What’s Been Happening in the Garden, for a While- September 14, 2016

So, the last time I worked on this post was September 1st and the last time I posted anything was … August 10th, from my vacation..

Aye aye aye..

One of the problems with garden blogging is that summer is a busy time in the garden, and at work, and with family… so just when we “should” be blogging like crazy, there is no time to do it.

I think that this happens to other garden bloggers too. We have the best of intentions but we’re kind of out in the garden, or at the beach…

I’ve been a bit stuck in blogging land in other ways too.

I think I need to clearly define my purpose here. Sometimes I feel like I’m all over the place because I have a million different interests and I get distracted or overwhelmed. Now that the kids are settling into all of their different school environments and I technically should have more time on my hands I’m going to try to focus in a little.

If I blogged about just one of the questions that I’m asked or that I overhear every day at my job as a plant merchandiser I’d have the best blog in the world! The questions are endless.

So, heres to moving forward and catching up!

Maybe I should start with some pics of where we are, or were, a few weeks ago. It’s still about the same. One of the very tough aspects of this garden year has been the extreme drought that we’re experiencing in Massachusetts. It. just. won’t. rain.   About once a week we have a forecast for some rain but again and again it squeeks by and misses us..

IMG_1939In spite of this, we still have a few black eyed susan hanging in there. I should mention that the photo credit for this picture goes to my little Alli.

IMG_1936The pepper crop has been decent.

IMG_1935It’s not what it would be with a more consistent drink, but we’ve been watering conservatively.

IMG_1934The Russian kale seems to thrive no matter what. We like this vegetable, it’s sweeter than standard kale.

IMG_1929This was a Berkley Tye-Dye tomato. These plants weren’t huge producers but we’ve enjoyed the fruit that we’ve picked.

IMG_1926The star of my tomato patch was this variety… Principe Borghese.. they will be returning next year!

IMG_1924We’ve used them for everything from sauce to salads and they’re always perfect! The plants looked downright gangly when I put them in and I thought I’d be pulling them out, but they rebounded and took off!

IMG_1932I’m 98% sure that these are Manyel tomatoes.. I can’t be 100% because they grew out of the chicken poop compost in another part of the yard and we transplanted them to see what would happen. I can baby plants along for months with fans and lights and vermicompost and they’ll never do as well as the ones that grow out of last year’s compost.

IMG_1912Here’s another yellow variety… I don’t have the name on hand but this was grown from seed this year. Looks like there’s some blight taking over.

IMG_1922The green beans were chomped in half by something (we think a deer jumped the fence).. good news is they’ve grown back and are now full of beans.

IMG_1921The lemon (on the left) and Osmin basil (on the right) has been a fun little twist. I should cook with it more than I do but I’ve been throwing it onto salads and chicken.

IMG_1918There’s been good news and bad news about the cucumbers.

The good news is that they grew. I’ve battled cucumber beetles and squash bugs a lot for the past several years. Last year I didn’t plant any cucumber or zucchini in hopes of decreasing the populations of pests and it worked!

The bad news is that these pickling cucs were just a pain in the neck. I never got the hang of when to harvest them. I checked often but they were either not ready yet or had passed and turned yellow. I think it’s all about having time and staying focused. That can a little challenging for me.

IMG_1915The zucchini did okay in terms of pests but didn’t produce much. I’ve been wondering if our bee population is down and if the pollination rate was low. I’m not sure about what happened here but feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.

IMG_1913The seeds for these rattlesnake beans came from Michael’s uncle in Arizona. They’ve been a fun twist too. Their easy to grow and cook up beautifully! I’ll have to post a pic here or on instagram of the beans themselves. They’re beautiful!

So, that’s an update of the kitchen garden. The flower gardens are hanging in there but not really flourishing like they usually do. I didn’t even plant zinnias this year because it was way too dry in June. I hope the seeds last until next year!

My next post, which I promise will be soon, will feature a new chocolate from the Harbor Sweets Chocolate Company that I’ve been asked to review..

Think chocolate and honey..it’s divine and I’ll be giving a box away!

Don’t miss it!

What’s growing in your garden? Are you dealing with drought or deluge?

Please say hi so I know you were here! I love that!!

