Roses in Georgia, from commentor Raven.
I’m looking forward to thirty-eight heirloom tomato plants arriving from three different mail-order companies, anytime starting this Monday. If I tell you it took both me and the Spousal Unit over an hour to dig out, hook up, and field-test the various tangles of last year’s hoses and hose heads leading from the one working faucet on the north side of the house to the flower and vegetable boxes on the south side of the house, will that help you understand why I don’t start my own plants from seed?
Meanwhile, our lilacs are glorious this year, and the dianthus and heucheria plants I thought had died over the winter have finally popped up, reinforcing my conviction that (global warming or not) one should never dig up a ‘winter killed’ plant in New England before Memorial Day.
How are things in your gardens, this week?
They are transplanted from Central Virginia and have taken to Georgia quite well. The boss pruned them back a good bit in March and was afraid they wouldn’t bloom!
Finally got the beans in: Purple King and Blue Lake for the pole, an heirloom pinto and Italian Rose, black beans and wax beans on the bush. I plan on drying the pinto, black, and IR so now I have to build a drying rack that will work in our Ozark humidity. Also got all my squash in yesterday. Going to replant the carrots and spinach today. If at first you don’t succeed…. Corn will go in tomorrow, if the storms holds off till 1PM as predicted.
My granddaughter will arrive this noon and will no doubt want to help plant some flowers in the borders so that is on the agenda too.
werebear mentioned putting in 3 mini roses yesterday, which gave a severe attack of envy as I was looking at some earlier this week, but just don’t have a place for them yet. Next year….
Had a whiporwill going like crazy in the holler outside my window for about 15 mins. straight, and then…. All I hear now are all the early morning chirpers. The WoW won’t sing anymore now that the others are up and about.
@OzarkHillbilly: I woke up one morning a couple of weeks back and it was bird bedlam outside. This dude had moved in and all the local birds were engaged in “mobbing”. They did a pretty nasty job on the back of his head and he seemed to have moved on.
I have a palm tree that keeps trying to grow in my little bed next to the front door, so every six months or so I have to prune it down to a nub. Persistent little bugger, that.
I was visiting my parents last weekend up in Perrysburg, Ohio, and their garden is doing quite well with lilacs, bleeding hearts, flowering quince, and the like. Amazing what you can get with just shrubs.
@Mustang Bobby: Very nice, there is some great soil up there! How was the cruise in?
I thought I had lost my oak leaf hydrangea, looking closely yesterday I was glad to see new growth.
We had a freeze last week. Amazing how they know when it is time to come alive. I can now start flower pots!
I had a nesting pair in one of the hollers back in Feb. Really cool for the wife as she’d be staring out the window above her desk in the early morn when a shadow would glide across going from one holler to the next. Every now and again as I worked about the property I would come across him/her staring at me. Now that everything is in full leaf I never see them. But every night they let me know they are still here.
The bird feeders get mobbed all the time and yesterday I found a puff of feathers from a goldfinch. I suspect a sharp shinned hawk was the guilty party as they like to prey at the feeders. Kinda like setting the dinner table, but we do like the variety of birds they attract
@raven: Thanks! My mom and dad can grow anything anywhere; me, I can kill a geranium.
The cruise-in was fun; a lot of nice cars (and their drivers) showed up for the tour. Michael Dezer has a couple of warehouses full of cars from all over the world, and a lot of makes and models I’d never heard of. He also has a lot of cars from film history, such as props from Bond movies and such.
@raven: The roses are beautiful! How’s your mud pile doing? We had heavy rains over night but most of the heavy rains appear to be south of you.
It has finally stopped freezing overnight here, so I can finally plant the stuff I have in those tiny pots. My peppers that I weathered over in the basement are already in regular pots and going strong. Back to work, more or less. Soon as it stops fucking raining.
[‘I have some Cherokee red tomatoes that need a pot now.’]
I’m just planting tomatoes, herbs, onions, a few beans and flowers this year. I didn’t have a garden the last two years because of the drought. Drought or no, my soul needs to dig in the dirt. I’m going to get someone out to help me install a permanent irrigation system.
