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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

End of 2011 Season RoundUp-Part 2--The Winners

Okay...no big surprise here that the FABRIC row covers were the very best-est thing in the garden. I used them on the potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, salad beds, and carrots (and on the blueberries too). Wonderful wonderful stuff. No bugs. No worms in anything. Love love love it!



The Agastache cana wins hands down on the best performing plant this year. I grew these from seed and even in my incredibly short summer, these grew and filled out so fast, and put on such a great display. They are fantastic and will become a much bigger part of my garden next year.

The front bed that I was trying to make into an English Garden proved to be too hot and dry for most plants because of the stone wall. I am going to definately use these up front next year. They thrive on that.

Now, this one I'm not quite sure as to whether it was what I did, or a fluke, but I read that withholding water from melons at the end of their growing period concentrates the sugars and makes them sweeter.

I withheld all water from my Fastbreak Melons for the final 3 weeks. Not hard to do considering it only rained twice. I used the infamous Blue Tarps to make a tent over them when rain was called for. I've grown this type for the past 3 years and I have never had a sweeter and juicier melon in my life. I mean chin-dripping juicy. Stand over the sink to eat it juicy. Fluke? I don't know, but from now on---no water for the melons in their final weeks.



Flash Blend from Botanical Interests. Great variety of sunflowers that brought in honeybees by the hundreds. They loved it, and so did I!




Sunflower-Burpee Aztec Gold--great producer of striped seed-done in only 70 days.




Grandpa Otts Morning Glory--self seeded from last year turned out more robust, and produced sports of light pink and the most incredible shade of pale blue-which I've marked with zip-ties to save seed.




For the end of the raised beds, this combo of dk blue, light blue, and white petunias stood up best to the heat and drought. Still looked good even after frost.





Zinnia Zahara-Starlight Rose. VERY drought tolerant. And it's in a spot surrounded by concrete-so it stood up great to heat also. I had my doubts on this one when I bought it, but it did very well.






These fushia geraniums just kept going and going all summer long-definately repeating these ones in this tub.





Petunia Sanguna Blue Vein. One plant per tub-completely ran over the Purple Wave petunias I put in with it. This stuff just blooms it's fool head off. I don't even need the purple waves in there anymore. Pretty drought tolerant too. I watered these tubs twice a week. Not bad!





Argyranthemum Butterfly. OMG. It's STILL blooming, even after 2 frosts. Given to me by my good friend Deb Arnold, this is definately being used next year.






Winter Sowing--also another winner. It gave me something related to gardening to do in those cold winter months, and with little effort and not much expense, gave me flats of perennials that I've struggled to start in the past. For the best source of info: http://wintersown.org/


This is by no means everything that worked , but it is a list of what is new for me, and that will become a regular part of my garden in the future.

I'd really love it if the rest of you guys would feature what really worked for you (and didn't!)

We all learn so much from each other.

C'mon, any takers??

50 comments:

  1. Wow!Everything looks great. It is on my list to order the fabric, where did you get it? I need to cover my cabbage yesterday!
    I would love to do a end of garden up date as well. Now, if I can just get my act together.
    Thanks for sharing your marvelous garden with us all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sue, I love all your winners! I'm going to have to write down all the names and see if I can incorporate some into next years garden. We have two flower beds around our pine trees and they are in serious need of an overhaul. Thanks for sharing your winners!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sue- My shining stars this year were Okra, Tomatillo, Eggplants, and Avocado squash.. The Okra is defintely a heat loving plant and when the heat pours in it takes off. I didnt like okra but eating it fresh and raw is my new thing:) The Tomatillo are the little green tomatoe that grows in the husk.. They produce so many flowers and the bees love them. They grow into a huge bush and don't require much of soil.. They will grow on and up anything..Great for salsa..My eggplant has been going for 4 years now and has been producing sweet tender eggplants.. And finaly the Avocado Squash is new and I encourage anyone looking for something to new to grow to try the Avocado Squash. They are awesome and produce a huge harvest.. They did and are still doing well in the Strawbale I planted them in back in March.

