Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Like a Lion . . .

Mother of Pearl Rose
Time to end this blog hiatus! April has been so very busy with Passover and Easter celebrations, huge deadlines at work, and a bout with a nasty strain of head cold. To top it off, the early spring-time weather has truly followed the old adage, "in like a lion." We usually end our rainy season in March and have increasingly warmer days April into May. Not so this year! We've had late season rain and thunderstorms from mid March through late April. 

The late season showers delayed my anticipated tomato seedling planting time, pushing planting until the first weekend in April. The tomatoes are none the worse for wear; I babied them by placing them outside for the day and in for the night for a week, then hardened them up by leaving them outside the following week. We planted April 1st, no joking!

Step 1: Place the tomatoes. I placed 6 plants in 2 rows of 3 in a large bed. I opted to increase density this year, but I left plenty of space for basil and marigolds to be interspersed between the tomatoes.
Step 2: Dig a hole with a spade 1-2 inches deeper than the seedling container. Add 1 crushed, clean egg shell to hole for added calcium for tomato. Tomatoes love their calcium!
Step 3: Gently remove the seedling from the container. First, squeeze the pot to loosen the soil, then gently grasp the stem and pull. Do no force! If the seedling does not budge, continue to loosen soil around the pot and try again.
Stem 4: Place seedling in hole about 1 -2 inches deeper than it was in its pot. Maintain the integrity of the root ball if possible. Remove bottom leaves from plant if they are dragging in the dirt. Press the soil firmly around the plant for support.
Step 5: Cage the seedling. Don't wait until later - do it now! Center the cage around the plant and press down hard. Be careful not to snag the stem or leaves. Water the seedling with a watering can on a hose on low. Label the seedling using the plant tag; I use string to tie it to the top of the cage for easy reference.

My roses are coming into full bloom and I am able to cut roses for bouquets every week. I am able to enjoy the gentle scent of my Double Delights when I walk into my family room. I have been fighting orange rust on my roses. I had an angry moment and removed every last leaf from one of my Mother of Pearls. A word of warning: Don't prune angry, it can have bad results. I kept cursing my sixteen going on thirty neighbor for reinfecting my plants. I did not have the stones to ask if I could prune his roses back in February and now I am reaping the reward of his overgrown monstrosities spewing their diseases downwind to mine. Perhaps the San Diego Rose Society can help me with a solution to get me through this season.

Left to right: My Mother of Pearl and Double Delight roses before my pruning spree.
Yay! My California Poppies are in bloom - Love!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Western Canada Permaculture Convergence

Western Canada Permaculture Convergence, 2012 is billed as “A three day (August 24,25,26) coming together of permaculture enthusiasts, to share information, inspiration and learn a few new skills.”

In May, they're also hosting a week of workshops, May 16-20, at the Woodland West retreat centre in Millarville, Alberta.

Thursday, April 12, 2012