Tag Archive | flower gardening

Garden Tour

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Today’s cool temperature and fine mist is a welcome change from drought conditions and day after day in the 90s.  Last night we had a thunderstorm with heavy rains.  I can almost feel the plants breathing a deep sigh of relief at the much needed water.

g2Despite the adverse conditions, the vegetable garden is doing well.  The indian corn was knee high on the Fourth of July, so we’re right on schedule there.  A few days ago I beat the weeds back with the mantis.  Still need to rake the loosened weeds and throw them out.  Also need to weed right around the plants again.  I did that about two weeks ago.  Weeds don’t seem fazed by drought.

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The red sweet peppers are doing much better than last year.  I planted them closer together and am trying to make sure to give them plenty of water.  They are all beginning to bloom.  The beets are ready to be thinned for the greens.  Can hardly wait for a steaming bowl full flavored with salt and butter, yum!g3

Carrots are ready to be thinned as well.  I already thinned the pumpkins and squash.  They have out-grown the threat of squash bugs and cucumber beetles sucking the juices dry.  I think it was a hard year for those bug pests, I didn’t see hardly any.  Could be they don’t like very dry conditions.g6

The tomatoes are blooming and some have several small fruit forming already.  Can’t wait to harvest my first tomatoes!  These Early Girls usually have fruit ready by the end of July.  We’ll see how they do.  The lack of rain may have slowed them down.  I watered three times, but I suspect tomatoes like even more moisture.g7

The wax bush beans are beginning to flower.  Once flowers show up, watch out!  There will be beans to harvest in no time.  I still have about a dozen cans of beans left from last summer.  That’s ok, never too many beans.g5g8

I planted head lettuce that is ready to be thinned and also beds of marigolds, zinnias and bachelor buttons.  One bachelor button plant volunteered from last year and has lots of pretty mauve flowers already.  Always enjoy a little color in the vegetable garden.g10

The sunflowers struggled a bit, but are now growing well.  Most are about a foot tall.  Once they get this big, they begin to shoot toward the sky, nearly doubling in size every week until they reach six to seven feet.  They will be covered with bunches of small blooms that later form black oil seeds for the birds.g9

So, everything is growing right along here in the garden.  Am hoping the rain returns more frequently so I don’t have to water too much. We’ll check back in a couple weeks to see how things are going.

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Garden’s Popping Up

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Despite plentiful sunshine and rain, June was a slow month for the garden.  The plants seemed to lag.  The photo above was taken July 9th, right after I tilled with the Mantis to reduce the weeds.  Perhaps the weeds were exerting a dampening effect on the vegetables because the growth has been noticeable since weeding.

The photo below was taken this morning.  The corn, lettuce, zinnias and carrots have surged.  The squashes are starting to gain some momentum.  Weeds are also creeping back and will require hand removal.  It may be that once a plant reaches a certain critical mass, the growth is faster.  The early days could also be spent developing a root system that is not visible to the impatient gardener.g7The weeds were growing mostly in the pathways and open areas, I try to keep the immediate vicinity of the vegetables weeded by hand.  Just the presence of so many other plants could possibly affect my domestic babies.  We learn more and more of how plants do battle under the ground, emitting chemicals through their roots to impact each other’s growth.  Wild weeds have a determination to grow that their softer, coddled garden cousins lack.

Boston bib head lettuce

Boston bib head lettuce

g2Indian corn reaches heights of seven feet or more, adding inches every day during this hot and humid cornscateous weather.  After tilling last week, I hoed the soil into mounds six inches tall around the base of each corn plant to encourage the growth of their secondary roots. These help anchor the tall stalks during high winds from thunderstorms and freak tropical storms.

g4I also weeded and hoed the soil up around the wax beans. This plant does not do well against weed competition and requires plenty of support around its long stem to hold up the developing burden of beans.  Due to the spotty germination of the beans, I had to reseed, hence the marked difference in the size of the plants in each row.  The second planting was more successful than the first.  The rows should fill in nicely now.  The bean patch may appear small, but I have confidence it will produce a bountiful crop.