    ReplyDelete
  4. well,at least you will have melons,I have to rely on the store and now there is a another recall on cantaloupe from col. they contain listeria. I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THE SYMPTOMS WOULD BE ABOUT THE SAME AS A E-COLI OUT BREAK,BUT NOT SO,IS HAS MORE TO DUE WITH SEVER MUSCLE ACHES AND OF COARSE BEING VERY SICK,SO IF ANY ONE OUT THERE HAS BOUGHT MELONS AND NOT LUCKY ENOUGH TO GROW THEM AND GROW THEM SWEETER THAN THE NECTAR OF GODS LIKE sUE HERE----JK ALSO YOUR GARDEN STILL LOOKS INTACT-EVEN MY FUCHSIA GERANIUMS HAVE HAD IT. I WILL GROW THEM AGAIN NEXT NEAR,ONLY MORE OF THEM. SOME SAY THEY DETER MOSQUITOES,DO THINK THATS TRUE?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful! I agree about the Agastaches...I think they are destined to be more widely used in the coming years as more people realize just how easy they are to grow...and how tolerant of such a wide range of conditions!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Taking notes here, Sue. Those petunias look amazing, always need to add something to keep the party going a while longer in the garden. I'm liking the look of your row covers, going to have to invest in some of them, especially if they're good for frost protection, too. We had a pretty nasty frost last night, much worse than expected. Some of the flowers I didn't cover didn't seem too fazed by it, though the coleus right up against the house are kaput.
    (I didn't cover them, thought the house would be enough shelter, guess again.)

    Now I want to try everything you've listed for next year. In a way, I'll be glad too when I can finally pull the plug on trying to keep stuff limping along. With our luck the wedding will cancel anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonder if that zinnia would stand up to my concrete sidewalk at 112?? I might have to try it, cause nothing else did :-) My star of the summer was a four pack of annual red salvia. Once it took hold, it has blessed me with a ton of bright color, just out my window, framed by the fish pond!! And the best news. .a friend told me today that it should self seed everywhere forever WHOOOPIE!! My kind of gardening!! I'm really intrigued about the winter sowing. .and if it can happen in Michigan, it can probably be done in Ks!! Thanks for the pointer!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love the petunia combo combo of dk blue, light blue, and white. I don’t recall seeing blue petunias before.

    I have two Argyranthemum Butterfly plants (at least they look like yours –not sure they were labeled when I bought them). They are such a cheery plant. Mine stayed shorter than I expected, but I still enjoyed them.

    Amazing how the Petunia Sanguna Blue Veins ran over the waves. I have not been very happy with the waves. It seems like in the beginning they grew like your SB Veins, but the past two times I have planted them, they barely doubled in size.

    I am not familiar with Agastache cana. I like that you can grow it from seed and it looks that beautiful in our short season.

    When I left for work at 6:30 am, there was frost on all the rooftops. Surprisingly it was not on my flowers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lorie-the fabric is called Agribon and I got mine from Johnny's . You can just google that. I did a post about it:
    http://suesgardenjournal.blogspot.com/2011/09/who-was-that-masked-man-and-fabric.html

    Anke-well, thank YOU!
    :)

    ATW-Okay -I'll be trying those squash for sure. Thanks for the info!!
    :)

    Judy-I've never heard that those geraniums repel mosquitoes-but I'll sure keep that in mind. We're kinda lucky it's so dry here that we rarely have them. They usually fizzle out about the time the rain dries up in June. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Scott-you're so right-they are fantastic looking and very easy to grow. I got hooked on them through the High Country Gardens catalog. I could go broke if I let my "wants' take over!!

    Karen-oh, those coleus-they really are wimps! Sorry you got hit worse than expected. I forgot about the wedding.....eeesh, you don't need frost, that's for sure!

    Melanie-ya know, I'd try that zinnia by your sidewalk. I'm not kidding-that bugger is TOUGH.
    Maybe even Kansas tough!
    :D

    Zoey-I was really surprised about the waves too. Mine just "sat" there--that Sanguna ran right over it. I might as well save myself some cash next year and just plant the Sanguna.
    And we had SLEET here this afternoon
    :(
    I pulled the tomatoes today. No way they will survive what they're calling for tonight---28 degrees. I have the countertop full of Brandywines....so it's BLT'S for at least another week-hooray for that at least!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sue, my eyes just teared up when I read in one of your comments above that you had sleet. I am so not ready for fall. I didn't hear what our low temp was this morning, but we didn't have frost here after all. We moved some houseplants, and some, I just brought in last night, but I didn't cover anything. If it is supposed to freeze and then get warm, I'll have to decide if I'm going to cover anything.

