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Growing Papaya tree in my backyard

13 Feb

Papaya

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Feb. 10. 2013.

For the first time, I am going to try to grow papaya tree in my backyard. When I was about 8 years old my grandpa showed me how easy it was. So here I am doing it once again after 28 years. I hope the weather allows me to see at least a couple of delicious papayas! I am drying the seeds to plant them during the weekend indoors. Please visit my blog later in summer to see how it goes ūüôā

Procedure:

1. Select a delicious and sweet organic papaya. I selected a small variety USA grown papaya.
2. Cut it in half and pick seeds from the center of the fruit.
3. Place the seeds over a piece of napkin to dry them for about 5 days.

To be continuing…

 

Feb.23.2013

Finally, last weekend I planted the seeds on the soil. I used organic seed starter soil which I found at Pike Nursery.

Procedure:

4. Water the seed starter soil before filling the pots or water it in the pots before planting the seeds. This will prevent the seed to be washed after planting. Let it sit for a few minutes. (When the seed starter soil is dry, it tends to wash off the pot when you water it).

5.  With your finger open a hole in the soil. (About 1 inch)

6.  Remove your seed from the napkin and drop it into the hole. (With Papaya I do 1 seed per pot)

7. Cover the hole with soil, water it and then place your pots inside until spring. Make sure the soil it’s always moist. Seeds need moist to germinate.

To be continuing…

 

Dry Papaya seeds

Papaya 8

Papaya 7

Papaya 5

1 inch deep

One seed per hole

Cover with soil

Name and date

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How to attract birds to my backyard?

10 Feb

How to attract birds to my backyard?

When we first moved to Mindtown Atlanta, there were not many birds visiting our abandoned backyard. Nowadays, we are visited for over 30 species during the year. Some are local birds and some are migratory birds.

We basically planted evergreen shrubs such as hollies, aucubas, ligustrums, anise and many others. And most importantly we have 2 birdbaths and 3 water fountains. Water is the key to have many birds in our backyard.

Tip: Place one birdbath with stand close to a tree so the birds can feel protected and they will have a place to clean their feathers. And another one on the floor surrounding by plants such fatsia japonica, a holly tree or azaleas. Birds seem not to like birdbaths without shrubbery around it. Make sure to clean the birdbath at least once a week and refill it with fresh water every other day (even if water its frozen).

Most importantly, please do not apply any pesticides in your garden. If you apply an insect control for example you will kill not only the undesired insect but the beneficial as well, then a bird will eat this insect and then you will be poisoning the bird too.

How Important is Water for Birds?

It is VERY important, birds like other (all) animals, need water to survive. Birds also use

water for bathing, to clean their feathers and remove parasites. Every day we have many birds visiting our backyard’s birdbaths and water fountain. I don’t even have to place bird food anymore, because with water I attract more birds than ever.

Check out the following videos and pictures:

Video:

http://youtu.be/KnS_HAenrAo

 

Pictures of my backyard birds:

http://www.facebook.com/arcoirisdesigngardening?ref=hl#!/media/set/?set=a.292875447415130.62926.181272451908764&type=3

Interesting sites:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/Members/BirdNote09–ProvideWater.pdf

http://blog.wbu.com/2012/07/16/how-important-is-water-for-birds/

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/2620

Which vegetables can you grow in February?

1 Feb

What to plant in February in your Vegetable Box?

Have you always wonder what to plant during the winter months in Atlanta? You can grow many vegetables that MUST be planted during the cool season. Hereby, you can find some of the vegetables that you can plant in February.

FEBRUARY PLANTING

Vegetable                            Days to harvest

Asparragus                                   2 years
Beets                                     55 Р65 Days
Broccoli                                  60 Р80 Days
Cabbage                                 70 Р120 Days
Carrot                                     70 Р95 Days
Collards                                    55 Р75 Days
Kale                                       50 Р70 Days
Lettuce                                    60 Р85 Days
Mustard                                   40 Р50 Days
Onion, green                                 60 Р90 Days
Onion, dry bulb                            100 Р120 Days
Peas, Garden (english)                     60 Р70 Days
Peas, edible pot                             60 Р70 Days
Peas, Southern                              60 Р70 Days
Potatoes, Irish                               70 Р90 Days
Radish                                      25 Р30 Days
Spinach                                     40 Р45 Days
Turnip                                      40 Р60 Days

Please support us by liking us at www.facebook.com/arcoirisdesigngardening

Where do birds sleep?

16 Jan

Where do birds sleep?

I am a bird lover and almost every day I take pictures of birds in my backyard. Some are migrating birds and some (many) others are local for my area. Today around 5:30 pm, I saw a downy woodpecker getting inside of a birdhouse, so I started searching online where they sleep. And I found out that they normally have roost holes in trees, where they spend the night. For my surprise, this woodpecker liked our birdhouse. This bird house was the nest for Chickadee family of 4 babies last spring (2012). Hereby is the picture that I took of him and some very interesting sites about where birds like to spend the night.

