A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

End of the Month Round Up-July

Vegetable Garden July 31, 2016

Flowers amongst the Vegetables

Potatoes and Onions are already starting to "flop"



Wow-another month has come and gone already.  Where does the time go?
Harvests for storage for the year are already completed for garlic, red onions, and broccoli
Green beans are coming in fast and furious. It's a madhouse in the kitchen in the morning with
chopping, blanching, and packing things for the coming winter.
The Vegetable Garden "Explodes" into growth this month

Pumpkins, Sunflowers, and Corn 
Joe Pye, Agastache, Cleome, and Filipendula Rubrus are keeping the Hummingbirds happy on the East Side of the House

Out Front, Monarda, Heliopsis , Daisies, and Autumn Clematis Fill in 

Cart O' Petunias Filling in---wrapped in chicken wire against the deer

New Variety (for me) of Snapdragons---University Mix.  Very happy with them!

Petunias and Juncus in front of the garage
All right---that's pretty much what's going on here.  The following notes are for my reference.
Hope your August is filled with whatever makes you happy.  I'll see you next month for an update.
Happy Gardening!!



July had  19 sunny days. We had 4 inches RAIN   Temps were very warm. We had a very hot streak
   for most of the month--temps in the upper 80's.  Bugs were the worst I've seen in years.



July 1-7   Salads and Sugar Snap peas continue. Best year EVER for peas. I even have stockpiles
               in the refrigerator.  Best method for keeping those peas crisp and delicious--glass
                 refrigerator dishes with tight fitting lids!.  Even 2 weeks after harvest, they remain                            snappy and crisp!

July 1--RAIN--4/10 inch.

July 2-Sowed Row 6 of Mokum carrots and a row of buttercrunch lettuce.

July 6-  Good planning in February, a freezer, and a whole lotta restraint ensured my
             FAVORITE pie -European Truffle-for my birthday celebration.  I am lucky this
              is only available once a year or I would have serious weight issues.
900 calories of EXTREME chocolate!
Why yes-----yes it is!!
July 7--RAIN  7/10ths inch

July 8--RAIN   1/2 inch

July 9--Dahlia "Fleurel" from Longfield Gardens was ready for cutting.  FIrst year buying from them and I am very pleased. An excellent company with great customer service.
Dahlia Fleurel--in a TWO GALLON water can. MONSTER size bloom -a full 11 inches!


July 11--HARVESTED GARLIC--Persian Star and Chesnook Red.  Heads were pretty small.
              I'm a bit disappointed in the size, but I have plenty for the year.


July 12- RAIN -1/2 inch
             Combined with a LOT of heat and humidity, the corn shot up a lot today
Don standing in the corn patch. Second sowing of corn is behind him--about half the height.
 July 13--CUT DOWN SUGAR SNAPS.  I have 2 giant casserole dishes full in the fridge, plus
                   a few random vines left for in-garden snacking.

July 14--BROCCOLI--3 large heads (7-9 inches) ready.  Cut/blanched and in the freezer (7 pints)
             This is "Green Super Broccoli" from Fedco. Best broccoli I've ever grown. Compact
              plants, tight green buds that have held up to high heat. We'll see how side shoot production
                is.



 BLUEBERRIES!!!  Roughly 1 pound of the Patriots  They're bigger than last year.

July 15--RAIN  2/10 inch

July 16 -ZUCCHINI  joins the party.  First of the MOKUM CARROTS. 2 More Broccoli. 1 lb                       Blueberries
I also harvested the last of the garlic--the original variety (unknown) and of course, it's the
biggest heads and best quality of all three varieties.  Should have stuck with the original I guess.

