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This Months Garden Chores

October 2nd, 2007 at 10:44 pm

I know it really isn't gardening weather, at least where I am in WA state.......but, I always try to get outside so I don't end up hating myself come spring.

I'd much rather do some sort of nasty chores now, than have them staring at me when I'm all jazzed up to get out in the good weather come April or May. So....donning my gloves and waterproof shoes, out I go!

I've still got some annuals trying to add color, even this late. Too bad. Gone to the compost heap. Left in the gardens, they will become more slime than plant.....truly yucky to try to pull out.

The tomato & zuchinni plants are still producing, although not at a very fast clip......They get to stay, as there just isn't anything better to add to dinner than something straight from the garden. Oh, there are onions left in the ground too.......many covered up most of the summer by annuals gone amuck. They get to stay too, until I need an onion in the kitchen.
NOTE; Be quick about bringing all these inside if there is a threat of a freeze!!!

I'm planning to get back out in the gardens one more time before calling the job 'done'. We have some sword ferns growing throughout the gardens but they haven't been trimmed up for years. So, they are a mess of old brown fronds, as well as this years growth. I'm going to give them all a crew cut haircut with the hedge trimmers (what a time saver this tool purchase was!!) so I don't can catch up with these guys. Next spring, there will just be the new growth & they should all look better.

Besides some leaf raking the next couple weeks....(less if the wind really blows), I will be able to call the gardens 'ready for winter'. I'm going to attempt to mulch most of the leaves and rake them into the garden beds.....we'll see how that process goes!

Putting the Garden to Bed

September 24th, 2007 at 03:04 am

I actually love this time of year; for lots of reasons. As someone who loves gardening and the results of gardening, this is sort of final curtain time with the yard.

I cleaned out the lettuce beds last week, nothing worth harvesting, they had all got too damp......so into the yard waste bin.

Today I brought in an armful of cucumbers.....twice......and pulled out all the old vines. Lots of cleared ground after this one, it was amazing how far a few plants went. We've had fresh cucumbers now for a couple months which has been very yummy.

Harvested a zuchinni that had got away from me, so it's going to become spice cake as of tomorrow. There are a handful of tiny ones that I'll be watching and try to get them in before they freeze if we have some nasty weather roll in. Hoping we have nice enough days these will continue to mature as we didn't get our fill of zuchinni pancakes! No matter how many of these plants I manage to put in each spring, I've never had too many. The zuchinni jokes are lost on me!

I've got many other projects to take care of before I'm going to be happy with the gardens. I am a stickler about getting the work done right away, because I hate working with slimy wet remains of plants in the garden. Today was sunny at times, no rain here and not cold yet........perfect gardening weather.

I won't be planting anything this season, as we've still got our fingers crossed about our beach house deal. (tomorrow should bring us some news about the title search/easement & well issues) So, the work is only cosmetic here; everything will be trimmed and picked up before I feel like settling in by the wood stove with my knitting!

Gardeners Make Great Friends

September 18th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Almost 2 weeks (maybe even 3) ago, I answered a 'Wanted' post on freecycle, regarding rhubarb plants. Today, I was finally at the old house and got to meet Joy, the woman wanting rhubarb.

Joy came bearing gifts. She had everything from starts of chocolate mint to fresh tomatoes from her garden. (If you have never had the aromatic type mint plants, you really should try some, kids as well as adults love them.)

We visited while she did the work....digging up 2 of my rhubarb plants the current tenants are just letting go to waste. It always bugs me to see food going to waste anyway......and these plants were starts from my old place.......which was from a start from my dads garden when he was still living, so to me, they were even more important.

Before Joy left, I had managed to convince her she "needed" some other plants from my garden......strawberries, crocosmia, Japanese anenomes, lavatera, and a minty little ground cover. I hate for people to come all the way for just one plant! And, despite the neglect in this garden, things were growing fairly well. With some attention in Joys' garden, they should flourish.

On my way home, after spending the last couple days at the old house, I was pondering how gardeners seem to be so friendly. Is it just because we share plants between us & we are outgoing in order to share?? Or, perhaps gardening is usually a solitary pastime and we are thrilled to spend time with someone else?? I don't know for sure, but as we got starts for Joys' garden, I was reminded of the generous gardeners I had met because of the garden.

Thanks Joy, for making my day! I know each of us will be working in our gardens today, getting our new to us plants settled in!

Roses, Rhubarb and Leek

September 3rd, 2007 at 04:22 am

Went to the old house (rented to former room mate person) for the afternoon. Had to go drop off the week end young man, so planned to spend time packing a van full of my things to bring home.......

Ended up in the garden since it was such a great day here.

Picked the rhubarb first......I know, it's not spring anymore, but these plants are still producing nice tender stalks. Since I'm not into wasting anything, I picked them. (no one at the house cooks anything more complicated than top ramen)

Noticed my rows of leek were dry as dust, so set the hose out while I was there. Three of the leek were decent sized, so picked them to put in the freezer for homemade potato/leek soup on the next rainy day.

