Friday, April 10, 2009

Aspirin for your plants


This is an excerpt from

"The dosage Martha arrived at after numerous experiments was 1.5 aspirin (81 gr. strength) to two gallons of water. Important note: The tablets should be the uncoated type. She also added two tablespoons of yucca extract to help the aspirin water stick better to the leaves. (The yucca extract can be substituted with a mild liquid soap).


Finally, Martha divised a schedule of spraying once every three weeks, no matter the type of plant. The summer when Martha first started testing aspirin water was not the best, weather-wise. It was cool, rainy and damp. Yet, by the end of the season, the plants growing in the raised beds on which the aspirin water had been used looked like they were on steroids! They were huge and green and insects-free. Some disease seemed even to have reversed themselves on cucumbers affected by a virus."

I am so trying this!!!

Better Blogs and Gardens

I am just impressed by some of the gardening blogs out there. You know the ones, the ones that have useful information, daring experiments (like giving your tomato seedlings alcohol), beautiful pictures, good writing. After reading their daily posts I am left thinking:

That my garden is unworthy.
My pictures are fuzzy and dull.
My writing is boring.

And every day, after reading those blogs I tell myself the world doesn't need another gardening blog. But then, I have this strong urge to tell someone about what I do in the yard and so I write it down here hoping some like-minded person will see it and go: "Ah! yes, I saw something like that..."

I have been doing gardening. I wish I could have taken pictures but the kind of gardening I've been doing has been by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of gardening and alas, I did not have a camera.

I hijacked my brother and his truck and went searching for pallets to build a fence around the vegetables. I hope to have pictures of the building of the fence.

Also, with the pallets, I am going to build a cage for my containers.

I got a couple of tons of dirt for free to fill in the holes that the dogs dug around the house. I had to do this before the April rains came. I finished doing this one day before it started raining.

My neighbor showed up at my door during dinner with a box of freshly excavated Grape hyacinths which grow like weeds in her yard. I did not have any and I really like them so she dug up some and brought them to me. Also, she brought some bulb flower that spread like wild fire in her yard. She says she paid $13 dollars per plant last year. She gave me 2. I hope they spread in my yard like they did on hers. I quickly put these in pots.

I started on the self-watering containers again. I have to get them all done this weekend so I can put out all the plants that are beginning to get stressed out inside the house.

I tried to make it to the Snap Dragon sale at one of the garden centers but they were all sold out when I got there, so instead I bought some perennial flowering ground cover for the front flower bed. Pictures later.

I REALLY need a new camera!!!!

One last thing. If you are a DIY kind of person, Craiglist has a never-ending supply of people giving stuff away for free.
One person was giving away 300 cement blocks, brand new. They were the kind that you can use for bases for pots, walkways, etc. The city was making him clear them out. By the time my brother and I showed up, he was out of them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How Green is your Green?

Noxious fumes-emitting lawn mower and weed-eater. Bad.

Electrical lawn mower and weed-eater. Better, but still, we are talking about plastic, electronics, and toxic materials (used in the electronic boards).

Old timey manual push mower and garden shears. Good. The old ones (do they make new ones?) were made of steel and wood, both breakdown in the soil, eventually.

Goats. After they're done mowing the lawn, you can eat them (unless, as someone else has noted, you've given them a name).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

First Day Of Spring (AGAIN!)

I checked the 10 day forecast and finally, no freezes on sight. Everything, and I mean, everything is going outside this week.
Now, all I have to worry about is:

  • Tornados/High Wind (40+ miles per hour is not uncommon)
  • Hail/Thunderstorms (We get pea size to grapefruit size hail around here)
  • Birds, Squirrels, Dogs, Oh my!
  • Bugs
  • Drought
  • My own incompetence.
Ah! I garden because it relaxes me...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Of poverty, hunger, and orange trees

I don't know if blogetiquette forbids two posts in quick succession but here it goes.

I read a post about Seville oranges on and it reminded me of The Secret. I posted a short comment and thought nothing more of it. Then I read posts somewhere about ghetto gardens and I thought I'd do a post about The Secret. I discovered this secret when I was 12 or so, while waiting for a city bus to take me to school. I did not always have the bus fare but this day I did. I remember it was cold and I had to decide whether to use the money for some food at school or to get to school. At the end I decided to ride the bus because the school was several miles away and it was just to cold to walk.
So there I was, at the bus stop, standing under the bitter orange trees that the city had planted all over the place. Bitter Orange; Seville Orange; Citrus aurantium. These trees were hardy, with beautiful dark green leaves. They bloomed into a thousand beautiful, delicious, white flowers.
This particular time, however, there were no delicious blooms on the trees.
The sun was just a hint on the horizon, the bus was typically late, and I was gigantically hungry.
Not having anything else to do, I decided to see if the leaves of the orange trees were somewhat edible. It turned out that at that stage of hunger, the leaves were not too bad. So while I waited for the overcrowded city bus, I ate leaf after leaf.
And then, The Miracle happened. My hunger was gone. Just like that. Gone. No desire to eat. If there was any hunger left, it surely was just the memory of food. The actual hunger pangs were gone. There was a strange satiety present in my mouth. I remember feeling like I had discovered the secret of the ages and when the bus finally came, I rode all the way to school with a green grin.

Before I began writing this post, I went online to find out the name of the bitter oranges and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the bitter orange oils are used as an appetite suppressant. It's good to know that the world has discovered the secret. Now I must find seeds somewhere to start some bitter orange trees.

A giant global garden

I am reading a book called Second Nature by Michael Pollan. Michael talks about the continuous front lawn in the suburbs, meaning that the front lawns in the suburbs blend with each other forming a huge park-like lawn. Well, I thought of something: blogs about gardening extend our gardens in an abstract way making a gigantic garden extending the breadth of the world. I go outside and check my garden. I visit my baby radishes and rejoice at their vibrant little leaves, I check my Rose of Sharon bushes, still dormant. Then I come inside and start reading gardening blogs. I see the pictures and read the words and I rejoice at the progress being made there as well, almost as if I was there, visiting another section of my garden.
You see?

It is April 6 and the low was 25 last night. My veggies had just recovered from last week's ice/snow storm and here we are again. I've only lost one tomato, a Brandywine, killed by wind gusts of 40+ miles an hour.
Tomorrow we are expecting the same, and we are not out of the woods yet. I have seen hard freezes up to April 15.
Because the peach tree and the nectarine tree bloomed so early, the freezes killed all the blooms before they got a chance to get pollinated so we get no peaches nor nectarines this year. Oh, and the plum tree bloomed as well and lost all the blooms. That leaves the apple trees.
The garden is Hope.