Garden Diaries forum: Mary's Garden Diary 2011

 
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ImageMaryE
May 3, 2011 4:54 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Gardening in Eastern Oregon is very different from other parts of the state. We have a short growing season, roughly 89 "safe" days between hard frosts according to the official Extension Service, with 115 days if protection is used for tender plants in spring and fall. Add a few microclimates and it's anybody's guess! Our humidity is low, and we have a lot of hot sunny, windy days which stress the plants after the cold windy ones in the spring. Annual rainfall here is less than 10 inches.

If I refer to the garden, I mean the patch where I grow vegetables. The yard is the area around the house with lawn and flower beds. We also have 2 orchard areas, one very old, and one only planted last year. These are both separate from the garden, the yard, and each other. We live in the country so there is lots of room to spread out.

My tomato and squash plants were started in my greenhouse about a month ago. I also started a few cabbages and brocolli, spinach, chard, and a few others, along with some flower seeds. All winter I have been growing lettuce and tomatoes for our own fresh salads, and also some beets for the leaves that can brighten up the salads. Some onions were started from seed and are now planted in the vegie garden.

My daughter in law and I planted a few rows of vegies about 10 days ago. Nothing is up yet, we need a few warm days. I water them almost daily with the hose and a gentle sprinkler, walking along the row, checking for little green sprouts as I go. Last week the potatoes were planted, and the onion rows cultivated and weeded. I planted 2 bags of onion sets about a month ago. They are finally up and I can see where not to walk, and where to cultivate with a claw thing on a long handle. I think it is known as a potato hook.

Flower gardening so far has consisted of planting some lily bulbs, a peony, and red hot pokers. I've been digging a new edge on a flower bed that has been badly invaded by quack grass, and fertilized by the tweety birds whose seed feeders hang above it. The dropped seed hulls apparently have a good amount of nitrogen, or maybe it is just the bird droppings. A few sick looking rose bushes have been trimmed, one completely removed. The only healthy rose I have is one that was grafted. The variety I paid for was Don Juan, it died after a couple of years but a plant grew up from the roots below the graft, and since it is healthy and has red blooms, I kept it.

Peonys, columbines, daylilies, iris, and many other perennials are growing despite below freezing nights at least half the time. Daffys are blooming, as are a few tulips and other small bulbs. The lawn (miscellaneous grasses with a lot of sweet little violets and weeds) was mowed for the first time this weekend. It was very shaggy! The clippings were taken to the vegie garden where they will be used as mulch.

Our maple tree is just about to burst forth with red leaves which turn green as the season progresses! It is like having 2 trees! The old pear tree in the corner of the yard is covered with fat buds. Lilacs are also about to break out in leaves. Birds are building nests, and the young owl has been peeking out from under his mother's wings to check out his human neighbors.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
May 11, 2011 3:46 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
This entry is being moved from an untitled thread. I thought I was adding it to this one at that time. So, here is the May 7 entry. ( I am not writing these every day, just sort of lumping a few days together).

May 7: Cloudy here today with the sun peeking through sometimes. High temperature will be near 50, or so the "experts" say. Showers are in the forecast for the next few days. We got enough last evening to make the grass wet this morning. Overnight low was about 40.

I'm a bit sore from all the work I did yesterday, planting, hauling manure, spreading it, and worst of all, emptying the stacked tires. That was an experiment that didn't work out. It was a lot of work to fill the darned things, and just as much or worse to empty them, spread the soil and roll the tires out of the way.

Planted some little brocolli and cabbages yesterday. They were getting too big for their little pots and they do better if not allowed to get rootbound. In the garden they look very small. It was a good day for transplanting as it was mostly cloudy. We got a few sprinkles of rain in the evening, enough to dampen the soil. I checked the new planted rows that are under a very thin grass clipping mulch, they were still damp from the day before. Most days I have had to water them. Having something on the soil keeps the surface from drying out, plus it seems to pull moisture up from below. Or maybe it is the moisture in the grass going down. The baby plants can come up through it with no trouble.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
May 11, 2011 4:18 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
After a couple of very windy days when it was near impossible to do any gardening, the wind has finally tamed down enoughfor me to work outside. This morning's low temperature was 31, so I was in no hurry to get outside, so instead I transplanted tomato and squash plants in the greenhouse. They were needing larger pots, and are now in the 4 inch size. I put the flats of plants on my shady porch for the day, and will probably do the same tomorrow because the greenhouse gets HOT even with the fans pulling cooler air into it and exhausting hot air. We need to get the shade cloth on it soon, when the wind stops blowing.

