Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Keeping track of it all...

4/23: Another glorious day in the yard! Moved almost all of the plants from the solarium to either outdoors or into the greenhouse. Still got a shelf full in the solarium, but looking a lot more clear! Clear enough that I left the access for all kitties open for a while.. and of course Ocelot still managed to get into what was left and barf up a garlic leaf... silly kitten.
Cleaned up the front porch today.. then realized I was out of bleach and oxiclean, so no spraying the deck today. Got the porch furniture out of the pole barnt- didn't set it up yet since the porch hasn't been sprayed yet. It needs to be wiped down anyway.
A bunch of mowing.. the first round of the season!! The ole gal fired right up and I cut out the garden paths area first.. Then asked sis if she would like to take over- of course the answer was yes! So I was free to dink around with other outdoor stuff while she got some Zen on.

And yum, outdoor stuff... We have already strung up the new clothesline and been using it for a few days. It's one of those greatgrans cleaning secrets- the magic of outdoor fresh and sun on stuff. Of course rounds of frocks and bed linens have been first up, along with a couple of the hubbies stinkier coats, lol. As long as the weather is nice, we will be heavily using the lines for months now. A few things still go into the dryer- undergarments and jeans just are nicer when tumbled in the dryer. But heck yeah to all that other jazz going out on the line to dry. It not only saves a lot of money, but just no fabric sheet can match actual outdoor drying. Experimented with the neem oil spraying under the line area- I refreshed the half gallon or so that's left with an extra dash each of the lavender, rosemary, teatree and peppermint oils and sprayed heavily all along the line and well up the trunks of the three maples. It might help ward off some of the bugs in the area, lol. Once it gets nicer, I'll plant out some of the pelargoniums around the tree bases. I got a crapton of cuttings waiting.

And shit.. warm weather means tick season is on. I've found a couple so far. Gross on a gross stick. But hey, it's not like I don't have a bunch of fabu homemade soaps, conditioner, and other oils on hand to start using right now. I think I might try out the dry ice traps soon.
Dry ice traps: http://www.scout.com/outdoors/hunting/story/1411042-tick-experiment-that-ll-blow-your-mind

And speaking of nasty critters.. looks like so far the coon repellent action has been working. I've been putting out little dairy tubs with a big wad of dryer fluff and a goodly splash of ammonia in them in strategic places around the outside of the house. And liberally been sprinkling out hot pepper flake all over the general path areas and under feeder areas.. no coons. Even the drown buckets inside the perimeter have been showing zero critter sign. Good deal!! And nope, the birdies don't care one whit- we got masses of finches like no tomorrow providing all of us with OMGFinches!! TV. Next up is to start putting out "scent baits" of the cats litter boxes around the further outsides of the area. Ward off critters and perhaps start attracting a few ferals back into the area.

