Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Garden in Paradise Update!

This week I purchased some calico (calcium) and sulfato de magnesia (Epsom salts) as foliate sprays for the few plants still in the garden. I was advised to do so from someone who had lived here before and found that there was a shortage of needed nutrients even in good compost. I have sprayed the plants leaves with both in solution and waited.

 Today I noticed that the leaves look like they are responding to the sprays.  I was also told that the soil needed the calcium so I soaked the top layer with the calcium spray. I will look for calcium in a powder to dig into the soil and also for gypsum (calcium sulfate) to help the overall condition of the soil. The peppers are doing good as well as the garlic.

 The peppers of course are for our table and cooking whereas the garlic is mostly for bug deterrent. The garlic is doing so well that when the blubs are ready for harvest I will share them with our neighbors. I will keep planting garlic and being that I received chive seeds in error I will plant those too. I have been looking for Napa cabbage seed for when I have remixed the soil and start planting things in a controlled pattern as is shown in the Square Foot Gardening book. It will be very interesting to see just how much produce we will get from our size of garden.
  I’m getting lots of potatoes that are sprouting which are unusually as most I thought were treated for storage which keeps them from sprouting as well. I have been saving some as well for planting them to get more seed potatoes for growing in half barrels. It is also good to be able to check how the foliage sprays work on them too. The garden is becoming more interesting with each problem solved and for each step forward. Now as things progress I will be doing a much better job of documenting what I do and what the results are. I’m also planning to try and do an update every week, they may be short till things really start to happen with more photos.

This little pepper plant keeps producing but its leaves a yellowing, I’m hoping that the calcium spray will change that. 
Oh, before I forget again, the pepper plants are all sprouting new leaves and growth. I’ll keep updating on that till they are removed for the soil remix. I’m guessing that is due to the removal of many of the other plants, mainly the huge tomato plants that were growing huge but not producing much in the way of tomatoes (see the first photo for the new growth). The blue flower is on the sword bean plant (notice the huge pods hanging on the sword bean).

This blackberry plant is doing real well as is the sword bean plant behind it (that is cilantro in the lower right).

I just had to show this pepper plant, it broke off the main plant a few days ago, I just pushed it in the soil, it now has new leaves popping out. I’ve cut off many of the old leaves as they were turning brown. Across on the left is a start of lemon grass.

  Oh, the new lady in the house is a rescue cocker, Ginger, someone lost a very good dog. She had so many ticks on her when she was rescued that her hair had to be almost shaved off to get them all off and for her to heal, she has been with us 6 weeks now.

She is very camera shy, she will hide if she sees the camera most of the time. We are very happy that the lady, Carmen, who rescued her needed to find her a home as Ginger and her dogs didn’t get along. Funny though, she gets along with our 6 cats, turkeys and chickens and even the over excited Buddy (outside dog).

Well I’m done for another week, happy gardening!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Latest Garden Update!

  Well it has been sometime since I've updated my blog. I guess it has been something like trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong that has kept me busy (and a bunch of other projects). Something that got me into a frustrating situation was too much compost in the garden. I had plants that were huge but no veggies. One tomato plant had lots of fruit but the plant was growing so big that it had to be constantly trimmed back. It was a volunteer which should have been taken out to begin with, it was most likely a hybrid which wasn't very tasteful and it developed all kinds of problems. The tomatoes at first were OK but then they began to have problems like partly ripening and starting to rot on the vine. Some tomatoes grew OK while others started to rot while they were green. Some of the tomatoes grew big and were OK while some were half size and maybe OK, maybe not. The squash plants grew huge but no squash. The one watermelon plant had some melons but they never grew to any size, one grew about the size of a softball. Even some of the flowers that were put in the garden temporarily to get started stunted or died. Well it turned out to be too much of a good thing. The compost is so good the plants over did it and or just died (perhaps they were burned up by too much available nutrients). Whatever, I am now removing all the excess over grown plants and amending the soil. I didn't want to use the local dirt as it is red clay but so far it is all I've got so I am mixing it 50/50 with the coffee and sugar cane compost. I may take and heat the clay soil to kill the weed seeds and other stuff I don’t want. I have plenty of free fire wood so I think that will be the best way for me to go. I've been saving egg shells to add calcium into the soil. I will grind those as fine as I can get them with a blender and mix that in at the same time. Once I get all that mixed in thoroughly then I will see where I can send a soil sample for testing. It doesn't pay to get into too big a hurry. I have a sword bean plant that I want the seeds from. As soon as the pods are ready to take then the plant comes out and everything else in that half of the garden. I’ll mix in the red clay and top everything off with a generous amount of egg shell powder.
 I plan on going to the Ark Herb Farm the 30th for plants and will stop elsewhere and look for some 3” pots for starting transplants. I’m hoping to get something done on my starting soil block press now that other projects have been completed. Once I get the kinks out of that then no more needing of starting pots. I’ve been sprouting parakeet seed in aluminum baking pans for the parakeets in my window greenhouse and am very happy in how fast they sprout. With the compressed starting soil blocks the sprouts won’t ever get their roots disturbed, once the plant is ready to transplant the whole block goes into the garden soil.
  Oh yeah, the chickens and turkeys are doing great. It is time to pen up the holiday turkeys and plump them up. Besides that the two toms are fusing over the hens and that can get very noisy.
  I’ll get the camera out and take photos of the ongoing projects.

So much to do, so little time!