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Old 08-22-2019, 09:18 AM
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Hello! I know it's been awhile, but life has been busy and while the garden has been growing, it's been a challenge. The warm-loving stuff has never been that happy but at least the perennials are growing. I'm not sure if I'll even have enough tomatoes to make my usual meat sauce this year. Oh well. This underlines 1) the goodness of grocery store backup and 2) why my grandparents didn't really have an obesity problem. Anyway.

I pulled the sugar snaps awhile ago since they were basically done. For grins I planted a few more, just to see if I'll get any more. I've heard that winter is coming, probably early, and going to be nasty. Our usual frost date in this zone (5a) is mid-October. We'll see.



Also pulled the rest of the potatoes since the plants were dying off. I don't have a useful scale, but I estimate a bit north of a ten pound bag's worth. Not my best haul, but better than nothing. I planted Purple Koronis beans in the bags.



This variety of lettuce is supposed to form heads. Those don't look like heads. The leaf is good, so maybe it just doesn't like the container. It would be the first green that didn't.



I planted Purple Cosmic Dragon carrots in the VegTrug. Hopefully I'll get some nice carrots from these aspiring plants.



As you can see, the Great Wall of 'Maters is more of a hedge this year. In previous years, three plants has been more than enough to fill that space. I do have a few fruits so far, but many have been cracked (no problem since I'm either eating or canning them) and a very few of the Tie Dye Green have had soft, rotten spots. I've been diligently trimming leaves that demonstrate leaf spot, of which there's been quite a few. Disease loves cool and wet. Tomatoes, not so much.



I have a couple of bells on each plant, and the plants are small compared to previous years. But at least I'm getting Something. The soil temps were in the high 40s when I planted, and I've read that cool temps will stunt the plants. Seems as though. Warm-loving stuff prefers 50s at least, and evidently 2-5 degrees makes a difference.



The free amaranth, OTOH, seems pretty happy! I've been reading about when to harvest and how to separate the seed from the chaff, and looking forward to giving it a try. I'm sure the city bureaucrats would class it as a noxious weed, so thankfully, my garden is somewhat hidden from general view. The amaranth has pretty much shaded out the buckwheat though. No big.



Asparagus going gangbusters, though obviously there's not a fork-sized spear to be had. Maybe not even next year, but likely the third year will yield at least a little bit. In many ways, this year's garden has been more of an investment in the future than an instant gratification.





The new strawberry patch is finally taking off! The plants have flowered some and even set some fruit; I've let the flowers happen since that's the only reliable way to differentiate between my strawberries and the evil cousin invader. The latter has thinner tri-lobed leaves and yellow flowers. I've read that the fruits are edible but horrible, so why bother. I want the yummy stuff!



And lastly, my blackberry bush has finally decided to flower. I've had to cut it back a few times due to storm damage, so perhaps that's why they're late. But it looks like I'll get a handful here and there. That's been about par for the course.



I've been experimenting with drying comfrey leaves for winter, with no success so far. I've tried drying them naturally and in the dehydrator, and both batches have molded. I'll try leaving them in the dryer for a bit longer, then perhaps freeze them. It would be nice to have some for poultices in winter. So the experiments will continue. The new security cameras are working well, catching many cats visiting among other things. It's comforting to have them though. There have been many incidences reported by my neighbors, mostly petty thefts and strangers messing around in yards not theirs. I'm not the only one putting up cameras! Let them be a deterrent, that I may remain unbothered by porch pirates. Ugh.

Off I go, to the business of living! Happy gardening
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:23 AM
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Good to see you pop in! Yep, life has a way of keeping one busy with all sorts of stuff.

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Originally Posted by citykittyatheart View Post
I'm not sure if I'll even have enough tomatoes to make my usual meat sauce this year. Oh well. This underlines 1) the goodness of grocery store backup and 2) why my grandparents didn't really have an obesity problem.
Love it! And right you are about having backups. I've had trouble of various sorts with tomatoes this year too and don't have a lot canned up either.

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I've heard that winter is coming, probably early, and going to be nasty. Our usual frost date in this zone (5a) is mid-October. We'll see.
Oh geez, I hope not. I have a good friend in Richland Center and they never really got their garden growing as it was swamped with water most of the spring until it was too late to put stuff out. You guys have had a horrible growing season this year.

