Friday, May 28, 2010

GARDEN GOSSIP

Good morning everybody. How are you doing this bright and promising hot day? Doing alright here. Got up to 95 degrees according to the outside thermometers in my neck of the woods. Summer is definitely here in full force! Today’s focus, as you can see is gardening! We love our gardens, don’t we boys and girls? No matter how burnt or dead or green and flourishing they get… we love them all!

Now I told you yesterday, I was on a rescue mission all day Wednesday with my newly planted rose garden and my late night garden play. Well yesterday when I got home the rose blooms I had were all wilted and falling off the stem. I cried… WTF happened!? I am just hoping it was transplant shock, etc. I gave them a good soaking and clipped the dead parts, so we will see. This morning when I get up, they are back to perkiness and additional blooms have opened, so I don’t feel so bad. Now if I can just keep the cats from using the bed as a litter box, we’d be ok!



Time to go to the produce section of the place I call home LOL. I took out all the dead tomatoes and other sticks and thinned out the plants… spaced them out more. There are a few sticks I am going to try to save. I tilled and raked and added and airrated! Then I replaced and relocated. This is the end result on how it looks. Green is good, but how long it will stay is the big question!



This is the container of crispy tomato plants I am trying to save… or at minimum make the remaining tomatoes mature pick. They are looking pretty sickly but we shall see how well they do. If they just last long enough for all those little tomatoes to turn red, I will have accomplished my goal with these crispy critters.



This is the “first aid table” these are the plants I am trying to save out of the garden boxes along with the 6 new plants I got as replacements. You can see, most of them are just sticks! It’s a very curious thing that is going on, but we will see what I can do with them.



This is the container that DID have all my peas in it. It has now become the bell pepper container. These are one of the few things looking good to fair. I have some sticks and I have some really healthy green on thriving in the middle. Can we keep them that healthy?

I think this weekend I will be planting some more seeds to see if it’s this new dirt mix or what is going on. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Those of you in this area, Houston Garden Centers is having their HUGE ½ price sale, and let me tell ya… they do mean HUGE! Trees, shrubs, plants, roses, you name it! Man could I do some damage in there! I would buy a Lemon Tree for my kitchen, roses to cover my whole yard, more trees, you name it! But alas, I must practice restraint LOL.

Ok, now with summer coming up on us super quick, some of you might be getting outside and finding that what you thought you had for fun in the sun or for work in the yard isn’t quite in shape for one more use. Before you toss things, stop and think for 1 second if can be repurposed at ALL. If so, do it! Make everyday Earthday! So you went outside and found out you have some lovely holes or cracks in your garden hose.



Things you can do with old garden hoses

Don't throw away your old garden hose. Even badly cracked or leaky hose can be re-used. Try some of these ideas to recycle or re-use them.

Color Campfire Flames - Add some neat Colors to your campfire- If you enjoy camping as much as my family does you will like this one, especially if you have children! We do it all the time! What you will need is a half inch copper piping cut down into sections. With that done you can now insert the rubber hose into it. You will have to cut down the hose as well. The best time to see all the beautiful colors is at night of course! And TA DA-- You will have a bunch of your fellow campers asking you "how'd you do that!?!?!" *Sssshhhh* our secret. From Your Friend Jessica

Make a soaker hose - Drill a few more holes in that leaky hose. Attach it to a regular hose with a brass or plastic couple that has two female receptors. Seal off the end of your soaker hose with a plastic end cap. Place the hose next to plants, or bury it in a shallow trench. Adjust the water flow to a trickle, and leave on for 30-40 minutes.

Make a wreath - Here's a neat idea I found in a magazine - Cut the hose into a 4 foot (or so) piece. Loop into a wreath, tie together to keep circular shape and decorate with a garden theme. I used old gardening gloves, seed packets, bought some small gardening tools at the craft store and a few silk fs. Everyone comments on it, it really draws attention.
Contributed by Teri, wtedward@tusco.net

Gas syphon - We don't recommend this, but hey, in an emergency...

Water mixer - Try this if you have an old-fashioned sink with double faucets to get just the temperature mix. Slip a short section of hose over both faucets, then make a V-shaped cut in the bottom (center) of the tubing.

Bucket handle - Carry heavy buckets more comfortably. Cut a short length of hose and slit down one side. Slide over the handle of the bucket to make a solid gripping handle.

Corner protector - If you have a narrow driveway and find yourself constantly scraping the side of the garage, try nailing lengths of slit hose to the corners for a home-made "bumper".

Blade guard - Slit a section of hose and slip it over the blade of an ax or saw when not in use.

