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weird_cat

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This year I ended up with around 15 tomato plants between my own seedlings (super sweet 100s) and gifts from my grandfather, a fellow tomato enthusiast. I'm not quite sure what we'll do when they start producing! I also have three bell pepper plants and an aloe plant which we recently separated into two pots. As they heavily resemble the computer typing aliens from MiB, their names are Yprkiikilt! and Bob.
 

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It really is tomato time isn't it? Our sweet 100s (two survived) are growing over an inch a day now. Flower buds. The corn is tasseling, and the squashes and pumpkins are flowering. I also made a trip to the garden store--bought some peppers and an eggplant and those are now scattered about the property.

The wheat seeds I planted (from the 17 year old heads) never sprouted. Ah well. Found some sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds on my windowsill, from last year, and I planted those and they are now sprouting.

The radishes are finishing up. The lettuces and spinaches are going to seed, which I'm collecting for next year. The potatoes are growing as are the bunching onions and chives.

Caught my first baby bunny of the year and relocated him to a nice place overlooking the ocean, miles away. I think he'll like it there. We (and all the neighbors) can get loads of rabbits on our property. They live in the wilderness a half mile away but each spring they seem to figure out that the grass is greener near the homes.
 

mrsmig

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Since it's too late to restart the bell pepper and cucumber plants the squirrels so kindly uprooted and destroyed, I went looking last week for some seedlings at my local garden center. No luck - the veg plants were few and far between, with no cuke seedlings and no bell peppers (plenty of hot pepper varieties, though). I ended up replacing the cuke with a Table Queen acorn squash, and the pepper with an oddball Purple Queen bush bean.

On the topic of beans, my metal mesh drawer organizers arrived so I bought some more pole bean seeds (Scarlet Emperor and Blue Lake), and with the DePerro Italian beans I still had left, replanted my bean patch. I covered the sown areas with the upturned organizers and weighted them down with bricks. Less than a week later, all the beans had popped. I let them stay under the organizers for a day or so, then removed them and the bricks. Watching the beans sprouts straighten and stretch up was delightful. I surrounded them with wooden tongue depressors dipped in Flaming Squirrel, to deter any rodents who might find uprooting the sprouts a fun activity. I'll discard those once the plants are better established.

Meanwhile all my tomatoes are happily ensconced in their fortress, and all the other veggies are growing by leaps and bounds. I think my Mexican Sour Gherkins (a.k.a. cucamelons or mouse melons) have shot up at a rate of several inches a day. I expect I'm going to be inundated with them. Sure hope they're tasty! :)
 

Friendly Frog

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Glad to hear everybody's veggies are doing well. :)

I adopted some tomatoes from a friend who was a little too enthousiastic with sowing. Nice sturdy little plants. Never tried tomatoes myself.

Everything else in the garden, except for the thyme, is wilting and struggling in the sharp sun. (Also, except for the verbena, that one's wilting because it has been sat on by a hairy cat bottom!) Luckily we should finally be getting some rain and cloud cover for the next few days. The river's at an all-time record low. We could do with the water. I look kind of forward to it.

And hopefully it will finish off the white fly on my balcony minth! Mean little blighters have kept me from a nice cup of fresh minth tea already too long!

As a final perk, it will give me the excuse to do some things in the house, since all the sun-drenched weather made it seem wasteful to stay inside too long.

The wheat seeds I planted (from the 17 year old heads) never sprouted. Ah well. Found some sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds on my windowsill, from last year, and I planted those and they are now sprouting.
Still, I think it was a nice experiment to try. :)
 

mrsmig

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Couldn't figure out why I wasn't seeing blossoms on my otherwise burgeoning zucchini plants. Discovered today that the dad-gummed chippies have been eating them. Doused a couple of tongue depressors with Flaming Squirrel and poked them into the ground around the plants. Let's see if that helps.
 

Friendly Frog

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Your chippies are a big nuissance, mrsmig. :box: Flame away!

I cracked last week and asked my dad if he wanted to go to the garden center, he said 'hell, yess'. There would have been two plant fairs earlier this season where we usually scratch our itch, but both got cancelled with the epidemic so now that infections have gone down well and things are reopening, off we went with our wish list.

If any one asks, it's all Monty Don's fault.

