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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Garden Update July 29,2011

The week has been BUSY! We got a call from our neighbor with the donkeys. Leona and friends have been busy making fertilizer for my gardens. It was unexpected. I wasn't planning on it until September-our usual "doo" hauling time, but they've been busy churning out fertilizer, and I NEVER turn down that!

I had to dig like a crazy woman to get the weeds/plants out of this area. I was planning on doing it next month. Amazing how motivated I can get at the thought of free "doo".

Because without "doo", my gardens could NEVER do this on their own. I have sand, and as the ad slogan goes---Pure Michigan!

Now I'm messing with you---the view from my upstairs of that west border I'm working on.

I now have the whole top part dug and ready for planting next spring.

This is to the right

And to the left. And all thats left of that tangle of Aegopodium (Bishops Weed) from the previous owner. I can't do anymore this year---It's so bad, you can't even see that there are LARGE rocks in there. Next spring..................ack!

And in the vegetable garden......we've gotten a crummy 2/10's inch of rain in 2 weeks. The hose has been busy.

The green beans have begun. It started with the Blue Lake, then Contender. I noticed that the Top Crop are ready now too. I've picked for the whole week and have 22 of the 42 pints I'll need for the year already blanched , vacuum-sealed, and in the freezer.

Tons of perennials on the deck (and in pots in the garage and behind the garage!) waiting for the new borders.

The birds have cleaned MOST of the blueberries off the bushes. I finally got them covered.

Don finally got the wagon he wanted for the front of the barn at an auction last week. He drove darn near 30 miles with it on a trailer and was ALMOST home when one of the hubs broke. I felt so bad for him.......but he managed to rig up a brace for the rear axle and it looks okay.

And yes, I'm filling it with flowers next year!


And finally-we got word that the Amish are going to be here in late August or early September to put the addition on the back of the barn. What does this mean? Four more blue tarps available for Sue!!! They've been covering the wood for the addition and will soon be available for more beds and borders.

Have a great weekend! May the rain fall (but not too much) and the sun be warm (but not too much!). I guess all things in moderation (except chocolate!)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Garden Update July 22,2011

Well, Sue and the garden survived the heatwave intact. Lots of new things blooming in the garden.

And the best part of hot weather????? Yes, Erin, that IS a Brandywine tomato. I am so happy!!

Pulled the garlic yesterday (July 21). I got 42 heads , most a good size, about 8 that were dinky.

I hung it on my clothesline under the covered deck to cure.

The Phlox along the south border of the vegetable garden is now in bloom. Love the combo with the Achillea. The Delphiniums they are planted with faded with all the heat, though, so it's not the display it was last year.

My 'Razzmatazz' Coneflower has really taken off--it is the 2nd year for this clump and it's filling in nicely.

Next to the driveway, the Perovskia (Russian Sage) has started to bloom. In its third year, it has really sized up nicely.
We took a couple day trip this past week and I got a bee skep to complete this bed.

The Scummy Pond bed I started this spring is also filling in quite well.

Yes, that's another blue tarp you see in the picture. Sigh.

The "COOL SUMMER" that was called for did NOT appear, and my alyssum sandwiched in between the sidewalk and driveway is FRIED. Oh well, maybe next year!

The barrels out by the road have filled in nicely.

By the back door/utilities, the Adonophera is in full bloom. Gorgeous. The Sweet Autumn Clematis did not bounce back after Bunny ate it last winter. I hate this bare wall. I have to find some way to cover those meters.

Other news in the vegetable garden--got my first two zuchinnis and this morning, once it gets light out , I'll be picking the first of the green beans. A BIG hooray on that.

Actually , they were ready yesterday but without air conditioning, I am NOT blanching beans when the house is 86 degrees.

Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Update July 15,2011

It's been a busy week. I finished clearing another section on the west side of the house. The neighbors are probably celebrating the removal of another blue tarp from our yard.

Not to worry, though. There are still like TEN of them distributed around the place.

The sheet mulching on the southwest corner of the house was a disaster. Those orange lilies broke through 8" of donkey doo and several thick layers of cardboard like it wasn't even there.

My quest for an orange-free garden goes bust yet again! And the shovel is going to be busy. Again!

The Delphiniums in the front have FINALLY been tied to the stakes that I had put in early in the season. Took a whopping 10 minutes. So, why did I WAIT UNTIL HALF THE FLOWER STALKS BROKE??????????????????? Note to self: stop being a procrastinator!!

Into the vegetable garden we go............................................

South border of the fruit garden is filling in nicely. Raspberries forming-looks to be a good crop.

Canteloupe (bottom right of photo) is not liking the cooler weather. Next week is supposed to be hot, though, so perhaps I'll get some growth out of it then.

The Howden pumpkin IS doing well though. Of course, don't pumpkins ALWAYS try to take over everything?

Blueberries are just starting to show the slightest tinge of blue. Won't be long now. The sunflowers on the west border are now about four feet tall. North side flower border is filling in well.

The cauliflower has not headed yet. I did plant the fall crop (9 plants) this week.

