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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Video: Rose Montage from the O'Connell's Garden

We were visiting friends today -- sitting around the pool and munching on summer foods -- and their roses caught my eye. I spent a few minutes capturing the video for this montage, just wandering from bush to bush and taking it all in.

iPod Ready Video

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Noted: Rutabagas, Artichokes, Kiwis, Oh My!

("Noted" items are interesting posts I recently found in my RSS feeds -- Douglas)

Rutabagas, Artichokes, Kiwis, Oh My!

FruitAndVeggieGuru – everything you need to know about the delicious fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Answers about how to lower your cholesterol or how to prepare asparagus. You’ll find loads of background and variety information, nutrition specifics, serving sizes, preparation ideas and care and handling tips.

(Via My Clippings on NewsGator Online.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Compost, transplanting roses and seeding herbs

Tomato Update July 14, 2008After getting some desk work done this morning, and taking my daily walk, I came back charged up to get something done in the garden. I had gone to sleep nearly every night this week reviewing a bunch of stuff that needed to get done, but I haven't had the time, or energy frankly, to actually go and do it. Maybe it was seeing the success of our tomatoes, as they start to take off, that drove my work today, but it certainly was necessary.

In some ways, I engaged in a bit of "yak shaving" (letting one task lead to another randomly until you end up shaving a yak (SMILE), but it was yak saving with a purpose. Each thing led to another almost seamlessly. By the end of it, I was quite wiped out, though. So here is the play-by-play of my day.


Since I was going to be transplanting some stuff, and then preparing the bed I had cleared, I wanted to have some compost on hand to work into both of the beds. This meant checking out our Garden Gourmet composters and seeing what had developed over the year since we installed them. I was happily surprised to find about 6"-8" of compost behind the bottom door when I slide it open. With a little bit of digging I was able to harvest about 2 cubic feet of great compost before the material on top settled down to the bottom of the bin. This was almost perfect for today's project, so I stirred up the remaining compost and moved on to the next phase.

One note about the compost. Under the heading of "why are things never easy" I found that tree roots had found a way into the compost and this made it a little harder to harvest what was there. Thankfully, they were mainly small feeder roots so most of them were removed with the compost. I need to think a little more about my installation, though, and maybe find a way to move them further above the ground. Secondly, there was a HUGE nest of ants in the pile. I guess this is a clear sign that the bin isn't getting as hot as I might like, but my reading on compost says it is difficult getting a home compost pile up to its optimum heat level. The ants were too much of a bother, though, but I can imagine they were quite disappointed with being removed.


One the compost was sifted, Rosanne and I moved to the front garden. In the bed where we had planted our tomatoes (see below for more info and updates), there were 2 Bankside roses I had purchased several years ago, and a pink climber rose that was here when we moved in. None of these roses have every prospered much in this location and I had decided to convert the rest of the bed into more vegetables and herbs. So, on the other side of the driveway, there was an open spot where one of the Bewitched roses had died. I spread about 1/2 the compost on this section of the bed and then used my electric cultivator to turn it into the existing soil. This seems to have worked well with our tomato planting area, so I figured I would try it again. Once that was worked in, I transplanted the 3 roses into this newly prepared area and watered them in.

Then, back in the bed where I had removed the roses, I added the remaining compost and turned it in with the same cultivator. Into that area we planted some parsley and oregano seeds, just to see if anything would happen. When we are out around town this week we are going to look for some transplants of basil and other herbs that might work well in this area.

After a little bit of cleanup, it was time to head back into the house and prepare some pasta sauce for dinner. Friends are arriving around 6 o'clock to watch some movies with Rosanne, while Joe and I catch the big Avatar movie tonight. The movies are part of Rosanne's work on her Ph.D dissertation, so she is even being productive in that. (SMILE)

Still a lot to do in the garden, including a lot of tree and leaf cleanup before our big summer music party in the third week of August. I would love to have our old, ramshackle garden house torn down by then, but only time will tell if we get that accomplished.

Let me know what is happening in your garden. Add your comments using the link below or post a link to your own blog where people can check out your hard (yet fun) garden work.

Be well and see you in the garden!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Video: Tomato Update - July 14, 2008

Tomato Update July 14, 2008

Tomato Update July 14, 2008
Originally uploaded by dewelch
Some of our larger Legend tomatoes are starting to ripen. I noticed that the green tomato in this picture has really taken off since I increased the water for the plants. I don't think I was giving them enough, but now things seem to be progressing nicely.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Featured on iTunes Store front page

I happened to hit the front page of iTunes today and see that A Gardener's Notebook is featured on the front page. This is the first time for AGN, although Career Opportunities has been featured in the past.

Welcome all new listeners and viewers! Thanks for joining me in my garden.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Red Pig Tools - Handmade Garden Tools

Kathy Purdy over at Cold Climate Gardening added a link to Red Pig Tools to her Delicious bookmarks and I found it very interesting. Handmade garden tools in this day and age? Who would have thought. Their prices look pretty reasonable, too.

Red Pig Tools describe themselves on their web site...

"At Red Pig Tools, we make garden tools the old fashioned way - by hand. We use steel, fire, an anvil and good honest sweat. These hand crafted tools are stronger, sharper, and will last longer than any others you can buy."

Link: Red Pig Tools

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Project: Trommel Compost Sifter from Instructables.com

This looks like a neat device to help out with the compost sifting chores. It would certainly be an improvement over my makeshift compost sifter seen in my video, Compost is Ready!

Trommel Compost Sifter

This Instructable shows how to build a trommel (rotary screen) for sifting compost or shredded leaves. The purpose of sifting is to separate coarse unfinished compost materials from the finished product or to separate out trash and debris from other organic materials before use in the garden. My c...

By: SteveGerber

(Via explore.)

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