Green Thumb Up My Nose

Garden Report for 130812

Weather was warm and dry, except when the T-storms came through. Twenty minutes of moderate rain, about a quarter inch.

Corn. Meal.

Corn. Meal.

So the first increment of the KHG corn is all taselled up and producing ears, and you know what that means — critters! Squirrels have been into that crop, and into the stuff I just planted in Section 1, and torn down almost a third of the stalks in one day. They very considerately left a half-eaten mini-cob on top of a support post so that I’d know it wasn’t just the wind. Meanwhile, the slugs are making a comeback. I found a 3″ one on one of the downed corn ears. If I have to put my gardens inside a 6ft chicken wire box and spray them with slugbane, they won’t be as much fun….

Otherwise, the tomatos are growing (I count 70), but not yet harvestable. My goal has been to get ripe tomatoes before September, and so far I’ve never managed to do it. I’ve got two weeks, so there’s a chance. The peas I planted next to the cornstalks are now coming up. Too bad there’ll be nothing for them to grow on. The 8-ball squash, which it was that we couldn’t grow but one of last year, has produced three so far, and it looks like several more are on the way. Unless they’re crown squash. Hard to tell right now. Summer squash is still struggling.

Top of the Hops

Top of the Hops

The hops are doing well, going very bushy at the top, but #4 is still stalled at the deckline. I made some homemade dashi this week, with real konbu seaweed and real shredded dried bonito. Very good, and I buried the leftover seaweed and bonito flakes next to #4. Lots of mineral and trace elements in konbu, so we’ll see how that goes.

The S-100 cherry tomatoes in the upside-down-garden hanging basket are producing in a desultory manner. I don’t count them in my ‘ripe tomatoes before September’ program, because, you know…cherries. Meanwhile, here’s a tip for people who have those upside down baskets.

One of the problems I’ve had with my baskets is that any water I pour into them tends to run to the sides and down and out. I’ve come up with a drip waterer that keeps that from happening. It’s not a real drip irrigation system, and it’s not a self-watering reservoir system. It’s just a way of slowing down the irrigation so the water can be absorbed rather than turning into runoff.

Take an old plastic container — a half-gallon margarine tub is perfect for the standard commercial baskets. With a push-pin, poke 4-8 holes around the periphery of the bottom. More holes, faster drainage. Set it in the top of the basket. Add water to the tub and it will drain out slowly enough that you don’t get runoff.

The drip feeder

The drip feeder

That was my first attempt. What I found was, the small holes get plugged pretty easily. What you need is something to keep the tub up off the dirt. So I took a lid from a large plastic jar — for peanuts or something. It’s about an inch smaller in diameter than the tub. I glued that to the bottom of the tub. Doesn’t have to be a good glue job. Double sticky tape would work. Once you put it on the top of your hanging basket you won’t be touching it again. Works like a charm.

Installed

Installed

Now that I think about it, an even better idea than a margarine tub would be a plastic container that’s small enough to hold one application of water. Right now I’m measuring out two cups of water and dumping it into the tub. If I had a two-cup container, all’s I’d do is fill it to the top.

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