I'm hauling wheelbarrows full of horse manure from the edge of the pasture to the garden. Weed seeds come with it of course, but it's free, that is if I don't count having to feed the horses who produce it. They have their favorite potty spots which makes the job easier than having to cover the whole pasture picking up a pile at a time. Hubby harrowed the pasture and broke up those piles about a month ago, and the horses have been confined to a different one.

Little green vegetables are coming up in the rows my daughter in law and I planted 2 weeks ago. The weather has been too cold to inspire germination. This year I have started watering the asparagus rows sooner, and am rewarded with many more shoots than I have been seeing in previous years. The nearby large tree takes more moisture out of the soil than I had thought. I am putting plastic markers by each plant so that I can fill in the gaps in the rows with little volunteer plants.

The yard has also been getting some attention. One flower bed had a lot of quackgrass that had grown inward from the lawn, almost smothering the tulips and daffodills. It took quite a bit of hard and careful work, but now it is clean and has a strip of soil between the flowers and the grass. I'm just barely getting started with weeding flower beds, again delayed by weather.

Our small fruit trees have tiny leaves now, and the Gravenstein apple tree has a few flower buds showing color. Hubby scuffle hoed the weeds in the 10 ft wide strip we maintain for the baby trees. Now they need to be watered.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
May 13, 2011 10:08 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
This morning was calm, so we were able to put the shade cloth on the greenhouse. The cloth is dark green and blocks 50% of the sun, making plants much happier and the greenhouse cooler. I left the new transplants in the greenhouse today and only a couple of them looked slightly wilted. Those are most likely the ones that were coming up 2 in a pot when I accidently dropped an extra seed, and rather than disturb the roots, I snipped one off, dipped it in water and then in Root Tone, and planted it. They might make it, or not, but at least the "twin" in each case has undisturbed roots.

The flower beds all need water, so I started with the big one. I'm guessing it is about 50x20 ft. I use an ocelating sprinkler to cover it. The wind blew water in funny directions, so I had to adjust a couple of times. Tomorrow I'll switch to a multiple sprinkler set up, 3 sprinklers that make a circle pattern, with hoses between them. I use those in the side yards and the front which are too small to use the ocelating one. And I'll weed where I watered today. The weeds should be easy to pull now that the soil had been softened with water. I hope to get half of it done tomorrow. Clay soil, when dry, is like concrete, hanging on to the roots. Some weeds, when broken off, just form a new top on a big root system, so I like to get the whole thing the first time.

This afternoon I watered the vegetable garden rows, and used some grass clippings to mulch around part of the asparagus plants. I need to finish that job with some clippings that are on the top of the compost pile, but it was too windy and half of them would have blown away before I watered them to form a mat that would hold the small grass pieces together. In a few weeks more grass will need to be added because the ones in contact with the soil will break down and start feeding the plants. Meanwhile, I need to add a bit of horse manure around each plant.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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[Last edited May 13, 2011 10:16 PM CST]
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ImageMaryE
May 19, 2011 8:52 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
On May 16 we had a big surprise. Sometime in the night it started to snow, and by daylight the ground had a nice white blanket with big chicken feather flakes still coming down! Not exactly what a gardener wants to see in May. By noon the sun had melted most of it. The following night we had frost, and the wind has been blowing hard. Before the snow we had about an inch of rain in one night which is a lot for here because we get under 10 inches annually.

I need to set out more cabbage type plants in the garden, but first I need some relatively calm weather for hauling manure. Sometimes in the early mornings in the first 2 hours of daylight it is calm, so I might have to do the manure hauling then so I won't be breathing it and getting it in my eyes. It's old, light, and has been walked on enough to pulverize it.

More asparagus plants are coming to life, poor wimpy little things but when I thought they were probably dead from gophers, lack of water and who knows what else, I'm happy to see life! One plant has the crown exposed but I haven't given up on it although it does look too dry to be alive. This week every live plant, no matter how tiny, got a plastic marker made from yogurt containers that I cut into 1/2 inch strips. And even with that, I stepped on and broke the shoots on one reasonably healthy plant. This fall I will try to fill the gaps in the rows with volunteer plants from seeds that form on the stalks, or maybe just plant some of the seeds in pots in the greenhouse and set them out in the spring. Hope the markers stay in place, they are 2 inches deep and only stick up a little ways to keep the wind from wiggling them loose.

A 20 ft length of wire fence with a rounded top has been installed to keep the columbines out of the lawn and lawn mower, and another that I got at the thrift store has been cut into 4 ft lengths, made into rings, and put around the peonys. I should have made them larger, or better yet, installed them sooner.

