Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rainy Morn-Sunny Afternoon

I’ve been hoping for a few weeks to catch a picture of one of these illusive butterflies.   I took this from my car door, on our lane, this afternoon.  He flew from flower to flower posing for me.  I ended up with two nice shots.

We got a good rain this morning about and inch.  The sun came out this afternoon and when I got home I noticed that the green beans and corn are up. Yeah!
The moment the corn starts to silk we’ll take some glycerin and place some drops on the silks.  The gylcerin is slick causing the worms to slip off and their eggs to slide away.  We tried this last year with success.
I put some 10-20-10 fertilizer on the cantalopes and the roma tomato before I left the house this morning.  Rain is the best to melt it into the ground. 

Gardening Tips
From an article by Sharon Lovejoy on the Fine Gardening website.

Adhesive tape lifts small insects from plant leaves.
Tricks for removing aphids, mites, and other small insects:
Scientists at Texas A&M University estimate that up to 90 percent of problems with aphids, mites, and spittlebug nymphs can be cured by dislodging them with a strong blast of water. You can also use adhesive tape to remove aphids and other small insects from plant leaves. Simply wrap a long piece of tape around your fingers (sticky side out), and blot off the bugs.

For aphids in particular, set a yellow dish filled with soapy water near the plant.
Aphids are drawn to the color yellow. For spider mites that persist despite a daily spray of plain water, use a buttermilk spray developed by scientists at Purdue University. Combine 1/4 cup of buttermilk and 2 cups of wheat flour in 2-1/2 gallons of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake the ingredients thoroughly, and spray it on your plants.
 
Crushed strong-scented herbs make a tea that repels many insects.
An herbal brew to combat troublesome creepy crawlers:
Basil and especially potently scented herbs- such as lavender, rosemary, tansy, southernwood, rue, mint, wormwood, or sage-help fight harmful leafhoppers, aphids, cabbage loopers, mites, cucumber beetles, and many other creepy crawlers. Simply gather a handful of fresh basil leaves and stems and any other herb trimmings you have on hand, crush them slightly, and stuff them into a mesh produce sack, if you have one. Put the sack (or the loose herbs) into a bucket or a large glass jar that is at least 1/2 gallon in size, and fill with water. Cover the container, and set it in the sun to brew for a few days. Remove the sack, or strain the solids from the mixture.
Store the liquid in a covered container in a cool, dark area until it’s needed as an insecticide. When you’re ready to do battle, pour the herbal brew into a spray bottle, add 1/8 teaspoon of liquid soap, and shake well before spraying.

Catch Up – Up Date

Doing a quick catch-up on the Blog tonight.

Monday after work (evening) I tilled the garden with my new mini tiller and it did a GREAT job. I think I have a handle on how to use it now. “Practice makes perfect” as they say.

After tilling around the vegetables I tilled a large empty section; getting it ready to plant the corn and green beans. There’s a few patches of Bermuda grass so I really dug into that to get rid of it.

On Tuesday I used the leaf rake to gather up the loose dried Bemuda grass that was on top of the ground. I used my Dad’s planter and planted 5 rows of Blue Lake green beans and 4 rows of Peaches and Cream corn. I gave the seeds some City water, but I really wish it would rain on them.

This evening I sprinkled the corn and bean seeds with 10-20-10 fertilizer and gave them a good drink of City water. To encourage the carrots I sprinkled them also and gave them a good drink. Ah..fingers still crossed that they’ll come up.

Here is a picture of my celery I’m still growing in my kitchen window.  I took this picture Sunday, April 22.

Potato Farming

Yesterday morning I felt industrious and built up the dirt around the potato plants; all 55 of them. Oh MY! I’ve never planted this many and thank goodness I LOVE TO CAN.  I read that covering half of a 6″ tall potato plant helps it become stronger and gives the potatoes some looser soil to grow it.  I’ll repeat this process again when the potatoes grow a bit taller.  I did this last year and it worked well and made it easier to dig up the potatoes.
I used my favorite garden tool to pull the soil up from both sides, my metal leaf rake. I love the fact that it has a wide swath and with my sandy soil it is easy to use for raking the soil. It also picks up the loose dead pieces of Bermuda grass that are along the top of the soil.

The carrot seeds I planted have yet to make any sort of appearence. The package said “guaranteed to grow”, well we shall see; if not I’m sending for my money back. I paid over $3 for the package.

On another note your have to forgive the lack of post as of late. My father just had a new knee replacement last week and I’ve been busy working and going to the hospital…now going to Rehab. My Dad’s Dr announced him “amazing” after his heart valve surgery last Sept. and with this one he just shook his head and smiled. My Dad is 84 and a very active man. He will be helping me till the garden when he gets his strength back.

Later this week the planting signs will be right for above ground planting and I will be planting the corn and green beans.

By the way…Here’s a picture of my new toy.


A Craftsman Mini Tiller. I just LOVE it. Though it is a bit harder to handle than my Dad’s big one. I am sure with practice I will get better a handling it. Any suggestions?? Right now I can get it to skip along the top of the ground or dig in the soil about 4″ and then I have to pull it out. Slightly annoying.

