Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Since we last tuned in...

Heh, another beautiful day here at Growbox Hill. Sunny, warm, and breezy.

And the power was out. Apparently around three this morning a wind took out a tree onto lines. My love was up early this morning, and had already called into the power company with an ETA for being back on, and ran up to the gas station to get a big ole cup of coffee for us to share. He so totally rocks. Well, power came back on a little while later, so it was on and about the day.

Got section 2 of the tulips planted in- The Darwin Mix and the Berry Mix. Since there were more of them I dug up 2 fence sections, but once I got the cans set in I had a bit of space left over. No problem, less for me to have to dig up tomorrow. Sprinkled in the Curly Parsley all over them, and gave the whole border a good drink. This time I just ran all the hoses down the yard as far as I could, which was the corner of the pole barn, then used my huge blue wheelbarrow as a well to dip out a few buckets of water. Hopefully I won't have to do that too many times to get the border set in, then Mama N takes it from there.
Discovered we have a few little strawberry plants growing right on the corner of the pole barn. Think I need to encourage those to fill in along the wall as much as possible. I've spotted a small cluster of them in back too, I might try to transplant them.
And ah, the orchard is lovely. The one little tree in the center appears to be dead :( But the cherries have just gone out of bloom and are starting to show little nubs, and WOOT! looks like the peach might be in the same boat! I'm sooo hoping that the peach is able to be rejuvenated. The pear and apples are in full blossom. The Green Gauge Plum is happily putting out leaves :) If the center tree really is dead, I will have to remove it of course- that will leave us with a circle of 9 fruit trees.
Slung some more horse poo. Filled the blue wheelbarrow about 2/3 full. Dunno how much weight that is, but it's about the max that I can push around the yard. Shoveled it all out over the leaf bed I cleared out of the runs and into the end, and watered the whole thing really well. It will get watered in a couple more times before I transplant the beans in. They can wait in the pots for a few days yet, I want to water in the bed as well as possible before planting.
Next I almost filled a black tub with horse poo. Then up to the back door for some topsoil dressing. Whew, the wheelbarrow was much easier to push around. Dressed in the pot, and planted in Mr. Stripey Tomato. Heh, got it over to the runs, and realized testing lifting the tub that it is a two man job. So my love helped me get it into place. Stuck a 4 prong cage all the way in, and we shall see how this goes. I was initially planning on planting in the rows this year. But right now I got the containers and the area clear to try out lots of container gardening now. So I'm going for it. The neighbors were about while I was loading up today, and offered next time they got the front loader out, they can dump horse poo wherever I want it.
I was planning on filling another three litter buckets today, but by the time the tomato was in place, I was all screw it, enough weight training for one day.
And just a note on using manure. The pile that I'm digging from has been aging for over a year. Always use aged manure. If it smells like manure, it hasn't aged enough. It should smell good, like dirt or mud. Yep, sniff that poo to make sure it is right. If you don't, you might fry your plants.

So on to some stretches, AKA weeding. Pulled up the whole outside strip of the herb garden. Next time I mow I'm going to have to drive real slow and careful around the whole edge along there to figure out what exactly is my mowing edge, and what I still need to address. I think I may want to try introducing creeping thyme along that edge. It didn't seem to want to be too naughty of an herb, so dressing it in there might work nicely. Pulled out a large armload of weeds to toss onto the compost pile. The glass border really does look rather nice when everything is cleaned up. In the fall I have to gather up chestnut hulls again for around the redbud tree. I noticed I have some raspberry brambles to clean up as well. I think I will do a second bramble nest around the base.

Weeded out the wee folk garden too. It seems to be a popular spouting place for maple starts, and nope, don't need a cluster of that there. Sad but true. Pulled out quite a bit of small grass clumps too. Since I started leaving in the violets last year and did a good weeding, this wasn't too difficult. The soil all around the solarium is really easy to work with. The next batch of moss I pull off the mother I think will be used to seriously start carpeting in that area. The FOH garden still needs tons of work before trying more major moss there. I am pleased to say that quite a bit of the moss I planted in spring of 2011 after repairing the brick walk now looks mostly like it's been there for ages. The on soil clumps are not dead, but they aren't plush either. Just keeping up with the area now is what is needed most. And I won't be moving the moss too far off from it's mother area by setting it into the wee folk garden, which might help set it in better.

