Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tagetes Patula Nana

The French Marigold seeds were sowed today in a bed where tomatoes grew last summer all the way through the new year.  However, when the heirloom plants were finally pulled, the roots were so swollen and distorted that Knot Root Nematodes  seemed to be the culprit.

UC Davis recommends planting the marigolds in rows 7” apart with plants/seeds spaced every 7”.  Fine.  That worked alright for the 1st row.  During the 2nd row planting, I realized that my back could not hold out; so I opened both of the 2g packages and scattered the seeds over the bed.  The well composted soil was gently raked over the seeds followed by a nice shower of water.  Good.  The seeds should germinate in about 5 days; but I suspect it could be sooner with all the warm sun we’ve been experiencing.

This bed will remain in marigolds for the summer with hopes of starving those nematodes.

All the tools, clogs, and gloves were sprayed with a bleach water solution then dried in the sun to prevent the spread of these extremely wee beasties.

Compact, bushy plants loaded with bright yellow, gold, orange and bicolor crested blooms. Great for patio containers, mass plantings or mixed with other summer flowering annuals. Fast growing, easy-to-grow plants are relatively maintenance-free and bloom quickly from seed.

For best results plant in full sun. Sow directly in the garden where plants are to grow after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. Seed may be started indoors 4 weeks before planting outdoors. Transplant carefully so as not to disturb the roots.

Au revoir, Nematodes.  *kiss kiss*

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Who Put the Ape in Apricot?

DSC_2258Blenheim Apricot is the 2nd fruit tree to blossom in the garden this spring.  It follows behind the Santa Rosa Plum.  All the trees are scheduled to be fertilized this week.  No rain or freezing temperatures predicted to get in the way of bees coming in to do their thing. DSC_2262The sap is flowing in all of the trees with some oozing out where it can.  Some is oozing where a certain dog applied his teeth leaving puncture wounds. I hope that the temporary blockades will keep the dog from pruning this tree any further allowing a bumper crop of apricots for 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cupid MacGregor

DSC_2249Farmer MacGregor scored large when he said he was going to the store for some Fritos or something and returned with Valentine’s bouquets.  There’s loads of red and white roses.  One accent flower caught my interest.DSC_2247Statice (Limonium sinuatum) – It’s that purple straw-like flower.  I would like to get some seeds and try growing some.  They seem perfect for zone 8-9’s hot, dry summers.  We’re expecting a very dry summer so this might be a great time to try.

Has anyone tried these in the San Joaquin Valley?  Is planting from seed viable or should I consider seedlings/plants from a nursery?

Enjoy Valentine’s Day in the garden.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Farmer MacGregor Strikes Again

The lumber was delivered Friday. Farmer MacGregor was busy sawing Saturday. He’s building supports for the Thorneless Boysenberries.  All of the bare root stock was planted and is now thriving where once azaleas died.

DSC_2238The plan is to create a hedge of boysenberries.  Farmer MacGregor creates supports for tomatoes, squash, beans, and sweet peas in the garden.  This should be no exception to his successes.DSC_2241There is only raw wood, post holes, and a plan.  The final result will be posted here.  Farmer MacGregor’s creation will surpass anything crazy, old Walter Knott came up with.

Photo lifted from

That’s Mr. Knott on the right.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another Winner!


The Santa Rosa Plum is once again the first fruit tree in the garden to break its bud.  Here’s the history:

  • February 20, 2009
  • February 14, 2010
  • February 24, 2011
  • February 11, 2012

2011 was the 1st year this tree could hold fruit.  Production was vigorous.  Temperatures have been very warm so early in the season and rain has been almost nonexistent.  The trees were fertilized on February 20, 2011 through to October 29, 2011.  Fertilizer was applied every 4 – 6 weeks between those dates. I plan to pick up some fertilizer next weekend and apply the 1st feeding of the year.Manual irrigation will most likely continue on through the growing season of 2012. 

This year, the tree was pruned to encourage healthy espalier growth.  Dormant spray was applied 3 times:

  • January 1, 2012
  • January 19, 2012
  • February 5, 2012

Even though the dog is using his own pruning technique on the trees, I’m hopeful for a bounteous year of tree fruit.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This is February?!

Today would have been a perfect beach like day IF it was July.  However, it’s February in Bakersfield.  I need some cold weather to kill the bugs, rain in the garden to settle the dust and clear the air, and snow in the mountains to use when it is July.

Can you believe ladybugs are already working in the garden?DSC_2228Here’s what’s growing on in the garden today:

The cauliflower has been bothered by aphids in this warm weather.  I was considering taking the plants out and getting the bed ready for summer crops; but there are 16 head that seem to be doing alright.  I’ll wait.DSC_2221Broccoli has also had aphid troubles.I’ve blasted the plants with a power stream of water from the garden hose and relocated some of the early ladybugs so they can help control this problem.DSC_2222Probably every seed of lettuce germinated successfully in the garden this season.  There is lettuce growing in a salad bed and lettuce growing in the holes of the cinder blocks that form the beds.  Another reason the hope for cooler weather is to extend my lettuce enjoyment.DSC_2223The discovery of Root Knot Nematodes* has led to a search for knowledge on the topic and a successful safe way to control the wee beasties.  At least I have beets and carrots successfully growing in beds that don’t seem to effected by nematodes.DSC_2224The carrots are coming along nicely and have been used in roast beef and pasta salad.  Of course, they have been snacks while out in the garden along with peas.  I can never seem to get peas past the garden gate because I eat them while enjoying the garden.DSC_2226By about 10:30 this morning the temperature was just under 70°F with clear skies and a light breeze.  By nightfall, the lights were visible out in Elk Hills, on the Grapevine, and Breckenridge where there is no snow.DSC_2220

*  If anyone has information to share about ridding my garden of damaging nematodes, I would appreciate it.