Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More Dirt in Chacala

Well, I have been sitting around in Chacala, plotting about how to get some more bags of dirt from the nursery out on the highway, down near La Penita. Benjamin's nursery. And this morning I lucked out. Chicho, friend of Berta (Chacala's greatest gardener, in my opinion), just came over and told me that he is going to Guayabitos this afternoon. And if I wanted some more dirt he could pick some up for me. Good deal for me. I will pay some gas money, as opposed to paying a friend for doing something. That would be kind of insulting to a friend. But offering "gas money" is what friends do. Okay with me.

So, my next step today is remove all the baby plants from by biggest pot. And put them in their permanent, individual pots. I have been growing babies on a kind of mobile plant nursery.
The big pot is on one of those rolling platform and easy to move around. Then I will shift some of the dirt around, so the new dirt will be on the top of some of the pots I am re-planting.

I am struggling with how much plant food these plants need. In my other Zone 5 gardens I focused on building the soil. I rarely used fertizilers, except on roses. I have a carton of the blue crystal fertilizer (can't remember the name) but I haven't used it yet this year. I am waiting to see how the plants do I guess. The normal soil around town where the plants grow on their own looks horrible. Very clay-like. but everything seems to grow. Don't know what to make of that.

I have been buying and giving away seed packets from a couple of the PV stores. Nastursiums and peppers and coeleus seem to be the favorites. I am going to plant my last packet, nastursiums when I get the new dirt. And the coeleus I planted from seed a couple of months ago is huge, so I am going to do another pot with coeleus cuttings for give-away.

I have been paying close attention to Maria's success rate with her transplants. And I think she gets about 95% failures with her method. Break off a branch of something stick it in the dirt. But her successes look good, so I don't think it matters. I am being more and more careful with cutting. Only softwood cuttings for now, with the leaves mostly stripped off. Seems to be working okay. I am moving the jasmine babies to today, and some hibiscus and vine cuttings that are looking pretty good.

My Adenium (Desert Rose) cuttings are hit and miss. I haven't figured out the problem. My first cutting did very well, but now only about half make it. I am starting with new soil for the next batch. Maybe that will help. I have been trying to look at the plants closely and see if I can tell if any are growing on oleander rootstock. I read on one of the excellenet websites about Adeniums that the more flowery plants are grown on oleander rootstocks. I can't tell yet, but I am still looking. The lady at the Pemex nursery (named that by me since it's next to the Pemex gas station in La Penita) knows alot about plants, so I will try to ask her. They don't grow anything from scratch there, as far as I can tell it's all stock brought in from somewhere else.

Benjamin's does grow quite a few plants right at the nursery. I have been watching his workers transplanting while I am at the nursery. Very quick and nimble fingers.

Time to get to work. Oh. I got three excellent comments today. Please yesterday them. I am loving comments. Although I am always afraid someone will catch me on how little I know about what I am doing. But these were very nice comment. Feels like friends to me.

I don't have any new garden photos right now. So. This is Don Berto, in Chacala, supervising the efforts of one of his many son's to re-build one of the ramada's the family rents to campers on the beach. The ocean is about fifteen feet toward the viewer from the ladder. Most of the ramadas have sand floors. This one has room for three or four families and has a cement floor. I think the floor is the remains of a house destroyed by Hurricane Kenna about in October 2002. But I'm just guessing. The palm fronts are used for everything you can imagine here, but especially for roofs and walls. And the posts are tree trunks, which will probably sprout into trees in a while. Or actually, they already have. This photo is a couple of years old.


Pam said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading about your friends and garden adventures in Chacala. I'm a zone 8b gardener in Louisiana but I remember the tropical plants and gardens I saw in San Miguel de Allende a couple of years ago. Very different environment than the hot, humid south.

LostRoses said...

I never have had any luck rooting cuttings, though I've tried in the past (the distant past). I am such a lazy gardener that my propagation efforts consist of sprinkling ripened seed heads over the rest of the garden beds in the fall. Sometimes it works, and sometimes too well!

So glad you had an opportunity to get some more dirt. I guess I would try the blue crystals (Miracle-Gro, Rapid-Gro?)and see if it makes a difference. I'm pretty lazy about that too, and only use it once or twice the whole summer. Happy transplanting!