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, August 14, 2011

Garden Update-August 14,2011

Another busy week dig,dig, digging. The weather cooled off to what it should be--mid 70's, and that makes it time to work on expanding those borders some more.


The Morning Glories by the garage are finally starting to bloom. The middle flower is Grandpa Ott's--the other 2 are sports of it that came up by themselves this year. That's the great thing about these-you only need to plant them once.


The bed next to the driveway continues to change. The Russian Sage is getting darker by the day--it is the most beautiful shade of blue now. I tried for years to grow it in Hellinois--but it obviously didn't like it there either. Here in the dry sand it thrives.


Got another section dug on the west side of the house. I have to keep it covered in tarps so the rain doesn't wash my sand away. I'm hoping with the rain we received this week (4/10th's inch on Tuesday and 1/2 " yesterday) that I'll be able to mow the yard and get grass clippings to top this new section off for the winter. It will be planted in annuals for a year to make sure all the Bishop's Weed (aegopodium---AWFUL AWFUL INVASIVE) is completely gone.


I finally got around to digging out all those orange ditch lilies that had come right through the sheet mulching I did here. I am now behind a FULL YEAR because of that. I'll be planting with annuals in this bed next spring too. I know a LOT of folks have luck with sheet mulching. I'm sure with just grass it works well, but not with lilies and aegopodium. I knew deep down when I tried it here it was a mistake. Live and learn.



The bed on the southeast corner---The Cleome loves it here. It completely "ran over" the Artemesia 'Powis Castle' and is attempting to do that with the Heliopsis too. Love the look of them together---I'll move them further apart in the spring.

The Scummy Pond Bed is filling in nicely. I have to add a bit more grass clippings to this bed (if I ever get to mow again!)


The Winter Sown perennials are waiting to be transplanted into the veg. garden to over-winter as beds open up. I've already planted Agastache cana, Physostegia "Summer Snow', and Salvia 'Blue Cloud' and 'Vatican White'. Still to transplant-Echinops, Echinacea, Gaura,Foxglove, Verbena Pink Spires, Solidago, Heliopsis and Hollyhocks.


In the vegetable garden, things are starting to really look tired. A lot of beds are opening up as things get harvested and stored for the long winter.





The Yukon golds got dug this week (August 12), four days earlier than last year. Size was bigger than last years', but the quantity was LOW. Only about 25 pounds. I'm hopeful the others will produce more. Looks like the Russet Norkotahs are next in line to dig. I noticed they are starting to die back now. Red Pontiacs still going strong.


The Brandywine tomato still is not even thinking of giving me a nice ripe one yet. Still waiting.


I covered the Fastbreak Melons with a blue tarp to prevent the rain from rotting them. I have at least 2 melons that are REALLY CLOSE to ripening. It's best to withhold water close to harvest as it concentrates the sugars (or so I've read............)


The daily harvests are small and nothing to write home about. I get about 1 cuke and 1 zuchinni a day. A handful of berries. A handful of cherry tomatoes. Here a kohlrabi, there a cabbage. A fistful of carrots. Nothing spectacular, just enough. I guess I feel like I don't have much compared to others, but then I realize---that's how I want it. Just enough. I grow ALL the green beans, onions, potatoes, garlic, herbs, and salad fixings we use for the year. So one plant of each is enough. One zuchinni plant, one cucumber plant, one each of the different tomatoes. I guess I'm in trouble if I ever have a failure on them, but I'm not that concerned. I've lived without before, I probably will again.

:D



Have a wonderful week!

35 comments:

  1. Mmmm...a very nice walk through your garden Sue. Your potatoes look wonderful!

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  2. Hi Sue, I have started getting some tomatoes. I'm picking them before they really turn red so the ground hog doesn't get them. The brandywines are still very green. Your hard work shows...the gardens look lovely.

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  3. Everything looks so lush! Love the coneflowers and rudebekias together.

    It's all a learning process...

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  4. Your garden is spectacular! I just love how everything looks together, it really shows that you put a lot of work into it.