I do no-till/organic and it requires the beds to lay fallow under the straw for several months, so I am just planting 4 rows this year. (I got a late start in all the prep work this year.) When all is prepped and done, I will have sixteen 3’X22′ and eight 4’X22′ beds. Next year I will have melons, potatoes, yams, cucumbers, squash and corn again.
I’m seriously thinking of having another pond dug up hill from my garden spot. There is a lot of run-off from my hill when it rains and I think it would fill up fairly quickly. My existing pond is very old and silted up. It is too small to use for irrigation. If/when I get another one built, I will drain it into the new one and have it dredged out. I’m pretty sure the old pond has a very small spring feeding into it.
I’m also thinking of having a small hoop house built with raised beds for lettuce and some of the cruciferous veggies.
Does anyone know a good organic remedy for squash bugs? I ceded the battle to them a couple of years ago and ripped the plants out, but not before I got quite a few pounds of squash from them.
I have not been out every night to check, but I am concerned that I have not seen any bats going after insects under the yard light this year. I have quite a few raptors and tons of other birds. There are lots of little frogs under the straw of the beds I have finished. My small dog found a box turtle yesterday on our hike up the hill. He was snapped shut as tight as he could be.
This probably doesn’t give me bragging rights, but two years ago, my biggest yam was bigger than a football!
Only one wave petunia in a hanging basket this year.
This weekend is the city-wide garage sale so we walked around for a few hours and admired our neighbors’ gardening efforts. The weather was mid seventies and clear. Perfect for a stroll.
My goal for today is just to get the lawn mowed. It’s rough and messy. Need to get some weeding and pruning done as well.
We had to cut down a huge old lilac that had mostly died back. It must have been 50 years old. I’m glad to see some shoots coming up from the root.
@JPL: From talking with a number of people it looks like the sewer issue won’t be a deal breaker. The graders left and I suspect it will take a few days to get them back but this will just take time and money!
@OzarkHillbilly: Badass hawks! This was the only shot I could get of the owl on the wing.
I know a woman that has a lilac that is over 100 years old. She pruned it way down and it’s still going strong.
Sorry iPad linknfail
I am doing row covers and personally servicing the lovely little ladies. Don’t know why, but at our old place in town they were never a problem. Now that we live out here in the deep woods they decimate mine every year.
Also squashing the eggs before they hatch is recommended.
For bugs, Bushmaster. NRA will love you.
Indeed. At the old place we saw them all the time. Here? Not so often. I ascribe that to the deep woods. But I always know when one is around. All the little birdies will be happily chirping away flitting from one feeder to the next and then all of a sudden without any warning it all becomes a cloud of feathered wings flying in all directions.
Hard to get a good shot of an owl on the wing, usually low light conditions preclude a faster shutter speed.
Wow. You’ll have a small farm when you get all of that in!
@Maude: I can’t handle a Bushmaster which is a good thing. I do have a 410 shot gun. My Oklahoma cousin gave it to me. He thought a woman alone living in the country needed it.
@OzarkHillbilly: Where do you live, Ozark? I am just east of Berryville, AR. Thanks for the row cover tip.
Stuff in my garden is beginning to grow. Some of the seeds we planted have obviously sprouted and are peeking out of the dirt. We’ll see.
Lilacs will pretty reliably regenerate from the root. This one had been showing signs of die-back for about 5 years. I had taken some dead material down but the main trunks were as big as my leg. It took a chain saw and some trick rope work to get the whole thing cut. We really loved it and hope it will fill in again.
This particular contraption is from South Carolina and so might work in a humid area. Dunno.
Washington Co. about 15 miles south of Sullivan. I see you are east of Harrison. I have a lot of friends down your way, everywhere from Newton Co, to Clarksville to Jerusalem to Batesville to Jonesboro. In fact, the wife and I are heading down your way this wkend. Will be around Fifty-six (just north of Mountain View) at a buddy’s place on Sylamore Creek.