Poked around a bit along the East side of the solarium. We have a few nice clumps of daffs that have faded bloom, and a goodly spot of iris blades coming up. And several small roses. And uck, some wild grape that needs to be eradicated, all mixed in with some rather heavy spots of ditch lillies. Those lillies need to go, thank you. I think I might be able to move the roses back closer to the windows at least, clear out some of the lillies to do so.
Looks entirely possible that we might be getting some semblance of order around this whole corner or the house. Still need to address the maple tree that is growing far too close to the south wall though. I utterly loathe having to kill off a tree, but in this case, it must happen. Best decision now is how to do it. I don't want to level it completely, it it a perfect post where it is.

Planted in the pots outside the great room with Cherry Nasturtium. I forgot about it last night, but early on today I tossed the seed into some warm water and set them out on the railing with a covered breathable container for most of the day. They were already rather large seed and had swelled up considerably during the heat and sun of the day. I'm hoping for a clusterfuck of blossoms to deal with later this season.

Identified a couple birds recently in the yard- White Crowned Sparrow by the feeders, and Killdeer out in the yard. I wasn't sure what the Killdeer was at first, but it's distinctive cry helped me identify it :) As an ucky, the lights popped on late last night and it was a frigging possom in the yard. Ugh. Looks like it's time to start spreading out the you aren't welcome mat.

So Happy Thursday! Another beautiful day to be out in the yard :)

Got the last section of the tulip border in, hooray! Glad that project is done, tearing up the fenceline by hand is no frigging fun. Now I just get to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best down there other than a couple more waterings between now and next time it rains.
Orange Queen
Banja Luka
Leen Van der Mark
Didn't sprinkle seed in, didn't have anything I particularly wanted to sow in there- yet.

Time for more poo slinging, heh. Got all 6 litter buckets filled and 1 black tub. The plants for the litter buckets aren't ready to transplant yet, but that's ok. Looks like the Alibi Cuke and Bushel Gourd might not pop at all, and that's ok too- I can use those buckets for Patio Tomato instead. I decided to try planting three of the Lemon Boy Tomatos in one tub this time, ringing a four legged tomato cage. They are supposed to be super viney, 6-8 feet, so if it's too unruly, I will drape it over the runs. Why Lemon Boy when that is absolutely on the Seminis/Monsanto born? Because it is a good seed to save for trading. And it's a good experimental tomato to try tri planting with while not sacrificing any good heirloom seeds. Yeah, we will eat them this year, but won't be saving the seed for our own garden next year. One more black tub to go tomorrow, for the Black Krim Tomato. Then I'm done slinging poo for at least a wee bit- we are kind of out of litter buckets, hehehe. But geez, think I've moved over 500 lbs a day for the last three days!
Still have tons of little pots on the porch, mostly languishing brassicas, beets, and carrots. They all look pretty darn unhealthy- I'm not sure if I'm starting the seed to early, or what, but they just don't look all robust and such for planting out. The marigolds are still rather small too.
Scattered in some Blue Boy Bachelor Button and Covent Garden Gypsophila down by Moons grave. I still want to plant in some irises for her, but I figured if I can get some pretty wildflowers to take, that would be nice as well.
All that kind of crapped me out on yard work for the day. Only got in a little more than three hours, but I was starting to feel it by the time I was done. I can't afford to push too hard and hurt myself. I can tell I'm getting into better shape after being a winter sloth though, and that's kind of nice. Been feeling a bit achy by the end of the day, but waking up feeling good. I'd like to keep it that way.
Still not sure what to do about the kind of crispy brassicas. But I think I might try planting in the Golden Beets and the carrots that looks good in the herb garden. I still have a section open, and figure why not use the space to grow something? At this point, we have so much already growing close to the house, I'd rather keep filling in up here for now. Leave the whole row area open to work up however I need to without also having to watch out for plants.

I think some of my ideas about the veggie row and living fence are changing a bit. I might be leaning more to 4x4 boxes instead of 4x8 boxes. I think in the long run, that will end up being the easier setup to use. Last years black plastic run really taught me a lot about my spacing in the area.

I was just wondering earlier today if we would get Baltimore Orioles this year- we didn't last year, maybe due to the weather. What made me wonder was a flash of orange in the orchard. Well just now, I saw a flash of orange in the redbud tree and heard a call- and it was a Baltimore Oriole. I really got a good look at him while he gave a call I could see him moving to- and that was not a robin. We just so happened to have a stray orange sitting around and a couple fruit spikes my love printed up that I "dressed" with some rubber calla lilly petals I got the stems on clearance for ages ago. The big petals helps mark them out. I tried at first with green ones, but those got too lost. Now I'm trying yellow, and so far they pop pretty darn well.
I've also heard the calls of Ruby-throated Hummingbird, haven't seen one yet. Time to set up hummingbird feeders. 

