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What’s Happening in the Garden, and With Me –September 14, 2014

 

 

I’ll start with the garden.

That’s a good lead in to the “and with me” part. To be honest I don’t know what’s happening with me. Maybe some of you can help with that. The garden is okay in a kind of mediocre way. I’m accepting of my limitations and abilities but I have to admit that I expected more from the garden this year. Maybe it was the relatively dry weather, or my organizational skills, or all of the fun vacations.

When your a gardener you have to spend time in the garden!
DSC04737 That said we still have kale. Is it me or is this photo a bit out of focus? Sometimes I can’t tell.DSC04740 The tomatoes were actually pretty good. A little wilt but not too much and it came very late in the season. I think I want to grow more romas again next year, or maybe a variety called opalka that my friend Betsey shared with me yesterday. Their larger than roma and make a sweet, meaty sauce… I brought some home from a visit with Betsey yesterday and popped just one of them into a little pot of fresh sauce that I made for dinner from some of my tomatoes that needed to be eaten. I think there was a very big difference!DSC04742 I planted quite a bit of cauliflower but it looks like the bunnies, or maybe even deer enjoyed the flowers for us.DSC04744The marketmore cucs are done and I have to say that this variety was a success. We enjoyed lots of pickles and salads and cucumbery things… DSC04738Here’s some later planted swiss chard that just isn’t taking off…DSC04743A few candycane zinnias came up near the chicken coop door. Their cute and happy but not too prolific. DSC04745 I have one, yes one, watermelon still growing. I’m fertilizing it weekly as my neighbor suggested and hoping it makes it through the next few weeks. It’s about the size of a large honeydew melon right now.DSC04747 We had a few cantaloupes almost grow into edible fruit. This one is imploded and slightly rotted. It will be food for another project that I have going so it’s not a total loss.DSC04748 One pumpkin, yes one. This is the year of one, two or three of anything that I worked on over time.DSC04749 Of course the horseradish is happy. I don’t like horseradish but several of our friends and family members do so it will be fun to harvest it in a few weeks.DSC04750 The new little herb garden got off to a decent start. Next year we’ll hit the ground running in this area of the garden.DSC04751 I’ve got pots of potatoes growing. They haven’t flowered and have lots of foliage so I’m kind of unsure about where we’re going here. Generally they flower and then die back and you can dig out the potatoes. So I’m waiting to see what happens. I dug around a little bit the other day and I really think there are some good sized tubers in there.DSC04753 Parsley and basils need to be frozen in ice cube trays for the winter. DSC04754 The onions kind of worked out! Remember when I was inspired by Betsey and Ed and planted them back in the spring? No need to buy onions around here this winter!DSC04755Oh, and then there’s this little project. Guess what’s in the box? Here’s a hint:  It thrives on the cantaloupe.

Okay… about me.

I’m tired and busy and tired and worn out. I want to do right by my family so I took a major blogging break. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long in between posts. It really has me wondering about what motivates me and what’s that best use of my time. Should I keep blogging? I like to blog because I love connecting with  people all over the world. I like to think that I might encourage or entertain someone somewhere. I definitely feel accountable about what I say here so it keeps me on a good path in the gardening sense and beyond.

Have any of you fellow bloggers gone through this? It’s kind of writer’s block, but almost more like a writer’s resistance. I know what I want to say. I have a long list of posts to write but I wonder about the value of it. Does it matter? Should I just garden for myself and call it a day? No one who I know personally has said a word about my absence. Maybe I shouldn’t expect that, but maybe I should use my energy for other things.

That was a pretty stream of conscious paragraph or two. Thank you, I feel better,

Pioneer Woman used to say “tap, tap… is anyone out there?” She doesn’t need to do that anymore but I guess I could…

Tap, tap… hello?

Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. I’d entertain any constructive feedback you have to share.

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

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The Great Cape Escape

Last week my family escaped to Cape Cod! It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there’s so many fun things to do. We trekked from one end of the Cape to the other and a little bit beyond up to Plymouth. Michael spends time down there every year for work but we tend to head north on vacation so it was new to the kids and I hadn’t been in a long time. DSC04529We saw gardens… some really amazing gardens! This is a bed at the Heritage Museums and Gardens. I didn’t know that this 100 acres of surprises existed until a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to do a post or two about this wonderful place!

IMG_7127We loved the beaches…lots of wild and beautiful beaches!

DSC04557We encountered some very large insects…

DSC04632And lived in a very untypical dwelling for seven nights.

DSC04662There were gardens in unexpected places…

IMG_7082and unexpected seal sightings in harbors.

IMG_7172 We saw pristine views of Cape Cod Bay at Plimoth Plantation.

IMG_7199And I learned all about the gardens that the pilgrims grew!

I’m planning to write a lot more about our great day there later this week.

IMG_7111We visited a Cape Cod windmill…

DSC04676and drank camping coffee.

It’s the best coffee in the world!

We swam (actually the kids swam), ate lots of cupcakes and had ice cream for dinner one night.

It was a trip of beautiful views, new experiences, family time and some great garden visits! Truly an escape like no other.

This week we’re back in Salem preparing for the start of school next week and harvesting things in the garden.

What are you up to? Are your kids back to school? How’s your garden growing?? questions, questions..

Enjoy everything (and answer one of my questions in the comments)!

Love, Michele

 

 

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What’s Eating the Petunias?

Hmmm…IMG_7042Do you see chewed up flowers on your petunias?

IMG_7043 They look like this..

IMG_7044And in worse case scenarios, like this… Yikes!

