Yard & Garden Stuff

No fabulous dishes came out of the kitchen today because my day was interrupted by an appointment with Dr. Ben Dover (Say it fast. The men will know to whom I am referring). Instead of something about food I’ll post some yard and garden stuff and try not to bore you too much.

I am attempting to grow a “barrel” full of potatoes this year. The idea is to plant potatoes at the bottom of the container in a little dirt, and when the foliage emerges above the soil more dirt is added until the barrel is full of soil and the roots of the plants are spread throughout producing a bounty of potatoes. I’ve started with the container leaning to capture at least some sun during the day. As it is filled with soil the tilt will be adjusted until it is ultimately upright.

yard stuff

Two pulls of the trigger was all it took to sufficiently perforate the bottom for drainage.

yard stuff

yard stuff

Time to add more soil…

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Some of my planting beds were overtaken by weeds and invasive plants the last few years. I went to great lengths to regain control by removing and replacing all the soil after sifting out all the roots, grubs and snails. Earthworms were added back into the soil. This bed had been overtaken by Evening Primrose. The pink flowers are very pretty but the plant is extremely invasive and chokes out all the other plants. There are other areas where the Evening Primrose is welcome to go wild, for the time being…

yard stuff

yard stuff

yard stuff

yard stuff

yard stuff

This planter was built of cypress timbers left over from a job at a country club. I thought they would hold up to the elements better than they have. This may be the last year this planter will serve.

yard stuff

yard stuff


This small triangular bed bordered with sections of train rails has been plagued with weeds from the beginning. After removing and sifting the soil I lined the planter with brown paper (bags) before adding back the sifted soil.

I have many times started new planting areas by laying down newspaper directly on top of weeds and grass then putting new soil on top and planting crops. The layer of paper smothers the weeds, and by the time the crops have taken hold the paper has deteriorated enough for the roots to penetrate right through. No digging required!

yard stuff

yard stuff

A few okra plants are doing well.

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Sometimes I allow certain weeds to grow (for a time) if they are edible or otherwise useful (medicine). Here I am letting pokeweed grow temporarily amongst planted crops. They will be pulled up by the roots when big enough to harvest for food.

yard stuff

Here the weed purslane is allowed to grow alongside squash plants. Purslane is delicious and may be the plant with the highest content of omega 3 fatty acids.

yard stuff

yard stuff


A yearly conundrum is, what to do with volunteers. Do I allow these volunteer tomato plants to grow where they are to the detriment of surrounding crop plants, or transplant them to an as yet nonexistent planting area, or just yank them out of the ground and compost them. Volunteer tomato plants are usually the most vigorous growers and the most disease resistant, however, if they are from hybrid stock they will only produce tiny cherry tomatoes albeit prolifically. What to do, what to do…?

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I think it may be time to make mint pesto before the summer heat swelters and the plants waste away.

yard stuff


I didn’t plant very many peas. Neither of us are willing to put much effort into hulling them. They seldom end up on the table as a significant part of a meal. I grow just a few for grazing on while lingering in the garden. Freshly picked raw peas are a delicacy known by few other than gardeners.

 

yard stuff

yard stuff


Cabbage butterflies and their caterpillars have devastated my gardening efforts so much that I nearly gave up growing certain crops the last few years. I read a post by The Tiny Potager which inspired me to cover my cabbage plants with netting to prevent the butterflies from laying their eggs on the plants in the first place. I just happened to have bird netting left over from when I used to grow strawberries. Cabbage butterflies can be rather small but I am optimistic this might actually work.

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Nopalitos…?

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Last year the wild black cherries hardly blossomed or put on fruit. This year the squirrels and birds will be going crazy on them if I don’t beat them to it.

yard stuff

Speaking of birds, this birdbath I carved out of granite is their favorite, and not just the birds. I have observed feral cats, foxes, the neighbor’s chickens, chipmunks and squirrels satisfy their thirst from it. Muddied water in the morning has indicated that raccoons made use of it as well. I found the stone on a job site in downtown Charlotte. I presume it may have been a curbstone or one rejected for that purpose.

yard stuff


I was cutting grass and weeds with the string trimmer the other day and exposed an oddity. The discovery prompted a little excavation and this is what was revealed. Evidently someone was so absorbed with their pastime of gardening that they dived right into it.

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