403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Jul. 8th, 2015 09:48 am)
Didn't plant much, because spring was full of flailing at academics. One of my two cherry treelets is going strong, though. (I think I waited too long to move the other to its full-size pot.) They're the Carmine Jewel cultivar - a genetic dwarf line which is the F1 offspring of a Siberian cherry and a domesticated cherry. The result is a dwarf sour cherry (meaning extra vitamin C) with high sugar content (brix score, in the jargon). I'm told that its maximum height is 6', but in 20gal pots it seems to be content hanging out at less than half that.

The fruit is about 2/3 the size of a standard grocery store cherry, edible when bright almost gumball-red (firm flesh, v. sour), but at its best when the fruit is almost black and that sour is balanced with sweet. At that stage, the fruit will just about melt on your tongue. Whenever you pick them, the flavor is excellent for eating out of hand. Fruit will hold on the tree for about a month if, like us, you get busy and forget about it. This years' harvest was about two heaped handfuls from the one tree.

I don't think we've fertilized them since original potting (for this one, two summers ago), and while they need manual caterpillar-plucking in the spring, we haven't had anything go after the unripe fruit. I was expecting it to be classic bird bait, but apparently not.

In all, I'm certainly going to root cuttings from these. I want more.
Yesterday, I saw the first confused bud-break on a large bush. Today, migrating Canada geese passed through campus.

Did we actually get winter this year?
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Oct. 2nd, 2011 05:23 pm)
Planted 10lbs, expected to get 20-30lbs, found 7lbs 1oz. We'd have been better off eating the seed potatoes.

After putting the dirt back in the boxes, I planted soft white winter wheat. We'll see how it goes. Also spread ~1/3 cup of seed out into the never-been-cut yard strip, to see if wheat is suitable for guerrilla gardening or if it requires digging in to avoid being eaten by critters.
I keep forgetting to post about this. Early on in the summer, I was concerned about the tales I've heard of people practically drowning in zucchini around this time of year. So we planted two. One never really got established and was killed by the heat waves. The other had large bites taken out of its stem by an unknown animal, and died shortly thereafter.

The lesson? Next time plant four zucchini. Give away any excess.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Feb. 25th, 2011 04:07 pm)
It is, of course, still too cold outside to sow seeds directly. Everything alive right now is in pots.

Planted two weeks ago: Leeks.

Planted this week: Gambler's tomatoes (lemon drop cultivar; it's so early that there may not be enough sun for them to fruit), hot lemon peppers, black peppers, basil (purple petra, Thai Siam queen, lime), English thyme, savory, and garden cress (a non-swampy relative of watercress).

There are a total of nine new pots, spread across three south-facing windows. I appropriated a broken chair (which has been sitting in the dining room for at least four months) to expand the table space near the sunniest one. We'll see if my housemates say anything.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Default)
( Feb. 21st, 2011 01:20 pm)
Last Monday, 2/14: Up at 06:00. Class, groceries, home. Spent the afternoon figuring out how to make icecream cupcakes for [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv's birthday. Presented them that evening - the expression on his face was priceless.

This Monday, 2/21: Up until 02:00, reading 600-odd of the 1001 Mournland Horrors, in preparation for sending my D&D players there in a few sessions. Woke up around 06:00 with a pretty good idea of how I'm going to run things in that region of blatant offense against the natural order. Poked [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv repeatedly until he stopped snoring. Woke up again around noon. In the next 9h, I need to set up all meals for tomorrow, start some plants in pots (thyme, peppers, and early tomatoes), and if there's any time remaining, make some apricot-habanero jelly.

Next Monday, 2/28: Back to the grindstone, including roughly 3h total on the T.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Nov. 7th, 2010 05:52 pm)
Last week I bordered the garden area with root barriers. This week, I laid down a thick layer of newspaper (turned out to need a Sunday NYTimes, plus several old copies of the Tech) to keep grass from growing up into the new garden, and covered it in soil taken from parts of the container garden that had died back for the winter. (No Solanaceae in that bed next year; it would be effectively tomato/eggplant after potatoes in crop rotation terms.) Unlike standard lasagna mulch, I didn't wet the newspaper because it's expected to rain tonight, and I didn't feel like messing around with the cold water. It will probably be spring before I know whether that was a good idea. The top layer is leaf mulch, to protect the soil from erosion during a winter when there will be no roots holding it together. I hope that the material on the steep slope I tried to moderate won't wash away before I can plant something on it.

And now? I've been inside half an hour and I'm still cold. I'm going to enjoy the luxury of a hot shower.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Default)
( Oct. 29th, 2010 05:27 pm)
My all-red potatoes are very pale pink inside, not red like the parent potatoes. I wonder what environmental conditions make for redness?


In spite of the fact that the radish seeds left outside had all germinated in 24h and were mocking the remaining seeds for weaklings, I've dragged the outdoor flat inside so that it doesn't freeze. I don't quite think they can tolerate frost until they've started photosynthesizing and are able to manufacture sugars.

Anyway. Good Shabbos to those who celebrate!
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Oct. 29th, 2010 03:36 pm)
There's a pretty good chance that between now and Monday morning, we'll have had the first frost of the year. So, today I dug most of the remaining potatoes and leeks (leeks look like you ought to be able to pull them, but you can't. They're brittle), and pulled most of the daikon radishes. I left the horseradish and carrots alone - the former because it's doing so well, the latter because it's doing so poorly. Since the carrots are known to be frost-hardy, I'm hoping they'll pick up now that they have less competition.

