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Gardeners: how's it looking?

Started by polly_mer, June 12, 2019, 06:39:10 AM

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I excised all of the back garden raspberries and relocated them to the front garden. We'll see what takes.
I know it's a genus.


Another year of very late gardening here, due to injury/mobility issues (just like last year) and a cool, wet April and early May.  Oh well, even with the late start, everything worked out OK last year. Hoping the same will happen this year--and I have to remind myself, summer is LONG in this region.

Yesterday:  transplanted/thinned the romaine; set out two pepper plants and two tomatoes; replaced my dead sage and rosemary, and sowed dill, thyme, and basil in the herb bed; and filled in the newest raised flower bed (built last summer but unused) to screen the patio table from the nosy neighbors.  I'd transplanted volunteer sunflowers, some mallows, and cannas thinned from their original stand; yesterday I added upright jewel cockscombs, white vinca, and some bright blue lobelia.  It will be pretty as things grow and come into bloom.

I started repotting houseplants but didn't get far; that's this afternoon's work, along with setting up a new shelf for them on the north side of the house (bright indirect light). 

ALHS tore into our compost pile yesterday afternoon and started shoveling out 12+ years' accumulation. That stuff is pure gold!  He's topped off one of the garden beds and will do the other later today; I'll be using some to fill my hanging baskets and barrel planters, too. After the compost is in place, I'll plant my canteloupe, watermelon, cucumber, yellow squash, and zucchini seeds.  (I was about 2 weeks later in planting them last year and still ended up with more crops than I could use!)

I finally got smart this year and bought a huge box of packing peanuts to fill the bottoms of the big planters.  I'm also mixing water beads into my houseplants' and hanging baskets' soil to help retain water--we'll see if/how well they work!

All that will be left is to pull some weeds and spread the bagged mulch waiting in the driveway.  So, even as late as I've started, I'm actually in pretty good shape in terms of getting everything done!


I transplanted all my tender veggies last weekend which was our official frost free date, and then had to cover them all Wednesday when there was a frost warning. Oh well, they all made it through fine, and almost certainly that was the last night in the 30s.

I pack a lot into my little yard-- 6 tomatoes, 4 zucchinis (I will likely regret that), 8 cucumbers, 2 eggplants, 4 peppers, peas, beans, lots of different greens, lots of basil (I freeze pesto for the winter), assorted other herbs. Plus in he edible perennial department, I have strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, an apple tree, plus young plumb, bush cherry and blueberry plants that haven't produced yet.
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes


I am disappointed to report that I have not started my garden this year. It is already too hot for tomatoes. 
Last year I planted some carrot seeds. The package said it would be like 90 days.  Well, they were probably too shaded by the Okra (which was a huge success).  I had one carrot survive the year, and it still alive, and now in bloom. I m thinking that I will try to get some seeds from it!

I had an eggplant that was probably over fertilized last year. It got big, and had a lot of blooms, but for whatever reason (mabye the lack of bees) I never got anything.  Well, we had a big freeze that killed it.  Except it didnt die all the way, so it has resprouted and it has started to bloom.

One of the reasons I didnt get the garden goind was that I went on a cruise (well, 2 actually), so I just havent had the time to deal with the raised beds. 

Last year, I bought my in laws a fig plant.  Eventually, it came back to me.  I knew that it would dry out so much as to kill it while I was away, so I just plucked it out of its pot and stuck it in one of the raised beds.  We have had enough rain that it is getting bigger and looking happy to be out of the pot!  I will need to move it soon, but Im going on Another Cruise! in 10 days.  I plan to plant it where the magnolia tree had been. The magnolia was with the house when I bought it.  Unfortunately, instead of growing, it seemed to shrink every year.  My 'soil' here is primarily clay, so when it is wet, it is slick and slippery and holds water, and when it is dry it is cement hard.  I dont think that the tree liked either sloppy wet roots, or cement clay at the roots.

My plan is to dig out the dead plant, expand the hole, fill it with potting soil of some sort and move the fig into it.  That should get it started.

Once I return from the cruise (2 weeks in Alaska) I am home only about a week, and then I visit my parents for a week.  So I wont be home until July.  That is pretty late to start a garden, BUT, I enjoy it, and I can probably get some more Okra going.  I wont try to plant as many differnt things as I did last year, but the Okra was a success and I liked eating it, and giving away a lot too!

What are you planning to plant this year?  What was most successful for you last year?
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader


In February I used dimensional lumber to make a grow lights setup with four LED grow lights that turn on and off via wifi smart plug , surrounded by mylar reflective blankets. Later I added a second level with two additional lights. For germination I do the plastic baggie with moist paper towel on which I put the seeds, then I put the seeds on heating mats, optional but it does speed up germination. Then sprouted seedlings go into pots under lights.

