"The RoseBouquet"

About and FOR friends of Ruthe's Secret Roses


"The RoseBouquet"

Garden and Jumbo Aloe Vera Plant Update

In the last couple of days I’ve had some friends inquire about my garden and my jumbo aloe vera plant. So today I will give you my progress reports with photos.

The Vegetable Garden

On May 25th I wrote about preparing my garden for the man with the rototiller to come work up the soil. I spent the week pulling weeds there to make the garden ready for him. Rob came with his tiller on the Holiday Monday, and I took time the next day to get started with the seeding process. But my physical stamina would only last about an hour and a half and I would have to give up and go inside. I got in such efforts over three days, but the cracked rib of the previous week got more painful as I pushed on. I still had half the garden to seed, and that weekend would be the end of May.

So finally, just before lunch on Friday, I called the woman who had first organized a list of volunteers to help the seniors in our church. She explained that the volunteers didn’t really want to make gardens. Mainly they expected to go shopping for groceries or to pick up prescriptions. However, since my rib was injured she would call around and see if anyone would be willing to help me. In a matter of minutes I had a phone call from a young woman I know well as one of the leaders of the ESL class where I volunteer too. She said that she and her husband could be over by 2:30 that afternoon. They would be happy to help me. I was thrilled!

They showed up with masks and gloves on, ready to work. I show the husband how I doing a new experiment with epsom salt (1 tsp/each gallon of water in my watering can) and how I watered each row scratched with the hoe before I sprinkled in some fertilizer and then my seeds. Then I would close the rows with my rake and lightly stamp the soil down. Then water again from the watering can. The husband quickly took on the watering can job, and his wife drew the lines with the hoe and then closed them with the rake. All I had to do was decide which seeds to put in each row and jot them down on my paper so I wouldn’t forget.

Oh, and I also explained that I’d been reading about companion planting. For example tomatoes do far better if there is a row of herbs, like basil next to it. I showed the wife, how I was drawing two lines fairly close together. Just two-three inches apart. Then allow for a foot path before the next twin rows. I sowed vegetables in one, and an herb in the other. Except in the case of the canteloupe and squash families where I used my carrots and radish seeds. My friends cooperated wonderfully!

In fact, working together as we did, we got that last half of the garden seeded in just two hours. I even dared to suggest we do one more thing; a long row scratched on either side of the path and there I always sow my French Marigolds. They bloom early in summer and go non-stop until the winter snows cover them. On top of that they are well-known to keep unwanted bugs out of the garden. Of course, the bees still find the flowers and see that the zucchini and pumpkins and squash flowers are all fertilized too.

Like my Gr’ma Kroeker I have saved the dead flowers for seeds for future years, and it happens that I had about 9 cannisters full from past years, so last fall I had not gathered any. But as those were far more than I needed, I have been glad to give them away when anyone shows interest. My friend was happy to accept a canister full for their yard, and they said they were so glad that they learned how to make a garden from me. Now they will have the courage to try it as well. What a wonderful compliment!

I had seen them admiring my green spring onions which grow by the fence and are always the first green things in the garden every spring. So I offered them a big fat handful, for which they were very grateful.

You see, by myself, there is no way I can eat all the produce that comes from my garden, but I do it out of habit; it’s a family tradition, and because I love to give away the produce.

Another friend I’d called, because she had said last summer that she’d like to learn to garden, but she had some online exams until Wednesday. I’d forgotten about her but she called we agreed that Friday afternoon would suit both of us if she came over to help me with the flowers I wanted to seed in various corners and nooks in the front and back yard. We got four such areas seeded in two hours and were both tired enough to quit. I gave her a canister of marigold seeds too.

I’ve been trying to get a few more nooks weeded and filled, but last week we had extremely windy days Too fierce to work with seeds outside. (The day looked sunny and calm earlier this morning, but now the wind is picking up again, and it is suppose to rain for the next four days, so…. I may have to put it off again.)

Oh yes, you want to see how the garden looks now.

Here’s a view of the east side of the garden looking past a very tall weed that’s blooming merrily. (12 rows are up on this side).

The east side of the garden, looking past a very tall weed that is blooming merrily

Here’s a view of the west side overlooking the chives. (13 rows are up on that side).

Eating My Jumbo Aloe Vera Plant

my Jumbo aloe vera plant from which I've made smoothees

I told you some time ago, and showed a photo, of the jumbo aloe vera plant in the window right by my desk. It was tipping the pot over so I decided to cut a big leaf almost daily and scrape out the inner gel for smoothees. I still have about 4-5 leaves to cut and use up.

I have been staring at the plant and pondering whether there will be gel I can rescue from the stem to which all those leaves were attached. There is scar tissue where I cut some of the leaves off, but I don’t know if that goes deep into the stem. So about four more smoothees, and then I will cut off the stem and open it up to see how it looks inside.

The plant has already put out pups or offsets, so the pot is already full of other plants that will soon take over. I will probably need to buy more pots and separate them so they can all grow into jumbo aloe vera plants as well.

Recently I spent a rainy Saturday in the pantry/sunroom repotting some aloe vera plants into the six new pots I’d bought last fall. I need to get some more – maybe a dozen pots! And because I’ll be out of room I hope we are soon allowed to have a garage sale, which will allow me to sell some of these locally.

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