Weeding is going slowly. I did pull a lot of weeds in the large perennial bed but only got about 1/4 of it done. Snow and wind have temporarily stopped my weeding. Several rose bushes I had almost given up for dead are showing new growth. The pear tree in the yard is blooming, and so is the little Gravenstein apple tree. I saw a few blooms on the creeping phlox. Grape hyacinths are still in full bloom, for about the 3rd week! The blooms look fresh. The dark blue is a great accent to pink, purple and even orangey/red tulips.

The lawn needs mowing again. Virginia creeper is starting to get leaves, none on the grape vines yet. Trees have pale green leaves, birds are building nests. The daffodills are finished, but narcissis are still blooming nicely. Most of the perennials that grow to about 3 ft tall are about a foot high already. Hope I can get the weeds pulled before they outgrow the flowers.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
May 22, 2011 9:22 AM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Most of my vegies are out of the greenhouse and into the garden. I hope our 40 degree night temp didn't shock them too badly. I should have covered the squash with buckets. Silly me to believe the weather forecast. Hopefully, heat rising from the ground moderated the temperature. The rain came before I got all of them planted, so I put the flats between the rhubarb plants for wind protection. After the rain shower the sun came out and it still felt quite warm, so I pulled the tubs of geraniums out of the greenhouse.

Hubby asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. You bet! And so after a major clean up, we went to the not so local steak house where we go once or twice a year. When we came home the weather had changed, wind was blowing hard, rain was starting again, and it was getting dark. Oh heck! I parked my hay cart next to the geraniums to serve as a sort of windbreak, told the squash they were on their own, and tried not to picture the little things shivering. I probably should have gone down the hill with flashlight and buckets. Hopefully, the early start in the greenhouse will offset any shock they experienced.

My winter squash varieties are more varied than before. I saved and started seeds from a couple of write off winter squash from the co-op. One red, one green, both about 2 pounds. Co-op mystery squash red, co-op mystery squash green is how the labels read. Who knows, they might replace the butternut I've grown for years.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
May 25, 2011 6:50 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Most of today was spent outside because yesterday was pretty much nonproductive as I was in town for most of it.

The squash all have bucket covers at night. It's been 39, 37 and tonight the forecast says 35. I do believe the forecast when it says it will be that cold! This morning I uncovered them when the temperature reached 50. I watered the asparagus and weeded as the hose did a slow soak by each plant. Another new one has appeared, I put 2 sticks by it as I didn't have a plastic marker in my pocket. When the weeds between rows got hard to pull because the soil is more clay on that end, I watered them. They should come out easier when I get back to them in 2 days. Everything got a drink today, and I planted more garlic and onions that were in pots.

The lawn got a haircut, and a few more weeds were pulled. Now I'm out of energy.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jun 9, 2011 9:02 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Weeds! The war continues! I pull, they grow and multiply. I'm trying to remove the whitetop before it goes to seed. Grass is making seed heads, and another spring weed we call bedstraw is blooming. The buttonweed is just starting to appear along with a few pig weeds and some other later to germinate ones. A lot of them are history today, thrown around on the lawn and in piles in the perennial bed. The lawn needs mowing again. We finally got some warmish days which caused the growth spurt. I thought I would mow the lawn today but weeding was more important, and now I'm out of oomph!

More asparagus have appeared from sleeping roots. I need to get the soaker hoses in place and put mulch over them to save them from the sun. I did get every plant surrounded with grass clippings and marked with a plastic marker. They are hard to find when they are dormant. I think some manure and a generous covering with grass clippings will make them happy enough to feed us something next year.

All 4 of the cucumbers died. They appeared to have some kind of blight. One of the plants in the greenhouse has funny spots on the leaves. I'll trim off the bad leaves and hope for the best. This is a new problem. Squash just grow, and behave themselves don't they? Apparently not. When I set out the greenhouse replacement plants they will go into a different place in case there is something bad in the soil. Beans grew there last year.

Last week I repotted the tomatoes and leftover squash types into gallon pots to give myself time to get them into the garden after wintery weather finally gives up.

Most of the tulips are about finished, and most of the iris are blooming. The rusty red one and the Immortality (white and ruffly) are blooming this year. Last year they had too many weeds. I'm putting markers by them so I can dig and divide and know what I have. Lots of what is here was here when we bought the place in 1993. Guess I will dig them and see if I can give some away.

At least 4 hummingbirds showed up last weekend. The feeder was waiting for them. Yesterday I saw 2 baby finches perched on a fence rail looking like they were bumped out of the nest and didn't know what to do next. While I was weeding today a pair of blackbirds were very unhappy because they had a nest somewhere near where I was working. They aren't as annoying as the western king birds we had a few years ago. I wonder where the king birds went? We haven't seen them in maybe 3 or 4 years. Maybe I was too much for them.

