Thursday, February 25, 2010

Green Babies up for Adoption

About two months ago I started planning to have a big yardsale. In the process I thought it would be great to sell some seedlings - there was a bowl full of seeds from last year's "Autumn" variety that would never all be used in my yard. About of about 30 paper cups I ended up with a couple dozen with babies. And on the day of the yardsale...I was so occupied with so many things that I forgot to set out the seedlings!

So there are a couple dozen baby "Autumn" sunflowers in need of good home 'cause I can't keep and grow them all. Let me know if you're in the Southbay area and you'd like one (or several). Last year their mothers grew to 5'-8' feet tall and had multiple flower heads. The bees were in love with them, can't remember any time between sunrise and sunset that they didn't have several bees hovering around. Below is a picture of them, for comparisson the fence is 42" high.

Wow, we always had the cats fixed so we wouldn't have this type of problem and it's happened anyway!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the Waiting Game

My Green Children are forcing me to be patient...

I have so many seedlings started and seeds I'm waiting to see sprout. I really want to be sure I'm starting enough of the flowers to fill mom's beds well. Some of the plants I started for my mom are almost ready to transplant...but the new flower beds aren't even started yet. My parents keep changing their minds about what they're doing to the yard. Last night we had a quick gruop talk to go over the contractor's recommendations. Because of the bad drainage in the yard it seems we're going to start completely from scratch so he can re-grade. Seems dad is going to spend more on this than planned-but improvements to their house are long overdue and that's the price of procrastinating. I may further edit the yard plan since we don't have to worry about only disturbing some areas... But if they don't start work soon I will have to scour the 99 cent store for larger cups/containers for the flower...

Two nights ago I set some seeds to pre-soak. Usually I only do that for the chard, beets and sweet peas, but I thought I'd give it a try for my next round of seeds. I was suprised to see the basil seeds developed an odd jelly coating.

The Blue Butterfly Bush I moved a couple of weeks ago went into shock. It did fine the first week, hence my happy post, but with the unusually early hot weather not so much. Since Friday it's been losing leaves and showing some signs of pallor. It got it's weekly watering on Sat, and I watered it again last night. This morning I lightly watered again with some liquid fertilizer to make sure it's getting nutrients. Now I need to leave it alone a few days and cross my fingers.

And I want my veggies! It's been a month or two since some of my larger veggies have been growing in their beds/permanent containers. I'm most surprised that the Cauliflower which are actually in the ground still haven't started growing their heads. The cabbage are getting pretty big leaves, but no cabbage head yet :/ But I'm most excited about my broccoli! They've been developing heads for a couple of weeks, one is nearly ready (I need to check info on the best moment to harvest). They're hanging basket is currently sheltered  by the storage shelves, the current heatwave was not playing nice with them (nor the kale, chard and lettuce).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the Blue Butterfly Bush is doing well

Well last Saturday I moved the Butterfly Bush. I've been watching it closely ever since to make sure it's doing alright in it's new pot and it seems so. No saggy wilting leaves or branches and no major loss of leaves. I have high hopes for this bad boy this year :)

I want to add something around it's base but I haven't decided what yet. Perhaps some Creeping Jenny, the variety growing in my flower bed has peachish flowers instead of the typical yellow that would look nice with the blue flowers of this bush. Or I might fall back on the pink/purple Alyssum...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Moved the Butterfly Bush

After reading Fern's post last week about root-bound plants I knew I needed to check the bush by the door. Suspicions confirmed.

