Tuesday, May 19, 2009

my zinnia curse

Zinnias aren't safe around me.

Last year it was aphids.

This year, there was one hot day in the greenhouse after spending two weeks longing for sun in my mudroom - these guys were toast.

I'll start a few more from seed and see if I can coax them into blooming before winter... but I think in a past life, I wronged someone who had something to do with zinnias.

(The tomatoes and nasturtiums and sweet peas along with many others are looking FANTASTIC.  It's just the zinnias.  I'm cursed.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

which varieties work best for upside-down tomatoes?

I hate to disappoint you, but I really don't have an answer.

The Handyman and I were discussing the possibilities after we noticed a very sad roma hanging from the upside-down bucket on the right.

He's got a few crispy edges and doesn't seem to want to make that full turn towards the sun.  

The other two sweet 100's look great, so if the roma doesn't perk up soon, he may be transferred to the raised bed space (and replaced by my favorite, gardener's delight!)

The first year of upside-down tomatoes, the handyman did a brandywine, a juliet, and a forgotten-variety of cherry.  The brandywine did okay, but it had a pretty average yield with quite a bit of weight-strain on the plant.  The others were superb.

 Last years patio princesses and gardener's delight and tumbling toms were all quite successful, even if the patio's didn't ripen very quickly in our cool summer.

No matter what works best, my favorite's still the gardener's delight (have I already mentioned that?).  We went to Moeller's Nursery down in Corvallis - they'd advertised in Craigslist that they have twenty-something tomato varieties, all for $1.25 a piece.  They definitely didn't disappoint.  

They didn't have gardener's delight, but they said the cherry red's were identical (I hope they're right!)  I also got some sunsugar and sweet millions to try... In the meantime, I'll poke around the old interweb to see if I can find a more definitive answer to the question!

(P.S. Moellers had bell peppers and hot peppers for a buck each.  And holy moly, it was petunia heaven - even Burpee doesn't have that many varieties for sale! It was great!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

to garden or not to garden...

It's not really a question.

Despite other pressing needs... we're heading to the garden plots right now!

Monday, May 4, 2009

tilling Martha's garden plot

Remember Martha from last year?

She's got her same plot again this year.  And it needs some love. 

Supposedly there's some garlic in there.

Luckily, the Handyman bought a tiller off Craigslist (thank you to two retired gardeners in Helena!).   After having such a good time blazing through our plots, he's decided to post a few flyers advertising his rototilling services for $15 per plot - not so much to subsidize, but more to justify his new purchase.  

It's a bit of a beast to handle (so I've heard), but it does the job pretty quickly.  If I were sans Handyman, I'd probably have to go for a little Mantis or something... But since I've access to the beast and the Handyman, I'm pretty content to watch my plot - and Martha's - get chewed.

Someone needs pull up his pants.  I wish I could be like the Pioneer Woman and brag about my fella's backside, but handyman just don't wear levi's like the cowboys do (or carharts).  

I'm okay with that.

I'm not okay with fingers heading towards sharp things.  

Don't be fooled though, the Handyman is quite safe. 

So... how bout them Red Wings?  For those of you luckier than me, it's Stanley Cup season, by the way.  

The final product? 

Dandelions destroyed while the garlic is safe and sound in a bed of straw.

Can't wait to check back, Martha!  

Sunday, May 3, 2009

late for the party

Not only are we extremely late with the starts this year, I'm extremely late posting about the starts. 

I'm glad we didn't just to skip it all together this year.  There's something about planting seeds and watching for those first little leaves that makes me feel like spring has arrived.  It's become the apple cider smell of fall or the bright lights of Christmas. 

I decided not to start any cosmos or calendulas from seed.  The calendulas have reseeded themselves nicely in one of my beds, and I sprinkled some of the cosmo seeds that we gathered from the 2007 season into another bed.  We had better germination from them than from the original seeds in the packet - so I'm hopeful they'll all turnout.

I did a few annuals, but I'm trying to start several perennials.  I have oodles of shastas - painted and alaskan, some more delphinium, more columbine, a few butterfly bushes, and some geum. 

Oh, and of course, lots of veggies: pumpkins and squashes and luffa, and spaghtetti's. (We don't eat butternut so we don't grow that one.)  

The organization I work for has recently undergone a name change.  I have a large box of business cards that will soon become obsolete, and I've been trying to think of interesting ways to use them.  They made nice markers for the starts; by the time they disintegrate, I bet the starts will be big enough to be recognizable on their own.

Does anyone else have any ideas about how I could use the other cards?  I have about seven hundred to go...