These pics were taken at the end of April, by perennial garden-chat commentor / contributor Marvel:
We saw a fairly mild, drizzly week here in the Willamette Valley, but this weekend begins another warm (cresting in the low 80s) dry-ish week. We’ve got some pent-up gardening urges to work off, fersure, e.g., preparing Area 51 for its 200+ popcorn starts, setting up cages for the tomatoes I’ll get at the Master Gardener’s plant sale next Saturday, taking the row covers off the leafy green Spring crop of new lettuce & spinach.
A few of areas of the garden will have to go it alone, and they’re looking up to the task. The radishes [top photo] are doing well (we’re just plucking a few a day, washing & salting & gobbling them up) in their cozy Spring bed, along with the onions and a few extra lettuce plants.
We pulled the old kale (eating the last still-sweet bits in a riotous colcannon last week) and the youngsters are settling in well.
The string peas have finally figured out which way is up and are having a merry race to the sky.
And the crimson clover (a cover crop) is enjoying a lively competition with the flowering chives for this week’s Understated Beauty award.
Have a SWELL day!
Here in New England, we just had our first 80-degree day of the year, even though the Siberian irises are just beginning to bloom. All those tomato plants that I over-ordered back in March are due to start arriving this week… and the yard is so not prepared yet…
What’s going on in your gardens this week?
Creeping decrepitude coupled with a lifetime anti-fondness for being outdoors precludes gardening.
But more power to those of you who find it (no pun intended) fruitful.
@NotMax: Who am I that I have the right to choose between the so-called weeds and the “acceptable” greenery?
Love the chives and clover Marvel. Very colorful.
Got hit by a couple of hail storms this week. Every single thing I have planted took some damage, but the losses were miraculously low considering the 2nd one lasted a good 5 mins (or so it seemed) and was golf ball sized. Out of 40 tomato plants, only 4 got flattened. Out of 40 broccoli and Brussels sprouts, I only lost 1 Bs. Out of 18 sweet peppers? Not a single loss. (figures, I got some kind of viral infection in them, not sure how many I will lose to that) And so on. The only thing that got rally hurt were the onions, they’re pretty beat down.
NOAA says, “Patchy frost before 7 am” but I should be safe on top of the ridge line. This a full month after our ‘last frost date’.
I’ll be sticking the last of my stuff from seeds in the ground today, mostly herbs and a few replacements of damaged plants. Basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, rosemary, savory, parsley, marjoram, and some lavender. Gonna stick a bunch of cilantro seeds in the ground too and get some of that going for my salsa. Also need to get my beans going. Gonna be a long day.
We’ve got to-mah-toes!
@OzarkHillbilly: Wow! Glad your losses were so low, considering!
@Betty Cracker: It was an interesting sensation, standing under my porch, watching all this deafening hail rip thru the trees and seeing leaves and branches whipping thru the air, knowing the garden was getting pummeled and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. About halfway thru it I realized I was smiling, which made me laugh. Might as well. “God is a stand-up comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh.”
We (she) hit it it pretty hard yesterday, I trucked in a load of mulch, wheelbarrowed it down to the garden area and let her spread it where she wanted it. Her roses has had better years but she did get some. It’s 47 this morning so it will be a good day to work outside again. We go to the beach Thursday so this will be that last full day for a while.
Marvel, Your pictures are wonderful. My peas are an inch high, so they have some catching up to do.
@raven: It was a shock to walk outside with Finch this morning. brrrr
Yesterday was overcast and the high was only in the 40s here with strong breezes that cancelled the girls’ volunteer beach cleanup due to blowing sand. Miserable day, and wet still from all the rain. Fields here are still partly flooded. I’m so far behind on getting control over the parts of the yard I still bother to work that it will take days just to weed whack it down again. I have some really nasty weeds with big thorns all over where my blueberry bushes are too, thinking of using horticultural vinegar on them because blueberry bush roots are shallow and digging out the weeds may damage the bushes. Blueberries like acid soil, I’m hoping the weeds won’t.
@Betty Cracker: Jealous!
The patch of dirt I tilled in a dust storm a week ago is still nicely moist from the soaking rain earlier in the week. It will be ready to plant the zinnias and mexican sunflowers next weekend. 43 degrees here, Stump Winter.
@Ozark – mama always said to wait until May to plant tender stuff, even here in Tennessee.
Planted every thing 2 weeks ago and no growth what so ever. It’s been on and off cold rain. I should have waited until JUNE 1st this year.. SE IN USA, argh.
That fence in the third photo looks like our fence.
