Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Yard Recovery



One of the things I love about plants is that they are so resilient. After the big dig for a new sewer line took out most of this native plant bed, the recovery has been amazing. 

These are plants that sat in pots for days, even weeks, waiting patiently to be put back in the ground. The garden bed they went back to was far inferior to the same bed pre-dig The trench dug for the sewer brought up a lot of pure clay, which was then packed firmly down as part of the project's completion. Thorough amendment of the soil was beyond my time and energy. All I managed was light tilling plus scattering some compost on the soil surface and into each planting hole. After the first weeks watering was infrequent.

Voila, a couple of months later and things are looking good, maybe better than before. The plants are certainly less crowded, which I think makes individual species stand out more. Come late fall when the garden is put to bed I will work on seriously improving the soil. For now, I'm thrilled to have my garden back.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Tomatoes BIG and small

Our new raised bed is creating some happy tomatoes. Both of these are heirlooms. The big ones are Brandywines. From the three pictured I made a terrific spaghetti sauce which we ate for two nights. The small ones are Brown Berry, good for snacking.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yard disruption

It's been a bad year on the home and garden front. A foot and a half of water in the crawl space after torrential rains.  Reseating of the sump pump, digging of a French drain and then a dry well.

Plus a broken sewer line that had to be dug up and replaced. (It was the original line from back in the 1950s, so not too surprising, but the timing was sure bad.) I did some pre-dig plant rescue, and got some things replanted in the post-dig clay. So that's the beginning of the restoration of the front flower bed.

















Questions remain: will the dry well work as planned? What to do with the clay from the digging of the well? To be continued...



Figlet

Here's the growing figlet that made it through its very first season, planted out last fall and surviving what proved to be a brutal winter. Time to take off the protective cage until next winter. Go, baby!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baby fig tree overwintering

This past fall I agonized over how to overwinter my two small fig trees. One I had purchased at a farmer's market. The other I had started as a cutting from my beloved mature fig tree. (See previous 2 posts.)
I finally decided to risk planting out the daughter plant. After planting, I built a chickenwire cage around the tiny tree. I mulched the plant and then filled the cage with leaves for insulation.

The purchased plant I wrapped in burlap and placed the plant, in its pot, inside a larger pot. I insulated the space between the two pots with leaves. This little tree went into a small unheated shed attached to the house. (Thanks to the Garden Web fig forum for ideas on overwintering.)

I knew I was taking the bigger risk with the propagated plant, putting it in the ground when it was so young. But if the risk paid off, I might someday have a majestic, prolific tree like the parent. Then came freezing rain, many snowstorms, and bitter cold, a brutal winter unlike what we normally experience here in the mid-Atlantic.

Yesterday, with some trepidation, I removed the leaves from the enclosure. My tree looked like a dead stick. But as I dug away the last of the compacted leaves, at the very base of that stick was a leaf bud tinged with fresh green. The baby lives! And the other little tree looks to have survived as well, in the dark shed and with only a few sips of water over the winter. Hooray for the vigor of plants!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fig update

My adorable baby fig tree has grown amazingly in the last 3 months. When I planted the cutting it had 2 tiny leaves at the top of a stem that was less than a foot tall. The tree is now about three feet tall, with large healthy leaves, and some tiny figs. I love this tree!



Now the question is how to get it through the winter. It needs a cold period, so I don't want to bring it in the house. I'm trying to decided whether to keep it in the shed (while dormant it doesn't need light, apparently) or plant it out in the yard. Either way it will need to be well protected. I would love to grow this tree large enough to take cuttings from it should we ever move!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fig Tales


Mama Fig
A few weeks back we had to have a termite treatment around the perimeter of our house. We were able to get a treatment that involved a chemical with low risk of impacts to non-termite species. Still, we were advised that anything edible growing in the treatment zone should not be consumed. The fruit of my beloved fig tree was now off limits.

Baby Fig
Before the treatment I cut some stems from the tree and brought them inside to try rooting them in water. I stripped all the leaves off, as some websites suggested, stuck them in a jar, and kept the water at a constant level. After a couple of weeks, one stem was showing some nice root growth, beginning right where water met air. I planted my cutting out in a large pot outside, in part shade so it could get acclimated. Within a couple of days, the nubby bit of green at the top of the stem had sprouted 2 tiny leaves

A week later I went to a farmers market and spotted a  beautiful little fig tree, about 4 feet high, with little figs developing.  It was love at first sight. The vendor explained that I could plant the tree, or I could keep it in the pot and overwinter it outdoors by wrapping it well in burlap. The tree had just been repotted, and wouldn't need a bigger pot for a couple of years. The variety is called ‘Chicago’ and is hardier than most figs.

I will always miss the luscious bounty of my mature tree. But as a gardener I am thrilled that I've got a young fig tree and a promising fig start to watch grow!