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 1, 2011

End of the Month RoundUp-August 2011

August is over. Yay! September usually heralds the start of the fall rains and boy, do we need it.
This past month we had 25 sunny days, 6 cloudy days, 1.9" rain (NOT ONE DROP in the past 11 days!), and average temps in the low 80's in the beginning of the month dropping to mid 70's the past two weeks. We've had 5 nights in the low 40's....a gentle reminder of what's to come.

I started planting a couple of the new beds---I have tons of the wintersown perennials that need to get into the ground and get established before the cold hits.

One of the seedlings I am most proud of is the Agastache cana. Beautiful stuff and the hummers and bees are going crazy over it. I'm so glad I planted this in the kitchen window border-it's nice to see the activity while up to my elbows in dishwater!

Against my better judgement, I started planting the southwest border, despite the disaster with the sheet mulching this spring. I need to get all these seedlings in before the cold of autumn.

This bed will have blue Lupine, yellow foxglove, various iris, hollyhocks, delphinium, and phlox-white ' David' and purple 'Laura'

I had yet another run-in with ground bees this past week--I was going to plant some of the ornamental grasses. I didn't realize they were nesting in one of the containers and when I picked the grass out of the bucket I got stung. I dropped the grass and ran into the house, not realizing that they were in hot pursuit. My shirt was FULL of them-I ended up with at least 20 stings, 5 of them quite bad. I got my revenge later in the week, though. I went out in the dark and filled a barrel with water and threw the grass in while they slept. It was only 41 out, so I think that even if it had been light out, they wouldn't have been too active...but better safe than sorry!

I still have one nest to deal with in my raised beds. Will deal with that later.

In the garden, more beds emptied........but I'm STILL waiting on the final bed of potatoes--Red Pontiacs. I'm curious as to how well they produced given the lousy Yukon Gold crop, and the fantastic Russet Norkota crop. I don't know what to expect now.

The ENTIRE pepper harvest. Yup. Two. Which, in reality is okay, I guess.

I don't use many-Don hates the smell of them cooking so I only use a bit here and there for omelets (when he's not around) Each pepper gave me almost a cup diced. I froze them for use this winter.

I thought this was funny---perfectly square cavity when I cut the ends off.

Doesn't take much to entertain me.

Pulled the onions August 27. It was a really good crop this year-a lot of big ones. This is not all of them--I filled my little wagon too. I have more than enough for the year for us-and I have plenty to share with the neighbors.

The cauliflower has been trickling in--a few heads here and there. They are perfect size to freeze whole. I've gotten 6 of the 9 in that I planted for fall already processed and am waiting on the other 3.
Not a bug on them. Can I say enough good about that Agribon row cover fabric??????

SuperSweet 100 cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes are giving me about a quart a day between the 2 of them. The Matt's Wild Cherry never makes it to the house. I eat them as I wander the garden so I don't know how much I'm getting. Maybe a handful a day? Three?? It's not really bearing as well this year for me--but I have more than enough.

The Jetstar I planted for Don finally started producing . Blech. But at least it keeps him out of my beloved Brandywines. It's so odd that they are ripening so much later when they are "supposed" to take 2 weeks less to mature. The yield has been "just right"....about 1 per day.

We've started getting color in the Maples. I took this over a week ago. Yesterday when we went for ice cream I saw some crazy beautiful colors, but didn't have my camera. Will post as I get them.
Labor Day we are expecting temps in the low 30's, so more color to follow!

See--there's something I get before all the rest of you!!!

The pumpkins are far behind what they were at this point last year, but that was an exceptionally odd year. I don't have nearly as many either, but this bad boy is HUGE and I'm looking forward to picking them hopefully in the next week.

The fall broccoli crop has finally started growing... kept protected, they should be able to produce in time. And again---love the row cover! I bought some broccoli at the farmers market last week and it was so wormy. I got spoiled on my bug-free stuff this spring.

Elsewhere--still drowning in zuchinni, salad beds for fall growing well except for the spinach, butternut squash should be done next week, celery about ready, carrots doing well and averaging a nice bunch weekly, and getting a melon every other day---which is okay as they are perfect size for Don and I to share. Yesterday I had 3 ready-so a couple neighbors got a welcome surprise.