And, before I left, I scalped the rose bushes........I had quite a bouquet when I was done. I did forget to grab some water to put them in for the trip home, so they didn't look nearly as great when I got them here. Hoping they get themselves refreshed by morning!

I always feel so self sufficient when I can pick fruits/veggies and flowers from my own gardens! And, grabbing 4 dozen eggs from the chickens while I was there was fun too!

The First Tomato

August 19th, 2007 at 02:05 am

We harvested the first tomato and had it on a salad for dinner this evening.
Is there anything that tastes as different fresh than its' counterpart from a grocery store??

What is it exactly? Most likely the time from picking to plate. Let's see......about 5 minutes here! With lettuce & cucumbers from the garden, topped with this almost sun warmed tomato.....and drizzled with homemade blue cheese dressing. A taste treat for sure.

Watered the flower/veggie beds even tho there are reports of rain. (I don't believe them!) Watering is important even if it is raining; as the summer rains often aren't enough to get to the roots of the plants.

Have a kettle of fresh applesauce simmering on the stove too......from the tree at the edge of the patio. Applesauce always signals fall to me; although I haven't noticed other signs of the season changing.

Gave all the container gardens a shot of fish fertilizer....hoping for another month of flowers; especially from the begonias.

Used the new hedge trimmer again, but now I've got a different problem. No where to put the trimmings. Our yard waste container is full (with 2 piles in waiting too) and pick up isn't until Wed. Can't believe we only get pick up for this 2X a month.

I've decided this waste bit is one of my biggest difficulties in getting used to city gardening. Where to put it all?? On the positive side, I'm really enjoying having a finite space to work with. Having acreage for a yard, I never knew where & when to quit. This way, I've got some pretty definate limits as to where I can garden!

Gardening Updates

August 13th, 2007 at 08:54 pm

I've got to take a break from the constant gardening chores here. Not much weeding to be done due to the heavy layer of compost spread everywhere.

Deadheading takes a few minutes in each garden bed; picking off the old spent blooms keeps the plant in top shape and it will usually kick out more blossoms this way.

Regular watering.......but not as much as mom has been used to. Again, because of the heavy layer of compost; holds the moisture longer.

Then there is the harvesting bit. Broccoli; more than we can use by ourselves. Need to come up with someone who would like a bunch & soon! Apples from 5 trees. Zuchinni coming at the rate of one a day right now. (so far keeping up with them) And, the first cucumber picked and ready to use for tonights dinner. The rhubarb is up to date; just chopped it and tossed it in the freezer for later use. So much all at the same time....wouldn't it be great for this to last longer??

And, lastly.........I took out the new hedge trimmer again and attacked the front of another 40 year old shrub by the house. Gutsy enough to do one right out in the open where people can see I don't know what I'm doing yet! So far, not too bad. Have no idea how to trim the back side of it, as it is right next to a window well into the basement. Just an accident waiting for me I fear! Smile The ground is only sand so there isn't much in the way of solid ground either. The sand has been sifting out through the rockery for 40 years, leaving some areas that look like ground, but are just full of empty spaces underground. Yep, another accident just waiting for me.

So, the shrub by the house has a bit of a reprieve while I dream up how to balance myself in exactly no space & trim this guy back to what could be called 'shrub size'.

Garden Recipes

July 11th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

Remember the new rose bushes I planted in moms garden? Well, along with the bushes, I now have a mold problem. The dusty white stuff on the tops of the leaves sort of problem.

Not one to head to the garden store to purchase a chemical product to get this condition in check, I began to research and experiment.

Seems that regular old baking soda from your pantry is the ticket to clear up the mold. I found two "recipes" and can give results on one at this point.

Recipe #1: 3 t. soda
1 t. dish soap
1 gal. water
Mix and put in a spray bottle. Spray every 7-10 days throughout the growing season.

Recipe #2: 1 t vegetable oil
1 gal unchlorinated water
1 t plain listerine
1 t dish soap
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 T vinegar
Mix and put in a spray bottle. Spray every 7-10 days throughout the growing season.

I've been using Recipe #1, since I wasn't about to go buy mouthwash for a tablespoon of it....and I wasn't going to buy water either.

The spray has certainly kept roses from getting worse and I do believe they are making progress towards being healthy bushes.

I've had roses before and never had a disease problem, so this caught me by surprise. Supposedly, it can come from the shock of being transplanted, poor soil or poor circulation and of course, watering over the top of the bush. I've added better soil, we are now watering with the soaker hose from freecycle and I'm trimming out some of the leaves to open up the bush for better circulation. Since mom actually paid for these bushes, I'm on a mission to see they all survive........and thrive.

I'll keep posting the progress, hoping I can get these bushes on track without spending any money. All suggestions welcome!!

Vandals in the Garden

June 16th, 2007 at 06:10 am

Yes, there are vandals. The winged types I believe......but I haven't spotted the offenders.

I have been watching the peas (or beans, I can't remember which is which in this new garden) as they began to break through the earth.... And, suddenly, they were all up one morning. Then, the very next day.......I went for my usual stroll throught the garden with the dog in the early AM., only to find the little sprouts picked up out of the dirt and laid on top. All down the row. Whatever did this, only missed 3 or 4 starts. I replanted as many as I could find that weren't all dried out...we'll see what sort of crop I get!

