Gardening Journal: Rose Garden Update and Photography

Gardening Journal and Notes

The following are some gardening journal notes on what’s going well in the garden in March 2018. Basically, we are always trying to maximize flower growth while keeping the foliage and root system healthy.

Gardening and Water Conservation

I haven’t posted in the Gardening Journal in quite a long time. The reason being that California had been in a high drought alert for some time. And when that happens, water is to be conserved and the City of San Diego requires homeowners to ration the water.

But, rationing water is mainly for lawns. And I have a network of drip irrigation systems. Still, the tendency is to conserve water because it’s quite expensive now in California.

Maximizing Soil & Fertilizer

In the garden beds where I grow my roses, I wished I had dug deep and really prepped the soil with manure, bone meal, blood meal, and other organic soil enhancers. But I didn’t, so I have to deal with continually prepping the soil each year in early Spring.

I’ve been using the following soil enhancers in the garden:

  • Cocoa Mulch – This mulch actually smells pretty good. It has a cocoa aroma to it and the cocoa shells are small, which breaks down faster into the soil. Cocoa Mulch is rather expensive for a mulch, but well worth it, in my humble opinion.
  • Compost TeaCompost Tea brewing is a good way to introduce beneficial microbes into the garden. It’s very similar to Probiotics for humans. I have an industrial air pump that continually blows air into two 2 gallon buckets filled with water. I have large ‘tea bags’ of compost in these buckets and I add fish emulsion and sugar to get the microbes going. The best part of applying compost tea with a sprayer is that the foliage of the rose bushes becoming much healthier and robust. Overall, the plant does very well.
  • Homemade Compost – I make my own fast mulch with a special trash can with locking lid. The trash can is on wheels, and it has holes drilled into the sides for air. I use coffee grounds from Starbucks, banana peels, miscellaneous kitchen scraps, a little compost to seed it, and I add a little compost tea to moisten the mix. I toss the mix every day and the compost is usually done in a couple of weeks.

Reviving the Rose Garden

I realize my work is cut out for me. How do I maximize flower growth this year?

So, with the compost tea spraying, the foliage on the rose bushes are looking very nice and healthy. But, this doesn’t really produce a lot of flower growth on its own. At the same time, they say that buds can’t form without a lot of leaves. So, maybe I’ll try to achieve a balance. I do compost tea spraying every morning before it gets hot. I might want to keep the compost tea spraying to a minimum of 2-3 days per week.

I’m tempted to use Miracle Grow for flower growth, but I’m trying to be more organic and I know that Miracle Grow isn’t good for the plants in the long run.

Of course, Roses need a lot of water, and I’ve already achieved that with drip irrigation and a timer. So I don’t have to worry too much about watering. If the weather gets too hot and dry (which is the case in Southern California), I can manually turn on the drip irrigation when needed.

As far as positioning, I have most of the rose bushes planted in areas that get at least 5 hours of sun. A few of them do get a lot of shade when my Crepe Myrtle tree starts getting its leaves back in Spring. Pruning the tree this year would definitely help.

Reviving Worm Composting

I do have a Worm Compost Bin with 3-4 levels. I haven’t used it lately and I haven’t checked to see if the worms are still alive. I do have a tap at the bottom where I can get some ‘worm juice’. And this worm juice seems to be beneficial to the plants.

To revive the worm composting?

I don’t know at this point. It IS something that takes time, maybe 2-3 months to yield a tray of worm compost. And it’s something that takes time and a little bit of effort. It’s much easier to buy worm compost from the nursery, but it’s expensive!

Perhaps, I will try to revive the worm composting. As the project produces some very rich worm castings, very dark and rich. This can be added to the soil, or to supplement the compost bin.

I don’t know what the difference is between actual worm casting and Starbucks coffee grounds, but the coffee grounds are FREE and they look a lot like the worm compost, dark, rich and moist, which is always great for using in the garden soil. I definitely will continue to get the coffee grounds from Starbucks. It’s great that they provide that FREE service for gardeners!

Garden Photos

March 2018

March 2018

March 2018

March 2018

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Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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