Thursday, July 19, 2007

PITA beds....

I'm sure everyone has them.
Deadbeat beds.
I dug this bed early last year, and planted a whole can of 'fragrant' flowers. I got a ton of weeds, and about six flowers.
I sighed.
I amended, and replanted this year with peonies. (from seeds.)
I got more weeds.
I sighed again.
So a friend was moving a few weeks ago, and I was offered a bunch of mums. I took them, cleaned out the bed again, and planted.
This is what it looks like today:
I've got clumps of mums, with plenty of space. I just have to figure out what else to plant there. I'd like color from spring to fall if at all possible.
Oh, and that yellow flower in the front? It's from the 'fragrant' collection. I haven't had the heart to dig it up.
I do really like it, but now it has no place there. Though it seems like nothing may have a place there.
This bed is by the road, next to my driveway, so it would be the first thing someone pulling into my drive would see. For the past two years, it's been more an eyesore than anything else.
And just like 90% of my yard, it's full sun. And I don't like annuals. Self sowing redeems themselves, but I don't see the point of buying something that would only last one year.
Don't get me started on the bouganvaliea or whatever we bought with NO instructions that did wonderfully through the year, and couldn't figure out why it never came back this spring. 40.00 on one plant, to last one season. Not happy.
Which reminds me, I need to replant my orchid, I lost the stem on it a year ago, and it's got great leaves, just no new growth. Time to replant.

At long last, honeysuckle gets an arbor

So Jim likes to drag me off to auctions, (then mercilessly teases me about purchases he made for me.) and this past Sunday was no exception. Now in the description for this auction, there was no mention of a garden arbor, nope, they called it two trellis' and a bridge. No matter, we got it for way less than new, and about the same cost as it would have cost Jim to build it. And since I've been waiting over a year for Jim to make mine, it was an easy way out for him, and instant gratification for me.
The arbor:
Now I bought the honeysuckle two years ago, and this spring I was treated to it's wonderful smell. It's positioned at the end of my 'garden trail' as the end game. I left the little trellis' that it came with on them, and it's a good thing too, because otherwise I think it would have collapsed on itself, and spread outward more than it already has. I'll have to trim it though, and be very careful when putting in the arbor, not wanting to destroy the roots. Though I've heard that you damn near cannot kill off honeysuckle, it took me two years to get it to bloom, I still want to be careful.
So here is my pitiful honeysuckle:
If you look, you can see it escaping along the pathway, I'll have to train it up the arbor.
A lot of that is honeysuckle, and some of it is weeds. I've had a great time this year pulling weeds from my new garden. No, really.
Eh, now that it's rained, I'll have to get out there this weekend and pull more. I know next year I will not be doing the wood mulch. I thought for sure it was what I wanted, and now I've seen some nice organic mulch, and I believe thats the way I'll swing next year. Jim also wants to rake up the gravel and lay down fabric. Which means me. We'll see. I don't like pulling all the weeds, but I'd be doing the same in a few years anyhow, right?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Proof of life

So, yes, I do realize that I've had proof for some time now, obviously. But to further compound the point:
Corn, tassles and silks, this is my most mature, and with any luck, in a few weeks, we'll be enjoying sweet corn from my very own garden!

The tomatoes are getting bigger by the day. Both the fruits and the plants. The early girls are now taller than me, and the celebrities aren't far behind. Next year I'm hoping to get my hands on some heritage seeds, so that we might enjoy a bigger variety. And revisit my youth when that was all my grandmother grew.

And the cayenne's, who've been hanging around for over a month are finally getting red! I'm so excited about these!

And the habenero's are such small plants, but when you lift them, surprise!! LOADED!

A squash that will be cut tomorrow morning, I have about four others who will be following suit in the next three to four days as well. I did cut a zucchini as well, and so far out of two plants, thats been the only one. I'm surprised about this, as I thought they would be driving me nuts by now. Though Jim told me a few have been popping up on the breakroom table, and last night another brought in zucchini muffins. So he's getting his fix of nothing else.

And one of about six cucumbers. I'm awaiting patiently so that I'll get to make my fabulous cucumber salad.

And with any luck, I'll be able to make some pickles as well. I know the tomatoes are going to drive me nuts, last count four days ago, there were over 60. And several have fruited since then. But I'm dirty and happy!

At long last!

I've melons! (Yes, well, those too.) Side by side even, makes them so much easier to keep an eye on. I might have more, poking through all the vines sometimes while keeping a wary eye for the bees can be well, interesting.