Last of the garlic hanging in my "shop"


July 17   RAIN--1/2 inch
             Sowed 1 Row Valentine Mesclun Mix

July 18   Harvested : 2 heads broccoli, a large head romaine, misc lettuce, and a big bunch of Kale
                Not shown are another pound of Blueberries and another zucchini

July 19  Corn shot up from recent rains and is now as tall as me and is starting to send up tassels.
            Green beans flowering heavily

July 20  Harvested 5 heads broccoli (2 given to Carol, plus 6 bags for the freezer), misc mesclun,
               3 zucchini (2 to Carol, 1 for lunch!) and 2 pounds Patriot blueberries (not pictured)
                     
July 21  RAIN  1/4 inch. Hot and humid. Blech.
             Blue Ray blueberries begin. 2 pounds. Size is huge this year. Why?  Taste is outstanding.
             Zucchini

July 22  RED ONION harvest--pulled 1/2 of them, roughly 23, hung in garage to dry
                                           
            Two heads Broccoli, 1 pound BluRay blueberries, Zucchini
             92 and humid.  Can't say it enough---I HATE SUMMER

July 24  RAIN  2/10 inch
            CORN BEGINNING TO TASSEL
            FIRST OF THE  GREEN PEPPERS--3 large.. That beats last year's first harvest  by a full 3                  weeks!  (Freezer)
                     
         
          Blueberries now being picked daily --roughly 1 pound a day (Trying to conserve to keep it                   going)
          Zucchini

July 25  FIRST KOHLRABI

            3 more huge green peppers--freezer
            Zucchini
            and of course, blueberries-1 pound

July 26  Blueberries-1 pound
            Zucchini
         
July 27  Blueberries 1 pound
            First cutting of side shoots of broccoli--2  pint bags for the freezer
            Wait for it---------ZUCCHINI. LOL!
            1 Green Pepper for the freezer
            HOT and HUMID.

July 29 GREEN BEANS begin!

            Picked a dishpan FULL--11 pints in the freezer by 9 am!
            RAIN 1/4 inch
            Blueberries-BluRay-1 pound
            Yukon Gold potatoes-3 pounds snitched for Saturday's breakfast and lunch
            2 Kohlrabi
            Zucchini

July 30  Green Beans-6 pints for the freezer
             1 green pepper (freezer)
             2 cauliflower
             Broccoli--3 bags (freezer)
             2 pounds blueberries
             Zucchini

July 31  Green Beans-9 pints (freezer)  That puts me at 26 pints. I'm quitting with that---I still have
               5 pints left from last summer . This is the earliest I've ever been done.
            2 pounds blueberries
            CROOKNECK SQUASH--1st one
            

Friday, July 1, 2016

End of the Month Round Up-June

Overview of Vegetable Garden July 1, 2016

Well, I had full intentions of breaking down my notes into two posts this month, but who has time??
So---I will put up pictures of what's been going on this month and you can disregard the notes, as it's just for my records--not an attempt to induce a nap......though, really, at this time of year , who couldn't use a nap????   So---pictures first and then boring notes for ME afterward!
Have a great month, everyone.


New Asparagus beds, plus potatoes, onions , green beans and cole crops under Agribon fabric tents

An excellent year for the green beans--perfect germination
It's been a terrific year for the Foxglove and of course, Stachys

New Asparagus bed--Jersey Knight from Nourse Farms

Pumpkins and Sweet Corn



Zinnia Border in the Vegetable Garden

Taters and Onions Doing Well so Far

Delphinium in West Border opened on the last day of June!

Foxglove and Feverfew


Sidewalk Border from Back Door

All right--That's all.
It's time for MY notes to self.
Have a great July everyone
: )


June had 22  days of sun.  We got a total of   2.6 inches of Rain.  Our warmest day:June 19, it                                  reached 86 degrees.   Our coldest night was June 8--it was 36 degrees.
NO frost this month. That's the first time in 9 years of living here.  It got close, but didn't. Weird.



June 1--Locked unplanted flowers in the garage so we could have a day "off". No one can hear their                 muffled cries for water in there.  So good to have a day free from the constant watering.

