Sunday, September 28, 2008

September 28, 2008

Ah, what a glorious day here in the Pacific Northwest!  The sun was shining, there were only wispy clouds in the sky, who'd have known it was fall and that we'd missed most of summer?  Unlike yesterday, I had the entire day to myself for work in the garden.  And boy did I make the most of it!

Thankfully my folks came over to help, because I wasn't looking forward to liberating a corner of my yard and planting my two new blueberry bushes all by myself.  After a half hour of planning, we finally settled on where to put them.

Notice the close proximity to the existing blueberry bushes on the other side of the yard.  I think the bees will have no trouble making the rounds, do you?

Notice that the blueberry bush is still in the transplant bin, that's because I had to mix up some planting soil for them.  Since blueberries are acidic, I wanted to make the soil about as acidic as an orange.  Not easy to do, even though we've got a pretty acidic soil here in the PNW.  So to accomplish that, I took the potato bin soil (Mel's mix minus the peat moss) that I'd amended with a healthy dose of coffee grounds last week and added peat moss and a sprinkle of fertilizer for acid loving plants. 

An hour or so later and presto!

Of course the bush on the right couldn't go there without a bit of work first.  I had a rose bush right next to it.  And since these bushes will eventually grow together, that wouldn't do.  So we moved it.  I sure hope it survives.  It didn't look good a few hours after transplanting.  But here is a shot of all three plants we tinkered with today.

I also hope that the downspout is far enough away at 3 feet to not flood the area with water in the fall and winter months.  If I see it's not doing well, I'll buy a rain barrel and install it there with the overflow over the fence into the front yard.  Apparently you can't kill the tree on the other side of the fence (I have forgotten its name).  Otherwise rain barrels are likely a project for next year.

Finally, if you noticed the scalloped concrete blocks in the various pictures above, well we "borrowed" them from my brother's house and my folks house and my house to piece together a border for the blueberries to match the rose garden.  I think it turned out decent enough for piecemeal.

Now all I have to do is buy some beauty bark and spread it over the area.  I think this time I'll put down landscape fabric between the bushes before I cover it with bark to keep weeds from growing up.  Why beauty bark you ask?  Well it's highly acidic which helps treat the soil as it leaches down.  At least that's what I hoped for when I did it to the existing blueberry bed.  Now it's just a symetry thing, hehe.

After that project was done, I cleaned up the yard.  I hosed down the tarp to put it back over the kids outdoor toys when it rains. It had been used to hold the dirt when I broke open the potato pinata, hehe.  Multitaskers.  Then I also dismantled the yukon gold potato bin for storage in the shed for next year.  I saved the douglas fir boards but recycled the pine 2x2s because they just weren't holding up.

After that project I cut the plastic for the hoop covers.  I sure hope I cut them right so I can cover all three beds now.  Anyway, now that the plastic is cut, I can install all three hoop covers in less than an hour if it looks like it's needed.  While I was in the garden I sprayed Spinosad over all the plants that something's munching.  I sure hope my cauliflower survives. I'm not hopeful.  I scrounged a clear tarp to cover the potato bin to let it dry out.  Then I fertilized the cantaloupe bed with bloodmeal for a nitrogen boost.  I've got a half-dozen or more cantaloupe forming.  I'd be happy if one or two make it before the frost.  Maybe I should have cut off all but one bud per plant, but I just don't have the heart to choose which one makes it.  hehe

Lastly, I was energized but exhausted.  Still I bundled up myself and my eldest and we ventured out into the back 40 for what's likely our final blackberry harvest.  This time I armed myself with a machette and went jungle exploring to find hidden blackberry treasures.  It worked like a charm.  I cleared out a fair amount of old inch-thick dead blackberry canes and picked an over-full gallon ziplock bag of berries in the process.  It was slow going because everything low was relegated to my 4 year old.  He was really good about staying away from the big sharp knife though.  I was proud of him.  We had some great father and son time.  What a perfect end to a productive weekend.  I finally finished up with my arm and back giving out on me just in time to pick up the yard and head inside just as it got dark. 

So I didn't get my garden mucked out and trellis taken down, but I think I've got a bit before the hoop covers are needed.  Let's hope so.  I also didn't weed the garlic bed, though it doesn't need it bad and I can weed when I plant garlic.  Speaking of which, my dad thinks I need to research whether garlic will work with acidic soil in a blueberry bed.  Something I should do soon. Maybe after I'm done here.  Lastly I didn't buy the clear corregated fiberglass to cover my compost bins, but I didn't have the truck.  Again that's something I don't HAVE to do but want to do. 

All in all, not a bad weeked, all things considering.  What's more, I think it recharged me enough to tackle the office again.  Whew!

Hope you all were as productive as I and enjoyed your gardens this weekend!


  1. Wow, lots of work! Great amounts of accomplishment there!

    One thing I wanted to share...after every Christmas, I take spent pine needles from old Christmas trees and sprinkle around my blueberry bush. The blueberry bush seems to like that.

    My neighbor has a pine bush, I help trim it back and take needles from clippings for spring and summer amendments also.

  2. That was a pretty busy weekend! Have you opened the remaining potato bins? If so, I have somehow missed it. It was good that you finally got those berries, i'm going for 20 gallons next year. Maybe I can hold out that long.....Anyway, thanks for always taking the time to update your blog....I enjoy reading it.

  3. PG: Thanks for the comment about the pine needles. Alas, we have a fake tree for economy sakes, not because I'm so green that I hate cutting down trees, this is the Evergreen State after all, hehe. I'll check if the wreath we get is made from pine, if so, I can use that. Good idea. I knew that but forgot since we don't have any pine trees in our yard. Nothing acidic at all. Grrr.

    EG: Sure was busy, but no, tonight you'll see what my potato bin looks like. You didn't miss anything. As for the berries, I think we got 2 gallons out of the entire bramble this year. How you get 20 gallons I have no idea! That bramble must be a football field long! I actually didn't *need* to get more because my mom has tons of juice for jelly already, she says enough for all next year. Hehe for you, I'll post tonight... Thanks for reading, I love your blog also!

  4. The blueberries look great in their new home. I am sure they will happier there than they were here, having to fend off all those mountain beavers.