Garden Party: Body Swap?

Last week I noticed that my lemon cucumbers were not turning out to be lemon cucumbers, at least in the case of one plant. This week, I noticed that some of my squash are also behaving strangely. The problem seems to be confined to one corner of the garden:

A: zucchini (?) plants. B: Cucumber labelled lemon but producing long green cucumbers. C: Runt lemon cucumber from two for one sale. D: Yellow scalloped squash.

A: zucchini (?) plants. B: Cucumber labelled lemon but producing long green cucumbers. C: Runt lemon cucumber from two for one sale, producing nothing yet. D: Yellow scalloped squash.

The zucchini’s behavior is the most bizarre. These are what I expect to find inside a zucchini plant: Continue reading

Garden Party: Still Water

Apple tree front, scrub oak back.

Apple tree front, scrub oak back.

Oddly, all that grief with the drip system made me want to try something more ambitious: a hose-less drip system. One, I would like to know exactly how much water I am giving to the peppers, and two, I would rather not have a hose running across the driveway to be abused by passing car tires. The plan would make use of a sad little apple tree that has mysteriously survived despite being overwhelmed by a sun-greedy scrub oak. I would hang a container of water on the tree and have gravity propel the water through cleverly arranged hoses to its proper destination.

The plan never came to fruition. The tree, upon closer inspection, seemed unlikely to be able to hold up more than a couple soda cans full of water. Then I realized that there is a perfectly good faucet in a stall at the back of the barn that would work for a drip system without the hose being run over every day. I went out and got a new drip timer, a fancy one with multiple settings and a digital readout. Then I realized I would have to work with the big hoses to set up a new system. I have not done that before. Valves and joints and things like that seemed daunting. Continue reading

Garden Party: Water

In light of California’s water problems, I decided to update the garden’s drip system to avoid the accidental lawn I created last year.

August 2014's accidental lawn

August 2014’s accidental lawn

The plan was simple enough: replace any drip hoses with drip nozzles targeting large plants like squash, peppers and cucumbers. Actually that is all of them. Had I known what a torment drip system work can be, I would have been in less of a hurry shopping for the new nozzles. Continue reading