[gardeners] Thursday in the garden

George Shirley (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Thu, 21 Sep 2000 19:35:46 -0500

We've been getting some nice showers for the past two or three days with more
forecast. The sky is heavily overcast and the air is oppressive with high
humidity in the area.

We've already ripped out the spring/summer garden with the exception of the
chile plants planted along the edges of the herb garden and the strip garden
along the west fence line. If we get a dryish day I will spread compost,
composted horse manure and rice hulls, several additives, including some green
sand my daughter brought me from Houston recently, and a few others that our
soil needs. Then it's break out the Mantis and fire it up and get jiggled to
pieces as I "plow" the main garden bed.

Tomorrow I will go to the feed store and pick up our starts of cabbage,
broccoli, a couple of fall tomatoes, and maybe a couple of collard plants. Been
awhile since we've eaten collard and maybe our taste buds have changed. The
swiss chard seed will go in ground as soon as the plowing is finished as will
green beans, radishes, lettuce, and kohlrabi. Thinking of planting some beets
this year too and I have a bag full of bunching onion starts a friend gave me.
Need to grow a bunch of onions this year as I ran out in mid summer. Picked up a
small bag of garlic the other day at a nursery I visited. Will plant them too. 

Miz Anne has mostly gotten the partridge pea out of the front flower beds so
we're prepared to sow some poppy seeds a friend gave us. We do like the poppies
coming up in January/February and blooming until the heat takes them. Adds a
touch of class to that flower bed along the front walk. They are generally
followed in succession by pansies and violas, then the torenia kicks in as do
the zinnias a little later. Always something in bloom there. Right now the red
salvia is attracting the hummers as is some other red flower bush in the

Today I pruned some limbs from the peach tree and also the pluot. The pluot had
grown about six feet this year so I whacked it back to about eight feet tall.
It's a dwarf that isn't supposed to grow taller than ten feet but was already to
twelve feet when pruned. A little judicious pruning of the pear and the aprium
was done, just enough to open them to the sun a bit more. One large limb of the
fig tree was taken off as it interferes with mowing and causes the
shallow-rooted fig to tip over when a good wind comes by.

Tomorrow I will get out and dig some sunchoke tubers to send off to a friend and
maybe a few to fry for supper. It will be the weekend so I guess the gas they
cause won't offend anyone but the dog. I've tried beano but it doesn't work with
the chokes, maybe some epazote leaves in the stir fry will help. The chokes are
blooming now and look sorta funny, twelve feet tall with small sunflower like
blooms at the top in groups.

The blueberries need pruning too but will wait until all the leaves fall before
doing them. Already pruned the elderberry to keep it out of the path. 

Every thing looks so fresh and green with our recent rains. Unfortunately we
have lost a 24 inch diameter oak tree in the back. Tomorrow I call the tree man
to get an estimate for it and the one closest to it that is also failing. They
were damaged in the January 1997 ice storm and have never fully recovered. Now
the woodpeckers are drilling holes in the limbs that overhang the house so it's
time for them to go. Fortunately they provide no shade for the house, it's just
that I like having trees around. I will have the tree man leave six foot stumps
as I want to get my daughters chainsaw and try my hand at carving a figure or
figures out of the stumps. I know they won't last for many years but it might be
a hoot doing it. Haven't decided on a design as yet but probably something close
to a PNW totem pole or a garden gnome.

I've lost 27 lbs on my diet so far and only have about 45 more to go. <VBG> I'm
trying to take it off as slowly as I put it on and maybe it will stay off. Of
course working five days a week for 4 or 5 hours a day is helping. My
semi-retirement is getting more semi-work than I like but the money is useful.

Life is good.