About Me

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Montgomery, Alabama, United States
I'm a Zone 8. I'm doing a little gardening to satisfy a curiosity to see whether or not I can do it. People make it look so easy-- what's stopping me from making it work? Contrary to my name ("Hana" means flower in Japanese) I have a history of killing plants. Well, most of them. Let's see how this one goes!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


OHHHHkay so it's been a couple of weeks and I am sure that the wide world out there (that means you, oh gentle readers! hooray!) is wondering what's been going on. Well, honestly, it's probably more disappointing than you may think. After my nice little hand-crippling incident (vastly blown out of proportion, I can assure you) I had trouble doing any heavy-handed work on the bed, so I focused mainly on procuring items for soil amendment and drawing up plans on what the hell was actually going to happen once the time came to throw it all down in the ground. I gave up on the limestone excavation because, well, that's just a silly idea. Instead I went ahead and refilled the bed, alternating layers of raked leaves, native soil, and Garden-Ville™ compost until the giant gaping hole became not so gaping. The idea is that the leaves (which started to compost a bit already because of the recent rains) would compost down throughout the season, amending the soil as it does so. It's heavy and clayey here, so anything to improve texture and provide nutrients is a good thing.

Anyway, here are some before and after pictures~



I'm now debating whether I should do a raised bed on top of this or if I should put just a couple layers of compost and soil and plant directly into those without raising it any higher. Augh, soil is the most difficult part of gardening, it seems.

Things seem to be going well in the seedlings department, and many things are screaming to be put in the ground. The longer I've waited the more it's worried me that transplant shock will kill them all. I did discover an interesting thing-- I was in the habit of lightly watering my plants every day. Just a little blop in the morning, maybe some at teatime if it was particularly sunny, and I thought I was doing a good deed. We left for San Antonio for a weekend, and when I came back about half of my plants had shot up almost to twice the size they were when I had left. It's a miracle what my babies can achieve once I leave them alone as it was then that I realized that I was more or less killing them with attention. I have since amended my ways and have learned to leave them alone. As long as they don't start smoking or stay out past midnight I'm sort of okay with getting off their backs a bit.

Now pictures and more applicable narration--

The older tomatoes are starting to get a little bigger. I think the scorching a few weeks back severely stunted their development, so I am happy to see them finally getting larger.

Here you can see where things have gone well and where they haven't-- two specific mistakes occurred. First, I asked the boyfriend to pick up el cheapo potting soil from HEB for me, and it ended up being disastrous. Instead of being happy and fluffy, it was evil, heavy, and sandy. I went ahead and repotted my tender baby peppers into it, hoping for the best and-- dead. All of them except one, which looks like it is hanging on for dear life. The same happened to all but two of my Burpee random rainbow assortment of tomatoes and all but maybe three of my opal basils. I am not entirely sure what I will do with this soil. The second mistake was to test fertilizer on the basil. Apparently it didn't like that, but luckily I only used it on six plants. One has survived, but only barely the poor thing.

The mint is doing very well and is already exhibiting its invasive tendencies. It keeps trying to branch out and sprawl as far as it can, the naughty thing. I'm so glad I bought it-- every time I touch the thing it fills the air with delicious aroma.

And my squirrels are... quirky, to say the least. I have all these yummy plants for them to enjoy, but instead they go for the cardboard boxes that house them. I am not entirely sure why-- maybe they taste like the cereal they once housed? Anyway, I have seen little footprints in the soil and my boyfriend watched one this morning munching away at the box. I don't get it, but I'm strangely thankful for this.

I'll leave this here now, and start visiting blogs like I should have been doing long ago.


Vanillalotus said...

Sorry to hear about your soil troubles. I haven't had to deal with the San Antonio soil but I assume it is the same as Austin. Your seedlings are looking great. I wish I could give you advice but all I know is balcony gardening. I assuming making a raised bed could only make it better for the plants.

Amy said...

I have to deal with heavy clay and very rocky soil. I'm finding that for vegetable gardening the raised bed are probably the way to go. Have you seen the book "Square Foot Gardening"? It think an updated edition just came out and I know many people swear by it.

Meems said...

Hanna- welcome back.I must confess you had me a little worried.But I see your tiny self has been busily working very hard. I don't know what your constraints are but I if it is at all possible to build some raised beds it is a great way to control the environment for your veggies. If not- maybe you could just amend the soil you have and plant away... what do you have to lose?
Good for you staying with it- you are doing a great job!
meems at Hoe&Shovel

Lori said...

Ugh, "dirt." I too have spent countless hours digging holes in my yard to amend the clay "soil" for plants, to the point where, these days, when people ask me what I do for fun, I say, "I dig holes in my backyard."

This works great on guys, by the way. After they've concluded that I must be a really scary chick with a supply of dead bodies, then I add, "Oh, for rosebushes."

I've given up on any bagged soil other than Dillo Dirt and what I can get at The Natural Gardener. I used some cheap bagged "topsoil" that I got at Lowe's for most of one bed in my backyard, and that's the bed where nothing wants to grow except the spontaneous mint. Sigh.

Esther Montgomery said...

I love digging holes.

I had trouble with drainage in my garden so I dug trenches, filled them with gravel - and turned them into paths.

(Works brilliantly.)

But while the paths were still trenches, it was very satisfying walking along inside them.

(! Such are the small pleasures of life!)

At the end of one of the trenches, I came across a strange and worrying contraption.

I thought it might be a bit of unexploded bomb. (They still turn up - from World War Two.)

I got the man who delivered the gravel to help me identify it.

He too was nervous. We crept along the trench; and spoke in whispers. He told me to tell his wife he loves her - if the 'bomb' exploded.

It turned out to be a bit of old car engine.


Esther Montgomery