Wednesday, June 29, 2011

garden work

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It was a beautiful hot dry morning after a good rain last night.

Today's garden work:
String up the tomato vines
Admire the giant potato bushes
Try to aim the squashes up the trellis
Check on the bagged apples and pears
Harvest half of my garlic, wash and lay out to dry

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

sunflowers under bulletin board

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I found some nice Teddy bear sunflowers in a garden store last weekend and bought plants to go under our community garden bulletin board. I had these in my plot last year. They stay short but fill out and keep blooming.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

community garden pot-luck lunch

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We had a fun community garden event last Saturday. Judy arranged it. A pot luck lunch to celebrate the summer solstice. Gardeners brought salads from their gardens. Dianne and Glenn brought a fantastic cauliflower and dill salad, I brought garlic scape pesto, Judy made harvest bread, there was also a big bowl of fresh picked lettuce a gardener brought. I will post my scape recipe soon and hopefully Diane's cauliflower recipe too.

We also did am impromptu seedling share. Katherine had strawberry and magenta silene divisions. I was very happy to take some of each. I had lots of little tomato, pepper, squash and melon seedlings to share. They disappeared fast.

We had a "meeting" after the eating and swapping and did a bit of "community garden work". Identify what gardeners think is lacking and what we can do. Among items identified were better water pressure and trash cans. We outlined ideas and solutions - just as lightning and a spring down pour broke up the gathering.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

my parents garden

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On Father's Day, I visited my parents and helped a bit in their garden. My dad hoed the tomatoes and planted beans, I pulled some garlic and labeled plants I gave them earlier in the spring. I also planted nasturtiums and giant sunflower seeds here and there. They have been picking lettuce, spinach, and arugula all spring. They have nice fennel, peas, red cabbage, napa cabbage, beets, and celery coming along. Also tomatoes, peppers, basil, and cucumbers. Arugula and bok choy have gone to seed, with flowers adding color and attracting beneficial insects.

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My dad planted a couple of my giant pumpkin plants in the middle of his front yard. They will cover a newly installed meter and have LOTS of room to sprawl over the grass. This variety is reputed to produce several 100 pound pumpkins per plant. Cool!

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young melon seedlings

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I tucked my melons under the garlic this year. It's my third year trying (unsuccessfully so far) to get a fully grown ripe melon. I think this will be the year.

The garlic will come out in a few weeks and then the melons can have free run. I'm going to find tomato supports for each hill of melons.

I have 7 varieties / 7 hills this year:

Melon, Charantais, Savor F1
Melon, Charantais, Edonis F1
Melon, Anne Arundel
Melon, San Juan
Watermelon, Ice Box Mickeylee
Watermelon, Yellow
Watermelon, Red Sugar Baby

It seems to me that melons are the most difficult crop to grow. I think they need lots of compost, fertilizer, up off the ground, and a long hot dry season with lots of irrigation that doesn't get their leaves too wet. As I said though, I haven't gotten a ripe melon yet, so I'm not an expert....

Monday, June 20, 2011

robin nest

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I found the robin's nest. I knew it was near by. Turns out, its about 5 feet from my kitchen window. We've had four birds nesting in our 30 x 40 foot back yard this spring: a wren, house sparrows, cardinal and this robin.

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A beautiful day! So much sun. Six months ago, I dreamed of this day. Today... well my muscles ache from mowing and weeding and planting and walking. It can't get any better than this.

My garden has begun to take off. Everyday morning I check and the plants are noticeably bigger, the weeds are thicker, and there is some new bug or critter. I have a big toad that lives in the third path to the left in my community plot. He was out today as I came to check. He hops back and shuffles under the hay to hide from me and Skippy but I can see his eyes watching me. (Skippy never notices him.) He's very fat - must be finding plenty of bugs! I am lucky to have him helping in my garden. (Even better than a garden gnome - not to criticize their well meaning contribution...)

Before gardening today, Skippy and I ran through the fields and back to the water hole where Skippy had a good swim. Then Skippy dug out a nice hollow under his table and rested out of the strong sun.

Today's garden tasks:
Thinned my popcorn
Planted beet and cilantro seeds
Fertilized popcorn, peppers and asparagus
Bagged the pears (BTW, the variety of my 2nd tree is "dwarf Kieffer pear")
Noticed that the potato beetles are out of control - larvae all over the leaves

At home I:
Ordered parasitic wasps for corn (enough to cover the 1.5 acre community garden) (IPM Laboratories)
Looked into parasitic wasps for beans (Arbico)
Read a little about how hard it is to control Colorado potato beetles (any suggestions!!!?)

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

bagged apples

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I looked around for some information on bagging my apples and pears. Here's an informative thread: It seems that plastic Ziploc bags are the way to go. Zip the baggie over the stem of apples about 3/4 inches in diameter and cut off the lowest corner of the bag so any water that gets in will drain.

I have 24 apples bagged now. Will do my 5 pears soon.

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popcorn sprouts

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My popcorn is a couple inches tall now. I thinned it once to about 2-3 inches apart and will thin again to about 6 inches soon. There is a giant sunflower that volunteered at the far end of the bed. It should be able to outgrow the corn.

I am planning to order some parasitic warps this year to see it I can get ears without worms. I need to order these soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

baby pumpkin

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Baby pumpkins are forming! We'll see if they set.

Skippy's shady spot

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My husband made Skippy a shady spot to hang out in. I call it his "crate". He loves it. Its the only spot in my garden where he is allowed to dig. He digs out a nice cool hollow in the damp earth and lies down in the shade on a hot sunny day. And I can sit next to him and use the top as a table. Not too bad.....

Friday, June 17, 2011

tied up asparagus

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I was asked about how I "tired up" my asparagus. Here's a picture. A couple wood posts and some string around the edge of the patch. As I look at other asparagus patches, they seem to stand up better on their own than mine. Mine flops over onto the broccoli. Maybe because its young (3 years old). This does the trick. I'll remember to bring some fertilizer to it tomorrow. And I suppose it could use a couple inches of compost layered on top. Please let me know any advice for growing asparagus.

espaliered pear trees

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I have two espaliered pear trees in my community plot. This week I pruned them and tired up some stray branches. My new pear tree has 5 little pears that set. The older Bartlett tree again had no fruit - like last year. It has crossed my mind that maybe its because I am pruning them wrong. Could this be? Maybe I should prune earlier in the year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

apple tree

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This is the back of my side yard - behind the vegetable garden. Center view is my little Fugi apple tree. This year is has at least a dozen apples!!! More than ever before. :)) We trimmed a big branch off off the maple tree in the backyard and I guess the apple appreciated it.

I like to cover the young apples to keep away bugs and squirrels. I've used stockings in the past, but don't have enough old stockings for such a big crop. I'm looking into other options. Any suggestions??

Same question for my pear tree at my community plot. It has a dozen or more pears forming. I'd like to cover them soon.