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SWest

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...I didn't think we had anything with the power to bloom past the first frost. ...
October and early November are no longer known for serious frost events down this way. Late-summer bees get after the Asters en masse since they are a last-blooming type of flower...the blooms don't stay long before the puffy seed heads develop.

Our Asters are a wild spread version from North Jersey that domesticated into some containers I use for herbs and other wee-bee-friendly plants (they also nest in the pots). Long droughts (like we're having now) delay buds opening.

I'll give a heads-up when they do!
 
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Brigid Barry

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What variety/varieties of pumpkin do you grow, Brigid? I've never had much luck with them (and they take up soooo much space), but I'm always curious about what works for other gardeners.
These were sugar pumpkins. The raccoons got into one or two from the garden last year and we threw them on the compost and this year we had a dozen or so plants. I have a laundry basket of sugar pumpkins now. lol.

October and early November are no longer known for serious frost events down this way.
I'm up in zone 5(a?). Usually around mid October we start having regular frosts. Which reminds me that I need to get a new copy of the farmer's almanac to see what this winter holds.
 
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SWest

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I moved down from 7a to 7b. Our climate is starting to look more like what I thought of as North Carolina weather when I was a kid. I will not be surprised when the armadillos and scorpions arrive. (They'll cross the river the same way the Lantern Flies did...)
 

Alessandra Kelley

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Those of you with New England Asters...are you in new England? I didn't think we had anything with the power to bloom past the first frost.

Speaking of which, the National Weather Service is predicting that for us this Saturday, but we'll have to wait and see. We have a few pumpkins that aren't quite ripe yet, and the darned things are the only vegetable we got in any abundance. The husband is going to chop and peel them this weekend so I can pressure can all but one or two of them this weekend.
New England asters are a native wildflower across the US east of the Rocky Mountains. I’m near the Great Lakes myself.

I found when the plants will bloom for longer if they were a little heat stressed in the summer. At Halloween I put a few blooms between the teeth of our front porch skeleton, and then there are usually a few weeks more flowers after that.

I’m trying to remember if they keep going after initial frosts or if it’s just that frosts have been coming later and later. Regardless, they are the last flowers hanging on in our garden each year, a bit of color to welcome winter.
 

mrsmig

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I pulled up my cucumber plants, which never really got going this year (I think it was a combination of powdery mildew and squash bugs), as well as a couple of tomatoes that had stopped producing. In their place, I sowed spinach and collards. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but when I worked the soil today, I only turned up about 15 jumping worms, instead of the 30+ at a whack that I've been finding. I don't have any illusions that I'll be able to eradicate them - not yet, anyway - but maybe the constant hand-picking, diatomaceous soil and other attempts to control their numbers are having some effect.

I discovered a chipmunk tunnel, though, and there's evidence that they've been digging amongst the turnip and carrot seedlings. This is the time of year when they get really active, so I'm going to have screen or net the seedling to discourage the digging, and find some way to close up that tunnel. It'll probably take me a few tries - chippies are determined little critters.

My cabbage and broccoli seedlings seem to be doing okay, and the peas I planted last week have popped. I'd planned to container-plant some lettuce and a variety of fast-maturing carrot today, but decided to hold off. I'm heading down to my mother's in about a week, where I'll spend 10-14 days cleaning out her house so it can go on the market soon. I don't want to leave my husband in charge of nursing seedlings along while I'm gone, and it'll probably be better to plant those cool-weather crops in early October, anyway. Maybe by the time I get back, my seed garlic will have arrived.
 

mrsmig

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Some people swear by baking soda - mix one tablespoon baking soda, one tablespoon vegetable oil and one teaspoon of dish soap in a gallon of water and spray on the affected plant. Others do a vinegar and water mix, although if you're not careful you can burn the plant.

My understanding is that you've got to be pro-active, though, and treat before infection, or immediately upon seeing signs of it. Otherwise it takes hold in a hurry. It took hold of my cukes before I realized it (largely because my cocozelle squash had a sudden, furious growth spurt and was hiding the affected areas.
 
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mrsmig

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My neighbor's cat continues to poop in my cherry tree garden, so today I went out armed with a spray bottle of water blended with about ten drops of lemon oil, to make her favorite latrine spots less attractive. Supposedly cats don't care for the smell of citrus - but by gum, the bees sure do. I've seen very few bees in my yard this summer, but as I sprayed, I was suddenly surrounded by them. They weren't bothering me, but they were VERY interested in the treated areas. When I went to clean the bird bath, I discovered more bees getting a drink there. They weren't aggressive at all, even when I tipped out the dirty bath water, scrubbed out the basin and refilled it. When I was finished and stepped away, they came right back to drink. They seemed very thirsty.

I don't think anyone near me keeps bees, so I've no idea where this sudden influx came from. I wish I'd had my phone with me, so I could have gotten a photo and maybe ID'd them. Hoping these are some species of native pollinator and not some nasty invasive - but I was very happy to see them.
 

Brigid Barry

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All the pumpkins that we're sure were going to ripen were ripe. Hubby used two of them, set one aside, one was bad, and one was sketchy enough to throw out.

It took three of us over two hours to get the pumpkins processed and I have 11 quarts of pumpkin. I can only do 6 quart jars on the canner so I have to do two, at 90 minute each. I figure I'll be done around 2 am. 😭
 
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All the pumpkins that we're sure were going to ripen were ripe. Hubby used two of them, set one aside, one was bad, and one was sketchy enough to throw out.

