Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Rainwater Sucks

Actually, no...rainwater doesn't suck. But this past weekend, I sucked rainwater.

One of my two new rainbarrels was already 1/3 of the way full after steady showers on Saturday. Problem was, when I opened the hose line that extends out from the bottom, nothing happened.

"Oh," I suddenly realized with all the intelligence Paris Hilton could muster on a good day, "that's why you're supposed to put rain barrels up on cinder blocks."

So, I did the ol' siphoning trick. It worked, but yuck. Everybody keeps saying rainwater that comes off your roof, travels down the gutter and flows into your barrel is still cleaner than tap water, but I wonder.

If I start growing a third arm, would somebody please take me to the hospital and relate this little tale...? Thanks.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Glorious Days

We've had some absolutely gorgeous weather here the past couple of weekends - what I would define as near-perfect; sunny, 75°, a light breeze, no humidity. So, needless to say, I haven't had much desire to sit at the computer and type.

I haven't been totally lax, however, as garden planning seems to be a 24/7 obsession. Next Saturday, a landscaper is coming over to do some heavy work around the yard. While I am mostly a do-it-yourselfer, the stuff he's going to be doing is out of my league: removing large shrubs, hauling off rotten railroad ties, etc.

It'll be great to have it all done, because then I'll be able to build the beds and start planting! Yippee!

I spent one of the afore-mentioned gorgeous weekend days tending to the several plants overwintering in pots on the patio. Nearly all of them are showing signs of life, even some of those about which I wondered if they had life. The hostas are showing some crown emergence too.

My veggie seedlings are doing exceptionally well. The only strain that didn't germinate at all was the Black Cherry Tomato. Disappointing, but not altogether surprising, as I apparently had trouble with these seeds last year.

Since I was dead-set on having some form of cherry tomato, I ordered a packet of Juliet Hybrid from Burpee (along with a packet of Big Rainbow heirloom). If the picture means anything, the Juliet look more like the now-popular grape tomato. They are supposed to be crack-resistant, too. We'll see. I started the seeds yesterday.

I also ordered and received some of the folding tomato cages from Burpee and am very impressed with their workmanship. Four of 'em for $28 sure seems like a good deal. I know my darling husband will be happy that he doesn't have to wrestle the non-folding cages out of the attic for me again this year.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Playing Catch-Up

Wow, a bout with a bad cold really knocked me back for a couple of weeks. But, I've returned, and need to catch up with running down the few things I managed to do garden-wise when not blowing my nose.

  • I gave up trying to get a rainbarrel on eBay and just ended up buying the two-barrel kit from Gardener's Supply, although I probably won't link them together. The barrels have already arrived and they are fantastic - really well made, and they hold a whopping 75 gallons each. It'll be nice to have a supply of rainwater around this spring.
  • In addition to the seeds I recently started indoors (as detailed in my Feb. 3 Suite 101 article), I also got some veggies going outside in containers: onions, radicchio, radishes, and peas. No germination just yet. It's been chilly here, so there may not be any activity for another week.
    Before I started feeling really crappy last weekend, I did manage a few miscellaneous other outdoor chores, like:
  • Pulling back the mulch from the irises to give them a little more sun exposure. Looks like only one bulb rotted out of the 13. I was afraid another one was going to die, but a little digging revealed some new growth - yey!
  • Getting the vegetable bed ready for planting by removing the nasty landscape cloth and spreading some chopped leaves over the area, which is about 25' long and only 1.5' feet wide - not your typical bed dimensions, but despite its narrowness I think it'll work, as it receives lots of sun.
  • I also pulled up most of the rest of the landscape cloth from the front beds - what a chore that was! The soil underneath is fabulous and full of earthworms. More chopped leaves went over top of these areas, just to add some organic nutrients for the future.

    It's getting close to shipping time for spring plants! I received notification from Avant Gardens that my order will go out 4/11 - can't wait to see the beautiful Pelargonium Vancouver Centennial they're sending me!