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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chocolate Gladiolus

Here are pictures of some of the gladiolus I planted.   They are just starting to bloom.  This variety is Chocolate.   Its a very deep reddish purple, almost chocolate colored.  Hence the name.   I am cutting the flowers off as they bloom so the energy is spent on making the bulb larger, not making seeds.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Expansion Plans

The spot that I fenced off for my garden is full of dahlias, amaryllis, glads, and irises.   They are all doing well, but I am running out of space.   My next space to plant is a large corral on the other side of the fish pond.   Its 6 times the size of my current garden so lots of room to grow.  I an thinking about starting a CSA (consumer supported agriculture) plot there.  I will start out with winter vegetables for Southern California which include peas, lettuce, greens, beets, carrots, cabbage, and winter squash to name a few.    Still in the planning phase.  Working out the numbers to see if its feasible.   Here are some pictures of the space.  There is water all around this corral with some high powered sprinklers.  I will probably do rows with plastic mulch and drip lines under the mulch to conserve water as we are in the midst of a big drought here in California.   As you can see, this property is next to a housing development.  This kind of open space is rare in Southern California and I am lucky the owner is committed to preserving it.    I have seen road runners,  western bluebirds, egrets, ducks, raccoons, and the other day, a pair of gray fox sauntered right past my garden area.   I am happy to see them, they will help keep the ground squirrel population in check.

Nice Melons!!!

I have a ton of watermelons.  There are two varieties.  A small ice box size called sugar baby and another long striped melon called California sweet.  Both are supposed to do well in my area and they did very well.  Here are a couple - ripening up on the vine.    Will take some pics of the cut melons when they are ready.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Royal Sea Gladiolus

The Royal Sea variety of gladiolus is also blooming.   There were size 3 bulbs which means the flower stalk will be smaller, but I am more interested in growing the bulb to a larger size than getting large flowers.  This variety is a purple with a deep purple throat.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bearded Iris Update

I transplanted the bearded irises from my old garden spot and they are doing very well in the raised bed.  This variety is one of the first ones I transplanted and its growing well with babies sprouting at the bases of the rhizome.   I should be able to divide some off to sell next spring.  This variety is dusky challenger which is a very dark purple.

The June bug that can't read a calender!

My garden is crawling with June Bugs in August.  They are also feasting on the nearby fruit trees also.  They seem to love the fig tree.    This one is deep into one of my dahlia flowers.  Must be eating the pollen.   They seem to be attracted to the older flowers that are starting to die.  

Blackberry Ripple Dahlia

I planted some of the dahlia's directly in the ground and they seem to be growing faster than the ones in the raised beds.  Things in a raised bed will usually grower faster because the soil is warmer.  This variety is blackberry ripple.

Bristol Stripe Dahlia

The first dahlias I planted were bristol stripe.  Here is a picture of the first bloom.

Zizane Glad

Here are pictures of the Zizane Hybrid Gladiolus.   Its a really unusual color as there are stripes in the flower.  The main color of the bulb is a bright red, with stripes of white on each individual petal.  Some have more white than others.   Here are some close up's of the flowers

13 Raised Bed filled

The 13th raised bed was moved from the old site and filled.   There is one more left to move, so the total won't be the unlucky 13.  They are connected to pvc pipe and sprinklers so I can water 6 beds at a time.
Here are pictures of the beds at various angles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ants! Ants! everywhere Ants!

There is a big problem with ants on the property that use for my garden.   They were farming aphids on my melons and its so bad the leaves were curling up from all the aphids sucking the life out of my plants.  Some of the fruit trees leaves are so disfigured from scale, whiteflies, and aphids on the leaves.  The ants are the culprit.  They "farm" these insects for the honey dew they extract and protect the from predators.   I saw a lady bug land in my melon patch and the ants immediately started attacking it.  I had to save it and move it somewhere else.    The challenge is how do you get rid of ants without using chemicals.   I found the KM Ant Pro traps.   They were tested at UCR (University of California - Riverside) which has acres of orange groves.   It utilizes 1% borax mixed with a sweet liquid similar to honey dew.   There is a small slit that only the ants can enter.  Keeps bees and pets from drinking the stuff.  It's a low dose of poison that the ants bring back to the nest and feed to the queen and babies.   It will slowly build up and kills the entire colony, or thats the plan anyway.  I  set two of these traps in areas where the ants are bad and we will see if it works.
Here is a picture of the trap and also the liquid bait.


The owner of the property is taking care of 3 chickens for awhile, so they are living in the little chicken pen.   I have been feeding them some of the overripe vegetables and they love it.   There is a golden laced wyandotte, black australorp, and barred rock.  They are laying 2-3 eggs a day.

Lucy's Ranch

We decided to allow our Corgi - Lucy to come along to the garden.   She loves to run around the pond, chase the squirrels and occasionally will spot a rabbit to chase, but with her short little legs, she doesn't stand a chance of actually catching one.  Its good exercise for her since she's about 8 lbs overweight.  
There one picture of her hiding in the bean plants,  she was waiting for me too walk by so she could jump out and try to nip at my heels and herd me (her favorite thing to do)