Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How does my garden grow?

So for my second post, this one with all the gardening pics in it. A lot of stuff is up and growing right now.. plus I have a whole heap of pics from when I built the tomato cages to share.
On with the pics!!

This is the kind of fencing I used- 2x4 inch holes, 6 feet tall, 50 feet long. Perfect to make 8 cages with.

This is what the roll of the stuff looks like.

Measure carefully, every section. The sections were each supposed to be 6 feet, 3 inches, but in order to make life easier, I snipped to one side of a square, leaving me long legs to wrap with. This meant I went between 6'2" and 6'4" cuts. I used the wheelbarrow to weight down one edge, and the weight of the fencing to hold it on the other side.

Use the wire cutters carefully, the stuff wants to roll up once the cut is made, and that stuff is sharp!

The stuff wants to roll up after being cut, but that's ok, because it helps it make it's nice big circle instead of the tight on the roll circle.

A closeup of how the leg part of the cut gets twisted around the square side to secure the two sides together.

One done cage, showing the edge where it's "stitched" together.

Three down, only 5 more to go!

They are super light to carry, but kind of awkward because of how big they are and how short I am, lol. But well worth the investment and time used to make them.
So now for heaps of garden pics...

 So.. the kennel garden. Not much to look at from there. That crazy vine thing to the right is the hops. I lost the Cascade, but the Nugget came back right fine- it's already so big I've started training it to cross over the top of the runs. My stringing project of a couple years ago is finally getting used!!

The west side of the kennel garden. To the right snugged up against the ropes is Eye of the Tiger beans, and the far end is supposed to be melons, but I haven't had much luck with that so far, lol.
To the left, in the front is a Yellow out, Red in tomato, and behind it are two of the white tomatoes. In the very front is my Futzu black squash.

The north side of the kennel. To the right snugged up against the fence are succotash pole beans, with 5 of the white tomatoes spaced in between. Since the beans are just a grow and forget it till this falls harvest, it can share space on the fence. I only had one Great White tomato survive to planting out, so it's one one in the wayy back.
In the middle is a row of peas- why yes, that does seem like close spacing, but in a month or so those will be wiped out by the heat and taken down, leaving the full space between the fence and tomato cages. On the left are two each of the rest of the white tomatoes. And in the very very front is a pair of my Italian round zukes :)
Here's a closeup of the lone Bloomsdale spinach that actually came up, sharing space with a white cherry tomato, that tiny little plant in the center to the right of the big spinach. The spinach will be allowed to go to seed, which it will do when it starts to get really hot, then it will be pulled, just in time for the tomato to really need the space.

 Hungarian wax peppers- these were an unexpected add on when my sister discovered I did not start any from seed, and demanded pickled peppers which we ate the jeepers out of from last years plants. I did it with 6 plants last year, but I figured I'd only need two this time since I'm growing a lot more other peppers.
Sweet banana peppers- a critter snacked on the one on the right, I'm hoping it will survive anyway. These are to go into the pepper ring mix with the Hungarians.

Tequila sunrise peppers. A very pretty sweet pepper that is small enough to be container grown.
 Bins of container sized tomatoes of various kinds, and that messy looking straw bale has a buttercup squash growing out of it.

And more bins of tomatoes and peppers.

 Sweet potatoes

More sweet potatoes. I also have two more bins up by the porch that I need to eventually move.

 Lasagne bed #1- last years tomato jungle, this years pepper patch. Most of the peppers are planted in, but a few of the super hots just are not big enough yet, and are still in pots. All those craptacular tomato cages actually have a use supporting peppers!
 Lasagne bed #2- what should be a bean bed. And three tomatoes in the back.

Lasagne bed #3- another bean bed, with two Georgscu Chocolate peppers in the back.

The squash and bean bed down by the garlic. I lost my Musquee de Provence, but reseeded it, so here's hoping for the best.

The garlic beds, looking good. They look better now that we got some rain.

