Trials and tales of a not-so-advanced gardener--both in the dirt and beyond.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Name that Plant" forum makes me swoon

Magic and the power of the Interwebs have combine forces in the "Name that Plant" forum on iVillage's GardenWeb.

In my last post, I put up some pictures of beautiful, but name-unknown plants. I decided to try my luck with the forum. I believe I first saw it in a comment on another blog.

I'm happy to report that in less than a day, both of my blooms were identified!

The tiny purple buds are from a meadow rue plant and the magenta flowers are a Japanese anemone.

So anytime you're not quite sure of what plant you have on your hands (be it a weed, a tree or shrub, or a flower), go to the Name that Plant forum, post a picture and watch the magic happen!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some pretties around the yard

Time to share pictures of some pretties in bloom!

Black-eyed Susans! There are a ton of these and they are stunning!
I have no idea what these dainty flowers are. They grew from a woody stem and at first I thought they were columbine because of the shape of their leaves. These blooms are about as tall as I am.
This is another plant that I don't know. The buds look like a furry sphere and then they bloom into the little purple buds that you see here.
I believe this is butterfly bush. It's pretty and tall and has several stems.
And more black-eyed Susans--'cause they are so great!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

But now for some happy and some lycopene

Finally, the tomatoes are getting very, very close to ripening and being eaten! Well, the cherry tomatoes have been doing well for awhile now. I still haven't taken that off of the vine, waiting for it to get delicious and red. It's a 'big boy' tomato. I also have an heirloom variety, 'Pink Caspian.'

I'm so glad these aren't dying...yet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ack! What is happening to my vegetable garden?!?

From the looks of this lovely crook-neck squash you'd think I'd be basking in an plentiful bounty o' veggies right now.

But you would be wrong. "Why's that?" you ask. Because I have a visitor called verticillium wilt (at least that's what I believe it is...this site told me so). This visitor to my garden has decided to kill all of my cucumbers, squash and zucchini.

This is the end of the squash that still looks fine. But the stem and it's first major leaves are wilted and grey/yellow now.

Remember earlier this summer when I was so proud to have produced my first vegetable? The magic is gone and reality of a fungus has set in.
These are my three zucchini plants. The fungus got all of these as well.

These two pictures are a closer look at the stem close to the ground.

Here's one plant that literally crumbled apart when I tried to take a closer look.

Does anyone have any suggestions? A few people have suggested crop rotation (plant non-vine-y things there) or solarize my raised bed next year...what would you do?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Do your part, you buffoon!

So I recently read a blog post asking people if they recycle, why they recycle and how they recycle.

Although I am a fairly new convert to the whole "green" movement and recycling and all of that know-your-carbon-footprint shenanigans, I am trying to do what I can and tell others to do it, too.

Here is a somewhat all-inclusive list of what I'm doing to --go green, go local, go whatever...

RECYCLE...okay people THIS IS NOT HARD (at least not in Indy).
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIBI) has a fabulous webpage of where to take all of your recyclables including everything from bathtubs to old CDs (much more is recyclable than I ever thought, by the way). The easiest things to recycle are paper, plastics #1 and #2, glass and aluminum as most recycling locations take these and in some cities (Indy included) they will even do curbside pick-up.

Other items I physically take somewhere else to recycle:
  • plastic bags (I'm trying with the canvas and fabric reusable ones and I do really well remembering to take them with me to the grocery, but always forget when I got to Target, Lowe's, etc) -- Sprawlmart and Kroger accept these (Kroger will also take plastic packaging and dry cleaning plastic
  • cardboard --Republic Services has a location near 86th and Ditch that accepts cardboard. Almost everything comes in cardboard packaging--this can be recycled (or some can be put in the compost bin)
  • Plastics #3-#7 -- this one is new. I just found a place downtown that accepts #3-#7 called Indianapolis Recycled Fiber so I'll be hauling it a trunkful at a time (gotta conserve gas!)down there. Almost all food containers (yogurt, dips, fruit, butter) seem to come in #5 so I was seeing a lot of that end up in my trash can.

COMPOSTING! So you all know about the compost tumbler and the compost pile. And we already know (from the To Compost or not to Compost post) that all yard and food waste (that is veggie and fruit) go into the compost pile.

Oh, and the newest helper for the compost pile: the compost bucket from World Market.

A W.I.P. (work in progress): the RAIN BARREL. The goal of the rain barrel is to collect rain water and save it for the times when you need to water the lawn. You can use water collected in the rain barrel--it's not treated like the water from the hose and, best of all, it's free!

And, of course, growing your own food is keeping it local, organic and tasty.

I buy as much as I can from Thrift Stores (like Goodwill!) and garage sales. The plan is to re-use or re-purpose it for my house. Granted sometimes this takes some imagination and crafty skill, but it is amazing what you can find. (That will be a future post...)

So, that is a good introduction to doing your part. Oh, and ride a bike instead of driving when you can.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My ReadyMade Proposal

This is my proposal for the ReadyMade Garden Challenge of 2008!

I bit the bullet—I bought a house! I’ve been living in my new abode now for just over two months and I’m ready to embark on my first big project in the garden (while being thrifty, eco-friendly, and pocket-book conscious).

The project centers on a fire pit and incorporates aspects that will encourage birds and pollinators to stop by and enjoy. I have a movable fire pit now---which has created many burn spots in my yard (oops). So I will create a “perma-pit” either with the one I already have or by building one into the ground.

My plan includes reusing items I already have (such as pots and trellises) and items I hope to find for free or next to free (like the pile of bricks left here by the previous owners or the free wood chips that a local tree service will deliver).

I will have to buy some items such as a bird bath or fountain. A bird house will have to be made or purchased. And flowers must be purchased.

As you can see, there are some plants that already exist nearby, including some tall grass, Daylilies, Black-eyed Susan, and Evening Primrose. These will be thinned and additional native perennials that attract birds, bees and butterflies will be added. Ideally, I’ll incorporate flowers such as columbine, butterfly weed, false sunflower, purple coneflower, and other flowering perennials recommended by the
Indiana native Plant and Wildflower Society (of course depends on what the local nursery has in stock).

Finally, not directly in the space, but just beyond it, I’ll be building a rain barrel that will catch rainwater from the down spout and allow me to water my new garden with free water. The barrel I already have for this project is a very industrial, bright blue. As is, this would stick out like a sore thumb in my yard. Therefore, I will repurpose some old wood, rope and scrap metal to cover the outrageous blue.

There is a huge amount to accomplish in one month; but, with the right tools, some really good friends to help, and some luck, I’ll have a fabulous haven for s’more making and bird bathing.