Odd if it was a bird, that they didn't eat the sprouts. Can't think of anything else that would just uproot the seeds and leave them either. Gotta love all the mysteries a garden brings!

On the flip side......tonight was the first brocoli from the garden. Totally yummy! So satisfying growing and then cooking your own food. Tastes nothing like what we get from the grocery store. Also had radishes, but that never feels quite like the TA DA of growing brocoli to me!

A Peek at the New Gardens

June 14th, 2007 at 06:32 am

Here's a few pictures of the new garden spaces at moms. Most of the bare dirt has been planted in seeds, so you need to use your imagination & fill in all the empty spots with lush foliage and prolific vegetables!

The firewood holder thingy is the container garden I'm copying from the farmers market booth we visited. Still have some work to do on this, but having a tough time getting the rocks to stay put on the ends. Might need another trip to the market!

The refurbished picnic table & benches turned out quite well & even matched the existing umbrella. Gotta love those happy accidents! Free paint too!

New seedlings are up this morning; can see the beets, lettuces, radishes and also the beans & peas! Can hardly wait for a garden fresh salad!

This last picture is a before shot, we'll see what it turns into!

Greenhouses: ??'s, $$, ..........Help!

June 7th, 2007 at 06:27 pm

We're seriously looking at adding a greenhouse to the back forty here and seem to be collecting more questions as we go along. Fortunatly, we have the luxury of time as it is just now heading into summer in our garden.. Won't need the greenhouse til the fall/winter season.

Historically, our area has greenhouses on special at our 'fair time', which is late August/September, so we're hoping to know what we're doing by then. No point in negotiating a good price if we have no idea what we're shopping for.

With all that in mind, I'm asking for some help here from anyone who has had or currently has a greenhouse.
1) Any tips in general for me?
2) What do you really love about the set up you are working with?
3) What do you wish you had added to your set up?

We're getting ready to visit a local outlet for greenhouse kits and I feel like I'm so out of my element here. I've gardened, but never had a greenhouse. The more research I do on line, the longer my list of questions I have gets.

I do have the dimensions now laid out for a middle of the road sized set up...so we can get an idea of placement, sun exposure, etc. Also, thinking of clearing out the back access road to the place (currently the parking lot for all the relatives vehicles they want to 'save', as well as a couple dead items, camper, old truck, etc) so we can get the delivery truck in as well as a truck to deliver soil. No shortage of jobs around here, that's for sure!

Can't wait to get some of your advice on this new venture!

Gardening Update

May 30th, 2007 at 02:30 am

I figure I have made it to the half way point on the compost spreading event here. Getting progressively more tired and a tad sore. The rain over the week end made the dirt twice as heavy it seems.

I added a row of beets, along with a couple rows of cosmos from seed. Stuck in a couple dozen onion sets for good measure and transplanted some veggie starts that were apparently in the wrong place. Fairly wimpy versions of brocolli and brussel sprouts. With the new compost, perhaps they will come around.

Planted the cucumbers and zuchinni I had started from seed. Felt very frugal doing it this way rather than purchasing starts at the nursery.

Found stakes for the dahlia tubers that got divided and re planted yesterday and got half of the annuals in the ground.

Made good use of the patio furniture that I'd just put out.......There is nothing like sitting in your garden, viewing all your hard work! Smile

Just when I was thinking I was coming real close to having everything in the ground, a friend drove up with 4 pots of perennials from her garden for us. We had mentioned when seeing her yesterday, that we were putting in a new garden. So, we're blessed with 2 types of iris, a pot of flags, and a great lupine plant. It pays to 'talk' gardening with others..... Everyone needs to divide their perinneals & is usually looking for others to share with.

Crossing my fingers re; the weather & the garden tomorrow. We're supposed to be in the high 80's ....not exactly transplanting weather.

Name That Bug!

May 22nd, 2007 at 11:36 pm

I'm working in the new to me garden (seems like I've been doing that now for awhile) and I kept turning up these odd bug/larvae type critters.

Anyone have an idea as to what this is?

They are located in the sod I'm tearing up......they are right in the root area, so only about 1"-2" under the surface.

I can't get a picture to turn out any better, although I tried. Thank goodness for digital, I'd hate to think of all the film I'd just taken of a BUG.

He (she, it??) wiggles at the front end (assuming it's the front end) but doesn't seem to have legs. I've watched it for a bit on the surface of the ground and it doesn't burrow....

The 2nd half of my problem is the lawn is full of ridges. Not that you can see, but when walking on the lawn it feels like the sand on the beach when the tide has gone out and left the ridges...
Wondering if these critters have anything to do with the weirdness of the lawn.......or if they are a food supply to something else that is doing the nasty work to the lawn?

I have a bug-in-a-cup that I'll be taking to the garden center tomorrow to see if there is anyone there that can identify this critter.......but, I thought I'd try this avenue too. I've never seen anything like this before.