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This variety of lettuce is supposed to form heads. Those don't look like heads. The leaf is good, so maybe it just doesn't like the container. It would be the first green that didn't.
The lettuce is still really young so it will be a while before it starts to head. If it's heads you want you might think about a little thinning but it'll do just fine with leaves getting picked. Good old "cut and come again".

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The free amaranth, OTOH, seems pretty happy! I've been reading about when to harvest and how to separate the seed from the chaff, and looking forward to giving it a try. I'm sure the city bureaucrats would class it as a noxious weed, so thankfully, my garden is somewhat hidden from general view.
It'll be pretty when it heads up. Is it a white flowered one or colored one? It would be interesting to know what amaranth sells for in a store (maybe Bob's Red Mill?) and throw that at the 'crats if they got nosy. "Hey! I'm growing food here and saving $x.xx."

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I've been experimenting with drying comfrey leaves for winter, with no success so far. I've tried drying them naturally and in the dehydrator, and both batches have molded. I'll try leaving them in the dryer for a bit longer, then perhaps freeze them.
Have you tried some in the microwave? I read that you can dry herbs in the microwave but you need to be really careful that they don't just burn up. For grins and giggles I tried nuking some of the roselle calyxes and since they're so fleshy it took about 4 minutes total at 1 minute increments. I put the rest in the dehydrator since I had too much material to do 4 minute small batches. But nuking did work. If it worked on the roselle I bet it would work with the comfrey. You'd just have to experiment with the timing.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:51 AM
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Love it! And right you are about having backups. I've had trouble of various sorts with tomatoes this year too and don't have a lot canned up either.
Yup, been one thing after another on the tomato front. I have enough to sauce, so that's a start, and plenty more on the vine. How much of those vines translate into usable fruits remains to be seen.

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Oh geez, I hope not. I have a good friend in Richland Center and they never really got their garden growing as it was swamped with water most of the spring until it was too late to put stuff out. You guys have had a horrible growing season this year.
Oh yeah! The entire month of June was cold and wet. I put my stuff out as usual around Mother's Day. It's never grown to full, and I was covering the garden pretty much every night. My yard also faces south and east, maximum sun! Which is probably why I have what little I have.

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The lettuce is still really young so it will be a while before it starts to head. If it's heads you want you might think about a little thinning but it'll do just fine with leaves getting picked. Good old "cut and come again".
It's actually more than two months old. I have thinned the leaves, but again, this variety has just never grown very large. It's starting to feel like fall around here, which obviously means greens will bolt. On the up shot, I can take that out and plant more spinach


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It'll be pretty when it heads up. Is it a white flowered one or colored one? It would be interesting to know what amaranth sells for in a store (maybe Bob's Red Mill?) and throw that at the 'crats if they got nosy. "Hey! I'm growing food here and saving $x.xx."
LOL I'll keep that argument in mind! It's headed up but hasn't turned color yet, so I'm not sure which variety. I've been giving the heads a shake here and there to determine harvest time, which isn't yet. And hey, how many urban dwellers spend their off time separating heads from chaff? Not enough by far, I'd say.

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Have you tried some in the microwave? I read that you can dry herbs in the microwave but you need to be really careful that they don't just burn up. For grins and giggles I tried nuking some of the roselle calyxes and since they're so fleshy it took about 4 minutes total at 1 minute increments. I put the rest in the dehydrator since I had too much material to do 4 minute small batches. But nuking did work. If it worked on the roselle I bet it would work with the comfrey. You'd just have to experiment with the timing.
I'll give that one a try! Comfrey leaves are very thick, as you may know. I've seen articles discussing hanging them outside, but again, don't want other noses into my business, especially the kind that can levy fines. Like I said, I'd really like some for winter! I think I mentioned making some into salve as well. Another crazy hobby while my neighbors are playing video games and watching Pravda.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:27 AM
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Just to see, I put "dehydrating herbs in the microwave" in the good old Duck Duck Go search box and there's lots of information.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:24 PM
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Well, it's update time again. Gardening season has been a rough one up here! So much rain and wet that I've been learning a lot about plant diseases and proper raised bed drainage. So, here goes.

The carrots in the VegTrug seem to be doing well. I planted spinach in there also, since spinach is a cold tolerant green. Both carrots and spinach are resistant to Verticillium also.