    I'm thinking the agastache cana is a perennial, isn't it? I bought some wimpy plants this spring, and they sure got a nice size, and are full of blooms. I like the spots I have them in, too.

    One thing I can think of that seems to be working well, is planting sweet potatoes in one of the 3 sections of my compost pile. I took pictures of them and those in pots for a post that I may put up tomorrow. I won't know for sure until after the harvest, but the vines are larger than the ones in pots. I didn't have room in the ground for any this year.

    One of my new favorite native to our area plants is wild quinine. That plant has been blooming since it was a few inches tall, and is now about 3 feet tall. I've read the flowers change color in the fall, and am looking forward to seeing that.

    I am jealous of your sunflowers. The squirrels here tear mine apart. They are even stealing my teddybear ones, like I showed on a post.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I need to look into winter sowing. I keep forgetting to. I do scatter seeds on the ground in the fall sometimes, that have a mixed success in coming up in the spring.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Corner Gardener Sue-Sue, I've been following your posts on the Quinine and find that very interesting stuff. I'll be watching for the color change post. As for the winter sowing, it seems to "shelter" the seeds a bit more putting them in containers. I've never had much luck either with just scattering the seeds on the ground (unless it's something I don't want!)
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wait - didn't you say you got frost or a freeze last week? If so, everything looks fantastic! The sunflowers are just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really did enjoy seeing these shots of your garden...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Sue - Your garden is delightful with both its winners and its "losers" :)

    And I was just thinking about your problems with Phlox... Have you tried digging a large hole and lining the bottom with plastic then in-filling with a rich compost mix? Planting your phlox into that could help retain moisture, especially if you mulch with grass clippings on the top. Don't give up on them yet! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Go Sue Go! What a fine looking garden and I look forward to employing cover cloth more in the garden next year, thanks to your endorsement.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Erin, we did indeed get frozen out last week--these are pics from this summer that I had taken and put up for this post.

    Rose, thank you so much for popping by!
    :)

    Tanya-what an EXCELLENT idea--that is exactly why I enjoy bloggers so much-there always seems to be someone that knows how to solve a problem. I very much appreciate you taking the time to help--I will definately try this!

    Tom-Glad you'll be using it--good stuff. You've given me some wonderful tidbits on your blog (I was that dreaded peach squeezer-remember?) Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wonderful post for all the information we can use in our own gardens. I thought it was interesting about withholding the water from the melons. I have heard the same thing about tomatoes. My winners this year would be the black tomatoes...Black Cherry and Black Krim. Those two along with Cherokee Purple were the most flavorful of all the tomatoes we grew.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Those sunflowers are just brilliant! I think I love the new Texas Tomato Cages this year. They were easy to set-up, and break down. Plus they are strong. Produce wise I was thrilled to have pea greens and claytonia for salads this year. I went for those 2 things most often I think.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Karen-I've been meaning to try the Black Krim-I've heard it's quite good!! Thanks for the push I needed!

    Kelly-I love the way those tomato cages fold. I have SOLID trellising for mine--so I make hubby mad by storing it in HIS garage!
    :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is exactly the kind of thing that keeps blogging so interesting! Would you consider trading seeds?
    I have tried the wintersowing before, but the wind out here takes the covers and tips the containers.
    I have never heard of that blue petunia but I am definitely looking for it-did you wintersow it?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sue, I can see why these are your winners. They are gorgeous. There are so many I would like to add to my garden. The next to last sounds very hardy. Beautiful photos and flowers. Have a wonderful week.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Eileen-thanks so much. And that flower you like is now in its 7th frost and looks perfect-lush and full!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I agree I can see why these are your winners! They are all so pretty but I especially like the Sunflowers, they are so gorgeous!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I had heard that about the melons too but never tried it. Everything still looks so good! I can't believe you've had 2 frosts already! Good grief, we haven't had enough summer let alone fall and now winter!? grrrr

    ReplyDelete
  27. Alicia-I've always loved sunflowers. They just make ya want to smile!

