Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yup. Still alive. How 'bout a Garden Update?

Rats.  I don't seem to be getting Traffic Reports for the blog anymore (probably because I haven't posted a damned thing for months ???  No clue!).  I *am* on Pinterest though, and I get notifications when my pins get shared.  That's another good way to "gauge" what folks are interested in, when they 'interact' with me.

It still feels like I'm more of a Foodie Blogger - since those are the posts (and pins) that seem to get the most traffic.  But I'm trying my damndest to be a Garden Blogger too!

I'm also a lazy blogger - but you already knew that! - so my latest update is an edited Copy/Paste of an email I sent to my Garden Coach at Indie-Farms.  If you're an SF Bay Area Gardener who needs help and/or ideas, check 'em out!  


Hydro-Lime is doing *quite* well - in spite of two pump fubars!

The first occurred while we were out of town for a long-weekend.  One of the emitters escaped the hydroton and proceeded to dump nutes all over the ground (the weeds were most appreciative!).  Pump ran dry and died - Grrr!

Quick run to Home Depot to pick up a "lesser" pump (orig pump was 250 GPH, HD pump was 150 GPH).  The HD pump kinda sucked eggs.  I removed the 2GPH emitter-doohickeys at the end of the drip-lines so that the nutes could actually circulate.  Seemed "okay" - but I didn't trust it.  So I ordered a replacement 250GPH pump from Amazon.

Long story short: I'm keeping the cheesy HD pump as a back-up and I'm back to using the new 250 GPH pump - sans emitter-doohickeys.  Once again, one of the drip-lines escaped - but I noticed it during TiKi TiMe and was able to prevent another disaster.  And now I've tied everything together with twine so the drip lines can't escape.  Not very "elegant" - but it seems to be working!

Hydro-Lime tree looks *very* happy with lots of baby limes - Mmmmm!  It's putting out new growth, as well.  Nice and GREEN.  Me = Happy!

I think I may have some "challenges" when the tree gets bigger (although it is a dwarf variety).  Not sure how I'll support it as it grows - right now, it's just got the same bamboo stake that it came with.  I guess I'll burn that bridge when I get there...

What else is cool:  I've got an AeroGarden - growing culinary herbs - over the kitchen sink.  Well, the AeroGarden has it's own on-board system that tells me to change the nutes every two weeks.  I'm using that as my "clock" (calendar?) to tell me when to change-out the solution in the Hydro-Lime.  And the old solution gets recycled by watering my other patio planters.  Win-Win!

Couple of random Hydro-Lime Progress Pics (sorry, I don't have the energy nor attention span to crop 'em and pretty 'em up!)

I also had a crazy idea about building a hydroponic strawberry planter - but I never got past "Gee, that's an interesting idea" stage!  I'm okay with experimenting with my hydro-lime, for now...


Raised beds: Doing okay.  I'm only using 2 of the beds, this year.  The third (Former-Finny-Farm) is a giant compost pile - soon to be a Chicken Playground (let *them* turn my compost, right?!).  The other two beds have Artie the Artichoke, squashes, pumpkins, corn, beans and melons (Three Sisters Planting!).  Plus maybe a volunteer tomato (or two), and 3 volunteer sunflowers.  

Oh, and "Surprise Potatoes!"  All winter, I was tossing old squishy potatoes out into the garden beds (mostly in the Compost Bed).  Many have grown and I have to be careful when digging because We've Got Spuds!

Anyhoooo...  Veggie vines are growing quite nicely.  I've seen some blossoms - but no fruit yet.

Random Garden Pics:
 Raised beds - before weeding (back in April)

 Tomatillo blossoms
 Artie lost his head!
Artie's bed with "Three Sisters" planting of squash, beans and corn

Patio 'Maters:  So I had to limit myself to 6 'Mater Plants this year (:::GASP:::).  I've got them in my Grow-Box Self Watering Planters.  Plants look PHENOMENAL!!!  This year, I opted for the "Organic" Mulch-Mats (Jobe's Organic Fertilizer - Meh!).  I used fresh organic potting soil (can't remember which brand - but NOT Home-Depot, k?!), and amended with Worm Poop before planting.

Maters are as tall as me now.  Of course, I had to raise the planters to keep 'em out of dogs' reach (damned omnivores!).  I've seen quite a few flowers, and - yay Stupice! - I've even got a few baby maters!

Random Mater Pictures:
 Transplant Day - April 19

 May 10 - Lookin' good...

 May 17 - Flowers! :-D

 May 17 - They're growing quickly (and I have to keep weaving them back into the cage/supports!)

