May 9, 2009: Garden Art & The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly

This week I added a bit of garden art to the veggie garden.


I built a tipsy planter, and gave my uninhabited birdhouse some birds. These birds don't eat my pea vines or poop on anything!


I planted the tipsy pots with petunias, violas, alysum, verbena and a rosemary plant. The rosemary will have to be moved when it gets larger, but I will just put it in a bigger pot and let it travel south with us next October. That way it won't winter kill like my last two did.


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I ran into a little problem while installing the T-posts in the tomato bed. I had planned on pounding three of them in at a slight angle, tilting out at the tops, down each side of the bed. I was then going to use the Florida weave method of trellising, with a single ditch down the center of the bed to supply both sides with water and fertilizer. I felt the outward tilt would allow plants on both sides to have plenty of air circulation, while also keeping the tops just a bit lower to the ground for easier access. I didn't think about the tree roots that were still under that bed! No way could we pound those posts into the ground. My son ended up forming them into X shapes, drilling through the flanges on each end and securing them with large screws, then using heavy wire to tie them all together securely. It will be a little difficult to get the weave started on the lower sections, but once the plants grow up to the cross bars it will get easier.....I hope! If I had only known this was going to happen, I would have planted the tomatoes further toward the outside edges of the bed. Now I have lettuce, carrots and flowers planted along the edges, so I'll just do what I can with them.



Not that I expect all of these tomato plants to actually grow. They were looking really good until two weeks ago, then the leaves began curling on most of them. I figured they were stressed, and would perk up once they were planted in the garden. Some of them did, and look like these (click on photo to enlarge):


The Good

But some didn't and look like this (don't click to enlarge if you're squeemish. It's not good:


The Bad

And the variety I was most looking forward to trying, Green Grape, which only germinated two of the three seeds planted, ended up looking like this:


The Really Ugly

Now, is that sad or what? All of the seeds were free from WinterSown Org, and all the plants were treated the same. I'd say fewer then half of all those grown look nice and healthy. As much as I was looking forward to growing heirlooms, I really think I need to make sure I have disease resistant varieties in the future.....I'll probably go back to growing my good old standby, Celebrity, that have never failed me.

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Elsewhere in the garden, I got the "second story" on the potato bed and began hilling them up.


There are two varieties in this bed. The small ones in the back are a later variety than the larger ones. This is the second hilling for the big ones, I'll probably add another 3-4 inches and then be done with them until time to harvest the potatoes.


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It really is beginning to look like spring in the garden!




23 comments:

  1. It's not ugly...it's...well, interpretive dance. That's what we'll call it.
    Everything else looks magnificent!

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  2. Leave it to Ribbit to find beauty in anything and everything! OK, it will be known as the tomato, variety Interpretive Dance. I'm going to plant the sucker out behind the shed, just to see what happens!

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  3. Hey Granny you want to come out of retirement? You can make garden art... Jenn and I will do the garden designs... we'll make a great team!

    I love the tipsy pots. How did you make them?

    The garden is looking beautiful!

    Liisa

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  4. Sure, Liisa!

    I moved the fence line out on that corner, which left me with a post sticking up that I could dig out or utilize. I bought some plastic waste baskets at the dollar store (they'll never last the year) and knocked holes in the bottoms. I dropped the first one over the post and positioned it the way I wanted, then filled it with potting mix. Then I positioned the second one over the post so it rested on the bottom one, filled it, then the same with the third one. I stuck with one color scheme in all three pots, but I'm not sure the growth will match the pot sizes/heights. I sprung for a Wave petunia, and I might regret putting it in the top pot rather than the bottom one. I guess they could always be lifted off and carefully repositioned.

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  5. Dave's girlMay 9, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Granny I love the garden art. I've been thinking about doing a tipsy pot too. Maybe your interpretive dancer will come around ;)
    Kym

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  6. Kym, I hope it/they/The Interpretive Dancers make it. I planted both of them just a few minutes ago, back where the compost was last year. The best soil in the garden, but hidden ;-)

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  7. It truly is starting to look like a spring garden, things have really filled out. The X tomato supports look really nice and should work great. I just picked up a bunch of the heavier gauge cages today, cheap too! The ugly tomato is pretty crazy, looks like it had 2,4 D sprayed on it.

