Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rose Garden Recovery?

I was hoping I could get things together and end the Rose Garden Apocalypse.  Maybe write a new poem about how I have cleaned up and the rose garden and the rose garden is flourishing!  It has not happened and I have really just settled in and started cleaning out the weeds and vines from the garden this week. In the years that I managed to keep up with the garden the next year's blooms have been so much better. There are many factors that have hurt me this year and every year.  Here are the 3 largest problems I have faced.

1.  Where are the Roses?

My garden is comprised of mostly old roses that only bloom 1 time per year.  These roses are 30+ years old.  They have been removed and transplanted a few times.  You can read some about there history here, Rose Garden History.  I really need to start adding some roses that bloom year round around the outside of the garden.  I used to psych myself  up by pumping up this image of big lush green rose bushes blowing in the wind at the end of the summer.  I really have not gotten that far for a few years.  Just a big pile of vines hanging on the roses, sometimes giving this illusion.

2.  City Rats!  Yeah that's right, I said Rats!

Nothing says stay away from the garden like a bunch of big rats running in and out.  Adding the bird feeders has turned into a bad idea.  Looks like I will need to discontinue feeding the birds in this location.  For 20 years of working in my rose garden I never saw 1 rat.  Then in 2007 the Dunkin Donuts near my home burned down!  You can see a picture of burned down dunkin donuts.

Dunkin's Donuts Belair Road Fire

You see the back of that car on the right of the picture?  That's my car, the same one on the blog title photo.  The fire department actually tied yellow tape to my car and across the street.  The next day in the rose garden were 10+ dead rats and the neighborhood has not been the same since.  Used to only see rats around dumpsters.  Where I used to see rabbits or chipmunks, I see rats.  They run around like stray cats and hop through the grass like rabbits.  I hate to do it, but there is so many we have to constantly poison and place traps.  I just need to get over it.  Not getting in the garden and working only makes it worse.

3.  Time and Lazy  

In the old days I would come home from school and collage classes in the afternoon and head right to the garden.  Later I would still do this after work and listen to the O's on the radio. The O's is for Orioles!  Even with the rats I found more time for the garden up until this year.  It might have something to do with the O's actually playing good this season.  I have been more likely to head in and catch the game.  Other factor is that I have been working longer and when I do rush home early its not to work in the rose garden, normally some unwanted BS.  All happens so fast! After the bulk of my garden has it's 1 and only bloom, I have holidays, vacations, vegetable gardens, and other things going on.  I go from my birthday to the 4th to trip number 1 to ocean city to trip number 2 to ocean city and then it all seems over that fast and where did the time go?  Really if I love the garden and want to put in the work, I need to find the time!  Need to get it together!

The Recovery Coming?

I just got started today.  Wish I would have dragged my ass out of bed early because my work got stopped by some serious ran weather.  Vines had gotten a hold of the old white roses in the corner of the garden.  This particular bush blooms all year long, but have not seen much.  Last week I cleared the vines and was rewarded with the bush beginning to bloom again.  This gave me hope that I can give them one last boost before the fall.  Over the next week I plan on clearing things up and ending the Rose Garden Apocalypse.   Maybe there is another poem here somewhere?  I really like the first one, but not what inspired it!

The roses are very old.
How long will they Hold?
New zombie rose buds scattered red.
Why does the little Sparrow Lay dead?
Fresh dug holes are home to new pest.
Has the catbird left it's nest?
Angels, Saints, Mary, and Jesus uncovered.
Why do so many insects hover?
Dead rose blooms wither.
Where do the snakes slither?
Disease hampers revitalization.
Will there be new fertilization?
Weeds grow like crazy.
How can the gardener be so Lazy!
Transit of Venus observed like an eclipse.
Rose garden Apocalypse?

-Charles Reinhardt

Tomato Explosions! Vegetable Garden Update

Tomato's did not explode, but I had so many I considered exploding a few.  The vegetable garden worked out better than ever this year.  I have been growing tomatoes, peppers, and corn for a few years now and this year was the best crop I have ever had.

I contribute the success to a number of factors which I will list below.

After Ocean City Mega Harvest
1.  I got the plants earlier this year.

I got the plants and planted all by Preakness.  I heard some people talking about not planting until Preakness and I said okay.  Other years I planted closer to June.  This also allowed me to get the smaller and cheaper 4 packs of tomatoes and peppers that are normally not available by June.  These surprisingly  grew much better.  Not sure why?  Maybe it was easier for these to adapt and adjust to my yard not growing at the store in a pot for a month.  

2.  Better Boys are Better Big Boys
I always got the Big Boy tomatoes because my mom insisted that they were dads favorites.  I was finally able to convince her that the Better Boy is the same just better.  Boy were they better.  Never have I had so many tomatoes at 1 time.  The after O.C. harvest was kinda over whelming.  There are still big batch of tomatoes growing now.  

Overwhelming Huge box of tomatoes 
3.  New Location and Correct Spacing

For years I have tried different places and ways to plant more plants.  Always ended up sacrificing some of the desired spacing.  One year I used those Topsy Turvy, they were good for the space, but did not produce the amount of fruit I expected.  This year I just said what the hell, I'll just plant everything right here in the middle of the yard.  I had been reserving this area for Wiffle ball and Kick ball tournaments, but with no kids and the nephews not around and getting older, I have now open this area to the garden.   You can check out my big Wiffleball story here Wiffle Char.  One of the big benefits is I didn't have to mow a big stretch of the yard all summer.  The greatest benefit is that this stretch gets the most sun and I was able to correctly space out all of the plants.

Reinhardt Rose Field
4.  Using adequate fertilizer

For years I had not used or used very little of those time release pellets.  My big concern was for my dog getting into that crap and getting sick.  Unfortunately, my dog passed away at the age of somewhere between 12 -13 years old.  She is now planted underneath a peach tree that will produce Emma peaches.  With no worry for Emma, I was able to use the time release fertilizer and it appears to have worked out well. 

Emma Peaches
Other plants,

Hellena's Silver Queen Corn 

I don't like growing corn.  Never have much luck.  Pulling the corn too early too late.  Corn getting infested with bugs and water logged.  Corn getting knocked over in large storms!  No really something I want to grow, but I do it for Hellena.  I let Hellena decide when to pick, so she waited a week after I wanted and the corn was kinda of dry.  I gave all to her to enjoy, but surprisingly did not hear about much enjoyment?  I wonder why?  

Mom's Cabbage
Another plant I was reluctant to try.  Mom grabbed these early in the spring and I did not want anything to do with it.  She planted them late not realizing that the cabbages could be planted before the last frost.  She was so worried about the frost.  Anyway, these I did not mind because they turned out great and we used them for Corn Beef and cabbage!

The Peppers!

Green peppers are still growing.  Have eaten many peppers just with salt and pepper and a couple of times had them as stuffed peppers.  The Chili,  Jalapeno, and Habanero, have been blended together and used in a couple of Chicken and rice dishes that Hellena makes.  Still hoping to take a bunch and make some Chili for a Ravens game soon.  

Other Pictures From the Harvesting!