Grow: The 2016 Garden Thread

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    Feb 15, 2016 1:37 AM GMT
    Spring is coming on like a freight train out of control. Time to sign off that computer, get outside and get muddy! If you don't have an "outside" get some planters going. Whatcha got ?

    As usual, I found the first wildflower of spring on February 1. Actually, I gave up looking, and almost stepped on this baby on the way back to the house. The dog sat on it about a millisecond after I snapped the picture. But now they're everywhere. Time to get going, move move move.
    IMG_1323%201_zpscjl2hl0a.jpg

    Note: The old gardening thread is old and bloated. Time for a fresh new thread for 2016

    Special note for all my Cannabinoid-American friends and relatives: Yes, I know it's (sorta) legal now, but you still may not keep your medicinal plants in my greenhouse. Full stop.
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    Feb 15, 2016 1:46 AM GMT
    I think I've got most of the rose hedges pruned now. At least a first pass with the chainsaw and loppers. Here is the first pile of prunings, maybe a third or half of them.
    IMG_1328%201_zpseh0q18aw.jpg

    I don't like to accumulate more than about a ten-foot pile at a time, because bigger piles can get out of hand when you burn them. I usually let it burn and bring more loads through the day to toss on the pile. Even though I try to handle this stuff with a rake and pitchfork, all my clothes are full of tiny thorns.

    IMG_1332_zpslfdn33vb.jpg
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    Feb 15, 2016 2:41 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidI think I've got most of the rose hedges pruned now. At least a first pass with the chainsaw and loppers. Here is the first pile of prunings, maybe a third or half of them.
    IMG_1328%201_zpseh0q18aw.jpg

    I don't like to accumulate more than about a ten-foot pile at a time, because bigger piles can get out of hand when you burn them. I usually let it burn and bring more loads through the day to toss on the pile. Even though I try to handle this stuff with a rake and pitchfork, all my clothes are full of tiny thorns.

    IMG_1332_zpslfdn33vb.jpg

    Considered composting the stuff, instead of the quick release of CO2 into the atmosphere?
  • carew28

    Posts: 658

    Feb 15, 2016 2:52 AM GMT
    It's still a little too early for those of us in New England to think about gardening. We're right in the middle of a polar-vortex of Arctic air, with sub-zero temperatures all weekend. The ground is covered with snow, and there'll probably be more this week. I'm still focussing on my little indoor window-sill garden.
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    Feb 15, 2016 3:02 AM GMT
    Lily shoots are just beginning to emerge from the soil.

    Camellias are in bloom.

    35c05c4853713f39e582940280ff05b4.jpg

    and the Rohdodendron arboreums have already bloomed (start in December, usually).

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    Feb 15, 2016 3:05 AM GMT
    Nice!

    My patio garden is looking pretty miserable right about now; if I have time I'll start over with the peppers and tomaters in a few weeks.

    I miss real yard work though. icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 15, 2016 3:21 AM GMT
    I want to grow some rainbow carrots.
    raw-carrots.jpg
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    Feb 15, 2016 5:00 AM GMT
    theantijock%20engage%20stalker%20reducti

    A new thread? Okay, but I'm not really ready. Just started in this last week on some spring gardening. We've had some cold snaps in Feb but my feeling is that's over. So I've got on my camera late winter stuff I'll start with.

    The only significant bloom in 2016 so far is the camellia. Had a good season but didn't bother to photo this year. And just in the last few days the azaleas started blooming. Today I was trimming near those to show them off. Will take picks in better bloom.

    Here was our pathetic autumn this year. Not that it usually gets cold enough for colors but every so often it can and for that I've planted red maples. But I've had only one in like six whatever years with really good color. This year was silly. Though after mine lost leaves we did have a good cold two nights and a neighbors turned completely red, very pretty.

    this one turned yellow and red
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    and this one turned brown and red. Hey, it's Florida. We'll take what we can get.
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    these are the clean up guys, American black vulture. A neighbor's dog kept getting under fence and killed 3 opossum. Not good. Anyway, these guys had a snack. Pic is from far away. I didn't want to disturb while they ate though they're fairly fearless. I've been as close as a few feet away from them.
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    this is just some purple weedy thing. I don't know what it is. Blooms about twice a year. I let it grow cause it looks nice and blooms in winter when little else does.
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    here's a copperleaf aka Acalypha wilkesiana as foreground for an Asian lemon aka Bambusa Eutuldoides Viridi Vittata. I was just working on that today, cleaning the random boo branches and cutting down to shrub up the copper
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    here's a cordyline aka ti plant in bloom
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    a clump of tropical blue aka Bambusa chungii planted next to an Asian lemon
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    this is coming out pretty much as intended. that's two blues flanking a long leaf pine. Looks real perdy from a distance.
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    and now for a leisurely stroll through the bamboo cathedral. I'll do a better one later.
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    Feb 15, 2016 5:27 AM GMT
    HikerSkier said
    Considered composting the stuff, instead of the quick release of CO2 into the atmosphere?


