Garden Journaling

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of your glory!" Isaiah 6:2

Always Learning

The highlight in my gardening over the past month has been visiting Edible Landscaping with Dad and Mom, and purchasing 3 apple trees, a fig tree, and a peach tree. Many years ago, our goats entirely girdled the bark from our last remaining fruit trees. I am eagerly anticipating harvesting fruit from trees again! Here’s more of what we’ve been up to in the garden lately:

Sowing and Transplanting
July 29, 2013

On July 23, we purchased our fruit trees from Edible Landscaping near Charlottesville. (A place I would definitely recommend exploring!!) Dad and I planted the patio peach tree in our backyard near our patio on a slopping hill in front of a brick wall. The sun hitting the brick wall will provide additional protection from the wind and will radiate warmth to the peach tree during the winter. We were met with some serious clay soil as we began to dig, so we blended in top soil that we collected from the woods and mixed it 50-50 with the natural soil where the peach tree would be transplanted.  Removing the grass within a 3′ diameter of the fruit tree will help prevent the grass from slowing down the growth of the tree. Lastly, we top-dressed the peach tree with about a cup of organic Plant Tone and strips of comfrey leaves, and then watered thoroughly.
August 6, 2013
My parents and I planted our two Enterprise apple trees and our one Goldrush apple tree near the parking lot along the fence line. Our fig tree is happily neighboring the chicken house. We are so happy to place the fig tree in the chicken’s yard since they will get to enjoy the additional fig bounties that fall from the tree. (I hear fig trees can make a royal mess.) I am so excited about our fruit trees and watching them grow!

With each tree, we created a 3′ diameter that was free from grass and weeds; top-dressed with organic Plant Tone; and mulched with 2 year pine needles that I found in the chicken yard . Unlike planting the peach tree, the fig and apple trees did not need additional nutrients added to the soil. We particularly noted how incredibly rich the soil was as we prepared the hole for the fig tree in the chicken yard. Why did the soil differ in the three locations? The patio peach is near a walk-out basement…so the soil is actually what you would find about 10 feet underground! The apple trees had fairly good soil because they are actually planted at ground level, so there was about half an inch of rich topsoil. The soil in the chicken house was remarkably rich, because, it was in the chicken yard where the chickens have been hanging out for years!
MAINTENANCE:
July 14, 2013

Like most things in life, gardening rarely, if ever, has a 100% success rate.  Here are two perfect examples: I found a delightful bag of Organic Tomato Tone  that I was thrilled to use for each of our tomato plants. I followed the instructions and spread 2 T. around the base of each plant.  The next morning I was met by a very dreary looking tomato plant! I must have doubled the dosage around one of the plants. Opps!

Burned Tomato Plant

Burnt tomato plant. Unknown Variety.

One of the Early Girls and one Heirloom German Johnson has also met demise, though I’m not quite sure why. *See photo* The rest of the tomato plants are doing great!

DSCN3163

Early Girl Tomato Plant

August 6, 2013
I suspect that the San Marzano tomato variety that we purchased at a farmer’s market are not disease resistant. All four have a terrible case of Early Blight and are rather stunted in growth.  I watered them with comfrey tea (comfrey leaves steeped in a 5 gallon bucket of water for a few days) to try to give it a nutrient boost.
August 8, 20113
After spending an afternoon in Barnes and Noble, I learned two things from Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte. First of all, sunflowers don’t like to be planted near pole beans. Incidentally, I planted my sunflower patch directly beside my pole beans in one of the beds. I just saw the Kentucky Wonder pole beans flowering for the first time a couple of days ago, so I doubt it’s a disastrous mistake. Side note: Flowering began at week 7 from time of sowing pole bean seeds.

Weeded one of the sweet potato patches from various weeds. This will allow more open space for the vines to take root and grow more sweet potatoes.

Just about to brake open into a beautiful sunflower bloom!

Just about to brake open into a beautiful sunflower bloom!

HARVESTING

July 18, 2013

The garlic we had divided and transplanted on June 6 never grew too much, and the garlic leaves were beginning to die, so we “harvested” the garlic and will plan to use the tiny garlic cloves in the kitchen. We immediately divided the harvest bulbs into individual cloves and replanted them in bed C.

August 8, 2013
Our 5 squash plants have all done amazingly well! I am pleasantly surprised, because the squash bugs

Two squash grown together.

Two squash grown together.

usually destroy and kill the whole plant by the second week of harvesting squash! While reading Carrots Love Tomatoes, I learned that planting squash plants either particularly early or late will significantly help avoid the squash bug army from dominating your lovely plants. Our squash was definitely planted late, so this must be the reason. So far, I have only seen one cluster of squash bug larvae.

What have I been looking forward to harvesting the most? My cucumbers! I am finally seeing the little cucumber fellas grow. The first handful should be ready to pick in a couple of days. Can’t wait!

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One comment on “Always Learning

  1. George
    August 9, 2013

    Siamese Squash plants! Mom’s squash plants are huge!

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