we wrote about our attempt to create a backyard oasis during this first summer in our home. Some parts are going well, like the garden, some parts still look like a sandbox, and some parts contain clumps of the world’s most expensive grass. Here’s our update on what ended up ok, and what we're going to re-try in our southwest gardening adventure!
Much of the grass seed we sowed ended up being very expensive bird seed, despite assurances from our nursery specialist to the contrary. The only part of the lawn that grew seems to be the buffalo grass. We definitely need to address this problem, since we still want a natural lawn of some sort. We’re considering the lawn plug alternative
Maybe we can’t blame the lack of grass solely on the birds. We may have watered too little… every other day seemed like enough at the time, but our dads (resident lawn experts) disagreed and encouraged us to water our lawn seed and seedlings every day next time.
Tomatoes are the heartiest plants ever
The babies we planted have held up to a lot – wind storms, scorching heat, neglect… and are still producing! We’ve counted 11 growing tomatoes, and like Farmer Monte
over at Los Poblanos, we’re craving some garden-fresh tomatoes!
Throwing random crap in a pile does not = composting
We have a huge compost pile that we inherited from the previous owner of the house. Luckily, there’s some gold underneath all of the dry dead leaves we’ve been adding. As has grown larger and larger, we’ve begun to do research
about how to properly compost and have learned that you must water your compost
, you aerate your compost somehow (but turning isn’t absolutely necessary
), and the best compost is vermicomposting
, which creates an ecosystem all to itself using red worms
! Add another project to our list.
Puppies love garden hoses
Our garden hoses haven’t fared quite as well as our tomatoes. Who knew the biggest enemy of the hoses would be our puppies? I suppose it’s that supple, just-like-a-dog-toy consistency. Our solution? A concoction of dish soap and cayenne pepper, slightly diluted, and applied generously to all areas of the hose. We’ve been assured that it won’t damage any of the foliage through which we drag the hose, and the dogs will no longer be interested in such a distasteful dog toy. Fingers crossed.
The people who write “Full Sun” on all those little tags that come with plants don’t live in New Mexico
Especially if you buy any of your plants at a national chain store, watch out for promises of hardiness in full sun. As my dead ice plant would tell you, “full sun” in Ohio can easily mean “partial sun” in New Mexico…
Mixed results with UGOs
We’re growing accustomed to identifying good plants versus bad plants, but still need a little practice. Rather than pulling unidentified growing objects (UGO hereafter), we are letting them grow up to show us their full potential. Here are the results so far:
- We did identify one particularly popular plant as a silverleaf nightshade, which has been identified as a noxious weed in six states. And no
wonder! When I stepped on one without my shoe, I came back with over 20 itty-bitty pokers in my foot! Off with their heads!
- We were pleased to note that another UGO turns out to be a beneficial plant rather than a weed – the orange globe mallow!
- We’re waiting to see if several UGOs in the garden turn out to be carrots, brussel sprouts, or onions…
Are herbs supposed to flower?
Both our cilantro and basil are blooming… they sure are pretty! Will the blooms change the taste of the herbs?
No melon patch for us
Not a single pumpkin, watermelon, squash, or okra came up in our expansive melon patch. We’re considering starting some seeds inside and them moving the seedlings to the yard.
Is it time to fertilize yet?
We feel the urge, but don’t know about timing. We have been given the go-ahead to fertilize our roses by Down to Earth: A Gardener's Guide to the Albuquerque Area
… but what about the garden, the trees, and the grass?
More pictures of a sometimes-green and sometimes-sandy yard and commentary are posted up at our Flickr account
. See if you can identify our biggest UGO!
Read our more recent updates!