My sister and I bought two bushes from Home Depot...I think back in 2001 or 2002... for our parents because dad always grew the same plants every year forever. They needed some livening up. Well surprisingly dad was happy about it and immediately got ahold of a couple of nice marble holders and set them up by the door. He left them in the black gallon buckets they came it. I figured he grew up a farmer so he knows what he's doing. \:)

One bush thrived and the other did ok but was obviously wimpy compared to his brother. After reading the post about being root-bound I investigated. I wanted to move them to the huge 24" pots anyway. Once one pot was prepped I went to lift the beefy bush out of the marble holder and was a little suprised when I couldn't get it to budge, so I tried to tip the whole thing over so I could trim the roots, and it still wouldn't move. I had to sit with my back against the house and shove it over with my feet to find out...not only did some roots go out the bottom-there were 3 huge ones that had rooted into the dirt below! They snapped in the process of toppling bush and holder over, I tried to pull them up out of the ground, wouldn't move. Well, that explains why that bush was the beefy one.

The next ordeal was chiseling off what was left of the monster roots so I could remove the plant from the holder (and finding several species of bugs that I had never seen in my garden before *shiver*) and cutting the bucket off the root ball. Indeed that sucker was root bound. I know I should have trimmed the smaller roots more than I did but after the big trauma of losing the monster roots I was afraid that'd finish it off. Especially since dad was telling me the whole time that "you're going to finish with that thing", thanks dad. I did separate them as well as I could and trim some off, and the roots have a ton of room in the huge pot now so I'm hoping it makes it. When cutting off the original bucket I also re-discoverd what it actually is - Blue Butterfly Bush (Clerodendrum ugandense). We'd forgotten what it was called. Hmm...I often see bees and hummingbirds feeding from it...but hardly ever butterflies...

As to it's little says I killed it two weeks ago when I tried to prune it. Well, it still has a few leaves so I'm gonna watch it for a bit before I give up on it...or try to move it. In the worst case some of the berries it dropped last year actually grew in the flower bed next to it and I collected them. Dad wanted a couple to plant at another house, I kept more than that just in case some didn't make it and seems like it was a good idea...

Sorry no pics, I still haven't replaced my lost camera.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Too Late/Too Early?

I've gotten a bit off track on my gardening in the last two or 3 weeks while trying to prepare for a yard sale. I'm glad I kept track of what and how many of everything I've sowed on an extra calendar, but I've begun to forget the general plan I had in my head. Now the problem I'm looking at is if it's too late to try to start growing some of the seeds I wanted and too early for others. This is always on my mind being in the Southbay area and the weird weather we've been having the last year and a half.

My major worry is the last frost date. Normally we just don't have any frost at all. Normally. Once every few years there will be one (maybe two)  mornings where I head out the door to work and find the grass frosty and the birthbath icy. Once the birthbath water was frozen solid...that was kind of funny. Anyway, with the weather so abnormally cold for my area this year I've been trying to plan around figuring we're likely to have a night of frost in February or March. I don't want any of my green babies to get frozen to death after all. But will one night of Socal frost really kill them? 90% of any seed and new shoots will be in my back patio area which is fairly sheltered, I can't remember if previous nights of frost affected anything beyond the open front and side yard areas. Will they be ok back there? I don't think any of the plants in the front and side yard were damaged from frost before...but I wasn't paying attention at the time, they were all dad's plants then. Am I wasting my brain cells and planting time worrying about frost at all?

Besides the frost question I'm concerned I waited too long to start some of my seeds, especially the spring veggies and bloomers. In my area "Spring" is practically over by May and "Summer" lasts into October. That said, should I stop planting anymore spring veggies that might not come into harvest before the summer heat?! Is it too early for my summer veggies?!

Ok, time to just go experitment and remember to record what happens so I know better next year...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Numba One

Well here it is, post number one in my gardening blog. *happydance* I've been meaning to keep track of my gardening progress ever since I new my gardening streak was going to be more than just a phase.

I especially wanted to keep a journal or something to help me pin down the best sowing times in my area and figure out my screw-ups. Yes I know there are all sort of almanacs and local extension offices and the Sunset guides and all. They are better than your average seed packet instructions but still too general to the LA area for my needs.

So here I go, ready to keep track of (most of) this year's endeavors to improve the next....

Mary's Gardening Calendar