And check it out- proof that our cherry trees do indeed make cherries- it's just the critters get them all before we do, lol.

So there we have it.... the second set of pics from the sanctuary.

Picture Day!!

So yesterday I did an epic mow of the entire yard, including getting a section behind the barn cut in... and got 4 spots where there are wild asparagus growing. Now I just need to make sure I get those spots cleaned up and keep prompting the asparagus to grow! There is one stretch where there is an asparagus on either end, and I think I may cultivate that into my asparagus from seed patch. Can't hurt, now can it?
Today was a couple hours out in the woods, taking pics and building a several feet tall deadfall barrier in the back corner. But since I'm waaayyyy behind on posting any pics, I'm going to do that now. I had to cut it down from about 90 pics, lol.

First up, the mint border- it looks scrappy as hell, but just wait till a year or two when it all grows in!
The chocolate mint is in the foreground, and pineapple behind it. The other mints you really can't see.

From the bottom of the hill, you can see the cleared out swaths where mint got planted in. There's still a lot of grass clumps because I gotta leave something there to hold the soil in place till the mint really gets a good foothold.

And we have a Killdeer nest on the arch drive this year. Killdeer are super cute, and play the broken wing act when anyone comes too near their ground nest.
See those sticks on the ground? I placed them there so we wouldn't accidentally lose where the next is and smush the nest.

Here's a closeup of the nest.. those four little round "rocks" in the center are the eggs. Kind of weird that they lay on the ground, but very smart camouflage of the eggs themselves.

Some random flower pics from around the yard..
 Fancy Alliums I planted in on the edge of the herb garden last fall

This is kale that I left to overwinter, and is now in full bloom. Once all those seed pods are ready, I will pick them and have a whole new seed stock of kale for next year.

The rather large snowball bush is in full bloom :) I seriously need to clean that area up a bit more.

And the irises are starting to bloom :)
Moons white irises

Some of the irises blooming behind the solarium.

Iris close up
Nother Iris closeup.
And a lovely yellow iris growing down the row.

And now for pics from my nature walk and barricade building...

A view from the back 40 towards the house.

This is the barricade I built to help keep the crazy truck neighbor from driving onto the back 40. The bulk of it is about 4 feet tall, but the rest of the brush stackup makes it around 9 feet tall or so.

Another angle of the whole thing.

And this is what it looks like from the "approach" side off the property.

And now onto some pretty picture pics :)

Birdsfoot trifoil
Wild blackberry in bloom
Common Cinquefoil. I might also have Dwarf cinquefoil growing out there too, but they are hard to tell apart and I didn't know I was potentially looking for a second kind till after I came back in and identified this one.

Lanceleaf violet, AKA White Bog violet. This is a damn pretty and dainty flower I'm going to for sure encourage growth of the patch on.

Purple milkvetch

Some ferns
More ferny bits :)

I'm going to post this now because I don't want any one post to be too pic heavy... and of course there are garden pics to be had too! Gonna do a second post about that.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Seriously Mama N?

So over the last few days worth since I posted...

The other night dipped into the 30's.. Fucking eh seriously. Upper 30's, but still, damn.

Had a day off work.. and work done in the yard.

I got all the tomatoes and peppers for sale set up. Spent hours yesterday trying to hunt down an honor box, to no avail. I ended up spending 10 bucks on a plain wood box from Michaels and a lock hasp from Home Depot to build my own honor box. That got a money slot cut in with the dremmel, the hardware changed out to the lockable hasp, and the whole thing screwed down to the countertop I use in the pole barn- flipped over to dig into the wood side.
Got all the carry home boxes cut up and taped up last night while babysitting my sisters cats. Got the sinage made up today and put out. And then carting down all the plants.
I turned around my sisters truck in the pole barn so it can serve as overnight holding for the plants.

Then I made the tomato cages. Since I found 6 foot tall fencing for just a few bucks more than the 5 foot tall fencing, that's what I bought. Shuffled around between 6 foot and 6 foot 4 inch cuts, but made up 8 cages out of the whole length. Yes, took pics, will post those up.

