Monday, June 29, 2009

The evil to do list...

The first part of this week is supposed to be unseasonably cool, with evening rain. Which today was almost too much. With the heat and the rain before that there was so much to do that it was hard to even get started.

I got more of the veg garden weeded, then watered again since I planted seeds on Sat. and the soil seemed really dry. I still have a bunch of annuals that I got half-off at the PG season end prices to plant. The front flower beds were still so parched that I couldn't work them (even though I watered last night) so I watered them a little. We are getting some rain tonight - and hopefully tomorrow I can start to get them in shape. :) I need to get some more potting soil and put more holes in old plaster buckets - the peppers in pots are doing so much better that I think I'm going to pot more of the remainder.

I still have the half-off bulbs to plant... And I'm starting to make more lists.... I think tomorrow I just need to plop down by a flower bed and weed. Then worry about what next. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Heat Breaks...

An hour after I tried to mow the lawn (5 pm) the temp had dropped 10 deg. And soon was in the low 70s before dusk for the first time all week. Note to self - wait another hour next time before mowing.

I was thus able to plant and weed some this afternoon. I pulled out the pansies from the cauldron, and planted it with annual geraniums - though this year a couple of red ivy geraniums. Most of the plants I overwintered inside are still alive, but haven't reflowered yet. Note - need to tag them with bloom color this fall.

I tried to put together the boards I got to hold in the mounded soil around the potatoes - but I need longer screws. I did get more lettuce harvested, that's 5 colanders full so far this year. I have been able to get a few pea pods from the garden - but really only enough to grab a couple for each person. But at least that's some.

The swiss chard I planted where the spinach fizzled is coming up - I almost cultivated them under - it's been so long I had given up. Next week is supposed to be a lot cooler - so I'm hoping to get caught up then.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The enemy has been spotted...

They have been expected. I knew it was too good to be true... The cold spring has delayed the arrival of the Japanese beetles.

It was in the 90s again today. I managed to get some gardening in by dunking my hair in the shower before going out, and by jumping in the pool (clothes and all) when I was getting too hot. I now have almost all of my purchased flowers planted. I got more tomatoes planted - and more of my hardened off seedlings. I still have a lot to do - as the weeds flourished in the last couple rainy weeks - and didn't seem to stop in the heat.

So back inside, I decided to take a couple pics of the lilies, and was met with the first Japanese beetles. I drown them. I don't want to hurt any of the bees or butterflies. But Japanese beetles are evil. So armed with my handy 'cup of death' (aka soap & water), I dispatched the first 2 today, the second of which was chewing through a rose bud.

I also got to see a butterfly going to town on the lilies.

And the hollyhocks are starting to bloom...

Smack my head moment.

I went out into the evening heat (and mosquitoes), and tried to reduce the weeds in the veg garden. And as I was pulling the weeds from what was supposed to be the carrot row - a single remaining carrot 6 inches south has me thinking I hoed under the wrong row. Then, again I did let some old carrots go to seed last year. And somehow in my new compost bin there were two healthy tomato plants (that I dug out and planted).

I had no plants in the middle of my pea rows. But lots of ants. Ants that seemed to still be swarming up the weeds to bite...

So I'm thinking of planting my remaining pepper plants there.

I had rotten luck trying to plant my remaining yellow squash seedlings - all 3 stems snapped as I was just picking up the plants (they had gotten tangled on the cucumbers). The cucumbers survived planting.

The lemon balm and tarragon were getting out of control - so I gave both plants a severe haircut - and then discovered the oregano in between will need trimmed tomorrow too.. I think I'm going to look for a dessert recipe for the tarragon (I've tried pork and chicken and don't really like seafood). And try to see if Martha Stewart ever published her lemon balm -ade recipe. As it is I still threw most of the clippings on the compost.

I did try to assemble a "box" to hold in soil around my potatoes, but the rechargeable drill died while drilling the first hole. Hopefully it wasn't charged long enough - because new batteries cost more than a new drill.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Heat is Here...

In the way it always goes in Indiana - the temperature jumped 30 degrees, then moderated back to high 80s with high humidity. It feels like you are being smothered with a wet towel.

So I've put up the former row cover on bamboo stakes over the lettuce, as a shade cloth. And we're eating it every meal - cause I still don't know if it will bolt soon.
It didn't have enough time to form full heads - and it seems to be starting to grow up now...
The red lillies are fading and the white are starting to bloom...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Too Wet...

Multiple thunderstorms this week. Luckily no trees down near us. :) But I have clay soil - so I'm hoping later today the wind and the sun makes it dry enough to plop in the last of my purchased plants.

It's wet though, too wet to weed (and boy are they thriving!).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Row Cover...

Last year was the first I grew summer squash and zucchini - and the first that I got squash vine borer (maybe they just don't like butternut).

So this spring I transplanted my seedlings under row cover 3 ys, 3 z, and 3 watermelon. And waited until today - when I saw the middle plant had flowers.The wire I had used to support the cloth had actually worn some holes in it. When I removed the cover this is what I found.

One huge y. squash plant in the middle with only male flowers, one zucchini on the end with no buds yet, and one tiny watermelon plant - leaving 6 holes with very happy weeds. Luckily the weeds pulled out easily, and I have some more seedlings that have been waiting inside for me to figure out where the heck I could plant them.

Unfortunately, I think I'm going to need to stay vigilant for SVB. But on the plus side, these 3 plants are bigger than the others (butternut & pattypan) I planted uncovered, the extra heat might have helped if nothing else.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bushes do grow...

The blue hydrangea is big enough that most of the perennials planted closer to the porch are nearly completely obscured. That's about 4ft of shorter perennials...