My connection to Arkansas is caving. I belong to a grotto down there. Did a lot of survey work in AR for years. Not so much caving anymore tho as I am now **Too old, Too fat, Don’t care.**
**A bumper sticker on my truck, shows a caver in a wheel chair.**
Here in mid-May, the 15th is the last average frost. We have had three days in the upper eighties in the past week.
Although we had a threat of patches of frost around the 12th, we covered tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra, everything susceptible, and were fine. Basically, we planted 2-3 weeks ahead of normal schedule. The garden right now looks like it is a month ahead of where it would normally be. We planted cold crops two months ago, and have been eating romaine and butter crunch lettuce heads for over a week now. The kale and collards are ready for a second harvest. You just trim the leaves, and they will produce all year, to the end of fall. I bought tomato plants mostly from a local nursery, and they are already between two and three feet high and blooming madly. Just four days after last average frost. We set them out three weeks ago, gambling on no late frost, or a manageable one if it happened. Looks like we won.
This year I am using copper and another fungicide on the tomatoes to try and prevent blight and black spot disease. I completely rotated them away to a newer part of garden where I have never planted tomatoes, which is also important. 20 plants, about 18 varieties. If all goes well, we are looking forward to a LOT of tasty tomatoes.
The late frost last year so badly damaged one of my big pear trees it was almost destroyed. We lopped it off half way up, leaving four remaining live branches sticking out at 90 degrees. It looks like it has a flat top, or is pretending to be a pine on some windswept mountain peak. I had 10 years invested in it, and decided to just try and save it. Sadly, very few pears have set this year. But my dwarf Macintosh apple is literally dripping with pears. I will be spraying it today. You can say organic all you want, but if I do not, the insects will destroy every last apple. I speak from bitter experience. These year, I would like to get a few of them.
And the strawberry bed, in its fourth year, is dripping. Right now I estimate about 1,000 strawberries, all about to ripen in next few days.
@Linda Featheringill: Link fail Linda? South Carolina is every bit as humid as the Ozarks.
That’s a pretty nice trick! ;-)
I don’t blame you. Every year I do battle with the tent caterpillars, so far this year I have them mostly under control but it involves catching them early and often. I put up traps last year for the Japanese beetles and they worked really well.
My apples and peaches are too young and frail to produce yet, so I just pick off the majority. The cherries…. I think for the 3rd yr in a row I won’t get any. Very few to begin with and they seem to be infected with the same fungus rot (?) as last years crop. The year we bought this place they were filled with at least 50 gals, but I was so busy fixing up the house so we could move in I only picked a gal. Beginning to wonder if I will ever see the likes again.
Doh! WEST of Harrison!
It’s lilac time here in Quebec and the Victoria Day weekend as well. That’s the traditional time to plant all those sensitive plants. The weather’s beautiful so lots of things are going in the ground today and tomorrow. We did have frost last week though so I’m wary but going for it anyway.
Gorgeous roses Raven!
Condo dweller here but I do my best with a small plot out front and pots on the deck. My peony is covered in buds and the other perennials are coming along after the winter that would not end. Just received my “hummingbird mix” of plants and put them on the deck. I hope they bring the speedy little visitors this summer.
@Raven: What a relief! It would be heartbreaking to get this far only to find out it’s a no-go.
@Maude: I put in 3 raised beds this year (for the first time) and am growing blue hubbard squash and zucchini, so I am worried about the evil squash beetles. Can you say more about bushmaster? I am not a big fan of picking bugs off by hand. Ick.
I tried googling bushmaster and found something, but they didn’t mention anything about bugs, so I’m not sure i found the right thing.
What a photo!!!
@raven: What gorgeous roses! Lovely photo.
I’m harvesting so much stuff I can’t keep up. I’m eating beets and beet greens almost every day and still can’t keep on top of them. Same with tomatoes. More than I know what to do with and am giving them away to neighbors. A new tomato for me this year is Lillian’s Yellow, which is sweeter and so bright yellow. Fun to have on the vine.
