Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bustling about the garden...

Let's see... What to say about my gardens. First, my flower gardens are in disarray. My Prosperity rose suddenly up and died. This rose was about five years, and has (had!) a trunk the size of a wine bottle. I noticed a problem at the beginning of September, and within a few weeks, it was dead. I have no idea what's wrong with it, but in the same bed I have other roses on Fortuniana that are also looking much worse than they did a few months ago. I have no clue what's going on--no evidence of insect damage, and I tested the pH--just a bit under seven, so ideal for roses. It's heavily mulched, rich soil. I can only guess that the stress of a very dry spring followed by Fay's twenty-two inches weakened the plant and left it susceptible to disease. Whatever. It's dead now, and I am going to radically rethink that bed. Primarily, I've decided to move away from roses as structure and towards other shrubs that require less maintenance. Nothing is more beautiful than a rose in its prime, but the fact is that roses are temperate (and temperamental) plants, and we live in tough climes here in FLA. That bed is essentially a blank template, and I'm going to rework it to have a lot more blooms, a lot denser foliage, and lower water and chemical needs.

Sigh. Very depressing about my Prosperity. It was a favorite of mine.

The veg garden is flourishing with the moderate temperatures and cool nights. We had a doozy of a rainstorm a couple of weeks ago, and no rain since. That's been ideal, since it's let me water modestly every day and kept the seeds I sowed from being washed away by the torrents of rain we get here. No fungal problems, surprisingly little insect damage aside from the inevitable snail damage on the lower leaves of seedlings. But they're growing fast enough to outgrow what problems there are.

A note to myself: August first is not too early to start Brassicaceae. I started them on August 15, and had great germination and fine growth, so a couple weeks earlier shouldn't make much difference. On the other hand, the lettuce and carrot seeds I sowed still haven't germinated after six weeks, so I'll likely have to resow them. Perhaps with the cool nights we've been having, the seeds will still germinate. I simply don't know how long small seeds like that persist in soil before decaying or getting eaten. We'll see. Fortunately, the salad seeds are all saved from last year, so, nothing ventured, nothing gained will be my attitude.

Best things in the garden right now: Kales, collards, broccoli, and arugula. Herbs are starting to come back from their summer simpering.

Spent half an hour this morning doing a heavy fall pruning on my Old Garden Roses. Oh, I also tested the pH around my blueberries. Despite lots of pine bark mulch, careful preparation of the bed, etc., the pH has risen from around five to seven--far too sweet for the blueberries to thrive. So, I threw a lot of garden sulfur around them and watered it in thoroughly. I expect that by early spring the pH will have lowered substantially and they'll put on some decent growth.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I would love to hear about how you end up replanting your empty rose bed. I have a similar one with just one old garden rose left on it. We have blueberry bushes in pots and are getting ready to spread sulfur on the area we picked out for them. How often do you test the pH? I didn't realize you would have to keep doing that after the initial adjustment.