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.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

End of the Month Roundup--July

The Garden is hitting its peak.  The potatoes are starting to die back under the Agribon in the second row

Wow--I am SO glad July is over. Hot. Humid. Buggy.  We normally don't experience much in the way of any of that-but this year proved otherwise.  We had good rains at first and the mosquitoes and black fly were terrible.

July 7       1.1 inches
July 13        95/100 inch
July17/18     15/100 inch
July20         45/100 inch
Total for July---2.65 inches.  Not nearly enough with our sandy soil.

We had  27  Sunny Days
Hottest Day:    90  degrees on July 27
Coldest Temp--38 degrees on July 2

I had a great crop of broccoli this year.  The first of it was ready when we got home from our June trip.  I cut enough side shoots the rest of the month to provide all we need for the freezer, plus enough for weekly side dishes.  No bugs, no problems.  Will stick with Packman from now on.  It's worked best for me.  I'm done trying others. I left it standing to see if I get a Fifth cutting.

The Kale this year is a new one for me---White Russian.  It is prolific and pest free.  I am going to grow that from now on instead of the Blue Curled I used last year .  That strain was beautiful and produced well, but those gorgeous curly leaves hid bugs---and it seemed no matter how well I cleaned it, I always ended up with a worm or gnat or whatever crawling out of my salad. Ugh.

The lettuce this year was fabulous.  I used  Valentine mesclun mix from Botanical Interests. Wow--
it was by far the prettiest mix I've ever seen and it was all sweet lettuces---which we prefer.
I cut a large bowl full every other day.  It was wonderful!  I had to pull the plants July 25--our stretch of heat and humidity turned it bitter.   I had a "back-up" row of Buttercrunch---dull by comparison in both the looks and taste categories, but able to take bouts of heat/humidity, so salads continue.

A Bowl of Salad "fixins" cut first thing in the morning
The shallots were harvest July16. The onions are not sizing up well this year but as they still have time left to grow, I guess we'll wait and see.

The Mokum carrots started the second week of the month.  I just love them--super snappy and crisp-perfect for snacking.  I pull at least a half dozen every day.  I need to buy the biggest packet from Fedco next year----hopefully they have a  "pelleted" version----much easier to sow.  I kept them covered with screen the whole time and they were flawless--none of that root  rot I've had in the past.

The green beans went from not much
June 28
Beans August 1--one month later and they're producing heavily

to fabulous during the month. I picked my first dishpan full on July 30. July 31--another dishpan full.
I have 20% of the beans I need for the year in the freezer in 2 days. Usually I get completely done in just 5 days. I suspect these are not my usual beans (Blue Lake 274) because those mature all at once. I only have to deal with it a couple days.  Looks like it's going to take a bit longer.

The corn, which started out spotty in germination grew tall and lush. On July 23, however---SOMETHING got in to it and started knocking down stalks and chewing up the underdeveloped
ears.  This same thing happened to Margaret the day before:  Homegrown--Adventures In My Garden
I had been in the garden in the morning and it was fine.  An afternoon check showed the same knocked down stalks she had.  Whatever it was only did that once, thankfully.

Kohlrabi started July 20 and my laziness in thinning ended up working for the best.  Just a couple of bulbs size up at a time. I pick those and it allows some more of the plants to grow bigger. Works out perfectly.  I don't need lots of them all at once.

Blueberries are in short supply this year.  We had such a huge crop last year that I'm forgiving my bushes for taking a vacation this year.  The BlueRay are the first to ripen and there has been just about a pint a day, which means none for the freezer.   The Patriots aren't even worth mentioning as there are so few on them.   The Chandlers have a good crop, but those aren't ripe just yet.

Last week's heat and humidity gave the pumpkins a much needed boost
The Sunflowers started to bloom this week

Up by the house, the flower beds that got protected by my maze of ugly pieces of hog panels, chicken wire and misc. leftovers are recovering .  Some things won't bloom as their time frame for doing so is past, but I'm crossing my fingers that the Phlox might still bloom.
The Rudbeckia and Coneflower can finally bloom thanks to the hideous fencing we put up

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mid Month Garden Update

Missing from the Picture is my gorgeous pink Hollyhocks and Blue and White Delphiniums. Thanks deer!

Lots of things going on in the garden right now so I needed to post a mid-month update for my records.

