Fire Mountain Garden Exchange

November Plantings by Editor
November 3, 2011, 4:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Please notice that EVERYTHING recommended will grow great this winter. Get to it, good growing.

As ever we are beholden to Charles Ledgerwood and his “Reliable Seeds” catalog for the planting suggestions.

(All of the suggestions are ‘best’ to plant this month)


The flower planting suggestions are as follows

Acroclininum, Alyssum, Aquilegia, Basil, Calendula, Candytuft, Carnation, Centaurea, Clarkia, Delphinium, Dimorphotheca, Escholtzia, Foxglove, Larkspur, Linaria, Linum,

Lupin, Nemesia, Nemophila, Pansy, Phlox, Petunia, Poppies, Primula, Scabiosa, Schizanthus, Stock, Sweet peas, Verbena, Viola, Snap Dragon, Wall flower, wild flowers.


November Rant by Editor
November 3, 2011, 4:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here we are on Day of the Dead. I hope you made it down to the Mission today for the extravaganza. The traffic was horrible, so many people, but once you got in there was a lot of good stuff. I will have to say the low-riders were my favorite, especially those with the shrines in the trunks or beds of the Pick –Ups. The were some traditional shrines heavy on the marigolds and food offering that were very cool and we had some of the best tamales we have had, wrapped in banana leaves so the masa was green but so sabrosa. The rest of it was about as tacky as the midway at the Del Mar Fair although Kristine did get a great Lucille Ball DOD t-shirt.

Were was I, after the great World Series and last nights SC/Stanford game I am worn out. So lets get to planting and gardening.

For those of you interested, this is a great time to plant bamboo. We just had a neighbor cut down some 30-year-old Junipers that had blocked the house since before we moved in. All of a sudden we were confronted with a view of a less than rewarding white stucco house from our back yard. We did the Sunset western Gardens search for rapidly growing barriers. I was all for continuing the perimeter of Alphonse Karr bamboo (clumping, bushy to 20’) but the spousal unit wanted to do it ‘right’. We generated a list of plants, went out tot evergreen, something we haven’t done for years just to see if anything had changed. It hadn’t, basically the ‘no help today special’ plus they always seem to put 1 gallons in fives and up sell way too quickly. WE went to the Briggs website and were pleased to see that you could ask them if they had plants. We got a series of nice e-mails from staff and went out the next day. It is wholesale to the public so they don’t have field staff, but the office folks were great, offering very good substitutions. I planted bamboo, ealeagnus and grevilla and two weepy bushy Australian trees today. Great root structure and the plants are very healthy. I think it is the local “go to” nursery for serious gardeners.

So almost done with the third tomato crop, finished an absolutely killer eggplant season and off course I am eating beets to beat the band. I just planted another beet and lettuce crop, which loves the cool nights and have exchanged beet seeds with a neighbor so I now have about 7 varieties in various colors either in the ground or sprouting. Spinach is spouting and the peas go in week after next. I went out to Mountain Meadows in Escondido an picked up another load of horse manure/mushroom compost. After my results with the green beans this year I am expecting a pea bounty. One of my neighbors has joined the experiment; his soil is as sandy as ours so we will be reporting back as the crops progress. Remember to check the last two posts for usage suggestions.

Please notice that EVERYTHING recommended will grow great this winter. Get to it, good growing.

Local Rant by Editor
October 5, 2011, 3:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A little note about our ‘quiet neighbor’ Eternal Hills. I usually walk the “the Gator”, our CCI trainee dog along FMD every night after dinner. It is pretty clear that the landscape between the new fence, from the west end of the expansion project to Portofino is in trouble. There have been massive amounts of weeds and a lot of dead plantings. I emailed the GM of Eternal Hills and she immediately had crews out pulling weeds. The dead plantings remained dead. I know that the Ms. Allen has tried very hard to make EH and the parent company SCI good neighbors to us. I contacted the Ann Gunter of the Lightfoot Planning Group, who had represented EH before the State and City during the expansion process. I wanted to make sure that EH was aware of our concerns as to adherence to the conditions of the CUP, but I also wanted to make sure that they understood that we respected our relationship and wanted to enhance it. Ann Gunter spoke with Ms. Allen, who had done a drive by and asked her to walk the strip. She came to a different conclusion. EH will be meeting with their sprinkler contractor and landscape contractor next week. We should expect a substantial change in appearance soon. Thanks to both Ann Gunter and Debbie Allen.


June Rant by Editor
June 1, 2011, 8:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thanks for small blessings, as I reviewed last June’s missive I noted we were deep in June Gloom. This year, who knows, yesterday was low 60’s with overcast and blustery winds, today was mid 70’s and full sun. The poor plants must be spun out. I don’t have high hopes for the firs


t part of my tomato crop, they have grown to 30” with some sets but more lost blooms than anything else.

