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Sneak Preview

I mentioned that Steve gets to bring home scrap wood spacers from work.  The shorter pieces will be used for firewood and oddball projects.  The 4′ and shorter pieces are oak.  The 8′ pieces are pine — those will be used for a play fort for the kids and the addition on the house.

The 4′ oak pieces will be used to build a fence in the front yard, similar to the old “snake” split rail fences.  We’re mulling over different builds for it, different angles for strength, and that sort of thing.

These were just laid out quickly to get a feel for  how it would look.  I might have just a bit too much redneck in me but I think it’ll look cool.  And free.  I loves me some free!

A fairly productive weekend

After several issues with the bee hive supplies, we managed to get them built.  (The quality just flat out sucks.  We’ll make our own from here on out.)  Yesterday, the weather finally cooperated for painting.  One hive will be white and the other will be yellow.  The different colors will help both the bees and us with identification of the hives.

And we’ve decided on a location for them:  Out by the shed, near the drainage creek.  They won’t be continually annoyed by the kids’ playing, nor most of the lawnmowing.  Steve & Cody worked on finishing the clearing in that area that I started a month or so ago.  The bees will do better in sun than shade, plus that chunk right there was nothing but honey locust and cedar anyway.  We’ll be leaving the Bois d’Arc.

We harvested the first of the worm tea and I’ve started feeding the seedlings with it.  I know, it makes for a pretty boring picture but I still think it’s exciting!  The plants agree with me.

The inserts from TekSupply arrived — in two days!  I managed to get the rest of the true potato seedlings separated, along with all of the mass-planted tomatillos.

A gardening buddy, Jay, sent me some leftover seed potato tubers he wasn’t going to plant:  Red Thumbs, Cherry Red, Kennebec, Yukon Gem, and Yellow Finn.  There were about six of each until I robbed them for an experiment.

I’m planting half of each variety in the normal manner but the other half I’ve shallow planted in soilless media.  I’ll be experimenting with pulling starts and/or taking cuttings.  Thanks to Wendy, Tom, and other potato-crazed gardeners for the inspiration!

Happy Easter!

(This weekend’s lawn mowing came thiiiiiis close to ruining the holiday.)

Followup on the unknown bush

For previous posts, see here and here.

It’s rather unruly looking but it sure smells nice.  I’ll need to move it because it’s far too close to the house and trying to grow into the siding.  As soon as I figure out where to put it…

They’re not terribly good photos but it was windy and sprinkling.  I have an excuse for everything.

Hail, no.

A few days ago, a storm blew through and beat us with dime-sized hail for about 20 minutes.  Not expecting any hail, I hadn’t done anything to protect the tomato seedlings that have been living on the front walk.  Ouch.  Most of them will bounce back but, when I saw the chance of more severe weather in yesterday’s forecast, I figured I’d better get my butt in gear.  Instead of getting roped into helping to move buttloads of seedlings around to protected spots, Steve brought over a couple of tomato cages and a tarp.  It’s also doubling as a bit of a greenhouse during a couple of cold nights we got stuck with.

Speaking of storms, will it ever stop?  We’ve not yet completed the drainage trenching so, for now, the garden looks like a rice paddy.  More rain is forecast for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…  Can you garden on an ark?

The beginnings of a woodpile for winter.  We really missed wood heat this past winter!!  The piles of boards beyond the logs?  Oak scrap from Steve’s work that he’s started bringing home. It will not only serve as firewood but the longer pieces will be turned into a rail-like fence around the yard.  Gotta love free fence!


Separating the TPS

For those of you following my true potato seed progress, you’ll remember that I sowed the seeds thickly into 4″ pots.  They’ve all had great germination and it’s now time to separate them into individual cells.  I have three pots each of eight varieties to separate.  This weekend, I discovered that none of my cell packs are to be found.  I’m not sure if they’re buried in the scary basement piles or if they got left behind in the move from Oklahoma last fall.  Of course, I could find none in the area to buy but did find some of those cardboard-y cell trays at WalMart so bought three.  At $4, I couldn’t bring myself to buy more than three.  I’ve got an order in for more plastic cell inserts and they should arrive in a few days.  In the meantime, I started potting up the biggest of the seedlings into the cardboard crap.

1.  Remove the hunk of seedlings from the pot.

2.  Gently squish the hunk to begin the separation.

3.  Pick your first victim.

4.  Tease it loose, ever so gently so as to spare as many roots as possible.

5.  Admire the root system.

6.  Stick a pen or pinky in a cell of moistened mix to make room for the seedling roots.

7.  Lower it into the hole, trying to ensure the roots aren’t stuck on top of the mix.

8. Pinch the mix around it, firming it into place.  Sprinkle more moist mix and firm as needed, burying up to its top leaves.

9.  Step back and take a photo for its baby book.

10.  Promise the entire family of seedlings that you’ll not make them live in easily-torn, crappy cardboard houses for terribly long.

11.  Done!  Well, done with 2 1/2 varieties.  I’ll get the other 5 1/2 varieties done when the new inserts arrive.

Those cardboard inserts make work fine for things that will only be in there a few days and won’t be moved much.  Maybe.  Several of them tore out on me just after adding the mix.  I’ll have to transfer them to the plastic as soon as it gets here because the dirt is spilling out of the giant, gaping holes.  Argh.

Mystery Prunus

This tree (and its little offspring growing near it) is growing in the tree line the runs along the middle of our property.  It’s now fully in bloom and smells amazing.  Susan saw it in either the fall or winter when there were no flowers (or fruit) but said it was something in the prunus family, such as a cherry or plum.  Of course, it will turn out to be plum since we just planted a bunch of plum and are hoping for cherry.  It doesn’t look like any wild plums I’ve ever seen but I’m only familiar with the ones that grew in thickets where we lived in Oklahoma.  Whatever it is, is smells good!


TPS update

All of the TPS (true potato seeds) have now sprouted and are living their days outside, soaking up the  sun, and spending the chillier nights indoors.  I’m still so excited about these things!  Really, you have no idea how many photos I take of these little seedlings, just to ooh and ahh over them.  I know, I know.  Just be happy I don’t post them every day.

Just smile and nod politely.

But aren’t they cute??

“Yes, dear.”

Spring Porn

I got to play a bit more with the still new-to-me camera while the girls did what girly girls do.

While such gentle appreciation of nature was going on over here, the three younger boys were practicing their kill shots on the other side of the yard.

Another Day in the Life

FYI:  I was posting this yesterday when a storm blew through and I lost internet.  Pretend it’s yesterday!

We took a bit of lazy day today.  It had rained overnight and we didn’t feel much like crawling around on the still-goopy ground.  We took advantage of the lingering moisture to have a safe fire day, burning the cedars we had cut down a few weeks ago to make room for fruit trees.  (I hate cedars and all of their look-alike relatives!!)

Yesterday, however, I managed to get the carrots, lettuce, and spinach sown.  We have about six of those new raised beds in the main garden completely full now.  You can almost see the onion transplants and mini-blind slat labels sticking up out of the dirt below.  I can’t wait to see some green growth!

The wintersown plants are enjoying being in the open after having their lids cut off earlier in the week.

A few of the wintersown Alpine strawberries were planted out today in the front yard wheel beds.  I’m going to make it a nibbly sort of place for the kids.  When they’re out playing, they’ll have green onions, berries, cherry tomatoes, and that sort of thing to munch on without having to go into the main garden.

The poor front walk is a mess and will continue to be until everything is planted out.  The flats pictured here are all tomatoes, except for the last couple flats which are herbs and true potato seedlings.