Happy Birthday America! 232 years young! We've still got a lot to learn. But today is a day of celebration!
I hope you all spent a wonderful 4th with friends and family. For me, it started with a mad dash to make it to the Edmonds parade by 11:30 for the childrens' parade. I think I walked/ran 2 miles up hill part way. Of course I ate like a pig the rest of the day. Ah well, I've got time to burn it off. When we got home it was another mad dash to clean the house for company. Right before we left the 4th BBQ venue changed from my brother's home to ours due to the potential bad weather and the lack of play space inside for the kids at my brother's. So another day of no fun until the guests showed up, then cater to them, hehe. Hmm. Gonna need to spend some time in the garden to relax this weekend.
I did get a little bit of garden stuff done today. I went to Emery's Nursery in Lynnwood to find some urea for my corn. It's a foot tall and needs to be side dressed with nitrogen now to shoot up the rest of the way. Odd though, with 6 acres, Emery's didn't have urea, and their folks there were surprisingly ignorant on veggies. What good is space if you don't have knowlegable workers? Maybe it being a holiday their talent was off work. /shrug Maybe I'll just end up spending my gift card on junk for my kids. Grrr. Anyway, the closest nitrogen they had was bloodmeal, which is 13-0-0, or lawn fertilizer, since "after all, corn is a grass" Grrr...
So as we speak I've got a question out on GW's veggie forum and the folks there have been helpful. If I understand right, I need a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer. Unfortunately what I have on hand is 5-10-10, which is really low in nitrogen, which is what they feed on to grow stalks. Maybe I'll see about the organic solution Dave (digdirt) suggested, which is 2 parts alphalfa meal to 1 part green sand. The benefit to going this route is the micronutrients that it has. I'm reading about them in my book right now. Meaning I know the term. Boy gardening can get technical. Hehe
When my family got there, the gardening continued, sort of... Mostly it was my aunt and brother teaching me how to prune my tomatoes. No not the way Mel teaches to cut it down to 1 vine. But rather to take out the branches that are doing nothing but blocking sun from the middle. After ten minutes of "teaching" I had a handfull of green branches that couldn't go into my compost because other plants don't like tomatoes. Unfortunately it seems that pruning tomatoes is as much an art as it is science, and I was never good at either... hehe.
That's my brother trying to be maniacal... Can you see this guy being a gardener? He's 6'2" 265 and into Tae kick boxing, hehe. Yep, well he told us that he is looking into potentially buying 5 acres in Klamath Falls, Oregon... a stone's throw from California. He wants to live off the grid away from people after spending 30 years in public service. Not sure his wife could handle it.
Anyway, my tomato plants look much sparcer now. I think that is also a good thing because it allows more energy to go to the fruit...
Do you see all the wonderful flowers on it? Sure my buddy in NY already is eating her tomatoes, but I'm just happy to have tons of potential. Of course now that my bushes have had a haircut, my brother tells me to see this...
TOMATOES!!! And this one isn't the only one but the others are deeper in toward the bottom. All the more reason to prune it of 80% of the non-tomato producing branches. Apparently without light the inside fruit will grow and set but never ripen, just rot from the inside out. /sigh So much to learn. Who says if you plant one veggie it should be a tomato because it's so easy. BS. There is a whole religion it seems surrounding tomatoes. Who has time to understand it all. Hehe.
Anyway, I'm thrilled to have tomato starts! I can't wait to taste them and have my own Crissy-like experience! Of course I'm harvesting buckets full of produce, including the best tasting peas I've ever had. Some kid pulled a shelling pea off the vine and left it sitting on the gravel. I found it and ate the peas inside (my mom just eats the whole pod, hehe). Boy were they tastey!
While my family was shooting the breeze outside in the shade, I took the time to fluff my new compost bin. I had dumped 10 to 20 pounds of coffee grounds on top and it had been a week since I last fluffed. My brother was impressed by the steam coming out when I fluffed it, hehe. I love impressing gardeners!
Anyway, I haven't fluffed my old compost because of the mushrooms growing in it. I believe they're common ink caps (per Joe over at Ft2Garden.com) Joe knows compost, just like Bo knew basball and everything else per the commercials, hehe. So I sent him a Private Message and email about whether to keep or pull the shrooms. My family thinks to get rid of them, but unfortunately I covered the dozens of little ones with coffee grounds. Wonderful. /sigh.
Here's a pic I snapped after I dumped a few pounds of coffee grounds on top.
Sorry it's so blurry, for some reason when taking pics at dusk it doesn't focus well. Go figure. Anyway, I've got a half dozen of the 3 inch tall ones and dozens of little ones growing in it. I may have over watered it trying to keep it from drying out. I'm still learning.
So today was a busy day. Tomorrow I hope to plant spinach behind my broccoli, more bush beans, more radishes and anything else I can think of to finish up my beds. I also hope to side dress my corn with something I've purchased, hehe. Oh and something I forgot to mention Thursday. I want to fix up Toasty's SWC for use as a cantaloupe garden.
The rest of my yard is looking pretty good. My family all commented on how nice it's looking. I'm still getting used to it being so bare, but it's good to see the kids at play. Soon they'll be allowed outside without us.
Enjoy the fireworks this evening and enjoy your garden tomorrow!