And a lot of these guys are good to be split and/or moved out. This is on the NE side of the house - so light shade most of the day. The iris needs moved (and squeezed some more to try to kill more of the baby iris borers), the foamflower will be low - but I love seeing it there in spring, so maybe the hosta should move & be split (I only have one other that color). Lillies are staying, phlox needs thinned to reduce powdery mildew, snow on the mountain (bishop's weed) needs to be removed from the part of the bed by the porch, and the peony just needs the creeping charlie pulled out...

And the white edged hosta is hiding my white hellebore - I think moving the hellebore might be easier than being careful about the hellebore while moving the hosta.

Ever notice that it takes nearly as long to figure out how you want to renovate a bed - as to actually do it?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cooking Adventures - Beef Burgundy AMK Cookbook (red)

I think one of the requirements of having a veg garden is to like to cook with the contents. And I've gotten more adventurous as I've gotten older. (Though I still haven't found a recipe worth making again with my tarragon or lemon balm.) So tonight I tried making Beef Burgundy. Roasts were on sale this week, and I thought trying something new would be nice...

Even with fresh parsley and thyme from the garden, I was completely underwhelmed. Perhaps a roast cooked whole not chopped up, perhaps with red potatoes instead of noodles. No bay... The meat tasted good, but not remarkable.

And it also underscores the major weakness I find with America's Test Kitchen's magazine (Cook's Ill) and the good cookbook I used. No pic at all. I want a color pic to help me gauge if I messed up, or if it's just not that wow.

And now my parsley is quite small - and I don't think it helped the dish at all. (pouts)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time Flies...

The irises are mostly done (though there may be many days of foliage squeezing ahead - anyone have any new ideas on trying to get rid of borers?).
And the peonies are almost halfway done.

But the Yellow Rose has it's first bloom (and before the Japanese Beetles swarm!). Note that I still need to take another cart full of daylillies out of this bed.

And the first of the lillies started to bloom tonight. I can't believe I thought this guy was going to be orange (should have checked my old pics). He's a lovely red, isn't he? :)

In the upper right corner you might think I have 2 daisies planted too closely. Nope, 2 strikingly different colors on the same plant. I also made another 5 gallon plaster bucket a container for another eggplant, and got some more of the "extension" to the veg. garden covered with papers, then black landscape fabric. Today was the first sunny afternoon that showed me where the sun actually shines there. I was overly hopeful. I guess I'll just see what happens.

I'm hoping we actually get the thunderstorms that are in the forecast. This morning showed overnight was just enough to wet down the driveway. By the afternoon the only places that looked well watered were where I watered in plants and seeds. I really do need to set up a rain gauge.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ID please! Unexpected Visitor...

I was happily gardening along (and pondering if the large number of ant colonies in my garden explain why my seeds had such poor germination, when I noticed this guy in my herb bed. By the time I got my camera he was already nosing his way under the garden fence into the daylillies...

I didn't scream. Though I am freaked out.

Um, so please tell me he's a garter snake...

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Dangers of Plastic Bags...

Now is the time for sale bulbs. Which is actually great timing given the wet, cold spring. Earlier planting may have just rotted, great year for procrastinators like me, less guilt. The bad part is plastic bags. With company I've waited over a week to plant them, and unfortunately the purple glads got moldy because I left them in the store's plastic bag in my trunk. So I asked for a paper bag my next trip - 50% off - but they don't even have them!!!

Big box stores are quite odd anymore. Wally's world is charging more for plants than the local nurseries - but so many people assume they are still cheaper (like they were 3 years ago) and they are still selling half-dead, mislabeled annuals (as perennials), and lillies that have already bloomed and have been dead headed (for full price).

I was going to buy more weed block fabric - to hold down the newspaper over the grass.. but think it might be cheaper at the smaller store - so going there instead. It's hot and humid today (weird Indiana weather) but tomorrow it's supposed to be 15 deg cooler! So I think bulb planting is the less strenuous activity for today.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Picture Time

Wacky weather...

People have been saying that this spring is the coolest and wettest since the 1920s, but that further south in Indiana they have had it a bit wetter, so we're better off up here...

My peas had really poor germination. Especially since I was using relatively fresh seed. So I've planted a row of limas, and half a row of green beans where there should be peas. I got a packet of innocolant for the first time, and sprinkled the new seeds, just in case. I guess I should be happy, since I'm short on space, but I really like fresh peas so much more than beans... Guess I'll have to try for a fall crop.

I've gotten out the edger, and so far have about 2 sq feet de-sodded. And planted a tomato plant there. And topped it off with a bag of composted manure. (Grow baby, grow)I've got quite a bit more to go. But it's cool at least. I figure I'll stick the shallots I got in the Lowe's 1/2 price bin in the ground next to the onions, and then de-sod until it rains. Need to get more beans in.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Container Gardening...

I ran out of room in my garden. And the tiller still isn't working. I put down clear plastic, but that only phased part of the grass.

So today, I planted a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket. Old jiffy peat pellets in the bottom, then soil from a plant that didn't last the winter indoors, then some egg shells and veg waste, then Miracle Grow. I need to get the drill out for the next bucket - which I think will be eggplant or peppers. I just remember the amount and taste of the container tomatoes I've grown in the past to be less...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rainy day..

June came in with early morning thunderstorms. Just as the garden was getting dry enough to weed, and get my beans planted. My peas had really poor germination rates so I got a packet of inoculate, which I've never used before. I'm also planting limas and some purple beans as well. But the rain comes and laughs at my plans...

Much like my car, which refused to start, after I had finished purchasing more mulch at the hardware store. Since the battery seems fine (and a jump didn't help), it needs to be towed to the repair shop. Perhaps one of my lottery tickets won. Wouldn't that be nice?