Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Asparagus Worries

I have been upset about my asparagus for about a week and a half. I'm new to growing asparagus, so I'm not quite sure if I'm doing everything right. I finally have asparagus that I can harvest.  The big heartbreak of this spring was that after three years of waiting, I thought that only about a third of my asparagus made it through the winter [and perhaps some inadequate watering on my part late last summer].

While about a third of my asparagus plants looked like this clump

the other two-thirds looked like this clump.

If I had only been patient, I wouldn't have worried. It took about a week and a half for some of the other clumps to emerge.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden Calendar-March

I live in such a fantasy world when it comes to planning what to do in my garden.  I finished a lot of the tasks, but I didn't finish it all. I had a dream of having daffodils on my front porch this spring, but I never got around to potting up any bulbs this winter. It probably would have been a bad idea anyway, since the *(^&*%^&^(&%%$@ squirrels dig up most anything that I put on the porch. I have a HUGE oak tree in my front yard with tens of thousands of acorns that fall all over my lawn.  You would think that the acorns would be enough. No, no, no.  They would rather dig up my porch plants and fling them all over the place than eat the readily available acorns.

Anyhow, back to the topic. I also didn't get to cleaning out the garage. My niece is spend the year teaching English in France.  All her furniture is in my garage. I'm not sure that I can really do much with the garage until she gets her own place. I also haven't done much with the yard.

I HAVE at least gotten most of my seed planting finished. My seedlings look great and will soon be ready to harden off.  My tomatoes are about 8 inches tall with healthy looking stems and leaves.  Thank goodness for grow lights!

This next weekend, I'm going to focus on cleaning up the yard.  I'll finish cleaning out the beds, mow over the bagged leaves that I have, use the shredded leaves for mulch, and put more mulch down in the muddy area on the north side of my house that the dogs run through.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Propagating Rosemary

I want more rosemary plants for my garden, my sister, & Gaynell, my neighbor. I decided to try starting some from cuttings.

I bought a rosemary plant that with several branches. I cut off each branch, leaving about a half an inch of green on each branch on the plant. I want to still use the mother plant.

Then I cut each branch in half and stripped off the lower leaves from each section. I dipped the leafless stems in rooting hormone.

Finally, I placed each rosemary piece in its own wet peat pellet and put the rosemary plants in a plastic shoebox. The rosemary box will join the other plants on my growing light shelves. I made 15 starts because I know that not all the cuttings will take root. I'll take the extras, if there are any, to the Central Indiana Plant Swap.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Growing Light Shelves

I use grow lights to start my seeds every year. I'm cheap frugal, so I decided to make my own instead of paying $100+ for a pre-made one. I bought a shelving unit, four fluorescent light fixtures, and eight grow fluorescent bulbs. I assembled the shelves and tied the light fixtures to the bottoms of the shelves with rubber coated wire. I put the lights on a timer because I can't remember to turn them on and off consistently. I've had great results with this set up for the past four years.

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 Central Indiana Plant Swap

We're having another Central Indiana Plant Swap on May 15th! Please come and bring your gardening friends and family.  Information about the event is posted below.  I also have several posts from last year about how I prepared for the event, what kinds of plants that I took (to give you some ideas of what I might take this year), and what the event was like.

One of last year's participants organizing her 'loot'

Posted on the Gardenweb Get-Together Forum:
Central Indiana Spring Plant Swap 2011 
Sunday, May 15, 2011, 2:00 pm 
Holliday Park, 6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260 

PLEASE tell all your gardening friends, family, and colleagues! We're having the Central Indiana Fall Plant Swap on May 15th. We are encouraging all gardeners to participate! We typically have perennials, annuals, bulbs, tubers, herbs, vegetables, and shrubs. There's no cost to participate. Just bring in your divisions, leftovers, and extra plants! 
Directions inside the park: Once you enter the park take an immediate left. Then pull into the first parking lot on the right. We will be under the giant sycamore tree. You can bring tables, chairs and plants to share.