Sitting on almost two acres but only growing plants on less than half (but getting more as time passes), last year (the first in the new house) we had a long drought in June so I installed drip irrigation on most plots; almost all seedlings are in the ground by now.

I spent the late fall and early spring tilling/retilling the plots before installing/reinstalling the drip lines. Tiller is a rear-tine tiller that is significantly better than the front-tine tiller I tried first but the welding on the handle recently broke after such feats. Birds like to eat grubs from the soil recently tilled.

Deers are cute, especially one that is quite tame and stays with us to the point of having to chase her away at times. However, I had tree saplings maimed, hosta and lettuce eaten. So I went for 10 ft rebars on which I put 7 ft high plastic netting so this year this worry should go away.

I tested the soil last year and the only problem was nitrogen depletion. Solved with urea for short-term and municipal compost in the long term. pH is 6.8 so that explains the blueberry failure of last year. The lawnmower trailer cart makes moving the compost easier to the plots. There is a confusing array of fertilizers out there, many of them overpriced, unnecessary or potentially harmful to plants. Remember that most of the time it is notrogen that needs added. Balanced fertilizers should have a N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2 and N is the one that leaves the soil the fastest. Don't use others unless you haved determined that your soil has a specific nutrient deficiency. Avoid exotic fertilizers (worm castings, kelp) as too expensive, you can get organic matter cheaper elsewhere. As for fertilizers, look at the label and calculate the amount of actual macronutrient that's in it. If you know where to look, you can find nitrogen under $3.50 per pound. Also keep in mind that some of it is not completely decomposed, so it is unavailable to plants yet (it may require a few more years for that;) if you need it to act fast you need "synthetic" fertilizers. For the long run, to replace what you eat from the garden and to build good soil, organic (including manure and compost) is better.

Spouse also has three raised beds and a cold frame. Arugula and sorrel took over the cold frame in the winter, and I replanted some seedlings. Dill reseeded something fierce, which is good because what I grew this spring I planted in the garden too early and few of them survived. Speaking about herbs, summer savory and basil did well, and so did lemon balm, but which didn't germinate too well. I lost the cumin and chervil after planting, I guess it was too early for them. Caraway is growing nicely now, but germination rate was atrocious. Lost some Russian tarragon, but I am starting another batch and also planted the Mexican kind (which is a relative of marigolds.) Speaking of relatives, I have so much dandelion that I will give its relatives salsify and scorzonera a shot.

Brassicas are doing great and so are lettuces, plus an onslaught of radishes. Almost all peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are in the ground, most cucumbers too (some tomatoes have reseeded but for several reason we stick with seeds.) The popcorn plot is planted and getting ready for the pole beans and cucurbits soon. The sweet corn plot is freshly tilled and will get seeds successively once a week till it fills, so fresh corn will be available over a longer period of time. For the warm season when lettuces and spinach will not do well, I have warm weather "spinach" seedlings: New Zealand spinach, Malabar and Egyptian plus some chenopodium species edible weeds that should do well. Also, okra is growing under the lights, and besides cilantro, I will also have culantro and pipicha. Sunchokes/fartichokes are growing like crazy in their corner but I am also growing epazote to control the potential flatulence aspect. Aside from carrots, rooted parsley and parsnip are doing well. While celery grows well, celeriac doesn't germinate well, luckily I have some that survived the winter, roots are huge. Also, the horseradish is in bloom now. 

I also planted some cereals and cover crops. Rye and wheat grew well except in the front where I saw lots of birds during the winter, they must have eaten the seeds. Alfalfa has failed in the winter, and one plot of hairy vetch didn't have any chance to grow as it was constantly nibbled by deers. Even now the tame-ish deer came for the other plot with vetch, she never touched the crimson clover. The mixed seeds cover crop is tall, with peas, radishes and mustard in flower at the moment.

The squash bug was really bad last year, ended up killing all zucchinis, cucumbers and melons before the season was over. This year I will act once I spot them and I have something (actually several things) ready for them. Thistles and honeysuckle are also annoying and I might be deploying the nuclear option against them this year. Last year we lost virtually all strawberries to weeds, more exactly grass

The strip by the street (well, half of it) will become wildflower patch, after being green from winter rye for the entire cold season. Monarchs are welcome on the milkweed. Chamomile, hyssop, St. John's wort and sweet clover, with an addition of pincushion and Alliums to deter the deers, plus some randoms, should do for now.

Lately I've been experimenting with gibberellic acid to force germination in difficult seeds. But I will do this more next year. Meanwhile, I have learned how to stratify and scarify seeds for the same effect. But I doubt these methods would win the hearts of Chairs, Deans and Provosts.

