My thighs are screaming from all the crouching, but my mind is well rested and relaxed after an entire weekend of gardening. Despite multiple reports warning of thunderstorms, the weather was non-stop perfect. I weeded, seeded and savored. Between the weather and the sweet scent of citrus blossoms, x marked the spot to be – my garden.
I planted Violet Queen giant zinnias and an annual cut flower mixture, carrots, jalepenos, Royal Burgandy garden beans, and heirloom tomatoes. Mortgage Lifter seemed a topical choice, and of course, there’s a story to go with the seeds. They were developed by a radiator repairman named M.C. Byles. In the 1940′s Byles advertised the tomatoes as being large enough to feed a family of six, and people drove from up to 200 miles away to buy the seeds. He’s said to have paid off a $6,000 mortgage with his seed money.
And I’m not the only one planting seeds right now. The red salvia is whipping seeds around the garden like confetti, while the milkweed is being awfully precise.
The solid white specs are petals from the grapefruit blossoms. The things that look like little badminton birdies are the milkweed seeds. All I had to do was push them in and water. My other projects required a little more effort. I mulched the lettuce with newspaper and rooted a half a dozen crotons.
The weeds were becoming too much work, and I didn’t feel like leaving the house or spending money. Newspaper was my solution. I pulled the weeds, added a layer of compost, and laid the newspaper down. I cut a hole in the center of each section and pulled the lettuce through.
It’s cheap, easy and biodegradable. But as the pages start to dry, you’ll need to weight them down with something. I used lava rocks. The ink in the newspaper initially made me pause, but people add it to their compost all the time. Unless you’re using glossy inserts, you’re in the clear because most newspaper print is now soy-based.
Our office needs a landscaping upgrade, so my mind immediately went to crotons. They’re colorful without having flowers. Leaves range from basic greens to soft pinks and bright oranges. Use plain water or a rooting hormone; either way, getting cuttings to root is a cinch. I used the latter this time around. Simply take your clipping and immediately submerge it into water.
Cut the leaves off until only the top two remain, then dip the cut end into rooting hormone and stick it in the ground…be patient. At ten dollars per plant, this project will eventually save me sixty bucks!