I hope all of you that went through the hurricane are doing okay with your clean-up . What a terrible storm that was. Let's hope that's IT for the year.

Have a wonderful week in the garden!


  1. I've never run into ground bees before, Yikes! Your shirt was full of them? I'd "bee" (ha ha) so freaked out!

    So jealous of you cauliflower and pumpkins. I have a northern heart in a southern world.

  2. this is the first chance I have had to comment-it kept saying "end of year round up" but no pictures or posts till now--looking good missy,everything looks delicious,now what cha gonna do the rest of the year?

  3. As always, your flower beds are just amazing!

    I am so sorry for your run-in with the ground bees! OUCH! Hopefully you are ok and not swollen or frantically scratching thru the pain. Looks like you showed them who is boss.

    We completely gave up on any brussels, cauliflower or brocoli. Until we invest in row covers, it will not happen. Nothing worse than dropping them in the pot and seeing all the worms float up. ICK!!!

    I can't believe your leaves are changing already. I just think denial has a real grip on me. But I admit, our field corn is starting to change also...sigh.

    Nothing wrong with being entertained by a perfectly formed pepper ;)

  4. Thanks for the tour. I hope to use row cover this year too, at least until the weather turns cold. I so need to get out there and get to work...ugh, so many things to do.

    Sorry about the bee stings. Been there done that with yellow jackets. Thought I would be smart and drown them out of their hole. They had the last laugh for sure. Ouch!

  5. Your garden looks amazing!!! I just love the flower beds, but your vegetable garden looks really great, too. I think I'm going to invest in row covers - the bugs were and still are awful this year. Just the other day I realized they ate almost all the tops of the radishes... Where did you purchase your row covers?

  6. Tami-Yea, I don't know how you southern gals do it with the heat (and how in the heck do you get broccoli???????)
    And now I think it's time for the rest of the bees to BEE scared-LOL!

    Judy-I have so many hobbies it's ridiculous, so I'm never bored. Ever!

    APG-if anyone deserves the PERFECT GARDEN--it will be YOU---next year. My gosh, girl, you've been through it all. Hell AND high water!!
    And I'm thinking summer just went SO FAST that it seems to be early with the leaves. I looked it up---we're on schedule. It's you and I (and everyone else!) that's behind!

    Lorie-glad you mentioned that about drowning them in their hole, because I was gonna try that.
    Next idea............?

    Anke-really, I sound like a big-old commercial about those row covers, but when something ACTUALLY works (rare nowadays!) I'll brag it up to the moon.
    I got mine at Johnnys, but I'm sure you could just google Agribon insect row covers and get tons of places. Have a great weekend!

  7. So pretty. I'm back home and adjusting to my new lifestyle. We'll have to get together for coffee. I'll bring my garden gloves in case we need to play in the dirt :)

    Btw, the flowers and herbs you gave me this spring have been such a happy addition to our gardens....thank you again for sharing.

  8. Sorry about the bee stings.
    Love the square pepper.

  9. Oh my, 20 stings???! I don't think I've seen ground bees here (yet!). Your pumpkin vine/leaves look amazing, how do you DO that? LOL mine are all burned and full of Squash Bug eggs :)

  10. Deb-No problem. The only problem is getting YOU out here--the whole summer is gone and I'm packing it in at the garden soon. We have the Amish here next week-give me a call!

    Johanna-isn't that neat? I don't know what made it do that, but pretty cool!

    Erin-I'm thinking ground bees are the ONLY bug you haven't had a problem with. You know what the secret is ? Doo. Donkey doo,that is!
    I'd send ya a sackful if I thought the Post Office would deliver it-LOL!

  11. I'm looking forward to next year, and pictures of your new perennial garden. I need a new desktop photo ;-)

    Gosh, everything just always looks great at your place. I guess I'm going to have to order Agribon or Remay for next year, nobody around here even knows what I'm talking about when I try to buy it at Lowes or Home Depot....or any other store. I did find it once last spring, bought one, ended up cutting it in pieces to cover my tomato cages, now I can't find any more.