I enjoy doing this full-time now that I left academia prematurely just when my spouse's career was taking off. I highly doubt if I stayed I would have had the time and money to acquire all these tools (and some more,) let alone affording this mortgage. I do have memories, for example whe she tells me about employees that she frequently disciplines or fires for not doing the work, or staff making spurious complaints to the board, we wonder why are they doing this, and then I remember. I have enough skills left to take care of the maintenance and repair, and I am mainly talking about the tech stuff like AC, plumbing, insulation, wiring maybe. Automating tasks, including irrigation, saves a lot of time and money even. Thinking about going solar, canning and brewing. My soul is much more at ease than the last semester when I taught where students in a particular section largely avoided doing the work, and the chair advised me that they will never need to use algebra so I should go easy on them.   

Next year I will begin growing cold season seedlings outside in winter using milk jugs and such. that way I can start the hardier ones early. Other plans? One neighbor has chicken, another has sheep. Not ready yet to follow in their footsteps.

Peace out.


While I was away for a bit the new dwarf blackberry plant began to bloom. Usually I raise my own tomatoes, peppers, and cukes from seed, but I'll go shopping this weekend for starts instead.

Congrats to all who are already making progress!


Doohickey Tech, you are living my dream!  Good for you!


No sign of my corn yet, which is unusual. I may have to plant some new seeds soon. Also no sign of the strawberry or tomato seeds I planted.

I do, however, have a wall of kale from my heirloom seeds from last year, and last year's cabbage and (other) kale is going to seed.
I know it's a genus.


At home: I potted up some lemongrass that I was rooting in water yesterday. Ginger is growing pretty well. I have some rando beans in a pot (it'll be a surprise as to what develops). My blueberries are taking their sweet time to grow and some other 'surprise' seeds germinated in one of my compost piles. I thought they were bad, due to the mold, but they proved me wrong!

At work: Students will be building more raised plots for starting their pumpkins, cucumbers and melons. They will also plant a corn field!


Persistent recurring wet conditions have really put a damper, so to speak, on local flower and vegetable gardens.  The local magnolia blossoms have been largely ruined.  I'm afraid that my gardenias may be next.
If in this life only we had hope of Christ, we would be the most pathetic of them all.  But now is Christ raised from the dead, the first of those who slept.  First Christ, then afterward those who belong to Christ when he comes.


Yesterday afternoon was spent with ALHS emptying more compost from the bin in to the final raised bed, then bringing some around for my big barrel planters.  I repotted all my houseplants--lots of spider plants into smaller pots, to get them rootbound so they'll have babies; split up the ever-multiplying snake plants; moved some ailing small aloes into new pots with fresh soil; put two straggly jades into new pots.  I also rehomed a huge aloe (3+ feet across!) into a deeper pot with new soil; potted up two rubber trees I grew from shoots from a gnarled old rescue from Freecycle that I got last year; and repotted and trellised my pothos, salvaged from a shoot last year off the huge plant that nearly died.  I'm pleased.

I saved my two red diplidenias last fall and overwintered them, and they got put back in the barrels with some white begonias; the hanging baskets on the front porch have red begonias and trailing variegated vincas. 

This afternoon I'll get a couple more red geraniums, some white blooming vincas, and maybe more blue lobelia to fill planter boxes for our back patio.  ALHS has agreed to do a 2-stacked concrete block wall to separate the drive from the patio table, and I'll put these boxes--along with the snake plants--on top.  It will look nice!

I finally got smart and bit the bullet this year, buying a huge back of packing peanuts to fill the bottoms of the deep barrels, hanging baskets, and planters, rather than using heavy soil. I also lined my baskets with landscape fabric that was in the shed, rather than buying the coco liners--something different, and it should keep the robins and finches out of my baskets this year. (They rip the liners apart for nesting material starting about this time of year!)

I've gotten a lot done this past week, after a late start. The heavy work is done, though--now I'm down to just a little planting of flowers, weed killing, and spreading bagged mulch.


How has this thread been dormant all summer?! How is everyone's garden doing?

We had a very wet and grey June and most of July, which set things behind, but my garden is now nearing peak production-- more tomatoes and zucchini than I can eat (have been giving a bunch to my lab and neighbors), basil (making lots of pesto), peppers, eggplant, green beans, cucumbers. My small raspberry patch has been producing a good handful every day as well.   
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes


I just did not have the time to get mine done this year. With the current temps and lack of rain, and some travel I did early in the summer, it would not have done well anyway. 
I will (I WILL!!) get it back up and running in the fall. 
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am"  Darth Vader


Good point. It has been hotter than Hades' armpit over here- really brutal. We're still having some success with purple beans, tomatoes are iffy (slow going), squash is doing great and eggplant is doing well. We also have raspberries that we planted last year, so it's a new patch. They just started producing and they are wonderful!

Edit: Clean beat me to posting after Puget. :)


I've got baby morning glories coming up in the back yard! They're just tiny seedlings, 3" or thereabouts high, so they haven't started climbing the fence yet, but I am looking forward to having my favorite flowers in the yard!