- You must bring at least one dozen (12) plants - some people bring more than 50. (I usually bring 100+)
- At least two (2) varieties of plants - try to bring one plant that is extra special.
- All plants need to be clearly identified with plant name and care --
(Examples: HOSTA: Halcyon, Shade. * DAYLILY: Happy Returns, Sun)
- For best results plants should NOT be dug up and divided that day. Allow a week or two of special care, to make sure the potted plants are not stressed from being dug up.

Perennials well rooted cuttings potted up, bulbs, shrubs, happy seedlings, garden ornaments, extra gardening implements, gardening magazines and books, etc.
You can also print out pictures of the mature plants during peak bloom times. You can go to an online nursery that sells the plants and paste the care instructions into a document.
It is also helpful if you post here what you might bring. That way, we can get an idea of what will be at the swap and people can research a particular plant to see if they want to choose it during the swap.

We will do the swap in the ROUND ROBIN Format - it works well for this group, and is a lot of fun:
*Round One - pick one plant *Next Round - pick one plant *Next Round - pick two plants *Next Round - pick two plants *Next Round - pick three plants *Next Round - pick four plants *And so on . . . This way everyone gets a chance to get some of the plants they really have on eye on. This works well and other swaps have had great success with it in the past. Everyone should be able to take home as many plants as they bring.

* Post what you are planning to swap, and/or update your plant list.
* Bring a box or container labeled with your name to put your new plants.
* We plan to meet even if it rains - bring those rain coats, umbrellas, etc.
*E-mail me if you wish to be put on the plant-swap e-mail list.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Asparagus Grows Quickly

I'm so excited! I have asparagus coming up. Each plant is producing fairly prolifically. Many of the spears are at least as big around as my fingers. I'm going to be able to harvest them for the first time this year!!!!

This is what my asparagus looked like on Monday.

Here's what it looks like today.

My first 'big' harvest of the year was two spears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Planting Garlic

When I went to to my backyard garden this weekend, I noticed that I had overlooked some garlic from last year. It had frost-heaved and sprouted. Since I don't have anything to lose, I tried planting it.  We'll see if it grows well.

I broke the larger garlic clumps up into smaller clumps and replanted them.

I also planted the cloves from the organic garlic that I bought at the grocery store. I planted them about an inch deep and four inches apart.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Planting of the Year!

Yesterday, I got to plant some vegetables.  I intended to plant peas, onions, and carrots, but I ran out of time to plant the peas.  I'll have to plant them later in the week.

I bought the garlic and onion sets at the grocery store. I was excited to see that could buy onion sets there. I bought red, white, and yellow onions. The garlic is organic so it hasn't been treated with spouting retardants.

I had a couple of onions that I missed last year.  I planted them too late, so they never got very big. I dug them up and planted them with the onion sets.

To plant the onion sets, I put on a garden glove and poke 2" holes in the soil, about 3" apart.  Then I drop in a tiny onion.  Finally, I cover up the hole and water the planted onions.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sprouted Potatoes

 I saved some potatoes from last year's harvest: butterball, Swedish fingerling, and blue potatoes. I stored them in my upstairs bathroom closet because it is dark and cold. I hoped that they would make it through the winter. When I went to retrieve them today, I saw that they had sprouted. The sprouts have already started to produce leaves. Since I have nothing to lose, I decided to try to plant them anyway.

I grow my potatoes in large plastic pots. I add a couple of inched in the bottom of the pot. Then I place a couple of potatoes on top of the dirt and cover them with a couple more inched of dirt. As the potatoes grow and produce leaves, I add a couple of inched of dirt, chopped up old leaves, and maybe a sprinkling of compost when the plants reach about 5 inches above the soil.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Waking Up from a Long Winter's Sleep

My garden is waking up from its long winter's sleep:

the lamb's ear is small and fuzzy,

the rudibeckia is peaking through the leaves, and

 of course, the weeds growing between the stones in my patio are the most prolific.
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