Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Talk About Plants

One of my fellow commuters, who lives a couple of miles away, gave me two tangerine trees yesterday. He had grown them from seeds that sprouted in his compost pile, but decided that he didn't have the space for them in his back yard.

Since I have plenty of space in my yard, with lots of sun exposure, I picked them up. It seems like they should be able to bear fruit here at least every few years after maturity, but even if they don't, they are neat looking trees which I'll enjoy having around.

My favorite thing about fruit trees is what little effort they require to maintain and how much fruit they can produce with that little bit of effort; for those reasons, I like vines a lot too. My grape vine is very healthy this year since I cleared out the blackberry bushes which it had been competing with for several years prior. This year it grew up into the branches of a large old maple that had a low hanging bough nearby. Grape vines are impressively tenacious, this one managed to take over a 10x10 section of this bough with only three vines leading up into the branches.

I don't want the vine to waste it's nutrients producing fruit I can't reach, and I don't want it killing the maple tree, so I cut the three vines leading up to the maple. Over the weekend I noticed more buds shooting out of the remaining lower section. Next spring I hope to cut the grape vine all the way back so that I can repair the fencing it has overgrown, take out the remaining blackberry bushes that are competing with it and allow it to grow back with a fresh start.

You can see the healthy, happy grape vine behind me in the picture below showing my happy, healthy corn.

This picture was taken on Friday, but over the warm weekend, the largest corn stalks have actually grown to chest high on me. This year has been unbelievably good for corn in Washington.

For those who don't know already, all of the large trees with pretty blue sky behind them are located on my acre. Those trees in particular are at the bottom of the ravine, where the creek crosses through the corner of my woods. Right behind the grape vine, however, is a shallow slope without any trees on it, I'm thinking about putting in a chicken pen in this location when I finally get chickens. The area in question is full of stinging neddles during the summer, and chickens are particularly good at clearing out small vegetation.

Here is a picture of my beets, just before I pulled the weeds around them. Since this is the first year I've had my garden in this area, weeds come up frequently, hopefully this will slow down next year as I continuously till the area.

Here are my carrots, which are doing particularly well.

And these are my beans so far. They are in the shadiest spot, so they aren't growing as quickly, but they generally have a long season, so they should still produce something for me before it's over.

My last two rows, which included cucumbers, onions, sunflowers and pumpkins have not produced anything promising. The spot was just too shady to get good results. Next year, I'll move my garden over and start with the row my beans are in, since that seems to be the last viable row for growing.

On a side note, my motorcycle is at Burton's now getting new tires put on. I went with a Kenda 671 for the rear and a Kenda 657 for the front tire. They are similar models, but Kenda didn't make any lines which had both tire sizes I needed. I had Kenda tires on my first motorcycle and they are pretty good. They gave me no problems, in fact, one of them picked up a nail once that was bent at a perfect 90 degree angle. It went through one of the treads perfectly, without rupturing the tire.

Since the old tires are still in decent shape, I'll keep them around in case I have any problems down the road and need a tire that's good for a couple thousand miles.

I'll pick up the V-Star on Saturday, then it will be time to check everything thoroughly to make sure it's ready for the trip, now only three weeks away.

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