These are the Purple Koronis beans. I planted just a few in the potato bags, just to see if I'd get anything. We're still 3-4 weeks out from our average frost date so maybe, but it's not a sure enough thing to plant lots.



The Spanish Toloscana and Red Hidatsa beans. I've been getting a few pods every few days. I doubt I'll fill up my pint jar though. Next year I'm going to plant fewer, perhaps in round pots, and run the string up to the rain gutter. I got far more beans from fewer plants doing that last year.



Wondering just how much rain? That 5 gal bucket is nearly full, and it's all rainwater. Not even diverted from the roof. Just rain.



Now to the lower garden. My Great Wall of 'Maters isn't even a hedge! In fact I pulled most of it today, leaving only one vine that has some good sized fruits on it that might actually ripen. The rest is gone.



This is the problem: leaf spot disease. Could be Septoria or a couple of other organisms. I've been clipping diligently trying to keep it from spreading, but no dice. It's just been too wet. Bah.



Bells are very stunted. I took the two from the other plant a few weeks ago, and I'm keeping an eye on these. In other, warmer years I'd have much taller plants with many more peppers. This year, bupkis. The clover and oregano have been doing well however. I haven't really taken much oregano since I have enough from last year. I've left it to bolt for the pollinators so it'll come back next year.



The amaranth, OTOH, seems to be very happy. I'm watching it closely but it still hasn't bloomed that I can see. Hopefully I'll get to try some out! If it's good obviously I'll find a space for it next year. And it would ease my pain on the lack of yield from other stuff.



Happy asparagus, at least mostly. Thankfully these beds are somewhat sheltered from the wind and rain. Not thick enough for the fork yet but that's to be expected. I knew this to be an investment in future gains.







Since I just got a too many images error, I'll continue in the next post.
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Old 09-21-2019, 03:24 PM
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Continuing in the lower garden:

My blackberry is also happy, even though it's crowding out one of my rose bushes. I'd hoped it would grow up the side of my house. The blackberry has had other ideas. But at least it's set lots of fruit.



My new strawberry bed has taken off nicely, but if you look closely you'll see rabbit predation. Next year it definitely gets fenced, first thing! It's bloomed and I've had a couple of tiny berries but again, this is an investment in future years. My other strawberry bed, at four years, was giving me bowls full this year! That's what I like, walking past the farmer's market booths without having to buy. Strawberries aren't the cheapest berry either.



A very happy patch of calamintha! There are no days when I go here that I don't have at least a half dozen bees in here. Since bumbles are ground dwellers, I'm careful about turning my soil. I don't rototill these small areas anyway, but I do turn the soil at the beginning of the season and when I plant. The rains have compacted the soil so badly that it's almost like cement, and the same effect happens with the snow cover over winter. So a no-till garden isn't that big of an option for me, except for the perennial beds.



Very happy comfrey! This stuff takes over the universe and just laughs at me when I try to cut it back. It is handy stuff though, and it's another thing the bees seem to like.



I decided to try making a salve from the leaf. It's not really difficult to do; infuse the oil, toss it with some beeswax, vitamin E, and lavender oil into a pot on the stove, and cook over low heat until the wax melts and sets to a desired consistency. I don't see a mold problem with salve, and salve is much neater to use than poultice anyway. I'm curious to know what would be used to make a salve, lacking beeswax. I'll have to look into that.





There's not much else to say, at least not that I'd put on a public forum! This has been a terrible year, but it does teach its lessons as well.

-Accept what the garden gives and work with it! Just about everything is useful somehow

-When you do have something, put up as much as possible! I haven't done one batch of meat sauce this year. I've got half a dozen pint jars of tomato sauce though, and might get a couple more out of the tomatoes I pulled today. Good thing I still have some from last year!

-I've done my best to keep on top of the weeding and diseases. That's likely why I have any tomatoes at all. And I like digging in the dirt, as most of you can imagine.

-Weather matters but I can't control it. I can only try to work with it. If it's too cold for arugula, plant spinach.

-I shudder to think what I'd have if not for the raised beds! Even a couple of inches off of the ground gives more drainage than in-ground, and boy! have I needed the drainage!

