Gardeners of AW, unite

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mrsmig

Write. Write. Writey Write Write.
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A long day in the yard, prepping those two beds referenced above. I admit it: I'm beat. But fingers crossed that come spring, all that prep will pay off with two great new spaces to plant.

And that was my last big gardening job for 2021.
 
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Woollybear

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I've been spending 30 minute chunks of time outside, today, raking leaves, turning soil, digging up tired plants, sifting compost, trenching leaves, and watering. It's hot! We hit 95 a day or two ago. But this has been great to be out in the dirt again, and getting the soil ready for winter crops. Altogether I've done two or three hours of work, interspersed with cooler indoor stuff.

I found a kohlrabi to harvest, and I might pull up a few carrots. There are probably a few peas from the planting I tried a month or so ago, but they're hard to get to at the moment, and there are the pumpkin blossoms.

The raccoon has been back twice this month.
 

Unimportant

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It's suddenly turning to summer here after a cold wet spring. We've got most stuff planted out, with a few tomatoes and pumpkins yet to go. One or two more beds to clear/weed/dig over. But the tomato plants already have little green tomatoes, and the cucumbers have their first flowers.

My carrots seem to have all gone woody, so I'm gradually collecting armloads of them to scrub, core, and chop up the good outer bits for soup. Many of the leeks are also heading but they still seem quite edible, so I'm dicing those to add to the bags of chopped veg for soup mix.

The fennel and mint have gone berko and are taking over the planet. I need to harvest a few armloads and bring them in to work to distribute to herb lovers who are less gardenified than me.
 

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I was hoping to rake leaves and maybe prune roses today, but the wind blew 25-30 mph all day and continues to blow tonight. Just as well. I'd forgotten I was scheduled to go to a friend's place to use her cutting table to cut out the last blocks of a tee shirt quilt I'm making for my son at his request. Maybe tomorrow.
 

mccardey

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I have a little bit over half an acre of garden and vegies and chooks and it's always threatening to get away from me, partly because I'm opposed to sprays and killing things and chemical feeds, and usually resort to Very Loud Discouragement (which is not as effective as the planting guides suggest. Discourage forget-me-nots. They tend to take over. Have you ever ever ever seen a discouraged forget-me-not? No, and neither have I. They define resilient. But I digress...) and partly because I'm an idiot about most things.

BUT

Today a young urban-coffee-shop type man (my favourite kind of man) came by and asked if he could have some of my native violets and forget-me-nots and other self-seeded naughtiness because - get this - because he's a GUERILLA GARDENER! And it turns out he's responsible for the incremental change that I've watched overtaking a local piece of rubbish council land for most of last year. And he wants organic ground-fillers.

I feel like an actual gardener!

ETA: I let him use my wheelbarrow and I gave him six eggs from my organic chooks.

I feel so proud :)
 
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Friendly Frog

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Forget-me-nots very often come up where they're not wanted but since I have a soft spot for blue flowers, they usually get relocated. To see them relocated to green up other spaces must be so lovely. :)

It seems the Balcony Bandit (the rodent that made a habit of raiding my bulbs and acorns from my first floor balcony) has a successor. I've noticed someone had a careful root around in the one or two pots, since it wasn't as brazen robbery as the Balcony Bandit did, I didn't pay as much attention.

But then earlier this month we had water leaking through the ceiling of the balcony inside. The balcony is waterproofed, with wooden tiles and packed with dozens and dozens of potted plants for summer. To get to the leak we had to speed up the process of bringing the plants inside and raising the wooden tiles. But it's been raining almost all month. Queue lots of buckets and mops. Sadly, we've been here before. I hate leaks but they seem to love me.

But then it started pouring out of the ceiling like an open tap. That was new. Luckily by then the plants were in, the tiles were up, we had lots of buckets and we could start looking for the hole.

We found a mousehole. In the asphalt roofing.

The new Balcony Bandit has bit a very neat and round hole in the roofing, right under the door, where wall and floor meet. Covered by tiles so practically invisible before. No wonder the water has been pouring in!

So after some cursing, some more mopping, some pouring rodenticide in the hole, some more cursing and patching it up with waterproof roofing, I hope this is the last we see of this Balcony Bandit.
 
