summer 2013

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another rainy day

We have had a very wet spring around here.  We even had a mud slide about 10 miles north of us. And sink holes around the county.

Went to the garden this morning.  Standing water between the garden beds again.  The good thing about raised beds is the fact that it's ok to have standing water between the beds.  It doesn't bother the soil or what I have already planted.  It just impedes the gardener.

I took all my seedlings outside for the day.  It was 80 degrees and of course it rained this afternoon.  They look very happy.

I have been fighting stink bugs already, this time inside my house.  When I find them, I plop them into a can with soapy water in it.  They drown quickly.  The problem is, I find them on my plants.  I have found damage to my cantaloupe seedlings.  Where they injected their saliva  I have yellowing and destruction of the leaf.  I am hoping for the best.  I cut off the damage and fertilized the plants with fish emulsion in water.

Everything is coming up nicely.  My cover crop of crimson clover.  The sugar snap peas, lettuce, strawberries, chard, spinach.  I even cut fresh parsley!  Planted more spinach and planted my first round of green beans.  I am taking a chance with these, as our last frost date is around Mother's day. That is when everything else goes into the ground.

crimson clover

onions and parsley


sugar snap peas

My next project is getting my mounded bed ready for my native perennials next week.  My husband has offered to rototill the area, but it is still to wet to work the soil.  I made a decision to use glyphosate (roundup) on the weeds that have taken over this area.  I will not be planting food there and the foxtail is so entrenched,  I will take out a lot of soil if I dig up the whole plant. I have done some reading and found that glyphosate has an EIQ (environmental impact quotient) of only 15.3 (out of 100)  and breaks down very quickly.  Most of the organic pesticides have a higher EIQ.  You have to read directions carefully to use any chemical, organic or synthetic safely.


I took some pictures of my front yard today.  The Virginia Bluebells are peaking ( a native.)  These are beautiful and an ephemeral plant.  This is a plant that dies to the ground after it blooms.  It comes back the next year to do it all again.

I received some seeds from Monticello about 10 days ago.  We took a trip there last summer and saw lots of plants I have never seen before.  These are examples  of plants that Thomas Jefferson grew a couple of centuries ago.

I planted:

Africa Marigold  Tagetes erecta
Cockscomb  celosia cristata
Florence Fennel  Foeniculum vulgare azoricum
Love-lies-bleeding  Amaranthus caudatus

I will plant:

Scarlet-runner Bean   Phaseolus coccineus

You can order these online.  They have quite a selection.  Better yet, GO to Monticello.  The gardens are beautiful.  I could have cared less about the house.  The basements and gardens cannot be missed!
even the envelopes are beautiful
This is Brooklyn, my daughter Bailey's dog.  She guards the farm.  I did not lose one plant to an animal last year.  Just disease and 106 degree heat.  She also shares anything she catches :(

Well, hopefully next week will be better weather wise.  I will be working on my native garden, as the plants will arrive next week.  The Master Gardener plant sale is next Saturday the 30th. at  the Yellow Springs Lion's Club Community Hall   8829 Yellow Springs Road, Frederick, MD 21702.
From 0800 to Noon,  Rain or Shine!

I have added  Russia to my list of countries viewing my blog!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Last year I planted russet  potatoes in late March.  Really didn't follow the instructions  to the letter.  I guess I felt the rules applied to everyone BUT me.  I planted them too close, cut the pieces too small, didn't water as well a they would have liked.   In my defense, I was in my Master Gardener  class every Saturday all day and every Wednesday evening. And working a full time job.

The potatoes were too small.  I did harvest in the late summer.  They didn't even need to be cut.

This year I am planting "Dark Red Norland."  They are medium to large purple flowered plants.  They resist scab, leaf roll and potato viruses A and Y.

This year I  am following the rules.  Each piece I cut had 2 or 3 or more eyes.  I planted them a foot apart and spaced the rows 36".  Per instructions in the box they arrived in,  I cut them 24 hours before I planted to let them dry.  I also sprayed them with an organic fungicide.   Sulfur.

I do not need the trellis.  I am going to trellis every bed so I can rotate my crops every year easily.

They were planted 3" deep.  Once the foliage reached 6-8"  I will hill the soil up around the base of the plants, leaving 4" of the plant above soil level.  I then need to hill a second time 2-3 weeks later.  Hilling protects potatoes from "greening," facilitates harvesting, reduces weed growth, and and protects plants from late frosts.  I will use straw mulch to cover the potatoes after the second hilling.

Plenty of straw left in the barn.

According to the instructions, young "new" potatoes may be harvested anytime they reach usable size.  About 50 days.  The larger potatoes will be harvested in the fall when foliage is dry or tubers have reached full size.

More pictures of our barn.

Brick silo

These hay bales are about 4 feet high.

See you all next week.  I am so happy people are viewing my blog.  I am up to 7 countries!  Thank you!

Tell your friends in other countries, I would love to fill up my world map.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Seeds are in the Ground!

I finally had a day that wasn't raining, wasn't 30 degrees with a wind chill of 25, and didn't have standing water between my garden beds.  Also, I wasn't working.

I was able to plant my strawberries, 25 plants "Sparkle."  The first year, I am to pinch off the flowers to "establish vigorous plants."  So no strawberries till next year.

Also into the ground went  :
2  16 ft rows of Sugar Snap peas
Spinach  -  Bloomsdale
Lettuce - Black Seeded simpson
Swiss Chard - bright lights
Beets - Detroit Dark Red
carrots - sugar snax
onions - super sweet 60 sets
onions - red 80 sets

parsley from last season

sugar snap peas


I still have 2 beds to finish cleaning.  It is amazing how much grass and weeds have gotten into the beds since last fall.  The good thing about raised beds it the fact that the soil is pretty loose and it is not too hard to pull, dig or cut out the invaders.  The soil is soooo much better than what I started with last year.  It is full of organic matter due to the mulch I used last year (straw) and the fact I left the roots in when I cut down last year's vegetables and flowers.
I added Leafgro (composted leaves)  to the beds I finished cleaning up and added some organic fertilizer.

Still have to work on grass in pathways

I have a mounded raised bed about 20x20 that held my sunflowers and zinnias last year.  My plan this year is to plant a lot of native plants to attract our native insects and birds.  This will be a permanent bed. I have been learning a lot about invasive alien plants.  They are slowly edging out our native varieties.   Our birds and insects have an evolutionary history with these plants and they are dependent on them for food and as host plants for their young.  If the plants aren't available to attract insects, the birds we want to have around have no food, so they seek their bugs elsewhere.  I highly recommend a great book by an Entomologist at the University of Delaware.   The book is "Bringing Nature Home."   The author is Douglas W. Tallamy.

Our Master Gardening group is having a plant sale later this month and I have pre-ordered 10 plants.  Joe pye weed, butterfly weed, cardinal flower, black cohosh and cone flowers are among the plants I ordered. Here are some examples:

lobelia cardinalis
butterfly weed
black cohosh

joe pye weed


Well, I had my hot shower and 2 Aleve.  My daughter may be sore tomorrow as well.  She is 2 months postpartum and spent some time on one of her horses this afternoon. Her horses have had a few months vacation and weren't really happy with the situation.

My indoor plants are doing well, and I am pretty excited that my blog has been viewed by people as far away as South Korea and Thailand.  Hungary and Austria and Canada too!