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Thursday, June 15, 2017

New mound, keyhole and spiral gardens updates

A bit back this year I posted about 3 new gardens I turned my dirt piles into. They were just mounds of dirt and naturally weeds, some mostly annuals ... well except of bindweed naturally...

Bed 1 before... yep inside of it were these 4 inch thick concrete plates... ok maybe by tractor... it turned out there were several of these below... how many... My big old huge iron rod detected maybe 3 of them...

There was no way I would be able to move and dispose that, so I asked and looked and found that it's possible to go up above concrete. I'll also try to place mint in there, lemon balm

Some clump grass I did not remove. And there is some bindweed coming up there which I'll deal with.
Some of borrage took even in the heat wave, it's good.
here I'm putting my volunteers I need to move, even if 1-2 will take I'll have a decent borrage colony there, and mint does like foot of compost, I also moved these plates so there is space in between them filled with compost...
Around it sunchokes and Chinese artichokes. These if take they will cover, Chinese artichokes are mint family, they are moisture loving so, but they do make a solid cover and out-compete everything.
With bindweed I do not mind. lemon mint also competes quite successfully with everything.
I'll be putting drip irrigation on this. For now, hose and manual will do as I'm working on the things...
also some pumpkins are planted on the base-bottom level of it, free seeds, they grow they grow, they do not make it and bugs eat it... oh well

Mound 2 was a round mound , smallest of the 3 'front ones'... there are also 2 C shaped back ones I've mulched for now (ridding of cheat grass there... and looks like some bindweed too)

This one I turned into keyhole garden in March
Because i's cold compost lasagna bed I put there squash... An unexpected outcome... poplar fence is... growing... well I need to deal with that one, do not need me odd ball poplar trees in there.

I also planted 3 caragana trees in there around it... i hopes of turning this into shade salad bed with time and getting several crops out of it a year, for how squash and pumpkins...

Spiral garden was 3-rd mound, next to the apple tree. From

To planted with perennials. It's a bee garden that will look like a front bed when it fills in
Some Irises are planted on outside of it and will feed from run off water. I'll put drip system there as well
At the bottom majoram (spicy perennial, a trade-gift from fellow gardener), iris at the base on outside, will come up next year, hyssop (tht one is deep purple)
 Top is crocosmia lucifer, a bit of winter savory and purple liatris. These supposed to be peranials and should fill very nicely and hopefully naturalize so I can propagate from there
 couple penstemons. I did seed some red kale (seeds were trade, so possible too old or birds/mice took care of it...) so I planted instead... Yellow Echinacea, that one will need a shade cone, it's having trouble in 90F+ heat wave a big time
at base are squashes overflow. More hissop (in hopes to propagate these.
Also Corsican voilet (supposed to be perennial), I'll add Rudbeckia fulgida at the base in couple areas too, propagated that, and lemon balm.
 Near by apple tree and majoram planted there at the base
Saskaton and currants are bushes, white currant was a risky transplant (and if something I have more currants, but wanted a different root stock and shared main bush with neighbor so hopefully not all lost) if roots are watered it will shoot from the root.
 salvia and some bush beans and foxtail like plant... what's it's name... have to dig up the label if not recycled already

For this bed I tried to go bear root bee garden, but 4 plants made it with all the wild weather and no green house. Couple of Kniphofia hirsuta Fire Dance (Fire Dance Dwarf Poker) lived and planted there in my spiral garden. I should have planted these bare root into the dirt.  I had better luck with costco bare root flowers this way. When I tried them in pots one year (columbines and others) they would come up a little and then they are gone in less than a month. I dirt it was much better in my front bed.

 And added large blue columbine, always wanted a blue one... and was unsuccessful last year with 3 in other area, chickens dug those out.
 Also added yarrow... nasturtium did not come up

Wood chips brought some volunteer trees, I'll need to find out what kind, if ash - no go, emerald ash borrower is coming and I'll not plant ash, if that's siberial elm, I'll keep that, it's a spring lettuce tree :)

right now I can not tell what tree is that, there was variety of the hardwood trees brought in chips, and some did have seeds on them it looks like these sprouted where bottoms of wood chip piles were.
so who knows what are they... will see
And in dead heat of summer will see what deserves to live in high mountain desert. If some survive they'd earn their p;ace as donated trees already if I can not use them as wind block. Ash will ash to go so, I'm not spraying my entire area  for ash borrower for many years to come, there is no other way around it, it's here and is infesting area after area, several counties are undef federal quarantine (meaning ll the wood stays in there) our county is not one of them, but quarantined county is only 20-50 miles away, It was seeing near by, not in official governments traps yet,
Quarantine means all the removed by tree service wood stays in, it means if tree service had ash it was from our county (no quarantine or other like our county place), we do not have ash in subdivision, there are some mature ones a bit far in suburban areas, but I'll not be planting any ash, it's that simple. If these volunteer trees are  ash I'll let them go into the soil and become soil. That's my way of dealing with emerald ash borrower - no trees for it to eat in my place, and there will be none.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Late spring snow, early summer storms

February in May past last frost date for the area
For 2 days the temp has dropped. stuff that I could cover I covered, but lots was left to ride.
Beginning of the 2 day late May storm (these lived through 3 hail storms after that... yea...)