Except our neighbor on the other side decided for some reason unknown to me to drape about a two-feet length of garden house along the top of it.
We had frost last night so I’m glad I didn’t put anything tender out. I had a gift certificate from Burpees so I ordered tomato plants by mail from them. I got them yesterday and they’re kind of spindly and stretchy. Mine I grow from seed are better-looking, sturdy. I’m going to have to plant the Burpee seedlings deep all the way up the stem or they’ll keel over when the wind blows. My son is coming to to get “his” tomato plants- I started his seed for him – he’s getting some of these Burpee plants as a “bonus” :)
@HinTN: May 1st for me. There is nearly always one more frost after 4/15.
It seemed like forsythia blooming was a pretty safe marker for frost-free here but either that has changed or it was just a coincidence all these years and I shouldn’t have been looking to them for reassurance :)
Good Morning, Everyone :)
We had 32 degrees here night before last, I was glad we didn’t have anything out.
I spent most of yesterday clearing 3 buckthorn trees out of our lilacs. Buckthorn is an invasive species & a real problem. I have cut these 3 down every year but they seem to come back from the stump with a vengeance. It is way more work than it should be because the lilacs protect them. I took down a couple others a few years ago that were out in the open & pained the stumps with weed killer, they never came back. But I am afraid to do that on these & they are taking advantage
Well I got after it yesterday. As Annie said, it was warm north of Boston yesterday but it’s supposed to settle back to highs of mid-60’s this week. I planted about 2/3 of my garden and herbs — tomatoes — Roma’s for sauce, Celebrity for eating (waiting for Sun Gold and Rutgers); Jalepeno and Serrano chills (waiting for Poblano and Anaheims to arrive at the nursery); Blue Lake and Provider bush beans and a ton of herbs. But the big find, which always involves a race against the fall frosts — Tomatillos. I love them. Particularly roasted.
I’m growing stuff in pots, since I’m renting and don’t have a garden. My tomatoes and peppers that i grew from seeds are doing well and getting ready to bloom. My cilantro has bolted, so I will have to start over with that. Rosemary and basil growing like weeds. I’m trying a new seed from Amazon that says it is a type of green (amaranth) that loves heat. Ha! We’ll see how much it loves Texas heat.
@Kay: Forsythia blooms really early around here, well before the last frost.
@Schlemazel Khan: Try copper nails in the stumps. That is supposed to kill them. Just checked my thermometer: 38.
@OzarkHillbilly: I’ve nailed pennies into stumps for that reason. Maybe because of the copper or maybe because they let water in a bit and the freeze/thaw cycle is accelerated, but it has worked on Hackberries which are just big damn weeds.
@Immanentize: DOH! Never even thought of pennies! Copper nails can be hard to find. It is the copper that does it.
I had heard that but I don’t know if it is possible to get copper nails.
@Immanentize: I’m not sure there is much copper in a penny anymore, they are almost all zinc because it is cheaper.
a piece of copper tubing can be hammered in.
drill a pilot hole if necessary.
Jamestown Distributor has your copper nail, although you can probably find them at your big box store.
@Poopyman: see, Reagan ruined everything! I will now always use Carter pennies (and before) when stump killing!
@Schlemazel Khan: They have become a specialty item these days. No longer can you just walk into your local hardware and get them. (there are exceptions to this rule) but just googling it will give you a wealth of options, like Jamestown Distributors.
Good call! That had not occurred to me but it would work. Assuming the penny thing works but it is worth a try
My local weatherman insists every year there will be three snows after the forsythia bloom. I think we had six this year.
Have you ever tried planting tomatoes this way?
totally OT. say what you will about him as a candidate and his ethics problems but Alan Grayson does have a talent for sticking the dagger right between the shoulder blades of the GOP with a short pity statement, –
In moderation…. What @Poopyman: said, except you can’t find them at a big box store, they have become a specialty item. I used to find them at local hardware stores up in STL because of copper flashing and gutters on the old buildings, but that was a long time ago.
@Schlemazel Khan: My uncle used to drill a hole into the stump and then pour salt in.
Buckthorn was brought over from Europe in the 19th century.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
i’ve drilled holes in sweet gum stumps and filled the hole with glyphosate (roundup). kills the stump but then all the roots sprout.
never tried the copper thing.
@Immanentize: Maybe a Reagan $50 bill would work.
It always seems like a good idea at the time.
I learned never to plant before June 1, because our microclimate here by the mighty Charles* is too cold at night. The tomatoes and basil can’t survive.
We picked up our first sets of seedlings yesterday; I’ll set up the vertical greenhouse this afternoon and load things in. I get to rent a rototiller this year since my normal laborer is out for the season.