June 2  Planted East border of the house
           Sowed third row Mokum Carrots
           Watered and Fertilized Barrels out by road
           Green Beans popping up

June 3--Planted:  Five Dahlias
                         Pumpkins (2)
                         Crookneck Squash (2)

           Zinnia Zahara Starlight Rose along sidewalk started to bloom :  Supposed to look like this--


           Instead--it looks like THIS:
No offense against burgandy, but my ENTIRE color scheme is PINK, blue, yellow and white.  It looks "pink-ISH in the picture. In real life --dark burgandy. --a total clash.

          The alyssum along the sidewalk was supposed to be a mix of purple, lavender, and white.
             The only color appearing is white.
         I am LIVID over this. I wasted how much in SEEDS and potting mix and running my
            grow lights. ARGH!

          NOTE TO SELF:--Next year BUY flats of Zinnia Starlight Rose and Alyssum IN BLOOM

June 4--Planted Six Dahlias,  2 flats mixed annuals,  1 dozen sweet potato plants,  5 leftover Russet
              potatoes that sprouted in the pantry,  another 6 celery,  and 2  Hearts of Gold Melon
                 and a partridge in a pear tree. Not really. Just seeing if you fell asleep yet.


June 5-Planted up Cart in front of barn that hubby made for me
          The big news of the day: RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!       1/2 inch.  
"Splurged" on the branded petunias--hopefully this will fill out to become a cascade of pink and white.


June 6-Planted one flat Giant Yellow Zinnias (thanks, Daisy!!)
                      one flat White zinnia short variety
                      one 9 pk Phlox Moody Blues
                      Last tomato-Prudens Purple (had to rip out spinach--it bolted)
                      2 bush cucumbers
                      6 pack Cosmos Sonata
           Mowed the lawn--Bah!   Reason #34,236 summer is my least favorite time of year.

June 7--High temp of 52 degrees, Low of 36  Tomatoes, Peppers, and Sweet Potatoes need sweaters!
            A 1/10 inch rain. Whoop-de-do

June 8-Asparagus (Jersey Knight) arrived from Nourse Farms. Followed their extremely clear
            directions for planting. I've never seen asparagus roots before, but these looked SO
             thick and healthy.  Also received a  Nelson Blueberry bush--a late season producer
               with (supposed) EXCELLENT flavor and freezing qualities--will hold until tomorrow

           FROST WARNINGS issued for tonight. Covered 1/2 the garden. The rest is on it's own

June 9--No frost--thank goodness. Low only hit 36, thanks to some late cloud cover.
           Replanted all the Zinnia Starlight Rose along the sidewalk.  I was lucky to find a flat leftover
             at the local (47 miles away!) nursery.
          Planted Nelson Blueberry bush from Nourse Farms--mulched heavily with Pine needles
          Planted 2 more flats of flowers.
          Still cutting lettuce every other day---enough for two HUGE salads. Still not tired of it!  : )

June 11--Starting to Bloom:  Clematis, Columbine, Wisteria, Peach poppies, and Nepeta
Clematis this year was amazing

Wisteria by the Blueberry patch


June 11-- 1/2 inch rain last night---much needed. I was just about to drag out the hose (my arch                        nemesis!)   Saved again!  The hose continues to gather dust!
             Planted Second patch of Ambrosia Sweet Corn
             Planted 4th row of Mokum Carrots
             And with that I am  FINISHED PLANTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which means:

June 12-15 Trip to Dubuque, IA to rest up from a very busy month!        
Relaxing after a tough few weeks of planting---Kent, Illinois
June 15--
Arrived home to find the deer had breached my ugly fence barricade. Mowed down all my phlox,
sunflowers, daisies, asters and rudbeckia.  Will spend my first full day home trying to figure out
a new plan.  It may involve a shotgun.

          Also---BEETLES INVADE--every kind you can imagine. Japanese, Colorado Potato, etc etc.

          RAIN!!  1/2 inch , and while appreciated---PLEASE SEND MORE!