Thanks for stopping in!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

 

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

What’s Happening in the Garden, July 30, 2014

I truly can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted a garden update. Where does the time go?  We’ve been doing everything… camping, hiking, visiting, working, gardening… you name it! It’s a crazy busy summer! While we’ve been so busy lots has happened in the garden.

IMG_6833We have tomatoes!! These are super sweet 100s… I haven’t grown this variety before so I’m looking forward to tasting them.

IMG_6846There are tomato plants tucked in all over the place. One of the great things about growing from seed is the sheer abundance of  plants when it’s time to plant. I’d better get that canning thing down because I’m going to need to do something with these tomatoes.

IMG_6827Yes, their a little bit too close together but I think they’ll be okay. I keep watching for blight so I can remove the yellow branches right away, and believe it or not, hardly anything is touching the ground.

IMG_6822We’ve picked several zucchini and more are on the way. I like to get them when their on the small side so their not too seedy. There is evidence of squash borer. I haven’t figured out how to organically prevent it from hitting my plants, but I have figured out how to deal with it to limit the damage….

IMG_6823I bury the base of the plant where the borers work their evil and the plant reroots almost immediately and keeps right on growing and producing. If you cut open the stalk you will clearly see the wormy little borers eating away. Not everyone handles that well. I think it’s kind of interesting.

IMG_6829There’s basil everywhere too. The flowers on this plant should have been cut back at the beginning of the bud stage. The photo that I took after I cut it was blurry, but you get the idea. You’ll have beautiful basil for a long time this summer if you cut it back!

IMG_6824The red onions look just about ready. I planted them close to the surface as I think I was supposed to and now their very high in the soil? Should I have covered them with soil as they grew or is this okay? It seems like they would have gotten bigger if they had stayed submerged a little bit longer.
IMG_6834The asparagus is gone for the year. It needs to be weeded and fertilized to shore it up for next spring.

IMG_6835The cucumbers are incredible this year! I guess the rain helped, along with researching the variety. I’ve harvested many and there’s lots more coming!

IMG_6845Okay, so, this is kind of a problem. I clearly wasn’t thinking when I put watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin in the same row.

IMG_6840The good news is that we have some fruit.

IMG_6841The bad news is that there appears to be some cross pollination happening. This is a very watermelon like cantaloupe.

IMG_6843Just across from the melon patch is a huge horseradish patch. I still have some in the freezer from last year.

IMG_6862The blueberries, covered with bird netting, are happily producing.

IMG_6855However, these brown dying branches on one of the two plants is a concern. Anyone know what’s happening here?

IMG_6857We have potatoes in the cat pot again… I mixed tons of compost in so I’m hoping for great tuber development.

IMG_6825My favorite border is hanging on. Maybe some good deadheading will bring back another bloom?

IMG_6820We made a little goldfish pond on the deck this year. It’s just a plastic barrel filled with water, pond plants and fish. It’s so easy and a nice addition to our sitting area where we enjoy our view.

IMG_6859Life is so good here…

Enjoy your blessings today!

Love, Michele


Cruising with the Sun and the Moon

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset cruise in Salem Harbor a few nights ago on the Hannah Glover. I remember putting my older kids on this boat one morning in the middle of a thunderstorm because they were going out to the Y camp on Children’s Island. It sure looks different when your cruising along enjoying great food and cocktails while watching the sun set and the moon rise. Thanks Salem Trolley, for a very enjoyable evening!IMG_2743IMG_2722 IMG_2736IMG_2740IMG_2741IMG_2744IMG_2746IMG_2750IMG_2762IMG_2770IMG_2775

Camping At the Beach~

We love to spend time family camping so early this week we spent a night on site 27 at Winter Island,  the coveted first spot right next to the beach! It was wonderful to fall asleep on Sunday night listening to the waves roll in a few feet away. I think that this family was meant to live on the water. We love it so much! Here are a few of my favorite Winter Island photos. Needless to say, we had a good time!

IMG_2191 the view from our campsite…

IMG_2222the Winter Island lighthouse

IMG_2234What is this cool pole called? Maybe a peace pole?

IMG_2236The now hidden lagoon, it used to be part of a moat around the fort.