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Morgan Morrow

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It's happening. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the plants in my garden are starting to wake up... and all of a sudden, my daily writing habit is slain on the altar of gardening and yard work. It happens every year, even though I always swear it's going to be different and I'm not going to neglect my writing this time. Oh well, I'll just call it 'refilling my creative well' and enjoy myself thoroughly, I guess 😌
 

Chris P

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It's happening. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the plants in my garden are starting to wake up... and all of a sudden, my daily writing habit is slain on the altar of gardening and yard work. It happens every year, even though I always swear it's going to be different and I'm not going to neglect my writing this time. Oh well, I'll just call it 'refilling my creative well' and enjoy myself thoroughly, I guess 😌
The dogwood buds are swelling here!

Yikes, I was going to move some azaleas while they were still dormant! I better get moving on those.
 

Morgan Morrow

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The dogwood buds are swelling here!

Yikes, I was going to move some azaleas while they were still dormant! I better get moving on those.
My apricot tree is already blooming! We've been having unseasonably warm and sunny weather, so everything is waking up early. The earliest plum is going to start blooming any day now, and the peaches are close behind. I hope we don't get a hard frost right when everything is in bloom.
 

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Yeah, last year the frost and snow came while a lot of amphibians had just gone to their breeding ponds and the first flowers were in bloom. Bad timing. The crocusses dealt well with the snow, but incessant rain does bring them down.

I'm awaiting with baited breath my rock garden irisses, they're the first in february, my blue heralds of spring. You can now see clearly where the last Balcony Bandit stole two bulbs from the newly planted pot in autumn but it seems only he only got two and not more. A sursprising number is coming up this year. I'm hoping for a big display.
 

benbenberi

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In Connecticut we're well over a month away from the first signs of spring. Actual planting in the ground has to wait till mid-May. But it's time for me to get planning and start putting orders in for seeds and seedling. There are some scraggly hard-dirt patches in my yard that are just begging to be crammed with hostas.
 

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We have lots of sprouts started, mostly from saved seeds/cloves (peas, garlic, and beans). For the first time, I saved basil seeds and those seem to be sprouting too, hurray! Also carrot and spinach are up, from purchased seeds from the store.

It could still freeze here, but the high today and tomorrow is expected to be 90F.
 

Chris P

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Has anyone moved azaleas before? I was going to move my ones over the weekend, but found out today that 1) they have crazy tight and tough root systems that make them impossible to dig up, and 2) they don't usually make it even if you try. Would I be better off cutting down the one we wanted moved and spending the cost of a take-out pizza to buy a new one?

And my destination might have to change. We had the utilities located because we knew our Verizon cable was near where we were digging, but we weren't expecting that the neighbor's cable goes through our yard and right. exactly. where. we were going to move the azalea to. I mean, smack dab the exact spot.
 
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Woollybear

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Oh wow, that cable issue sounds like a hassle...

I have never moved azaleas. Mom used to grow them but I don't recall her moving any. She bought new ones from time to time. It's funny how we try to save/move plants that would be easier to replace with new purchases.

I'm so excited today because the basil sprouts are going haywire, So Many Sprouts! ... and also the corn, which was not even up on Wednesday, is all up and 2 inches tall today... 2.5 days later... !! So fast!

But as far as azaleas, hopefully someone else has experience so I'll pass the potato back to that question now. :)
 
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mccardey

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In Connecticut we're well over a month away from the first signs of spring. Actual planting in the ground has to wait till mid-May. But it's time for me to get planning and start putting orders in for seeds and seedling. There are some scraggly hard-dirt patches in my yard that are just begging to be crammed with hostas.
The seasons down here have been insane - but I've spent the day dehydrating zucchini and green beans because it looks like the rain is setting in again....

ETA: Omg - and here it is. The rain. Again.
 
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Unimportant

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Bucketing rain here as well. Today I cooked 12 kgs of tomatoes down into puree/paste and froze it, and I blanched 2 kgs beans and half a kg snow peas and froze them down. My partner harvested the first 16 pumpkins; we have another 40-odd ripening on the vines. Today we'll try our first sweetcorn; it looks ready, which means tomorrow I'll be blanching and freezing down the first several dozen of what will probably be a hundred cobs.

In the last week I have dumped on my friends, students, and colleagues about 40 kgs of beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, capsicum,radish, beetroot, courgette, basil, coriander, and mint. My garden truly runneth over.

My partner decided to grow marigolds to plant round our tomatoes. All well and good. Got a random seed packet, got them started, tucked them round the tomato plants. I never knew there were marigold types other than the little french cushion-y ones. These have come up nearly a meter tall (!) and are producing flowers of the same type and size of the french ones. Who in heaven's name thought marigold trees were a good idea?
 

