gabriola garden

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Snow Peas and Sweet Peas, Beans and Renoir Lillies

A neighbor was kind enough to give Sara a Jasmine plant (Jasminum polyanthum) and it’s blooming. The sweetest, most pleasing fragrance wafts over the section of the courtyard where it resides in a container.

Sara’s Shasta Daisies are fully blooming, as is Hedgehog’s Black Magic Rose, just in time for the release of the final Harry Potter book. Some dark blue Petunias make one of Sara’s containers a truly decorative addition to her flower beds.

Asiatic type Lillies are in bloom right now, and Sara has several of them. One of them is called Renoir, and it seems to have triple blossoms. It likes a heavy soil with a good supply of humus (which is Sara’s specialty, given her penchant for composted horse manure and kitchen compost).

Another way my wife ensures a rich, black, fertile soil is by using Grandma Enggy’s Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid from Advanced Nutrients. These products are designed to enrich your soil with ingredients derived from “leonardite,” an calcified, organic substance that has to be mined from underneath the earth.

Renoir Lillies like sun to partial shade, and they don’t like extreme heat. So avoid planting them next to south facing walls. Their petals tend to be blown off by strong winds, so a certain amount of wind protection is also a good idea.

I heard on the radio that the raspberry crop in the Fraser Valley was damaged by the recent extreme temperatures—over fifty percent of the fruit had to be discarded. When the thermometer goes above forty Celsius, sensitive fruits and flowers suffer.

Sara’s Sweet Peas are flourishing despite the spell of heat. They are intertwined with the Scarlet Runner Beans which are once again filling our their bamboo house quite nicely.

Contrary to what their name implies, Sweet Peas are a flowering plant. They inadvertently make me thing of Snow Peas, and I must confess, I have known to confuse the two.

Sara and I spent several hours a few days ago tying our Snow Peas to a black plastic mesh that I nailed to the back fence. We allowed the plants to grow wildly on the ground, since we were both busy.

The plants appreciated the extra support. Snow Peas are climbers and they get all tangled up when they don’t have any place to climb. Their suckers search for something to latch on to, so they latch onto each other’s stems, and it took quite a while to untangle the mess.

I planted two varieties this year, China Snow and Oregon Sugar Pod. The latter grows best in cool weather (thank goodness our heatwave has broken and our temperatures have dropped) and you can eat the pods either fresh or cooked, and they can also be frozen.

It’s much the same with China Snow. As the name implies, this Snow Pea is great in stir-fries. Peas should be fertilized when they reach four inches (10 cm) in height. We use 100% organic Iguana Juice Grow for this purpose. When they start flowering, we switch to Iguana Juice Bloom.

Snow Peas grow very quickly. As soon as the plants had a secure place to climb, they took off like gangbusters. They vegged for maybe three or four weeks and now they have flowers all over them. Time to switch to our bloom fertilizer.

It’s a bit tricky, since we also have Lettuce in our vegetable garden. We don’t want this plant to bolt and go to flower and seed. So we water selectively, and apply the nutrients individually to the base of the vegetables.

Each week we mix up two different nutrient solutions in large, pre-mix tanks. Along with our base fert (one using Iguana Grow the other Iguana Bloom) we also mix in Humic and Fulvic, as well as Seaweed Extract and Organic B.

The latter is a B-complex Vitamin, which Seaweed Extract contains other Vitamins, as well as naturally occurring plant hormones for growth and natural antibiotics to help prevent diseases.

It doesn’t help against slugs, however. The other day Sara dug up two fresh and crunchy Lettuce plants for our evening salad and I proceeded to wash them at the kitchen sink. I started picking the leaves off and there, between two light green leaves, was a baby slug, ready to devour our salad.

I always wondered where slugs went in the daytime, so now I know. I’ll be cautious with picking Lettuce from now on. I might disturb the slumber of one of these slimy creatures. I guess all the slug bait we sprinkled around our vegetables in the spring didn’t quite get rid of all of them!

Slugs are about the only thing we have to worry about, since regular uae of Barricade and Scorpion Juice keeps most pests and pathogens at bay. Also, by using Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice as prescribed by the Nutrient Calculator, we don’t have the nematode problems that plague untreated gardens.

posted by Tim at 10:30 PM


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