    Of course. I have actually spent a lot of time and money trying to come up with a system to make that economically viable. It's a long story. Two points for context.

    1. There is no net CO2 emission because it's all just a fraction of the stuff that I've grown.

    2. This isn't even the merest measurable bit of the stuff I have to burn. And all of that isn't even slightly significant. The entire region is smoking with fires from orchards burning brush, plus the 5% of trees that need to be replaced every year, plus the the Forest Service and every landowner doing controlled burns to reduce fuels for fire safety.

    And all of that isn't even slightly significant compared to the forest fires that burn all summer.

    And none of that is fossil carbon. That's what you city folks do.
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    Feb 15, 2016 5:33 AM GMT
    [url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%BCgelkultur[/url]
    H├╝gelkultur is a composting process employing raised planting beds constructed on top of decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds.

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    This way you can play in dirt garden and make a fort at the same time.
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    Feb 15, 2016 6:00 AM GMT
    Perhaps the golden age of composting was in urban Victorian cities. Every block had a stable that generated wagon-loads of free readily compost able material every day. Free for the taking. In fact, they would pay you to take it away. Elaborate Victorian greenhouses were heated by massive compost mounds under the growing benches. But really, nothing produces that but massive animal housing operations. I get a few truckloads from big regional dairies, but they charge quite a bit for it.

    I have gone to the trouble of making deals with people who keep horses and hauling away their stable waste. Hint: Not worth it unless you have a tractor with a loader to help. Or teenagers who can provide free slave labor (thanks, Dad.).
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    Feb 15, 2016 3:36 PM GMT
    I'm jealous for all places that can see the grass. More snow here in Iowa...but I've seen a robin last week! That's one sign of spring around here!
  • LJay

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    Feb 15, 2016 9:57 PM GMT
    Mindgarden, it sounds like you could use a shredder.
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    Feb 15, 2016 10:32 PM GMT
    LJay saidMindgarden, it sounds like you could use a shredder.


    I have a wood chipper, actually. I said it was a long story... and not directly relevant here. As it happens, I can't use mine right now because something is wrong with the hydraulics on the tractor. Which I will get to, after I get the Beemer put back together. Waiting for parts. (Play theme from Jeopardy.) Or maybe I will fix the clutch in the Jeep first. Anyway, the season can't wait!

    A few years ago, the orchardists cooperative actually leased a huge truck-sized chipper that could shred entire trees and stumps. It was just ruinously expensive to operate. For the time being, most people have gone back to burning.

    Some guys started up a new company in the industrial park to compost woody debris. They had all sorts of grants to get started, but went bankrupt in a year or two. Some gaping hole in their business model, I suppose.
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    Feb 16, 2016 1:56 AM GMT
    Building a new raised bed this afternoon. A work in progress. Ran out of daylight. And decent stacking rocks.

    IMG_1339%201_zpswhxbwtne.jpg

    This bed surrounds one end of the greenhouse recycle pond and will help to define the guest parking area. I've had these rhododendrons in pots for months, so I'm finally getting them in the ground. Weird. After ignoring them for all this time, now that I'm showing interest in these plants, the fucking peacocks immediately begin taking bites out of the leaves. icon_mad.gif
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    Feb 16, 2016 3:55 AM GMT
    Love the beds. Damn I wish I had rocks here. Love rocks. And love rocks.

    Your birdies are just pruning. I figure garden design is part my effort, part plant, part weather, part luck and part critters.

    On your compost hauling comment above, I never had the vehicle for it though I suppose I could have rented a truck but my last garden was about an hour to my brother's ranch so I did have easy access to that material. I remember now that at one time I considered plastic bagging it but I was pretty sure that smell would fuck up the trunk. I do have other ranches not far from this new garden, not my family but I'm sure they wouldn't mind. Maybe an open uhaul trailer? Boy, I'd hate to wind up driving behind me.