    APG-You mean you're not ready for snow? And ice? And wind?? Silly!
    ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Very nice bevy of flowers. I love your Fresh Blend sunflowers. It's always to see what comes out of a mix.
    The other bright spot to me was your morning glory seeds. Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Patrick-thanks! I went to your blog-and chuckled over your post about red knockouts! I planted pink............but it died!
    :(
    I agree that landscapers sometimes get STUCK on one planting theme.....and the Stella lily nailed it!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sue, your garden is still so alive and beautiful! Love the row covers. We just got back from a trip to Montana and my new young tender kale was eaten down; promptly I put some cover on and am hoping it comes back... likely it will. Hope you have a delightful week.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sue, I've always wondered about row covers, can you explain their use a bit?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Diana-sounds like someone else is enjoying the fruits (kale)of your labor-hope the covers work!

    MsRobin-I use fabric covers on my plants to keep bugs off--I don't use any chemicals on my garden so this works to give me "clean" produce without bugs. You can't use covers on certian crops that need pollinators-like beans, but on things like carrots, all lettuce/spinach/greens, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage-it is ideal.
    There are different "weights" of fabric--I use the lightest weight for insects. You can get a heavier fabric to use for frost protection, but it does exclude some light (and may be too warm in the heat of summer). I did a post on where I got this fabric earlier in the month.Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your sunflower photos are fantastic!

    Take care and have a nice day :-)

    ~Ron

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sue,
    Love the pot the Geraniums are in (and the stand) Do you start everything from seed?

    With all That I am
    The Handmade Homemaker

    ReplyDelete
  35. Carrie-I try to start a LOT of my flowers from seed, but there are some fancy hybrids that I can't--I buy the smallest size available of those to keep down costs.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gorgeous blooms, all. Those blues are so blue! The sunflowers make me think of summer, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  37. You did good. Interesting on the melons and water. Hmmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Gardener on SS-we had over a dozen melons from that plant and every one was chin-dripping juicy. Never had them that juicy before, and the flavor---like a double shot--extra concentrated!
    And not a drop of water for weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oh! That's an awesome shot of the winter sowing containers! I will betcha those will work...

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sissy-I'll send you some-let me know your address!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Scouring your blog for ideas! That time of year when I get the itch! I had to look up Agastache only to fine it is a hyssop. I must add something like this to my gardens. I am in zone 5 northwest Indiana. I think I saw you lived in Michigan. I grew up 20 miles north of Standish Mi and then lived in Pt. Huron MI over 30 years. Do you have help taking care of that large of garden??? Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nancy--I know what you mean about this time of year!! I want out in the garden, but I have months to go.
      I used to always do the gardens myself, but this past fall I had to have help from hubby as I had pneumonia for 6 weeks . I'm such a control freak and it was hard to "let go" and have help, but I am so grateful for all he did. But next year, I'll be back at it alone.
      I live near Cadillac. We love it. And I have friends in Goshen, IN so I know NW Indiana--love farm country!!

      Delete
  42. Amazing! Don't know how you do it! Envious! Wish I could. I do have lyme disease and am 76 so maybe that is why I can't keep up! Will look forward to your pictures this spring! I have relatives in Buckley, Traverse City area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lyme? That's terrible. Hope you have it somewhat "under control".

      Delete
  43. I also tried to subscribe to your posts through yahoo and it won't do it. What am I doing wrong? Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nancy---I guess, from what I've heard from others--is that blogger/google is making you join THEM. I hate that. It's like with Facebook--which I REFUSE to join simply because they're almost forcing it on me. Ha on them. Sorry you couldn't "follow". If you'd like-I can tell you on YOUR blog when I start posting again. I can tell you that I don't post much and it won't start until I get out in the garden , which will be a couple more months.
      Thanks again

      Delete
  44. Sure! If you don't mind let me know on my blog when you start posting. Hard to know what to post in the winter but I sure enjoy all your beautiful pictures from previous times. Thanks for sharing. Nancy

    ReplyDelete