Tree support protector - Slit hose and slip a section of it onto support ropes to protect the trunks of young trees from rope burn.

Pond / fountain tubing - To re-use a good length of hose, cut off the leaky end and use the remainder for your pond or fountain. Attach to pump with a gasket and tighten.

Sometimes recycling/repurposing puts me in a very crafty mood. So do you feel crafty? If so, I have something you might enjoy. Some of you are venturing outside and beginning to mess with little gardens… and seeds. Well what better way to use up empty seed envelopes than to make bookmarks (maybe for your favorite gardening books?)!! The site I found this on has some great step by step photos!



Craft Idea of the Day: Seed Packet Bookmarks

How to Get a Free Bookmark with Seed Purchase

1. Bang chosen packet on its noggin to shake the contents to the top.

2. Fold left bottom corner to the far side, if you wish to preserve the directions.

3. Snip, fold, and tape on dotted line.

4. Petite packets and perfect page-markers. (Ooo, alliteration…)

Incidentally, you also get free bookmarks with your junk mail and bills…

Now summertime and gardens, etc. brings me to an email from a reader named Kathy. She is a reader who began “paying attention to me” (LMAO) in one of my yahoo groups. Let’s all say HI to Kathy! (Feel free to post your comments here hun.. we’re all one big happy blogger family!) I want to thank Kathy for her kind words, lots of info, and sharing some fantastic life stories with me. She explained how gardening brings back and keeps her in touch with fond family memories. It was very heart-warming. She also brought up the concept of Upside Down Container gardening… a very good concept. I think I have briefly touched on it, but never in depth. She states how it could be useful to readers with limited spaces… and she is right! So let’s talk about Upside down container gardening for a spell, shall we?

Have you seen those Topsy Turvey planters they sell in stores? That is Upside down container gardening. My mom has 2 of them in her garden and is actually getting some pretty nice tomatoes off of them. But there are tons of ways to make upside down containers for less for use in small homes, apartment patios, etc. or even if you just want to double or triple the amount of things you can grow! Buckets, pails, etc. can all be used. There are hundreds of online websites that can show you how to make containers… that’s how my Cat Litter Bucket strawberry containers started! I have tons of those Fresh Step Cat litter plastic buckets running around the house, porch, etc. So one day I was sitting around and decided to paint one of them white (cause white reflects the sun more and doesn’t get quite as hot on the soil, roots, etc. Then I took scrapbook paper that had strawberries and I decoupaged it onto each side of the bucket. Then I clear coat varnished it and voila! The cutest strawberry bucket I have ever seen! I drilled drain holes in it and hung it from the handle. BUT you can also make the holes in different spots and hang it upside down for an equally effective planter.

You can use all kinds of things… cat litter buckets (cleaned out real good of course), washing buckets, buckets you can buy from Home improvement stores or dollar stores even, soda bottles, milk jugs, and tons of other things you probably have around your house already! Lots of things grow real good upside down: tomatoes, all kinds of peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchinis, etc. Growing vine plants upside down eliminates your need for trellis and cage space, etc. And the even better part… you can grow something on TOP too! Plant some herbs like basil, mint, etc in the top of your planters. OR even better still, plant some well known bee and other pollinator-friendly flowers like Ceanothus, Lavender, Heather, Thyme, Hebe, Candytuft, Escallonia, sage, Pyracantha, and broom. Bees and other pollinators are essential to gardens (both floral and foods) because they pollinate your plants to make them grow and fruit! So BEE friendly and plant attracting flowers in the tops of your upside down containers! It’s a cute way of inviting life to do some of the work for you LOL!

Now, decorating the containers you choose to use can be a cinch if you want to make them eye-catching/appealing! Its not required by any means LOL, but many people choose to. You can do anything from use paint and stencils, to scrapbook and wall papers to decoupage, to just plain old stickers! Just remember that whatever you use, to clear coat/varnish it well. This will weather/water proof your container and make it useful for a long time to come! Also another thing Kathy brought up in her email that I want to address to ANYONE who is patio gardening in containers. Your patios are made of concrete (almost all of them anyway). If they are… DO NOT set the containers on the direct concrete during the hot summer months! Have a wooden palate or something under them cause the heat held by the concrete WILL be conducted through your plastic containers up under the plant and FRY the roots… killing your plants! I learned this the very hard way one year. I nursed tons of plants to big glorious looking healthy bushes all spring. About a week in the summer on the concrete and I come home one day and BAM! A field of crunchy dead plants! Oh I was devastated! I put them on wooden palates (call your local stores and see if you can have 1 or 2 for free) the next time and I had a beautiful garden again!

