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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Harvests Hit Full Swing--June 27,2011

Harvest of the strawberries continues. I have gone from roughly 2 quarts a day to around 4 quarts a day. I head out first thing in the morning to pick. They decorate the counter all day--we munch and munch and munch on them. Those left in the evening are processed for the freezer. I used to slice them up and add sugar and vacuum seal them. Now I have been pureeing them into the consistency of applesauce and freezing them into 1/2 cup portions. I never cared for the mushiness of the sliced ones. This is more like eating applesauce--just made with strawberries.

Very good indeed. The freezer is filling quickly.

The sad part is that I'm throwing away at least 1 strawberry for every good one I pick. The heavy rains of last week guaranteed a bad case of mold. Even worse, by my own neglect of my patch, much of this problem is my own fault. I did not keep them thinned. I also left a lot of "debris" in from last year. Shame on me, and lesson learned!! I will be using Mama Pea's http://ahomegrownjournal.blogspot.com/ method of tending them from now on. A little bit (ok-a LOT) of work up front saves a lot of misery later on.

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Relentless Rains=Explosive Growth

Since Monday we have had 4" of rain. That's what we normally get in 6 weeks.

Top photo taken June 15

Bottom photo taken 8 days later on June 23.

This might be considered good. But, my strawberry crop, which looked to be the BEST EVER, is dangerously close to rotting. Many berries are now covered with a thick coating of greyish white mold.

The flowers are fairing much better, but I did lose several Rudbeckia already to rot.

Another lesson on counting the chickens before they hatch.....................................

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garden Update June 23

Spring has FINALLY arrived. And yes, I know summer has already arrived, but this is the top of Michigan. It takes awhile to get to some warmth.
We've had a bit over 2" rain the past two days and you can practically watch stuff grow.

Deb Arnold (my good friend!)-this is the varigated form of Sea Holly (Eryngium-I'll get you to use the Latin names sooner or later if it KILLS me!) It's LOADED with blooms-I'm looking forward to that.

The peas are beginning to produce heavily.

The broccoli is doing well in their little tents.

Still getting tons of salad fixings. The weather had been quite cold so they are still sweet and delicious.

The three new beds of strawberries that I ordered from Nourse. As usual, I'm extremely pleased with their order. Didn't lose a one, and they are all healthy. Cavendish, Northeaster, and Record-24 plants each variety.

The strawberries I already have are loaded so heavily. I'm just starting to have them turn. Looks like the freezer will be full and also plenty for pies and fresh eating. I'll be removing the Honey-O after they are done.

Blueberry bushes are all loaded .....looks like a bumper crop this year for the birds and chipmunks ahead. Hope they leave me SOME!

My Penstemon "Elfin Pink" blooming for the first time. I love them. They will be moved to the sidewalk border this fall. They certainly rate a space up there!

The flowers on the deck are all doing well.

The Nepeta "Walker's Low" is outstanding. The bees love it and so do I.

And I FINALLY got the drainage problem completely corrected, so the neighbors will be cheering the removal of the blue tarp (one of DOZENS in my yard!) and I'll be planting up this section with annuals for this summer........to be followed with perennials next spring when I'm sure all the Bishops Weed and grasses are completely gone. Hooray! Onto the next 10 foot section.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

End of the Month Roundup-May

Yes, you read that right. May. Because I have been without internet for TWO WEEKS. And Hughes Net (insert expletives!!!) has LOUSY customer service. And really, they don't CARE if you don't have internet for two weeks. But enough about that.

May saw temps ranging from low 40's to mid 80's for the highs. We had 21 sunny days, a total rainfall of 3.8" for the month and by far the BEST display of Lilacs and Apple Blossums in years!

I think we are going to have a HUGE apple crop this year---thank goodness, because we haven't had any in 2 years due to late frosts.

Dandelions didn't seem to last as long this year-3rd and 4th week of May and then gone-yea!

Biggest news for the month was the delivery May 26 of bees from the local Apiary in Manton. The fella is "storing" his bees at our place for the summer. Wow. It's very "buzzy" here. I'm not sure if we will do this again next year. Though the bees are extremely gentle, they seem to congregate at our cruddy old frog pond and this seems to freak a lot of people out. We're not talking a few bees here. It's more like hundreds and hundreds of bees at a time. On a bright note, I should have the best pollinated crops of anyone!

Got LOTS of spinach, salad greens and radishes from the garden.

Everything looks to be growing well. Weeds are at a minimum now that I'm in the third year of this garden, so there isn't any maintenance in the vegetable garden at all. I'm working more on prepping new flower beds than anything else.