Made 10 half pints of dandelion petal jelly.. Good thing I happened to have a quart of vanilla sugar and a vanilla bean on hand to make it with- thanks mum! Stuff looks good, I will let it cure for a while before I try tasting it.

Sold a couple plants, 9 dollars worth so far. So throwing a sale for Memorial Day, but not sure how well that will go. I just kind of want the plants to just go and get planted more than make money, I would hate to think I took so much time and effort just for them to languish in the front yard.

Got the tomatoes and some of the peppers planted- some of the later started super hots are still too small to put into the ground yet. Also noticed that a handful of the nasturtiums are popping up, and the hibiscuses in the front border are starting to plush up right fine. I'm down to two mini-greenhouses holding plants outside now- and one greenhouse is full of flowers that I seriously need to get into the ground. But since I have to do a floor move at 6 AM tomorrow (yuck), that will leave me a couple days to bust butt and play catchup in the yard- now only if Mama N will play nice and send rain at the right times so I can get mowing and planting in as well as having the watering going on that I need to have going on.

Decided to take some time for myself to not bust ass today after work, and just chill out, relax. I don't really get to do that much anymore. And now I've been putting in applications for a second job, so that will become even less. And now a friend told me I should apply with the school system to be a lunch lady- only that job wouldn't start till the fall even if I do get hired on. So sigh, I keep trying on trying :)

But now I'm gonna finish this up because as nasty chilly as it was a few days ago, today it's sunny, really warm, and a bit breezy so I'm going to go have some fun and relax!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Get er done while the gettins good.

May 17...

It's pretty late in the evening for an entry- it's coming up on midnight, lol. But today was a work day, a split double shift that I ended up being asked if I wanted to close, so I said yeppers. Got a nice break mid-day, but still an 11 hour workday kind of is long.
Yesterday I got a bit done before going into work. Picked up a couple more coleus- mostly black dragons which are divine. A four pack of sweet banana peppers and a three pack of hot hungarian wax- now I have to figure out where to fit them into the pepper patch, lol. But those are really damn popular around here, and I didn't want or feel the need to waste growing space on them when I knew darn well I could pick them up super cheap and help support local growers.
I also picked up a mosquito plant/citronella- a plant that's not really either of those, but is really a lemon pelagonium- pelagoniums are better known as true geraniums. It's a fine healthy plant that I'm going to be taking a couple of early cuttings from- they propagate easily, but are very not hardy plants. I figured for the $4.25 investment and some careful gardening, I could have these lovely bug repellent plants going on for years to come.

I also picked up my roll of fencing to make tomato cages with yesterday. 55 bucks to make 8 cages that will be 6 feet tall each, and sturdy as hell. So a little less than 7 bucks a cage- well worth it considering good sturdy crappy cages run between 5-7 bucks. And today I picked up my first sets of tent spikes to pin the cages down. 4 bucks per 4 pack, but they are 12 inch spikes. I'm only going to be pinning down with 2 spikes per cage at first, on my next paycheck I'm going to be picking up another 4 packs so I can have the cages pinned down properly. So at the end of the day with fencing and spikes they will run me 11 bucks each- still not too bad.
I also picked up a jug of Sluggo- Iron phosphate. I think it's slugs that are killing my beans, and I know damn well I got snails and pillbugs too. So this is an organic way of nixing the little fuckers so they stop nixing my plants- or at least I'm hoping that's really what's killing my plants. I think I might have lost my Musquee de Provence squash to the little snippers, but it's still early enough that I can direct seed a few more in tomorrow morning, and that should be fine.

Been collecting boxes from work and getting ready to start selling plants this week- I still need to do my plant tally tomorrow, and get stuff like signage made up for setting up the roadside stand down in the front yard. Need to either make or get an honor box too, and figure out how to mount it down on whatever it is I'm going to end up using for a display table. And I need to get some cleanup done down in the pole barn area to set up display.. lol. According to the weather reports right now, it's supposed to stay dry though to Sunday, so keeping my fingers crossed for that, good sales, and honest people. I'm planning on marking the plants 2 bucks each, or 3 for 5 bucks. With any luck, I might make up at least a bit of my gardening expenses for this year.

