New Pictures!

I just spent most of my day updating the vegetable garden pictures. Due to problems with my internet connection, I'll do the rest of the pictures another day. Enjoy. :)

So Many Things To Do, So Little Time

I've been pretty busy the past few weeks. I spent 8 days in Raleigh, NC with my sister and grandparents, visiting my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. It rained the entire time we were gone, and I could not believe the size of the plants in the vegetable garden. Hopefully I can get some pictures up this week. I'm leaving again next Monday to visit my Great Aunt and Great Grandma in Chicago.

The Japanese beetles seem to have disappeared, so we decided to take down the bug bag and not invite more trouble. The Japanese Maple looks pretty bad, and it lost a lot of leaves. I hope it survives. I also noticed that despite all the rain, the 4 o' clocks have not grown at all, and the Cleome isn't doing that great either. The soil must be to rocky for the roots to grow well.

All the veggies have flowered, and some tiny tomatoes and beans are starting to grow. I had enough Spicy Globe Basil to make pesto, and it tasted wonderful!
The Calendula finally bloomed, although I expected it to be taller. The Cleome plants are producing seeds, as are the Cosmos plants. Again, I expected the Cosmos to be taller. Maybe it's because of the late start I got planting everything.

So, on the agenda for this week: fertilizing some of the flowers, collecting seeds, starting a third planting of radishes and possibly scallions and lettuce, finding a recipe for all the zucchini that grows as soon as your back is turned, and getting all my pictures posted in my online photo album.

Farewell ~


Rain Made The Veggies Grow

The vegetable really took off after the rain Wednesday and Thursday - the zucchini is huge and using up the entire 3' x 3' space allotted to it. I've been harvesting radishes every few days and the lettuce should be ready for picking soon. We got some more rain this afternoon, so I shouldn't have to water for a few days.

I took several cuttings from the Spicy Globe Basil, and one from the Lemon Balm. From everything I've read, they should root quickly. The basil will go near the tomatoes and peppers to deter the insects that are eating the leaves. The Lemon Balm is a bit of an experiment - we grow it in a pot to keep it from spreading; it wintered over well, but the leaves have black spots all over them. After doing some research I decided to try starting a new plant since the old may be root bound or in need of division. I thought it would be a good idea to have a new established plant in case the old one dies after division in the fall.

We are still battling the Japanese beetles. The trap didn't seem to be working very well, so I made a mixture of soap and water with a little vinegar to spray on the beetles; it seems to be working pretty well. The next day there were fewer beetles, but they had spread out to Mom's Rose of Sharon and my Anise Hyssop and Bee Balm. We applied Sevin to the Japanese Maple, Anise Hyssop and Bee Balm. Of course it's probably all washed off now with the rain today, but hopefully it did some good.

I took 70+ pictures Friday and Saturday, and should have them on the internet by Tuesday.



It's Raining, It's Pouring...

The rain started yesterday, and has continued today. Just what the flowers and veggies need. Everything (including the weeds) is getting a good soaking. This quote seems to fit me perfectly: "God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done." (Author Unknown) Since I'm stuck inside it's the perfect time to do the cleaning that has been neglected, update this blog, update my online photos and organize the rest of my digital pictures.

On Tuesday I figured out why the Japanese beetles I'd seen in my flower garden weren't doing much damage; they're feasting on the Japanese Maple tree. I set up a Japanese beetle trap and it seemed to be attracting them. It should solve the problem; if it doesn't I'm doing some research on the internet for other ways to deal with them.

In the vegetable garden: Dad put the chicken wire around the bottom of the fence to keep the critters from squeezing through and enjoying my vegetables before I can. Mom and I decided it would be way to much work to try and mow the paths, so we decided to kill the grass and put down some mulch. It's a little like lasagna gardening: I started with a layer of wet newspaper to kill the grass. Then I put down a layer of straw and soaked it well with the hose. The straw should keep the paths from getting muddy and slippery once the grass dies. We haven't decided on a mulch yet, and will probably wait until next year to put it down. The straw should work until then. It's not done yet - I ran out of newspaper - but hopefully it will be done by the time I go on vacation next week.

Farewell ~


Cold First Day of July

The the month of July is usually warm with temperatures in the upper 80's and 90's. Not so today. The high temperature is 66 and the overnight low is 51. It should warm up in the next couple of days. We're still waiting for rain according to the meteorologists we should get some before the end of the week.

The vegetable garden is growing rapidly. I bought another basil plant on Friday to plant near the Brandywine Tomatoes and hopefully stop the insect damage. The wilted tomato plant didn't survive, so the basil is going in it's place. I'm still having some trouble with something digging in the dirt and around the plants. We're going to put chicken wire around the bottom of the fence to try and stop the chipmunks from sneaking in.
Dad finished the gate yesterday. He took a piece of fence and remade it into a very nice gate. I'll take pictures tomorrow. He also attached a piece of lattice to the south end of the fence to serve as a windbreak. The lattice was only 8 feet wide, and the fence is approximately 14 feet wide, so he put some slats through the spaces left in the fence to break the wind. Next year I will try planting some clematis or morning glories to hide the lattice and provide some extra protection from the wind.

I've started collecting Cleome seeds. The Rose Campion is also producing seeds, and should be ready for harvest soon. The 4 o' clocks haven't grown much, but I think a good rain shower will fix that. The Double Click Cosmos is amazing! The flower petals start off rolled into little cones that gradually open over a few days. The package described double and semi-double flowers, but they look more like a variety called Sea Shells. They're pretty anyway. Maybe when the plants get taller the blooms will improve; they're still pretty short. I'm still waiting for the Calendula to bloom, and most of it is still pretty droopy.

I'm sure everything will perk up as soon as we get a good rainstorm, however as this quote so aptly puts it: "Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise." ~Michael P. Garafalo, gardendigest.com