  12. That pepper was quite a sight! (I guess I'm easily amused too).
    Your garden just keeps on giving...

  13. Sue, your garden/s are beautiful and I especially love all the color in your first photo. I am amazed at how many people are cleaning up their gardens and our tomatoes are just now really coming on. :( But then you and I are replanting. We have cauliflower and cabbage and of course more kale. At dinner last evening we were remarking on how few times we go to the store anymore. Isn't it wonderful to eat our own food and feel ecstatic about it.
    Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

  14. AG-See???? If you were my neighbor , I'd hack you off whatever you needed from my GIANT roll. I think I have enough for 10 lifetimes-but it was a lot cheaper that way!

    Daisy-Thanks so much-and here I thought I was the only square at this house. Nope-peppers too!

    Diana-I noticed also how little we go to the store anymore. The occasional carton of cream or some butter and flour and sugar. Wonderful!
    You be careful out there too!

  15. As always, I am SO jealous of your beautiful flowers!! One can always haul water to keep them pretty, but I haven't figured out how to protect them from the wicked hot sun!! I'd love to have the agastache grow. .but have had a hard time trying to get it started, even with plants here, I dunno. .even emailed hcg last week for advice. .none! Your broccoli photo provoked my 13 year old to decide we needed to try it in the greenhouse this winter. .I told him I'd look for the seed! Love little gardeners! Have a great weekend, and enjoy the cooler weather.

  16. I'm so glad your son is interested in gardening. So many kids are so "removed" from where their food comes from (McDonalds?) LOL!
    I can't imagine why Agastache doesn't work for you there! I just tried the one from seed this year-it's fantastic-I'm hoping it comes back in the spring (IT'S a zone 5 plant, I'm zone 4)
    I'd love to send you some seed to try. Let me know.

  17. Brandy and I are really looking forward to coming up this fall, it will be nice to enjoy some cool weather for once! The maple trees look nice :)

  18. I, too, had a lot of trouble pulling up this post. Dang Blogger.

    Beautiful tour as usual. Ugh, what a run-in with the bees. I had that experience once years ago. I was trying to push a friend's car out of the mud and stepped into a nest of them. No fun!

    All your produce looks terrific . . . especially that pumpkin. You've really been moving into the fall season even faster than we are. Feels good, huh?

  19. Sue, my goodness you have a short garden season. Our season still goes until October 15th here which is the first frost date. I just planted my fall garden last week. I've never had a fall garden before so this year is just experimental to see if I can do it. My first mistake was thinking that I could buy fall gardening seeds. I found one rack mostly empty at the local nursery with a very few selections of seed packs. So the only choices were broccoli, lettuce, and carrots. Next year I'll get a little more serious. I'm trying to root a tomato just to see if I can. I don't really expect to get any tomatoes from the plant if it works but there again good information for next year. Next year the home garden will expand one more bed and possibly an off site property will give me a much larger space to garden. It's all exciting to think about.

  20. Josh--Doesn't that make it WORSE going back home to that heat? I know Jared doesn't like going back. We'll just KEEP him!

    Mama Pea-I'm sooo incredibly ready for fall. I'm sure hoping you get done with your project in time to ENJOY some of it. At least a kitchen, for goodness sake!!

    David-how nice to hear from you-I was thinking about you the other day. Your fort-project turned out so well, I'm sure you've got a full time job supervising all the kids in the county!!
    Good luck with the fall garden. As for rooting a tomato--keep it in the house over winter, and you'll be off to a FAST start next summer. From what I've read you can do that with peppers too.
    I've always wanted to try it, but my windowsills are already stuffed with flowers (gee-who'd have thought!)

  21. What the heck is a ground bee? I am so sorry you got stung! Be careful!
    I am curious as to where you purchased your row cover. I couldn't ever find it and have resorted to tulle! It is very fragile stuff!
    I wish I was your neighbor! Melons and tomatoes! I am over run with peppers and we could trade!

  22. Your gardens are just lovely, Sue! I do not like bees and really try to stay away from them. I can not imagine having all those bee stings, I feel so sorry for you. The square pepper was a neat find, I love my sweet cherry tomatoes. The Agastache cana is my favorite, I would love to add that one to my garden. Have a great Sunday!