Musk melon. Looking nice and pretty for my camera.

And one very small watermelon, and today, it's nearly twice that size. Amazing!

The vines are everywhere, you have to really watch where you step, and I've had to warn visitors that if they stand in one place for too long, they'll likely walk away with new growth.

Here's a nice side shot of the vines. They're also wandering about the underside of the squash, and a few are peeking about the tomatoes as well. Ah, well, as long as they're happy and healthy, and they don't take off with one of the children or the neighbors' animals, we'll be allright.

Mystery plants! No more!

I've been skulking about in the garden (surprised?) and for a few years now, this plant has shown up. Well, rather it's either a tree or a shrub. It wasn't there until about four years ago. I'm thinking it's a Rose of Sharon, but I'm not sure. It's growing under a few trees, and I've clipped back the other trees so that this might grow better, because it is nice and pretty. So if anyone reading this has any idea, please let me know. Thanks to Beaucarnea, this has been identified, yes, it's a Rose of Sharon! Thanks!

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And this little fella was spotted at the back of my veggie garden yesterday. Now mind you, this was in an area where no one grew anything but weeds. So this seriously sprouted out of nowhere, and it's just the one, and I have NO idea what this is.

He's just a little guy, but the color is pretty, and the yellow looks like little flower buds themselves. The picture quality of this one isn't that great, but again, if anyone has ANY idea! Again, thanks to Beaucarnea, this has been ID'd as a dayflower. I'm not sure why it showed up, but it did, and I'll dig it and pot it, or else I might have them all over the garden. Thanks again!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Start to now: Compare!

Okay, Wanted side by side pictures of what it looked like when I started, a few weeks ago, and now: This was taken about the very last week-weekend of May, when I started the garden project. Many starts, and a lot of seeds in the ground.
This picture was taken about (I'd know for sure, but that info is on the other computer, and I can't just hook it up at the moment.) The second week of June.

This picture was at the end of June, to illustrate the combat with the melons and the squash.
This picture was taken July 10, 2007. What a difference! And yes, I have learned my lesson, and my plants will not be so crowded next year.
Here you can see the melons are not only taking the squash down, but reaching for the shed as well. I'm sure in a few weeks I'll have to be much more careful going around that side of the garden. As the vines are twining themselves around anything that stands still, and some slow moving children....

As far as the battle goes, we're still pretty tied in my book. The squash is nice and full, and have provided me with several fruits. Had I not put the fence up, I would not be able to walk down the path next to them and pick anything.
The melons on the other hand, are far more outreaching, and have joined forces with the watermelons, who are now reaching out as well, though their numbers are smaller, they should not be dismissed. They have not however provided me with even a simple start of a fruit that I can see. They have flowered like crazy for the last three weeks or so, and while it's not a buzzing bee patch, I have seen the bees out there, so I'm calling it even for now.
I might have to include the cucumber if things keep going like they are, if it keeps it up, it will be poking out through three sides of the garden, and be by far the most dominant plant I have.

Evidence of pollination:

Can you tell I'm picture happy in the gardens?
I'm sad that a few starts have been lost due to non-pollination. I was so excited about a few, then to find a few days later they deflated, not having been pollinated. I've thumped the tomatoes plenty of times, and went out with a paint brush to pollinate other things, I'm just not sure how I'm rating on that.

Well, until next time, happy gardening!

Good Morning Glory!

Note: I did start this entry in the morning hours, but delays, delays, delays!

While I haven't been posting regularly, I have been out in the gardens more often. With the hot dry weather last week, and now looking like this next week will be much the same, special attention is important!
I lost my peas, I knew I planted them too late after reading more on them, but I let them grow until they died. I ended up with less than a bowl full. I know next year I'll have to start them indoors early.
But I did manage to have some nice squash last night! Two from my garden! Weighing in at about a pound each, they were superb! Picture of the fruits of my labors:

Jim says that at this point the squash are about 150.00 each, but the cost will go down very soon, because I have about 60+ tomatoes, and three cucumbers, and a zuke getting to get picked any day now as well.

Two pictures of the tomatoes, they seem to be coming along nicely.

The zucchini and a cucumber. The cucumber vine seems to be running rampant over the garden as well. It's on the other side of the zucchini, and poking through the tomatoes as well.

This cucumber seems to have popped up out of nowhere. I swear it wasn't there two days ago, but here it is, in full glory! Kind of like the extra squash we had to eat last night. When the lighting is better, I'll have to take pictures of where the vine is traveling.

