Gardening Journal Entries

2009-12-03:

Yay!! I was rather successful at my first attempt at seed saving! I have turned into quite a greedy little gardener. Every neighbor’s or friend’s house I’ve gone to in the last month I’ve had the thought in my mind of “what can I scavenge from their garden”…but I’ve been giving quite a lot of my seeds away in exchange. It’s pretty fun to trade seeds.

I’ve got tons of cosmos, South African Pearl Daisies, Galliardia, Giant Chives, Summer Savory, Lemon Bergamot, Amaranthus Dreadlocks, Dahlias (I was successful after all!), Bachelor Buttons, Marigolds, some purple daisy I don’t know the name of, Coreopsis, Calendula, Maximillian Sunflowers, Echinacea, and Stevia. Next year I will try out saving vegetable seeds. It sounds a bit more tricky, since you have to mash, wash & dry them…

It was a bit of a learning process; I hope to write a bit of what I picked up (THAT’S the seed?!?!) in future articles, along with pictures. Pictures speak a thousand words, as usual.

Below are a few pictures of my operation:

 

 

2010-04-08:

Last night the frogs had a party in the pool. The evidence was TONS of eggs laid all around the pool bottom & steps. We had the chlorine level down to zero so that we could do an ascorbic acid treatment on the pool (to remove metal stains), so the frogs turned it into their own party central.

We were able to save some to watch develop in an aquarium.

2010-04-14:

The frog eggs have started to hatch – right on time! According to my research, frog eggs hatch in 6-21 days (this is the 6th day). They will need algae & rotting vegetation to eat until they develop their teeth to grind up plants & bugs.

They are frog eggs for sure; toads lay their eggs in strings, frogs lay them in clumps.

The tadpoles will take 6-9 weeks to develop legs, then they will start eating dead insects & plants. After 9 weeks they will start to look like a frog, but with a tale. By 12 weeks they will be ready to leave the water. We better have the ponds done by July 1!

2010-04-17:
Chopped and uprooted the clover from the lettuce patch. My little interplanting experiment was not successful. the clover was too competitive with the lettuce starts. maybe if the lettuce were further ahead in development…but i needed the clover to shield the soil from evaporation. Another problem was that the moisture levels caused some of the lettuce starts to dampen off.

2010-04-18:

Planted a few of my seedlings today:

  • 2 Cornfield Poppies
  • 2 “Falling in Love” Poppies
  • 3 Bachelor Buttons
  • 2 Maroon Coreopsis
  • 3 Unwins Dahlias
  • 3 Violas

Worked some more on pulling out the clover from the lettuce patch, and laid out the soaker hose for that bed. I still have to patch a hole in that soaker hose.

I am finding leafhopper nymphs and their moltings in the grow cube. Probably got on there when i left that seedling tray outside for a few days. Luckily they were all nymphs, and couldn’t jump or fly, so i was able to kill them. Still haven’t found any eggs…

 

More frog eggs!!! This time they laid them in my little pond (really just a bowl) in the garden.

…and here’s a closeup of the happy parents on the rim of the bowl:

Crook-tail, the lizard, is back. He wanted me to feed him…or her.

2010-04-20:
All the new seedlings that i planted Sunday look good. The frog eggs are all coming along nicely. We got a lot of rain last night & today.

2010-04-21:
All the new seedlings that i planted Sunday look good. The frog eggs are all coming along nicely. We got a lot of rain last night & today.

2010-04-22:

CK & I bought a roto-tiller today:

It works awesome!!! way better than turning the soil under with a shovel. My back was killing me! It still gives me a workout, though. 🙂

there are some people that don’t agree with turning the soil; that it ruins the natural matrix formed by the soil particles & creatures. But it also is the best way to disturb developing pests. and the plants just seem to thrive more in well-draining, loose soil!

2010-04-23

Divided some clumps of Maximillian Sunflowers to give to friends. They spread pretty readily and could definitely challenge the vegetables that I want to grow where they are at. I will have to keep up on them as my Squash & melons develop.

Almost done turning under the future tomato bed. The Honda FG110 cultivator that we bought last week does a fantastic job, but it does get a little bound up with the longer clover stems. I think i should have whacked them back before they got so tall. They are very fibrous. It did great in the areas i had whacked down better.

Planted my winter squash (12 varieties) and melon (12 varieties) seeds today. Gave them all about 2 feet of room, 4 seeds per hole. I will thin to two.

Got on top of the Chamomile, which is growing like weeds everywhere. if it would stay low, it would be nice in the pathways, but it’s only interested in getting tall & flowering. Need to plant something very low-growing and creeping in between the pathway stones. mint? thyme?

Pond project is back in progress. holes are drilled through the earthen walls of the two pond pools. Now we have to order bulkheads & the liner.

Compost pile is doing okay, but there’s too much rock getting mixed in because the area isn’t clear enough, and it’s too close to the fence, so rocks are getting kicked into it. I think we are going to try trench composting – now that we have a cultivator.

Here’s what our tadpoles look like now:

The new eggs out in the garden pond haven’t hatched yet…they should be hatching any day now.

2010-04-24

Transplanted 36 of my 55 tomato starts today. They were looking a little peaked. They will have to go outside now, since they won’t fit in the grow cube.

We also turned over the Chile Pepper bed. That rototiller is awesome!

2010-04-26

Planted my cucumbers today. 8 varieties:

  1. Straight Eight
  2. Sweet Slicer
  3. Sweeter Yet
  4. Sweet Success
  5. Burpless
  6. Lemon cucumbers
  7. Pearl Cucumbers
  8. Bush Champion

This year i am growing them over arched concrete mesh, forming a half-dome. They will crawl over the trellising and shade the lettuce crops that are growing beneath it. This is an idea I picked up from Sally Jean Cunningham, in her book “Great Garden Companions”. I will be throwing some nasturtiums, beans & peas in between the cucumbers today or tomorrow.

Also in the garden today, mosquito larvae are developing in the tadpole bowl. I thought the tadpoles would eat the larvae, but apparently not! I thought putting a few fish in there would clean them out, but I read that the fish will eat the tadpoles…anyone know what will kill the mosquito, but not the tadpoles?

2011-04-22:

Although we are now past our LAST FROST DATE here in Redding, it’s still a bit early to plant out my eggplants and peppers. these nightshades are particularly picky and like the soil temperature to be at 65 degrees F, which means the nighttime temperatures are staying above 50 degrees F. So I have planted out almost all of my tomatoes this week and the potatoes went out in mid-March, although they could have gone in a bit earlier. I also have tomatilloes and ground cherries, also nightshades, to plant, but I have no idea where they are going to go…

Here’s a nifty little site that is full of great information in addition to a soil temperature map. Greencast is mainly a turf management site, but this is a great place to find your soils temperature at all times of the year, as well as evaporation information.

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