*Those abandoned mills are abandoned for a reason.
@germy: They’d make great enemas.
I have used old crank case oil on tree stumps in the past and it worked. That was when it was available from an old business back in the day. Now I use a stump removal company.
@HRA: I’ve read comments from a few old crank cases in my local news media, but how do I extract their oil?
Garlic chives are a dangerous plant. They’ve spread through one of my herb-and-flower beds and only the oregano has resisted them.
My Oglala strawberry plants should arrive this week. I’m finally getting the strawberry bed I’ve always wanted.
Love the Sunday morning garden chats although my garden hasn’t been doing much so far. Those of you in warmer climates are lucky ducks. The weather is a bit strange in the D.C. area this Spring.
It’s been a weird spring here. There were almost no blossoms on any of the usually magnificent forsythias in the neighborhood, and most of our hydrangeas have decided not to put out new growth on last year’s stems (and hence, no blossoms on that variety). Thankfully, the oakleaf hydrangeas look fine, since those are our largest specimens. Our roses got totally hammered for some reason, and we spent yesterday cutting them nearly all the way back. The Knockout roses, which are normally absolute beasts, are now about a tenth the size they were last year. We can even walk between them! Even our butterfly bushes, 7 to 8 feet tall last year, are starting over.
The sixth wave of extinction? I blame
LOL Good one!
I ran a (small) commercial greenhouse when I lived in North Carolina. It was just 4 giant hoop houses and then about 10 acres for high-end vegetable production. We only planted one or two acres at a time. The grower I worked for was a drunk and rarely came to work (which is how I ended up running his operation) but he planted tomatoes sideways in the field. Our tomatoes were gorgeous but I always thought it was soil/weather.
He would have these crazy business ideas- he would get all enthusiastic starting them and then disappear. We sold boiled peanuts to gas stations at one point- we boiled them in a big kettle outside and then bagged them and gas stations put them out for sale for us. It’s a southern thing, boiled peanuts. I thought they were delicious but he lost interest after a couple of months and we went on to pumpkins, which were a disaster. We had thousands of unsold pumpkins. I used to drive him around in his truck and we would both pretend it was a lark- that he was allowing me to drive his truck just for kicks- although I knew he had lost his license for repeated DUI’s.
@germy: that rates 3 groans
@Kay: I wanted bush baby zucchini and everyone was out of bush baby seeds by the time I ordered in February, so I ordered a plant from White Flower Farms. It arrived this week and it’s the most pathetic, spindly thing. I called them up and described it, offering to send a photo – they declined the photo but are sending me a nice new bush baby plant with overnight shipping, all free.
You might consider doing the same thing with Burpee. The way I see it, they can’t know they have a problem if we all just suck it up and say oh, well.
@Schlemazel Khan: I mean, really, how much is it gonna cost you to try? :-)
Got up to discover that the Manchester United-Bournemouth match was postponed because of a “suspect package” in the stadium. This is big—equivalent to the same happening at an NFL game. The whole stadium was evacuated, and the match (last one of the season) will be rescheduled.
I looked through the other matches and discovered that apparently Stoke City has a crop circle in the middle of their pitch. Interesting.*
* ETA: The big round area in the center of the pitch was mowed in a bull’s-eye pattern. Never seen that before.
Had hopes of completing clean up work in the front yard today as I don’t have to cook as I usually do on Sunday but the high winds quashed that plan. My front hall is packed with container plants due to cold temps yesterday & today. If I don’t get the New Dawn rose tied into the trellis in front soon it’s going to start assaulting passersby but getting up on a ladder today is out of the question. I could clean out the shed but I’m trying not to look at the back garden until the front is done to keep from getting sidetracked..
I am planting something new this year. They sound good, but I have no idea what they will actually be like:Squash Poquito Hybrid
They call them “The Zucchini that Thinks it’s a Mini Watermelon!” and it matures in 40 days.
Crimson clover, over and over!
Announcers in the match I’m watching just said that a “controlled explosion” was carried out at Old Trafford (the Manchester stadium), so apparently the threat was real.
@jnfr: I have to plant my strawberries in hanging pots because I have two canine thieves who adore strawberries. The little guy (11 pounds) also manages to get his little head and shoulders under the chicken wire that protects the blueberries. He loved the raspberry bush last year, so I had to give that one away – I never got a single raspberry!
He also picked two ghost peppers from the pot on the deck, but left them lying there on the deck – apparently ghost peppers aren’t too his liking. I had a good laugh over the ghost peppers; finally there is a fruit or vegetable that Henry doesn’t like.
