Saturday, June 30

30 June - too hot for outside work

It's about 80°F outside, at 10am today, with nearly no wind. I gave up weeding around then, and turned on the sprinkler again to soften the ground for this afternoon's weeding session. A swarm of bees flew by shortly before I gave up, giving me extra incentive to seek shelter.

The sunflowers - doing very well despite the lack of any attention whatsoever. I'll probably skip weeding this bed entirely, since they seem to be holding their own against the weeds.


A pretty surprise this year: the Maltese Cross came back beautifully, with striking red-orange blooms you can see from the road. Neighbors have asked what they were, noting how nice they look against the stone of the house. I'll have to start more this summer and expand them along the back of this planting bed.


One of the first plantings we did when we moved in years ago was planting three filbert bushes. Each year they've gotten marginally bigger from the stick-like original plants, and now they're several feet tall with clusters of nuts. Perhaps the nuts will be enough for both the critters and the humans this year (since the critters always win the battle of first to pick). Filberts (or hazelnuts, if you prefer) are excellent for baking, adding to Thanksgiving stuffings, and eating raw.

Can you tell where I stopped weeding last night to take the photo?

So what will happen to the weed debris? Thankfully, a large area of brush not too far from the garden readily accepts a weed-compost heap. It's at the edge of the elderberries, giving the bushes plenty of good soil over the years, but keeping the weed seeds out of the garden proper. I move the weed pile over a few feet every year, since I never turn these piles and they take longer than normal to compost.

Here's the info on the sprinkler:

The base telescopes to about 3 feet, providing some loft for the water drops over tall plants. Especially good when I haven't cut the grass in a while and the access path of the garden is about 6" deep, and covers the impact sprinkler almost entirely. Additionally, this is plenty tall enough that the dog (or me) doesn't trip over it & cut a paw. It's made by a company called Melnor.

Thursday, June 28

June 28 - what happens when you don't weed for 3 months?

As the name implies...I haven't weeded my garden yet this year. This feels like some twelve step program "Hi, my name is Mickey, and I'm a lazy gardener".

Since I have a guests scheduled for next week, I suppose it would be a good time to start weeding (Before/after photos to come in a future post). What does the lazy gardener do to weed? Well, I let a sprinkler run for about 4 hours last night, getting the ground good and drenched. It had all day today for draining, and by tonight was pleasantly damp - good weed-pulling dirt. An hour's worth of work netted me 1/8th of the garden weed free, including pulling up all those nasty thistles and dragging a hoe across the surface to tear up sprouts that didn't belong there. I also took the opportunity to trim off the lowest tomato branches on that row; A feat I swear to do every year to keep the dampness off the base of the tomatoes, but never seem to accomplish.

The lettuce and spinach bed is partially cleared as well, although the spinach didn't grow as well as previous years - there are a lot of gaps in the row. (Perhaps I should let people think I've eaten lots of spinach this month?) I suspect the weeds overtook some of the baby spinach - lesson learned.

My late planted peas are finally blooming, I may or may not get any decent quantity - the hot weather seems to disagree with the peas. Radishes are finally ready to pick (just in time for said party).

I planted two entire beds, nearly 1/5 of the garden, in sunflowers, which have sprouted magnificently. The plants are nearly 3 feet tall already, so I declare this year a victory over the critters and birds stealing my sunflower seed. I've planted the seeds much deeper, almost 2 inches below the soil level, as a deterrent.

On a side note, we have acquired a new sprinkler for the garden. If I can find the brand, I'll post it, but it's one of those that sits up about 3 feet off the ground. It seems to be much more gentle of a rain pattern than my tried-and-trusty impact sprinkler, but falls about 4 feet shorter in spray diameter. Perhaps this is due to water pressure (another hose was running while I compared the spray pattern). In all, it covers nearly the entire garden, and does less 'damage' from the water jet. I think I'll stick with it for a while and see what the verdict is at the end of summer.


Monday, June 11

10 June - Fruit

These are a variety of 'wild' strawberry, those little tiny berries that have more taste than a quart bought in the store. The 'lipstick' strawberries also have a couple fruits, though that's pretty uncommon. I've only gotten to eat a couple, as the birds and chipmunks have beat me to most of them. I have another sunny slope that I'll be planting more berries on, an area that is somewhat difficult to mow right now.

After last year's single peach, we have about 30 this year. Unfortunately, we also have bugs. I'm going to have to look this pest up, but it appears I may need to spray something on the tree. Since I'd rather not eat insecticide, I may try some waxed-paper bags to wrap the fruit in -- I've heard rumors these work well, but have never tried it myself.

The area around the electrical box has come back somewhat this year. The Carnations are not perennial (wrong label - oops!), so they did not come back at all. I tore up the soapwort, as it was taking over the bed (a single plant had spread to a 5' circle). The Columbine are coming along nicely, however. Seven more plants have been started for filling in the gaps where it didn't take, or I planted too far apart. The delicate flowers really are turning out quite nice.

The front bed is starting to fill in. You can see some of the grasses and flowers growing already. The hydrangea is about a foot tall. As I feared, the Pampas grass is very dead. I'll replace it with some other ornamental grass, perhaps Millet.

Sunday, June 10

May Flowers 5-23-2007

To cut down on effort this year, I planted annual flowers bordering the garden, Salvia (Red Hot Sally), Petunias (White Madness), and Alyssum (Wonderland blue). perhaps they'll grow into stripes for the 4th of July?

The dog looking innocent of any mischief, along the annual plants...

Strawberries are starting to bloom along the rock wall. This is the "Lipstick" strawberry, a non-fruiting (most of the time) hybrid with pink flowers, and spreads readily. There are also some 'wild' strawberries planted along the rock wall.

Spring clean-up 4-26-2007

Spent much of today mulching the front beds, pulling some weeds, and getting them ready. The daffodils are blooming nicely, and the front bed with the peach tree looks good, although I'm not sure about the Pampas grass - it might not return (supposedly it was hardy, oh well)

The daffodils:

The front peach tree bed: