Archive for June 3, 2007

Inji’s GBP ~ Anyone Knows an Ant, Can’t…

“Just what makes that little old ant
Think he can move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie in the sky hopes

So any time you’re gettin’ low
‘Stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant! ”

— from the 1959 Frank Sinatra hit “High Hopes”
music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn
(If you don’t know the song, you can watch it here or scroll down to #19 and listen to a clip here. It’s worth a listen — very cute song!)

~~~

It’s time to think about Inji’s GBP again, and this summer’s installment is hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook. Since I’ve been working on “curb appeal” in the front yard, I thought I’d spend some time out back too. It didn’t take long to get something growing, but it wasn’t green at first…

I was lucky enough to grow up with gardens and I have always loved them.
My nana had a fantastic garden, and my mother has the magic touch too. When I was just 18, I had a pretty decent garden of my own in a community garden plot — large enough to raise even fresh corn. But that was years ago. Now it seems I live on solid clay and rock. There is an inch or two of topsoil concealing the obstacles beneath ~ I used to joke that I needed a jackhammer to make any headway in this yard. It takes so much time and effort to dig up a suitable garden space that after the first year here, I gave up, discouraged.

Thanks to Inji and GBP, I’ve seen so many green thumbs that I am inspired to give it another go.

Just like that little ant, I’ve been moving — not rubber trees but rocks. It’s slow going, but I’ve got “high hopes”!

rockpile in may
with plenty of spring rain we’re off to a promising start…

rockpile in june
with some bigger rocks relocated, the little seedling is doing nicely!

Yep, it’s slow going because I am digging individual spaces for each plant. For these eggplants they were about 18″ square and the same depth. The spade goes in about 3-4 inches before it bounces back, so it takes at least an hour to clear the clay soil and rock from each space. It will all be worth it if I get some veggies!

I cooked up a blend of equal parts topsoil, peat moss, and composted manure that I keep in an outdoor trash can. Each planting space is filled with this new mixture and dressed with a little fertilizer before the seedling is set in.

Something new I learned this weekend: coffee grounds and brown-paper filters from the house help to discourage unwanted pests while encouraging earthworms, so I’ve been setting those around the bases of the little plants.

ichiban eggplant in may
newly planted ichiban eggplant seedling on 19 may

ichiban eggplant in june
so far so good ~ 03 june

summer squash in may
yellow crookneck squash seedling on 19 may

summersquash in june
the little squash is growing! ~ 03 june

So what do you know — green things grow here after all. I was sufficiently encouraged to make another trip to the garden center this weekend for that king of homegrown veggies, tomatoes! I got five varieties: Better Boy, Early Girl, an heirloom called Mr. Stripey, a grape-type tomato, and a yellow one called Jubilee.
I hope they’ll grow too! If anyone has tips for any of these — please feel free to share :):)

I also got a pumpkin seedling for fun, and a Stella d’oro lily for the front yard. All the vegetable seedlings are from a company called Bonnie — a new name to me. Their website has lots of helpful hints, the plants all look healthy and most come in biodegradable peat pots for ease of transplanting.

seedlings waiting patiently…
more hopeful seedlings, waiting for their permanent home!

I’ve also planted okra, swiss chard, and gongura in the plot, baby spinach, cilantro and catnip in pots outdoors, and I still have a few more to go. So once again, thanks Inji — I think you’ve created a monster here 🙂

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