Preparing for the dry season

In a previous post “Work and Gardening don’t mix sometimes”  I mentioned the plastic pickle bucket rings we put around our tomato plants.
“To make plastic circles you cut a plastic pickle bucket in half and  cut out the bottom; giving you 2 circles.  You place one circle around each plant pushing it into the dirt.  This plastic circle allows water to gather around the plant watering the roots instead of just draining away.  These come in handy during the summer months when you have to water your plants.  At the end of the season save the circles and use them next year. ”
  Anyway..Here’s the picture I promised to post.
 

Re-Grow Your Celery

 

JUST SHARING
Here is just the coolest idea from Kara at Kalio Chic.

“I also wanted up give a little recap and update on my celery plant growth and sweet potato slip growing. First for the celery, the plant has been in ground for a little over two weeks and is growing great. See below for the two week growth photo. The baby celery stalks are emerging quite nicely. I have had several questions regarding planting your own celery, so I just wanted to recap for some of you what I did. I brought my celery home from the store and cut the tops off leaving about 2-3 inches from the base. Then I took the base outside and planted it in my garden. I just planted it about an inch deep in the soil, but I think that you can plant the entire base and leave the top level with the soil. The prefered temperature for prime celery growth is 65-75 degree’s F. It can tolerate full to partial sun and they like lots of water. In a few months you should have your new celery stalks ready to cut and eat. You can also just cut of the stalks of the celery as you need them leaving the rest of the stalks to continue growing.”

Check out the whole article and learn how to re-use other vegies and see a picture of the celery.
http://kailochic.blogspot.com/2012/03/garden-update-31212.html

4-18-12     Here’s a picture of mine in the kitchen window three days after I put it in water.  The center has grown considerably.  I swear it’s taller than it was this morning.

Work and gardening don’t mix sometimes

Garden 4-9-12

     The garden on Monday 4-09-12.  Potatoes in the foreground, the onions are next to them but you can’t see them well.

Arrived home from work on Tuesday and my Dad had bought his watermelon, cantalope, and tomato plants.  He as usual was in a hurry to get them in the ground. I managed to put him off till the next day.  So, yesterday after work I planted his 8 tomato plants, my 4 sweet bananna pepper plants, and 4 orange bell pepper plants.  I also planted some carrot seed planting strips.  Planting strips?  Yes something new I found; made by Ferry-Morse.  The seeds are incased in a strip of paper.  To plant you dig a shallow trench, lay down the strip and cover with dirt. Done.
Here’s a picture of the package front.

Today I was too tired after work  to plant anything so I took some pictures of my Herb Garden,  Flower Garden and I put the plastic circles around the tomato plants. 
Note: To make plastic circles you cut a plastic pickle bucket in half and  cut out the bottom; giving you 2 circles.  You place one circle around each plant pushing it into the dirt.  This plastic circle allows water to gather around the plant watering the roots instead of just draining away.  These come in handy during the summer months when you have to water your plants.  At the end of the season save the circles and use them next year.    I promise to take a picture and post it so you can see what I’m yaking on about. :O)
BTW:: If you have a Firehouse Sub resturant in your area they sell their pickle buckets to customers.

     Here’s a pic of my herb garden sofar this year. 

        Back row (left to right):: Lavender and Rosemary
        Front (left to right):: Sage, Basil and Oregano
The lavender and sage are blooming right now.  This is their second year here in the herb garden along with the Rosemary.

Here’s a pic of my Flower Garden sofar this year.

The flower garden remains a work in progress; each year I add more to it.  Last fall I added two hibiscus bushes and I’m waiting to see if they’ve survived the winter.   That is moss covering the ground.  I am hoping that it will cover it completely one day.

Taters and Tillin’

     Sat. March 31, 2012  The potatoes have finally started coming out of the ground.  I counted 28 this morning.
     My Dad is trying to get the Tiller running so I can till the garden.  He is waiting on a knee replacement and cannot walk as much as he used to so I finally get to use the Tiller.
     Sunday brought the news from my brother that the Tiller needed a new spark plug.  No tilling that day.

     If you haven’t read last years’ Blog you need to know about the Bermuda grass in the garden.  In short…Bale of hay disked with the tractor into the garden 7 or so yrs. ago.  No garden for a couple of yrs. so the Bermuda grass took over.  I’ve been battling it for 5 yrs.  Each yr. the grass is less and less but it remains a nuisance!  Needless to say the garden needs a good tilling.

     Today my Dad and brother were able to get the Tiller started.  My brother brought the Tiller up to the garden and worked one row to see how it was doing. He taught me what levers were what and I took over.  I tilled only the section of the garden I have planted right now since it was 5 p.m. and I’d worked all day.  My Dad watched me and gave me some tips on how to handle the Tiller easier; such as turning at the end of a row.  It was a learning process.

In The Herb Garden
     Last years Sage, Rosemary, and both Lavenders made it through the winter and are looking great.  I bought some Sweet Basil and Greek Oregano today at the local Farmers Co-op and planted them both today.  I love oregano, but I’ve not been able to have good luck with it.  The plants die after about a month in the ground.  Too much water- too little water?  Any suggestions would be great!