I can't believe how much I love the covered beds. No pest problems at all. The garden looks a bit "silly", but so what. Gives Cranky Dolores (neighbor) something else to make snide remarks about.

The broccoli looks like it should all be ready this weekend. I sure hope so as it is supposed to get really hot next week. I'd hate for it to bolt.

The garlic should be pulled next week. It shares a bed with the Fast Break Melon, which is just starting to really take off.

I cut the first kohlrabi on the 14th. That's kind of late, but Don said it was very good-not woody at all. I don't know why they seemed to have been so "leafy". Too much nitrogen?

Picked the final 9x13 cake pan full of strawberries on July 12, giving me a FULL 3 week harvest of almost 75 quarts. Yes. You read that right. We had pie every day, the freezer is stuffed, the neighbors each got 6 quarts. If I never see a berry again, I'll be happy. Well, until next year at least.

I sowed 9-packs of Green Goliath Broccoli, Silver Cup 40 Cauliflower, Baby's Leaf Spinach, and Buttercrunch Lettuce on Thursday for fall crops . Hard to believe I only have about 6 weeks left until the first frost.

Rainfall-a scant 1/4 " on July 11. That brings us up to 3/4" for the month. Thank goodness for mulch.

Friday, July 8, 2011


The time has finally arrived. I'm starting to get big harvests of vegetables.....weeks (months) after so many others. But, heh heh---it's been cool, so THBBBBBBBBBB.
I cut my first 2 heads of broccoli this morning-one batch blanched for Broccoli/Pasta AuGratin, the rest made into Cream of Broccoli soup-all within an hour of cutting.
The peas-I started to shell, but realized at the half way point that I was only going to end up with about 1/2 cup. I'm saving them for fresh eating whole instead. Much easier, and frankly, much tastier.

Yes, strawberries are STILL coming in. This is by far the longest harvest I've ever had.
I've got enough frozen to last the whole winter. We are now SICK of strawberries. Even the neighbors got at least 6 quarts each. Successful, despite the mold issues. And yes, Mama Pea,
as soon as that precious grandbaby goes home on Monday, I'm going to take GOOD CARE of my patch. Lesson Learned!

The only rose I've not been able to successfully anihilate. The miniature rose is one of those from the grocery store. Plant them!!! They are tough as nails (I'm a Zone 4, I don't fertilize, I don't spray!) Positively Sue-Proof roses!!

The Heliopsis has just opened.

The "Major Wheeler" honeysuckle from High Country Gardens. Beautiful. I'm planning on moving it to the new trellis early next spring.

One of the Dahlias. Sorry-I wrote in marker on the label. It faded. Rats.

My crazy Delphiniums I grew from seed. They're in their second year and are well over 5 foot tall. Some of the stems are as big around as corn stalks (I remember corn. Long time ago.....)

A full lush garden.

Nights have been in the upper 50's, daytime temps at 80. Mosquitoes-ACK. A half inch rain for the week.

Hope you all had a fine week. Enjoy the day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

End of the Month Roundup-June 2011

Well, happy July to all! June flew by--probably because I was so busy in the garden.
The Salvia along the sidewalk is now in its full glory. It's gorgeous and the bees LOVE it!!

June had18 sunny days with an average temp of mid 70's and nights in the 40's and 50's.
June 7 and 8 did hit 90. June 28 saw a high of only 64. Talk about a see-saw of temperatures.
We had 5.3" of rain for the month---about twice our normal amount.

Can you believe this was just 4 weeks ago?

The sunflowers are starting to grow well along the west border of the fruit garden. Most are Burpee Aztec, a short season sunflower grown for seeds. It matures in only 70 days-hopefully!

Note I've got MOST of the raspberries cleaned up--I'm NOT moving the original plants until I get a batch of berries first. It's the least they can do after I dug and dug and dug those runners!

The Argyranthemum my good friend Deb Arnold got for me on her visit up is thriving. I have a new favorite for pots on the front porch. They are amazing. Non stop blooms. I dead head about 3 blossums off each plant every morning. Beautiful!

Wonder Hubby strikes again. He made me a trellis for the fruit garden out of 2 old ladders and a couple pieces of decorative brackets he had in the barn . My TOTALLY FREE trellis will soon hold some Trumpet Vine and Lonicera for the Hummingbirds. Yea!!

The vegetable garden is growing well. I splurged $47 at Johnny's online for a 250' roll of Agribon fabric. WELL WORTH IT. We had a huge invasion of bugs this spring (why????) and this stuff has protected everything so well. My crotchety neighbor had to stop, of course, and tell me I could have just sprayed everything. Yea. Well. No. But thanks for your opinion!!


Another freebie project in the works. My plumber gave me this old wagon. He knows I love rusty junk to use for planters. I decided to make a miniature garden. I used popsicle sticks and various rocks and sedums, etc from my yard. The trellis is trimmings from my birch tree. All free.

A close-up of my fence and gate---I used a tiny piece of branch for a handle. Too cute!

And lastly--I added this photo because I had to show how cold it's been--I came in from picking strawberries yesterday and the lens of the camera fogged up when I came into the house. We had 39 degrees......on the last day of June. Love that! Tomatoes do not.