Green beans are just starting to set beans, so I should be harvesting those in a bit. An eggplant plant managed to make it though our winter and so for the very first time I’ve got eggplant, tomato and basil (volunteer, came up in previous bed from seed) at the same time. I’m going to roast the eggplant, slice tomato, drizzle with olive oil and a hint of garlic and top with basil. Yum. Hungry already just thinking about it.
@nancydarling: Neem oil is supposed to work against squash borers, but injecting the stem with BT is supposed to be the definitive method. I know of one older woman who swears by wrapping the stems of her squash plants with tinfoil to keep the squash borers from getting in. She gets tons of squash every year and says this is all she does. No idea if it’s true or if it works, but there you go.
My personal method is to cross plant so I’ve got plants that attract whatever will be the natural predator of the squash borer. That method takes longer and initially may not work, but over time if you keep at it, you’ll get enough variety of plants so the pests are minimized.
My lilacs only made a few flowers this year. Because of last year’s drought?
@Violet: I have not been plagued with squash borers—yet. My problem is these nasty little beasts.
I will file your suggestions in case the borers show up.
Squash bugs are just ugly. At least Japanese beetles are quite beautiful and easier to appreciate as you smash them between your fingers. I always bless them on to a higher consciousness, suggesting that their next incarnations should be song birds or butterflies!
your pics are so pretty each Sunday
@Raven: If you have an accessible basement, adding a hose bib on the south side would probably be cheap and easy. “Cheap,” that is, if you have a plumber who doesn’t aspire to joining the 1% richest.
@nancydarling: Oh, sorry for the misunderstanding. Yeah, those are pests too. Johnny’s says there are some natural predators. You could try to encourage those. Otherwise, destroying the eggs and squashing (ha) the juveniles might help.
At my old house I found that once my yard got in balance I had much fewer pest problems. I’m aiming for the same thing here. Been here about three years and this is the year I feel we’re turning the corner. Better production, more healthy soil, higher quantity of lizards, butterflies, bees, etc. So my other recommendation would be as previously, continue to plant things to bring the property into balance and let nature kill those buggers.
She was being sarcastic WaterGirl. The Bushmaster is an AR-15 variant in .223 caliber… An assault rifle. Hence the reference of NRA love.
My tomatoes are blooming. We’re trying to get the yard into some kind of shape. Between snow and then rain, the weeds here in Colorado got a huge head start this year, and the grass jumped up a foot overnight, I swear. Too much to do.
@OzarkHillbilly: In my defense :-) I had found this on an organic gardening site when I googled “bushmaster plants” but what i read didn’t seem to be about killing bugs:
I guess I’ll try the aluminum foil on the stems and hope for the best.
Edit: I thought the NRA reference was a joke because the gun and the bug killer shared the same name. Oh well.
@Bob Munck: The footprint of the addition is right over the city line. The block walls will house what will be a basement.
@WaterGIrl: Heh. You never know what you are going to find with the google meister.
Southern Oregon is having a “super spring.” I planted cold-weather stuff (lettuce, snow peas, kale, etc.) weeks ago and everything is zooming. We’re already dining off the garden. The tomatoes and peppers are in and already going strong. Unfortunately we’ll pay a price for this–the snow pack is way down, which indicates a very dry summer with lots of forest fires, which in turn can make the Rogue Valley unliveable when the smoke settles in. And the lakes get really low and develop algae blooms, which means no fishing, boating or swimming. Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t get hit too hard. :-)
@nancydarling: I have had great success with halting squash bugs by using the one-two punch of dill leaves and diatomaceous earth (spread generously at base of plants). The first has a repellant smell for them, the other will kill whatever makes it past the first. This works for cukes as well. Good luck!
@Violet: That works too! I’ve heard that from old hands here in rural NoCA. the idea is to keep them well off the base of your squash.
@OzarkHillbilly: Apples/Pears. Whose counting. Actually, I have my poor pear tress on my mind, obviously. I planted 8 more semi-dwarf fruit tress three years ago, and there are just a few plums and cheeries on them, not much, but encouraging. At least I have nurtured them through two summer droughts in a row. We will see what this summer brings. I wish I were optimistic.