PismoBeach's blog

Midway through February
Posted on Feb 18, 2018 8:54 PM

Well it's been a busy week for me in the yard!

Updates to the front yard
- Put down crabgrass prevention fertilizer in preparation for new lawn (planning to seed in early April)
- Sprayed existing crabgrass
- Cleaned up bushes in front planters: removed dead leaves and flower stalks, finally completely cleaned out all other leaves that got stuck underneath, fixed dripline
- Removed dead flower bunches from front pot and replaced with stock in white, purple, and pink around the central jasmine
- Removed dead plantain lily (didn't do so well in the early winter) and replaced it with astilbe
- Bought some trellises and planted clematis and bower vine, secured one of the two trellises to the house (will secure #2 this coming week/end)
- Ran 5/8" dripline to front side yard from back hose attachment, seeded flower mixes (mostly cut bouquet mix and wildflower mix), and set up drip sprayers to water that area
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Updates to the backyard
- All lettuce except the Paris White has germinated! I'll have to thin them pretty quick here, as they're growing quite fast.
- Added new catgrass to catgrass bowl
- Lots of crocus coming up and blooming, as well as some of the muscari. Lots of tulips and daffodils showing leaves but not ready to bloom yet
- Revised previous dripline to new bean trellis: originally, I had set up an extension of the main line I installed last summer, but there wasn't enough pressure to get water to the bean trellis. So I fixed the original drip back to what it used to be, and ran a new 5/8" line from the same hose bib as the front side yard. The pressure is much better on both the original line and the new bean line and now the beans will have their own timer.
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Seedling updates
- I got a new, larger grow light. I started with a bulb from Amazon in a clamp light, which was okay when I had about 6 seedlings, but not nearly enough light once everything else popped up. So I visited Home Depot (my least favorite hardware store, but the store with the biggest light selection) and picked up a Feit Electric LED grow light, which I mounted from the ceiling on an adjustable rope, and the plants are MUCH happier! It's on the same timer that the clamp light was on, but allows everyone enough light so I don't have to switch them around each morning.
- Started some marigold seeds.
- Supersweet tomatoes seem to be doing the best by far, and I have two excellent looking plants and one good looking plant. I'll have to repot these soon.
- Sweet Aroma tomatoes are in second place, doing okay but don't look as aggressive as the Supersweets.
- Jalapenos doing okay, but I'm down to 2 from the original 4. Not an issue, since I only need 1 really, but it's disappointing to finally call it on one you've been nursing along.
- Jupiter peppers finally germinated (much slower than the others!) and two look pretty good.
- Coleus is doing quite well, with one excellent pod, one good pod, and one pod that I think I overwatered.

It's been so warm the past couple weeks that things are starting to bloom a bit early, including the almond trees. This week is supposed to cool down by about 10 degrees, and we'll probably get to freezing one or two nights this week. So as excited as I am to start planting things outside, I'll wait until the frost looks like it's truly done.

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First week of February down!
Posted on Feb 11, 2018 6:29 PM

We've had such nice warm weather this week that I spent some time out in the yard. I finally cleaned up the thatch that I didn't have room for in my green can and did another pass over the front lawn and side yard with the thatch rake.

My seedlings are continuing to grow, and I've moved my tomato seedlings off the heat mat with the others to sit in a south facing window during the day, which will probably provide better lighting than what they've been getting. The lighting situation is still a work in progress, as the fluorescent light I ordered turned out to be 4 feet rather than 2 (and 4 won't fit in my little bathroom corner)!

Since it's been so warm, some of the bulbs are confused and have started flowering! On Thursday, I had a couple crocus peeking out at me, and I expect to see some tulips soon, too.

One of my orchids has also started to rebloom! I've never had success keeping them around and happy long enough to see another bloom on the same plant, but this one seems quite happy in its window and has a couple spikes with buds getting ready to open. Today I also noticed it's sent up a new flowering shoot as well, which is another first for me.

Since the front lawn is fairly cleaned up, I put down some crabgrass prevention in preparation for reseeding in April or May. The only live plants in my front lawn are crabgrass at this point, so I'd like to see those go away before I put down new seed. I fixed a sprinkler that was a victim to the thatching rake, too, then watered to help the fertilizer sink in a bit.

This next week, I'm hoping to move more of my seedlings off the heating mat, thin them (as most have two small shoots per pouch), and get drip run out to the side yard out front that I'm planning to turn into a flowering corner for the spring/summer (previously lawn, but directly abuts neighbor's lawn/weedpatch and will eventually become overrun with weeds again). I'm also looking forward to seeing some seedlings sprout from the carrots and lettuce I planted last weekend. We'll see how it goes.

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Beginning of February
Posted on Feb 4, 2018 6:30 PM

Well, this last week has been pretty quiet for gardening, especially since I was out of town for most of the weekend (took a nice trip down to the central coast to enjoy wine, sunshine, and the beach)!