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  5. I am with you, Sue, about the sheet mulching. It doesn't work for me either. The grass comes right thru it.
    Your beds and borders look wonderful! I am anxious to see how your winter sowing went! I tried that a few years back and the winds out here blew all my things away!

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  6. Your beds are looking beautiful! Don't you love this cooler weather?

    I know what you mean about Bishop's Weed ... It took me a few years to get rid of it in a few areas. Great idea to plant only annuals for a year just to be sure.

    I like the morning glories with a mix of colors like that. How great that you did not even need to plant them. They don't do good for me. I planted them this year and they all died out before they got more than an inch tall.

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  7. Your garden is doing so well, especially considering the drought. Mine doesn't look nearly as good and we've had ample rain. Bishop's Weed is such a pest. Someone gave me a hunk o' hosta that was infested with it, and I unknowingly planted it and Voila! Instant weed in the garden for us to battle. Someone also 'gifted' me with Creeping Charlie, too, and we're fighting the battle of our gardening lives with that one. Sad to say, we're losing it, too.

    The potatoes are amazing, too! I didn't plant any this year as it was too wet and the potato bug crop is always constant here, continually having to pick the yucky things off.

    Love the morning glories in all three colors and your perennial bed is simply stunning!

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  8. Tami-thank you!! I appreciate the visit!
    :)

    BackRoadJournal-Pesky groundhogs. Well, he knows good food, doesn't he? Clever to pick them before he does!

    Daisy-I think that's about the most classic combo-they both bloom for such a long time too!

    Anke-thanks so much. I appreciate the compliment.

    Sissy-I have almost 100 plants that turned out well. Could you imagine having to BUY that many--ouch! But, I lost some things. It's a learning process.....and gives me something to do in January/February when I 'm starting to get stir crazy!

    Zoey-the morning glories take a long time to come up on their own, but they seem so much healthier than the ones I raise and plant out.

    Karen-The bishops weed is horrible. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I told Don I'll just be happy when I FINALLY get rid of the last of it. It's already been a 3 year battle!

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  9. Your garden it so beautiful! I love every single plant! Lush and lovely! You are making me so envious!

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  10. You create beauty all over. Even your Yukon Gold potatoes are beautiful. I want to come live amidst your beauty. You can use me for a large heavy thing to hold down one of your blue tarps. I'll just lie there and take in all the beauty around me.

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  11. Sue, your garden/s look wonderful. I think of when you first planted these beds and now look. It always amazes me how quickly things can fill in.

    Our tomatoes have been coming on but very slowly, just like last year as we had a colder than normal June; but we won't complain because there at least 'some' to eat. I've started more brassicas for the fall, like you. I don't know where the summer has gone. Have a wonderful week.

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  12. Lynda-Thanks. And I'm really looking forward to some posts on your diary of a mad lunchlady blog----I laughed when I saw that!! Can't wait!


    Mama Pea-LOL!! I would take you up on that, but the neighbors already think I'm weird!! I'll stick with my stones for weighting down tarps.
    LOL LOL LOL

    Diana-I'm glad you're getting tomatoes. Do you deliver???
    :D
    As for the broccoli, I'm hoping they will start growing a bit faster ---I'm running out of summer. You're so right-summer kind of just "disappeared"!

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  13. I just love your gardens. The ladder with the flower pots is a cute idea. I am amazed at the potatoes and veggies. I enjoyed your post, I hope you have a wonderful week!

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  14. Maybe you need Erin to come up and spit on those brandy wines or release that spell you put on here's lol but I could have sworn I saw your yard in a magazine it was titled "The Artist Garden" for the article

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  15. Eileen-Hubby cobbled that ladder together for me-it works perfectly for keeping pots of herbs by the door!

    Judy-I'd try anything at this point to get them to ripen. It's ridiculous-over 2 weeks of JUST sitting there..........

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  16. That is one seriously neat garden. I salute your endeavours!