It took three of us over two hours to get the pumpkins processed and I have 11 quarts of pumpkin. I can only do 6 quart jars on the canner so I have to do two, at 90 minute each. I figure I'll be done around 2 am. 😭
Feed the sketchy ones to the chooks. They love 'em.

I wrap them in foil and roast them whole. Way easier than trying to cut through those hard skins. Once cooked just peel the skin off and scoop out the flesh. That's easy to process for storage.

(Though admittedly I can only roast one pumpkin in my wood stove at a time, giving me about 2 litres/2 quarts of puree.)
 
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Brigid Barry

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Puree can't be safely pressure canned- how do you preserve it?

They got tossed onto the compost. The chickie poos will find it if they want it!

Update: I'm concerned about the pumpkin. There was a lot of liquid loss in the jars and lots of air bubbles floating up. No idea what that's about. The jars sealed but I'm worried I just wasted a bunch of time for nothing! Time will tell.
 
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Chris P

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. Supposedly cats don't care for the smell of citrus - but by gum, the bees sure do. I've seen very few bees in my yard this summer, but as I sprayed, I was suddenly surrounded by them. They weren't bothering me, but they were VERY interested in the treated areas. When I went to clean the bird bath, I discovered more bees getting a drink there. They weren't aggressive at all, even when I tipped out the dirty bath water, scrubbed out the basin and refilled it. When I was finished and stepped away, they came right back to drink. They seemed very thirsty.

I don't think anyone near me keeps bees, so I've no idea where this sudden influx came from. I wish I'd had my phone with me, so I could have gotten a photo and maybe ID'd them. Hoping these are some species of native pollinator and not some nasty invasive - but I was very happy to see them.
What you're describing reminds me more of paper wasps than bees, but I'm sure you've identified them correctly. My guess is they're getting ready for winter, and maybe their normal watering holes have dried up? It has been a poor year for bees. I got one of those mason bee houses, and although a couple checked them out, none moved in. I think my generally poor harvests were partly a problem with pollination, although I know my soil and light situation are pretty suboptimal.

I started some onions, lettuce, and peas for the fall, and the garlic is supposed to ship this week or next. Otherwise, I'm working on landscaping. An old stump was finally rotted enough for me to chop it out, so that's now gone, filled in, and sodded over. A couple bees or wasps came for the stinky topsoil I bought, for whatever reason. The azaleas in one area have been slowly succumbing to some sort of "creeping azalea death," which was slowly claiming the bushes from left to right over the last few years. One stem was over 90% dead in cross section, and most others were significantly dead. Regardless of whether it's a disease or it's too dry where they are, out they came and yucca plants went in. I'd like to turn that part into a succulent area, and being right next to the sidewalk on top of a retaining wall opens up the yard without the azaleas there.
 
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Brigid Barry

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What's the risk? Botulinum? Are the cans of puree you get in the store prepared in a different process?
I assume that air bubbles are a concern, and yes, I think botulism is the issue.

The heat and process used in commercial facilities is probably higher and faster so it works. They can can soups with dairy in them too that I can't at home.
 

mrsmig

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What you're describing reminds me more of paper wasps than bees, but I'm sure you've identified them correctly. My guess is they're getting ready for winter, and maybe their normal watering holes have dried up? It has been a poor year for bees. I got one of those mason bee houses, and although a couple checked them out, none moved in. I think my generally poor harvests were partly a problem with pollination, although I know my soil and light situation are pretty suboptimal.

I started some onions, lettuce, and peas for the fall, and the garlic is supposed to ship this week or next. Otherwise, I'm working on landscaping. An old stump was finally rotted enough for me to chop it out, so that's now gone, filled in, and sodded over. A couple bees or wasps came for the stinky topsoil I bought, for whatever reason. The azaleas in one area have been slowly succumbing to some sort of "creeping azalea death," which was slowly claiming the bushes from left to right over the last few years. One stem was over 90% dead in cross section, and most others were significantly dead. Regardless of whether it's a disease or it's too dry where they are, out they came and yucca plants went in. I'd like to turn that part into a succulent area, and being right next to the sidewalk on top of a retaining wall opens up the yard without the azaleas there.

Definitely not paper wasps. They were bee-shaped and only about half an inch long, with a fuzzy thorax. Haven't noticed any more - at least, not in those numbers. Sorry about your azaleas; hope your yuccas will thrive.

I went ahead and sowed a container of the 55-day carrots (they're a variety called Little Finger). The collards and spinach I sowed last week have sprouted - just as I'm about to leave for Tennessee for two weeks. I've thinned them, and my husband has sworn he'll water them, but I know I'll have to keep an eye on the weather at home and remind him if we don't get regular rain.

I'm waiting until I get back to plant lettuce, radishes and pansies.
 
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Definitely not paper wasps. They were bee-shaped and only about half an inch long, with a fuzzy thorax. Haven't noticed any more - at least, not in those numbers.
Honeybees swarm regularly. It's possible a swarm has taken up residence in a nearby hollow tree or barn wall or whatever.
 
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SWest

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The mid-Atlantic (water, water everywhere, but not a drop...) states have been dreadfully dry this year. I don't doubt all sorts of bees - honey, leafcutter, bumble, sweat - would be up for a free drinky-poo. The citrus flavor no doubt carries well in the air.
 
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mrsmig

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Honeybees swarm regularly. It's possible a swarm has taken up residence in a nearby hollow tree or barn wall or whatever.

It would be nice if they did, although living as I do in a densely populated suburb of Washington, DC (and a neighborhood where older houses - and trees - are knocked down on the regular to make room for new builds), I'd be surprised.

Even if they were just passing through, it was nice to see them.