I spent too much time bending over today. I need a hot tub. Next best is the heating pad with built in massage.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jun 20, 2011 3:32 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
This was posted in the wrong place several days ago. I made the same mistake once before. Hope to learn someday soon.

In the past week I've pulled enough weeds to feel like I'm in a permanently bent over position! I have to keep remembering that I really am making progress. Between rounds of weeding I've finally put plants that wintered in the greenhouse into their summer homes, planted enough store bought plants into various planters to use up 4 cu ft of potting soil, and still had plants left over. Yesterday we got more, so I can get back to that project. I'm working on a card table in the woodshed which is out of the wind.

Our weather is still on the cold and showery side. It would be normal for April, but certainly isn't for June. My tomatoes are still in gallon pots in the greenhouse and I am waiting for a warm day to plant them into the garden. Some things are growing well down there, the ones that like cool weather. In normal weather years I would have beens and corn already up, but this year they are still in their seed packages. The squash I set out before we went on the graduation trip are stressed from the cold nights. I'm glad I have some replacements ready to use. I had wondered what I was going to do with all those extras, and upsized their pots from 4 inches to gallons because they needed more root room. Good thing I did that!

I finished hauling old manure to the asparagus plants, placing a nice patch of fertilizer around each one and mulching again with grass clippings, then watering. The manure will sift down through the first layer of grass. I'll continue to add clippings as I mow the lawn, and should get some sheep barn cleanings from my neighbor's big pile to add as well. Some of the plants have a nice fern now, and some are showing little berries. When the berries turn red and the ferns turn yellow, some will be harvested to start in the greenhouse, and some will just be bent over to the ground, anchored in place with a rock, and maybe they will start babies all by themselves.

I've noticed some little bitty apples forming on some of the new fruit trees. Must look at the plum and pear to see if they also have baby fruit. Must be vigiliant for bugs too, since we had pear slugs and hornworms last year. Pear slugs are only about 1/3 inch long, like the underside of the pear leaves, and cause large brown patches, eventually making the leaf die. Hornworms were on one of the apple trees, the one that came from the discount store along with the pear. They are light green, 2 to 3 inches long, and hungry. I collected 13 of them and gave them to the neighbor's chickens. The eggs that produced these pests must have been in the damp wood chips that surrounded the bare roots. If I buy any more trees there I'll wash the roots thoroughly, and bag and destroy the wood chips.

My big red peonys are starting to bloom. I don't have anything else red blooming except a tulip here and there and a couple of red and white columbine. Most of the iris are blooming now, putting on quite a show with purple, blue, pink, and yellow, with an occasional rusty or white. I need more colors. Tulips have mostly lost all their petals, daffys are dried up and trying to grow seed heads. Deadheading takes time, something I don't have. It also requires bending over. Right now the weeding is more important because the weeds are blooming.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jun 26, 2011 10:56 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
My colorful yard changes daily. I need to deadhead a lot of iris. Many of them need to be moved so I made labels for them from old yogurt and cottage cheese cartons cut into strips. A lot of them will move to our daughter's house, she really needs flowers! And I have flowers! My granddaughter, son in law and I are conspiring to give her a colorful yard. This fall I will pot up a lot of my extra plants and send them home with them when they are here for Thanksgiving. The ground won't be frozen there until about January, if then. Ours will be. Until late March.

The orange poppys are starting to bloom. They are the old kind with fuzzy leaves and big, floppy flowers. I'm still weeding, endlessly. And they are still growing. I pulled a few 4 ft long grass stems out of the wild rose bushes that grow along the fence between the yard and the pasture. Some of the wild roses are starting to bloom, the ones that look yellow until they open and have orangey red on the inner side of the petals.

Yesterday when I was weeding I could hear a lot of buzzing. A few bumble bees were working on the batchelor's buttons. If I hadn't been so lazy I would have come inside to get the camera. There'll be time....

The garden is doing fairly well. Most of the sick looking squash have recovered to some degree, although they don't look as good as the reserves I planted later. I just didn't have the heart to pull them out. The tomatoes are all planted, I think there are about 20 planted in a 50 foot row. They might be too close together. The tomato row is covered with black plastic and has 2 of those leaky soaker hoses under it. Easy to water them that way, just connect the hose and let it run for about an hour. I'll only have to water them once or twice a week.

