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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11 Comments »

  1. bee said

    linda, for tomatoes, stake them with a stick and ties as soon as you plant them. the wind can do a lot of damage. read up about artificial pollination for your variety of squash (or manual pollination). that way you will get may more fruit rather than just relying on the bees.
    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg071354436393.html

    Thanks for the tips, Bee. I do have stakes already, and also a couple of cages if I should get lucky enough to need them. V. interesting link there about the hand pollination! 🙂

  2. revathi said

    Wow Linda. You are going gongura ??? Where did you get the seeds from !!!
    I had some tough time decided the soil, I wanted some organic soil settled with garden soil.. lets see. You are right. Inji is really making me do some gardening. She is creating a monster and she herself is one.. he he hheeeee. If she sees this comment she is going to kill meeee !!!

    Hi Revathi — I ordered gongura and other seeds from Seeds of India. They were reasonably priced (with one free package of seeds with every 5 ordered) and they shipped right away. Good luck with your gardening! 🙂

  3. Roopa said

    wow Linda those look very good. i have little hopes most of my plants died because of shifting th eplants from one plance to another and now one of my flowering is attacked by aphids badly i have isolated it but yet my rose also got affected phew i feel so sad….. :o. now only the chilli plant is of hope!

    I’m sorry to hear about your plants Roopa — don’t give up though — that chili plant might surprise you! 🙂

  4. indosungod said

    Linda, thats a great start. The coffee ground is a great idea. I am going save some for the egg plants. They attract pests like nobody’s business. Keep a squirt bottle mixed in with some antiseptic hand wishing liquid and red chilli powder, make it foamy by shaking it up and down, spray on the plant and it keeps the insects away mostly.

    Hi ISG — thanks for that natural insecticide formula! I’m going to get a spray bottle today. Caterpillars are already attacking; I’ve been picking them off by hand. Have a great day 🙂

  5. Mamatha said

    Linda,
    You brought such a flood of memories with that song – it used to be one of my favorite songs as a little girl, but I’ve heard only the Doris Day version of the song until now and never knew it was a Sinatra song. Thanks so much.
    Your blog rocks, btw.
    Mamatha

    Hi Mamatha, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the song! It’s one of my favorites even now 🙂

  6. sandeepa said

    I want to some eggplants toooooooo !!! i satrted spinach, tomatoes and beans from seeds. Do you think if I get eggplant seedlings now, it will be too late ?

    Hi Sandeepa, I know eggplants love hot weather just like tomatoes do. It’s only the first of June — I bet it’s not too late 🙂

    Good luck with your veggies!

  7. Mishmash! said

    Linda…all the very best with your plants…….I have started with some herbs for the time ….dont know how they are going to turn up…keeping my fingers crossed

    Thank you Shn – good luck with your herb-growing, too! What kind did you plant? 🙂

  8. asha said

    Great looking plants Linda.Good luck.Mine are going like monsters too,I am already a veggie growing monster!;D
    I ordered some more seeds. Ridge gourd,Snake gour and Indian Bottle gourd,will tril them on the backyard fence.Sorrel,I didn’t order though.It’s sour,I don’t know if I would use that.

    Oh yea, Asha, you’re one of my garden-inspirations with all those monster plants 😉
    Can’t wait to see how your gourds will do! I don’t have a fence but am still going to try snake gourd, at least. Have a great day 🙂

  9. Nupur said

    What a sweet sweet song. I needed to be reminded of that today. Your plant babies look cute! Wishing them lots of health

    Thanks Nupur — it is a cute song isn’t it? And not a bad theme for kids of all ages… keeping high hopes! Hope your day was a good one! 🙂

  10. Richa said

    hey, ur plants look good, ready to grow & bear good crop
    i too have the ichiban eggplant, waiting eagerly for the veg!
    thanks for showing me ur garden

    I’m happy you enjoyed it Richa! Look forward to seeing yours too 🙂

  11. Richa said

    oops! forgot to mention that bonnie is pretty popular here in NJ, have had good exp with their product

    Ah, that is so good to know! Thank you! 🙂

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