Lauren Ritz

pollinator
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since Aug 18, 2018
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Recent posts by Lauren Ritz

In the presence of 6 inches of wood-chip mulch, my experience is that very little will successfully self-seed. I don't know whether it's the mulch, the heat, my own inattention, or something else. Last year I carefully planted a bunch of annuals, and none have come back. I thought at least the marigold, but nope.

On the other hand, as my soil improves I'm finding the soil seed bank becoming more active, as things start to pop up that I definitely didn't put there. So...maybe. I scattered spinach seeds last spring and saw nothing, but apparently one or more actually seeded because this year they're everywhere. Parsely is starting to naturalize. Dill didn't take. Cilantro didn't take. Borage didn't take. All those items are endemic in other areas of the yard, areas which are not mulched.

It is also my experience that seeds are generally viable much longer than the charts would suggest--otherwise, most plants would go extinct after a single bad season.
So the first stage is done. I decided to do a rock "well" in the three corners where the water action was fiercest. There will be groundcovers on the edges so the backwash won't be as destructive. Hopefully. The fourth corner has rocks along the edge. I modified my original design, put in a thick layer of wood chips/leaves and debris, with a screen to hold them down, then rocks over the top. There is a gap at the center of each, currently occupied by zucchini but eventually perennials that need a little more water since these will be the "sink."

Now to wait for a storm!
1 week ago
Another update. Last fall I created a phosphorus additive, which was an almond shell ferment. When I added it, within a day the plant was coated with green and blue scum and the water was choked with it. The plant subsequently died. That was 1/2 cup in a 5 quart ice cream bucket. This time I split the 1/2 cup between 4 larger buckets (each at least 3 gallons) and got essentially the same thing, it just took longer. I think the phosphorus additive has to be in much smaller quantities, and only added when signs of deficiency show themselves.

2 weeks ago

Tereza Okava wrote:i see in your signature you say alkaline soil, utah, can there be alkali in the water?

Yes, the water is alkaline. Those in the greenhouse are being watered with runoff, those in the house are using culinary water. Out of 8 bottles in the house, only one is having this problem. However, the others are a different variety.
2 weeks ago

denny hall wrote:You know you're a permie when you find the carpenter bees buzzing around the front porch absolutely fascinating...

I keep trying to get video of the bumble bees in the wood pile, but they won't cooperate!
2 weeks ago
Any idea what this is? It's on one (only one) of my sweet potatoes. It looks a lot like the grains that gathered on the leaves when I did a test growing houseplants in salt water. The roots of the surviving plants pulled the salt from the water and it collected on the leaves like this. Eventually the salt eroded the leaves. I don't think this is salt, although it might be something from the tap water it's growing in. It's not hard, nor does it scrape off easily.
2 weeks ago

D Nikolls wrote:But, lots of sources say that garlic will stunt beans...

How close is too close?

What is the mechanism responsible for the stunting?


Has anyone experienced stunted beans that they would blame on garlic, or grown them close with no issue?


It won't answer the primary question, but I have learned that garlic puts out sulfur through its roots. I had a sulfur deficiency in my natural (non-chemical) hydroponics last year and this year I tested putting a clove of garlic in several of my buckets. The plants with the garlic had distinct signs of sulfur toxicity (stunting, burning leaf edges, lower uptake of nitrogen). The problem was immediate, once the garlic started putting down roots. One of these was a bean. Since I took the garlic out it has returned to regular growth. This was in the same net pot, so within inches. I'm guessing that at least part of the problem with bean stunting is sulfur. The bean, of course, wasn't affected by the nitrogen issue, but it was severely stunted and had the burned leaf edges of sulfur toxicity.
3 weeks ago
This year nutrients were added at a rate of 1 T of the ash-eggshell mixture per tank, diluted with vinegar and water and left to soak, split across 5 tanks. Each of the tanks is at least 3 gallons. 2 tomatoes, two one year old rice plants that overwintered, 1 bean.

Garlic worked as a sulfur additive--worked TOO well. The plants are showing signs of sulfur toxicity. The larger tomato in this video, as of today, has growing internodes less than half an inch apart and is furiously putting out blossoms. I don't know if the blossoms are an effect of the sulfur, but it's essentially stopped growing.

3 weeks ago

George Yacus wrote:Consider planting a few *Hardy Kiwis* along your chain-link fenceline, and the plants could use them as a trellis while visually softening the metal texture of the fence. Hardy Kiwis can survive frigid temperatures and a variety of conditions.  They require both male and female plants for good production.

https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/656/

I'm a sucker for *archways and trellises* -- perhaps a series of archways over the sidewalk could connect another perennial vining crop from the street side of the sidewalk. (Of course, one may need to be mindful of any height restrictions for traffic visibility if planting near the driveway or traffic corners.)  

*Thornless blackberries* could be enjoyed as people walk under such archways.  

You could train your annual vining crops up them, too.

Those are some good ideas. City codes say that anything less than 30 feet from the corner needs to be 4 feet or less (which is why we ended up with a 4 foot chainlink fence instead of a 6 foot sight barrier), so I'm rather restricted in that sense. The area farthest from the corner is under almost constant shade during the summer, but an arch over the sidewalk...hm. I'll have to think about that one.

Hardy kiwi have already died a couple times, but it's a thought for the future after the soil is fixed.
1 month ago

Hunter Ardrey wrote:

Lauren Ritz wrote:Does anyone know how to identify whether a seedling is apple or pear? I've been planting apple seeds and pear seeds for years without much success, then all of a sudden these popped up this spring. I know they're either apple or pear, probably pear, but I can't really tell the difference.

Any ideas?


Apple and pear trees have an alternate branching pattern. Your seedlings appear to have opposite branching. Also, the woody stem appears to be winged, which leads me to think these are wined euonymus seedlings. I hope I am wrong, but if you find them to be winged euonymus I would remove them, as they are invasive.


Darn it, you're right! Both of them, opposite leaves and the 2nd year leaf growth is showing a very definite pattern of seven leaflets on each stem. Aagh! I don't see how it happened, but there and nowhere else. I carefully replanted the "apples" in their permanent locations this year, and...I should be used to this stuff by now.
1 month ago