Sunday, August 27, 2006


This is my largest pumpkin. It is getting bigger - I hope it still has time to turn orange before the frost. Posted by Picasa

Sunflowers Leaning

We had a storm a few nights ago and it bent most of the sunflowers over. They are starting to straighten back up some, but I don't think they will ever be straight up again. Posted by Picasa

My peach harvest

I ended up with 3 peaches growing to maturity. Two of them had a lot of marks on them - but they were all on the surface and not very deep. Posted by Picasa

The same peaches cut up

Cut up you couldn't tell they had any blemishes - they were the best tasting peaches ever. I can't wait until next year! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I often wonder how people who do not have gardens are able to meditate and work things out when life confuses them. During the periods in my life when I didn't have a garden, I found I had to find a nature retreat to walk in when things bothered me - but there is nothing like getting your hands dirty and getting involved in a garden to really be able to get a handle on life.

I had an employee quit yesterday - no big - happens all the time. But, what was confusing about this is that this gal had such great potential and had she stayed awhile longer, this job would have looked great on her resume. Another employee gave his notice last week and she became concerned when she learned we would all have to take turns covering his evening shift until the position was filled. She is young and this was her first salaried position - but that is why you are put on salary and not hourly - it means you will be expected to work more than 40 hours a week on at least a semi-regular basis.

And it isn't just that I couldn't make her understand that - it was the way in which she quit. She couldn't come in and face us - she had to sneak in during the middle of the night - clean out her stuff, leave her keys and a letter. And in her letter - no thanks for getting her out of the phone room and involved in project management which is what she wanted to do - nothing positive at all - just blaming everyone else and the company. I really like this gal. I feel used.

So last night when I came home, I headed straight for the garden. Dan and Andy gave me space - they know I just need time alone in the garden and then I will be fine.

So we are down two people. Life goes on. She wouldn't have stayed long term anyway. So I will have to cover more evening shifts than normal and I will be in the garden less - the positions will get filled and I will appreciate the garden all the more when I do have time for it.

How would I have come to this peace without my garden?

Friday, August 18, 2006

So how is everything growing?

Mid-August Garden Rating:

Cauliflower - Snow Crown Hybrid: Thumbs Down. I have grown these very successfully the past several years - not sure if it was the heat or the earthboxes they were planted in - they started out great and looked wonderful and then they all stopped growing and rotted - almost overnight.

Brussels Sprouts - Bubbles: Thumbs Down. I had to replant these three times before any sprouted. I transplanted 5 plants to the garden and now only have two growing to maturity. We love Brussels Sprouts - I will plant them again next year.

HybridTomato - Celebrity Hybrid & Wisconsin 55: Jury is still out on these - so far so good. We have been eating some wonderful salsa - just not sure yet if I will have enough to can and I should - I have 10 plants!

Zucchini - Spineless Beauty Hybrd: Just so-so. Luckily I'm not a big Zucchini fan so I don't care that much - but I have a great sweet pickle recipe that uses Zuchinni that I was hoping to get enough to make - may still be able to do that - just not sure. Insects have attacked them.

Pumpkin - Spirit Hybrid: Jury is still out on these. The ones I transplanted didn't make it - it got hot too fast. I replanted twice before they came up. I have some nice ones coming now, but I'm just not sure if there is enough time for them to ripen.

Hot Peppers - Garden Salsa Hybrid: Thumbs Up. The plants are loaded and they are healthy. just the right amount of heat.

Bell Peppers - Rainbow Bell Hybrid Mix which includes Bianca, Hershey, Inia, Queen & Tequila: Thumbs Down. I planted six in an earth box and 5 in the garden. The ones in the earth boxes initially looked much better than the others, but now I only have 6 peppers on the plants and I have not picked any. The ones in the garden didn't grow as tall to start with and now have been attacked by insects. I have one pepper on them - I'm not holding out too much hope for them.

Sweet Basil - Italian Large Leaf: Thumbs Up. I have several large bushy plants that just keep springing back after I harvest some.

Lettuce - Spring Crop: Thumbs Up - I had so much lettuce I was begging people to take it.

Lettuce - Summer Crop: Thumbs Up - really just so-so, but lettuce is not a summer crop and it was incredibly hot this year. That I got any lettuce was good.

Lettuce - Fall Crop: Too soon to tell

Pole Beans - both green and yellow wax: Jury is still out on both of these. The wax came early and produced pretty good, but then abruptly stopped when it got so hot. The green ones started coming a little later, but stopped before they really got started. Now the wax ones have started producing again. The green have started flowering again - but so far no beans.

