Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Plants and plants..

Saturday and I swear, it feels like the planting season is almost busier now than it was this spring!

This morning I noticed an unusual splash of color in the wee folk garden, turns out it was a rather lovely morning glory bloom
The picture really does not do the colors justice- it was more of a rich purple than blue, with the star in even deeper purple. Too bad there was only one bloom, there will be no seed.

Went out and collected a few more wild sweet pea pods today. If I keep this up I should be able to plant a gracious plenty patch in the yard next year.
And hooray! There is a bunch of ripe nasturtium seeds for the picking! I now have Fordhook mix, Alaska mix, and Cherry on the shelf drying. 

Also picked a couple more pounds of green beans. This batch will go onto the dehydrator too, but I'll start it in the morning. They really are magical- the more you pick, the more they produce. If this keeps up I will for sure be able to have a nice winter store of pickled, frozen, and dried beans, yay!! Top Crop Bean has really been the top crop this year.

The neighbor stopped by today and dropped off a large pot of freshly dug up Chocolate Mint, hooray! Kind of gives me the push I need to get the office side of trouble hill cleaned and dug up. I want to pull up all the pineapple mint that I can out of the herb garden and plant it over there too. Mint is super invasive and will grow into a wonderful cover for that currently yucky area. It's mowable too, hehehe, so it will smell great when I mow. And ticks tend to not favor mints. I think I want to find a citrus mint and an apple mint for around there too. The couple of ivys I pulled out of the solarium and planted down there is doing ok as well, so I just will leave it where it is. Sooner or later that too will grow in nice and thick.

And seed trading, wow seed trading. Ever since cleaning up my seed stock. So far I have gotten in 26 kinds of seeds, stuff I really wanted or didn't know I wanted. Been buffing up on the flowerseed stock for wintersowing :) I've sent out a lot more seed than that- I've sent out three newbie packets now. Very exciting is someone recently posted up a clearing out of seed stock because they aren't going to be gardening for the next year or two. It cost me a few stamps, but hopefully I will get some good beans for the garden :)

The germination test I set up the other day is already yielding results. A couple of the peppers have shown sprouts and been removed. A couple of the allium seed of whatever type from the corner of the solarium sprouted, and I put those in a pot. Figured why not, now's the time to sprout and grow other alliums. Whatever grows up I will plant in by the parent plant. Make a nice little patch of whatever it is there.
I decided to put the seed sandwich out on the office railing to heat up nicely in the sun all day, beats my counter right now.

And more wintersowing research... Turns out part of my craptacular growing in general has been due to not accurately knowing my growing zone. I was in zone 5b forever, now I'm in a tiny 6b area. And yep, just a mile inland to town of where they normally base the zone is indeed 5b. Like effect is entirely different here in a lot of ways.
So now I'm resetting all my notes to that. Heh, been going through a big ole stack of Organic Gardening mags from about 15 years ago. Sooo much good information, and apparently I did go through them at one point and highlight important info, lol. Now I'm tagging off the pages to put into the GbHB. I want to wintersow as many flowers as I can for next spring. And Ornamental Kale. I want to grow a bunch of that in the spring, and now I have a bunch of seed :) Where? Around the bases of two trees by the easement drive, where mowing is kind of a chore. Kale is biennial, so I can do a couple years worth of pretty greens growing around them, and mowing wont hurt too much.

What a glorious Sunday! It's been feeling like summer again, yay!
I got out and busted up all the crap I cut down from under one of the cedars- it took three trailer loads to get it all down to the firepit! And every moment of it I was thanking my lucky stars for wonderful neighbors kind enough to let me use the thing.
Heh, the neighbor mowed down the entire easement ditch today- it looks great, makes me happy I picked cattails when I did.

Got the mint border started today. This is what it looked like before I started:
Well, that's what it looked like after I started pulling all the wild grapevines off the mess and decided, hey, might want to take a pic before I start really tearing it up.
Unfortunately, the area is chock full of gravel. Fortunately, mint does not really need much digging in. So I pulled weeds, and dug out some stuff that I had to.. Picked out some of the bigger rocks.
And now it looks like this:
I know, not the most awesome sight. But the Chocolate Mint is now planted in. Yes, it will start growing in rather well before fall, and hopefully by this time next summer the area will be rather well filled with mint! I only tore up the chocolate part today, next section over will get torn up and that's where the pineapple mint will get transplanted to.
Working by the herb garden has struck me once again at how much weeding I need to do there, and how much trimming of herbs seriously needs to be tended to.

Got the green beans I planted yesterday on the dehydrator, along with the shredded trunks of broccoli from the weeks eating. I forgot about the broccoli till an hour after I had gotten the beans set up, but i don't really think it will make that much difference to the total drying time.

Yay Monday.. I think.. maybe I hate Mondays... sigh...