May 18....
A lot of sweating and not a lot done, lol. I gotta break early today to teach my sister how to make biscuits and gravy.
But today I put out little skewer stakes around all of my beans and squashes that are in the ground- now that I did the sluggo last night, today I needed to take care of the cutworms. A couple bits next to the stems of the plants prevents the cutworm from circling the stem and cutting it. I also reseeeded the Musquee de Provence and decided to pop a couple extra Futzu Black seeds into the ground since there was only 1 plant going there. And I reseeded 5 pots of bushel gourds since the two pots I started never did anything.
Took three cuttings off the pelagonium and got those potted up with root hormone- I put the pots into empty kitty litter jugs I used for wintersowing to act as propagators. Took 10 kitty litter jugs of wintersown wildflower mixes down to the fairy hill, but the hill proved to be a bit too tough to easily plant- so I left the jugs down there to sit, and I will dig them in on my day off in a couple days when I have the proper time to do the project.
Got the chamomile planted into it's area- hopefully it will survive there like it did last year.
Emptied out a bunch of null wintersown kitty jugs into a container so I can reuse the dirt- pity that the seedlings didn't survive, I will have to try again next year.
Got the final plant count done on the tomatoes and peppers- so tomorrow I can do up the everything that needs to be done so I can set up the sale table on Wed.
Took a look at the new beds out front, and looks like everything is doing right fine so far- the hibiscuses are even starting to really pop out with their new foliage, yay! The sweet potato containers are going great too, I can hardly wait to actually plant the darn things in to grow me some taters!
I also took an hour this morning to snip all the dandelion flower petals I could find in the yard- yielded 4 cups.. gonna make me some dandelion jelly out of the resulting tea in the next day or two. Mama N provides, and I can't help myself but to try to use what she gives me. 
And now my ass is tired.. I need to take a shower and get the clove oil off me before I can get ready to do a cooking class, lol.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bring it on spring!

May 12th...

Today I finished up planting in all the mints. There are still a lot of goodly clumps of grass in between the mints for now to help hold the hill in place while the mints establish themselves. But man, years from now.. someone is going to buy this place and have a mint jungle, lol. The lemon mint I think is going to be the most... predatory of them all after the chocolate mint. I actually had to yank chocolate mint out of the pineapple mint patch and get it back into it's own area, lol. But the lemon mint got placed into the outside edge of the whole border, to trail up and down the edge. So when I mow it will smell like chocolate and lemon, yay! The ginger mint is by far the most beautiful, being a smooth leaved variegated. I tried to plant them all in so that even when they get grown in I will still be able to tell them apart mostly.
Pulled up a heap of kudzu- die kudzu die! And removed a handful of baby weedy trees and raspberries. Moved some variegated ivy too. That whole area will bend to my will damnit.

Got the herb bed weeded, and the variegated sweet marjoram planted in. Now it's just weed, weed, cut back tarragon, weed, weed for the rest of the season there. And ooohhhh, the fancy alliums I planted in the outside corner of the herb garden are just about to burst into bloom! I really wanted to get more weeding done on that side of the house today, but hell, there is only one me and so much to do.

Got the other side of trouble hill done with it's cleanup- I found two little chamomile plants growing! And one seriously disturbed toad, I'm surprised I didn't sit on him by accident, lol. But now that whole area is cleaned up and ready to go for planting in the chamomile and toothache plants- and I finally got the four dwarf lavenders in too :) I'm going to plant in some of the coleus in that area too for pretty foliage.

Got the area where the smoke tree is going to get planted in marked off. No, it didn't get worked on today for planting in the tree- I have no idea when my sister is going to get that done, but she said she will be doing it tomorrow.