Downy woodpecker

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http://www.wvdnr.gov/wildlife/magazine/Archive/06winter/AvianQuestions.pdf
http://birding.about.com/od/birdbehavior/a/Birds-At-Night.htm

 

How to Use Fireplace Ash for Gardening

11 Jan

photo

Winter is the perfect season to collect your fireplace ashes either to store them in a save container or use them into your garden. When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gases, and calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace element compounds remain.

‚ÄúWood ash has a very fine particle size, so it reacts rapidly and completely in the soil. Although small amounts of nutrients are applied with wood ash, the main effect is that it is a liming agent.‚ÄĚ (1) Furthermore, calcium works as soil amendment, helping to maintain chemical balance in the soil and improves water penetration.

Uses:
1. As calcium and Potassium soil amendments
2. Enrich compost, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes to the mix.
3. Block garden pests. Spread evenly around garden beds, ash repels slugs and snails. Salt in the ashes dehydrates these insects.

Calcium and potassium are both essential to plant growth. Hereby, I am listing the symptoms of both deficiencies.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency:
– Necrosis at the tips and margins of young leaves,
– Bulb and fruit abnormalities,
– Deformation of affected leaves,
– Highly branched, short, brown root systems,
– Severe, stunted growth, and
– General chlorosis.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency:
– Yellow and brown spots on leaves
– Leaves drop off
– Smaller and fewer fruits
– Fruits appear deformed or small

BEFORE applying ashes to your plants please keep in mind that too much ash can increase pH or accumulate high levels of salts that can be harmful to some plants, so use ashes carefully. And don’t use it in acid-loving plants such as blueberries, cranberries, rhododendrons and azaleas would not do well at all with an application of wood ash.(1)

1. http://emmitsburg.net/gardens/articles/frederick/2004/ashes.htm

Colors of my garden – DECEMBER

7 Jan

Azalea

Azalea

 

Camellia Flower bud

Camellia Flower bud

Fatsia Flower

Fatsia Flower

Fatsia Flower and flower bud

Fatsia Flower and flower bud

Hellebore

Hellebore

Holly Berry

Holly Berry

Hyacinth emerging

Hyacinth emerging

Insect on leaf

Insect on leaf

Tree Berry

Tree Berry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 tips to have color in your garden through the winter

5 Jan

8 tips to have color in your garden through the winter:

1. Use pansies, violas, dusty miller, mustard, dianthus, chard, snapdragons and parsley to make your own combinations.
2.Pansies love full fun, so make sure to plant them in a sunny location.
3. Violas love sun and they will bloom in filtered shade too.
4. Violas and pansies like acidic soil. Use an organic acid loving plant fertilizer when planting and mix it well with the soil.
5. Winter annuals don’t need much water, so water them just when they are dry.
6. Violas and pansies must be deadheaded regularly.
7. Slugs and snails feed on pansies, apply an organic control and follow the manufacturer instructions.
8. When temperatures are high, aphids feed on winter annuals. Use organic vegetable oils to control them.

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4 vegetables that you can grow in the winter in Atlanta

29 Dec

4 vegetables that you can grow in the winter in Atlanta

Middle fall I planted radish, sweet onion, broccoli, garlic, spring onion, carrots, kale and chard. I have harvested most of the broccoli, radish, kale and chard so far. Now, I have space to incorporate more winter vegetables in our planting box. These are the 4 vegetables I recommend to try EARLY winter:

1. Beets
2. Kale
3. Collards
4. Swiss chard

Please plant before the first freezing weather.

5 very good reasons to plant Shrubs and Trees now (fall ‚Äď winter):

20 Dec

5 very good reasons to plant Shrubs and Trees now (fall ‚Äď winter):

 

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1. No stress from hot weather.
2. Plants don’t have to expend energy on making leaves, they’ll put it into creating a strong root system.
3. Because of temperatures, you don’t have to worry so much about watering your new plant.
4. There are fewer insects and disease problems that could damage your new shrubs or trees.
5. Nurseries will have a lot of good prices for plant material.
(In cold winter areas, it’s recommended to plant six weeks before the first hard frost is expected.)

Any questions? Need help with your garden? www.arcoirisdesign.com

Colors of my Garden NOVEMBER

10 Dec

Pink double knockout rose stamens and pistil

Cape gooseberry flower

Cape gooseberry flower

Cape gooseberry

Cape gooseberry

Boston Ivy on wall

Boston Ivy on wall

Sky is the limit rose new bud

Sky is the limit rose new bud

Cucumber

Cucumber

Hydrangea flower

Hydrangea flower

Tea olive flower

Tea olive flower

Japanese maple leaf

Japanese maple leaf

Tomatoes and Cucumber

Tomatoes and Cucumber