Other than that, I've got my garlic space cleared out and ready. I've also purchased a flowering perennial called Liatris for the butterflies. I heard about it from a friend who's really into bugs, spiders, butterflies, etc and it's a lovely plant. So why not? It'll look better in that area than the garlic mustard does anyway. I'm putting it on the side where the city drones can see it. Can't hurt, right?

Until next time! Happy gardening somewhere. It's been frustrating gardening here this year, but instructive. And hands in dirt is usually a good thing.

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Old 09-22-2019, 12:00 AM
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Great pics, thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:48 AM
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My other strawberry bed, at four years, was giving me bowls full this year! That's what I like, walking past the farmer's market booths without having to buy. Strawberries aren't the cheapest berry either.
Isn't that a great feeling? I think you've convinced me to dedicate one of the beds here to strawberries even though there's a u-pick-it place 7 miles down the road.

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-Accept what the garden gives and work with it! Just about everything is useful somehow.
-When you do have something, put up as much as possible!
-Weather matters but I can't control it. I can only try to work with it.
Wise words for gardeners! Simple truths but why is it so hard to accept them? It took me a long time. One can't force Mother Nature to cooperate and at times that's very frustrating. It's much better for one's outlook and mood to just follow the old saw about taking lemons and making lemonade!

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And hands in dirt is usually a good thing.
Amen to that!
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:41 AM
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Good morning! Since I have a few positives to report, I thought an update was in order.

My Liatris came last week. Obviously, even for dormant plants, the first thing they need is light and a good watering.



Second thing they need is to be planted ASAP. So into the ground they went, next day.



I know this is going to shock you, but it rained all day yesterday! Good thing the plants are shipped dormant. Hopefully they'll survive and establish.



I pulled the amaranth last week. It never did bloom really, and I'm pretty sure this is the pig weed variety. It has tiny black seeds hidden in lots of chaff. It occurred to me that my ancestors, knowing that pig weed is very nutritious, might have fed it to the pigs for good reason. IE, it might not be the tastiest or highest yielding variety of amaranth for the work. Since the tomatoes are pretty much gone and it's wind down the garden time, I pulled it. Since those tiny seeds felt a lot like work for little gain, it went into the yard waste pile. I may be hungry enough in later years but thanks to God and my hard work, not this year.



The volunteer buckwheat. Sturdy plant, to have survived! I doubt there's enough to bother trying for flour but it's an interesting lesson nonetheless.



Bell peppers are ripening. There are a few tiny fruits on the other plant but I'd be seriously surprised if anything edible comes of them. Average frost date is in two weeks, kids.



The last couple of tomatoes. If you look closely at the leaves, you'll see the beginning of the leaf spot. Over the winter I'm going to consider if the use of chemicals is actually warranted here vs. planting something else there next year. Since the other four beds have gone to perennials, this is my only annuals bed. Tomatoes in containers are an option but I've noticed that mine at least simply aren't as happy as they are in soil.



Blackberry bush is loaded! I've been nibbling fresh berry every couple of days. Would be nice to get enough to freeze, but I'll be happy with a few bowls of fresh too. The blackberry is squeezing out both my old rose bush () and my comfrey. Since the comfrey has spread elsewhere, I'm actually good with that. I like roses though, and I'll miss that bush. Rose hips are great for vitamin C but they're kind of a hassle to harvest.



Now to the deck garden.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:54 AM
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Purple Dragon carrot is maturing. Small but completely usable. I planted them specifically because they're quick to mature and this at least is paying off.



This morning's bean harvest. My little pint jar is nearly half full. Could be worse. I'm not a huge bean eater, but beans are a great source of protein just in case.



These are the Purple Koronis beans. I only planted six of these. Looks like I'm going to get a few for my trouble anyway. The other plants have a few of these large pods too.



The sugar snap peas are blooming. It remains to be seen if I actually get a pod or two for munching. Nights are getting cool and again, frost date is near.



The other thing I did last week was plant my garlic. This year I'm growing Music and Metechi, both hard neck varieties since I like the scapes. I'm trying the soak in compost tea overnight thing just to see if it really makes a difference in my yield. This coming Tuesday is also garlic planting day at my school project; I bought my bulbs well since I filled my space and have three bulbs left over for them! The kids are so eager to learn, and getting them outside and moving can only benefit them. So I always look forward to that. I plan to continue there next year, teacher, Extension, and God willing.