June 16-21  Clean-up of my stall--washed about 58,000 pots and flats to put back in storage

June 21--Sowed 5th row Mokum carrots.
              Finding lots of Colorado potato beetle eggs on uncovered potatoes--I check every other day

              Salads continue--a huge bowl cut every other day.  Spinach has bolted.  Radishes are
              beautiful now, thanks to advice from blogger Margaret about keeping them from being
              shaded.  Thanks, Margaret!

           

June 22--Secured the west border from the deer--so they went to the barn and ate all the
               outrageously expensive branded petunias in the grape cart.  Getting harder not to curse!

June 23--The hose makes an appearance. My least favorite thing in the world---watering---but
                  we are so dry that I simply must .  Drats. And I'm actually "thinking" much worse.
                   I try to be a lady just in case Mama Pea is actually READING THIS.  She does
                     that sometimes.  I wouldn't want to offend her delicate nature.

June 24-FIRST OF THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS .  Crisp, delicious. They don't make it to the house.
             Hubby doesn't eat them. I snack on them while I'm in the garden-one big handful every day.

June 26,--RAIN!!!!!   9/10 inch rain---so  badly needed. Most if it just ran off, as the soil is so dry
                it's actually repelling water.  The weeds in the aisles sure took off though!

June 28--Continuing fight with Potato Beetles--but I do seem to be keeping up with it.
             Salads continue--still getting LARGE bowl full every other day--but I miss the spinach

Jun 30--Garden has hit it's "boring" stage, with just slight maintenance daily--plucking the
            occasional weed or bug while having my morning coffee. Nice!  I have my days back.
            Celebrated with not only our usual 3 mile walk, but also a 10 mile bike ride. I'm
            going to sleep pretty good tonight, I think!








Wednesday, June 1, 2016

End of the Month Round Up--May


Vegetable Garden June 1st, 2016

Crazy Crazy weather this month. We spent half of it 15 degrees below normal and the other half of it
 was 15 degrees ABOVE normal. Let's just call it interesting.  We had SNOW on May 15--that beats our old record of late snow May 12.  Not a record I wished to beat.

That said, however, this is the EARLIEST I have ever been able to plant my vegetables--normally
we still have frost until June 4.  This year--I planted May 26-28 after checking the forecast and finding no lows lower than 40 degrees. Sweet!

We had little rain this month---1.6 inches---a full inch of that coming May 3.It is  dry dry dry!!!
Most days were sunny. We had a lot of wind-which is unusual here.

VERY tedious notes ---please don't read. It's my record for the garden.  I don't expect anyone to
be able to stay awake for it all.  I will put up some nice pics FIRST, and then you can skip the rest.
Hope you have a great gardening season!!

May Date Day-Wellfield Botanic Garden, Elkhart, Indiana  May 5, 2016

Hubby surprised me with a stone frog in my birdbath


Garage Border cleaned up for Spring

Little Shed got new log edging this spring

Sidewalk Border Freshly Planted, June 1, 2016 (Note HIDEOUS fencing to deter deer. Still did not win lottery!!)
West Border June 1, 2016

North Border June 1, 2016


Potatoes doing well--will cover as soon as I'm done mulching them (2 weeks)

Crazy Bizarre New Petunias I found this year at the nursery. Like a starry sky!!
All right---that's all.  Go away now---Time for MY boring notes for my records.
Ta Ta for now!!!
I'll probably update Mid Month---Hopefully I'll have some FLOWER pictures
Hope you all have a terrific week
Sue



May 3-- Sowed Flats of Zinnias:  Lilliput
                                                 Art Deco
                                                 Giant Cactus
                                                 Golden Dawn/ Daisy's Yellow
                                                 Linaris Zinnia (short)-White and Mixed
            Put under grow lights.  Germination roughly 4 days
                       
May 4-6  Mini Trip to Indiana to find Spring


May 7-- Sowed in Garden:  8ft row Mokum Carrots
                                        Sugar Snap Peas on Center Aisle Trellises
                                        More Salad Fixings: Lettuce, Radish, Mokums and Kale (transplants)
                                       
May 11--"THING" returns and mows down newly planted Kale transplants.  Cuts them in half like
                  a cutworm, but NO SIGN of the perpetrator. Pill bugs? Cut worms? Mice?  What?????