Wide shot of the garden from another side. The corn and the tomatoes are nearly as tall as I am.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Time and tide

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Not a whole lot of news, really. I've been playing with the various settings on my camera to get the best pictures possible. No real rain, so I had to water with the hose, I was really hoping for some too. Bummer. Next week we're going to have highs in the mid 90's. I'm hoping to get some peas, but with weather like that, I'll have to get a fan on them or something. HA!
So in the battle royale of the squash and the musk melons, the melons are starting to spread, and even took ahold of the squash. I had to unwrap it. Though the squash was the first to produce female blossom. Pictures:
1. The squash and the muskmelons going head to head. To give this picture a little prespective, the squash (Left) is not up to my upper thigh. I'm trying to train the melons more away from the squash. I do have a 'fence' on the other side of the squash, or else I'd never be able to get to the peas or the zucchini.
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2. The female squash! I've got two males as well. I'm going to go at them with a painbrush tomorrow, to ensure pollination.

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We've gotten one strawberry as well. Though as we were taking this picture we notice that we've another blossom, and about half a dozen buds. So I'll have a little sweet as I'm wandering through the garden. (Though Jim has dibs on most of the strawberries, these were his idea. These and the hot peppers.) Funny, he gets to pick them, I get to grow them.

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And at long last! My ditch lily has bloomed! (Still in the container though, it will go nowhere near my other lillies.) Pretty as hell, too bad I'll be transplanting it over by the road. I guess if I had a flower to pick, it would be the lily. I adore them. My oriental lily is going to open within the next few days, I await with my nose and camera. Picture of the ditch lily:

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And last but not least, my star jasmine, up close. I looked around at Lowe's. No other kinds, I'm going to check out God's Green Earth. Otherwise I'll have to go mail order I fear. I think I have Jim convinced since I didn't kill this 50.00 plant, I could get another. Let's hope so. If nothing else I'll say the jasmine has stole my heart with her sweet fragrance.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


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Testing a theory:



I should know better than to try to take pictures when the sun is so high in the sky. But I did manage to get a few good ones, I'll be back out there right before sunset to get even better ones though.

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These are the flowers in my window box, there were some with purple, but they seem to have faded to more yellow for some reason.
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A clump of the flowers along my path.
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The flowers by the door in the pot under the hanging baskets.

I'm playing with the macro feature on my camera. Not a setting for high light I've noticed.

The vegetable garden

Years ago, when I was a mere child, my grandmother had a garden. It was about 1/4th of an acre, and while she tended to it a lot, and we enjoyed the fruits of her labors, I was a kid, and didn't pay much attention to the specifics. How I wish I had! She is no longer with us, and I don't have any one to turn to when it comes to questions, woes, and celebrations. I am thankful for the internet, in the right forums, you can cram as much information as you wish into your head.
Now that I've started this vegetable garden, I know what to do differently next year. I didn't get the area I had been hoping for, and settled. Next year I will not. I planted things too close together, and a ton of other stuff. I go out to my vegetable garden several times a day, and even carry a journal to make notes.
So when I started this year, this is what my plot looked like:

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The garden rows are from north to south, starting from west to east they are:
Row one- Corn Staggered, so it will pollinate better.
Row Two- Cayenne peppers, Habanaro peppers, and a foot or so of corn. (Hey, we really like corn!)
Row Three- Celebrity Tomatoes, Early Girl Tomatoes.
Row Four- Peas, Zucchini, and Cucumbers.
Row Five- Squash (yellow) Squash (Don't remember) And more Squash (Butternut)
Row Six- Musk Melons (Eight plants! I swear I thought we picked up canteloupe as well...) and watermelon.
Off to the side two lonely strawberry plants.
There was a tree branch impeding light to the northernmost part of the garden, but after much prodding, I got Jim to bravely climb up a very large and scary ladder (he is deathly afraid of heights.) and take off branches and limbs. The garden thanks him, and the watermelon are fairing much better now, though still small compared to everything else. Out of four, I have three left. I'm not sure what happened to the littlest one, but it gave up the ghost around Sunday I think.
Here is a picture from early last week:
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The other side:

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You can see the ladder of Tree Destruction in these. It's still there, bungee corded way the hell up there. I'm not climbing it to take it off either.

