Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Husband's Busy Weekend

Man it's been a while since I posted here! I have to commend the wife for being much more on top of things around here than I have. Since I'll soon be leaving for a 2 week project in Mexico, I a) needed to get around to posting my thoughts before fleeing the country for 2 weeks and b) wanted to talk about everything that has gone on around the house as I prepared to leave.

Last weekend began with a long list of things to accomplish prior to leaving for Mexico. Number 1 on the list was putting out my late spring application of fertilizer along with some fungicide to treat the lawn. We have several spots that have started yellowing and weakening, showing signs of a Take-All patch infection in the lawn. It's pretty hard to treat, but hopefully the fungicide will help keep it at bay. In light of this, I opted for an organic fertilizer this year because synthetic fertilizers tend to inhibit the beneficial fungi and bacterium in the soil that can help fight off Take-All patch. But man does that stuff smell!!! The fertilizer is comprised of kelp meal, humates, pasteurized poultry manure (hence the slight odor), molasses, and greensand. Our yard smelled like a chicken farm for a few days to say the least, but hopefully it will help green up the lawn and improve the organic matter in our soil.

The next big task on the list was planting the avocado tree. With all danger of frost in our area past (except for that 40° night this week, it's April for goodness sake), it was time to put the tree in the ground. It proved to be no easy task to say the least. Our soil is made up of such thick clay, you can't just dig a hole, plop the tree in, and cover it back up. I started out digging a hole 3' in diameter and about 12” deep. All of the soil I had removed from the hole was placed onto sheets of plywood so it could be easily mixed with some soil amendments. Were I to plant the tree using the existing soil, its roots would not be able to penetrate the clay. On the other hand, if I planted it with nice, fluffy soil, it would spread through the nice soil, and again get stopped once it reached the clay. It would be kind of like planting it in a clay bowl in the ground. So, the plan is to use the existing soil, add some higher quality planting soil with organic matter (in this case, citrus mix I purchased with the tree), and some sand to promote drainage in the area. This will give the tree an area that it can grow in and acclimate to our soil conditions, and hopefully grow into a great big avocado machine.

Finishing the hole and mixing the soil...

...laying the first layer of dirt and putting the tree in place... it off with a little mulch, and voila, a lean, green, avocado machine!

The last big task for the weekend was to build cages for our tomatoes. We wanted something a little nicer looking than your standard wire cage, so these are built out of wood. Lowe's actually had these bundles of six tomato stakes that were pretty cheap, so I grabbed an armful and proceeded to chop them up and nail them together to form the cages. A few hours (and one errant nail to the thumb) later, we now have three sturdy cages capable of supporting our thriving tomato crop. Well, mostly thriving. The two Celebrity's are coming up nice and strong. My heirloom tomato, an Anna Russian, got a late start after its top was broken on the drive home from the garden center, but it is finally starting to catch up. By the time I return from my trip, things should be growing up nicely.

Yes, there is a tomato on the left, it's just a little behind.

And finally, something a bit interesting to leave you with. It was getting kind of late by the time I had chance to finish up, when I noticed something strange. It turns out at all of the beans seem to go to “sleep” at night, with their leaves folding down as the sun goes down. I had never witnessed this before, and had to snap a picture. Then it was time to go celebrate the end of a hard day's work. That's all for now, see you in a few weeks!

Sleepy little beans.

What a way to end the day!

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