My seedlings have continued to germinate and grow quite well. However, I need to rethink their lighting situation, as I have to move them daily so they don't bend too severely toward the light. I'm likely going to invest in a small shop light and install that this week, as I just have a clamp light now and it's definitely not giving everyone their fair share of light!

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I did spend a couple hours out in the yard setting up dripline to the new bean trellis, moving the salad table and running drip to that, and planting a variety of carrots (Short N Sweet, Yaya Hybrid, and Kaleidoscope mix) and lettuce (Bibb, Buttercrunch, Paris White, and Salad Bowl). I only planted one row of each and will plant another row in a couple weeks so I avoid what happened last year where I had TONS of carrots and lettuce for a week or so, then they were all gone! I also spent some time putting some bird netting around the salad table, as the birds really enjoyed a lot of my lettuce seeds at the last planting, resulting in not much germination or growth.

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While I intended to clean up the rest of the thatch in the front yard from last week, it just didn't happen today. I'll plan on doing that during the week sometime, running the rake over the lawn once more, and lay down some Weed n Feed (despite there being no lawn yet!) to tame any crabgrass (of which there's a fair bit).

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End of January Updates!
Posted on Jan 28, 2018 8:55 PM

So I planted seeds and put them on the warming mat last Sunday, and today I have lots of germination! I planted a few seeds per pod, which will be thinned later. The tomatoes have gone nuts, the coleus is up, and I see little curled peppers getting ready to pop!

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While I didn't do much in the last week besides obsessively check my seedlings, yesterday I dethatched my postage stamp front yard. I killed off the whole lawn in the fall, as it was overrun with weeds (thank you neighbors!), and while we're still a couple months off from reseeding, it'll need some attention between now and then! So I pulled the rake horizontally over the whole thing and filled my green waste trash can. Next week, when I have another trash can to fill, I'll continue collecting leftover thatch, and pull the rake vertically and call it a day! Once it warms up a bit, I'll seed with a shade/sun mix, starter fertilizer, and cover with some topper!

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I also need to weed my front planters and put down a new layer of mulch to keep them at bay.

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January 2018 so far
Posted on Jan 21, 2018 6:35 PM

Last year was my first year gardening, though it's something I've wanted to do for some time! My dad helped me build two 3x6' raised beds and two 2x3' raised beds.

Last year, I had the following:
3x6' #1
- Tomato SuperSweet 100: very successful, but lack of pruning let it grow into the Stupice
- Tomato Stupice: somewhat successful, didn't like the taste of these
- Carrot Scarlet Nantes: not successful, planted too close to tomatoes so shaded out
- Lettuce Parris Cos: very successful, though bolted when it got hot
- Cucumber Burpless Beauty: very successful

3x6' #2
- Zucchini: very successful, produced far more than I could eat and pulled it fairly early
- Sweet Pepper Jupiter: not successful during normal season, but continued to produce fruits well into December
- English lavender
- Corn Silver Queen Hybrid: easy grow, but not pollinated appropriately so no ears for eating

2x3 #1
- Strawberries Sequoia: moderately successful, though fruits became misshapen later in the season. I learned late about runners, so runners were finally clipped in mid-December, and daughter plants transplanted into coir pots for later planting in containers.

2x3' #2
- Broccoli Sun King: very successful until the cabbage worms discovered them in August

I also had a salad table that I attempted to plant, but nothing ever germinated. I suspect because I wasn't consistent enough in watering and it was too hot by the time I planted.

The English Lavender was transplanted into a pot, and all other plants were pulled by December 30.

Today I also started my seeds indoors, my first time using a heat mat and sowing inside. I planted coleus (3) for my front planter, tomato SuperSweet 100 (5), tomato Sweet Aroma (4), hot pepper Jalapeno early (4), and sweet pepper Jupiter (4). I may end up planting a few broccoli and a few more coleus in a separate seed starting platter depending on how the first set germinates. All beds got topped off with compost/topsoil/potting soil mixture and worked into existing soil, with beautiful beds full and ready to go today January 21. I also built a bean trellis and two small raised beds (5' long x 1' wide x 6" tall) for either side of the bean trellis. I planted a new impatiens in one of my porch pots, and raked up all the straggler leaves that the gingko tree out front finally let go of. One of these days I'll clean my gutters out too, but today was not that day!

This year, my plant list looks like it'll be:
- Tomato SuperSweet 100
- Tomato Sweet Aroma
- Hot pepper Jalapeno early
- Sweet pepper Jupiter
- Carrot Yaya hybrid
- Carrot Short n Sweet
- Bean Fortex
- Lettuce White Paris, Buttercrunch, Black Seeded Simpson, and Little Caesar
- Broccoli Marathon Hybrid

I have a variety of bulbs coming up in back along the fence, a few in a pot in the front yard, and plan to seed with wildflower seeds over the bulbs and on the side of my front yard that abuts the neighbor's lawn (and by lawn I mean overgrown weed patch). I'm excited to get working out in the garden again this year!
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