Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Decor with Gourds and Squash

Just a little note about the pretty harvest display on my Thanksgiving table yesterday.  I totally forgot to take pictures (even of my family!) until after dinner. 

I didn't grow the decorative mini corn, but the rest were not only grown by me, but grown from saved seeds! I can't take all the credit, the mini pumpkins came up by themselves in the compost pile.  So, hoping to have the same results next year, I casually tossed them out in the garden today! 

Thanksgiving d├ęcor and Benny

turban gourds, "Baby Boo" pumpkins, mini pumpkins, and winged decorative gourds

Thursday, November 28, 2013


No vegetables from my own garden, I don't try to grow fall crops anymore.

We had a few nights in the 20s lately.  I am still amazed how tender lettuce survives the cold.  It will be literally frozen stiff, yet thaw without harm.

I finally got around to cutting the asparagus back nearly to the ground.  After the freezing temperatures the fronds were totally dead.  Then a layer of steer manure to fertilize, since you can't dig it in without damaging the plants.  I do wonder how old these plants are, and how many more years they will be productive.  The plants will produce for 20-30 years, but these may have been planted that long ago!   I think I will plant a new bed this coming spring.  It's never to early to think about spring!

asparagus bed prepared for winter
This is where I will be moving my blueberries later this winter.  They will be in the large containers they are sitting atop now.  I have four Bluecrop and one sickly looking Draper I will replace.  Then they can grow and grow and give a bit of a privacy hedge in case the condos are ever built in that lot behind us.  There is one there now, to the right of the photo, and plans were approved years ago for more, so eventually they'll be there. 

The berries were so pretty a few weeks ago.

Bluecrop blueberry

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Free Iris!

I love iris!  I love getting my iris free even better!  I got free iris a few days ago off Craigslist. If you have a local CL, check out the "free" or "farm and garden" posts daily and find free things for your garden too!

This is the third time I have gotten free iris rhizomes. Iris needs to be divided every few years, so it's pretty common to find people giving the extra rhizomes away.

These new ones are solid deep purple.  Or, they will be, if not this spring, in 2015.  That sounds so far off, but the iris I got in 2011 bloomed this past spring, and the time flew by. 

First, I soaked the iris in a hydrogen peroxide solution for about 20 minutes. Then I lay them in the sun to dry.  You can use bleach too, but I didn't have any.  It's important to do this, especially with plants you are introducing into your own yard.   Rinse well!

soaking in hydrogen peroxide solution (the boney hand in the background is a Halloween decoration!)

drying in sun
Ideally you should have a bed ready to plant.  But, while I know where the iris will be planted, I am nowhere near ready to do so!  So, I temporarily put them in one of my raised garden beds.  In a few months I will transplant them.  This might put their possible spring blooms off until the next year, but it can't be helped.  

These will be planted under my front living room window.  Currently there are overgrown and nasty ol' juniper bushes growing there.  I am not a juniper fan.  Once my green waste trash can is empty, I will start tearing the junipers out.  There are already rocks (of course there are...) bordering the area, so I will just need to dig in some nice soil.  And remove the ever-present and unwanted black plastic sheeting the former owners were so fond of.

Let me share my other free iris photos. 

1) Free neglected iris, formerly planted in very small, shallow bulb planters.  Originally from a city park iris bed.  These did not bloom the first year transplanted. 

2) Free well-treated iris.  The woman had already disinfected them with a bleach solution.  I had to plant these in temporary containers.  Most will bloom next spring.

3) Free iris from last week, temporarily planted in a raised bed.

Craigslist is a wonderful resource for free plants! 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

AAA = Apologies All Around

I owe even myself an apology.  I love adding new posts to this blog. I love choosing photos for each post.  So, with no excuses, let me get back to it!

Everything has died back now.  I have a few lettuces growing, but nothing to "write home about," as they say.  Or at least as my mother used to say.

The blueberry bushes are turning pretty colors. Even though they don't need it, I am going to transplant them into larger containers (such as the one under the planted pot below) once they are dormant.  Then I am going to put the containers out near my back chain-link fence.  We need a bit of a screen there, and I think the berry bushes will get large enough to do.

Bluecrop Blueberry

The boysenberry brambles turned red, and are now shedding their leaves.  Just imagine all those primocanes bearing fruit next year! 

The raspberry is dropping its leaves too.  Until I got the boysenberries I planned to put in a bed of raspberries, but I don't need them now.  The canes grew so long, I knew I needed to move the plant somewhere more permanent.  I am not so sure how well it's going to work, but I moved the container over to the raised bed, and wound the primocanes onto three of the trellises I got last year.  It looks kind of (okay, very) lopsided because the canes were so long I couldn't put the plant in the middle and go both ways!  No wonder raspberry beds are complicated contraptions with wires.

Meeker Raspberry - November 2011
Meeker Raspberry on "new" trellis
I harvested a nice little crop of Cinderella pumpkins, as well as some other variety from the compost heap.

So, now it's just a matter of watering when it doesn't rain, and waiting for dormancy to prune and transplant. 

My son cut one of our overgrown shrubs down to size.  The herb garden gets a lot more light. 

We have also been putting the lawn (did I say lawn?  I mean mud and weed patch) border rocks in place with concrete. It's working out pretty well. 

We are also removing junipers from the front yard, which is a story for another day.  That and my new Craigslist bargain!