That's it for now. Until next time, happy gardening!
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:07 PM
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What a nice long tap root on the carrot! And those are really pretty beans, too.

With the heat here it's hard to imagine anyone is nearing frost time. But you're lucky you aren't having the big snow happening out west.
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:33 AM
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Oh yes! Montana is being hit hard, and they're not the only ones. It's hard to believe, but someone is having a worst gardening season than I am.

The beans are Spanish Toloscana. Yes they are pretty! I can't wait to see what the Purple Koronis are like!
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:08 PM
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Well, it's that time of year. The temps have dropped to the freezing level, and it's only a matter of time before we get a hard freeze. I've cleaned out my garden and spread most of the soil, leaving only the two largest deck containers for the moment. For one thing, it rained before I could clean them out and I'm not a fan of moving wet & heavy soil if I can avoid it. Also, I can use that soil to cover my perennial beds when the plants die back, for overwintering. Leaves are also good for this; you'll see in one of my pictures why I'm putting more soil in.

Here's what I got from the carrots and the beans. Not much at all! Many of the pods were immature, usable but not for seed. The Purple Koronis produced some very nice pods but not one is mature. Those beans are the white & green ones. The other two varieties, Red Hitadsa and Spanish Toloscana, produced well considering but again, many immature pods. I only got 1/4 of one pint jar or so harvest this year.





The Cosmic Purple Dragon carrots are usable but again, very small. Keep in mind that these were planted after I dug the potatoes about June-July. So yes I got something all around, but not as much as I'd have gotten if the plants were allowed to mature. The carrots & some of the potatoes are cooking with my roast, so there's that. It would be a long, hungry winter without grocery store backup though!



Remember my mention of the soil? I filled these beds with new garden soil at the beginning of the season, right to the top. Look how much it's compacted! Due to the rain of course, and I'm sure some has washed away too. So, might as well use what's left to refill and cover.



Such beautiful blackberries, and the birds are more likely to eat them than I am. They didn't flower and set fruit until late in the season, and this is the result. I'll keep an eye out of course, just in case I can get some too.



The comfrey, oregano, and calamintha all produced well this year. That amaranth did nicely but at this point, I don't need pig weed. I'm sure I'll be pulling more out in spring too! My garlic has sprouted, which is nice. I haven't seen hide nor hair of the Liatris and might have to replant in spring.

As you all can imagine, it's been a really frustrating year! The rain and cold really shafted the usual stuff like tomatoes, bells, and beans. Those gardeners that I know who did better all spent lots of time covering stuff and dealing with disease, or they have greenhouses. A small one for my deck might not be the worst idea, or even for my yard. Both the Septoria and the Verticillium spread like wildfire in the rain and given my reluctance to use fungicides, took my plants right down. I may have to rethink that attitude. When the situation is dire, extreme measures are often called for. Even my second spinach planting went nowhere! I got a few bowls at the beginning but after that, nothing. Very little salad greens since they bolted right away if they grew at all, and even the catnip wouldn't cooperate! Yes indeed, a very frustrating year.

Oh well. Next year is another year. In the meantime, I'm trying my hand at growing a most unique and unusual house plant, the Venus flytrap. Carnivorous plants have always been a mild interest but they require fairly specific conditions, and aren't the easiest things to grow IMO. Since they're adapted to bogs, they require a low-nutrient soil. This means sphagnum moss and either distilled or reverse osmosis water, since the minerals in tap or even filtered water can kill them. They also require grow lights, or a very bright window sill without a screen. Sunlight hasn't been easy to come by this year and it'll be dimmer over winter, so grow lights it is. Not like I don't have a few racks lying around, right? So we'll see. Every gardener needs a side hobby, right? I'll likely have to feed it blood worms since most insects die off in winter up here.



