Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tigers and Lions and Hail, Oh My!

The forecast called for isolated thunderstorms. Around 8 pm we heard thunder and saw lightening but the water was falling softly and the wind was gentle enough that I did not worry about my 5 tomato plants that are outside in self-watering containers. I went to sleep.
At 1:30am, HAIL! I berated myself for not assuming that a thunderstorm in March would produce hail. I began running through the mental inventory of all the tomatoes I still had inside. Plenty.
Still, I felt dumb for not preventing the assured destruction of the tomatoes that had already been hardened.
This morning I walked outside and took inventory of the damage.
Actually, one tiny basil plant bit. One out of 20.
I consider myself lucky and I hope I learned something. Assume hail in Spring thunderstorms.

I got teeny tiny lettuce coming up in my square foot gardening bed. It is head lettuce of some type. The package did not specify. It is seed number 445 from Thompson and Morgan.

I looked at the spot in the front yard where I will plant flowers and noticed that the lonely Tiger Lily that grows every year is not lonely anymore. There are now 3 more Tiger Lilys. I Googled Tiger Lilys and learned that what I thought were seeds, are actually mini bulbs that grow on the stem of the lily. Oh, I am going to have a Tiger Lily farm next year! I read that they usually take 2 years to flower but I can wait. The Tiger Lily won't bloom until Summer so I won't have pictures until then.
One last thing. I also saw this for the first time on the flower-bed-to-be:

Parts of the bed are covered with these little craters. My friend told me they were Ant Lion traps.
We dug one up and we found a tiny caterpillar. Too small to get a good picture with my old camera. The idea is that ants will fall into this sand pit and the Ant Lion, which waits at the bottom much like the monster in the Star Wars movie, will grab them.
My friend assures me that the tiny worm will grow into this:


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Parts Of The Plant

First Day Of Spring


The first day of Spring is mostly symbolic when it comes to gardening. Most gardeners do it all year long for gardening is comprised of many activities. Yet, I rejoice all the same.

A friend who read my post about the Composter 2000 asked what was the "peeing in the composter" all about. I think I read somewhere that if you pee in the compost you add Nitrogen to the mix. Urine has a component called Blood Urea Nitrogen. This component, if I remember right, comes from the breakdown of muscle in the body and it gets flushed out by the kidneys. Apparently, in the compost, the Nitrogen gets extracted by the compost goblins and voila! Nitrogen in the compost, which is good for the plants. We'll see how I do with my bucket.

Also, I have been reading more and more blogs from gardeners, farmers, and others who have embraced the growing of plants and I am more and more excited about growing flowers.
When I started growing plants, I concentrated on growing things I could eat. I don't know why.
Last year, I planted the first flowers ever. These were Marygolds that I planted because I heard that they kept some bug away from my tomatoes; and also, I planted them becacuse I got a free packet of Marygold seeds with my order of vegetable seeds. I guess I also planted a few giant Sunflowers to provide seed for the birds (they loved them and ate every little seed out of the heads)
This year, I am growing Lavender, Pestemons, and Irish Eyes Sunflowers.
I think it may be too late to plant any other flowers from seed this year but next year...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Composter 2000

Ok, so it more like The Composter 1896.
I am going to try to compost some leaves and stuff using this old metal trash can. I started two days ago and I have been faithfully turning the leaves and grass and weeds plus some not so fresh produce I found in the refrigerator.
I am quite sure I am doing this wrong already and the very funny thing is that there are a quadrazillion web sites out there with every bit of information I need. I told myself I will read them all this weekend. Meanwhile, I can't wait to sneak out in the middle of the night and pee in the composter...he he he...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Name change

I became aware of a conflict in the name of my blog. The name of my blog is written in the Cahita dialect of the Yoeme or Yaqui people. It means "Flower World".
Flowers play a big role in the belief system and culture of the Yaqui.
The conflict arises because the Cahita language did not have a written form and so we do the best we can to write the words in a manner that will render their pronunciation close to the way they are supposed to be spoken.
Fine and dandy.
The problem is that the Yaqui span two countries with very different languages: Mexico and the US.
If you want to write the word "flower" to approximate its pronunciation it would be "Segua" in Mexico, where Spanish is spoken; in the US however, "Sewa" works for English speakers, which most Yaqui in the US speak.
After a while, I decided to spell the word "Segua" instead of "Sewa". Once I made that decision, it was easy to change the header on my blog to reflect the change. The URL of my blog however, cannot be changed easily.
And that is fine after all because this way I get to honor both spellings and thus validate the Yaqui on both sides of the border.
If you are interested, the Yaqui or Yoeme, are the only indigenous group in the Americas to still retain ownership of their ancestral lands after over 500 years of contact with outsiders. Some groups exist in the Amazon who have been only recently in contact with the outside world and of course, the reservation system doesn't count as ownership of anything.
Traditionally ferocious, the Yaqui have managed to do this in spite of an official extermination policy by the Mexican government of old and despite modern efforts by corrupt politicians and drug traffiquers.
The Yaqui are a recognized "tribe" in the US. You should know that tribes are from Africa. The Yaqui, as well as many other indigenous groups in the Americas referred to themselves as Nations. (even though the modern Pascua Yaqui call themselves a tribe)
My connection to the Yaqui comes from both my parents, although unfortunately, I was only exposed to the culture in a very small way.
Now, back to growing plants!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunny Sunday and the deal is done.

Not quite.
It was a beautiful day for gardening. Sunny, mid 60's, with a gentle, caressing breeze. And Lexie, the destroyer:

Lexie is a stray puppy that we got from the pound. She has destroyed many things with those brand new teeth of hers. I wish I had better pictures of her but whenever I come close to take a picture she tries to eat the camera.
This is Lexie relaxing on the bed she "made" from the cushion from one of our yard chairs.

In spite of all her efforts, I managed to plant the purple onion sets I got two weeks ago, plus garlic. This is the first time I try to grow garlic
The only thing I knew about growing garlic is to plant it with the pointy end up. Lucky for me the bag the garlic came in told me how deep to plant it and how far apart.

Besides the garlic and the onion, the following went into my square foot gardening beds:
Apache salad onions - seedlings I started from seed
White onions - seedlings I started as well
Mignon carrots - same as above
Pink and red radish - sown directly in soil
Tom Thumb lettuce - sown directly in soil
TinTin lettuce - same as above
Head lettuce - same
Broccoli di Cicco - same as above

Once the beds were fully planted I secured the grids and attached the corner posts.

Here are both my Square Foot Garden beds. One is finished with the temporary protective wire cage. Next, I will finish putting the rock down around the beds. Last, I will build a fence around the bed area so that I can remove the individual wire cages.

Last year, I planted all my vegetables in a patch. I grew a lot of stuff in this plot but it was a lot of work keeping it weed free, that is why I decided on the Square Foot Gardening and self-watering containers for this season.
I still will use my garden patch this year. I will plant beans and peas, giant kale, giant sunflowers and maybe some more potatoes.
Part of the plot will be used for the upcoming green house. I am also planning on erecting a real fence around it. For now though, I am going to take a break.