    Anywho, wasn't much to film in the garden today. Still a bit ratty looking from winter. Took just two shots.

    here's the azaleas starting to bloom and where I was trimming the other day to open the view to them. That entire shrub will turn flower within the next few days or weeks I guess. And I've got a black bamboo nearby which makes for nice contrast against the purple.
    IMG_9233_zpslsb0seoq.jpg

    And here's an example similar to above post of how I bring color into the garden. I use chunks of blue glass instead of those kitschy garden globes and then plant colored stuff around that for a mosaic effect of colors.
    IMG_9245_zpsuqqp9rhh.jpg
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    Feb 16, 2016 4:31 AM GMT
    Oh, there are plenty more rocks out on the hillside. It's just that the ground is a little too soft, this time of year, for my little utility trailer, when loaded down with rocks. And as the hydraulics on the tractor are dead, I can't really move ones more than about 200 lbs right now anyway. At least not without serious medical bills. icon_redface.gif They don't have convenient handles.
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    Feb 16, 2016 2:03 PM GMT
    Were only nature as considerate as some of the RJ posters, but sometimes you have to make do. I've no rocks to play with here. Did as a kid. Seems odd to remember rocks fondly.

    I probably spent about 70% of my initial garden budget when setting up this property--right when everything crashed so nurseries were selling cents on the dollar--and I did go to shop rocks but while I had the funds set aside, I couldn't get myself to pay that scarce pricing for what I used to climb in fun and freely collect in abundance. I considered making fake boulders--that's what we do in Florida--but then I just said fuck it. The garden's interesting enough as is. Instead, for a Zen effect I've left open spaces to meditate upon. My last place I'd turned into a practically impenetrable jungle with trails. Fun, but a bit too limiting of sunlight.

    While rock shopping I'd come across the chunk glass and thought to use that instead of garden globes I was also considering.

    I've placed them strategically throughout the garden to catch the sun in different lights. When people visit they ask about them with suspicion in their voice as if they think there's something pagan--they do look a bit Star Treky--but they're just fun fragments of garden folly.

    Here's one I just snapped in this morning's light...
    IMG_9249_zpsn1kxlzjp.jpg
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    Feb 17, 2016 7:24 PM GMT
    And here's some I just snipped.
    Parsimonious gardening.

    snip snip snip
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    plant plant
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    plant
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    One of the wonderful things about gardening in Florida is you just stick something in the ground and it grows.

    Which explains that petition refusing burial of Scalia in the sunshine state. Seems unlikely but why risk it?

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    Feb 21, 2016 5:20 AM GMT
    What remains of pines hit by lightning about a year and a half ago. I thought to leave them as part of a natural habitat. Eventually parts might hollow out to make a home for someone.
    IMG_9277_zpsyeirjstx.jpg

    The one with bark still on it only had a few branches of the lightning grab onto it so I thought it might survive, lived about a year I think it was but then died. Sad.

    here's how the tree that took the direct hit looked when first hit. I've never been right at a lightning strike before. You know how you count 1 Mississippi's to get the distance. Well, there was no Mississippi. Flash/Boom simultaneous. Wild...
    IMG_6342_zpscaamcfza.jpg

    here's that one today
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    here you can see the lightning branching around and down the tree
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    the tree that took the lesser hit still has all its bark attached (above pic) but this one sheds it in great sheets of bark that come down during rain storms
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    here you can see the relatively thin line of electric making that groove in the wood and how it blew the bark off probably by the superheated exploding sap & moisture in the tree
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    here's a better shot of that
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    And here's just some cleaning out the boo. I thought I'd noticed dead culms on the Dendrocalamus asper Betung Hitam but sometimes boo is tough to determine if it's actually dead. Sometimes a cold snap might drop its leaves
    IMG_9283_zpsqpoj5cqh.jpg

    But death was confirmed when I touched it. Sometimes the dead culms get a sooty mold to them if left in place.
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    Problem solved
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    All cleaned out and ready for this coming Spring's new shoots
    IMG_9292_zpslgtagrf8.jpg
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    Feb 22, 2016 12:54 AM GMT
    Well, not a lot going on this week. I spent a lot of time doing taxes and tearing ever-deeper into the Beemer engine - gotta practically disassemble the whole thing to replace any part... Then send away for newly-discovered rotten hoses and seals. Also continued clearing brush within the fire-safety perimeter when it wasn't raining.

