Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Gettin' Hot In Her'

I think summer has finally hit.  Everything seems to be flourishing in the hot sun, minus a few daytime wilts here and there.  I finally have my raised beds up and planted, and I've  designated the Southwest garden specifically to my tomatoes, which has grown to 7 varieties.  I'll get into that a bit later, but for now, I'll go bad news first... I'm not sure where my head was at, but I put my coleus babies out in the sun for a couple days.  WHAT?!  They were all drying out and I couldn't figure out what the problem was.  Doi...

Here's what they looked like just before the "incident." I'm hoping they'll bounce back, but we'll see.  I have a bunch more going in the grow-room, but they're not the fastest growers.

Just before the battle...

1st day outside...
I potted all my hanging plants.  I didn't get pictures of everything, but I went with the usual New Guinea Impatiens, Begonia's, and Fuschia for the hanging plants.  Here's a picture of the Fuschia:

My little helper.
I started my herbs in these small planter boxes in hopes of being able to mount them to my deck, just outside my kitchen.  So far, so good.

(From left to right) Rosemary, Chocolate Mint, Dill, and Orange Mint.

(From left to right) Spearmint, Pineapple Sage, Cilantro, and the end is saved for Purple Basil.

Orange Mint - it has a very potent fragrance and tastes just as the name suggests.


Chocolate Mint - This one smells absolutely incredible (again, just as the name suggests).  I haven't eaten it yet, but the scent is awesome.  I'm going to use this in cupcakes, I think.



Pineapple Sage - smells sweet and, well... like pineapple.

(From left to right) Coleus, Lobelia, Foxglove and I think those were peppers.  This has long since been rearranged.


Grow-room before the beds were ready.  The large leaves in front are the pumpkin.  

Hardening these guys off before planting them in the raised beds.




My iris's looked so gorgeous, I had to take some pictures.  Here is my Buddy Boy dwarf iris on the left, and my bearded iris's on the right.

Knockout Roses


My raised beds came together really well.  I'm very happy with how they look.  I had a slight issue with my old compost tumbler - I had planned on adding the contents to my new/larger compost bin, however, upon turning it, the lid opened up while it was upside-down, spilling the contents onto the ground.  So, before I could line the beds, I threw in as much as I could into all three. I lined the bottom of the beds with landscaping mesh, and the insides of the beds with some heavy duty garbage bags I had lyin' around.  

As you can see, I had to remove all the sod beneath the beds before I placed them.  That was kind of a pain.  The supports all sink into the ground.  That should help keep them in place.
Here's the mesh I lined the bottom with.  I had to shift the compost all to one side, lay the mesh, shovel the compost on top of it, then roll the other side out (if that even makes sense).  It worked out just fine, but probably not the funnest thing on a 89 degree afternoon.
Here you can see where I lined the inside of the beds with garbage bags.  I just cut them open along the sides and bottom, and used a utility stapler to attach them to the wood.  Again, I had to shift around the compost while doing all this, but it was totally worth it.  I think this will really help preserve the wood in the long run.
I under estimated the amount of soil, compost and peat moss so had to run back (last bed was only a quarter filled).

I used a mixture of 2 to 1 compost/top soil, and 2 large bags of peat moss evenly added to all 3 of the beds.
After the beds were filled, I tacked twine in approximately 12" intervals to create a square foot cells.   I left some space between the soil and the very top of the beds for mulch.
I added my strawberries and chives to the raised beds...

... hot peppers and cucumbers...

... banana peppers and pumpkins...


... and of course zucchini and squash (zucchini pictured).

Directly after transplant - they were not happy with me.


As I mentioned earlier, I decided that since the tomato plants I had started on the Southwest side of my house had been doing so well, that I was going to designate that area/garden specifically to tomatoes.  I don't have pictures of everything right now, but I will update soon.  I am growing Mortgage Lifters (heirloom), Black Krim (heirloom), Yellow Pear, Super Sweet 100, Aunt Ruby's German Green (heirloom), Garden Peach (heirloom) and Pineapple (heirloom).  I'd like to add a couple more, but we'll see.

Remember those tomatoes I put out in mid March?  Well, these are them (Yellow Pear).  Originally I had 5, but I gave one to my mother.  They're huge! 
Aunt Ruby's German Green
As you can see, I mulched with straw.  It's working out very well, so far.  Below are (left to right) lettuce, Provider beans, and chard.


And the common visitor who has taken it upon him or herself to feast on my lettuce.  I have to plant something around there to keep them away.  I was thinking marigolds?

My flower garden all looks pretty good.  My Hydrangea have really impressed me.

Some astilbe I planted earlier in Spring

I probably could have partitioned this blog out, but you don't mind, do you?  I will update with more on my tomatoes, and when I find out who wins the coleus war.  Again, any comments, questions, suggestions, feedback, arguments, etc., are totally welcome and encouraged, so jump on board!  What are YOU growing?  

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