4/27: been some nice days of pulling stuff outside, hardening off, and all that jazz. More mowing and cleaning up stuff while the weather was nice. Porch is ready to go for when it is nice again..
Because yeah, open windows and almost 80 yesterday has crashed into "chilly" 50's and overnight into the 40's again.
Cleaned up a goodly chunk of and planted in a bunch of seed yesterday on the north side of the kennel. Colorful. Detroit White, and Detroit Golden beets, and a checkerboard of Little Finger Carrot and Helios Radish.  The Brussels and Beer radish look like scrap, so those areas are going to be yanked out. Not sure what is going to go into the BS spot, but I think I'm going to plant in the whole west side of the kennel strip with the toothache plant. I've got 72 plants to set in, and it is certainly nothing like what's been in that area ever. Another good round of sitting out and resetting that section of the bed yet to come- I still need to do some serious shaking out of gravel in the area, the greenhouse drainoff has done a great job of sifting that shit up to the surface. For whatever reason, the softneck garlic has come up profusely and is plush as hell after sitting into a second spring- still zippo sign of whatever happened to the hardneck. So I'm going to let that softneck just keep growing till it's normal late summer harvest time and then pull it. They should break up into goodly mother cloves with yummy sproutling bits to hold till next winter and fresh greens growing time :)
I still have a boatload of garlic from that bucket I got last fall. The small heads have been getting used up with fresh green eating tubs and some of the bigger smalls and some mediums have been getting tossed into the bomb buckets.. But I still have a nice box of big mother heads to plant out. I think I might use them out on the back 40 to mark off spots of where I want to grow some trees in a few years. I also have 3 pots of "ditch irises"- you know, the oober common purple ones the way Fulva Lillies are ditch lillies.. I want to plant in some Black Walnuts and American Chestnuts along the back line for some future nut and lumber investment- just 2-3 trees of each. And since I know regardless of what baby trees I might get in the next year or two, they are likely to get grown up a bit for a year or two in pots before planting out way back there. I think I'm going to use some of that garlic  and those iris pots to plant in around the center spots of where those trees will go. In a year or two those mothers will grow out nicely and be left alone by critters- and perfectly mark the planting spots.
Started most of the last of the crapton of indoor started seed today- squashes, cucumbers, melons, and long season beans. Yep, seems early- but I like pre-sprouting seedlings to plant in and still keep some seed back for direct sowing at the same time if needed. Although this year I need to concentrate on the Tonda- I had 5 seed left so I started 3 today for regular growing, and reserved 2 seed to special container grow for seed growing- with the way the greenhouse is holding up, sis and I plan on just tearing down the current tarp/plastic roof and replacing the porch roof and sides section and capping over the enclosed runs with something light that don't let the insects in so I have a few breeding chambers through the summer.

4/30: more transplanting done.. and not much else. It's been rainy and wet and rather chilly. And it's the end of the month, I should post this. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seeds, and mousers, and rush time...

4/20- Happy Hemi Day!!!! And of course all the other holiday refrences, lol.

We are at the 3 week mark till last frost. Lots of shuffling of plants- just posted that one, lol, thought I had already posted it and it was still a draft.
All the tomatoes and peppers are repotted from their sproutlings at this point.

1 Pink Bumblebee cherry tomato
2 Speckled Roman tomato
3 Roman Candle tomato
8 Dwarf Wild Fred tomato
6 Urfa Beiber pepper
6 Albino Bullnose pepper
2 Aji Lemon pepper
2 Trinidad Pefume pepper
6 Tobago Seasoning pepper
8 Sweet Pickle pepper

Pricked out a bunch of lavenders and coleus as well. And started up a large round of various herbs and flower seeds. A 72 cell tray of mostly the Pinetree container flowers, cauliflower, and a giant red armanath in 9 cell packs. Another tray of 3x3 pots full of various herbs and a lot of zinnias. And a half tray of 6 cells 50/50 planted with dill and bronze fennel. We will eat the hell out of the dill, but everyone universally loathes fennel here. I use a bit of seed in some seasonings and picklings.. otherwise fennel is an awesome landscaping fern for annual action and is really beloved by beneficial insects. So even if we hate eating it, it's nasty black licorice action is really good for the garden and well worth planting.

And mousers.. my Nova boy. I spotted a wee mouse in the solarium, and called my sis over.. it was cute as hell, and we both said awwwwwww over it's wee cute goodness. Then immediately were saying, "Where's Nova?" Well, he was snoozing in mom's room. Sis scooped him up and we released him where the mouse was.. told him to earn his keep. Within two minutes he was at the kitchen window, meowing around a mouthful of wee mouse :) Of course I gushed and gave him catnip and treats.. and promptly swept up wee mouse and tossed his corpse outside, lol. And now the cats get wet food tonight too.... my good hunter tiggy.

Random house stuff... The power company stopped by yesterday. I went out to see what they were up to and turned out they were replacing the power pole behind the pole barn today, and clearing the line all the way up the fence to the barn in back. The power was out for about three hours this morning, but all is well now.

And though we set up with well guy.. it's kind of falling through. I set up appointment, and yesterday he contacted me and said he would send me email with pricing.. and stop out today or otherwise contact me today.. and nothing. Kind of bummed and unhappy about this. 