I just planted 6 more heirlooms on Saturday that seem to be doing well. I bought them at Green Thumb in San Marcos, their selection was substantial and the tomatoes were not root bound (do not be shy about knocking the plant you want to buy out of it’s container to check for root growth before you purchase, as we get later into the planting year some of the nursery offerings are a might long in the tooth!).

My egg plants have been really slow to take as have the basil sets, I attribute this also to the lack of consistent warmth.

I sprouted Kentucky Wonder green beans( in a moist paper towel on a plate in the kitchen) and put them in small pots of potting soil as soon as the bean had popped, I let them sit in the small pots until they got their first set of real leaves then put them in the garden. They are bootin’!I set up a four legged tee-pee of bamboo poles for them to climb on. It has worked really well in the past.  It is still a great time to plant lettuce and my arugula continues to take over the garden paths.

My beets and onions continue to rock out, I don’t think I have bought a bunch of onions for 3 years; the ones in the garden just keep propagating. I am waiting on planting cucumbers until the night time temperature stays above 55 F. I just planted a bunch of different herbs in 5 gallon pots to keep near the kitchen, I have had great success with oregano, Italian Parsley, Parsley and thyme.

I wrote last month that I got a truck load of mushroom/manure compost from a mushroom farm in Escondido, so far it seems that it has not been too “hot” for the baby plants and seedlings so I would recommend it as an amendment to our sandy soil.

Get to work!

Last Season’s Crop by Editor
May 9, 2011, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Vegetables

I’m a newbian as far as gardening goes. When we decided to plant our garden, I knew my green thumb consisted only of keeping succulents and cactus alive, which means zero to very little maintenance. But we had this completely useless side yard that only produced junk piles, so, we had to do something!

Right out of the gate I planted Basil, mint, squash, cucumbers and corn.

Of course the squash, mint, and basil did fantastic!

But the corn- well, apparently you need a lot of room and lots of plants to make corn grow.

Here’s a nice web site about the perils of corn growing (having grown up in Indiana, you’d think I would have known some of this, right?).

Anyway, we had a lot of great pesto with the basil and lots of yummy yellow squash in just about everything.

One side note- including my 4 year old son on the planting, watering and picking  made him excited to eat some of the veggies! Reminding him it’s the squash he grew in our very own garden prompted at least a extra tiny niblle – always a bonus.

Oh- I also realized that the cucumber and corn seeds I used were from 1982 or some ridiculous year, so always check the package or get new fresh seeds. Either way, it looked productive, but what a waste of space.

Learning curve in effect.

May Rant by Editor
May 2, 2011, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I hope everyone had a chance to drop by the plant sale on May 1st – which benefited SPOT (Saving Pets One at a Time) at Discount Tire. It was great opportunity to get inexpensive and great garden additions while benefiting an organization that has placed over 150 dogs that were slated to be euthanized. There was a great turn out of our friends from Fire Mountain too and my wife would like to thank all of you again. A special thanks to Discount Tire, they are really nice to make their space available to many charity organizations.

You may have noticed it’s hot and windy again which will be a big evaporator of soil and leaf moisture. This is a great time to add mulch around the wells of your trees and shrubs and to place in your veggie garden. The humic mulch from El Corazon has been great for this for me.

I ‘discovered’ a mushroom nursery in NE Escondido that gives away mushroom compost. You have to hand load it or pay $25 to have the loader dump a scoop in your truck. The compost has a horse manure component so I am testing it in a small part of the garden. A fellow who was loading while we were said he leaches his with water for a week but that seems to defeat the purpose. I will try it and see then make a recommendation.

When I was ready to plant my tomatoes I found out that my favorite nursery in San Marcos, Green Thumb was down on inventory so I went to Grangetto’s in Fallbrook.They have a killer supply of heirlooms that are doing very well and a good selection of other veggies too. I also went to their Escondido store, which didn’t have much inventory. The manager there said it was just too hot to maintain the plants there.

Looks like I am putting my water in the veg garden this again year!


May Plantings by Editor
May 2, 2011, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here are the recommendations from Charles Ledgerwood’s “Reliable Seeds 1994”:

Caps indicate best plantings for the month.


For flowers, this is a big month:
Alyssum, Ageratum, Asters, Asparagus fern, Balsam, Basil, Bells of Ireland, Candytuft,  Carnation, Celosia, Centaurea, Cobaea, Convolvulus, Calliopsis, Cynoglosum, Cosmos, Dahlia, Daisies, Delphiniums, Dianthus, Didiscus, Dimorphotheca, Dusty Miller, Fountain Grass, Gazania, Gloriosa Daisy, Geranium, Gourds, Gypsophilia, Helichrysum, Impatiens, Ipomoea, Larkspur, Lavender, Marigold, Nasturtium, Passiflora, Phlox, Petunia, Platycondon, Portucula, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Salpaglossis, Scabiosa, Statica, Sweet Sultan, Tithonia, Thumbergia, Torenia, Sunflower and Zinnia.

Remember this list is from 1994, please check Sunset Western Gardens for more information on plant names and more importantly for drought tolerance.  I am putting my water in the veg garden this again year!