Garden Update: Plant Massacre, Sunflower Bloom, Huge Taters and Perfect Compost

I’ve been on hiatus taking care of some personal business, but here is a quick update on the progress of my garden.

 

First, let’s start with the massacre that took place a few weeks ago. Most of my crop was destroyed by an innocent mistake from an overzealous “caretaker”. 

 

 

One of my sunflowers finally bloomed. The rest are sure to follow.

 

 

Look at this huge bucket potato!

 

 

My compost bin is a huge success. Everything completely decomposed. 

Liquid Fertillizer Made from Fresh Grass Clippings

Made some fertilizer from fresh grass clippings. A week ago I made some from dried grass clippings with hopes of saving my beans.

I searched the internet trying to find if there was a significant difference between dried grass and fresh-cut grass. Although dried grass does lose some of its nutrients, mainly vitamins A and E, there isn’t a significant loss.

Making the fertilizer is easy. You don’t have to blend the grass clippings up like I do, however, this does cut down the time for the water to absorb the nutrients from the grass. 

 

 

Shelroy The Box Turtle

UPDATE: Shelroy was released back into the wild. Hopefully, he finds his way home.

 

I found this guy or gal in the yard this morning. The plan is to take him to a nearby pond today or tomorrow. Made him some temporary accommodations until then.

Dying Bean Plants and “The Solution”

The Beans Are Dying!!!

I noticed recently that the leaves on the bean plants I planted a couple of weeks ago started turning yellow with brown spots. Some of the leaves even started dying. The plants themselves are still growing which was weird to me. At first, I thought that maybe they weren’t getting enough water. However, that wasn’t the case because the soil was still pretty much moist all the way down to the roots. Too much water, maybe? Nope. Not enough sun? The beans are in a position where they get sun all day so that wasn’t the case either.

Well, I know it’s not too much water, too little water or lack of sun. So that narrows the cause down to lack of nutrients, a virus, bugs, or disease. I eliminated bugs since I haven’t seen any signs of them. Viruses, disease, or lack are strong possibilities.

I’m first going to try and tackle this by going with the angle of lack of nutrients. Of all the plants in the planter, there is one that seems to be in perfect health. It’s possible that there are too many plants in the planter and the plants aren’t getting enough nutrients. It’s possible.

The only healthy bean plant.

The Solution

DISCLAIMER: The grass fertilizer should only be given to your plants once a week!

To combat the lack of nutrients, I had to learn which basic nutrients plants get from the soil and how to get those nutrients back into the soil. I already know that plant sneed nitrogen and potassium. My research lead me to additional nutrients that I was not aware that plants needed – phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Soil is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. The three main nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Together they make up the trio known as NPK. Other important nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Plants also need small quantities of iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, and molybdenum, known as trace elements because only traces are needed by the plant. The role these nutrients play in plant growth is complex, and this document provides only a brief outline. – Plant nutrients in the soil, www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

The next step was to figure out how to add all those nutrients back to the soil. I needed something that was natural and I could make myself. The best solution I found was to make liquid fertilizer from grass clippings. I found several sites that covered the topic and gave recipes on how to make it. While the recipes varied the same principles applied. All you need is cut grass (freshly cut grass is preferred but dry grass is fine), water, and a container to put the mix in. I took what I learned and put together a very simple recipe that just about anyone should be able to do right now. Luckily for me, there was a bag of cut grass in the garage that was half-full.

So here is what I did.

Materials: blender, glass jars, cut grass, water

Most of the recipes I found suggested that you should just add the cut grass and water to the container you are keeping it in. The reason I blended the grass was to break it up into smaller pieces to increase solubility of the nutrients into the water.

I added 3/4 – 1 L of water and a couple of handfuls of grass to my blender and blended it.

Next, I poured the blended solution into a glass jar. Making sure that I poured out all the liquid first, then with what room there was left in the jar, I added the blended grass. Once that was done I sealed the jar. I’ve read some recipes that suggest letting the solution sit for 3 days and I found one that said you should let the solution set for 3 months. I think I’m going to go with the 3-day suggestion. So, I’m letting those jars sit.

“The Solution”

In the meantime, I’m going to make some more grass fertilizer right out of the blender to see if that has any effect at all on the bean plants. Can’t hurt to try. I’m also going to try it on some of my seedlings as well. Any blended grass that doesn’t make it into a jar is going right in my compost bin or mixed into the soil.


Worms, Worms and More Worms

Thankfully it rained the other night. We got a good downpour as the storm passed through. So of course the next morning I went to my favorite worms spots in front of the house. There happened to be a bunch more worms but they immediately retreated into the holes as I pushed back the debris. This is what I came away with. 

Planted Some Corn Recently

Planted some corn recently. When the plants get bigger, I’m going to transfer them to a large plastic bin.

Silver Queen is the popular late-season variety with tenderness and flavor worth waiting for. Large ears, 8 to 9″ long, have 14-16 rows of white kernels, and plants grow to 8 ft. Proven tops for productivity, flavor, and wide adaptability, it’s ready to harvest in 92 days. Garden-fresh sweet corn is summer’s greatest pleasure. Plant corn in blocks at least four rows wide for cross-pollination and well-filled ears. A packet contains 200 seeds, enough for four 15 ft. rows. Seeds are not treated. – Burpee.com

Sweet Corn, Silver Queen Hybrid

How to Grow Corn in Your Own Backyard

Planting Buttercrunch Lettuce

Buttercrunch Lettuce

Developed by Cornell University, this heat-tolerant, Bibb-type lettuce has quickly become a favorite since earning All America status in 1963. Its rich green leaves, sometimes tinged with red, form a beautiful rosette in the garden that holds well under stress and has good bolt resistance. A good source of vitamin A and phytonutrients. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and even appreciates it in spring in hot climates. 

Planted some Buttercrunch Lettuce. Drilled holes in the planter I’m using for drainage so that I can keep the planter outside.