So I came home with one fancy iris, one blue water iris, one pond plant, a bright red sedum for the rockery (I'll split 'em with my nephew who appears to have gotten the rockery bug from me), lupines, a canadian cherry and an ecological pest control for that white fly that will not leave my minth and cuttings alone.

The snails already ate off one flower head of the lupines before it even went in the ground. So rude.
 

mrsmig

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I have a bunch of rocks in a dry corner of my perennial garden, with a vague plan of creating a rockery/rock garden there at some point - but right now the nearby hosta are so exuberant that I don't want to run the risk of disturbing them. Meantime I've perched a shallow terracotta dish atop the rocks and filled it with three varieties of hens-and-chicks, as a sort of experiment. My concern is that the dry corner may also be a little too shady to sustain the kinds of plants that thrive in rock gardens, but thus far the hens-and-chicks seem happy enough.

You have a pond? I'm jealous.
 
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As far as water, we've been using way more from the hose than in years past... if we relied on rain, the vegetable garden would die. With stay-at-home, I've allowed myself the 'vice' of fertilizer and water for the vegetables and surprise surprise, it is true--plants love both. And we've planted all around the house now, so tomatoes and whatnot are visible from almost every angle. Lots of water.

No chipmunks here, but the bunnies and a nest of rats have been sniffing around. Bunnies visit the small patch of grass out front (peeing on it and killing it slowly in pee-sized circles) and rats in the (rat-proof) compost bin. So far two bunnies have been successfully relocated six miles away, and five rats have gone on to the great compost bin in the sky. The mama rat has been too wily to be caught. Last year there were seven bunnies. Fewer this year, probably because there has been less rain overall.

So that leads back round to the vegetables. We had our first zucchinis and potatoes from the garden the other night. Tossed in some chopped green onions from the herb bed. Yum. The zucchini plants have a few yellow leaves, and are dropping some of their blossoms, but they are producing anyway.

The corn has silked out, on at least half the stalks. I should get about forty ears when all is said and done, which will be about seven or so nice fat loaves of cornbread come fall.

The pumpkins are dropping their blossoms, and I hope that turns around. The plants are getting extra love. (I want pie.) The other hard squash (acorn and butternut) are muddling along.

Tomatoes are all doing well including the volunteers. Setting fruit, healthy leaves--I'll need to treat with BT before long.

Peppers and eggplant are growing well. These were bought as starters at Home Depot. I'm surprised how well they are doing--that's either the water or the steer manure I put in the ground before planting. They are booming, all leaves and blossoms now but they'll produce soon enough

Artichokes are done for the year. Not too many nectarines but that's OK. There were a grand total of two cherries on the cherry tree. They were yummy. The apple tree is doing better with at least twenty baby apples. And the orange and lime tree (which are both in pots) are both highly appreciative of all the water I've lavished on them this year. A few fruit and nice healthy leaves.

That leaves the odds and ends... a few herbs, the end of the radishes and cabbages, OH--the beans are in good shape.

I really ought to get outside and plant something in the spot where the cabbages are fading, and also prune the various shrubberies, but this couch is comfy and :yawn: I might take a nap instead.
 

mrsmig

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Woollybear, sounds like you're in a more southerly zone than me - I'm just seeing my first veg blossoms and baby fruits. Jealous of your incoming crops!

I had to share this photo from yesterday. After all my efforts to deer-proof my perennial garden, this little doe found the last way in: by walking underneath my deck. It's a big deck - 35 feet long - and I never thought a deer would attempt it. Silly me. Fortunately she only ate some day lily blossoms, took a few nibbles from my weeping Japanese cherry tree, and a bite or two of stonecrop and hosta - and then, I guess, left the way she came. While my trail cams reveal the occasional visit from deer after dark, this was in broad daylight, in a fairly busy suburban neighborhood.

The husband and I went out in the rain to staple deer netting around the access points, and are hoping that will foil a repeat visit until we can put up something sturdier.

doe-gets-into-garden-small.jpg
 

mrsmig

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That's a fantastic story. Lovely deer, too, and when we see evidence of a wildlife visit (from raccoons, bobcats), I always think of your cams and that I should invest in one.

Have you seen the eight part ninja obstacle course for squirrels? Animals are amazing.

I have. It's jaw-dropping.