Until next year then! Thank you as always for following my blog. I've enjoyed your company and sharing information with you. So I finish this year as I finish all years:

FINIS
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:51 PM
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n the meantime, I'm trying my hand at growing a most unique and unusual house plant, the Venus flytrap. Carnivorous plants have always been a mild interest but they require fairly specific conditions, and aren't the easiest things to grow IMO...Every gardener needs a side hobby, right? I'll likely have to feed it blood worms since most insects die off in winter up here.
Before you go, a question... have you named it?
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:17 AM
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Before you go, a question... have you named it?
No I have not I'm trying to grow it first. As I said, these things are a bit dicey, like growing orchids or bromeliads. If it lives through its dormancy period and comes back in Spring, I'll consider naming it.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:53 PM
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Until next year then! Thank you as always for following my blog. I've enjoyed your company and sharing information with you. So I finish this year as I finish all years:

FINIS
Thank you for sharing!
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Old 03-08-2020, 03:14 PM
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Well, hello there! :D Spring is springing up here (kind of) so I thought I'd check in.

This is one of my strawberry beds. It may look like a mess, but it's a necessary mess. Up here we routinely cover stuff up with leaves as an insulator. It's been a relatively mild winter this year, but during our more harsh winters, this insulation really helps. Give it a few months of -30 and the frost layer will go down quite far. Literally 6-7 feet.



I'm hoping that's my Liatris peeking out! If you'll remember, it was so wet & rainy when I planted last year that I didn't know its fate. I'm still not sure but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



And here's my garlic bed! I uncovered it so it could dry out a bit and get that extra light.



For those unfamiliar, this is called Snow. It's melted quite a bit since the weather has been so nice the last few days, but it's still here. Soaking into the ground is nice, but the yard really is too wet to work yet. It's all mud and dead/dormant things right now.



This is a branch of my healthy plum, showing albeit rather blurrily, nice buds forming.



This, OTOH, is the plum that died two years ago. Not a healthy forming bud to be seen! I am not optimistic and not looking forward to digging grass to put in another plum tree. However, if I don't, I won't have any plums. This time I'm going with a Santa Rosa, which is a self-pollinating (and I think Japanese) plum. So it should do both trees, and after 4-5 years I may finally have some plums.



Onion starts are in for my school project. That has expanded this year; instead of simply consulting as MGV, I'll be co-teaching with the Extension agent. She wants to teach a program called Eating from the Garden, which suits me just fine. It's surprising how many kids think that food comes from a grocery store. We need to fix this. The teacher wants onions, in addition to the garlic we planted last year, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, two kinds of squash, carrots, and pumpkins. The Extension agent wants greens and other 30 day crops. Therefore, the kids will be learning about inter-cropping as well. It's going to be a crowded but (hopefully) very productive garden this year.



It's funny how things work out sometimes. I bought this for my deck garden almost one month ago, since last year I couldn't find any at Home Depot by March. HD is the only place around here that will deliver this kind of soil; Fleet Farm will deliver but the cost is staggering, and Menard's won't deliver such a small item. Now that COVID19 is being forecast to set supplies back a bit, I'm glad I have this. While I don't think TEOTWAWKI has come just yet, it's going to be an inconvenience. The death rate isn't anywhere near Ebola, but I've read several economic forecasts from companies lowering earnings guidance and a 0% GDP for the year. And my stock portfolio is being hammered! I made a lovely capital gain last year, and the sell-off has wiped it out. I believe it'll come back, but for now, I'm glad to have a few supplies laid in. I'm betting that few realize that Ralston Purina pet food is likely made in China. While I'm leaving the N95s and the nitrile gloves for the health care providers, bleach is good. As is garden soil. And those rain barrels stuck in my basement for the last 8 years might also come in handy.



Continued in next message.
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Old 03-08-2020, 03:14 PM
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Now to my nonfood carnivorous plants! I haven't named any of them yet, but they do seem to be coming out of dormancy and I'm looking forward to feeding them a few spring houseflies (when those come out of dormancy.)

These are Mexican butterworts, genus Pinguicula. If you look upper right you'll see a volunteer sundew growing, genus Drosera. Free plants are nice. These aren't the cheapest things.



American pitcher plants, genus Sarracenia. New pitchers growing, lower right.





That pot of dirt I got with my order is also sprouting, another sundew. This one is Drosera binata, which is the tree form. The other major form is a rosette. The tree form is a bit more active of an insect catcher, or so I've read.



The rosette form, D. spathulata



I haven't seen much obvious growth from the Venus fly traps yet, but I'm optimistic. They'll wake up as the photoperiod lengthens! They're reputedly not the glutton that pitcher plants and sundews are, but they'll take a few of those houseflies I'm sure!

