Monday, July 12, 2010

Woodchuck....round 2.

Its wonderful how it feels to be complacent when something is not raiding your garden.  Taking a stroll through the rows and watching things get larger instead of smaller, watching the gaps between the leaves close in rather than become gaping and ragged....there is an Eden-like tranquility in the air.

Then while having your morning cup of coffee, you spy another brown beastie in the vicinity of the garden....
Now i'll be fair....  it was eating dandelions off the edge of the weed fabric between the Patriot blueberry and the Marechal Foch.   But he didn't stay there.  He had sampled a leaf tip off one of the horseradish. I saw the little scratch in the dirt from its paw and the indent where he plunked his little, furry rump.
A quick check up and down the rows showed no sign of its entry into the actual garden as the horse radish is on the outskirts.

I conducted a serious thinning/pruning of the Swiss chard yesterday and only selected the smallest and tenderest leaves  for eating. The bigger ones went into the compost bin....  i think the 'chuck was attracted by the scent of the freshly cut leaves in there. Its possible that it only just discovered my garden this morning- or hasn't discovered the interior yet.  I'd like to keep it that way.

So the havahart trap contains some nummy things like apples and pears.  I'll add peanut butter and an overripe banana when i rebait it tomorrow.  If its not bold to the extent of virtual rabidness like the last one was, it might not return to my yard until later today and bait will be wasted. At $.99 a pound, 2 apples a day for who knows how long, is not cheap.  They might as well eat my broccoli.

I need to come up with some sort of flag for the trap.  If you've ever been ice fishing you'll get what sort of flag thing i want.   Ice fishing traps have a bar that pivots when a fish takes the bait, on the end of the bar that pops up is a long, stiff wire with an orange flag on it. So while you are on a frozen lake with large distances between sets, you can see at once when a flag whips up into the air and you can begin your shambling penguin-like race to the trap to reel in your catch.
Where i have the Havahart set parallel to the row of Jerusalem Artichokes, my view to the contents from the side window of the house is blocked.  I won't quickly see if i catch anything.  I put it in the shade so anything captured won't suffer before discovery.  I can't keep going out and checking the trap or i'll scare the vermin away and reduce my chances.

Of course i have work to do out in that area, so the soonest caught the better.

I'm debating whether or not i'll bother growing Swiss Chard next year.  This year they turned out very muddy in flavor. They are usually quite earthy, but this time they smelled of mud in a not pleasant way.  Of course the difference could be because we have had an early heat wave.  The last time i grew chard i picked them around the time the woodchuck ate them this year.
I understand they begin to taste nice again when the weather gets cooler.  So i'll make my decision later this Fall.  I have "Bright Lights" and they truly are pretty enough that i'll consider using up my last seeds to plant them in the flower bed.  They might even draw woodchucks away from my veggie garden...hmmm....

I'll have to go out today and clear the fence wires. The grass and the birdhouse gourd really took off and are clogging the wire so i will have to take care of that before i can turn the fence back on. This woodchuck is much larger than the last and i don't think it will be able to fit under or between the wires.  If the zap truly is a deterrent i will find out with this one.

I spend the weekend reading up on some Heirloom seed sources. I joined the SSE messageboard/forum yesterday.  Its a nice place to read despite the recent drama in the organization itself. They have kept the actual forum clear of it.
Besides the SSE (which actually is more limited a seed source than i expected) i found a couple of interesting seed sellers that i bookmarked for future purchasing.
Bountiful Gardens  Has Sea Kale, mycorrhizal inoculant (by the ounce, yay!), land race veggies and various herbs- both  common culinary and more uncommon medicinal.
Seed S.E.A.R.C.H , fascinating Native American seed strains.

We had rain all weekend, much needed. Today is expected to be in the mid 80's, its already 80 degrees at 9:30 am.

Oh, i am all excited about a plant i just bought.  Its one i have been looking to get for years.  Its a Clove Tree.  The actual plant you get cloves from.  Syzygium aromaticum.  Its partially hard to find because looking up "clove tree" gets you results for carnations and pinks because they are clove scented.  Looking them up by "Syzygium aromaticum" only gives you links to dried herb resources or Spice Road history.  I did find one for sale at a citrus houseplant website, but they wanted $275 for it.  Uh, no!
There are seeds, but they are available rarely, shipping is expensive and they are reported to have low germination rates. And as i mentioned above, sifting through search results is tedious and time consuming.
I found it on eBay, from a seller with 100% positive feedback,  located in NJ, so its not too far from here. Shipping should be quick.
I have been looking for this plant for years.
There are a lot of plants i have been looking for on the order of years. Most of it is because i really started to be interested in more rare plants when the Hubby and i got our first apartment.  I couldn't do anything with the land the apartment was on, so i took over the window space.  
If i could find pictures i'd scan them and post them.  My living room was a virtual jungle. I had 2 types of Jasmine, one in a 5 gallon pot and one small one. The small one was a pink jasmine and i had a net draped across the corner of the window and the jasmine grew on it like a living curtain.  I also had Hoyas and Passiflora, like i still have now.  I had a little cavendish banana plant, a queen's tears, various cactus, a bunch of mini roses that were always getting aphids, a vanilla orchid, phalenopsis,  i even had plumeria and stephanotis floribunda....there were also lots of standard tropical foliage plants. I tried to grow every fruit seed from the grocery store. Avocado, cherimoya, blood orange, key lime, i'd even sprout potatoes.   Drove. Hubby. Nuts.  I lost a lot of plants due to sabotage.  But now he's learned that this is just the way i am and has realized that there are much worse things that i could be doing.  He's actually interested ( though mildly) in this stuff now.
But i swear i almost died being stuck in an apartment for so long, if it weren't for the houseplants....

Hopefully this Clove seedling will arrive safely and i will be able to provide decent conditions for it.

Nothing much to take pictures of today. Garden things have continued to grow rapidly, but that is the usual way of things.

I think i am going to try air layering the silky dogwood plant. I also decided to move the porcelainberry vines to the back yard on the outside of the fence so it can climb the 12-15' of the retaining wall and fence...  they won't be such a nuisance in a larger space with something to climb.  I might try to move them today.  At least i should be able to work on the dogwood today.
I'm going to do these things because rooting them in a bucket causes more clutter and more containers to keep watered.

I think i'm going to heavily prune the lilac bush in the back corner behind the shed. It will make it much easier  to move later on.  When the fence goes up it will get almost no sun being between the fence and the shed, so its move or die.
I will have a good place to plant fiddlehead ferns and maybe edible mushrooms though....  I still haven't started those fern spores yet.  I may wait a few more months. They take a long time, don't need much light.... they should be a good winter project.  If they grow, the seedlings should be just big enough to set out in the Spring.

I just got my ship notification for the Clove Tree...  USPS Priority....  should be here by Tomorrow i hope... or Wednesday.

I forget when i did it, ut it was at least 3 days ago....  i finally planted the two Temptation strawberries that actually sprouted. I also planted the Red Shiso out there with them.  They are between the rosemary.  I don't think i wrote it down that i did this. So just in case...there it is.