Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weed Identification

Ugh - this creeping weed is creeping itself all over the place! It is mainly in the front lawn and it is growing in bald spots as well as very nicely in the lawn itself.

What the heck is it?!?! At first I thought creeping charlie, but that has scalloped leaves. So that isn't it. It is easy enough to pull up so the roots are very deep but it is very, very annoying. I even found a little sprout in my vegetable garden and I rarely get weeds in there because I am so diligent in picking them once, if ever, they do pop up.
Apparently whatever it is it is oblivious to the corn gluten. It has no problem growing wherever it wants. Granted the purple flowers are cute and I may even admit pretty, but I don't want it in my yard!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The War Is On!!!

I have completely had it with the squirrels. I transplanted my lettuce out in the window boxes on my back porch and covered them with bird netting. All was good, then the lettuce started to pick up and I needed to raise the netting. I used wire hangers, bent them in a U shape and inserted them upside down to support the netting and to allow the lettuce to grow. For the past three days I keep finding massive holes in the boxes!!! I wouldn't be so mad if they took the lettuce with them, but Noooooo, them just dig and then leave a half wilted lettuce plant around in the box! I cannot find how they are getting in. The netting is tucked in on all sides, there are no holes and I also placed chicken wire - spoke side up in the window empty adjacent boxes. I am getting really, really pissed. Today they got into my German Thyme. I can't stand it anymore.
I have tried the "Squirrel Be Gone" deterrent and that so doesn't work. I have a packet tied to the Shepherd Hook were I hang suet and there the squirrel was, waltzing around the pack and noshing on the suet.
I think this is a job for some Thai Hot Pepper spray.
Round 1 goes to the squirrels.
The next round is mine.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Sad Spring Day

So this morning the city came and chopped down the very large, very old and very rotten oak tree across the street. I am pretty sure there were Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker families that just lost their homes. I am hoping that they hadn't already laid their eggs.
Tuesday morning a giant limb came crashing down at about 8am and went clear across the street, across the top of a parked car and right up to the front stairs of the house across the street. Thankfully no one was hurt. That is the time of day that all the kids are walking to school and commuters are heading to catch the bus so everyone truly was lucky. The city posted signs on Thursday about its removal and they were here by 7:30 today so I never got a chance to call City Hall to ask if they could wait till the breeding season was over. Not that they would have listened to me but it would have made me feel better that I at least tried. Human safety trumps non-endangered birds any day, but still it doesn't seem fair. I kind of feel that it is now like a game of musical chairs. All the good trees/homes have been taken and these birds now have nowhere to go and probably won't produce a brood this year.
I think I will add more suet cakes to the yard to make up for the lost homes. Again, the birds won't get the gesture but I will know that I am doing what I can for them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tulip Color and Soil Makeup

I know that acid level in the soil can affect the color of hydrangeas but is that true for tulips as well?

These tulips were a bright, "Hello Kitty" pink last year. I naven't planted any new bulbs out back and this is what they look like this year.
That pink tulip also has three buds on one plant. Unheard of in this yard!

I am not a huge fan of red tulips because, well, they are everywhere. So I know I wouldn't have planted this.
I could blame the squirrels for digging it up from somewhere else but they are not helpful little critters that replant. Unless it is the oak growing acorns that they love to bury and forget about.
A Google search is on the list of things to do to find out about this.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Asparagus Has Risen!

FINALLY - I have asparagus!

And also an asparagus bed that needs to be cleaned.

There are 10 plants in total and 8 of them have spears coming up. The other two I am still holding out hope for. I really should have made a bigger bed with more plants because I can only harvest 6-8 spears at a time and really, that is barely a side dish for one! Not that I really have room for a bigger bed, but it is always nice to dream : )

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Or in my case - stalking your vegetables does not make them grow faster!!!! I was hoping for asparagus for Easter this year because it falls so late in the year but as of today I have squat. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Every time I go to empty stuff into the compost bin (which is about every other day) I walk past the asparagus bed and stalk them. I have been doing this for almost 2 weeks now to no avail. I guess the old saying of "all good things come to those who wait" is the motto I should employ at this time.
The good news is that the Bitonto tomatoes have finally sprout indoors, along with just about everything else. The spinach was getting a bit "iffy" so it went out on Sunday. I was shocked to see the Brussels Sprouts up within 1 week! I didn't expect that at all. Seeing as they take 100 days from transplant to harvest I thought they would take awhile to sprout. Apparently not. I am still waiting on the dill, basil and Chinese cabbage to emerge but again, it has only been a week.
The bad news is that it is supposed to rain all week. That could quite frankly rot my peas (which haven't sprouted yet either). I am stalking those as well. I tend to lose a few seeds to the birds/squirrels so I always check to make sure they are still underground and either they still are or they have been stolen. Damn critters!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Too much energy usage?

If you are like me you start your garden indoors months before planting season. But the month of March, at least in New England, is still dark and dreary and cold so everything needs extra love and warmth. Enter the grow lights.

My lighting system is totally DIY and the lights aren’t technically grow lights but fluorescent shop lights that I got at Home Depot.

In total I have 8 hooked up in there and the GE Slim Line lights are linkable so they are only taking up 3 outlets. I am supposed to be able to link 10 together but that would be if they were all in a straight line – the alignment I have them in only allows for two at a time. Thankfully for the linking ones because my surge protector is out of control.

My concern about all this extra seedling love is that those lights are on roughly 12 hours a day, 7 days a week! I think fluorescents are more energy friendly than regular lighting but still I worry about how much I am putting into this process and sucking the life out of the energy grid. This is something I have been thinking about since the other night when I was sitting outside at about 9:30pm and noticed that the lights were still on and boy do they light up the driveway!

Would it be more efficient for me to just buy the plants that are shipped from God knows where and packed in non-recyclable pots? I really enjoy they whole process of growing my own seeds and I feel so much accomplishment when it actually works! I like knowing that they are organic seeds in organic seed starting mix and started in cow/peat pots. How do you balance off the amount of energy used versus the peace of mind that knowing what you are growing is safe?