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What a year

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The last time I posted here, the world had not completely gone to the dogs yet.

This year, I decided to grow everything in my garden from seed. The new thing for me was growing flowers from seed.
Another thing I decided was to start all my seeds outside. Years ago, I started my seeds indoors under grow lights and on top of heat pads. It was a complete success but it took a lot of space inside the house. So this year, I went with Winter Sowing where you put your seeds inside an empty milk jug out in the middle of the Winter and wait for the temperature outside to warm up in the Spring for your seeds to sprout. The main advantage of doing this is that your plants will be cold hardened as a matter of course.
It all worked like a charm.

That is until my new puppy managed to get in the cage and destroyed half my seedlings and pulled EVERY tag from the remaining ones so I had no idea what was what. Fine. Puppies will be puppies and I should have done a better job of securing the cage.

Stoica…

How Does My Garden Grow? plus hügelkultur!

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As I said in my last post, I doubled the cage's capacity:


I added two raised beds that I had lying around and have planted Napa cabbage on one of them already. I covered the whole thing with newspapers (soy ink) and added wood chips on top in an effort to conserve moisture as I will be planting the Summer stuff on the dirt itself.

I planted peas as well since the weather people are telling me we are to have an early Spring --and so far they are right!. In large pots I have sowed some strawberry seeds and purslane.
I also have two blueberry bushes in pots.

Speaking of berries, I was happily surprised to see that my poor lingonberry from last year survived the winter in it's cloth pot. I amended its soil with an acidifier and Hi-Tone fertilizer to give it a fighting chance.

Behind the cage in the picture, you can see my old shed. This year that sucker is becoming my green house. Behind it sits the corner of my yard that will become the permanent strawberry patch. Right now, I ha…

Storms Of A Different Kind

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It is 2020. It is January. It is 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 C) outside. LET US GARDEN!!!

Last year's garden in the cage was a success in spite of everything; storms, dead tree limbs, gophers. Most of that time however, my garden sat unattended. My tomatoes got wild and my peppers often drooped in the Summer heat due to lack of water. Grass grew around the cage and fruit fell unharvested. Alas, not all storms that besiege a garden are Mother Nature's fault.

But all is well. I am back bigger and better as they say. I doubled the cage in size. Now I have 200 square feet to bend to my will. I moved two old raised beds in and added wood chips to the whole thing to prevent weeds and hold on to moisture. This time, unlike last year, I am growing everything from seed.

KASHMIRI PEPPER
Seed catalogs made their way to me and I spent wondrous hours dreaming and scheming. I made my selections and my chosen seeds sit in a plastic bucket biding their time.

I am starting in the Spring with cab…

The Things I Don't Do In The Garden

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I heard somewhere that it is hard to grow orchids. That's been enough to keep me from trying to grow one.
However, since my last heart attack, the one that almost killed me, I'm beginning to rethink what I can or cannot do. For example, I began to try to grow fruit trees from cuttings. For sure I always thought that growing trees from cuttings was better left to expert gardeners. Time will tell if I am right but I am trying anyway. So far I am 0 for 2. In case you are curious, I think I am removing the mini-green house (plastic pop bottle) too soon.
I also want to grow vanilla; yes, way up here in Kansas. But that is a story for another day.

And again, because I am predictable, I will say that whatever lessons I learn in the dirt, can be applied elsewhere in my life.
For example, I am notoriously awkward with people. I find it best not too bother with other human beings; it's a lot safer to my ego and my sanity.

BUT...

I want to grow an orchid. So against all my fears and…

A Different Kind Of Garden

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Sometimes you want to grow a certain plant and you just cannot. Come on, you know you have tried and failed at growing something in your garden.
I have. I have said before that a Master Gardener is someone who has killed more plants than you. I am not a Master Gardener, but I have killed my share of plants.
Maybe your soil is wrong for that plant. Maybe the spot where you put it doesn't get enough sun; or it gets too much. The number of variables is staggering, especially when you consider the number of possible plants to plant and their unique needs.
And sometimes you cannot even have a garden. Sometimes you lose your house in the divorce and you end up in a small apartment where the only window available faces East and your neighbor who has the South-facing balcony is a total ass and won't let you put your beloved potted baby Sassafras tree there...er...but I digress.
What is a gardener to do? Without resorting to the tired cliche of drawing parallels with gardening and lif…

State Of The Garden

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The Cage was exploding. The tomatoes were going wild, the potatoes had blooms already, the cucumbers were reaching up filled with promise of Summer bounty.

Then, calamity.

The first blow came via a couple of branches from the giant Cottonwood tree in my yard. It seemed the old fellow was developing root rot and was beginning to lean menacingly over my and my neighbor's house. The majestic beast had to die. I hired a good old boy with a good nature and a penchant for talking. His crew set to work on the 50 foot tree.

TREE CORPSE
Unfortunately, they couldn't avoid dropping a large branch into the cage. The branch hit so hard it moved the cage half a foot south of its original position. This broke the Early Girl and the Better Boy tomato plants which were doing really well. The branch also crushed my lettuce and my cilantro.

After this assault, the plants recovered quite well. The cherry tomatoes especially were asserting themselves. I had also planted close to 20 pepper plants t…

Cheapskate

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I was asked 'Why are you taking cuttings? Why don't you just buy the trees?"

It's a fair question. I did decide to do my gardening with as little money as possible this time around.
so in a sense I am a cheapskate.



However, there are a few reasons why cuttings are a good idea.

WINTER HARDINESS
The main reason for taking Persimmon cuttings is that I know the trees I am taking the cuttings from have survived many Winters in my area. By taking the cutting and rooting it, I ensure my Persimmon tree will also survive the Winter.

FUN
It is a lot of fun to root a cutting. There is much to learn in this hobby/business and nothing beats experience when it comes to growing plants.

PLANT CHARACTERISTICS
While walking around the park with my friend, we found several Mulberry trees. One of them gave considerably sweeter berries than the other ones. If I wanted to get the same berries, taking a cutting, which produces an identical tree, DNA-wise, is the only way to go.
Or take my N…