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Anniversary Gong (and more)

April 11, 2014

First for the “more”:
I created a new permanent page in regards to the upcoming garden tour that’s got me hopping right now. It can found by clicking the upper right of this page were it read s’2014 “Rome in Bloom Tour”, or, alternatively click here.

It’s been a year since the metal roof from a nearby business was deposited on my garden.

(Revisit the post about it here.)

In honor of the anniversary I’ll offer the video below. This was taken yesterday evening; with some breeze the lone remaining piece of the roof “gongs” like an giant wind chime. We’ve gotten rather fond of this familiar noise as we can hear it inside as well as out and it isn’t really that loud or annoying.

It’s only about 30 seconds long; be sure your computer isn’t muted and the volume is turned up a little.

That’s about it; come see me on May 3rd if you are so inclined.

Good News, Continued….

April 9, 2014

After a harsh winter, the spring warmth continues to bring good news in regards to a couple of my garden oddities.

First, the artichokes continue to prove their health and vigor after spending a good part of the last few months in the core of what amounts to a plastic covered haystack. The front plant has at least a dozen crowns actively growing, which should ultimately translate into 30-40 chokes. The plant (plants?) is not as large as the rear hoop-house resident plant, perhaps due to a more confining bed or cooler average soil temperatures over the winter. Or both? The rear hoop-house plant has fewer crowns, (4 or 5) but is much larger in every measurement that the front one. It also is weeks ahead in development and (as Mrs. cohutt recently discovered) holds the inaugural 2014 artichokes, which are growing larger by the day.

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The second pleasant confirmation comes from the rice paddy. Last year I just left the rice on the plants for the birds to enjoy (which they did) and hoped that enough would remain to reseed the paddy this spring. In order to accelerate the process a rough poly tent was constructed to (hopefully) raise the soil/water temperature in the paddy, the theory being that this would produce earlier germination and maintain frost protection for the young plants. This “partially” worked in the very top section as the main hoop house partially shaded the lower part of the paddy. The result was the top 1/4 being choked with young rice seedlings but the bottom 3/4 was virtually empty.

No problem. I spent a pleasantly “hands on” session (rice paddy goo-mud up past my wrists) separating and transplanting individual seedlings into a nice orderly grid in the lower 3/4 of the paddy. There’s still a concentration up top, but we can live with it for now. (Note that the small duckweed bloom gives away where the the sun was hitting the paddy as well).

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One other spring “good news” footnote is that unlike the Confederate Jasmine, the Carolina Jasmine came through the winter just fine.

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Green (Mostly)

March 31, 2014

It’s here: Spring

(Click pics to zoom)

Green

Lettuces: Forellenschluss, Reine des Glaces, Amish Deer Tongue

Lettuces: Forellenschluss, Reine des Glaces, Amish Deer Tongue

Green

Watercress

Watercress

Green

Garlic, California Late

Garlic, California Late

(BROWN)

Gourds, scrubbed clean

Gourds, scrubbed clean

Green

Imperial Star artichoke

Imperial Star artichoke

Green

Bronze Arrowhead below Amish Deer Tongue

Bronze Arrowhead below Amish Deer Tongue

Green

Chives

Chives

Green

"Inchelium Red" Garlic

“Inchelium Red” Garlic

Green

Peppermint

Peppermint

Green

Lettuce and Kohlrabi

Lettuce and Kohlrabi

BLACK (and blue)

Bat House 2.0

Bat House 2.0


:)

Two

March 29, 2014

Two, as in two optional but tedious projects, were completed this week.

One.

Several months ago I purchased a “bubbler” fixture under the premise that I would find sufficient time and inspiration to conceive and build/install a drinking fountain in just the right spot back in the garden. (I just checked Amazon and find that I actually purchased it in May 2012, which is a tad embarrassing.) A week ago Mrs cohutt and I agreed on a spot and soon the structure and internal piping was complete.

 photo Chimney_pot_Fountain.jpg

The bubbler wasn’t installed in the picture above as I wanted to wait until the mid-week freeze had passed (please ignore the mess of the compost corner in the background). But it is installed now, and fresh cool well water is now flowing though the finished project:

 photo Fountainhead.jpg

Two.

The bat house is up again (although no pictures to offer as proof yet). As before, the “raising” was an excruciatingly tedious and energy sapping (manual) engineering marvel, perhaps of the magnitude of Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza. (I had an extra set of hands on call this time, as son of cohutt was around this weekend ahead of starting his new job in Atlanta on Monday.) Right about now, this 54 year old body feels like it was on the receiving end of a rocky Himalayan avalanche, but good.

(And thank you again for the chimney pot mother.)

Fava & Bats

March 25, 2014

Well, technically not bats, but my bat house has been repaired and is parked, ready to be raised again. It sports a shiny new roof as the last of my “vintage” rusted roofing was used in the open shed’s repair last year.

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I still have to finish building out the replacement posts (wood this time). It may not be done by summer but one never knows.

Adjacent to the parked bathouse, this spring’s fava experiment is coming along nicely. The seed was saved from last year’s crop; I’ve read that fava seed germination rates drop off quickly so I was concerned that these were duds when they didn’t germinate for almost three weeks. Eventually almost all sprouted and are currently looking good under their temporary concrete wire cat/squirrel deterrent.

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Posting has been light lately as I’m neck deep in the first true “cleaning & polishing” of this almost five year old garden project. Why now? In approximately five weeks, this oddity will be part of a charitable garden tour, the freakshow hiding among the other more traditional gardens on the tour.

And yes, May 3rd seemed so far away when I was asked to consider this back in December.

Much more to follow…..

Gourdville 2013 Revisited

March 12, 2014

A few of the big gourds from last year have finally cured/dried to the point where they can be cleaned (and made ready for whatever it is I’m going to do with these.)
These have been sitting out in the weather all winter, lined up on boards to keep them off the ground. These go from weighing upwards of five and ten pounds to just a few ounces and in the process grow all sorts of mold on both the shell’s surface and the disintegrating skin.
Various cleaning methods and materials are recommended by fellow gourders on the interweb, the common denominator being much scrubbing with an abrasive pad of some sort. After getting an annoying amount of bleach laden water on my skin while spending way too much time and energy on the first bunch, I changed strategy.
The new approach was to ditch the bleach, skip the dish soap, and extend the soaking period significantly.
An hour or two under a wet towel in a $7 wading pool and the moldy skin/surface grime was easily scoured off with a copper “Chore Boy” dish scrubber. I kept a hose/sprayer handy with the intent of using it to rinse the cleaned gourds, but mainly used it to remove the goo from the chore boy.

I promise, this is the way to do it- don’t be in a hurry, just keep the surface wet for a couple hours and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Bobbing apple gourds in the $7 wading pool (someone decided he wanted the gourds out of his pool).
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How easy?

The nasty side of a well soaked apple gourd:

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The same gourd partially scrubbed and rinsed for comparison:

 photo 20140311_182728.jpg

All scrubbed up, the latest batch of bushel basket gourds is now hanging to dry (and for all to admire) on Lizzie’s porch.

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Only about 30 or 40 to go now…..

Crystal

March 8, 2014

Today was as clear a spring day as I can ever remember.

Productive.

Regenerating.

(Enough words)

Rangzhingi Drubpa

Rangzhingi Drubpa

California Late Garlic in March

California Late Garlic

Artichoke Spring

Artichoke Spring

Baby Spring Lettuce

Baby Spring Lettuce

Trumpets of Spring

Trumpets of Spring

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