Over the last few days I've been greatly pleased to see a few kinds of friendly bees flying around. Big fat bumbles have been hanging out ever since the first blooms of spring. Some of our local orchard and if I wasn't mistaken, possibly a true honeybee among the blooms of the orchard and lilacs. Of course I've been stuffing my head in and sniffing the blossoms as I've been buzzing by.

Well, that was last week, now it's Monday. Over the weekend, didn't get much done. Filled the last black tub and set a Black Krim into it, transplanted a couple plants that were ready to go into litter buckets, planted a couple short rows of beets and carrots in the herb garden. Mowed the whole yard- I really need to do a tune up on the lawn mower soon.. Got couch for free- one of my buddies moved, and they offered it to me. It's used, yep, but it's rather nice. Heh, while they were here, they moved the huge picnic table under the trees too- wonderful outdoor spot. The back neighbors had said last summer we could slide it back over, that's where it was when they owned the place- it finally got moved, lol. Decided I was tired of digging my pans out of a cabinet, and hung them all up on the wall.

As a bit of house history.. Found out the south neighbor built that house with his father in law in 1969 :). And that the tree planted outside my office window was the last tree grandma planted on the property before she passed away.

Today was supposed to be a rainy errand running sort of day, but instead it turned out to be an overcast and breezy sort of day... And apparently a crafty sort of day.  The Orioles and probably a hummingbird or two already totally emptied the orange I put out, no surprise. So while I was cleaning the hummingbird feeder and making a simple syrup for it, I thought, hey, I should make another hummingbird feeder. And an Oriole nectar feeder too while I'm at it.
So I grabbed a couple short recycled plastic sour cream cream tubs and a couple of wine bottles and had at it. Made holes in the lids for the bottleneck and some holes for birds to eat out of. Then busted out with my myriad of paints and gels and decorated the tops. Red with a ring of yellow around the holes for the hummingbirds, and a couple colors of orange mocked up to look sort of like a large orange slice. Used some old ribbons to tie up the bottles proper for hanging. They are hanging drying right now- I did an outside seal on the bottle, then weighted the tubs with some glass stones so the things hang straight while curing. I figure they are gonna take a goodly couple days to really cure nicely before outdoor use.
That meant I kind of wanted to do something more immediate for feeder action. Still need to pick up oranges and birdseed when I'm in town, but hey. I found out Orioles are supposed to like jelly, particularly orange, but other flavors too. So I made four little jelly feeders out of recycled little glass sample jars- the ones you get a bit of jam or mustard in. Wound a bamboo skewer perch onto each one with leftover embroidery floss, added a wire loop, and filled with sweets. Apricot preserves, raspberry jam, lemon curd, and wiped out the last of the lingonberry jam. I just hung them up a little while ago, so we shall see if birds get interested or not.

Over the weekend my love assembled our new pellet grill/smoker we got gifted with. I baked some cauliflower to toss with garlic roasted beets, grilled the beer brats, then smoked up a 5 pound bag of potatoes. I let the potatoes chill for a day in the fridge, they are now on the dehydrator. They smelled smokey when I cut them up, so maybe that flavor will come through when I cook them up.

So now it's Tuesday, and I really need to publish today... Been tending to ramble on then not publish often enough, hehehe.

We got in some rain last night, actually woke me up- just long enough to think, oh shit, the luffas- but figured they would be ok. They were :) Power went out this morning for no apparent reason, it was much nicer than it was last night. Go figure. But the day turned out to be a fairly fine one.
Had to drain off pretty much all the containers of seedlings. But hey, probably won't have to water for a day or few now :)
Decided that it was time to plant in the rest of the run seedlings. Into their tubs went Fin de Meaux cucumber, Tigger Melon, and Minnesota Midget Melon. Since those were so soaked, they went in easy. Decided to plant in all the beans too, they are all ready for it. Gold Marie, Hutterite soup, Whote Marrow fat, and a whopping 36 Top Crop. Yes, I am hoping on canning some beans this year.
Decided to weed a bit in the FOH garden while the soil was nice and damp. Got a goodly swath done till I saw a tick on my shoulder. Ugh, at that moment it was either really goo up and stay outside, or go clean up and do some indoor stuff- I chose indoor this time.
So I dinked around a bit in the workshop, nothing really worthy of commenting about. The bird nectar feeders are done, just need to burble up some feed :) 

But I'll save that for another post. This one has sprawled quite enough. There's a picture day coming up, I went to take a couple snaps today, but the battery was down. When it's charged I'll load a bunch of pics up :)

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