4/22: a spectacular Saturday! Upper 50's and sunny- last below 40 night predicted tonight! Got outside and did a bit of a tour of the yard- the power guys left that branch- partly blocking the driveway.. and when they left, they drove around it and extra ganked the ganked spot in the driveway. Sai... Lopped off the branches enough to make the driveway clear, will need to go in with a bigger saw for the rest of it. And look into getting some asphalt patch- that spot is super dipped badly now. The new pole looks good though, lol.
Got the first weeding of the herb garden done- I will seriously need to trim back the Rue this year, it's getting pretty weedy. The oreganos overwintered well, and I got more to put into that area. The Marjoram kind of survived, and I got more of those to plant in as well. Savory is looking good and needs a trim, so do the sages. King Tarragon is already bushy and the thymes are looking nice under their leaf mulch. And cleaned up the kale bed, that didn't require much. I used one of the compost trash cans to dump all the weedy grassy leafy rooty crap in to cook for a bit- it's out by the kale garden for the moment. The other bin is going out to the lasagna bed area. Take in all those weedy scraps from that area. I'm not going to use these bins for food scraps at the moment, just the weedy bits.
Sprayed down the straw beds with a mix of neem oil and a few essential oils. Saw a bug while cleaning up that I wasn't sure if it was a squash or stink bug.. but that means I should start spraying now for a couple weeks while they are emerging.  I'm being a bit pre-emptive about it this year. Neem is safe for food plants, and if I keep doing this every week or with the rains or so for the next few weeks before I start seriously planting in my beans and squashes... it should help. I'm also going to be covering the actual squash and bean bed at first while the bugs are out to help as well.
Made the plans to start moving raised bed frames up closer to the house. Will be starting out with the 4x6 box and move on from there. Need to lay out the smother bed surround for the new bed spot.. and figure out what I want to do with the space I'm vacating by pulling those boxes out....
It's time for another big cleanup of that area. No more compost, that's all cleared out. Since a lot of bulbs are already naturalizing in there.. I think I'm going to just keep continuing down the fence line where the current raised beds are. The area is kind of almost clean enough for it, and I would rather get in a bit more set it and forget action down there.  And I do have several pots of various bulbs that have been overwintering and are flushing out right now
I also need to clean up the front border bed- I got a few pots of daffodils I want to put in down there now that the ones already there are blooming.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April is blooming!

4/7: Lots of growing going on! Seedlings are popping up and getting transplanted on schedule. A lot of peppers, some flowers and herbs. Tomatoes are just starting to really pop. The toothache plants are stunning- I might actually need to do another potting up before they can go outside they are getting so big. And that's a good thing, I want a big healthy crop this year since last years failed and we are now out of it. I'd like to get a double crop actually, and plan another regular seed round in the next seed starting round. And this one is one of the biggies because there's all those bedding flowers and brassicas to start up.
The rounds of garlic sprouts I've been doing since December have been awesome. Every couple weeks I start a bin, and at this point I start a new one when I pull an old one. I really do need to get out on the back 40 and figure out where I'm going to plunk in the mother beds back there. I got a few bushes and trees to move soon too that are still in the greenhouse right now.
And lol, I really need to check on the greenhouse.. herm... Been rather too busy for the last few days with some family stuff. There are some changes going on.
Anywho, it's almost getting warm enough with overnight temps that I can move the asparagus out to the greenhouse- and I still have all 60 of them that I originally seeded. Using the rock wool cubes was rather nice for this, but kind of overkill in a lot of ways. Much more useful for just cuttings. Potted up another 15 yellow mum cuttings today too, just a few more left in their cubes. The mother mum is in the midst of it's current bloom flush, and it is rather lovely. Almost time to start deadheading again. The first round of coral mum cuttings is still chugging along, and almost time to take another round of these and the first round of white cuttings. My one little cutting tip of the glorious huge rust coleus has seemed to survived the cutting and is actually sprouting up a bit! Still no roots sticking out, but hey, I'll take it.
All of the scented pelargonium made it through the winter- and all the spring cuttings I took are doing rather well in the low light levels of Eastern exposure in the office. The lemon and lime trees are getting weirdly grown out, and I think I might need to get some expert pruning advice. The strange Rex Begonia? monster plant is still limping along, poor thing.