The green beans and corn are all planted but nothing is up yet. I soaked the seeds for about 3 hours, sealed them in zip lock bags and rinsed them 2 or 3 times a day, planted them on the 3rd day with little root sprouts showing. I was very careful not to break the sprouts off. I have 4 bean teepees, each with 6 poles. I planted 6 seeds around each pole. 3 of them are Kentucky Wonder beans like my grandpa grew, and the other one is Romano, a long, flat variety.

Our weather is finally warmer, 70 today, warmer every day for the next few, and up to 90 a week from now. That will keep me busy weeding and watering. I need to harvest the spinach and chard, blanch it and get it into bags for the freezer before that hot weather comes. The peas are just about ready to bloom, and I may have to hurry to use those too. I'm growing snap peas and the regular type. Can't remember the variety, not Wando which I've grown before, maybe Arrow? Or something else? I hope I wrote it on the row tag.

Honey bees are swarming. This evening when I was watering near the garden shed, I heard lots of buzzing. Bees were on the shed window, both inside and outside, but were mostly attracted to the space behind a metal trim strip on the corner of the building. I checked the old bee tree, yep, they were there too. I'm guessing that the ones in the shed were just lost. In years past we had honey bees in the tree about every 2nd year, but not for about 5 years. I'm glad to see them return. These bees are a bit darker than the Italian bees which are the most common honey bees. We never took their honey, but were thankful for their help pollinating the fruit trees and flowers.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jul 3, 2011 5:34 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Today I found evidence of a gopher in the garden, a kohlrabi chewed off just about 2 inches below the soil. I found a hole, so will set my trap there. Last year I caught 2 or 3 before they got smart enough to avoid the trap. Hopefully this gopher is not one of those old trap wise ones. A few days ago something chewed off the stem of a squash plant, but I didn't find a tunnel, so thought it was bugs.

The weather has turned hot. It feels hotter than it really is because the weather was cool for so long and then summer seems to have happened suddenly. The beans are coming up nicely, bugs have eaten a few leaves but often the plant will grow new ones. The corn is mostly up. I need to plant another bunch of seed to have corn continuously until frost once it starts to produce. Most years I plant corn 3 times, first week of June, mid June, July 1. This year only twice.

Today I cultivated around each squash and cucumber plant, making a kind of shallow moat around each one which will catch the runoff when the plants are watered. I also mulched around each with old straw. The spring water gravity flow system was activated today to water some of the garden. First I watered the rhubarb, then the old asparagus, and the grapes. Eventually I'll have little ditches beside all the rows so the whole thing can be watered that way. Deep watering about every 3 or 4 days will be enough for most of the plants. Things in the far end of the rows often get the same treatment with water from the hose because the gravity flow only goes so far. My pipe system has it's limits.

The potatoes need to be hoed. That's gonna be work, as I planted them in holes I dug in a spot that had been covered with cardboard and straw for 2 years. The straw is still there, around the rows and between the plants. I might get a tractor bucket load of decomposed sheep pen cleanings (looks like dirt after a few years) and just shovel some around each plant. Right now that's sounding easier than removing straw and rotted cardboard to hoe amongst the dead grass and weed roots. And the blueberries need some shade, our sun is too intense for them.

Hubby bagged the grass clippings from the orchard where there are less weeds than in other places that he mows with the riding mower. He emptied them into wheelbarrows and I put them in the asparagus rows for mulch between the rows and also enlarging the circle around each plant to help control weeds and keep the soil moist. I found 2 more baby plants growing in the pathway. The bindweed will have to be pulled on hands and knees but the heavy mulch layer might slow it down, and hopefully it will keep the buttonweed, pigweed and a couple of others in check.

The wild roses are all in bloom now. Yellow, white, and the 2 tone ones. I see a few scapes on some of the daylilies but no blooms yet. Peonys are done, iris are down to the late ones, gailardia and blue salvia are starting, some bell thing is also blooming, I wish I could remember the name. One of the domestic roses below the porch rail has 3 pink blooms on it and a lot of buds. The red climbing rose will pop one of these days. It came up from the roots when the rose I bought died. Both were red, so I kept it.

Yesterday I finished weeding a large flower bed along the west yard fence. It had a big wheelbarrow load of weeds. Looks much better now. I'm not finished with flower beds but am making progress!