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  17. I think that's my trouble - I always grow more assuming something will fail, when will I learn that my peppers never fail? LOL! The flowers look amazing, I need to get out and hack my stuff back to get another flush this fall, hoping for this coming weekend to really make a difference out there!

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  18. Love LOVE your gardens!! I wish my black eyed susans would look like that. I grew them from seed in the greenhouse last winter, and they bloomed on one scraggly stem. .but set their own seed. .so several more came up this year. The old ones are not any fuller or bigger this year. .and the new ones look just like 'em!! I think you hit it on the head about "live and learn!!" Glad you finally got some moisture. .and totally envy your 70 degree temps, but not your 2 week countdown to frost! Have a great week!

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  19. IdiotGardener-It's a sickness, I think. That or boredom. Or no life. Or gardening love??
    Take your pick!
    :D

    Erin-You? Pepper Failure? Never. You are to peppers what A.G. is to lettuce. The queen, I tell you, the QUEEN!
    :)

    Melanie-I completely neglect the Rudbeckia--don't be nice to them. They seem to thrive on abuse. Also, mine are the 'Goldsturm' strain-I think they're a bit fuller than most. Best of luck!
    :)

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  20. So Pretty!
    Yeah, I'm still waiting for the bulk of my tomatoes to ripen.
    I bet it smells good walking through the flowers!

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  21. Inl-The cherry tomatoes are keeping me happy with a tomato taste fix, but I'm still waiting for a BLT-compliments of my Brandywines---IF they ripen!!
    :)

    The best smell in my garden right now is the Blue Spice Basil---heavenly on a dewy morning. It smells absolutely wonderful!!

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  22. I always look forward to your next garden post. I am going to have to live through the Garden blogs to get my garden fix with the house selling and going on the road. I am thinking of taking a few potted plants and my wagon garden you inspired. Maybe I can perfect my container gardening skills.
    Morning glories have to be babied in the south but I love them I grow them up the ugly phone pole. I strung twine up it...my husband thought I was crazy. But he has a tower of flowers to greet him now.

    With All That I Am
    Carrie "Forrest-Dweller" Duvall
    The Handmade Homemaker

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  23. ForestDweller-Best of luck Carrie!!!!
    Let me know how it's going.

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  24. Beautiful beautiful garden. Your hard work cetainly shows. Beautiful!

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  25. I fantasize about my yard looking like yours...thank you so much for sharing all your inspiring photos, Sue!!

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  26. Now that's what I call a garden! Absolutely fabulous flowers and vegs. It reminds me of how much easier growing plants was when we lived in The North. WHen I have a little time I will go back and look at all your posts. Like the idea of adding height to the garden with the step ladder and oh how I wish for some donkey do!

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  27. Maybelline-thanks so very much!

    Dmarie-you're giving me a big head!!
    :)

    Lancashire rose-Thanks-I don't know how people tough it out gardening in climates like yours. You're a real pro!

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  28. OMG...your garden is looking AMAZING! I love the shot with the Russian Sage in the mixed planting...pure magic!

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  29. Both the flower garden and the vegetable garden are simply beautiful. I love the Morning Glories the most. Perfectly captured.

    Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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  30. Scott and Cassy-thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. I really appreciate it!

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  31. That does it! Why aren't my morning glories blooming yet? They are green and gorgeous, but not a bloom in sight! And I am many hours south of you, I wonder why? Never skip planting zinnias, they are must-haves in my garden. The Queen Red Lime I have this year are wonderful, I love them!

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  32. Everything looks just beautiful and bountiful! I have tried Morning Glories, but by the time they think about blooming, Fall sneaks up on us and puts an end to that. It started out too wet here, then too hot, and now too wet again. I'm hoping next year Mother Nature will be kinder to all of us.

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  33. MsRobin-I know I should have just gone ahead and planted the zinnias. I'm kicking myself. We had perfect weather this year for them. Next year!!!

    Judy-it seems everyone has had a tough year. I agree--she better do better next year!!

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  34. Rose-thanks so much-I appreciate the visit!

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