Tuesday, February 23, 2016

To Spray or Not to Spray, That is the Question

Maybe I'm like the Danish prince, haunted by dead plants past so that I want my current crop to do well. For the most part, I'd say I'm pretty organic. In the back yard, I weed pretty much all by hand.  The front lawn, however, can hide massive amounts of intruders that, left on their own, would pretty much take over from the grass.

Some lawn weeds...like mallow, oxalys, or this as yet unidentified weed above...can be pulled with a fork and some elbow grease.

The dandelion, on the other hand, can quickly get out of hand. 

In this year of drought, many of my neighbors have completely ignored their lawns. I've let mine go, too, but still tried to keep it in a kind of 'mothballs' situation, waiting for the rain to return.  

With all the lawns in our area ignored, dandelion seeds have spread like crazy and when the green came back, so did hundreds of these little lawn killers.

In years past, I could dig in with a trowel and at least keep my head above water. This year, I stopped counting a one hundred.

OK, I hate to do it, but the only way I'm going to have a chance with this lawn is a judicious application of weed killer.

Fortunately, the biology of a dandelion means I can just apply a few drops to the center of the plant, which is basically a funnel, where the poison will settle into the interior of the plant and not disturb the grass around it.

Yes, I know you can pick them and eat the leaves but I also need some control of what I grow and these are beyond that point.  Hopefully, I can get a handle on this huge, new crop and go back to hand weeding for the future.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hanging by a Thread

I love this dendrobium. It has beautiful flowers, is very prolific, and grows very well under our eaves.

It's so prolific that it's grown way to big for the pot it's in. Time  for a repot.

I've separated it into two plants and will plant it into two pots (follow along with our epiphytic orchid repotting instructions here).

It's an epiphyte (meaning it grows on the side of trees in nature) so I'm planting it in bark chips.  A hammer helps to make sure the new potting mix is very tight on the roots.

Time to water in.

All done, now I have a fresh, hanging basket of orchids. I'll give the other pot away.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cara Cara!

Just a quick post to cover the last of our crop of Cara Cara navel oranges. That big one in the middle is my blue ribbon fruit, it's as big as a grapefruit.

Now that the tree is bare, I'll prune those branches back off of the sidewalk.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Another Front Coming Through

The front yard rose garden is a bit played out.

We've pruned it but its time to give it a little boost.  I added some bone meal to all the roses after pruning.

Now, I'm going to put a bag of mulch on.

After pulling the weeds, I dump a bag of GroMulch.

After raking in, it's ready for another season. Next up, do something about those rocks, and the front yard is done.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Being Upfront With Our Gardening

This week, we're concentrating on the front yard, starting with the lawn. Previously, back in December, we overseeded out lawn with a heat-resistant blend.

With the El Nino rains, the seeds have sprouted and I think it's finally time to mow.

The mower hasn't run since October but it starts the first try.

Lawn is done.  See the difference from the day we seeded to today?  Much greener.

There's still a big brown patch of thatched St. Augustine in the middle.  I'll hit that with my aerator tool and see if I can coax some more green grass to come up there.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Giving the Green One More Try

About a month and a half ago, we overseeded the front lawn with a new heat-tolerant strain of grass seed.

Winter rains have been coming in regularly at a rate of about 1 storm every week and a half.  This provideds a great soaking and the first one came right after I seeded the lawy.

I've added my own water, via a ten minute sprinkler session, about once in between each storm.

This is how the new grass is looking now, I think it will be ready for its first mowing this weekend.

I haven't started my lawn mower since September, since the grass went completely dormant after I stopped watering due to our water rationing restrictions.  I just hope it will still start.

After that, I'll need to work on de-thatching those brown spots of St. Augustine grass.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 1, 2016

...And Prune 'til Done

Now that the backyard roses and grapevine are pruned for the coming season, it's time to move on to the front.

The front yard rose garden has really suffered the effects of our prolonged California drought. Not so much from lack of water, directly, but from the effects of it.

The deer, driven by an extreme lack of water and food up in the hills came down and used our front rose garden as a feeder.

My Julie Newmar rose? Completely gone, killed off by the hooved invaders.

The rocks hiding my grass barrier have been knocked about by the venison hordes.

Oh well, it's ok. They were desperate and I was looking for a place to put a new rose I want to plant.

In the meantime, loppers ahoy...it's time to prune.

There we go.  Still have to fix the rocks but that will come later.

Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved
Darryl Musick