May 12--First Cutting of Spinach --the finest spinach EVER.
             Saw first Oriole, heard first Tree Frog, Yes-I do believe Spring is here.

May 14--I take that back about Spring being here.  Cold, blustery winds have delayed most of my
               plans in the garden.  I did plant ONE bed of Red Pontiacs .  After that I went
                in to read and do some baking. High temp of 39 degrees, low 29 degrees

May 15-SNOW--heavy at times, Lilac and Bleeding Heart NOT HAPPY.....and neither am I
               High temp 44, low 28 degrees.  Snow melted by 3 pm

May 16--Planted One Bed German Butterball potatoes (15)
             Planted One Bed Yukon Gems (15)--my saved seed
             Weeded, Fertilized, and Mulched Patriot Blueberries.
             Copra Onions arrived this afternoon-will plant tomorrow
             Andy delivered the bees today.  Set up water sources for them

May 17-Planted Copra Onions (125)   Gave extras to Darby
            Weeded.Fertilized. and  Mulched Chandler Blueberries
            Harvested first lettuce today. Plenty for two BIG salads. Yum!
         

May 19-Sowed into peat pots: Yellow Crookneck Squash,, Zucchini, and Reba Acorn Squash
             Weeded, Fertilized, and Mulched Blue Ray Blueberries.
             Stray Yukon Golds coming up in beds used TWO years ago. That's odd.

             Realized today that I NEVER plant enough salad greens. This occurs to me every year
               and yet by the next year, I forget yet again.  PLANT MORE SALAD FIXINGS!!!!

May 21-Planted one bed Broccoli and one Bed Cauliflower----used cut up plastic pots to
              surround each plant in hope that "IT" cannot get past it and saw off my plants.
                  UPDATE--May 28--Seems to be working-nothing disturbed!
June 1, 2016--Broccoli not decapitated by "The Thing"---Hooray! Success!! 

            Sowed second row Mokum carrots.
            Transplanted stray Yukons into THIS YEAR'S BEDS. Got a dozen.  Now I'm only
              short one bed.

May 25-10 day forecast calls for NO frost, so I'm gonna go with that---
             Planted Barrels by the road and decorative wheelbarrow with flowers.

May 26-Planted 3 flats zinnias (Lilliput, Giant Cactus, and Art Deco Blend)
            Planted 1 flat Cosmos Seashells
            Planted 1 flat SnapDragon--University Mix
            Filled final 3rd bed of Yukon Gems from "strays" that had popped up. DONE with taters!
            Planted 2nd bed of Broccoli-again surrounded by plastic pots with bottoms cut off

May 27-Planted Bell Peppers and German Johnson tomato
Green Peppers and German Johnson tomato-June 1, 2016


May 28-Planted: Brandywine, SunGold, Juliet, and Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes
                         Corn-bed 1
                         Green Beans-48 row feet (Six 8 foot rows )
                         Sowed summer lettuce-Black Seeded Simpson
                         Planted  row of Kale
                         Planted Celery
                         Planted  Peach geraniums into West Border

May 29-Planted Sidewalk Border--Alyssum (of course!), Salvia Victoria Blue, Zinnia Zahara
             Starlight Rose, Ponytail Grasses, and bright Fushia Geraniums and a Calibrachoa.
Sidewalk Border looking from Garage towards House-June 1,2016

May 30-Planted up West Border--a mix of bizarre petunias, zinnias, ponytail grasses, and
              of course--Alyssum.
            Planted 3 Dahlias --east border of the vegetable garden

May 31-Planted 8 dahlias on the south border of the vegetable garden


Salads picked every 2 days--plenty for 2 big salads each time, but wish I had planted a LOT more.
NEXT YEAR---plant eight foot rows of mesclun instead of four foot rows