Got a couple pots of the daffodils planted in, the small branching ones. Those went in under the maple on the other side of the house. As time comes for it, I am going to give that whole area a vigorous weeding! It needs a thinning out big time.

Got three large dead limbs sawed off in the orchard- one on an apple, two off the apricot tree. And a handful of snipping too. I didn't want to do too much on the trees since they are now in full bloom. But I think the sour cherry tree will be grateful not to be overhung by the dead apple limb anymore :)

I split up and repotted all the coleus- man, there were a ton of them, there is now 2 1/2 flats of the things! A couple of them from the mixed container are turning out to be absolutely beautiful dark purples and rusts- I guess I got a fondness for those over the variegated purple and greens which is what I mostly have. But I will be planting in a heap of those in a couple weeks- I am absolutely going to pay mind to seed saving and taking cuttings from some of those beauties when the time comes.

Now that I am cleaned up and tick free- it's time to get on with some other things. I gotta get a frost blanket over the mini greenhouses that have the tomatoes and peppers in them, and got some cooking to do- need to make up a couple quarts of pickled mushrooms! And since I drained off the pepper chive vodka today, I need to finish that up as well.

May 13...
Still didn't get the pickled mushrooms done. Good thing mushrooms can hold for a while, lol.

I did however enjoy sleeping in till 9 this morning.  Good lord, a whole uninterrupted 10 hours sleep can do you a world of wonders. I had the hubby help me with flipping around the mattress and futon layer last night, and with a re-fluff of the feather bed, it was a heavenly rest.
But even the best rest must come to an end, heh.

Today I busted out and got the first leg of the front yard border done. 3x14 of sod dug out, and 4 hardy hibiscus, 7 mums, and 8-10 each of 4 different kinds of narcissus planted in. Along with a goodly smattering of Papaya and Cream nasts to grow in for this summer. Sis dug the hole to plant in her smoke tree, and kind of dug out the ring for Night Beacon lillies around the tree. Of course when I put down straw over the beds, I put down extra around her bed in hopes of smothering out weeds where she skimped out on. But now the new beds are done in the front yard. Hopefully they will like their new homes, and grow in big and strong.
After that I should have done a bunch of weeding around the solarium- but decided to do a round of mowing around the front yard instead. By gosh the grass already needed the mowing, and I really wasn't up to a round of weeding after busting my ass for 5 hours with bedwork, lol. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I don't have to be in till afternoon tomorrow, so hopefully I will get the solarium areas weeded out and seeded in then.
In good news, though it has been 40's and below overnight last night and tonight, the garden squashes and beans are holding on and growing in right fine. After tonight, we are supposed to be seeing another warm streak that will hopefully lead into a sustained warm pattern, and I can get more plants put out into the garden areas.

May 15....
Got some cooking done yesterday, and a bit of weeding, not much else- it was a work day, smack dab in the middle of the day.
Today I got the whole solarum beds weeded out, a royal PITA every time. Moved a goodly chunk of violets off to under the pinkbud tree in back- I figure they got a good chance of settling in there, and hey, then the less mowing around that stupid little tree, lol. I planted in all the Milkmaid nasturium seed I had there too- they did pretty well last year there, I'm hoping since I cleared out more space, I will get an even better flush of lovely creamy blossoms this year.
Dug up a crapola of area on the edge of the solarium bed on the south and it looks much nicer now. I've discovered that a lot of the hyacinths have produced seed pods this year! So yepper, you bed I will be saving the seed and planting it in again. I also planted in all the glad bulbs I saved last year- got no idea which ones are which, I didn't mark the bins, oops. But they did all go into their own bags, so I planted them all in their own rows. So we shall see what comes up. I also planted up three pots of Alaska Salmon nasturtiums for the front porch- those get pretty blooms and variegated foliage.

Took time to take pics of the new beds out front, the garlic beds, and the squash and bean bed down by the garlic beds...

So.. now I'm off to get ready for work!