The potatoes have an approximately Gaussian distribution, from fingertip to fist size. I've got approximately double my investment in weight of potatoes, and the standard is only triple, so I didn't do too badly this year. (Ah, biology. Where else is tripling your investment an average return?) The all-reds seem more prolific than the Yukon golds. They shall become dinner tonight.

The leeks are about as long as you'd expect, but only pencil-thick. Don't know if that's a feature of the variety or a reaction to their growing conditions. They, too, will become dinner.

The daikon radishes are an unexpected success. I planted them and ignored them thereafter, and they responded with umbrella-handle-shaped roots that are wider than my thumb. I think I shall pickle them, though not today. Maybe Sunday.
And so I did. The root barrier separating next year's garden from the neighbor's lawn is in. The other 2/3 or so will separate the lawn on this side from the garden. Still need to talk to the landlady about where exactly it will go.

The frame of the coldframe is partially painted and drying.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Oct. 27th, 2010 08:56 pm)
Tonight, I took advantage of the unseasonable warm spell to start a bunch of allegedly cold-hardy seeds in two flats. The control flat is inside, in a south-facing window. The experimental flat is out in a lean-to made of old storm windows, which will eventually be upgraded to a proper coldframe. The frame needs a good coat of waterproof paint, first.

The coldframe will get a blanket thrown over it during the first several frost warning nights, or until it starts to snow, since snow will be the better insulator. Both flats will be thinned for salad from time to time, and the surviving plants eventually relocated to larger pots, all of which will be outside. I expect to repeat the process with whichever plants taste best at some point in their lifecycle.

It's good to have projects.
403: Caffiene molecule in yellow and blue. (Caffiene)
( Aug. 27th, 2010 12:20 am)
I snagged a cantaloupe at the farmer's market the other day, and ate part of it tonight. It was so perfectly ripe that the seeds had already released from the inside of the melon and poured out rather than needing to be scraped from its hollow center. I figured that they were ripe enough to save and plant next year. But, having just moved and with the kitchen under construction, there wouldn't enough free counter space to dry them on a cookie sheet, even if anybody knew which box to dig them out of. So I find myself sticking the seeds to the side of a bowl with nothing but their freshly-rinsed dampness. It's ridiculous, and also kinda fun. And it works.
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Aug. 23rd, 2010 11:53 pm)
Something that was never new: 30min conversation with a bio-family member who expects me to have a supernatural ability to troubleshoot computer programs I've never used, running on machines on the far side of the country, which are not set up for remote login.

Something that is new: Somerville standard compost bin in the back yard. I no longer have to feel quite as bad about (vegan) kitchen and yard waste, because it has a well-defined place to go. Of course, shortly after piling my yard waste into it this afternoon, I realize that I'm going to need to find a reliable, cheap source of bulk low-nitrogen organic matter. (In the long term, it's likely to be last year's leaf litter, but right now there isn't any.)

Something that never gets old: The first ripe grape off the grapevine. :9
..of the potato bin. Since they're taller than their pots, I won't need to hill them again. Now it's all hanging around and letting them grow leaves until they flower, at which point early potatoes like YG will set tubers. Those will keep growing until something (sometimes frost, but also sometimes the gardener) kills the top of the plant. Then you leave them alone for two weeks to give the potatoes a chance to firm up. After that, dinner.
Sometime in the last week, the pot of Yukon gold potatoes I have in the back yard decided to take off. They were about 6" high when I hilled them this morning. (Compare to the all-reds, which are steadily growing at an inch or two per week.)

..I'm going to need more dirt for this project.
Wednesday, I put seeds in a housemate's abandoned container garden. Saturday, I noticed that the amaranth and clover had sent up cotyledons.

Also, it's rained often enough that I've only needed to water once, right after planting.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( May. 18th, 2010 06:23 pm)
When I get to Boston (flying out late Monday night), I'll have enough outdoor space for a rather larger garden, and it's not too late in the season to begin.

What I plan to plant )

I've managed to hold off on buying most long-season plants. The seeds to be packed for next spring are growing right now, so if I get them at this time of year and try to overwinter them, they'll be starting to go 'stale' by next planting season.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Feb. 7th, 2010 07:13 pm)
Are you readers sick of this subject yet? ;)

My folks delivered pots and potting soil this afternoon, so I spent the last four hours moving more plants into larger pots. All of the beans have at least 2L of dirt, now, and all of the proto-tomatoes have at least a pint. And after all of that work, I feel good.

I'm going to have to come up with more 1gal containers, and a lot more drip trays. Fortunately for me, none of the cauliflower have started to explore beyond the confines of their pots, and none of the peppers even seem to have germinated yet. (I don't expect anything from them until sometime next week.)

Progress towards making my apartment into a primoridal jungle proceeds apace.
403: Green spider chrysanthemum. (Spider Chrysanthemum)
( Feb. 5th, 2010 02:11 pm)
Beans are usually planted directly in the garden, and now I know why. They're agressive. The first bean sprouts came in three days ago, and it's now 3" tall. I had them in planting trays of 1" square by 2" deep and by this morning they were growing roots outside the biodegradable trays. That just wasn't going to work, so I repotted most of them. Here's a picture of the results.

By comparison, the tomatoes that came in a day earlier are only about an inch tall. Once they get established, I expect to be giving away some of the beans, and probably some of the tomatoes. Before they start producing fruit.

The peppers should start coming in next week.
403: Cheerful-looking octopus. (Hapalochlaena lunulata)
( Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:12 pm)
Cauliflower, IIRC. (Yes, I did forget to label the trays. The problem will solve itself within a couple of weeks.)


403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Default)


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