Kathy shared with me some links to some pretty awesome websites on Upside Down Container Gardening, and I want to share them with you.

Growing Vegetables Upside Down

http://cheapvegetablegardener.com/

Hanging Vegetable Garden – What Vegetables Can Be Grown Upside Down

Growing a Vertical Vegetable Garden

Planning A Companion Vegetable Garden

Some great info there Kathy! Thanks for sharing and being a contributor in our great little blog community here! Now, are you ready? I mean REALLY ready? Its time for some SUPER SALAD ideas! YAY! I love food… and today’s salads have meat YUM!



Chicken Salad

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup halved green grapes
3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons finely minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine chicken, bacon, water chestnuts, celery and grapes in large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; add to salad and toss to coat. Chill until serving.

(TIP** For a great sandwich, omit the grapes and water chestnuts and place with lettuce on whole grain bread or roll.)



Crabmeat Salad

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) package imitation crabmeat
3/4 cup creamy salad dressing (e.g. Miracle Whip)
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 carrot, shredded

Directions

Shred imitation crab meat into bite sized pieces. Combine with salad dressing, celery, onions and carrot. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Well Folks, that’s gonna be about the long and short of it for me today! I am gonna get off here and go get into some trouble with my mommy LOL! DH has serious housework duty today so I will leave him to his chores LMAO! Ya’ll take care and have fun in whatever you find yourself getting into today! Remember, we got a 3-day weekend coming up, so I have some big things in store for us all! Until tomorrow… HUGS!

5 comments:

  1. Looks like you have been pretty busy with your gardening. Hope the efforts pay off. You talked about topsy turvy planters; I think they are kind of fun to use and neat to watch the plants grow in it. I have tomatoes in two of them that are doing well and was thinking about getting some more if they go on sale after summer, which last year I think they did, so I will have them for next spring. That way I will have ground growing plants, vertical growing plants and second tier growing plants all in the same garden space. Pretty ingenious, if I say so myself. Good luck with your garden first aid. The idea about making a soaker hose is a good one. Down south here the summer gets real hot and a soaker hose is a way to get your garden the water it needs before the water evaporates or wets down the leaves of the plants too much which can cause leaf problems from the steam rising off the garden bed. I mean it gets really hot by July and you can get a sunburn by the time you finish with your watering. I love the recycling tips you find for us, like the ones about the garden hose. I have been recycling for years; long before it was eco-chic. LOL From clothes to paper goods, and things from nature to even food products, like fast food condiments, but I'll let Renee tell that story if she wants to. It makes her laugh all the time.
    Chicken salad and crab salad. Sounds like hoagie time to me! YUM! Take a hoagie bun cut it in half and hollow out some of the excess bread so the half buns look like little canoes. Then pile in that crab salad in the bottom half and pile in some cole slaw in the other half and put it together.....OMG! Good! Or put the chicken salad in one half and pile in some baby greens, red onion thinly sliced, and some garden fresh thinly sliced and seeded tomatoes in the other half.... I'm in sandwich heaven; and that saying alot because I dont eat alot of sandwiches. But for these I'll make an exception if I can pile on the veggies. See where Renee gets her love of food and cooking now? LOL Huh....I think I'll have lunch now. LOL
    Ok, I'm out of here. Til next time.....

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  2. I never would have thought of hanging some plants upside down to save space! And the sad thing is I have seen some of those topsy tomato thingys in the stores! Thanks for bringing us another awesome topic as always. And thanks and a big HELLO to Kathy too! Renee, where do you find time to bring us all this great stuff and still have a life? The salads look great and your mom has a great idea with the snadwich stuff. Would make for an easy and light meal. Thanks "MOM". I will keep my fingers crossed for you with your garden. I think you will be ok!

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  3. Vincent (from Vermont)May 28, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Wanted to say HI to Kathy! Come on in and join the fun!

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  4. Hey Kathy! Hows it goin' girl? We could always use another soul in the group.

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  5. Thank you for all the kinds words Renee. I am so looking forward to my upside down garden doing better then an in ground garden. I like the idea of having no weeding to do when your plants are hanging, easier to keep all those ground insects away, & easier to keep the neighborhood dogs & cats out of my garden as well.
    I am sorry I haven't commented sooner but life keeps me busy. My DD is 17,she just finished her school year & she is officially a Senior. End of the school year events kept us very busy. Then my DH whose is a truck driver finally got a 4 day weekend. So we had many bbq's & enjoyed lots of family time.
    Those salads look great Renee, we will try some here in Southern, CA. They will go great at our summer bbq's.
    Thank you Renee & thank you fellow blog followers. I hope everyone has a safe & wonderful summer. Kathy

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