 Rain turned into snow, maybe that did save some of the plants... full second level drain dish, so good I put that one in this spring early, I'd be in heap of a trouble...
it kept coming as wet snow melting on some hot rocks (mind you there was above 70 for over 2 weeks before that...)
but next storm roaring water washed part of dirt under one of the supports of this bridge, will have to fix that one...

And it kept coming for 2 days
Yeah... what did we get... half-to-foot-ish...

One knows the mulch pile that is composting in freezing weather...
That's when it started melting in 2 days
 Cold tolerant plants lived just fine
Here is the same snowed in area
 bumble bee

By the way all that goodness now bolted to seeds... and you do not want to know what chickens did to sorrel when they got into the garden :)
Use of the row covers

After the freeze there were cold below 50 nights, and that's at very end of May almost June, last days...
So Wall of waters came up (they do not quite help for 2 days in 20F and below...)

After that there was beginning of June, relatively uneventful except of several hail storms, some areas got 1-2 inch hail and that was bad, We did get smaller one and thankful for that, in some areas cars and houses were shredded by 2 inch hail.
We did get some very impressive rains. It did happen at night, so no good pictures of any of it, but there was sort of... busy time.. foot deep dry creek at the beginning of it, it looked like a flood, took measurement in wheel barrow in the morning and it was 3 inches dumped monsoon style in less than 15 min, it was short, but powerful, bottom line my drains were not enough and some french drains under the road most likely will be needed... Not sure what am I going to do about it. something.

Road was washed like so, compared to not getting at the back in any kind of a car for 1.5-2 month...
it's a big improvement. That's after heavy 2 wood chippers trucks that bring about 20 yards load of chips/logs. My little berm did soak it in. have to do some french drains there for the flood case and some different grading.
 After the little berm it's a lot better.
For now wood chip it to make it smooth.

First asparagus sprouted. Have to find some bright things after 'the element' rolled in...
 Cucumbers planted, but many did not live, earwig and roly poly are bad this year, way more compared to predators I have

 This is rhubarb, supposed to be poison, not so, eaten

But grape transplant lived. So that's good. It will turn around eventually, will take longer to establish so

All the water did help the orchard. Watered once during the heat wave, not really needed...
There is no bad without good. But there is also bad. All these 3 May freezes killed all the fruit. No apples, pears or plums this year,last 2 day end of May freeze did the rest.

New chickens... babies of the current flock, mixes
Feasting on roly poly bugs.

Not sure what will be harvested this year with all the bad weather and rolled in heat wave in mid to upper 90F with nights in 55F... in less than 2 weeks after the freeze... Not sure what to think of this season...
Roly poly did some damages. And if frost will come early there is no way I'll have heirlooms harvest. Maybe I'll have to look for early harvest Siberia tough varieties. It supposed to be zone 5a-5b. 
Right now transplants are stunted in the heat wave and bugs are moving in and eating stressed plants big time.
It does fit what BTE 

I did see Woodlouse spider several times before the late May freezes, I did not see any after. It is possible they made it, hope I have enough of rocks and other hiding places for them
I found garder snake under one of my row covers, hope it sticks around, I did hear a toad. Still these are not enough to eat enough wood lice.
I see some new birds, red robins do not come often,most often I see this one Common grackle. I thought it could be black bird, but it did sound like a grackle  , that screechy kind of sound... This one has a habit of harvesting my watermelon traps with watermelons naturally, flipping them upside down, so they dry in our weather in a day. do not have enough watermelon for that. So diatomatious earth (DE) went on affected the worst areas around bases of the plants, will see what that would do. 
I need more traps... I did not use any DE in any areas where I did see tiny mantises. Hopefully they will find a way to avoid spiders and other things... They do not control roly poly but maybe they do among the other things.
It is an unusual season for sure.

2 weeks after the snow ride front bed. Recovered.

Here is the heat damage on roses. This is Julia Child variety, it has rose-hips, edible.

 Columbines naturalizing
 And currants made it and baby currants are doing ok too (branches I set in autumn to propagate.