Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 28, 2008

Well, today was fun.  I slept in until my body woke me up (10 pm). I haven't done that in over 5 years.  Then I leasurely tended the garden before my folks came over to help trim back some more plants that had gotten unruley.

While I was out there, I realized we'd be chipping up the branches and I swore I was going to stop adding to the compost bin.  So the solution was to run to the hardware store (True Value to save on gas... shop locally) and bought galvinized 3" deck screws.  I used only two of my remaining four pallets because I used the side of my first bin as a side of my second.  It also saved on space as I am almost touching my pear tree.   I used cardboard this time to line the bottom because newsprint is just too flimsy to keep the pitchfork and weeds from penetrating it.  Here's a pic of it, sorry it's soooo dark, I forgot to take a pic of it since my folks showed up as I was finishing it, so I went out at dusk.

I think I'll move some of the old compost to the new bed to make it not so much.  It's nearly to the top of the bin. hehe.  I'll also have more chips tomorrow and likely grass clippings. I've got to mow.  My aunt wants to use some of my compost to mulch the rose garden.  I'm not sure it's the perfect mulch, but it should help them grow, hehe and if it smothers out morning glories, then I'm all for it. hehe

Anyway, today it was pruning the "parking strip" which is the area on the edge of my property just outside my garden on the corn side.  It's where I park my car and has a storm sewer down the middle of it.  Well between a vining maple, a lilac, a rhodie and some other bush, they were all too tall and definitely encroaching on the parking area, especially where my mom parks when she comes over.  So that's why she wanted it done.  Hehe.  Anyway, we didn't do much for the height but it looks much better now.  We didn't get it all chipped up so we just left it in the driveway and will finish tomorrow. 

After that we went out for a nice steak dinner and stopped by at the dollar store afterward.  There I found a great deal on a tricky component in building an SWC.  When I was shopping for materials, the pond basket I found was too big and nearly $10.  It would have taken up too much of the reservior space.  I went with a smaller improvised basket though it was still $7.  Anyway, in the dollar store I found a basket that would work just as well for, you guessed it, $1.  Hehe look at this.

And for all you "guys" out there, sure it's purple, sure they're butterflies, but who cares, once you build it, you never see it again.  It's a good height and width and everything. I won't let out much dirt and will definitely let in water.  That makes the SWC even cheaper to build.  Too bad I don't need anymore SWCs or I'd have bought one.

As the evening drew to a close, my mom (the veggie gardener) checked out my cauliflower. I've got a second head forming and my first is almost the size of a soft ball now. WOW!  She said it's not time to tie up the leaves but she did bend a young leaf over the top of the head to keep the sun out.  The big leaves are doing a good job of that too since the sun is never directly overhead.  She also picked close to two dozen radishes for her radish sandwiches.  I didn't mind since I went overboard planting after we ran out the first time.  I have GOT to eat more salads now that I'm healthy.  Tomorrow for lunch for sure.

She also showed me how to cut or pick off the suckers on my tomato plants.  NOBODY ever told me that tomato plants get suckers.  Apparently when a vine splits it splits it Y's.  Sometimes a third branch will sprout from the middle of the Y.  That's a sucker. It won't grow flowers or fruit and should be removed to conserve water and nutrients.  Since I didn't know that before some of mine were pretty big. Those got snipped with my key-chain leatherman.  The small leaves got pinched and that was much easier.  Now that I know I'll keep an eye out.  Learn something new every day.

I have to admit that watering today was an afterthought, as in I wanted to water all day when it was 95 degrees in the sun (per, 85 in the shade, but forgot to water at dusk.  So I took my flashlight out about an hour ago and watered.  Under the flashlight it kinda looked like I was developing broccoli heads in my biggest plants. I'll check tomorrow.  Wouldn't that be cool! 

Well that's enough for me for one day. Enjoy your garden!


  1. You want to trim almost all of the suckers on your indeterminates - determinate tomatoes, not so much. An indeterminate, that single vine will keep growing until the frost kills it (in it's native area, they grow into huge bushes, since tomatoes are perrenials). With an indeterminate, they will only grow long enough to get bushy, and you want many more vines to make up for it. By suckering the bushy ones, you limit your yield considerably.

    (Mel actually goes into suckering in my copy of SFG - he calls them vining and bushing instead of indeterminate and determinate though.)

  2. Hi:

    Love you blog. I "met" you over at Gardenweb and I'm trying a version of the potato bin.

    I saw you wrote that tomato suckers don't produce fruit. If they're allowed to develop, they do produce flowers and fruit. The reason people de-sucker their plants is to produce larger but fewer fruit on a single stem as opposed to smaller but more fruit on a plant allowed to branch freely.

    You can also use the suckers to make new individual plants. You pretty much allow the sucker to get so large (I don't remember how large they recommended) and then cut it from the mother plant, stick it in the ground, keep it watered, and soon roots develop and you have a new plant. This plant is a clone which means it's the same age as the mother plant and will flower and fruit fairly quickly. I've read you can also stick the sucker in water and wait for the roots to develop.

    I'm trying to de-sucker mine, but if you wait too long to check on them, by the time you get to them you've got more flowers developing on the suckers, and I don't have the heart to get rid of them then.

    Anyway, just wanted to pass on that tidbit of info.

    Happy gardening!!!