I usually have no use for gray squirrels, but there's one squirrel that started approaching me for peanuts back in the early spring, when she was so pregnant as to be almost circular. Moochie has since had her babies, but she still cadges snacks if she sees me in the yard/on the deck. Since gray squirrels generally have two litters - one in spring and one in summer - I'm wondering if she's going to give a repeat performance.

What's funny is that other squirrels have learned from her behavior, and I'll often discover one dogging my footsteps when I'm outside. I sometimes keep peanuts in my pockets for them.
 

Friendly Frog

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My parents are travelling and that leaves me in charge of the garden. It's a headache and a half in hot, rain-less summer conditions, which means I do have a few hours to spend watering in the evening. Thank god dad has installed an electrical pump on the big rainwater tank.

But I have also been stealthily using this time of non-parental supervision to prune some of the plants to my liking. My dad and I often have dissenting opinions how to prune some plants (mostly, he says 'never' and you end up with gangly plants with only flowers on the far end of bare branches that you have to tie up to bigger shrubs or they'll fall over) Mind you this is also the man that planted trees in raised beds right next to the house and on one memorable occasion an oak in a low veranda. And he did this more than once. (Guess who has been keeping the one in the veranda in check? Spoiler: not him. Although he utters loud cries of dismay each time he sees the result of my pruning. It's been years, dad, I think I have proven pruning it hard won't kill it. And he just says 'yet.' I know I cannot win this one, so sneaky pruning the others it is.)

Now, I know that some of these plants can in fact be pruned, will survive being pruned and will actually look better afterwards. So I have sneakily been pruning some plants when he wasn't around. He never noticed the ones I don't want him to notice. But with the COVID lock-down I haven't been able to do so, until now. Now to get rid of the evidence before he returns.

My potatoes finally decided to sprout and then bolted. Just the one pot, though, so I fear I will not be able to make a meal for three out of this harvest. Damn, I was hoping to improve on last year. I have been wondering whether I should just plant up the second pot again, and with the changing climate, maybe the growing season can be extended further into autumn. I probably should read up on that.

The flower meadow in the front garden is a bust. Things sprouted and then just... dissapeared. I'm confused, rather. I find no evidence of wildlife snacking it all up. I did take care to water. And it all didn't do anything. Potentially the problem may lie in sunlight. The garden's fairly open in early spring when I sowed, but surrounded by big trees with broad summer canopies. Still, I included shadow species in the seed mix and there is a good deal of early morning and evening sun when the sun is low enough to get under the canopy. So whyyyyy?

I think I will attempt my meadow one more time next year. Three times the charm. And maybe really till the place deep and add more compost. If it doesn't work... I had a dream recently the whole place was tufts of prairie grasses with gravel beds and boulders, and I have to say the vision was nice. There are grasses that can take some shade and it's about the only thing that hasn't died in my attempted meadow so maybe that might be my best shot. And I do love me some rocks...

You have a pond? I'm jealous.
Several small ones, actually. My dad dug a new one everytime he learned something new with the previous one. And it was a steep learning curve...

But they do require a lot of maintance and then there still are far too many algae and too little amphibians. Although I wouldn't want to trade the waterlilies (just prune the hell out of these pond-fillers, the roots do explosive growth like woah) or the dragonflies and demoiselles. Ponds are nice and I'd recommend them to everyone.

I had to share this photo from yesterday. After all my efforts to deer-proof my perennial garden, this little doe found the last way in: by walking underneath my deck. It's a big deck - 35 feet long - and I never thought a deer would attempt it. Silly me. Fortunately she only ate some day lily blossoms, took a few nibbles from my weeping Japanese cherry tree, and a bite or two of stonecrop and hosta - and then, I guess, left the way she came. While my trail cams reveal the occasional visit from deer after dark, this was in broad daylight, in a fairly busy suburban neighborhood.

The husband and I went out in the rain to staple deer netting around the access points, and are hoping that will foil a repeat visit until we can put up something sturdier.
Life will find a way...