    But I digress.

    Earlier in the week, I noticed that the maple seeds I have layering in the fridge were starting to sprout.

    maple%20sprouts_zps8qu6yhsp.jpg

    So I spread them out and popped them into rooting trays for the season.

    maple%20seedlings_zpsj7fqqnfs.jpg

    Hmm... what could these little things be?

    petunia%20seeds_zpseafzz3fb.jpg

    We'll have to keep an eye on this space to find out...

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    Looks like there are some mold and algae problems in the greenhouse. To save money, I haven't been adding any heat, except to keep it from frosting, and the old mechanical timers that control humidity and light need to be replaced. Also the logic of the old control board makes it hard to get the circulation fan to run without triggering the furnace. Some maintenance items to tackle there.
    Anyhow, cleaned up these poor geraniums. I lost all of the ones that I was growing for window-boxes by being gone during an unseasonable freeze in 2014. Starting over with that program. I'll just keep dividing these guys all year.

    winter%20geraniums_zpsvxslwss9.jpg
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    Feb 22, 2016 3:46 PM GMT
    That's some heavy duty gardening you do. Looks like yer readying to reforest a hillside.

    To your capsulated spawn I'm gonna guess that they are

    025+spider+eggs+copy.jpg

    And now for last night's Moonlight in the Garden

    IMG_9313_zps89jiqfkp.jpg


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    Mar 11, 2016 7:14 PM GMT
    Spiderwort coming into bloom. Lilly buds forming. Cypress trees starting to green. Some oaks already leafed out, others just now budding, Maples just started to bud. Bottlebrush buds are plumping. Orange buds are blooming & perfuming the garden, wonderful. Avocado in full bloom. Boo is just starting to green out and got some new culms sprouting. Azaleas in full bloom, not as great as last year but still pretty nice. Nearly done with this years boo divisions, didn't have much this year to do with that.

    No snakies yet. Lots of cardinals. Very pretty and good song. Had a big ol' bumble bee hovering like a humming bird about 10 feet in front of me at the front porch yesterday. Super fun to watch him. thing was huge. Black with some yellow. Stayed in one place like a gopro drone. And just a few moments ago had great hawk encounter.

    This morning I was watching the fledgling hawks in early flight. So I knew they'd eventually find my garden to play in. Sure enough, this afternoon I was watering some new divisions, I turn to come into the house and one of the baby hawks, must have been heading for the bird bath (for them it's a foot bath) before he noticed me, almost flew right into my face.

    I've had a few of those encounters. This was the second closest. The very closest I felt the wind from his wing on my cheek. This one was smaller and I didn't notice the wind but seriously right in my face. Super fun (as long as he didn't claw me, that is.) Last year one got my neighbor, drew blood from his skull. But that was one of the parents protecting the territory. This was just a cute baby hawk saying hi, thanks for the free roaming lizards and dish of water. Lunch was delicious; let's do this again tomorrow. (sometimes you have to read into these things.)
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    May 16, 2016 4:16 PM GMT
    Spanish moss hung on a weeping elm
    IMG_9615_zpsgr7jjghs.jpg

    First Asian lemon boo sprout of the season
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    The cycad of unknown fate. Damaged in a frost a few years back. No new growth since then. Just the one frond remaining. Were it a palm I'd have taken it out of its misery but a cycad can even branch out unlike most palms...
    IMG_9617_zpsx8j2qqiy.jpg

    ...and now there seems to be something happening at the crown, but I don't know if it is a fungus of deterioration...
    IMG_9619_zpsz7not5i1.jpg
    ...or some process of new growth. Next few months should reveal either death or renewal.

    ...just trying something. To the right of the elm is a healthy cycad, what the one above should look like..
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    Here's silver saw palmetto aka serenoa repens which I've planted among the pines just as they grow naturally in Florida's wild landscapes
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    trimming out the dead fronds yesterday...
    IMG_9628_zpstwevcwfz.jpg

    ...oh, so that's why that call it saw palmetto. 'cause it saw me first. Or because it'll saw your fingers off.

    Gots these tiny teeth on the stem. Sharp little fuckers
    IMG_9631_zpsfgjvyman.jpg
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    May 17, 2016 1:02 PM GMT
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    Did a better tunnel gif on different website which seems to allow more pixels for a clearer picture. Also took shots after a rain so tunnel floor is flattened and thereby better defined. Will do another after this season's new culms start growing.

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