IMG_2243Looking north toward Beverly…

IMG_2250How the lifeguard chair is used after hours…

IMG_2251This kid is too much.

IMG_2256Seriously, he just cracks me up!

IMG_2262The sunset reflection, looking north.

IMG_2264and south, with the moon rising.

DSC02808The boys heading to the beach.
DSC02819One of our friend Casey’s creations. Still used and loved all the time, if you happen to see this Casey 😉 .

DSC02902Boats in the moonlight… one of my favorite things to do at Winter Island is to watch the boats come into the harbor at night. It’s so peaceful and quiet.

DSC02912Early morning fog at low tide…

DSC02918Playing on the beach in PJ’s is the best!

Camping is also the best (next to gardening 😉  )

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Where I’ve Been

Here’s the view from my chair. This is my second favorite place to spend time in in the summer (of course the garden is first). I’m heading back down there now for the third day out of four!

DSC02653

DSC02649

DSC02648

DSC02646

When you get to Waikiki Beach (in Salem, Massachusetts) just turn left and walk about twenty five steps… I’ll be there!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

There’s No Place Like Salem Willows On the 4th!

We had our annual 4th of July visit and trek through the Willows neighborhood this morning. The decorations, the people and the party are all awesome! It’s so much fun because the whole neighborhood and lots of us from the rest of the city come out to enjoy the parade, the scenery and each other. We met our good friends, took a walk and had a relaxing pizza lunch under the willow trees. Tonight we’ll all head back downtown for the fireworks. Check out the great houses, beautiful views and happy people….

DSC02554

DSC02553

DSC02558

DSC02557

DSC02560DSC02562

DSC02561

DSC02563

DSC02565

DSC02567

DSC02566

DSC02569

DSC02568

DSC02571

DSC02570

DSC02572

DSC02574

DSC02576

DSC02575

DSC02577

DSC02579

DSC02578

DSC02580

DSC02582

We love our 4th of July celebration here in Salem, Massachusetts!

Happy Independence Day!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Where I’ve Been

Watching kids swim..eating great dinners by the lake shore…and enjoying the best cup of coffee ever!Visiting some of my favorite gardens..in the world.do you see a resemblance to the Salem Garden?  This is one of our inspiration spots.Enjoying moments of  complete peace and tranquility…and watching the clouds and airplanes.

There’s no place like Camp Calumet!

Where have you been?

Awesome Camping, Right Here in Salem!

I love camping! This week I decided to pack the kids up and head down to Winter Island for a few days.  Winter Island is a city park that is an island (connected by a causeway) right on the ocean.  It has a few amenities like a very rustic bathhouse and a camp store but it’s really all about the beach, the water and a little bit of history.

We’ve been going to the beach there for twenty five years but had never family camped. I was amazed that I could be so “on vacation” this close to home.

Our campsite was wooded and spacious.

And  the  views are spectacular!

This is looking in toward Derby Wharf and the city.

The island was historically a fort and more recently a coast guard base.

Here’s a post about it’s history that was written by  Salem blogger Beth Melillo a few weeks ago:

http://connectshore.com/2012/07/03/winter-island-a-personal-and-public-history/

There’s always something interesting to ponder.

Was this building used to store munitions or was it used for holding prisoners?

We really need to research that and figure it out.

Here’s the old sea plane hanger…

and a view from the back with one of the Salem Community Gardens sites in the foreground.

There’s the old barracks. I’d love to see this building restored and used again.

My kids have grown up playing at the playground.We used to go down for an hour before lunch and nap time when they were little.

There are flowers blooming all over the island.

One of the former caretakers loved to plant things and his handiwork is everywhere!

Casey’s gardens make me feel right at home.

The kids spent lots and lots of time exploring the tide pools…

Here’s a close up of some star fish that they found.

My little guy spends hours out there.

We did have to watch out for the critters that came out at night.

There were ground hogs and wharf rats. One night a skunk wandered right through our site as I was tucking the kids in.

We knew it was time to head home very early yesterday morning when Michael caught a raccoon pulling a bag of marshmallows through this hole that he (the raccoon) had chewed in our tent!

A little duct tape to repair the hole is nothing compared to wonderful family time and views like this!

Whether you spend a few hours or a few days, Winter Island is a perfect place to relax and get away!