Monday, June 15, 2009


For months I have been pulling this weed.
IT IS EVERYWHERE. First, there is a red tinted leaf on the soil, maybe purple. Then another and another. It is all over the place with no root. It is purslane. A weed to me, but actually edible and rather nutritious. It has antimutagenic properties, calcium, potassium, iron, vit C, some B and is used to cure digetsive ailments (constipation and urinary system inflammation). It produces a small yellow flower and then seeds. The flower opens for only a short time it eh morning light. Trives in dry, pact soil. Just right for the desert I live in. Maybe I'll let it grow, as long as it leaves my intentional well alone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I am discouraged. I just want to till it all under and kill all the bugs. Don't act rashly. Today is not the day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Termites, Nemotodes, and Strawberries

Fine in a garden. They really only eat wood. It is a short distance to a house or a shed though. Be sure to remove that old wood behind the shed. Treat it, the shed, and protect the house and fence. Otherwise, maybe they'll be helpful in breaking down the 5 inches of woodchips unwittingly dumped in a garden. Woodchip does not equal healthy garden yet. Not to me anyway.

Nemotodes kill termites, though not a colony. Colonies are near impossible to eliminate. Funny. Nemotodes kill strawberry plants too.
Some symptoms can include red leaf and black root. I have a few plants with red leaves, but the leaves sit directly on the ground and are often covered by dirt during watering. Lack of nitrogen can be a culprit, however, it cannot be treated once blossoming without affecting the crop.

Grow a peanut

Peanuts grow in sandy soil. The plant is a vine, growing along the ground, while the pods push into the ground. Water well when planting, then not again until they sprout a week later. Avoid over watering. They need 130 days to mature. Very susceptible to frost. The foliage will yellow when ripe. To harvest pull out the entire plant and let it dry for 2-4 weeks. Any raw peanut can be planted.

Though I know we are late, let's grow peanuts.
June 12, Day 1: Plant the nut, don't let it split or it won't grow.
July 8, to many days: Didn't grow. Super rain, dry out. Ignored. Failed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Barberry Bush by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The bush that has most briers and bitter fruit,
Wait till the frost has turned its green leaves red,
Its sweetened berries will thy palate suit,
And thou may'st find e'en there a homely bread.
Upon the hills of Salem scattered wide,
Their yellow blossoms gain the eye in Spring;
And straggling e'en upon the turnpike's side,
Their ripened branches to your hand they bring,
I 've plucked them oft in boyhood's early hour,
That then I gave such name, and thought it true;
But now I know that other fruit as sour
Grows on what now thou callest Me and You; 
Yet, wilt thou wait the autumn that I see,
Will sweeter taste than these red berries be

burning v barberry

Burning Bush. I have 2 of these. One small bush under the front bay window, maybe a dwarfed variety. One larger than me in the back on the west side of the garage door. I love the natural shape of the bushes. They sprout what is called a wig, small stems protruding from the bush sprinkled with little white buds. Don't prune. Water to encourage growth, but don't over water. It is obviously maintenance free which is probably why it was planted on this lot.

Now the barberry bush is not so pleasant. It adds wonderful accent colors to the spring and summer landscaping. But I am not sure if the beast of a thorn is worth it for me. Barberry is often planted to deter thieves. It has a brutal poke. The thorns are a short half inch, but sharper than a pin. The dead or trimmed branches are often lurking in the dirt and weeds I work with. It was a deep purple until the heat of summer inspired the plant. Now it is turning green from the inside out. It is a great shaping bush, grows fast and unruly, I think. The young branches are soft; thorns don't harden off for a short while. The wasps love the bush for hiving in. Mid-spring the bushes produced a very small yellow flower which fed the wasps. It even produces a small edible berry. I can't get the vinca and the weeds out from under it. I fear the thorn.

Together the bushes can make a delightful and appealing setting. I love the balance and coloration. At this small stage, the barberry bushes have a fantastic spread. I like the smaller barberry. The symmetry and color focus the eyes onto the burning bush. I really like this setting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Flowers amongst the vegetables

Marigolds, I heard, kept some bugs out of gardens. Well, there is more to it than that. Garden planting is an art, or rather a mathematical, scientificated equation.  To maximize growing space and reduce insect devastation, complimentary planting is a fabulous idea. I'll have to try it next year.

Rosemary:  by Carrots

Chives, Garlic:  by Roses

Marigolds: near Tomatoes, Strawberries, Squash

Basil repels flies and mosquitoes.

I love the scent of marigolds. Throw in some used coffee beans and you may end up with a 5 foot marigold like Melbel.

Secrets of Raising Tomatoes

Don't just let them go on their own. Tomato plants must be pruned to promote a healthy growth. Once the first flowering occurs, prune all leaf stems below the flowers. Stake now, carefully and gently to avoid damaging stem. Here is a great article detailing the job.

I might go even further and remove more leaves. Another author indicated he ran his farm off of 3 leaves per plant after fruiting/flowering. It must be the top of the stem where the vine is still growing.

***Tomatoes can really grow on their own. They just need some great soil, water and a whole lotta sunshine.