On the grow schedule... December is finally closed out- everything has either died back or moved on, like the toothache plant. Still a lot of open January plantings- most of these needed the cold strat in the solarium, and a lot has not popped yet, mostly various berry and some of the heartier flowers. The columbine has really done well- and the double furl blue extra well so far. Super excited about that. February is closed out, all seeds either null or moved on. March is still wide open, and April starts up tomorrow.

In some exciting house news.. finally able to call in a well service and got an appointment set up! After so long of not having the "just in case" amount of funds saved up.. and after last summers attempt to get someone in and getting blown off twice... it's time to move on from trying with the really local guy. I hit a big local company up this time that has all it's license and insurance going on, and early. I had hoped to have that one done last summer and off the list, but I think I started too late in the season. But now we can afford to call in the big guys.. a difference a few months can make in life around here, lol. The well stuff really had to come first- the plumbing guys kind of didn't want to tinker around with much before that was done, understandably enough. After the well stuff is settled, we will be able to get to some other plumbing needs, yay!! We got some other stuff on the slate for this year too.. but with some of the recent news about some of the changes and coming around here.. being cautious with what comes next.

4/16: Was out of town on a conference most of the week. Gov training stuff- it was mind blowing, overwhelming, underwhelming, informative, interesting, boring, educational, chock full of a lot of stuff.. and wow, I was glad to be home, lol. Had an adventure drive on the way home, took a lot of side highways and byways twisting around through the small lakes region, and that was very cool.
Glorious day Friday, did a lot of puttering around and catching up.. stuff sprouted and moved things indoors to greenhouse or solarium, solarium to greenhouse or outside, and greenhouse to outside sorts of things. The greenhouse has been standing up outstandingly well, despite a few nasty weather spells. Had to cut in a few drainage holes in plastic here and there to release water.. but then most of that drip off water has been keeping the greenhouse moist enough that we haven't been needing to water inside the greenhouse except a couple trays of small pots up on racks.
Daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, some spring blooming trees, forsythias, and the NY-9 plum are in full bloom. The magnolia was in full juicy fuzzy bud when I got home on Thursday afternoon.. today the whole tree is in full popping out, it's open flush will start in a day or two. Mild winter and spring indeed- this flush happened first weekend in May of 2013. Aquilegia, snapdragons, lilac, and lillies are all sprouting up in the FOH garden. Spring chives were flush enough to make 4 pounds of chive butter for the freezer- I snagged on the back and hill segments over the winter, so those were a bit sorrier and older, but the spring flush in the very front yard was plush as hell. 
The Japanese Maple I rescued for a few bucks last summer from work in now a super plush happy tree worth a few times more than what I bought it for. It went from a sad double overseason in a one gallon pot languishing amongst a sea of other "nursery" plants on the back skids. Now it's a healthy 4 gallon pot tree ready to grow till 2018 spring before I need to repot or put into the ground. I gave it grow last summer when I repotted it to it's current pot, and sheltered it from solarium overwinter to greenhouse a few weeks ago. It will be a couple weeks yet till I harden it off from the greenhouse so it can be moved to the front porch area for the summer. It needs a little trimming to bonsai it up a bit to keep it container form. I'm still not sure where it will be going once 2019 comes and I put it into the ground. I know it will go somewhere into the very front yard, just not sure where yet.. Depends on how this years stuff goes, lol.. 
And on that.. The Prince Holly suffered during the winter. On the wrong corner of the greenhouse and not enough water led to a lot of dieback. He's in a bucket on the greenhouse porch now to be a bit more protected and watered for a bit like his Princess is. But both the hollies will be getting planted in down on the easement drive side of the south segment of the far front.  I have pots of daffodil and other bulbs to work into the front border- and been taking tons of mum cuttings. I have enough yellow mums, and probably enough coral. I just started taking white cuttings off those overwintered mothers.