Parsnips: So-so. This was the first year I tried growing them. They don't seem to be as big as the ones in the store - maybe I'm just impatient and want them to grow faster before their time.

Carrots: Thumbs Up. Having a great year for carrots.

Garlic: Thumbs Up. Considering the garlic was spring planted instead of fall planted, it did great.

Onions (Alisa Craig): Thumbs Up.

Potatoes: Red Norland and Kennebec: Thumbs up on both

Rhubarb: Thumbs Up

Currants: Thumbs Up

Sunflowers: Jury is still out - I planted them a little late, but they are getting ready to flower - I think they will turn out great, but it really is too early to tell.

Peaches: Thumbs Up - first year the tree produced any fruit - it is still a young tree. I am happy with my 3 peaches.

Apples: Thumbs Down - There aren't more than a dozen apples on the whole tree.

Grapes: Thumbs Down for both kinds. The concord haven't stood a chance since the neighbor landscaped their side of the fence. I have to keep cutting them back to keep them out of their landscaping, they are fruiting. I am thinking about just taking them out. The Red Swanson produced some, but the little boy that lives on that side of the fence kept picking the green ones and using them as ammo at birds and other small animals. Luckily that child is moving next week so next year those grapes have a chance.

Radishes: Thumbs Up

Cucumbers: Jury is still out. They were producing nicely, but all of a sudden they look like they are dying - they are very near the insect riddled bell peppers and zuchinni - maybe they are getting damaged as well.

Strawberries: Thumbs Up

Raspberries (all 3 colors, black, red and yellow): Thumbs Up

Coneflowers: Thumbs Up

Black Eyed Susan: Thumbs Up

Day Lillies: Thumbs Up

It certainly hasn't been the best gardening year I have ever had, but it also hasn't been the worst either. Considering the drought and the heat, I would say the garden is a success so far.


Who says you need chemicals to grow large raspberries? My organic raspberries are always much larger than the ones I see in the supermarket or at the farmer's market. Posted by Picasa

Raspberry harvest

Time for fall raspberries. Fresh picked yellow and reds. Yum Yum. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bell Pepper rippening nicely. Posted by Picasa

Carrots Posted by Picasa

Sweet Basil Posted by Picasa

Dill Posted by Picasa

Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers. They have a lot of heat this year. Posted by Picasa


My pumpkins are still small and green - I'm not sure, but I think they should be bigger - the heat seems to have delayed a lot of things this year. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Maybe I will give wax beans another try next year

My wax beans that I was so diappointed in have come back to life. They started flowering again and producing beans - maybe it was just the extreme heat and drought. In my last post about them, I said how the Blue Lake were looking better - but now I have actually gotten more Wax Beans than Blue Lake. Maybe I will try a tower of each again next year.
Everything in my garden seems to be liking the cooler nights - this is much better weather for gardening. Even if the drought continues, the break in heat is nice - and we did get enough water for the lawn to green back up. Every year the weather is a challenge in some way and every year some plants do better than others and it can be hard to decide if it was just a bad year or if that plant isn't suited to your garden's particular growing conditions.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Zuchinni and Cucumbers

Today's harvest of Zuchinni and cucumbers. Come on, can you really tell me they look anything alike? My poor husband is never going to live it down that he mixed them up. Posted by Picasa

Sunflower Fort

Andy in his sunflower fort. They are not growing evenly - the back ones are quite a bit taller than the front ones - and it is not just because they are planted on a hill. We took a tape measure out and measured them last week and the back ones were a full foot taller - they have grown more since then. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A new blog for me

I've created a second blog - this one about my family's special diet. If you are also on a gluten free or casein (dairy) free diet or just curious what we eat - come and visit me there as well. It still needs more work - but I hope that it will help others just starting on the diet.

A good gardening morning

I love that it is getting cooler over night - the mornings are nice to garden now before it gets too hot. Yesterday I finally found time to get to the garden center without a child and had time to really shop and spend my $25 gift card that I had gotten for Mother's Day back in May. With end of season sales, I got a lot more for my money than I would have gotten in May. I got 2 day lillies - "Happy Return" and 2 coneflowers - "White Swan" as well as a bunch of seed packets for 10 cents each - I got some cool weather things that I can still plant this year like lettuce and radishes. This morning I planted the day lillies and coneflowers. I dug up some purple coneflowers (and offered them on freecycle - great way to get rid of excess plants - if you are not familar with freecycle, go to for more information and to see if there is a group in your area), weeded the perennial beds and cut back the grapes out of my neighbors yard again - not a bad morning. Tomorrow is my 48th birthday - a very good age to be!