That's it for now. Happy gardening!
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Old 03-28-2020, 10:57 AM
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Greetings from isolation! My state, like many others, has issued an isolation order for all residents. Nonessential travel is being discouraged, although the local PD has reassured everyone that they won't be stopping people for questioning and a note from your employer isn't required. Then there's the jerk who's impersonating a police officer, stopping people for questioning and demanding to see letters from the employer. Just what the general tension needs, right? Ugh.

Anyway, it's still too cold to plant outdoors and since it's been really rainy, I can't really work much in the yard yet either. I'd really like to uncover and trim the perennials but not in the rain today Thankfully I'm on freelancer vacay for awhile, having shipped a huge index yesterday, so hopefully I can get out into the yard this week. My garlic, which I did get uncovered, is growing nicely. I'd like to uncover the strawberries and asparagus, and trim that latter back so the new growth can grow. I'd also like to plant my new plum tree but since we can still get freezing temperatures, this is also not happening. In fact, we got a bonafide blizzard in mid-April a couple of years ago! Potatoes were a bit late that year since the soil didn't warm up enough for another month. Speaking of which, hopefully I'll have my potatoes from Seed Savers Exchange soon. The mayor stopped the bus service due to the virus so getting to Fleet Farm isn't quite as easy. He's started it back up for very limited service, with requirements such as no more than 6 people on a bus and use the back door only. Sigh. So I had to pay more for potatoes. Oh well.

Anyway, I am doing what little I can do. The plum was coming out of dormancy so I went ahead and planted it in the temporary pot. That pot will also make an awesome potato bag after the tree is done with it. I have two of these and the potatoes grow better in these than they did in the ground! Also, my deck is a bit more difficult to reach for those who would rather steal than work. I think I'll leave the thistles by the fence grow another year.



Onions have been trimmed and I've started the warm stuff that the school asked for. That would be tomatoes, cucumbers, green and yellow squash, and pumpkins for now. I've also been considering Plan B just in case the school garden doesn't open back up, which is to plant the stuff in my own garden as much as possible. It's been awhile since I made pickles, and some of my seed is quite old. One thing I plan to do a lot of this year is seed saving, including saving the envelopes. A Sharpie will record the dates just fine, but this means I'll actually have to label stuff in the garden so the correct variety goes into the correct envelope. Sigh. Adapt, adapt, adapt.



No big deal here, just restarting my parsley indoors. The last pot lasted a number of years, then finally just petered out. It's an annual so hardly unexpected.



And just so we can see a bit of Spring, one of my sundews has flowered. This particular plant grew as a volunteer in one of my butterwort pots, so I have no idea which Drosera species. It's a pretty flower though, and the plant has already caught some insects (those black dots on the leaves) so I know it's waking up nicely. Please enjoy!



Of all things I'm grateful for, it's that I already work from home, and have for 18 years. My biggest client issued a "business as usual except from home" email, so I have hope for the future. I can only imagine what others are going through, whose jobs have been shut down and had no savings or preps to help them get through this. From the economic forecasts I've read, it's going to get worse before it gets better, and "better" might be a highly relative term. That stimulus package naturally contains more for the big corps than it does for the peasants, and from what I've seen, private industry is doing more to step up than big government is. So, I'll just keep my own head down, work my garden and my job, and remember that people have gotten through hard times before. I'm hardly the first woman to face them alone, so chin up! Obviously, I'll be packing not only my pistol in the garden, but a couple of extra magazines as well. Better to have and not need, than need and not have

Happy gardening!
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Old 03-28-2020, 05:52 PM
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Do you have to feed the Sundew anything, or does it catch enough on its own to survive? Around here, I've always encouraged those tiny little house spiders that everyone gets, to help keep any indoor insects under control.

I have a few nightlights scattered throughout the house, so you can see your way around at night without needing to turn the lights back on. And those tiny house spiders have learned to set up house keeping near them. Because when the lights go out for the night, any flying insects have have gotten inside are automatically drawn to the night lights... and the spiders are there, waiting for them.

I don't mean to make it sound like I have a massive insect infestation, because I don't! But during the warm months there are always tiny little gnats that seem to find their way inside, and the tiny little spiders keep them under control.

But back to my original question, I was just wondering if you have to feed the Sundews, or if they catch enough on their own to survive.
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