SPRING RAINS AND MILD WEATHER

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Posted by Gordon | Posted in News | Posted on 23-02-2013

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As I sit here  this early Saturday morning listening to the rain, I am thankful that I live in the South and avoid the cold snowy weather that many of you have to endure.  We have still not had a frost and Spring is definitely beginning as the green leaves are starting to show on the trees and the pine pollen is swelling on the pines.  This tells me that no matter how much work I have done in the garden in preparation for the Spring planting, I am still behind schedule.

This year we are sprouting many of our plants ourselves under our new grow lights and over heat pads.  This enables us to plant many varieties that are not available to us locally.  Tomatoes for example.  We are starting 15 different varieties (mostly heirlooms) and have many different plants of each.  We will have more plants than we have space in the garden.  We plan to plant many other vegetables directly into the garden as soon as the soil warms up.  Our early plantings include sugar snap peas, Brussels sprouts, Aisan greens, carrots, lettuce, turnips, etc.

BELL JARS OVER BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH NEW SUGAR SNAP PEAS IN THE BACK

NEWLY TRANSPLANTED TOMATO SEEDLINGS

 

I use the converted water jugs as bell jars to maintain the humidity around young seedlings and protect them from the cool nights and cut worms.  These covers replaced the two liter soda bottles that I use to start them under.  I purchase the water jugs from Wall Mart ($7.00 ea) and cut the bottoms off.  I do the same with the soda bottles which I save after drinking the “coke”.  This has worked well for me but you have to get used to strange structures in the garden.

Which brings me to my next topic:  really strange structures.  It all started last year when despite our efforts to protect our blackberry crop from the birds, I would have to release, each afternoon, five or six very fat cardinals from under the bird netting which covered the plants.  We were able to still enjoy our blackberries but it was obvious that we were not having access to the full crop which everyone enjoyed.  The remedy was to design and build a better bird netting structure.  This has now been done except for the application of the netting itself.  The nets can now be conveniently lifted from the plants for harvesting while the birds watch from a distance.  Actually, this statement will only be tested when harvest time arrives but I have confidence in my design so let’s say for now that it works.

STRANGE GARDEN STRUCTURES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another addition to the garden is a new bird netting cover over the strawberry beds.  Same problem – same solution.

 

STRAWBERRY BEDS

 

LOOKING WEST THROUGH THE GARDEN TO THE CHICKENS

 

Each Spring I look forward to the first blooms which I always attribute to the wisteria arbor and which we celebrate by enjoying our Annual Wisteria Soiree.  Our third event will occur next month and will be a gathering of friends (you’re all invited – just let me know for a head count) under the arbor for an evening.  We enjoy wine, cheeses, fruits, sweets and shrimp as the blossoms fall into our wine glasses.  It is a really good way to usher in our Spring.

This year, however, I noticed that our camellias are really the first blooms of the spring.  It starts in mid winter with the Sasaqua  Camellia bloom (a close relative to the tea camellia) and finishes in early Spring with the Japonica Camellia bloom.  I rooted several varieties of both 15 years ago and the Japonica have grown into 12 foot bushes (I have kept the Sasaqua cut into hedges).  I am always astounded when I remember that these tall shrubs started out as 3 inch cuttings.

 

JAPONICA CAMELLIA

 

YESTERDAY'S BLOOM

 

These images are from my graphic art website (www.SeaIslandPrints.com).

We finally finished filling our new raised beds.  At last count, it was 41 wheel barrow loads.  A lot of work but it somehow seems a faint memory now that it is completed.  I can’t wait to watch the garden grow in its new soil.  We will shield several beds with shade and insect cloth.  More on this next time.

A DISTORTED PANORAMA OF THE GARDEN

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