We are eating spinach, chard, and green onions. The peas have blossoms and little pods. Summer squash and zucchini have little babies. I picked one little guy and ate it. 2 small bites and it was gone! I see little clusters of grapes. The tomato plants still don't look too great after being put into the ground. Maybe if I just quit looking at them???
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImagePatti1957
Jul 3, 2011 5:42 PM CST
Name: Patti
Eagle Point, OR
Mary, I love reading your garden diary! You have motivated me to get out and clean up some flower beds! Now I need to go update my own garden diary.
ImageMaryE
Jul 3, 2011 8:53 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
You go, girl!
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jul 4, 2011 4:42 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Caught a gopher last night! Trying for another with the trap set in the same place in case there are others using the same tunnel. Another is nearby, possibly part of the same system. I hope this gopher, a male, was a loner but I seriously doubt it. He's probably spread the word about a lush garden and was joined by his extended family. The tunnels are just a few feet from a solar powered probe that emits a chattering signal into the ground and is supposed to keep them away! And the plastic jug on a fiberglass post hasn't worked either, it is supposed to annoy them by banging against the post when the wind blows and transfering the sound into the ground. We've certainly had enough wind to test that theory.

This morning I weeded the potato patch and mulched it with old straw. It seemed to be the easiest and quickest solution. Everything was watered thoroughly which will help settle the straw. I'll set some mousetraps around the patch so I'm not raising a great crop of mice which is what I did the last time I mulched with straw. Now I need to use the machete' to cut the weeds next to the fence, it's easier than pulling them. Most won't regrow without moisture, some are the annual we call bedstraw. I think the pioneers used it in their mattresses. The stems and leaves have rough edges that make a kind of rash on my hands and arms. I worked with long sleeves but forgot the gloves.

Corn seeds are soaking for the 2nd crop. I'll plant them in the morning or maybe the next morning. I located our pump sprayer and the Bt for cabbage worms, haven't seen any of those moths hovering over the cabbage plants, but I'm ready. Bt kills the worms because they eat the leaves with the spray and it makes them sick. Better than poisons. Also found the diamatomaceous earth, and will apply it tonight after I water the beans.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
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ImageMaryE
Jul 16, 2011 11:31 AM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
I'm doing what I do all summer, weeding, watering, and now also reaping the benefits of having a vegetable garden. Yesterday I picked the peas, both snap peas and the regular kind. Hubby shelled about a quart while I cooked a stir fry for our dinner with onions, brocolli, chard, and zucchini from our garden . We had fried zucchini last night, with a salad that came 100% from our garden except for the dressing. I grew some red frilly leaf lettuce, rosa something I think, and used a whole head in the salad along with cucumber and brocolli that were growing a few hours before. I love being able to eat out of the garden! Something different every night.

During the couple of weeks since I posted a diary entry, I was gifted with 33 starts of various kinds of the plant we commonly call Hens and Chicks. They have been planted temporarily in nursery flats. I used the kind with web bottoms, lined with 2 layers of newspaper which is just enough to keep the soil mix in it. After they root they'll be transplanted to more permanent homes. Following the recommendation for a good type of growing medium for them, I used Miracle Grow Potting Mix, an equal amount of fine fir and pine bark, and some small gravel. Some, not an equal amount, maybe 1/2 as much as each of the other ingredients. I'm watering them sparingly until they grow some roots. Most of them did have roots, but not enough to take up much water. My pump sprayer is just the thing! They are sitting on my improvised potting bench, a card table, under the woodshed roof to protect them from mid day sun and sudden showers like the one we had this morning.

Today is cloudy, so I need to set out the plants I rescued from the whiskey barrels before removing the top 6 inches of soil and replacing it about 2 months ago. Snapdragons and dianthus, free plants, unknown colors. The snapdragons are showing some color in their buds, light pink and white, maybe some yellow. It's too soon to tell. Dianthus don't have anything but leaves so far. I will plant them in the box just outside the greenhouse door.

Yesterday I found an asparagus plant that had been covered with cardboard for a year after I dug up nearly all of the old asparagus row which was too close to the grapes. Apparently I missed this one. It is near where I made a row for tomatoes and has no doubt been stomped on by my big feet quite a few times. It is tiny but alive. I marked it's location with a little plastic tag but need to put in a fiberglass post that will stick up about 30 inches to keep it safe.

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
ImageMaryE
Jul 24, 2011 4:47 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
The gopher war continues! We are playing hide and seek. So far he has confined his digging and eating to the kohlrabi, and the pea patch. I got a gopher the first night I set the trap, and none since. One day when I was watering the peas I saw one plant doing a lot of wiggling, and soon saw dirt mounding up near it. A few minutes later I attacked with a shovel. Missed him! It was worth a try. He hasn't done a huge amount of damage, just eating a plant here and there, but what happens when the peas are gone? Beets and cabbage, brocolli and squash are not far away.