It's a good thing it didn't cause too much damage. Cool you got the visit on camera, though! Wildlife cameras are fun things although I haven't used them often in the garden. But they did help me identify the rogue rodent that raided my tree seedlings on my balcony in the past.
 

mrsmig

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Friendly Frog, I got my first wildlife cam back in 2018, when I had a bevy of young foxes visiting the yard. Now I have three, trained on the back yard, kitchen yard and vegetable garden, and the perennial bed. I run them only at night (because otherwise it's just squirrels and birds), and bring them in to review the footage in the morning. I've gotten some wonderful shots and used to share them on a dedicated thread here at AW. It's been moribund lately because while the foxes are still around, they come after dark and they're mostly just after food. This is a rare daytime capture of a vixen I call Velma (to go with Shaggy, her mate):

velma-small.jpg


I'm sorry your meadow planting didn't work out. I noticed that my tomatoes weren't looking so great last week; did some research and decided it might be early blight. Did some more research and ended up spraying all the plants with a dilution of hydrogen peroxide. Its antiseptic properties are supposed to get rid of fungi. I may be kidding myself but the plants look a bit better today. I'll be spraying them every couple of days for a week or so, and see if they recover. It's been very hot here lately (supposed to get up to 96 degrees F today) so I got up early and gave everything - veggies, herbs, flowers - a good soak.

The doe came back and couldn't get into the perennial garden because we erected some additional fencing under the deck (a dirty, uncomfortable job, but I'm glad it's done). However, my husband pruned a hedge at the back of the yard that the deer will sometimes munch on, and left the clippings on the ground, so she made a good meal off that before sauntering away. She, Velma and Shaggy and a single mama raccoon are my current visitors, along with the usual birds and squirrels.
 

Friendly Frog

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It's cool you have so much wildlife in your garden, mrsmig. Although I can understand the deer visits may not always be as welcome. It's a different style of gardening altogether than mine, having to deal with large wildlife! I think in sixty years there has only been a roe buck to our garden once. And we still talk about that one.

In my suburban neighbourhood we get nothing larger than a hedgehog. Of which I have seem way too little of the last few years, poor beasts. I'd love for them to come and deal with the snails!

That said, I saw a toad out on the patio last night which pleases me mightily.
 

mrsmig

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I'll trade you a chipmunk for that toad!

We don't have a natural water source nearby, so I don't get too much amphibian activity. But the larger mammal population is skyrocketing where I live (a suburb of Washington, DC). When my husband and I first bought our place, more than 20 years ago, there were a fair number of forested areas nearby. They're all gone now, victims of suburban sprawl. The animals that lived there learned to adapt to the environment that was left to them, hence we have out-of-control populations of white-tailed deer snacking on expensive landscaping, raccoons raiding neighborhood garbage cans, and foxes after the vermin that are also after our garbage. Of late my area has also had visits from coyotes and (gulp!) black bears. I've been spared the latter two. So far.
 

shakeysix

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Spent an hour hoe-ing around this a.m.... in my milpa. The squash and melons are doing fine but not yet providing ground cover for the 4 popcorn plants that managed to sprout despite their late sowing. I figure I should get at least 3 popcorn cobs per grandchild. Next year I will have a place to plant them early.

I planted giant sunflowers to replace the corn that did not sprout. The older kids wanted sunflower seeds. Home roasting sunflower seeds is a lot of work. I remember my aunt Millie's home grown sunflower seeds from staying with her on her farm. As I remember they tasted about the same as the store bought snack packages. I am perfectly willing to commit sunflower seed fraud on my own g-kids. Grammy is tired.
 
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Friendly Frog

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I'll trade you a chipmunk for that toad!
Oooh, tempting. But I'd get into trouble for introducing potentially invasive non-natives.

Also, I worked hard for that toad! ;) Saw a frog last night and now I'm practically extatic!

The animals that lived there learned to adapt to the environment that was left to them, hence we have out-of-control populations of white-tailed deer snacking on expensive landscaping, raccoons raiding neighborhood garbage cans, and foxes after the vermin that are also after our garbage. Of late my area has also had visits from coyotes and (gulp!) black bears. I've been spared the latter two. So far.
Amazing they can hold on with so little wild places left to them.
 

Friendly Frog

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My potatoes were eventually a pitiful bunch this year. Just a handful. And a small hand, mind. The rest was actually rotten. At least I'm not alone, it seems, it's a bad potato yield all around here this year.

Will try again next year, though, and maybe move the pots a little until they get more sun and pay more attention to them not standing in too much water.

