Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rainy Days & Mondays: Greenhouse Mishap

Agasga gohi-iga.

Cherokee for "It's raining today."

It's also windy, so in the immortal words of Winnie-the Pooh: Happy Winds-day!

For me though, the wind was cruel. Utterly cruel. Before I get to that though, I should explain how I got here. Don't worry, I'm not starting with how my parents met or discussing awkward tales of growing up today.

Of late, I've been neglecting my social obligations - for which I apologize wholeheartedly - mostly because my family and I are in the midst of our annual Spring Rite. We are tearing apart our backyard and creating a Victory Garden of epic proportions. Okay, maybe not so epic in the scheme of things, but pretty epic to me. I'm not even doing most of the heavy lifting and still, every day I go to bed early, exhausted, with every muscle flagging. My parents have been wonderfully obliging and are allowing me to experiment with different plants and layouts this year. I'm trying my hand with companion planting and trellising plants that wouldn't normally trellis, and so far - and this is HUGE - I haven't killed anything yet, at least anything that came already sprouted.

But, I am concerned that seeds will not grow for me.

The first batch of seeds, I had a bit of a labeling mixup. That is to say, the ink washed away when I watered. That's not a big deal, I thought, I'll just figure them out when they sprout right? Well, then the seed-pots did a face plant off of a table when I wasn't looking. Who knew seedlings liked gymnastics? Marigolds really like gymnastics, because they disappeared right after the mishap. I have a suspicion that I'll see my marigolds on the parallel bars at the next Olympics, playing for the Canadians.

No worries though, right? I mean Canada's a pretty cool place and populated with super friendly people. And Marigold dated Dudley Do-Right. No wait, she dated Tom Slick...but I digress.

I made an attempt to salvage the rest of the seedlings, but the usually predictable Southern California weather refused to cooperate and made things colder than normal. I however, learn from my mishaps and mush forth, undeterred. I did a bit more research and went back to the drawing board. My husband didn't even laugh at me.

Next, I purchased a little 4-shelf greenhouse because it was on sale at Harbor Freight. It's not the best design necessarily, but it's functional and with a few extra zipties to provide some stability, it's become the closest measure of perfect I can afford. Oh and the plants I bought from Home Depot LOVE it. I wasn't going through nearly as much water to keep everybody happy. And inside the plastic, it was a balmy heat. The plants could sit in their happy little sauna and wait patiently for transplant time.

And as it occurred to me, the greenhouse was perfect for seeds. (Don't laugh, I'm new to greenhouse gardening) I started a new set of seed pots, excited that this time, with the greenhouse providing the best environment, that the seeds would sprout right up in no time at all. What could possibly go wrong?

Well...I mentioned the wind today didn't I, how cruel it was to me? One enormous gust toppled my little greenhouse right over on it's nose, snapping a green pepper I had in half. But that wasn't the only damage I suffered.

Every seed-pot, every hope for a brand-new, started-from-seed plant, dumped right out onto the concrete in a confused mass of compost.

Some of those seeds had roots starting when this event happened. I know because they were now exposed in the compost mess. I am trying to salvage what I can, but as the labels upturned as well, I have no idea - again - which plants I'm actually attempting to rescue.

And to make matters worse, I just realized I didn't get pictures of ANY of this. Not one. So I can't even show you the progression of my life over the last few weeks.

So much for missed opportunities. I'm a rotten blogger. Bad Shelton, no biscuit.

I do, however, have a few pictures I took this afternoon, between rain drops and chasing the neighbor's third-generation feral cats out of the newly turned dirt. (Honestly people, if you live in a housing track, please be responsible pet owners and keep your cats indoors. I guarantee your outdoor cats are SHITTING in your neighbor's backyards)

At any rate, this is what I've been up to:

A Blue Lake varietal Bush Bean on the far left, an eggplant and four pepper plants to the center and right, and a view of Squash  in the background and the Tomatoes along the white wall in the very back. The redish stuff is mulch we picked out to form little walkways to make it easy to reach everything. I'm all about making things easier. I'm lazy like that. 

The Green Bell Pepper that snapped in half when the wind knocked over the greenhouse. 

Great snap of the deep root waterer (green and plastic, designed for a liter water bottle to screw into)...next to a Crookneck Squash. It's not very pretty nor particularly interesting I guess. I wasn't paying attention to what I was taking pictures of here...

A Cherokee Purple, an Heirloom variety


Red Onions...or wait, those could still be weeds...

There you have it folks. Shelton Keys Dunning, amateur gardener, attempting self-sufficiency in Suburbia. If my city would let me keep chickens, I totally would...

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