IMG_7041 Here’s the culprit… the green hornworm.

They can be very tiny and they’ll try to blend in with the stems and leaves. You have to look carefully to see them but their there, munching away.

Just pick them off and give them a little smoosh and your petunias will start to come back. There’s usually just one or two per plant.

IMG_7046This pot of lemon ice petunias has been beautiful this year. I’ve been watching closely for the “petunia worms” as I call them. I think I caught them in time. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t be shy, pick them off and smoosh! You can do it! It’s simple!

I’ll be on the road this week but checking in from our family vacation on Cape Cod :)!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- August 2014

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day! We had a lot of rain the other day. It was nowhere near the thirteen inch amounts that were reported in areas to the south but it was a continuously driving rain all day. In anticipation of that I took these pictures on Tuesday because I wasn’t sure that there would be any blooms left after. We ended up doing okay in the rain. Everything got a good drink but we didn’t have too much destruction.

IMG_7016Last fall we scattered knockout roses across the front and side yards and while their very common, they have added a nice bit of color. I’ve been reading about rosa rosetta virus and worrying so I pruned all red canes and branches back to the ground a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure that mine have it and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it other than try to cut it out before the mites make their way to the roots. We’ll see what happens.
IMG_7019I like the way the reddish pink flowers look against the worn fence.

IMG_7013The scarlet runner bean is taking off. I enjoy this plant because it’s pretty while it grows and it produces beautiful purple beans at the end of the season. It’s just a great, easy vine for filling in tall, long spaces.
IMG_7015It’s starting to creep up the bird feeder pole. I should have provided strings or a trellis.

IMG_7009We have lots of lilies. These were all planted in the years before I would have saved the packaging and made note of varieties. I like this pretty pale pink..
IMG_7005Deep orange…I don’t think it’s a ditch lily? Betsey, what do you say?
IMG_7004And a beautiful deep red…
IMG_7002I planted a few varieties of zinnia this year. The only ones blooming as of today are “peppermint stick mix.” I’m a little disappointed in them. I expected big beautiful bunches but so far the few seeds that germinated have produced single, scattered flowers.IMG_7001 That does resemble a peppermint stick. It was pretty on the package but I’m not so sure now.

IMG_7000Volunteer sunflowers are scattered around.

IMG_6996And I’ve been enjoying these deep shaded coleus this year.

IMG_6999This is my favorite deck planter. It’s about three feet high.

IMG_7022The rose of sharon that my sister sent me in a manila envelope a few years ago is in bloom. I love these plants.

IMG_7012  Here’s the big picture… lots of blooms from last month are still raging out there!

Does your garden “rage” too?

I think I need to get back outside, lol.

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens by clicking here  to see the other GBBD posts. They are going to be amazing!!!

Love to you all,

Michele

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Sort of a Stream of Conscious Garden Post

There is so much going on in my head… happy things, sad things, things I just can’t understand and things that are perfect. Often times if I sit down and blog it all settles down and feels better. It’s amazing how cathartic blogging can be. I probably won’t even write about what I’m really wrestling with, but sharing my garden thoughts helps me put something in a place. I guess it gives me some control over at least a little part of it. Stream of conscious can be scary, can’t it? Okay, out to the garden….

Thank you all for your comments that helped us to identify Cindy’s  Purple Shiso (Perilla frutescens nankinensis). I’ve never seen it growing here and it seems that my southern blogging friends were the most familiar with it, although my new friend Kathy at Witchcitygarden.com chimed right in too so it might grow around here. One of the very best aspects of gardening is learning new things, so thank you all for your help with that!

Let’s see, what else? I harvested lots of onions over the weekend. IMG_6933

IMG_6935 Their curing and will be cleaned up and stored for the winter. I think we have enough to last until next spring as long as I don’t make huge vats of onion soup.

I also made five quarts of refrigerator pickles with our cucumbers and dill. If you have fresh cucumbers around you should really try these. Their quick and easy and no canning is required!

We spent quite a bit of time weeding and pruning. Michael did lots of edging so our beds look fresh and ready for the second half of the gardening season. I’m hoping to plant some more lettuce and Asian greens after I add fresh compost to the onion beds. The kids were busy playing in the neighborhood and hanging out with friends while we worked. Sometimes it all comes together.

We even did the Ice Bucket Challenge last night, right here in the garden! I tried to share the video, and to post it on The Salem Garden facebook page but something quirky was going on with facebook, google, gmail and wordpress. So, unless I magically figure it out you’ll just have to believe me. Michael and I dumped the ice water right over our heads in the middle of the zucchini and tomatoes! It was great, and of course we’ll make our donation to the ALS association.

I have another non-stop week ahead. We’re preparing for another family vacation, celebrating a twelfth birthday, welcoming a beautiful new baby to our extended family and praying for friends from church who lost their beloved granddaughter to cancer on Saturday. I have to remind myself to breathe. Hopefully I”ll pull more weeds and write another post.

Wishing you peaceful time in your gardens.

Love, Michele

Cindy's plant

Ask the Experts: What Is This Plant?

A few days ago my friend Cindy sent me this photo of a mystery plant that’s been popping up around her plot in her community garden in New Jersey and we speculated about what it could be. I’ve never seen it before. It looks a little like basil but doesn’t smell or taste like it. Cindy was told by her gardening neighbors that it can be used in salad. Maybe it’s some type of lettuce?

Cindy's plant

 

Anyone have any ideas? Curious minds want to know!

Thanks for your expertise!

Michele and Cindy