Thursday, April 29, 2010

Second official growing season in Full Swing

In zone 8 the weather is warm throughout most of the day and there has been no let down from the rain; although Bob has had his fair share of producing rays without being hindered by any cloud cover. The robins have figured out that there is a healthy cache of delicious worms just below the surface of our raised gardens, which causes my wife to panic when they are scurrying around the Strawberry patch. Speaking of strawberries; it is our official second season with the patch and I didn't know what to think when we planted a few plugs last year. This year they seem to have taken off and although we are having plenty of flowers that are producing strawberries, they are not sweet for some reason. Maybe they have to sit for a while but I'm afraid that if they do all the berry eating birds will gobble them up once they learn they are there. If its not bugs, dogs, and hail destroying your garden you can count on those birds eating what you enjoy. But it's a trade off. I love looking at the birds make our garden their home.

The beans have have germinated and in typical bean fashion they have pushed through the earth like line backers ready to grow. The most enjoyable part of gardening this second season is watching my plants from last year that I pulled up and place in containers respond to the season once again. Most notably my Japanese eggplant; it's almost like we have become friends. To me a plant that sets flowers is like my buddies who stop over with a case of beer and meat for the grill. They plan on staying for awhile. Watching these plants grow from one year to the next and preserving plants from one season to the next that have been pulled from the earth and cultivated in containers adds a whole new dimension of possibilities for the Urban farmer. It addresses the issue of space and time consumed with a busy schedule. Not that planting a garden is really busy work to me. I enjoy it. But either way spring has greeted us and our little urban garden is responding wonderfully. The wife is doing things her way for the first half of the year and I suspect everything will be neat and orderly. During our second half of the growing season I will commence to start my Jungle. There is just something about the jungle that I like. Things growing everywhere, dense foliage that can not be seen through appeals to me, but scares the hell out of my wife. I look forward to it:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Over Wintered Plants looking good

A while back I posted a few blogs about my quest to overwinter some of my veggies in containers. As with everything it was all experimental and I had no idea what the results would be, with the exception of a few actual accounts posted from other bloggers about their success.
Well, spring is here and my Japanese eggplant which I love and pepper plants are doing great. They don't look like much but the fact that they are growing new foliage is a absolutely fabulous. Overwintering veggies plants is a great idea for those who want to jump start their growing season and who want to utilize their garden for veggies that don't do well in containers and need more room. As of now, sweet and hot peppers seem to do well being overwintered along with eggplant and tomatoes. I say tomatoes but I don't actually have any. That's a another bitter story that me and the lady fuss about, to this day. Anyway, moving along...... Tomatoes are a bit finicky, real cold temps put them out, so any place in the house with a good light source and temps comfortable enough for a human should suffice. I had some beautiful tomato plants growing during the winter, but a weekend away here and there and being extremely busy left them to vunerable. And I also have this amazing cat that loves to chew things on spite. I would be one of those kids that told his teacher that my cat ate my homework, because it really did. So know tomato plants. I will start again this year. As for now we are enjoying the plants unfold and sprout new growth. Spring is awesome!!
I can't wait to see what type of harvest we will have this year. speaking of which. My wife and I are splitting up our seasons for the garden. She has went from not wanting to garden to wanting to garden her way. So because GA has two growing seasons she will take the first season and I will take the next. The first step I had to take was get rid of my twig fence;( She absolutely hated that thing. She has sinced replaced it with some Martha Stewarty thing. So oh well, I guess gardening as a couple has turned into this big competition. I must admit we have different gardening styles. Hers is a bit more manucured and mine tends to look like an unkept jungle. But I really love my jungle, for me it's and adventure, but for her she feels like the plants want to eat her;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where are all the Lightening bugs!?!?!

Every year spring comes and is greeted by summer. During spring I love to watch the migratory birds head toward their nesting grounds. I love to see emerging butterflies flutter about soaking in the sun. I look forward to seeing those honey bees fill up with pollen. But there is nothing that represents spring and summer more than the neon glow of the lightening bug. I remember as a kid running around in the cities of New York and New Jersey catching lightening bugs and sticking them in my plastic juicy cups. We would have a mini competition to see who can catch the most. Lightening bugs were my introduction to spring and summer and also my gateway to explore the world of bugs period. There was not one place that I have not visited in the US that did not have lightening bugs. But sad to say they are just apart of my childhood memories. It's almost like "Where the wild things are." Tucked away some place and admired from a many memories ago. I can't show a lightening bug to my kids because there are not any to be found. So where did they go? or am I not just looking in the wrong place.

As I was doing research on beneficial bugs in the garden I came across the fact that lightening bugs are at the top of the list for beneficial bugs in the garden. Lightening bugs or as some may call them fire flies are predators who during there larva stage eat a whole host of bad creatures like snails and cut worms. It's a shame that in my adult life I can not give these guys the habitat they need to thrive. Somebody has an answer. I heard from a few researchers on the issue speculating everything from habitat loss to light pollution. Whatever it is, there is a serious decline in lightening bugs so much so I might have a better chance at seeing the Yeti.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Forget about it Gardening

Last growing season one of my main efforts was to grow sage and oregano. It proved more difficult than I expected. I tried everything and it seemed that the seeds just wouldn't take. Big Sigh:( Fast Forward through the winter into the beginning of this spring and my Sage that I had virtually forgotten about, are growing strong. Sometimes it just seems that little means more and I don't know what I did to make them grow but apparently ol Momma nature knew what to do. So needless to say Im happy. I love sage plants and oregano, I think they are beautiful in design and smell absolutely wonderful. My wife, saw the need to water them once a week and from her stand point they seemed to have just grown overnight. I remember just seeing one tiny plant and thought to myself that my Sage would be hopeless. I honestly forgot about them, but apparently they didn't forget about me:)