[gardeners] Saturday in the garden

George Shirley (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 30 Sep 2000 17:42:14 -0500

Today we finished preparing the main garden for fall veggie planting. Put a
pickup load of well-aged horse manure mixed with rice hulls on first and then
tilled it with the Mantis. My right little finger is still numb from the
vibration. Had to stop several times and peel hundreds of feeder roots from
around the tines. The nearby oak trees evidently love our garden as much as we

After tilling we emptied the 4X4X3 compost pile into the garden and began
preparing that section of the compost bed for another season. First went in some
chopped okra plants, dried up pea and bean vines, and lots of green grass mixed
with a little bit of good compost. All of that was off the top of the second
part of the compost bed. Underneath the green and dry stuff was another pile of
rich compost, ready for spreading. Most of it will go on the flower beds, herb
garden, around the blueberries, and down the west fence line garden. Should be
enough for about a one-inch layer there.

While messing around in the blueberries ran into some boysenberry vines that had
reverted to the vines of death, very stickery. Soil was dry enough they pulled
right out and went into the bottom of the compost heap too.

Had pulled a couple of sunchoke stalks yesterday and was somewhat disappointed
to find there were no tubers under them. Hopefully the remainder will produce
some tubers as they are blooming at the moment.

The Ponderosa lemons are turning yellow and should be ready to pick in another
month. So are the sweet kumquat. The sour kumquat appears to only have one or
two fruit on it and I'm mystified as to the reason. Both received exactly the
same care.

We went to a couple of nurseries today looking for bedding plants. Did find some
nasty old cauliflower, which pleased Miz Anne, and some broccoli, which pleased
me. Not a cabbage plant to be found with the exception of some shriveled looking
red cabbage that didn't appear to be worth the buying. Did get some sweet
marjoram that looked sad but perked right up when brought home and watered well
and fed a little fertilizer. Had talked the nurseryman into selling the 4 inch
pot to me for half price as a "rescue." I guess it also helped that I delivered
200 4 inch pots of basil to him today also. Why he wants to sell basil in the
winter around here mystifies me, I've not had good luck growing it in cool
weather. Oh well, a sale is a sale. I also got some lemon verbena, don't know
why, never could get it to live either. Found some French Tarragon and will try
raising it for the third or fourth time. Miz Anne got a variegated leaf ginger
that looks mighty nice. He also had a hidden ginger that is a different color
from the one Harry Boswell gave me a few years ago. He says he will have more
colors of hidden ginger and the "Siamese Tulip" gingers in the spring. May be
able to work a trade with him on some other herbs he wants to sell for the
gingers. Gives me time to prepare a real ginger bed where the two oak trees are
coming out. Deeply dug, well-drained, plenty of organic matter, and high,
diffuse shade. Think we can meet those requirements and will move our red
ginger, hidden ginger, store (common) ginger, and the new variegated into the
bed once prepared.

Had a nice chicken salad in pita halves for lunch along with some home made
sweet pickles and half of a cinnamon hot pear for dessert.

Miz Anne has gone off to her dealer in composted horse manure. Actually a nice
couple that raise quarter horses and keep their stables very clean and allow Miz
Anne to get all the stuff she wants, well, at least all she can haul at one
time. Don't think she's ever had all she really wants. Cheap date, my girl, just
takes a load of horse poop to make her happy. <VBG>

Tomorrow I will rake the rows and plant cauliflower, broccoli, green beans,
green peas, radishes, chard, lettuce (2 or 3 types), carrots, and some beets.
May put in some kohlrabi as Miz Anne and the neighbor lady like it so much.
Still have to find a dozen cabbage plants though, preferably flat head Dutch
which works well for us.

The recently sowed calendula seeds have made plants that are about 2 inches tall
now. May have enough blossoms to make another batch of healing salve for our
friends and ourselves. The chiles are doing well thank you, picked about a quart
of hot and sweet ones yesterday. Think I'll freeze them to make another batch of
hot sauce later in the winter. That would make about 4 gallons of fermented
chiles this year. Never enough hot sauce as the Cajun said to the mudbug.

Life is good.

George, Miz Anne, and Sleepy Dawg