Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For a Lawnless World -Miniature Golf

Its fun for the kids, fun for couples, fun for families, fun for friends -so get on down to Governor's Island. There was a boom of miniature golf courses in my neck of the woods when I was around the age of 12. Five years later, they were all closed. But on Governor's Island, you can miniature golf to your heart's content for free (donations accepted) on artist designed courses.

It proved to be very popular.

My wife and another artist designed this one.

Its called Hole Zero. My wife is inside the derrick doing maintenance.

I am biased, of course, but many people said Hole Zero was their favorite.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Denizens Of The Compost Pile

The other day, before a heavy rain, I was out sweeping. A neighbor from the corner came by, a neighbor I have never met (its like that on this corner), and told me she is having a problem with some bugs, can I come and look. It was at this moment it began to rain. She had an umbrella. I said, okay without mentioning the rain because, well, I wanted to break the corner spell. Soaking now, she shows me her plants (never once covers me with her umbrella) and I see no bugs -everything looks quite good. Then she points out the culprits -pill bugs. I tell her there is nothing we can do about those, they barely bother plants anyway -just nip at young emerging seedlings from time to time. I tell her to collar the seedlings with something and I then move on to a drier place. But, it worked -now we wave.

These are the pill bugs (sow bug, armadillo bug, roly poly, doodle bug, wood louse).

They live happily in my compost pile, in wood piles, damp places -like under stones.

They require moisture and eat detritus and decaying plants.

I have none on my living plants, but lots in my compost pile a foot away.

This episode reminds me of a story from grad school. A professor who considered herself quite the gardener was having problems with pill bugs. She invited me over to check it out, but I felt -testing me. When I got there, no pill bugs could be found. She sent me to her compost bin. I've got my hands in her compost bin, looking for pill bugs when I realize her bin is filled with black widow spiders. Yow! Sorry, can't help. Pill bugs don't hurt anyhow, good luck.

Caught in the act. Wouldn't it be something to fly and have sex?

Slug enjoying the corner of the tomato planter. No harm done.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Strange Light

Comes from this

Are There Really That Many Songs About...

How Do I Support Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

Last year I got to trellising the tomatoes too late. This year, the same. But because of all the cloudy weather, the tomatoes have not grown fast, allowing me to rig up my trellis easily.

I went with last year's system. It worked, cheap, simple. Attach bamboo pole to the exterior of the wood planter with copper-plated pipe brackets (15 cents each at corner hardware).

I added "X" cross-members to the vertical poles. The junction of these "X"s will hold up the main stem. Everything simply tied with jute twine. New bamboo poles are painted green, the old are gray. The green rubs off on your hands rather easily; wishing they'd just leave 'em the color they are. You can see in the photo, below on left, my other method using netting.

Below are a couple of views of my trellis system that I prefer to use when I am planting in the ground, in longer rows. I line up the wooden stakes, in this case 1 x 2 pine, spacing evenly. Then slide the 2 or 3 inch square netting over the wooden stakes. The netting may be taught or loose depending on the regularity of the stake spacing. Then I use a staple gun to secure any loose anchor points. I add three or four layers, making sure they are level and evenly spaced. I only use this method when the tomatoes are young, so that they can grow through the netting, as it can be tricky to weave a tall plant through. However, you must teach new growth where to go for this method to work. If you do, it works great.

Terrible photo, but here is the one young tomato I'm growing with this method. I haven't anchored the netting to the stakes yet.

Below are two photos of a similar method used by my friends. They surrounded each tomato with four stakes and attached a more flexible netting. I would eliminate the extra two stakes in the middle and simply run the net the length of the row. Having converted to this method after years of gawd-awful cone-shaped metal tomato cages (you know the kind), they report that its doing quite well.

And that concludes this year's love apple support report.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Post Tempest Mammatus*

I'm blogging away on a rather dry post about tomato cages, look to my left and out my window I see the world is yellow-orange. Grab camera, go outside!

The house across the street is catching the glow of the setting sun bouncing off the storm clouds.

I turn the corner and see that all is gold. Are those gold mammatus clouds I see, visually poked by ol' glory's pole?

Why yes, they are. Mammatus clouds are often associated with tornadic thunderstorms, and can appear quite menacing or eerie.

There was one storm to the north and one to the south of middle Brooklyn that carried mesocyclonic radar signatures at some time while passing our area.

Close up.

Back on my corner, the mammatus are breaking up.

Can you see the plane?

*Tempest Mammatus was a Roman porn star.

Temporary Tempest

Since I have little to do now, but wait for flight status changes...why not watch the weather.

These kids, across the street, are always out when the weather turns tempestuous. Me too.

Weathering Heights

I am not a fan for flying and so it is that I appreciate the caution in delaying or canceling all flights into the area airports because of weather.

Image courtesy wunderground.com

On the other hand, my wife was due in at 4pm, and is now sitting in an airport in Richmond, Virginia due to weather that has not happened yet. So, I do hope it had something to do with weather conditions in flight, and they steered south. Because two hours ago she was supposed to be in and now that lovely dinner I had all planned is thwarted. *#@!*

Not Only Guts, But Brains

I got so many earthworms in my vegetable garden that I got two earth worms in my shoe on the same day!

Okay, what's this all about? What we got here is a couple of earth worms partin' ways.

With the light behind them you can see their guts.

After I planted a tomato, they wanted out of the planter. Over the side they go. Stretch, stretch, s-t-r-e-t-c-h, plop. On the ground and squirm away.

I was cutting my last bit-o-mesclun, and a worm squiggled along and said, yo -I'm outa here. He squirmed through the dark crevice in the planter you see here and this is where it gets interesting.

What you see here is this worm's method used to drop itself safely down the planter box. Once through the crevice in the previous photo, it hooked itself in the crevice between the stake and the box, and slowly let itself down. The whole process took a few minutes. When it got down to about three inches above ground, it squirmed out of the crevice and squiggled away!

All this from a creature with no eyes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Memorium

Front Yard Flowers

I think the broccoli 'calabrese' flowers are quite nice with their blue-green foliage.

Its ugly out there. I needed to hack back the New Dawn climber rose (on the left) to let light and air to the plants beneath. Now there's sort of a New Dawn grotto.

But my Allium sphaerocephalon is beginning to blush.

It's egg shape appeals to me over the globe-shaped kind.

My Sidalcea, I believe 'party girl'.

I'm not that happy with the look of the front yard this year, but compared to 4 years ago...

It's a mess.