Already looking forward to sowing next year. This autumn is soaking wet, although you'd never guess as soon as you dig down a little. The summer obviously left some water table gaps to fill. No indian summer this year, I take it.
 

mrsmig

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My veg garden this year was hit or miss. I had a great crop of lettuce until things got too hot and they bolted to seed. In July we had almost a solid month of 90+ degree (F) temperatures, and basically all the plants, with the exception of my cucumbers, dropped their blossoms and went dormant. It cooled down in August and the garden started producing again, but I felt like I missed the best of tomato-producing time, and the plants, with the exception of a cherry tomato and ONE Opalka Polish Paste (that is still growing like mad), died back after producing only a few tomatoes each. After keeping me in cukes all summer long, those plants are done for the season, and while my zucchini are still trying, I think they're done as well (the powdery mildew doesn't help).

On the upside, I still have kale and chard out the wazoo, and I've been harvesting pole beans steadily, too. I put in a late summer planting of blackeyed peas and mustard greens, and those are doing well, although the peas aren't producing yet. I also sowed a second crop of radishes and spinach and am waiting to see if I'll get anything from them before the first frost.

This year's "experiment," the cucamelons, I'm calling a success/failure. Success because they grew like mad; failure because I didn't care for the fruits much and the vines got so invasive that I yanked them all up well before growing season was over.

Also on the upside: other than the occasional chipmunk incursion, the new fencing kept the local wildlife out of the garden. So yay.
 

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XOXO My potato crop this year was months ago but also paltry.

Otherwise, I was thinking of this thread today while watering and composting.

Garden is good, though now is declining. I've got the third batch of corn tasseling out, sprouted from an ear of the first batch. Also got a new batch of zucchini going. This batch is weird b/c many male flowers are doublets. Weird.

One of the pumpkins from the spring planting was sad and rotting on the vine, so I planted the little softball-sized rotten pumpkin and now have four beautiful vines flowering.

Eggplants and peppers are still setting fruit. Sweet potato patch is *huge.* Tomatoes are in their death throes but still pumping fruit. Basil going strong.

Saving radish seeds. Getting apples and oranges, still. Figs came and went. I cannot use all the figs. The birds and squirrels seem to know what to do with them all.

Etc. A few pole beans hanging on, twining and flowering.

God, gardening is a good thing.

I bought some redwood planks to build a new garden bed, about five days ago. 30 inches by 9.5 feet. Nice bed. Can't wait to build and fill it, though I've been editing all week and so the drill (etc.) have not left the tool chest.

Here's the thing--I have a sore throat today, five days later. Hehehe. Did I get a cold virus at the Home Depot? Stay tuned.
 
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Jason

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Does planting trees, pansies and mums count as gardening?
 

Friendly Frog

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Also on the upside: other than the occasional chipmunk incursion, the new fencing kept the local wildlife out of the garden. So yay.
Oh yeay! At least that way you can start next year with one thing less to worry about..
God, gardening is a good thing.
Amen!
Here's the thing--I have a sore throat today, five days later. Hehehe. Did I get a cold virus at the Home Depot? Stay tuned.
Yikes. I hope it'll be false alarm.
Does planting trees, pansies and mums count as gardening?
Of course! :)
 

Jason

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Then this fall I planted two arborvitas, a red maple, some pansies and mums :)
 

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We're very early spring down here, and I spent most of last week in the garden - it's looking very promising this year. The vegetable garden is ready to go, all composted with earth from the chook run, the potato bed is sprouting, the berries along the fence are fruiting up: the roses are budding in the front garden, and (since I don't spray, poison or use artificial feeds) are already covered in aphids *sigh* . So I'm waiting for my delivery of ladybird and lacewing eggs to arrive.

We have a new couple of young blue-tongued lizards who seem to have taken up residence and at least three snakes. Lots of frogs in the potted herbs. And the trees that I was worried had been too stressed by the heat and bushfires last summer have pulled themselves up - I only lost one.

Also - I've put a baby mulberry tree up in the back of the garden, just for the future :)
 
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Friendly Frog

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Then this fall I planted two arborvitas, a red maple, some pansies and mums :)
I had to look up arborvita (and kept getting jewellery sites, pretty jewellery mind, but not the kind you plant in the garden...) Nice! The world can always do with more trees. :)

So I'm waiting for my delivery of ladybird and lacewing eggs to arrive.
Have you often worked with biological pestcontrol? Is it succesful?

Lots of frogs in the potted herbs.
*so jealous!*
 

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