Unimportant

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The seasons down here have been insane - but I've spent the day dehydrating zucchini and green beans because it looks like the rain is setting in again....

ETA: Omg - and here it is. The rain. Again.
What do dehydrated beans taste like? Or do you need to rehydrate them to eat them? Holy mother of dogs, the amount of green beans and purple beans and yellow beans I have is insane. I looked into pickling them but I don't think either of us would eat them.
 

mccardey

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What do dehydrated beans taste like? Or do you need to rehydrate them to eat them? Holy mother of dogs, the amount of green beans and purple beans and yellow beans I have is insane. I looked into pickling them but I don't think either of us would eat them.
They’re actually not bad to snack on, but I’ll use these in soups and stews and the like. They’re perfect in that - like zucchini, they keep their flavour really well. I blanch them before I dry them...
 

Unimportant

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They’re actually not bad to snack on, but I’ll use these in soups and stews and the like. They’re perfect in that - like zucchini, they keep their flavour really well. I blanch them before I dry them...
Thanks, good info to know!

I have a small freezer, plus a large freezer, plus an enormous freezer, so I tend to freeze everything :) I have dehydrated things like figs and carrots and apples for easy-to-store and light-to-carry snacks, but in general I'm too lazy.

I use my dehydrator more for things like elderberries and lemon rind that I can then grind into powder to add to soap.
 
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mccardey

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Thanks, good info to know!

I have a small freezer, plus a large freezer, plus an enormous freezer, so I tend to freeze everything :) I have dehydrated things like figs and carrots and apples for easy-to-store and light-to-carry snacks, but in general I'm too lazy.

I use my dehydrator more for things like elderberries and lemon rind that I can then grind into powder to add to soap.
I do a lot of veggie flours for soups and breads. I love my dehydrator. I’m also very fond of my freezer esp for berries
 

Chris P

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How big of an operation do you have, Unimportant? That is insane (and inspiring). That would feed us here for years.

I had a dehydrator for a while, and one time I found a bunch of spearmint growing. I didn't know that you shouldn't heat mint when you dehydrate it, but I do now and my place smelled amazing for a few days.
 
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Chris P

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Well, the azalea is moved, and I still have internet! It wasn't nearly as hard to dig up as my coworker had said, so maybe I got lucky somehow. As for the cable line where I wanted to move it to, I realized; shoot, it's an azalea. I can plant it two feet over from where I had planned and just trim it to look how I want it once it grows out. So my neighbor still has internet too.
 
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Unimportant

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How big of an operation do you have, Unimportant? That is insane (and inspiring). That would feed us here for years.

I had a dehydrator for a while, and one time I found a bunch of spearmint growing. I didn't know that you shouldn't heat mint when you dehydrate it, but I do now and my place smelled amazing for a few days.
Um.....too big?

Yanno, you start small. And then you add. And add. And add. And add. And pretty soon you're feeding not just yourselves but all of your friends, coworkers, students, and random people you run into.

The potager in the front garden, with slightly raised beds and fixed paths, is about 7 m x 9 m and is where we grow all the 'single' stuff (tomatoes, courgettes, capsicums, beans, lettuce, broccoli, cauli, herbs etc). The back garden has the glasshouse and four unfixed sections of garden bed, each ~ 2 x 4 m to 3 x 5 m, where we grow the large items 'en masse' (corn, pumpkins, potatoes, and a fixed trellis of scarlet runner beans).

Front garden has 3 apple trees, 4 pear trees, 2 fig trees, 3 feijoa bushes, 3 lemons, 1 mandarin, 2 cherry, 1 apricot, 3 peach, and 1 plum tree, plus a very prolific thornless blackberry vine. Back garden has 2 plum, 1 orange, 1 mandarin, 1 lime, plus what we call the frankenfruit tree: a plum that never even blossomed so after about five years we got mad at it, sawed it down to the crotch branches, and grafted onto them 7 different kinds of peach, nectarine, apricot, and plum. Most took and some blossomed after a year, so we're waiting to see what actually happens in three or four years.

We also have the most amazingly good soil. Plus endless options for fertiliser thanks to the cattle and chooks.

And we're utterly blessed with an artesian bore/well to facilitate watering.

And beehives for fertilisation.

And this is why I want to retire: the day job won't let me keep up with all this!