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  8. Keeping my fingers cross for you that the "less than thriving" tomatoes make a comeback!

    The tipsy pots are very creative. All of the garden art adds whimsey to the garden area.

    Speaking of the garden area... your beds look great and are really coming along nicely. Good work!

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  9. Dan said "The ugly tomato is pretty crazy, looks like it had 2,4 D sprayed on it."

    Dan, you might have something there...I never thought about it, but our lawn service sprayed the yard with a pre-emergent for crabgrass and "treated visible weeds" about two weeks ago. My tomatoes were gorgeous up until then. I was just telling Mr. H that they must have sprayed too close to the garden fence, as my sugar snap peas were looking a bit sick, and they did spray my violets by the garden shed...they are curling up and dying! The tomato plants were on the patio, they may have got a bit of drift! I've never had a problem with this company killing anything but the weeds and crabgrass before. In fact, I've complained they don't treat the lawn close enough to the edges, so I do have some weed problems there. Hmmm. We get a lot of weed and crabgrass seeds through our irrigation water, I'd hate to have to cancel the service.

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  10. KitsapFG, If Dan's suspicions are correct, I probably will most certainly lose those tomatoes. But thanks for the compliments on the garden.

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  11. Love the birdhouse and birdies on the ladder, and the tipsy pots. I knew I forgot something; I wanted to make one of those too - tipsy pots, I mean.
    So sorry about the most-likely-terminal plants. Hope they are more careful next time.

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  12. SB, you could make tipsy pots out of those pretty pots you make! I hope my cheap plastic ones don't self destruct before winter.

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  13. Everything looks so nice. I smiled when I saw your tipsy pots...I'm planning on trying them this year.
    Hope you have a great weekend.

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  14. Ditto for the tipsy planter. I love it. I'll be doing one in my yard too now. (Such good ideas you have).

    The ladder is too cute too. When I first saw it I was thinking what a lucky shot, she caught a bunch of birds on the ladder.

    Another case of the great gardening mind meld. You used X supports for your tomatoes. I ended up using my bamboo poles in a weave pattern (kind of like a bunch of x shapes) to support the peas because my Free Cycle supports are too tall for the plastic cover.

    Sorry for the long comment. I guess I feel "chatty" today.

    Happy Mother's Day.

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  15. Granny, that last tomato plant looks plain weird...I second the resistant varieties, because I have a fear of losing all of mine later, as well. More rain today, here....

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  16. Sue & Cheryl, the tipsy pots are fun and funky. I'm pleased with how they turned out, but I wish I'd used better pots!

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  17. Cheryl, the ladder is my squash trellis! I was going to put three of them in the squash bed (one for each hill of squash) and paint them bright colors, but I decided that was overkill. The bare wood matches the whiskey barrels, anyway. A good use for a dangerously unusable ladder ;-)

    Great minds again...I was just over on your blog wishing you a happy Mother's Day....before I saw this message. Sometimes I think you and I must be kindred souls!

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  18. Your garden is lovely! I'm planning to take some pictures of mine today, and post the pictures up on Tuesday. :) It isn't nearly as exciting as yours though! My guess is that spring isn't quite so advanced here in the valley. At least, that's my excuse! lol

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  19. Thank you, Amy. I'm really looking forward to pictures of your new garden!

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  20. I have to laugh at the title. I'm finally catching up on your blog and see I used the same title you did days ago. Of course your ugly is so much worse than mine. The poor little tomato.

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  21. Of course, I commented on your blog after I read this!

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  22. Your beds look great! Of course the little tomato that couldn't, well... Since the poison killed all the beneficial buggies in the soil, the best thing you could've done was put them in the best compost. Hope it makes a come back. It just might.
    ::'roots' for the underdog:: ;^)

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  23. Jenn, the poison didn't harm the buggies...I'd NEVER let anyone harm my worms! It just killed the dandelions and the oxalis. And my tomatoes. I don't think there's a chance they'll make it, although some of the sickly looking ones are still growing larger....they just aren't looking any healthier.

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