Free mulch

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free mulch
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
My utility company was trimming trees in my area and was kind enough to dump a load of mulch in my yard, all for free! While it isn't as pretty as the mulch from the store, you can't beat the price. You can call your local utility company to see if they have a similar program.

However, this mulch is from green wood so it needs to age a bit before I put it near plants, lest it burn them. For me it's not a big deal. I'll spread out the mulch and let it sit for a little while, and then I'll put in my plants. I like this plan because I can now officially say that I'm not procrastinating about getting the planting done. I'm just waiting for my mulch to mellow. ;-)

Once the plants are in, the mulch will help retain moisture and keep the weeds in control. You can read more about mulch on Gardening in a Minute.

Blank canvas

Monday, April 20, 2009

Front yard panorama
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
So the blank canvas in my front yard continues to stare at me. It's because I decided to hold off on installing the plants I bought, at least for a little while. I had some major plumbing work that needed to be done first. 

See the line of fresh dirt in the photo that stretches back toward the house? There's a brand new water supply line underneath there. For years the water pressure in the house has been low, and I decided that now was the time to finally deal with it. Replacing the line helped some, but it was the new meter that the utility company installed that really made the difference. Finally, I can water the yard and flush toilets at the same time!

So I guess now I have no excuse for not planting that front bed. I'm still waiting for the seedlings to be big enough to transplant, but they're coming along nicely. Here's a shot taken on April 6. Since then, the okra seedlings have also popped up. As always, you can click on the photos to have a closer look.

Seedlings popping up

Certain seedlings have suffered an untimely death. I'm not sure what killed them. Cutworms perhaps? Some of them seemed to be severed off at the soil line. Though a few were uprooted entirely, which is often the work of nefarious squirrels.

Seedling damage

Two of the six castor bean seeds that I sowed have come up. I'm not sure why the others haven't. I also wish that the ones that came up were the bronze-leafed variety. I wasn't sure what I'd end up with since I bought a mixed pack of seeds, but I really wanted the kind with the purplish leaves.

Castor bean

I'm going to try to get the yucca and bromeliads in the ground this week. I'm also probably going to buy some yellow bulbine to add. I can't wait!

Papaya sabotage

Friday, April 10, 2009

Papaya sabotage
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
Last Friday one of my co-workers was in my office. He looked at my papaya plant and asked, "Where's the fruit?"

"What do you mean," I said. "Isn't it still there?"

Nope. It turns out it had fallen off. I was crushed. I don't think it's any secret that I had high hopes for that little papaya.

I blame the papaya's death on the nefarious gnome that has been lurking in the planter as of late. Many people think that garden gnomes are innocent creatures, but I'm not so sure.

This little gnome has been making the rounds in our office as of late. More often than not, I'm the one who deposits him in my co-worker's tea cup or hides him in her heart-leafed philodendron. She recently planted him in my papaya pot, and I thought nothing of it. Now I wish I moved him along before he had a chance to sabotage my papaya.

Of course, the fact that the papaya fell off could be related to the fact that I repotted the plant, but I'm going to stick with my story of blaming the gnome.

New papaya flowers

The good news is that the papaya is getting ready to open one, if not two, new flowers. Fingers crossed that they'll bear fruit before the gnome comes for another visit!