 May 21 (I'm starting to regret not setting-up my Plant-Cam!)

 June 5 - as tall as me now!

  First 'Maters!  Stupice variety

CHICKENS (Compost-Turners):

Ooh!  I forgot to tell my Bloggie Buddies!  I'm getting chickens!

Due to arrive June 16.  Pretty excited about that!  I think they'll live in my studio for the first few weeks.  Originally, I thought I could keep 'em in the greenhouse but - SUMMER WEATHER! - Yeah, it gets well over 100* in the greenhouse during the day.  Not too eager for "roasted chicken!"  Studio is insulated, and I think I'll re-purpose one of my seedling heat mats to keep the chickies warm 'til they feather-out.

Random Chicken Pics:
 My (empty) chicken coop!  I fear it may be a bit too small for 3 hens (although I did select smallish breeds).

 Not my chicken! This is an Ameracauna Hen, they lay green eggs (srsly!)
Ameracaunas aren't too "uniform" in appearance.  I have no idea if this is what my hen is gonna look like!

 Golden Buff Hen.  Lays brown eggs (again, not my chicken!)

White Crested Black Polish (you *know* I'm gonna name her Tina Turner!).  Lays white eggs.  
And no, not my chicken!

My chickens are coming from a hatchery in Modesto, CA.  I suspect they are still "eggs" right now - but due to hatch soon!

And I really-really-really hope I don't end up with any "Surprise!" Roosters.  We can't have roosters in San Jose, so cross your fingers, k?!


Gonna have a bumper-crop of Santa Rosa Plums.  I'd say in a matter of days. I'm good for a couple of jamming sessions...  Maybe a pie or cobbler or two - but I'm gonna have WAY more plums than I-know-what-to-do-with! (My inner Grammar Nazi just cringed!). I'll probably look into the local food-bank(s) - although I have a sneaking suspicion that they do not take backyard produce.  If not, there's always neighbors, Facebook and Freecycle!

 Feb 16 - Plum Blossoms

 April 29

 June 5 - there's gonna be a LOT of plums!

June 5 - I think about another week 'til harvest time!

I think Satsuma Plum Tree will be bearing fruit for the first time.  Not "insane" like Santa Rosa, though.  I love Satsuma Plums (deep purple flesh, all the way through - goozy and juicy so you look like a vampire after eating 'em!)

These Satsuma babies are about the size of cherries!

White Peaches will also be INSANE this year.  And possibly early - not sure.  I culled a lot of babies, but not nearly enough.  Gonna be LOTS of smallish peaches.  I may need to prop-up some of the heavier branches so I don't have another disaster this year.

Yellow Peaches (later harvest).  Not a HUGE harvest - of course, I thought that last year (and I recall that I *literally* had nightmares over the quantity of peaches I harvested, last summer!).  Bigger fruits on the Yellow Tree, and hopefully not *quite* as abundant as last year!

Peachy Peaches:
 Feb 16 - Peach Blossoms + Bonus Pollinator (on the right)

 March 28 - Baby White Peaches (Early Bearer)

 April 16 - White Peaches comin' along...

 June 5 - White peaches still have a few weeks to go...
June 5 - Yellow Peaches (Later harvest - probably late July-ish)

No cherries this year - Boo! (But I heard it's a crappy cherry year - all around).

CITRUS (Other):

Mandarin and Dirty Lime look like sh*t.  Dirty Lime does have some fruit, but it does NOT look happy.  Mandarin looks like it's barely clinging to life (this, in spite of using my leftover nutes for watering, AND amending with a boatload of worm-poop!).  Oh, and they were both potted-up, late last year, with fresh potting mix.  

A buddy of mine (who used to live in Vegas), told me that they used to amend their citrus trees with Chelated Iron.  No clue if that's organic or not (I'm guessing "not") - but I'm getting desperate - so I ordered a jug from Amazon.  I'll mix up a weak batch and try a soil-soak.  Not sure I want to do foliar application since I *do* have fruit on the lime tree.  But the leaves are looking very sickly and yellow, and I've gotta do *something!*

Fussy Dirty Citrus Pics, taken June 5 (I'm almost embarrassed to post these!  But maybe I'll get some killer "After" shots if I can ever solve my chlorosis woes!)

 Dirty Lime does have some fruit...

 I'm pretty sure Bearss Limes aren't supposed to have variegated leaves!

Sicky Mandarin

Allllrighty then!  How's that for a Garden Update?  I'm not even gonna waste your time with my usual "blah-blah-gonna-post-more-often" crap.  I'll post when I can!  

Happy Gardening!!!

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