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, July 29, 2012

Garden Update Sunday July 29, 2012

The big news for the week was RAIN....and lots of it.  After having gone 22 days with nothing, we received 3.05" between Thursday and Friday. What a relief. My tubs overflow-eth!

The local nurseries are putting things on clearance, and though this is a NON-gardening year, I couldn't pass up these hollies that hubby has been coveting for the birds. Half price!

And I am totally in love with my Miscanthus 'Morning Light' and found 2 reduced to $4. Sold!

And I love the variety of succulents out this year but the prices were high. Half off meant I could get a few to fill a clay bowl.

The Donkey Doo is breaking down rapidly and so I took the recent rain and cool temps as a chance to start putting on an edge to prep for planting next spring.


The Perovskia is really putting on a show. It's gotten huge this year. I'm glad deer don't like them!

The butternut squash is growing by leaps and bounds.


A misty morning in the garden.

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Garden Update July 25, 2012 and FLOWERS!!!

Yesterday we had a day in the 80's , so I spent most of it out in the garden trying to play catch-up with the weeds and also to harvest the onions.  I had a decent crop, despite the lack of rain and I have plenty for myself and even some to share.  I just used the last onion from last year's harvest two days ago, so it was perfect timing.
The 99 cent garden is STILL the only thing cranking out the vegetables. I'm still waiting on green beans from my regular plots. This all got sent to the neighbors down the road. I'm leaving the rest of the beans to go to seed. The cukes are loaded, so there will be plenty more of them and there should be another pound or two of carrots yet.

The Chandler blueberries started bearing this week. Freakish sized monsters as big as quarters. Delicious too. Don wants me to get more plants of these. I don't know where to put them. The temptation is to replace the Patriots with these. They are incredible.

 Flowers---I have FLOWERS! But, only in the vegetable garden. Damn deer.  These self-sowed from last years Rudbeckia---look at those splashes. I love these. I'm definately saving seed from these beauties.

 My Echinops and Solidago grown from winter-sown seeds have definately made a splash. Nice!

The 'Major Wheeler' lonicera is making the hummingbirds crazy by the garden gate.

 The lavender is loving this heat. I've been drying small bunches of it. The smell is heavenly.

 And this is a Stachys "Helen Von Stein" that I got from High Country Gardens--I bought it because it wasn't supposed to put up those flower spikes. It's more for foliage. And  I am LOVING it.
Look how the edges look like they've been "stitched". I'm certainly hoping to get lots of "babies" from this--it is replacing my regular Stachys.

 Bright and cheery Cosmos Sonata. I didn't plant very much and I regret that. It takes the heat and drought well and just keeps cranking out the blooms.

 The sunflowers I planted don't look nearly as healthy and robust as the self-sown ones but I still like them.

By the back door. You'll notice not much in the way of pots this year--it's been hard on me to "not garden" this year, but next year---yep, NEXT YEAR look out.

They're calling for rain today, but we've gone weeks without so I'm not getting my hopes up.
Thank you so much to those who offered suggestions on why my camera wasnt' "giving up" the photos. It worked and I am truly grateful for the whole darn bunch of you smart people.
Thank you!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Garden Update-July 22, 2012

It is now almost 3 weeks without a drop of rain and temps in the mid 90's. Plants are really starting to suffer. I feel horrible for the area farmers--the corn is so hideously distorted from lack of water, it's hard to look at.
Out in the garden, the onions are starting to collapse. It's a bit early this year, but what's new. Everything is running early.  With the heat we've been having over the past week, I'm hoping WINTER is early too!  Whine Whine Whine.  I hate heat.

I got the fall broccoli planted and covered. The starts were healthy and ready to go in. I hope this hot weather doesn't make it bolt or do something else wonky. I had to pull the cauliflower--it was just buttons, due to the high heat. This is my first year with NO cauliflower. I doubled up on broccoli for the fall instead.



In the aisles by the blueberries, self-sown Cleome has started blooming in abundance. I love the color, but in the middle of the aisles is not a good place for it.
I started to rip up some strays, and found ANOTHER ground hornets nest. I will be heading out in the dark tomorrow morning to try and deal with that. 

The strawberry beds have all been cleaned up. I am NOT leaving my garden next year at all. I can't believe how much I missed them this year. 


Out by the sidewalk border, the deer continue to mow down any coneflower, Rudbeckia, petunia, hollyhock and Aster that dares to grow. It is a miserable sight and I am at a loss as to what to do. I've tried sticks around the plants, deer repellents, hot sauce, hot pepper spray---everything. It is a total mess.


The ONLY plants they leave alone--Achillea and Stachys, a few ornamental grasses and the Russian Sage.  Every neighbor has hollyhocks a mile tall. Not me!  ARGH!!!!!!!!!!

I have LOTS of flower photos from the vegetable garden --in my camera---that for some odd reason I am unable to load onto my computer. I can "review" them on the camera, but when I plug the camera in--it says there are no pictures. I tried to remove the SDHC card and put THAT into the computer--same thing.  Pictures from 3 days ago on this post loaded no problem.   So, until I can solve THAT mystery--I've got nothing more.