Zucchini and summer squash are getting ahead of me. It's time to start selling them to the co-op. The Romanesco zucchini are really different, not in taste but in appearance. They have prominant ribs running the length of the squash, lighter green than the squash itself. When sliced into rounds they look like gears for some machine! I'll take some to the co-op, and see if anyone buys them.

Peas have been picked 3 times now. One more picking and they'll be done, but I will leave the plants to entertain the gopher and hopefully keep him from venturing elsewhere. I watered the asparagus rows while I picked today, going to move the hoses every couple of minutes, but it did give my back a rest. Also started the gravity flow spring water in the grapes.

Yesterday I hoed around the corn, watered it and then today deep watered it because some of them looked stressed already. It's 90 today with a good wind pulling the water out of everything. Pulled a few onions that are starting to make seed heads. They've been our onion supply for several weeks now. Next year I need to grow them where I have the peas this year. The soil is fluffier down there and they will have an easier time expanding underground. The few I have growing in the middle of the garden, leftovers from those I started from seed, planted there because the onion patch had no more room, are looking better because they don't have to work so hard.

The rhubarb hasn't been picked for 2 or 3 weeks and is growing back nicely. I'll put some in the freezer soon.

One of the red cabbage heads started to crack, so I cut it and brought it to the house. Another one looks like it might crack soon, probably the next time I water them. The green cabbage is also making heads but they are not solid yet. All of them were started from seed the same day, about April 20. The green plants are much larger. I grow an early variety, but probably should try the late ones too, just to see what happens.

The climbing beans are starting to climb. I help them get started by tieing the runners to the poles with surveyors tape which is soft and will stretch a bit when the vine gets fatter without injuring it. The wind whips them around badly if they are not tied, sometimes damaging the growing tip when it rubs against the ground, or gets too hot when in contact with the hot soil surface. Of course then it quits growing.

I need to tie the tomatoes to the fence again, they've grown quite a bit but are definitely not the prittiest tomatoes I ever grew. I think they looked better before I planted them. They are making tomatoes, one is yellow/orange. I need to water them again, easy, just connect the hose and let the leaky lines do their thing under the plastic.

Yesterday I examined the brownish leaves of our small pear tree. Pear slugs are back! http://www.botanic.org/PearSlug.pdf I removed them with a wet sock on my hand, which needed rinsing several times. The linked article says they also like plum trees, the next tree is a plum. It has no pear slugs but does have wrinkly leaves near the top, aphids I think. Each leaf I examined also had ants which are known to farm aphids. My fingers got sticky when I rubbed the grayish layer on the underside of the leaves. I'll try a hard spray of water to knock them off, and maybe paint rings of sticky insect catcher stuff (one brand is called Tanglefoot) to stop the ants. Hope it works. I have Safer's Soap which is a not so serious type of insecticide that I can spray on the leaves. I don't want to resort to using strong poisons like Seven or Malathion. The plum tree has quite a few green fruits on it.

There isn't time or energy enough to to much in the yard, so most of the iris still need to be deadheaded, weeds are tall and going to seed. I keep watering, watering, watering. The geranium cuttings I brought home from our daughter's are looking ok. I even planted some bare sections of stems, being careful to put the right end up, and some of them are sprouting tiny leaves! Amazing!

All of the hens and chicks are looking good. Misting them wasn't giving them enough of a drink to keep the soil moist, so I water them sparingly, using the smallest watering can I have, trying to water near but not on the plants. I still have them on the card table under the woodshed roof where they have sun until about noon, then shade for the rest of the day, and protection from the wind. The compost screen that fits the wheelbarrow fits neatly over 3 flats, and has kept the cats out of the trays. I'm tempted to wiggle a few of the plants to see if they are rooting down, but have kept from disturbing them. It's only been about 2 weeks since I planted them.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
[Last edited Jul 24, 2011 5:02 PM CST]
Quote | Post #727546 (16)
ImageMaryE
Jul 27, 2011 5:16 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
I got a nice little lily on a 75% markdown. I looked up the name and wow! If the pot label (stuck to the pot, not a push in that anybody could move) is correct, it will have 2 tone lavender and white blooms. http://www.growingcolors.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.pla... Anyhow, this plant is supposed to be about 16 inches high, mine was in a 4 inch pot, so is about half that size. I repotted it this morning after removing a lot of circling roots and opening up the root ball. A couple of weeks of tlc in the shade and it should be growing new roots. This little thing has the remains of 6 blooms, no color, just those green nubs that I think will make seed pods. One year I picked pods from one of my lilies and planted the seeds. Those babies are blooming now!