My cucumbers are responding to better light as well, and I've moved some of the fencing over to it, hoping it will stay out of the zucchini's and squash's way.
Currently I have about 24 or so cayenne peppers, and more blossoming everyday. A few blossoms on the habanaros, though those are staying small. Blossoms on the Celebrity tomatos. The Early girl is starting to catch up, but stunted at some point. The peas are climbing and have blossoms, the zuke's are getting bigger, and show buds, the cucumber's are starting to take hold of the fence, the squash is taller than my knees, and I spotted a female yesterday, I squealed and ran to get the camera, and wouldn't you know it, batteries dead. So pictures today! The melons are threatening to take over the world (okay, not that yet, but the plants around it are eyeing it like it's the evil overlord of the garden, hopefully I won't have a revolt on my hands.) And competing for the title of Garden Overlord is the musk melons, with twenty male flowers, it's showing dominance, I'm trying to train it away from the rest of the garden, but apparently it likes the squash. Or it wants to stay close for hand to hand combat. The watermelon are still way smaller, but after the rain they seem to have life in them again.
I want to sing the praises of the soaker hose, go out early, let the garden water for an hour, turn water off. Easy peasy!

In the beginning

I'm somewhat of a traditionalist. When I grew up, I wanted to be everything a woman should be, a good wife, mother, housekeeper, and gardener. Well, I've got most of that down, well, most of the time anyhow. Until this last year, work has kept me from being a lot of that, but as fortune would see it, I was able to leave the working world behind. Lucky me!
I've wanted to garden for years, but knew it would be a failing project, because working 60 plus hours a week left little or no time to myself, and I couldn't rely on anybody to water, so I had a few pots of prettiness and left it at that.
No more!
This year my garden has exploded, and I still want more. I learn new things daily, and this blog is to chronicle all of the garden-y goodness.
I'll start with the front yard. And I knew that I should have taken a before picture. No way anyone would have believed me about how terrible it looked. And still... But my husband's mom (Husband-Jim MIL-Ginger.) apparently loves flowers, just never really grew any. And wouldn't you know it, where I wanted to put my new bed used to be a driveway? So about four inches into the soil there are a ton of rocks. But we rented a tiller, and I marked with spray paint where I wanted tilled, and Jim went at it. Took over an hour to get the depth I desired, but all things are working out quite nicely there.
What grow up front?
Violas- Alongside my path, in my window box, and under the hook by my front door.
Hosta- Two different ones here, given to me by my mother. I'm not sure what they are.
Morning Glory- Climbing up my trellis.
Mock Orange- Sweet.
Rose- Unknown origin. Given to us by a friend moving from his house. I have several of this growing in various places.
Honeysuckle- At the end of the garden path, Jim is supposed to make an arbor for this to climb, and if this doesn't happen soon, it's going to take over. Bought in 2006. Bloomed a little this year, heavenly.
Some small grass given to me by my mother- Not doing so well.
Another plant, not sure what it is given to me by my mother. I know this plant gets about six foot tall, wasn't happy about being moved, but not doing too bad at the moment.
Allysum- A few clumps around some purple plants, and in the hanging baskets with the geranuims by the front door.
Lillies- Lots of these. I bought a ton of bulbs this year, and haven't seen them yet. I did buy some one year from Wal-Mart for .75 cents in November, planted in the spring in a container, and it has bloomed hardily ever since. I put them in the ground and separated them this year, these are getting ready to bloom, they have a beautiful scent. Best .75 cents I've spent so far.
Bulbs I've bought this year- Lillies, iris, Danthium(?) and Dahlia. I've got on that has a shoot. I'll have to wait and see. I bought these on clearance as well.
I've also some grass on the side of the house my father brought to me two years ago, it's doing very well. I'm moving this in the fall though, it's in the sideyard and I want to put a raised bed there next year.
Also in the side yard- Lilac and rose. Both have to be moved, and neither I fear will survive.
And my most prized- A star jasmine. I received this for my ninth anniversary from Jim. I had been at Lowe's drooling over this for over a month, but couldn't justify the 50.00. He could, and I happy whiff it every chance I get.
I'll do the veggie garden in the next post, I want to show pictures of the front yard now:

On preview click on the pictures to see the full picture, my first post and I've edited it three times, I'll get the hang of this yet, I swear!
This is a general overview of the front yard from my front door. I call this my 'Zen Den.'

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My mock orange, two years old. I can't wait for it to get bigger:
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Jim's roses:
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And last but not least, my jasmine:

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I'll post more recent pictures very soon. My lillies are getting ready to explode with blooms any day now.