Sunday, April 13, 2008

Summer in Spring. Tips and Tails.

I transpanted my carrot tops yesterday from my shallow water dish to my outdoor box. One thing to remember is only half to three-quarters are likely to make it once transplanting into soil.

here are the victors:

and here lie the slain:

Carrots are basically large "tap roots" (actual scientific name), with little tail roots that branch out. My friend Maryanne is trying to do this top-recycling method with her beet tops. I saw them yesterday and they are amazing. The great thing about beets is their leaves are very much edible. They are delicious and very nutrient rich. I think I should have tried the beets first.

For the growers in other parts of the country: count your blessings. Although the winter was tough and snowy, our riverside springtime has been curtailed. It is now summer with temperatures above 95F. I dread the over 100F temperatures just around the corner.

For you living in Riverside, please please please remember, NOTHING should be left out in full sun, unless it's a cactus or other desert friendly plant.

My best advice for growers interested in veggies is to plant against the north side of your place. There should be adequate morning sun and good evening shade shelter for 1pm and thereafter. The east wall might be ok but at all costs, avoid the south and the west.

Here is a scientifical diagram to help you plot out your growing areas.

Find out what side is north and go from there. Either that, or go outside at 3pm and see where there is shade. That way is the easiest and very scientifical-professional.

Another tip for dry-area gardening is to stack your pots. This is a trick I actually learned by accident. This is great for those humidity-thirsty plants like ferns.

The trick is to put a bit of soil in the bottom pot. Make sure your drainage is good enough to deter mold. I usually find a rock the size of the hole made when you connect your index finger and thumb. I stick the rock on top of any drainage holes the size of a dime or larger. I know a lot of books tell you to use broken pottery or gravel, but I'm a beginner and it doesn't bug me.

Ok, so this is what the bottom pot looks like:

Also remember that during the dry season I know your first instinct is to water your plants like crazy. Try not to do that. I've killed more plants by overwatering than underwatering. In fact, if one of my plants seems to be dying, I move it outside or inside depending on where it was, and just kind of let them tough it out without me.

Since I'm usually clumsy it seems to do the trick. I guess it depends on what kind of person you are.


boreas said...

i stumbled here from xanga and then saw you live in riverside -- and this is a gardening blog!

i would try to grow something (herbs?) but am hesitant considering the air quality... what would you not recommend growing here?

(je vais a l'universite a riverside -- peut-etre tu y es alle aussi, ou tu viens d'ici originellement?)

Zut Alors said...

Dear boreas,
the air quality really shouldn't be a problem. There are wonderful gardens out here that aren't affected by the pollution. The only thing that could be a concern is the water.

Riverside has hard water. I water my plants with tap or reclaimed water. For a beginner like me, the hard water will propose a problem if you want to tend water plants (i highly suggest you do not do this in this dry climate) or if you let the water collect.

Make sure your pots have a good enough drainage and you should be fine.

try to grow some mint- it's practically a weed! or basil. I highly suggest growing tomatoes. They are both easy and so fulfilling.

Thanks for stumbling on my blog.


boreas said...

riverside's water makes me itch when i shower! and yes, i would, if i were to grow anything, choose basil or mint. i'd also want to grow chilies (which i think may turn out well due to the hotter climate). however, right now i have no space for pots. is there anything that would grow well inside? i really don't think basil would take it so well...

and i'm guessing you're not a student; i don't see how you'd have space for plants at all!

Zut Alors said...

yes, those are all great questions, thank you so much. I often have trouble thinking up topics to talk about.

I will try to address all these questions in my next post. Are you a beginner grower?

Unknown said...

hi, this is bill.

i planted some flowers about 2 weeks ago, the tag said full sun, but it is just to much. is it to late to transplant? i have them facing west..


Sue Swift said...

Love the carrots,and will be trying it!

Zut Alors said...

dear bill

i'm not sure, but I think it will work fine. Just make sure you dig well around the plant to make sure you don't sever any important roots.

if the sun really really really baked it good, there might be some major damage. If the plants don't perk up after a week and a half to 2 weeks, get rid of any dead and un-salvageable leaves.

first instinct says to water a baked plant like crazy. do not do this. after initial watering after the transplant, treat the plant as if there is nothing wrong with it.

coddling makes weenie plants. you must make plant strong like bull.

lisa said...

"Strong like bull"...awesome. :)
Terrific water use and conservation tricks!