Friday, September 6, 2013


I'm still here!  Its been a busy summer not counting gardening stuff.  I have taken lots of pics though.  Once i get the chance,  i'll make a big catch-up post. 

Friday, June 7, 2013


Looks like i was a slight bit more pessimistic than necessary about those Adirondack potatoes...   yesterday i noticed a pair of sprouts:
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i also found a chunk of potato that had been unearthed by the cats,  it had a sprout and some hairy roots on it.  I replanted it near the two above shoots.  This morning,  while doing some more planting and weeding,  i found a third potato plant just poking its way up.  This makes 3, maybe 4 plants.  I can live with that. 

We are expecting as many as 6 days of steady rain right now,  so this morning,  before the rain began, i managed to get the rest of the seeds in.  I had to skip out on the beets (beetroot) because i decided late spring might be too late and though i bought bolt-resistant types,  i just don't want that going on.

So...  what i planted was a row of Golden Butter wax bush beans,  a row of Royal Burgundy bush beans, a third of a row of the leftover bush bean seeds my dad gave me (Tender-long i think), a third of a row of  Minowase daikon radish and the rest was the ornamental sunflower mix (Fantasia).

I threw in a handful of Pinetree's radish mix into the further end of the potato row-  where the cats tore it up so bad...   i figure if the radish do grow they won't hurt the potatoes by the time they can be pulled.

Oh and the goji are getting full of berries:
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Provider bush beans all up and weeded:
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Full garden shot:
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All planted.  Now all i have to do is keep up with the weeds, the bugs and hopefully i'll keep blights away!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Its been a while...

I just haven't had the time,  i guess.  Not so much busy,  but i need time to gather my thoughts before i can write things down.  I'm still not quite gathered,  but i have taken a number of photos and have uploaded them to Photobucket so i can post them here.  They uploaded a bit randomly,  so i'll sort through them and just describe as i go.

First up is one of three galls i found on my Stanley prune plum.
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Here is a second one
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the third was up too high to take a photo.

I went to Stark Brothers' facebook page and asked them for advice.  I don't know if these are fungal, bacterial or insect galls and i don't know what to do about them.  I have not gotten a reply yet,  a 48 hour wait is not unusual.
On the upside though,  it looks like i might get some fruit this year if all goes well:
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The Autumn Olive bloomed profusely this year, a nice sweet scent
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The lilacs bloomed nicely too...  they have gone by now.
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The Sparkle strawberries are blooming too
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I got the black plastic down and the tomatoes, squash, melons, eggplant, peppers, basil, shiso, tea hibiscus, cukes and broccoli planted last Tuesday.
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I wasn't planning on  putting the broccoli on plastic,  it might button or bolt,  but we'll see.  Everything but the melons seem to be doing fine.  It took about 5 days before the striped cucumber beetles found my plants,  but when they did,  they went right after the melons.  I used sevin dust which is the only thing that i have found that works on them.

The uncovered second row has Provider bush beans in it,  they just started coming up about Monday.  I had planted them last Wednesday i think.  I planted them just before 2 days of rain so i didn't have to water or anything.
Golden Butter wax and Royal Burgundy bush beans will be going in later today or early tomorrow depending on when more rain is expected.  I also have about 25 seeds of  Tender Green bush beans my dad had left over from his small planting at their house.

I still have not planted any daikon radish or beets, or the ornamental sunflowers. I need to get the sunflowers in soon,  but i'm going to look around and see if the beets and daikon radish may be better as a fall crop at this point.

I don't think any of those Adirondack potatoes are coming up.  They were planted 3 weeks ago this Monday and i don't see one sprout.  This is a real bummer.  I think the combination of the seed potato pieces being so rotted and then the row they were planted in appears to be a favorite of the feral cats...  the whole row is torn up from their digging and rolling,  the 'taters never had a chance.   I'll try again next year and buy twice as much seed.  If they rot again, i will give up.

 As far as the plastic on the rows goes...   i have had some trouble with the plastic staying down in the wind.  I used ground staples,  but the garden soil is so soft they can only hold so well.  I'm also using bricks.  The ends are the hardest to keep down,  they have blown off a few times and i have had to re-set it.  This has damaged some leaves on a couple sweet pepper plants,  but not much else.

Looks like another good year for grapes:
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Blueberries look good too:
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 Two of them are doing great,  the other two that took it rough over the winter are recovering. One has a small cluster,  but the other has none.

I think that is all for now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Garden prep

So,  we got the final tilling last weekend and through the end of last week and this weekend i started digging the rows.  Every year i dread this part.  Its almost as troublesome as weeding.  I always say i won't bother next year and instead of hilling up the planting beds i'll just let my feet trample down the walking rows.  Unfortunately its so much better for the plants,  but its so hard on my back.  This year seemed even harder.

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I ended up making more rows than usual...  9 this year.  I didn't feel like going through the hassle of string marking everything so i tried something new.

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I have a 3-wheeled cart for my youngest daughter.  Its the type that can be hitched to a bike.   I decided to use it to mark my lines.  The wheelbase is a little narrower than i prefer,  but it sure did save time.  I just walked it across, then dug between the tracks.

Now that i have reconfigured the rows entirely,  my original garden plan is kind of moot.  I'll be winging it again. lol

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I'm glad i got it done though.  It rained last night and that would have made the soil extra heavy to dig,  so it had to be finished yesterday.

I laid some of the black plastic down.  I was hoping to do almost every row,  but i may have only enough plastic for 4 full rows and maybe half of another.
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Its an experiment anyway.