Have a great week.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Garden Update- July 15, 2012

Harvested the garlic Tuesday, July 10.  I planted less garlic than the previous year and though they  all survived, the cloves were much smaller than in the past. I don't know if this was due to our terribly dry winter or what.  I won't be saving any to replant this fall. I'm using this as an opportunity to try a new variety. I'm not sure where I'll order from yet. If you've had great luck with any grower, please let me know. I'd love to find a SMALL company to order from.


My first ever Brussels Sprouts!! I've never grown them before so I'm not sure if they're coming along as well as they should  or not. I guess we'll see this fall when they are done. But aren't they cute????

This is the hybrid "Fast Break" melon I started from seed. It's literally just SITTING there, not growing. WHY?



This is the heirloom variety of melon "Hearts of Gold". It's doing fantastic in comparison.

Melons are not my only problem in the Hybrid/Heirloom range. My favorite carrots--the hybrid "Mokum" had nearly a 95% germination FAIL .  The cheap-o heirloom carrots I sowed--perfect germination. Is there something going on with the hybrids or is this just a fluke?


The cabbage are "heading up"....and how pretty this variety is.

And here is my oddball in the garden. I always let a patch of milkweed grow---it's not only good for the Monarch butterflies, but the also seem to keep the bad bugs so busy that they leave my vegetables alone. Well, look what popped up---an ALBINO milkweed. Have you ever seen one before? I don't know how this happens but I'd be interested in any info I could find on it

Yesterday I scrubbed out the two water troughs in anticipation of storms heading our way. It was not to be. Though we heard thunder, no rain fell. Our last rain was July 3. It's been in the upper 80's/low 90's with sun every day. I suppose if I were one of the many vacationers in our area, I'd be thrilled. As a gardener, I'm not. We need rain, at least a few inches. I'm glad I didn't plant up any of my tubs/barrels/planters this year. I guess it was a good year to not garden after all.
Hope all of you have better luck. Me? I'm hoping next year will be "The Year".

Have a great week. Stay cool (and if able, please send rain our way) Thanks!
: )

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Garden Update-July 8,2012

 My Ugly sidewalk border continues to be chomped down by the local deer herd, despite having tried every "Deer Repellent" sold on the marketplace.  This patch of Coneflower and Rudbeckia take the brunt of the damage. You can see, they don't care at all for Silver Mound Artemesia , my purple Salvia, or the Stachys.  Can one make an entire garden out of those three plants? No. It is UGLY!
 If you want to see flowers, you have to go to the VEGETABLE garden.  Lots of flowers there!
This is the earliest (by 25 days!!!) I've ever had sunflowers in bloom. They are the ones that self-sowed and came up unattended by yours truly. 

 We got 1.35 " of rain this week, followed by temps in the upper 90's and high humidity. The corn responded by growing TWO FEET in ONE WEEK!!!  --And have started forming tassels!!!

The blueberries are coming in, and the fabric has made it possible for someone besides Mrs. Robin to get these fresh morsels. We're getting a couple of cups a day.....not a LOT , but better than last year.
The taste is a bit tart on this variety-(Patriot), but good.  Next up will be the "Chandler" variety.  One of those was ripe, and it was much sweeter. Looks like the Blue Ray will follow after that. Not sure on how those taste--last year we never got a single one (Mrs. Robin isn't talking...........)

Our streak of hot broke yesterday and it was the FINEST 80 degree day I have ever experienced. I got so much done out in the garden....and even had a surprise visit from Good Sue in Indiana.  It was indeed a perfect day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vegetable Garden Update-Sunday July 1, 2012

Strawberries are fizzling out (or is that Sizzling out?)  We missed out on most of the harvest this year due to travels. I don't know how well they produced.  We only got the tail end of the latest bearing variety.
The peas , though just starting, are not responding well to the heat. The vines are already turning brown . I get a good solid cup full daily---though most never make it to the house.

The garlic is terrible this year. It's been so hot and so dry.  They didn't get watered in June, and I'm not about to start at this point. I will be pulling them soon. They may be small, but it's better than nothing.  Certainly not a good crop.

Carrots were another disaster.  I purchased a 1/4 ounce of FRESH seed this year.  The germination rate was lucky to be 5%.  I am disappointed beyond belief.  I'd try sowing more, but the sand is literally so hot right now, I'm afraid any seedlings would just burn off.
The blueberries are already starting to turn--fully a month early. The weather this year is so screwy.
Mrs. Robin is patrolling the patch---picking at any that are even slightly ripe.  Insert Expletive.


Even weirder-the Solidago (goldenrod) is starting to flower. I don't know about where YOU live, but here it is an August bloomer. Hmmmmmmmm.
 Bright Rudbeckia--self sown in the vegetable garden, bids a cheery greeting by the gate.

 The stachys and Nepeta look good paired up and are a Bee attracting powerhouse. They are all over combo---the air just "hums" with bees.

My compost pile Delphiniums.  They were supposed to be a very dark purple. Obviously, they are not.

These sunflowers popped up from seeds that must have fallen last year. They are fully 5 foot tall already---much taller than the seeds I planted. Those are only 2 feet tall so far.

Poppy-Lauren's Grape.  A prolific self sower and non-stop blooming machine! 
I'll send seeds if you email me with a request for some --but make sure you plant them where you want them for eternity because they really spread.