic they would grow well here.

NOTE: If transferring sunflowers be sure to do so quickly as the roots grow quick and need a large space to thrive in.

The Bad News:
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This might as well be my before and after photo.

Also after three weeks my poor little veggies and herbs have not produced the slightest sight of a sprout.  The funny thing is that the package on these seeds say "guaranteed to grow"--I'm still waiting.  I used the same exact method for all of the seeds so I dont know why absolutely nothing is sprouting.  The soil on my little crates are very dense and hard.  You can see I threw a bit of composting soil on top in a last attempt to save them.

I'm going to give it another week.  If I don't see anything by next Tuesday  I think I'm going to start from scratch as I don't want to waste too much time.  Suggestions?

Anywho, I have tons more to say but I want to keep these blogs somewhat short and sweet of normal length. Catch you soon, and be sure to follow me so you don't miss out on a cool thing called Companion Gardening.


Monday, April 25, 2011

The Plan.

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Beautiful Hibiscus flowers in our back yard

Hope you all had a great weekend!!!  I've got school in a few hours but I thought now would be a great time to let everyone know just exactly what I plan to do with my backyard.

Immediately: 
  • Plant:
    • Tomatoes--you can't compare the tastes of homegrown and store-bought.
    • Bell Peppers--I hear they are finicky and if you don't nurture them properly they will be very bitter, I already bought seeds for them but perhaps I should have started with small plants like my tomatoes.
    • Sunflowers--my favorite flower; I think I'm going to get orange ones for an even better pop of color.
    • Misc: green onion, chives, and basil and parsley.  It'll be good to have around.
Soon:
  • Plant something decorative.
    • Maybe a jasmine tree or bougainvillea plant?
  • Plant a fruit tree or two.
    •   Perhaps a lemon, orange, peach or avocado tree? Something that produces a lot, easy to maintain and tastes especially wonderful when its home-grown.
  • Replenish the grass.
    •  I have so many brown patches it looks terrible.  My goal is for the backyard to look lush.  I'm not going to do anything crazy, just simply buy some seeds and throw them on the soil.
  • Plant some ground cover/plants/bushes/flowers.
    •   When my sunflowers die out I want to plant something along the gate.  We're trying to figure that out.  I think we're going to do tropical, but then again something that is drought resistant may be a good idea given California is going through a drought.  Did I mention we want it to look lush? Assuming my sunflowers live throughout most of the summer, this will be one of my last projects.
I'm going to plant my tomatoes very soon as they look like they need a more room.  I'm planting mostly everything else in little pots/crates for now just to make sure they actually sprout before I plant them in the ground.  I actually have a nice little patch of dirt near that brick fence (after taking out a large/dying bush), so I might add more as I see fit.

Thanks to Crafty Gardener for letting me know about gardening communities!  I'm going to check it right after I hit the publish button.  It's nice knowing that there is a little community out there on the internet.  I love seeing what everyone else has to offer.

Be sure to follow me and see where this project goes. And if you've been wanting to start a garden, join me! If I can do it, so can you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

And here we...go.

So about two weeks ago I started getting the soil ready for whatever the hell I'm going to plant.  Oh em gee.  Unless you want to invest in a couple hundred dollar rototiller, behold your best friends for this project:

It's not too bad, I promise.

But hey, It really wasn't that bad.  Just make sure you give yourself enough time for this project and take little steps!!! I'm really not the kind of gal that wants to work outside for 5 hours while straining my back.  Instead, I started two weeks ago (like I mentioned) and just did a little bit here and there.  What did I do you ask? Well, the soil seemed to be very dry since it hasn't been plowed (is that the right word?) in at least the five years I've been here so what I thought would be a good idea  was to dig a long row along the gate and fill the hole with some water to help drain it.  I read online that it's very important to have well-drained soil so I made sure mine was:

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Not the greatest shots, but hopefully you can see what I mean.

I let the water sit and eventually drain in the rows and continued on a day or two later by filling the holes and raking though the dirt which i had moistened with water to make it more smooth.  Eventually I would love to plant some perennials (plants that live more than two years) in this area but for now I'm going to grow some orange sunflowers--I cannot wait!!!

Now here I did something I did something a little different.  I dug up holes where my plants would be placed and then repeated the process as before.  This soil seemed to be more moist  so I wasn't quite as concerned.   Here are the little tomato plants I'm purchased at my local hardware store:

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My grandpa recommended "Early Girl" tomato because they have a wonderful taste, and they also bare fruit earlier than most tomatoes.  Plus, they were on sale for a buck so if this project get's abandoned/ruined it wont but quite a burden on my pocket. Alright I won't abandon it but if something happens to go wrong it's still not a burden on my wallet... 

Alright, I wont reveal all of my plans just yet....until I blog again.

Remember to follow! xx