July 2--Morning low of 38 degrees, I love it.Tomatoes, Melons, Pumpkins and Peppers do not.

July 6  --Second cutting of Broccoli--3 pints for the freezer

July 7  --First rain of the month--a real gully-washer of 1.1 inches. Much needed , but came
                        down so fast and furious, most of it ran off my dry as toast sandy soil.

July 10--Super Sugar Snap peas begin bearing heavily.  Chipmunks ravaging them. Set traps.

July 13--Harvested 23 Chesnok Red Garlic and 18 Persian Star Garlic
              Not sure if this is the right size of them--first year growing both varieties
              Rain--  ..95 inches

July 15--Deer mowed down ALL hollyhocks and phlox up by the house and broke all the Delphiniums that had just started blooming.  Erected hideous (!!!) temporary fence around
house to see if that helps. If it does, we'll have to find some affordable (ha ha) fence that isn't quite
so hideous (!!!!)

July  17--  .10" rain

July 18--First 90 degree day--and a reminder of how much I despise summer --heat/bugs/humidity
               .05" Rain

Chesnok Red and Persian Star Garlic

2 heads broccoli plus lots of side shoots and starting to thin the Mokum carrots

Copra Onions
Pumpkin finally starting to grow

Started Work on the expansion of our Blueberry Patch

Tub O' Mint

Green Beans starting to really fill out

Delphiniums by the Compost pile
Pink Spider Dahlia



A Peck O' Purple Poppies

Ditch Lilies in front of the Barn
Sidewalk Bed continues to fill in

Hope the summer has been going well for everyone. Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy Gardening!!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Back Home.....and the Garden Didn't Miss Me At All!

We have just returned home from 3 weeks out in Wyoming. Wow--we saw lots of wildlife, incredible FIELDS full of wildflowers, did a ton of hiking, and yet nothing compares with getting back home.
The garden , which was just "waking up" when we left is in full spring display (even though our spring is at the end of June)
Nepeta Stachys, and not yet blooming daisies and Heliopsis

The potatoes under the Agribon were just poking up when we left and now are 2 foot tall!!

Kale, Onions and a stray potato

The beans, planted the day before we left are up and doing well. Fall carrots were planted July 1 in the center .

Salvia, Achillea and pink spider Dahlia

Corn planted the day before we left. Germination was spotty to say the least

Zinnias along the border of the vegetable garden

Thursday, June 4, 2015

End of the Month Roundup--May

We had plenty of rain this month--5.95 inches, about double our average.. My stock tanks are full to the rim---including a new one we added this year---a whopper with a 300 gallon capacity.  Hubby put a gutter on the back of the barn and it filled the next day when we had 3/4 inch of rain. Nice!!

Temps have been all over the place.  We had temps even into the 80's...but then we also hit 26 degrees on May 20,  28 degrees on May 22, and a low of 32 on May 30 and May 31.

So far in the vegetable garden , I have the potatoes, onions, shallots, Kale, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots coming up.
I planted the corn and bean seeds just a few days ago--and luckily nothing was up when cold weather hit once again.

The perennial beds are looking lush and healthy, though it's still too early for anything to bloom.  The deer are off having their young, so nothing has been chewed down.........yet.  I am trying Plantskyd this year---a grotesque mixture that looks like blood and smells terrible. I hope it works, though I'm not holding my breath.  Everything works for awhile, and then----not.

I'm taking a break for a few weeks. I will try and "pop in" on your blogs, but don't worry if I am
silent for a bit.  Hope you all have a fine summer. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

May ---and it's FINALLY Time To Plant Something!!!

Spring FINALLY arrives!!
Forgive my long absence. What can I say--life is at it's busiest right now, as any gardener can well understand.

We have just come out of almost a full week of rain. It was much needed , and couldn't have come at a better time.  It has, however, delayed my edging the vegetable garden and the "field" grass is spreading like mad into the borders that have perennials. What a nightmare that's going to be to deal with.
Broccoli and Cauliflower under protection

I don't have much planted yet---we still have a few more weeks until our frosts are done, but I did
get the cold lovers in.