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In the tomato jungle, several plants have green fruits on them.  One tomato is even starting to get a whitish hue indicating it will ripen soon.  I can hardly wait to eat tomatoes from my own garden!  The flavor is superior to anything available in stores. In the background, the sweet peppers are visible amongst the weeds.  They are blooming and have formed a couple baby peppers.  I will hand pull the weeds and apply more mulch to the peppers and tomatoes.  At the very end of the pepper rows are massed plantings of marigolds that should soon begin to bloom.

g6This year I am growing more flowers with the vegetables.  The bachelor buttons that volunteered from last year are covered with blooms.  Zinnias are showing buds.  The straw flowers trouble me.  I am not sure that any sprouted.  That part of the garden may remain empty.  Since I don’t know what a baby straw flower looks like, I’ve been removing obvious weeds from the area and hoping the some of the unfamiliar ones might be what I want.  Time will tell.

If no straw flowers show up, I might put a few more carrots in the area. Carrots can be seeded throughout the summer because they grow fast and will make a fall crop.

Garden 2015

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The garden this year went in about the same time as usual.  It was all planted by the second day of June.  We had lots of chilly, wet weather this spring so the planting was somewhat delayed.  I like to get the garden mostly done by the end of May.  Since I don’t plant many cool weather things like peas or radishes or broccoli, I don’t have to bother with April garden tilling.  This year would have been too wet to work the soil that early.

indian corn

indian corn

baby bib lettuce

baby bib lettuce

For plants I have indian corn, field pumpkins, mini-pumpkins, winter squash, carrots, Boston bib lettuce, sunflowers, tomatoes and sweet peppers.  Also put in marigolds, zinnias, strawflowers, and bachelor buttons.  Of course, the Jerusalem artichokes occupy one corner.

sunflowers

sunflowers

bachelor buttons

bachelor buttons

These photos were taken several days ago, right after the carrots sprouted.  Since then we have gotten more rain and a few warm, sunny days.  The sunflowers have nearly doubled in size since the pictures.  These sunflowers volunteered from seeds left in the garden last year.  I transplanted the seedlings to the edge of the garden before tilling.  They all survived nicely.  Many of the bachelor buttons are also volunteers from last year’s seed.  Some are now beginning to bloom.  I loved these flowers so much last year that I planted several more flower varieties to enjoy.  They go well with the vegetables and add some color to the garden.

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sweet peppers

This is the first year in some time that I have grown peppers.  These are sweet green, turning to red if left on the plant.  Right after I put the seedlings in the ground, something devoured most of the leaves on one plant. Not sure what did this.  There were no tracks so maybe a flying creature or something very small like a vole. Why just one plant?  I don’t know, but I’m glad they left the others alone.

wax bush beans

wax bush beans

The wax bush beans are struggling.  Since this photo, several more have sprouted.  I will have to replant some of the rows if I want many beans.

tomatoes

tomatoes

I planted six Early Girl tomatoes, my favorite variety.  They are growing well.  I have to mulch the tomatoes and peppers to improve their growth rate. Something I hope to do today.

It’s nice to have photos of the plants when they first start out.  As the garden develops I like to go back and look at how much the plants have grown.

Iris Clean-Up

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There is a definite nip in the air, the swamp maples are bright red and the sugar maples are beginning to take on an orange cast to their leaves.  No question, autumn is fast approaching.  Time to start cleaning up the gardens for the winter rest.

The flower bed at the front of our house is planted to several varieties of irises that put on a beautiful display of blooms in June.  After that, the leaves go crazy, getting tall and broad and shading any other plants in their way.  The irises are working to take on the nutrients needed to produce flowers next year.

By late summer, iris leaves are beginning to die and can be cut back.  My plants got a haircut yesterday and the difference is amazing.  There was a garden under all that!  I will divide some of the rhizome clumps and start more irises somewhere else.a2