  23. Sissy-ground bees are only about the meanest bees around--you get near their nest and they aggressively attack. Worst part-since the nests are usually holes in the ground, a lot of times you step on it without realizing it's there-until it's too late!
    Sent you an email about the fabric!

    Eileen-thanks--I know you'd love the Agastache-it is always loaded with bees(the NICE ones) and hummers. Truly the best of the bunch.
    (and easy from seed if you want to try it!)

  24. Oh.... the bees this year. They got me too, but you got more stings than I did.

    What a crazy looking pepper that was, nature sure can give us some different looking things.

  25. My Journey-The bees here don't play nice!
    And today-I picked a double cherry tomato-if I lived near a nuke plant, I'd be wondering!

  26. Ouch, you poor thing. A swarm of angry stinging insects is just awful. Your gardens are looking wonderful (as usual), what a pumpkin!

  27. Hi Kelly-Thanks! Hope your enjoying the day!

  28. Everything looks wonderful!
    It's finally started raining here. It's been weeks since we've had even a drop.And the temperature is finally working it's way to the 80s. Though it was 97 on saturday.
    Yay! for the pumpkins!

  29. Sue, is that allysum in your photo? Bottom right?

  30. I hope you get some rain. The excitement of new planting beds. I hope everything settles in for you well. Sorry you had a run in with the bees. Yikes. The square pepper is interesting. We love peppers. I'm just now getting them on a regular basis. I too freeze a lot of them. Those crop covers sure did the trick. I want to check into shade cloth to help my plants that couldn't handle the heat and sun this year. Love seeing the fall color on the trees. I just love leaves. I've planted a few lettuce crops for fall but until this weekend, we were still getting too hot. It would do the sprouts in. Maybe we've turned the corner as this week will be more temperate. As always, I enjoy seeing what you have growing!

  31. How terrible to have been stung like that. I had ground bees in a section of my New Hampshire garden last year and made sure that I didn't go in that section until late in the evening. Overall it sounds like the garden has been a success this year.

  32. LNL-we finally got a few days of rain and I'm so relieved. This is the first year I've actually LOST plants from lack of rain--but the melons were as sweet and juicy as can be. How does that work?!?

    Sissy-that is indeed alyssum--the great all purpose filler!

    Gardener on Sherlock-glad your temps are finally starting to come down--you'll have some lettuce before you know it!

    Backroad-those bees get a wide berth in that one section of the garden that they are still in. My evil plot to get rid of them behind the garage worked well...but when they are in a garden bed-yikes-hard to deal with!

  33. Oh Sue, you are so much more devoted to your veggie garden than I am. We grow a little of everything, just enough to eat without any canning or freezing. But I must admit that I am not getting enough tomatoes or cucumbers this year, I'm waiting for each one as it arrives. I do water my salvia in the basement over the winter, but not much. It dies back to sticks, but comes back slowly come spring. There is a window in the basement, but light is certainly reduced. I'm sure you could google how to overwinter them properly. I just wing it!

  34. Hi Sue,
    I clicked on the first photo, and enjoyed seeing it enlarged. My eyes kept going around and around looking at everything. I love how you have everything arranged, and those cosmos are looking wonderful! Some of mine have dried up.

    I got a couple of those agastache canas as small plants this spring, and it took awhile for them to grow, but wow, they are nice sized now, and full of blooms. I love them! How cool you have one you grew from seed.

    I enjoyed seeing what all is going on in your garden. What a scare that was with the bees! I hope you are healing well from that. I keep forgetting to see about finding some of that fabric. You may have told me where you got yours, but I am not remembering now.

  35. MsRobin-I appreciate you taking the time to help me with the Salvia-I'll give your method a try. Thank you so much!!

    CornerGardener Sue-Hi-and Thank You-that means a lot to me as I think you have SUCH a beautiful garden. And I'm going to do a post about that fabric.....it's my most asked about thing!

  36. I got a couple of those agastache canas as small plants this spring, and it took awhile for them to grow, but wow, they are nice sized now, and full of blooms.

    I will shared that photographs soon.

  37. MC-I guess , from what I'm seeing, is that these are the "plain janes" of the Agastache world, but I don't know----they are my BEST performing ones and the most showy. I love them!