May 2--Planted Super Sugar Snap peas ( "up" May 14)
             Planted Shallots

May 10--Planted one bed of Red Pontiac potatoes
               Planted  one bed of Mokum carrots (in a cold frame)

May 13-Planted three beds of Yukon gem from saved seed

May 14-Opened the box from Dixondale of Copra Onions---and they sent the wrong thing.ARGH!
             I contacted them and they are shipping out a new batch pronto. What a great company.
             Made the best of the day though--got Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, and Celery Planted!

The garden is looking like a bad garage sale but everything needs protection against frost

There is a lack of salad greens and this is my fault. They were planted in late April, but I used OLD SEED--I had terrible germination--a few lettuce appeared, but the radish, spinach and green onions were a bust.
It's too late to replant--they would be ready end of June--too hot for them, so I'll try again this fall with fresh seed.  I had trouble early this year trying to use old seed with my ornamental grasses. Lesson FINALLY learned. I am only using FRESH SEED from now on.

The seedlings are awaiting their June 4 planting time. In the meantime, they are the most well travelled thing at our home. Outside during the day---inside at night.
The hardier seedlings spend the night in the uninsulated garage

Tender seedlings like tomatoes, peppers and zinnias spend days on the porch and come into the house at night.

I'll do a post at the end of the month to show the perennials around the house. Not much exciting right now--but they are growing fast and I hope to have some blooms by June.
Happy Gardening everyone!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April "Doings"--so far.

The camera focused on the branches, but you can see his white back 

April 1--NO FOOL---We had an ALBINO black capped Chickadee at our feeders. It was early                          morning-- barely light. The quality of the pic is horrible, but you can see the whiteness.

April 2 --Awoke to 54 degrees.  That was all I needed to get started in the garden.  Hubby and I spent
              the morning with the chipper/shredder grinding up all the sunflower stalks and corn stalks.
              Note to self:  Next year just dump the corn stalks out back. Despite being very dry, the
                shredder kept clogging up. Corn stalks are VERY fibrous. Not worth the hassle.

April 5--Easter--Awoke to more snow. Free fertilizer. Free Fertilizer. Free Fertilizer (thanks to
               Mama Pea for that mantra. But, it is getting harder to be happy about the snow.......)
                Snapped a pic on our way out to visit friends for a week. Glad to be leaving!
Pretty, but ENOUGH ALREADY!!!
April 6--Breakfast with Dot and Don. So much fun and so many laughs.  Three hours of sheer joy.
The Four Stooges!
April 7--Headed into Wisconsin to do some "waterfalling".  Water levels were good at all the places we went. Temps were in the low to mid 30's--fine for hiking.
Amnicon Falls State Park

Big Manitou Falls--Pattison State Park, WI

Little Manitou Falls--Pattison State Park, WI

We also knocked off THREE more Rustic Roads in NW Wisconsin
 Spent the night in St.Croix Falls, WI

April 8--More waterfalls, hiking, and 2 more Rustic Roads. A very full and tiring day.
Cascade Falls, Osceola, Wi. 200 steps down, 84,326 steps back up. Or so it felt!

Willow River State Park--the waterfall made the long hike deep into a canyon well worth it.

Vermillion Falls, Hastings, MN--just a short walk. It's in town, next to a ConAgra plant.
April 9--Antiquing in Mt Vernon, IA--one of the U.S.' Top Ten Cool Towns. Well, I don't know
              about that, but they do have nice antique stores and a very nice little park made from
              an abandoned quarry. We spent some time watching the geese before heading to the
              Mississippi River. Took The Great River Road all the way up to Savanna, IL.
             Crossed back into Iowa at Sabula. Lots of fun watching the pelicans and cormorants fight.
Pelicans (My favorite!) and cormorants fighting
April 10--Tried going to hiking at White Pine Hollow but heavy rains the night before made the
                  trails a muddy nightmare.
                Next Stop--Pikes Peak State Park.  Nice walk on a boardwalk --lots of steps  and a cute
                 little waterfall-Bridal Veil falls.

Bridal Veil Falls
 Next stop was Effigy Mounds---still on the Iowa side of the Mississippi.  Incredible views after
 an exhausting hike up into the bluffs.  Well worth it, though at times, I found out what
"accelerated heartbeat" meant. Whew. It's been a LONG winter!
The views from Pikes Peak lookout

Hubby on the hike up to Effigy Mounds, waiting for me to catch my breath!

The Views were totally worth it!