This morning, after watering the cabbage and brocolli, I sprayed the undersides of the leaves with Bt to kill the cabbage worms. Most of the garden was deep watered today. Our weather is in the 80 degree range, but in the sun it feels a lot hotter. Actually it felt cool in the greenhouse after being in the garden for about 3 hours. Greenhouse temp was in the mid 90's.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
ImageMaryE
Jul 30, 2011 9:11 AM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
The deer paid us a visit, bit holes in the little apples on our row of baby fruit trees, and didn't bother the garden at all. We need to put the heavy plastic netting up soon, maybe today.

Yesterday a neighbor who lives about 6 or 7 miles away called and said he had an excess of sweet cherries and raspberries, and would we like to come and pick some? You bet! And so after dinner we went. Now I need to make jam! Not exactly sure if I want to be making jam when it is 90+, or freeze them for doing it when the weather cools. I might do it after dinner, then go to bed and let the breeze carry the heat out of the house. Maybe...... I don't have a lot of ambition after dinner.

This neighbor lives in a narrow canyon with a sizeable creek. He has gardens and fruit trees, but cannot grow some of the things I can grow, like corn and beans, because the hours of sun are limited, blocked by the canyon walls. I'll be giving him some of mine when they produce something. He has had 28 years to find out what grows and what doesn't.

The bean vines have been tied to the poles again, they get long and wavy, reaching for something to climb, but often our wind whips them around the wrong ways, tips get damaged, and some broken. I still need to tie tomatoes. I mowed the yard yesterday and put the grass clippings under the grape vines to help keep the weeds down and the moisture in. I had run the gravity flow spring water along the row a couple of days ago. I think the network of grape roots probably looks like a jungle, so the deep watering of other things nearby helps them too, as does the little stream running down the hill from the spring tank, along the pasture fence just about 15 ft away from the vines, keeping the water table high in that area. I've often wondered if watering the grapes is necessary at all.

It's partly cloudy this morning, feels nice and cool, but the forecast says 93 with thundershowers today and tomorrow.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
ImageMaryE
Aug 5, 2011 1:31 PM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
My morning was spent in the garden, watering and weeding. The asparagus is done, the rhubarb is done, corn and beans, beets and cabbage family were done yesterday, squash the day before. I have a homemade leaky hose watering the elderberrys now. It was a hose that had a leak, so we drilled holes in it every foot and made a soaker hose out of it. I put it along the edge of the elderberries and leave it there all year. All I have to do is connect the good hose to the end and turn on the water. I have those black weepy hoses under plastic in the tomatoes, and the potato patch has a flat green thing with pin holes in it, turned upside down on the straw mulch. It's connected and ready to go as soon as the elderberrys are done.

One nice head of green cabbage is looking round instead of pointed, and if not picked in the next few days it will split. Zucchini and yellow squash are producing faster that we can eat the excess that aren't sold to the co-op. The winter squash all have nice little squash on their vines. I need to do some pruning of the vines to limit the number of fruits each one has to ripen. I think that will result in ripe squash by the time we get frost in about 6 or 8 more weeks, instead of a lot of unripe ones that have to be covered with blankets to give them more time.

We are still waiting for ripe tomatoes. I have a few in the greenhouse, but I want the ones in the garden. Jubilee is a gold when ripe variety that I'm anxious to taste, the others are Legend, Big Beef, and a couple of others. Everything is running late this year because our spring was so cold and lingered so long. On the other hand, I have the best looking cabbages I've ever grown!
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php
ImageMaryE
Aug 19, 2011 11:26 AM CST
Name: Mary
The dry side of Oregon
Be yourself, you can be no one else
Today I picked a ripe tomato! Finally. The yellow variety I had such high hopes for is green so far. This ripe one was either a Legend or a Big Beef. I was on the wrong side of the row to read the label, if it is still there, and didn't think of it later. I had my hands full.

Some of the Romano pole beans have blossoms. I see a few corn tassels. The broccoli is finished, going bitter even when small. But I did learn something this morning... the stems are still good. We peel them and eat them raw, put them in stir fry or salad.

Yesterday I weeded in a flower bed in the shade, and cut off a lot of volunteer wild roses that won't stop growing only where I want them. Most of the flowers are finished blooming. I still have hollyhocks, day lilies, sunflowers, gaillardia and a few annuals. And that yellow daisy plant that I once thought was wonderful but now loathe. When I mowed the lawn this week I got about half the amount of clippings that spring mowing produces. They are mulching the grapes. We will have to put up the grape netting soon. Deer will be moving in before we know it. I had hoped to have the garden deer fenced before having to do that again.
Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
More ramblings at http://thegatheringplacehome.myfastforum.org/forum54.php

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