Monday: I removed six more squares of compost to the melon barrel (layered with dried leaves), and will replace with regular soil to prepare for planting Dwarf Jewel Mix nasturtiums, as these flowers do not like rich soil. Sunny and 73F today, so I moved greenhouse plants outside for the day. They got about three hours of sun and the rest of the day in filtered shade with a very light breeze. They looked very happy tonight!
Wednesday: It was Mr. H's 74th birthday, so no gardening. Kids came for pizza, cake and ice cream. Two of them brought their dogs, so we had four dogs here and they all behaved well. Thank heavens for the pet door and the fenced back yard!
Thursday: Painted a large pot and a plastic milk box to use as planters in the garden. I used Fusion paint for plastic. The pot I painted with it last year held up beautifully through the winter. Everything has to be the same periwinkle blue, as I cannot find another color that I can use (like terra cotta, pale peach or a pretty pastel green).
Cleaned up the last of the leaves from the corner of the garden, and sprinkled everything well with house water, as the irrigation water has been shut down for repairs to the system.
Thinned the beets (3/19). Planted a row of Black Seeded Simpson lettuce next to the sugar snap peas. I used a plastic squirt bottle filled with cornstarch/water solution and added a few pinches of the seeds. Shook the bottle well and squirted it in a shallow trench. Reseeded a few spinach seeds where the first planting didn't grow, and seeded more mesclun to make that bed thicker. Although it's two weeks early, I planted two rows of Burpee's Stringless Green Pod bush beans along the edge of the raspberry bed. It was only 45-cents worth of Dollar Store seeds, so I figured it was worth a try. I will save my good varieties for planting in 2-3 weeks. Planted about a dozen Glorious Gleam trailing nasturtiums in the whiskey barrels with the blueberries. I put a milk jug over one bunch of seeds, but the others will be left to fend for themselves. I have others growing in the greenhouse if I need replacements. Planted three rows (48 seeds) Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach in east bed #5 where peppers will later be planted. The radishes in east bed #1 (4/3) have germinated, as have the carrots that were glued to newspaper squares (3/19). The carrot germination looks to be quite good. One of the raspberry canes has started to leaf out, the others have buds that are swelling.
My oldest daughter (a McDonald's manager) brought me 10 five-gallon pickle buckets from work. She say's they no longer get their pickles in buckets! She happened to have a bunch in the office, but they have been used for storing their french fry oil, so need a lot of scrubbing. The ones I've cleaned so far have dates on them, and are 10-12 years old. They are bright green! Won't they be complimentary to all the blue pots I already have? Not. But I'm sure glad to get them!
Today (Friday): Mr. H cleared out the brush he's been cutting down behind the garden shed (a large volunteer mulberry tree and four large lilacs). We got it all loaded onto the pickup, along with about 8 big bags of winter mess from the pine trees. Son-in-law had cleaned it all up and bagged it for us before we got home from AZ, so it all had to be taken to the dump. I had planned to use the pine needles as mulch, but it had too many branches, pine cones and general winter's mess to be of any use. The entire load got taken to the dump and disposed of. Neighbor had saved leaves for me while we were gone, so Scott, my youngest son, and I dumped them all over the back yard and mowed and rebagged them. It cut a dozen bags down to just three bags full for the compost.
Pruned back one of the massive junipers so we could get into and out of the corner area easier, and started pruning the second (even larger) one. Set up the big old composter in the center. I wasn't going to use it this year, as it didn't compost a darned thing last year. However, I decided it will be a good place to layer nothing but the chopped leaves, grass clippings and a bit of manure. It should give me some fine stuff for the garden by fall. The back corner is almost ready to receive some of the pickle buckets for planting tomatoes.
With the pickup empty, I decided to use the entire bed for the seedlings. I can drive in and out of the garage to expose them to weather....move them into sun or shade as needed, and shut the tailgate, if it's windy, to give them some protection, or even stretch a sheet of plastic across the entire bed if needed. At night (or during heavy rain or windstorms) I'll just drive them into the garage. They have already adjusted to full days of being outside, so I'll not use the lights or the greenhouse for them any more.
Carried 6 buckets of dirt (no compost) to fill the rest of the holes I had dug earlier for nasturtiums, and planted 6 squares of Jewel Dwarf Mixed, five seeds per square. Also planted 4 cabbage, 4 broccoli and 4 cauliflower, along with one square of Daphne's Dill and one square of Dan's dill with the cabbage. House water had to be used for sprinkling again, as we still do not have the irrigation water turned on. My front yard is getting really dry.
Leaves were dumped all over the back yard, mowed and bagged. It reduced twelve bags of leaves to three bags of leaves with grass clippings for the compost bin. Notice the junipers on the left side of the photo. I still have a LOT of pruning to do on the big one!
Stay tuned for more photos on Seedling Saturday!