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, June 21, 2013

The Garden on the First Day of Summer (Oh, So Pathetic)

 It feels more like Spring than Summer, but the calendar never lies so let's just pretend , ok?
The West Border that I worked on last year .  It contains mostly "spring" bloomers.  Only it's summer.
I'm pretty proud of this bed--I grew all the Foxglove, Columbine and poppies from seed. The Dicentra (bleeding heart) is from my Good Friend Deb Arnold.  I still have a bit of work to do on it, but am pretty happy with the results.  This was the area that had all that invasive Bishops Weed  and orange "ditch" lilies.  It took 2 years of digging.  No Round-Up used here.

 By the back door, the chives and salvia are thriving.  We've had very little rain, so this growth is surprising, considering our last frost was June 4.

 I've added more plants to the Scummy Pond Bed.  I planted 37 perennials a couple days ago---all grown from seed.  I have Echinacea paradoxa-yellow coneflower,  Rose cone flower, Agastache -lavender hyssop, Agastache cana, Nepeta, and if it ever warms up, Cleome will be making an appearance too.  We're calling this our Butterfly Garden.

Out front, the Nepeta is really putting on a show.  The problem with this bed is there are supposed to be TONS of Delphiniums (white /lt blue/ and dark blue).  With the kooky weather we've had, they are only a foot tall and not even thinking of blooming yet.   Sigh.  It was a great idea.....on paper!  The Sweet Autumn Clematis took a huge hit with the late frost and I don't know if it will fill out in time or not.

Out in the vegetable garden-things are disappointing to say the least.
Broccoli is doing good, potatoes and onions and garlic--all doing very well.
But carrots, cauliflower and beans are the losers this season.  The cauliflower froze off, the carrots germinated well, but are disappearing bit by bit.  Pests are rampant this year --I don't know WHO the culprit is for the carrots but after last years germination disaster, I was really excited to see great germination.  Now, less than a quarter that came up are left.

The peas are doing well.  The beans in this bed came up fine.  The ones I sowed about 10 days ago only had THREE come up. 

 Salad greens were excellent. I had good crops of spinach and lettuce.  The kohlrabi are healthy and pest free.  The tomatoes are in need of sweaters. 

 But not all is gloom and doom.  Who can help but smile when one spots red in the garden.  The strawberries are LOADED.  Only the everbearer Monteray is producing yet.........about 20 per day. Just enough for the two of us.  They're good sized and very tasty. 

And Wonder Hubby strikes again---building me a HUGE (8 foot long!!) potting bench behind my garage stall.  I love it and will get a lot of use out of it.  I don't know what I did to deserve this---must have been the new crescent roll recipe????

Well, let's hope the conditions improve---a bit of rain would be helpful.
Have a wonderful week!

Monday, June 3, 2013

End of the Month Roundup-May......a few days late!

May found temps closer to normal than April had, but the roller coaster continues.  I still have been unable to plant much because of continued  frost. We are supposed to have temps in the low 30's the next couple of nights.  Hopefully that will be the last of it. I need to get planting.

May had 20 days of sun,  3.3" rain--of which 2.1" of that fell just in the 4th week and NONE in the first and third weeks. With sandy soil, that's always a problem.

We had a high of 84 on the 1st and the 30th,  and a low of 28 on the 25th.  We had plenty of frosty mornings and my many flats of flowers are more travelled than most people I know.  They get hauled in and out of the house and garage on any night calling for 38 or less---my house is located at the bottom of the hill and I'll typically freeze when most people don't.  

I have the potatoes planted.  Three beds of Yukons were planted on the 20th, and are just coming up.
Red Pontiacs (only a dozen plants) were planted on the 21st and are all up.
I got my order in for sweet potato slips Saturday.  I can't plant them until Wednesday--when the frosts are supposedly done.
Peas, spinach, lettuce are all doing well.  Broccoli is doing great. Cauliflower is a bust AGAIN. The frost last night wiped them out. I have no replacements on hand. I give up on them until fall.
Strawberries look great and many are flowering already. I have all the beds covered and that saved them from the cold.  Looks like an abundant crop ahead for those.

I planted corn and sunflowers today. It's so late this year, but hopefully we'll have a nice stretch of weather and it will catch up.

In the flower beds,  things are coming along well. I haven't planted any of the annuals (frost thing again!) but the perennials that survived the winter look good.  I did lose all my mums this year. I had most of them for the whole 5 years I've been gardening, so they will be missed. 
I also lost several Agastaches  and my Artemesia 'Powis Castle'.  I'm replacing them, as they looked so good in front of the Cleome patch.

I am hoping to plant my flowers and vegetables by Saturday. Of course, I thought LAST week I could get things planted.  We'll see............