Something is eating the leaves of the zuchinni and the bell peppers that are planted in the ground (the bell peppers in the earth boxes are untouched). Posted by Picasa


A peach rippening on the tree - there are only 4 left now - hopefully we will get to taste at least one! Posted by Picasa


My new coneflower - "White Swan". Posted by Picasa


My new yellow daylilly - "Happy Returns". Posted by Picasa

New Flowers

My garden center haul. 2 yellow daylillies and 2 white coneflowers. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006


The finished salsa. It needs to chill for a couple of hours - I predict it will not last 24 hours! Posted by Picasa


The first tomatoes from this years garden. I am going to cut them up and combine them with the onions, garlic and hot peppers from the garden for some fresh salsa. Yum Yum. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I learned something new today

I learned a couple of new things today. First I learned that it is a good thing we planted my son's sunflower house on a hill where we really don't want anything to grow:

Next, I learned that some people can't tell a zuchinni and a cucumber apart (like my husband). Dan thought that he would make a salad for dinner - which I thought was really nice and I hated to hurt his feelings by picking the zuchinni out, but I really don't like zuchinni and I thought he knew that (unless it is baked in something like zuchinni bread). But, of course he noticed me picking them out and asked - "what's wrong? I thought you liked cucumbers?" He honestly thought he had cut up a cucumber! To me, the difference is obvious - guess it is always good to see the world through someone else's eyes.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Feeling positive!

It was a good weekend and it will be a good week - I am psyched. In spite of my allergies being super bad, I got outside and got some weeding done. I also transplanted some lillies and my wonderful husband Dan planted me a tree. I should share that Dan has never planted anything in his entire life - so starting with a tree was huge! And he did a great job. The tree is Mount Royal Plum - it is a self fruitful variety so you do not need to plant two to get fruit. We love fruit in our household so you cannot have too many varieties of fruit trees. And the week is bound to be good - I am only working 3 days - so no matter how bad things go at work, at least it will be over quickly. I am taking 1 day off to garden and make jelly and 1 day for our family's annual "adoption day" celebration. Even though we brought Andy home from the hospital, we like to celebrate the day his adoption became final. It is a day for just us - we do not share it with his birthfamily or any other relatives - it is a day just for our family. We try and do something fun that we would not normally do - and we talk about adoption and what it means to each of us.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tree is planted

He worked until after dark on it last night wanting to beat the storm that was coming (he did). So here is the tree this morning. Looks great sweetheart - I love my plum tree - what a perfect present. Posted by Picasa

Planting a plum tree

Dan worked hard on getting the tree planted for me - I didn't do any of the work - here he set the tree in to see if the hole is deep enough (it was too deep). Posted by Picasa

My birthday present!

My birthday is not for another week - and yesterday Dan brings home a plum tree for me! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rain vs. Watering

It is amazing what a little rain can do - OK, maybe a lot of rain in the middle of a drought. But I am always amazed that no matter how much you water and how well you think your garden looks, it always looks better after a good rain. I haven't been watering the lawn during the drought, so I am not surprised to see it greening up so nicely after this soaking - but I have been taking such good care of the garden and everything there just seems to have grown a foot over night and be so much greener. I have not researched this, but I imagine that when we water we water primarily the roots and when it rains, the entire plant gets drenched and the plants probably need that all over watering. We also had a drop in temperature with this recent rain and I am sure that is also helping the plants be less stressed - temperatures were 15 to 20 degrees cooler on Tuesday than Monday. The beans that had stopped flowering now have some flowers so maybe I will get some more beans. The garden just looks lusher, happier and more alive this week. Today will be sunny again - the rain is done. High in the mid 80s. I can handle that. I just wish I had time to get out in the garden and pull some weeds while the ground is still wet. Maybe tonight after work......

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What a beautiful morning

Wow, what a difference a day can make. The promised relief has come. This morning, it is much cooler - temps are currently in the 70s and it is raining. I did not hear any severe storms last night so I either slept through them or they passed us by. At any rate, this morning is just beautiful relief. There is an inch in my rain guage and it is just sprinkling right now. It would be a good day to stay home and pull weeds, but that is not going to happen - work is a necessary evil.