An Uncapped Pen

October 21, 2009

October Garden Update

Filed under: The Garden — cindylv @ 9:38 pm

I don’t know why I get so surprised every year.  Overnight, we go from 105+ to 70 degrees.  Green turns brown.  Breezes turn to gusts.  Puffy clouds turn forboding.  Some plants love the change, some struggle.

We planted new babies about 10 days ago.  Some old favorites are eeking out their harvest, some plants have snapped back and are thriving.   Planting a fall garden.  If that isn’t an expression of confidence and hope, I don’t know what is.

My favorite part of the garden is the fire pit.  Bob comes home from work and we snuggle on the patio, enjoying a glass of wine (or beer – for him).


June 4, 2009

Grandma Putt’s Wisdom Applied

Filed under: The Garden — cindylv @ 5:11 am

I picked up a gardening wisdom book for a dollar at my favorite used bookstore. The author quotes tidbits and anecdotes he learned at the knee of his grandma. Some of my favorites include the compost booster (1/4 cup of beer, 1/4 cup of ammonia, a gallon of warm water), and an ant repellent (a cup of geranium, a cup of marigold, a few cloves of garlic, a small onion and a quart of detergent – grind it up in a food processor, let it steep overnight and apply to the trunks of fruit trees).

We put the garden in a little earlier than usual this year, the third week of February. One of the things we learned a while back was that tomatoes need to be pollinated before the temperature reaches 100 degrees, or it's too hot to develop fruit. Planting in February can be risky though. We usually get one last freeze late in the month or early in March. Thankfully, we skipped it this year.

The nectarines are a little light this year. They’re turning red, but still quite hard. The apricots should be ready in a day or two. We'll be racing the birds to clear the tree. The first year trees: two apple and two pear, showed mixed results. One apple tree has produced approximately two dozen little green rocks. The other just ignored the whole fruit season. Both pear trees are flourishing, but only one has fruit. And the grape vines look great, but sadly production is a bit light.

Perhaps the most interesting crop is the volunteer sunflowers. I just love sunflowers!

June 25, 2008

My Secret Garden

Filed under: About Me,The Garden — cindylv @ 11:28 pm

I’ve been keeping it a secret because I didn’t take the time to figure out how to upload images to my blog. I figured I could just use my Photobucket links like I do for everything else. Little did I know.

So, without further fuss or excuses, my very un-Vegas garden:

Backyard and Patio

The Patio

Wildflowers, vegetables and fruit trees

June 24, 2008

Grass Clippings, Egg Shells, Salad Schnibbles and Earthworms

Filed under: The Garden — cindylv @ 3:21 pm
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Gardening in the Las Vegas desert requires a little patience, lots of water, and dirt. When you buy a new house here, you get: the house, a concrete block wall, a tiny patch of front yard covered in a single layer of reddish rocks, and maybe a row of scraggly privet or mock heather. The backyard is scraped earth. No grass. No dirt. A few rocks along the wall, if you’re lucky.

Fourteen years ago we bought a few yards of dirt, a few yards of flagstone for the patio, some plastic border for trim, a truckload of black plastic sprinkler parts (hoses, heads, pipes, emitters, sprayers, clips, clamps, brackets, valves, etc.) and some plants. Every year, we head on over to the nursery to buy bags and bags of dirt, and a few replacement plants.

This summer we decided to make our own dirt. I bought a book on composting. I visited a friend who has been composting for several years. I sat on the patio with my husband and debated containers, contents, ventilation, watering, worms and waste over a few glasses of wine. And finally, we have our preliminary system in place.

We bought a 55-gallon black plastic trash container and drilled holes in the top and sides. We crumpled paper for the base layer, then added grass clippings, shredded paper (from a long-overdue file purge), kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, deadheaded roses and a few brushfuls of german shepherd hair (the fluffy undercoat part – the good stuff), and we’re on our way. No worms yet, but the container is HOT!

I can see this working out in one of two ways:

1. By this time next year, we’ll have the equivalent of a Binford compost heap generating sufficient compost for the subdivision (emitting a few million BTUs of heat), or

2. We forget all about it in a month or so and next season we start using the holey trashcan to store potting soil.

March 17, 2008

While I’ve been sleeping . . .

Filed under: The Garden — cindylv @ 6:52 am

. . . my lilac bush bloomed. Thousands of purple flowers with sunny yellow smiles stretched their arms open to embrace the arrival of Spring.

My patio is lined with terracotta pots sprouting baby basil, dill, radishes, spinach, and rocket. Last year’s onions, tucked up against the back wall for warmth, show firm green stalks ready for blooming.

Two more zucchini and another yellow squash peeked up during last night’s gentle rain. Another celebrity blossom erupted. The peppers continue to snooze, content to sleep another week before releasing a bud.

Hot pink nectarine flowers cling stubbornly to their branches, refusing to give way to green leaves. Tiny buds mark the ends of the two-year old limbs of the apple tree. Maybe this year, we’ll be blessed with an apple?

And the best discovery of the morning?

Thousands of fuzzy green pea-sized apricots promise sweet jam come September. Only five months to wait.

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