@The Golux: That’s all so sad! Except for the oak leaf hydrangeas! What part of the country are you in? Here in central Illinois we are having a particularly lush year. I worried about everything the last two nights with really low temps, but it didn’t freeze and so far everything looks okay.
@germy: That one would make my father proud!
@WaterGirl: We’re in central Connecticut. For some of it, I blame the brutal cold we had one weekend this winter (close to 10 below). I was really worried about our gorgeous clumping bamboo (about four feet in diameter at the base after 20 years), but it looks like it will make it.
@The Golux: Glad your bamboo made it! Losing the old stuff is really heartbreaking. I lost a lot of stuff this year to the voles. Never heard of them until last year, but they love to burrow under my stuff and decimate the roots. I lost my 20 year-old giant hosta, two batptisia and about 15 other perennials. Bastards!
@The Golux: same thing here north of Boston re: forsythias. I have some large bushes (10 ft high) and usually amazing yellow flowers about Easter and Passover time. This year — maybe 1/10th the normal if that. On the up side, we have had a LOT fewer winter moth worms. I think this one late cold snap in March did both in.
Oh yeah, ghost peppers will do that :)
Mr J is already planning a frame cover with wire to protect the baby strawberry plants. He’s totally overengineering the thing with braces and snap locks, so I’m hopeful it’ll keep the squirrels out. Not sure about the raccoons though.
My theory about furfolk like raccoons, squirrels, bear, and other opportunistic species is that humans are assisting in their evolution process by making it harder to pillage our gardens, trash cans and so on. The critters who figure out how to evade the safeguards are the ones who prosper and have many children :)
Not a gardener myself (I have a black thumb) but my townhouse complex put a bunch of raised vegetable beds in the large open space beyond the pool, and they filled up so fast we’re putting in two more. Stuff is already coming up, and the area looks wonderful. Our current HOA President has a long-term vision and plan for spiffing the place up, and he’s doing an amazing job.
@jnfr: I only wish that I could have seen him snag the ghost peppers in real time! I do like his optimism, though. When he tried the first one, he apparently thought maybe he had just gotten a bad one? I love that it took 2 for him to be sure that these were not for him.
I am shocked! I thought all HOA presidents were evil. Sounds like you landed yourself a good one.
@WaterGirl: We’re very fortunate in a lot of ways. We have a sweet complex, but not wildly upscale, and the kind of people who move here aren’t interested in getting into everyone else’s business, so we don’t have a lot of complainers to deal with. The HOA mostly exists to pay bills and plan long-term projects.(Disclaimer: I am on the Board, and have been for over 10 years. It’s hard to recruit new members, and we figure we’ll be stuck with the job throughout our mortal coil.)
J R in WV
My folks spent several winters renting condos in Florida on the gulf coast, and picked out a townhouse/condo to buy.
My Dad never really wanted a motorcycle or a PU truck until he learned that the HOA wouldn’t allow either in the place. They didn’t maintain stuff as it should have been in the tropical climate, and so there were assessments for major repairs, like roofs and siding, which we all thought should have been handled within the monthly fees.
But the HOA board thought they were all master of the universe level intelligent, even though they had to keep going back to the resident owners for mo’ money to fix things. It was beautiful, though, got to give them the tropical landscaping.
@Immanentize: According to the Boston Globe‘s garden writer, it was this year’s mild winter that kept the forsythia from blossoming properly — apparently they don’t like freeze/thaw cycles.
Bummed me out, too… I don’t care for most yellow flowers, but forsythia (& daffodils) coming up first thing, sometimes blooming in the snow, always lifts my heart!
@Anne Laurie: That’s really interesting, AL. We had a very mild winter here and lots of trees and shrubs were lost, which made no sense to me. Maybe now it makes just a little more sense!
Here in the Philly far exurbs (Mennonite country) I took a drive up to Suelke’ s farm market near Quakertown to get my maters after hearing the closer greenhouse was too picked over. They had beautiful thick stemmed but short babies- I don’t think they grow their own but they sure have a good grower. Got four Amish Paste, four San Marzano, Brandywine, a pink lady, grape tomato, mortgage lifter. I have two black krim babies waiting indoors at my super secret plant lady. Everybody is coming inside tonight, though, since we’re scheduled to have 36degree temps tonight. Tomatoes are getting a rough start, but the brassicas and greens are loving this weird weather. And the effing grass.
@Baud: Eat the weeds and get back to us
@D58826: never mind that comment. It was directed to another reader
@Baud: Eat the weeds and get back to us.