Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garden Update

Red Flame Grapes
This past Saturday (10/26/13), Farmer MacGregor and I took on some much needed garden chores.  He did the bulk of the work because I can't (Surgeon's instructions not to bend, lift or twist - dang.) and I was still decompressing from the Vince Gill "Bakersfield" concert the night before. 

Thornless Boysenberries
The boysenberries had grown into a jungle this summer.  There are 6 plants.  The gravel walkway in the picture above was hidden with the growth.  This variety certainly thrives in this environment. This area was previously planted with azaleas and camellias.   That was very unsuccessful. The canes that bore berries this year were cut down to the ground and removed from the support.  5 new canes were chosen to be attached to the support for berry production in 2014.  The rest of the canes were cut to the ground and removed.  There were plenty of volunteers that were removed.  These certainly can get away from you if you don't tend to them.  Speaking of volunteers...note the grape tomatoes overflowing from one of the raised beds.  I cannot shake those Gold Current tomatoes so I just let them keep producing.

One of the raised beds was prepared for some winter vegetables.  Nothing was planted in rows.  I can't get down there to sow a Jeffersonian garden.  Seeds were scattered for a "natural" look.  On the east side of the bed, lettuce varieties were sown.

Outrageous (left) may be the reddest lettuce variety known! It can be harvested as a leaf lettuce or allowed to grow until the loose, Romaine-type heads develop.  The catalogue uses the name Outredeous but the seed package is Outrageous.  Little Gem (right) germinates in 50 days. It is a very small, green, romaine-type. One of the very best-tasting lettuces. A superb heat-tolerant variety.

The west side of the bed was planted with bunching onions.  These should grow well with the existing garlic chives.  No drip lines were laid out.  The seeds will get moistened by hand until they are established.  Hopefully, the rain will come (it did yesterday!).

Ishikura Onions
 (Allium fistulosum) A popular and traditional Japanese variety for sukiyaki, soup and salads. It reaches enormous proportions (to 2½ feet tall, one inch across) while remaining tender and scallion-like.  It never forms a bulb. Earth-up as for leeks to produce long white shanks. As they sprout, they will be pulled and used as green onions.

All the espalier fruit trees have been pruned and will not be pruned until just before blossom and only if needed.  My hope is that the Warren Pear will bloom - finally.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Neglected Garden

Iceberg Rose
Today I finally had some time to work out in the garden.  Still no bending, lifting (over 5 lbs), or twisting.  This is lovingly known at BLT.  However, the surgeon showed me a few tricks that enable me to work more in the garden.  Everything under the pergola got a pruning*, weeding, raking and fertilized.  It's kinda late in the year to apply fertilizer but one last shot of nutrition before winter arrives may provide stronger plants in the spring.  I don't know.  I simply felt like giving the neglected plants a boost.

In the evening, I started pruning the espalier trees.  The Santa Rosa plum has the top lateral pruned with a mind toward not crowding the 2014 crop.  2013 provided a bounty of plums.  I thinned out the branches but left enough new growth from this summer to allow buds to form in February.  The trees won't get fertilized until then.  It's time for them to go to sleep.  Granny Smith is still providing a nice load of tart apples to help us enjoy this cooler weather.  Dormant spray will be applied once all the trees have been pruned.

*Pruning plants under the pergola consisted of dead heading while pruning the espalier is a bit more sever - but not much.  Harder pruning will occur in January.

Kitchen Update
Now the item that has been soaking up most of my time is the kitchen remodel.  There are a few minor items (blinds, stools, range apron, wall decor) left to complete but the kitchen is fully functional and I love it.  Farmer MacGregor only strayed a little bit over estimates but well below what a professional designer initially quoted.  Today he prepared a rehearsal Thanksgiving dinner to determine how best to use the new range.  It was a wonderful success.