It was another day of working on the south side of the house. Started out with some weeding in the herb garden. Not so bad, they are starting to pull up easier now that I've done it several times, lol. Discovered my brilliant idea of raspberry brambles and chinese chestnut hulls around the base of the tree to help ward off the coons turned out to be a terrible idea because it makes it way frigging hard to weed in that area and thus it is not nearly as an effective barrier as it was when I first put it in. Sucktacular.
Discovered among the birdseed corn growing there some lovely morning glories. They had already curled up for the day, but I think they are light pink and white, wonderful! I'll have to look first thing in the morning to see if I can't catch some open. And nicely enough there were several blooms, so there is a possibility of getting seed from these, yay!
Then it was time to tackle the next area of the new mint beds... Started out like this.
In the lower right corner you can just see the edge of where I left off yesterday putting in the chocolate mint bed. Yes, that is another large clump of wild raspberries, and some other thorny berry briar as well.

Here's what it looked like after. I clear the ground down to dirt, so all that fluffy plant mass is new mint placed in, with the grassy stuff in the back being the edge, and the stuff on the right being day lily border.
To the right those blue things are the plant markers my love printed off for me when the mint was still in the herb garden. The pineapple mint actually came up pretty easy, and I did way more of a dump and some dirt tossed over the main root clumps with this stuff. Mint is hard to kill really, and since there was so much of it I didn't really need to be quite so careful with planting in like I did with the chocolate. I intended on going a bit further over, but I encountered a Milkweed Tiger Moth caterpillar on the milkweed growing there and I didn't want to disturb it. I left the rest of the grass where it is till I get more mints to plant in- since it's on a hill, the erosion factor is higher, so I figure it's smarter to just leave roots in place till I have the plant material to replace it.
And heh. All that greenery is from one plant put in last spring. A plant about the average size of the chocolate I just put in, of which there were about 10-12 plants. So yeah, if it does well at all, I expect the area to be well rooted before winter, and by this time next year be looking pretty plush.
I've been dumping the stuff pulled out from this area in the side 40 just like I did with the stuff from the sides of the solarium- I don't want to chance the stuff sprouting in my compost pile, and I figure I don't care so much if the stuff ends up surviving back there.

I couldn't get a good pic of the Milkweed Tiger Moth caterpiller, so I snagged one off the net for reference :)

Once I had the herb garden well weeded and the pineapple mint removed, the area looked pretty empty. So I decided to plant in some radishes and beets for a fall crop. Might as well use the space, and put in some seed while I can.
To the left is 6 rows of White Icicle Radish running front to back, the center is 4 rows of Colorful Beet Mix running side to side, the right is 3 rows of Black Round Radish running front to back. That big leafy clump behind the beets is the birdseed corn that has morning glories growing in it. And off to the right behind the radishes is my Rue plant, also with it's own nicely printed out marker made by my love. Each row is 4 feet long- the length of a bamboo rod. I don't waste string when making rows like this- just a rod at each end of the row. I use the bamboo rod to make sure they are straight and dig in my line.
I need to use the next mowing of the back corner to mulch in a lot of bare area. It's really helping with the weeding, and I know it's good for the general soil. Of course fall leaves will bring in the deep mulch- good thing I put in that lovely recycled bottle border this spring!
Speaking of which, I need to do a tamping down of the bottles that are there, and I think I might have enough bottles to put in another little section. Now that the main part is done, I can start working in the little bits. 

I think I've discovered that there is no where near the house that isn't filled with gravel. I was getting frustrated as hell pulling rocks out of here today. And I pulled out tons and tons of root bits. So I suppose even if I don't get radishes and beets this fall, at least I should get less weeds. And I did pull enough rocks out of the ground to really put a dent into the walkway between the herb garden and mint bed, so that's sort of nice. I want that whole opening spot to be gravel, and handily enough there's gracious plenty rocks right there! Dug out a couple rather big rocks, and those went into the drip spot in the corner of the solarium. I moved a small sunflower shaped birdbath thing under the exact spot too to help break up the area. In a couple weeks I will be able to start putting in daff bulbs, all excited about that.
Found out the herb garden is teeming with life too. Tons of worms. And pillbugs, little multilegged critters, black ants, tiny golden ants. I'm pretty sure the tiny golden ones are not fire ants because I wasn't nipped once.

Pretty much all the basil I transplanted into one of the black tubs is dead. I'm not sure if it's because it's too wet still, or if it's the mature horse poo is too dense or rich. I've had water problems with the other containers too, I will for sure need to dump them all out, and amend them. So I decided to sow in the tub with some lettuce seed. The other seed I planted is sprouting up pretty nicely, and it is a large packet of seed, so I figured why not.
The Green Arrow Peas are all looking good and sprouting up well. Keeping my fingers crossed about them, I would dearly love a nice pea crop before winter sets in, especially since all my spring planted peas puked out.

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