Those Adirondack blue potatoes are quite striking. This is their actual color:
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Unfortunately many of them have some rotten spots.  I'm not sure if this is annoying or really bad.  I hope the pieces grow instead of continuing to rot.

The apple tree bloomed this weekend:
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And something is digging up our grass:
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Hubby thinks maybe a skunk digging for grubs....  but there are puncture marks all over too...  it makes me wonder if its a bird?
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Whatever it is, i hope it stops!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stanley Prune Plum in Flower

He bloomed for me on Mother's Day :o)

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We got some much needed rain over the last few days and warm temps,  its been nice.  Today (Monday) is feeling cold by comparison.  Its about 50 degrees out,  we've been spoiled by high 60's and mid 70's.

(Tuesday)  Last night we did have frost warnings.  I worried a bit about the prune plum blossoms,  but there was not much i could do about it,  so i just brought my seedlings in and went to bed.  Looks like we escaped the frost because the blooms all look fine.

The apple tree is about to bloom,  so i went for one more spraying with Bonide.   Its not easy since i had to use the hand pump sprayer,  not as efficient as the hose end sprayer.  Hopefully i gave it a good enough soaking.  I hit the grapes too.

Looks like i got close to 100% germination on my squash, melon and cuke seeds:

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And it looks like i'll get blooms from the Autumn Olive this year too:
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My dad came and tilled the garden once more:

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Hopefully this week,  i'll get the rows dug out and the black plastic mulch laid out so i can plant next week!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lessons in seed starting soil.

Because of generally decent price and constant availability,  i normally use Miracle Grow Seed starting mix.  After i used up most of the Miracle Grow i bought a bag of Pro Mix potting soil and continued seeding.  The Pro Mix seedlings look very different than the MG seedlings.

This is two seedlings of Ancient Sweet peppers growing in Pro Mix
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And these are Snapper sweet peppers and Raveena eggplant growing in MG

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Also,  my tomato seedlings have also  had a purple tinge to the underside of their leaves when grown in MG, though MG SS mix claims to have extra nitrogen in it.  I can't seem to get that color to show up well in pictures.

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Now the eggplant and peppers in the peat pots...   it could have something to do with that and the fact that the Ancients are in a paper tray,  but its pretty drastic for that to make such a difference.

So,  even though the Pro Mix was not labeled for seed starting ( i forget the exact product,  but i'll remember the packaging for next year)  i'll be using it next year instead of the MG.  I sterilize it anyway when i wet the soil in a bucket.

No more Miracle Grow.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A walk around the yard

Starting with the Stanley prune plum.  I'm really hoping it blooms this year.  I think there might be a chance,  but i don't see any signs yet. Not too sure what to look for,  i think they bloom later than apples and may not show buds until a while later.
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Autumn olive.  I grew it from seed about 3 years ago now.  Its supposed to be self-fertile and is a lot like Goumi.
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Carmine Jewel cherry.  Year 2.  After paying so much for these tiny plants last year,  i am so happy to see this one doing so well.

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Goldbeere elderberry.  This one has golden yellow berries.  It tried to bloom last year,  but it was too soon after planting.
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Nova elderberry...  lots of berries last year,  i didn't get to pick them all.  It needs some pruning.
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York elderberry.  Smaller berries than Nova,  but just as prolific.
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One of the grapes waking up. Not sure which because the vines are all mixed up.
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Apple tree greening up nicely.  I'll need to spray it again this weekend.
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Strawberry pot. I'm unsure if i'll get strawberries this year or if it takes a full year,  this is my first serious try.
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Blueberry and lingonberry bed
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The other Carmine Jewel cherry, looking good.
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Beach plum,  the smaller of the two last year, but growing.
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The beach plum that got broken from the snow.  It should recover i hope.
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Female "Titan" sea buckthorn.
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The male without a special name...  i was a little annoyed when i got this one.  The company went out of stock so he came about a month late last year. I had paid for a gallon pot and the female was definitely a full gallon plant.  When the male arrived,  i suspected it was a 6" potted plant put into a one gallon pot, then shipped. I don't expect them to bloom for the first time in the same year.
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Phoenix Tears gojiberry:
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The other Goji.  They both have flower buds but they start out tiny.
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This is the blueberry that had a rough winter:
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This is the one that looks the best:
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Warm and dry.

I hate to complain though,  its actually too dry.  We have had no rain for over a month if i remember correctly. Its been windy also...  not breezy...windy.  Anyway,  its so dry that authorities have asked people to not even use gas grills for outdoor cooking.  Unfortunately,  this weather just screams out for grilled food...  luckily we don't have  a water shortage,  its just the old grass and dry brush in the woods that have them worried. Once things leaf out  and green up, it won't be so risky.  We have a 50% chance of rain for Thursday and a 10% for Friday.  I hope we get some.  Luckily the majority of my plants are drought tolerant.

As far as the plants go,  things are looking great.  They are pushing out leaves and sizing up.  The goji already have tiny flower buds about the size of this o.
The rough looking blueberry at least looks like it will recover.  The others are getting ready to bloom.  I think i'll cover them with something this winter.

The Sparkle strawberries came in on Saturday and were planted in the big terracotta looking pot.  I ordered 10 but got 11,  so that was nice.

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The Ancient sweet peppers on the right look so good compared to the ones i sowed weeks before.  Basil and borage on the left:
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Older peppers, eggplant and parsley:

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Tea hibiscus and green shiso.  the red never came up.
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Small asparagus harvest
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Still having to bring the seedlings in at night.
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Its supposed to stay in the 40's tonight so maybe i won't have to take them in.  Supposed to be in the 70's today,  yay!

I got the cukes, squash and melons planted on Sunday
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