Sunday, July 25, 2010


Three happy team members.
This tropical plant loves this heat and rain mixture.
My transplanted carrots.
Yes, they are good.

These are the Red Peach the fourth week of July- they are over my head.
This is the largest container I used to be able to get - I have three.
The front walk with the pouring pot planter.

Next year I am only going to have Spider plants in each of the four pots.
A crop that came with the straw bales and all this rain. (not edible that I know)

Last summer was really dry but this summer has been a complete turnaround - overall that's a good thing to help replenish the soil moisture that several dry years has produced.

Now for something entirely different. The DOOR County Triathlon was a great success for us as the picture shows - the most happy team. Even with big waves I had a great time (fastest in my age group!) my wife's bike speed was her best - 2mph faster than she had ever done and our runner was happy with her time because the day had turned real hot and that made her run tough. We were all most pleased and look forward to this event next year.

Back to gardening.

With all the rain I have not gotten too much done as the ground was quite soggy and easily compacted so I have tried to stay on the boards and could not be doing much planting. We have plenty of cucumbers, peppers, lettuce and a few tomatoes. Cracking is a problem with all the moisture. On a sad note, the most recent grafting experiment ended is disaster - all but one of the grafts were lost. Back to trying to get this worked out. I think I am going to try to find someone who has done this and talk to them - there has to be something I am not doing right.
The grafted plants in the garden are doing fine and have set fruit. I have included a picture of my root stock plants (Red Peach) just to show how big they are. They have reached the top of the posts and are still growing so that is why I used them for rootstock - vigor.

I have spoken about using Cayenne pepper before but have had some questions again. Mammals can taste hot peppers but birds, because they have such poor taste buds, do not taste that well. Mixing the Cayenne with your bird seed to repel squirrels is one way to keep them out of the bird feeder. You can sprinkle it on the seed, or mix it in water and pour that mixture over the seed too. When squirrels sit in the feed they get it on their feet too and as they preen that causes them problems. So buy the largest container of the stuff you can find. I discourage the bunnies by sprinkling it on my crocus flowers in the lawn and around my new transplants in the front yard that is not fenced.

I recently got an email about a garden project that is interesting. Its called Vacant 2 Vegetables and is a vegetable sharing garden by a friend of my brother. Chris has a garden web site at that is full of interesting info and if you Goggle Vacant 2 Vegetables you will get a nice video that explains the project. Take a look - great sharing and caring.

I have included a carrot picture that shows how the transplanted carrots have done. I have more to transplant and lettuce, fennel, and some really late beans to plant as soon as I can get into the garden - seed dry and plant wet.

Happy Gardening

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grafting Again

This is a great miniature hosta with loads of flowers - no I don't know the variety.
The purple devil plant - yes, that's the name from the catalog.
The Italian dandelions seem to have a different flowering process.
The tobacco loves this hot steamy weather - we are growing it for its flowers.
This seasons first ripe tomatoes.
This is the plant that I broke the terminal bud out of and it has recovered nicely.
Leaf spot.
Poor broccoli heads.
These potato flowers are really pretty.
The next batch of grafted tomatoes.

After the excitement of earlier this week things has calmed down. The lettuce has made a comeback but I had to replant most of the pole beans. I was trying a new variety of pole bean this summer but most of them were lost to the ground hog. I think I have maybe one or two hills and the rest I planted again with my old saved beans. I don't know what that variety is called but we like it and we should get a crop. The ground is warm so they have already started pushing up and should catch up with the few others quickly.
I picked the first tomato today but I am not sure which variety it is ( records, records, records?) I have a picture of the tomato that a few weeks ago that I broke the terminal bud off. The plant has replaced the leader with a sucker and has hardly slowed its growth. I have a fair crop of green fruits on most plants so we will have plenty of tomatoes soon. With all the rain, leaf spot has returned even with straw down so I have started to cut off the infected leaves. I never compost any tomato plant parts but take them to the city leaf dump. (I do the same with cucumbers.) Even if I cut off leaves the first foot up, the tomato plant fruit production does not seem to be affected. Some of this years plants seem more susceptible to leaf spot than others so that might be a consideration for whether a variety is grown again.
The broccoli is ready for harvest but I am not impressed with the flower heads. I don't know if it's the weather - too hot for broccoli - or just the variety, but the heads are small and bolting fast. We will have to see what the side shoots look like for the final decisions. We have also had peppers as a breakfast side with scrambled eggs - the variety is "Healthy" and they are an early harvest so they are not fully mature, but good.
The melons and cucumbers are finally happily growing up the trellises and I have flowers and some developing fruits. Even the zucchini have flowers and small fruits but watching the roadside, I see that the Chicory is blooming so that means Squash Vine borers are on the wing so its time to protect the plants. I will mound more dirt up around the stems, check the undersides of leaves for eggs and maybe dust with a bit of Sevin just as a precaution.
The potatoes are flowering. This years plants have particularly beautiful flowers as the above pictures can attest. Now in a few weeks we can try stealing a few new potatoes for an early taste of the corp.
I pulled out the pea vines and thinned the parsnips, planted more egg plants and the celery root and as the heading says, grafted a third set of tomatoes. This time I put "Green Grape" on the Red Peach root stock. I really don't think I will get fruits but at least I get the practice of grafting. I think all the tomato seed is on sale so I think I will buy some just to practice a few more times.
Susan and I are both part of a Triathlon sprint relay team, along with friend Mary Ann, this coming weekend in Door County ( you can check it out at )and I also have an art fair to attend as an artist selling my original lampowork glass beads at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum Art Festival in Neenah, Sunday July 18 from 10-4, so I think that there may be a brief pause in the posting so we can catch our breath after next weekends back-to-back activities.
Happy Gardening

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy July 4th

Door County water lilies
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Red Zinnia and a photo shop of the same picture.
'Packman' broccoli - a catalog quality picture
This little Trader Joe rose plant has really been a great buy even after 4 months.
These are the transplanted beets to date.
A critter is snacking on my carrots.

These are transplanted carrots.
I put cayenne pepper on these after they were eaten.

This lettuce is doing well under the trellis for the melons and cucumbers.

Sunny hot July weather sure makes the garden grow. After a quick trip to Kansas City, MO to move our eldest son, we arrived back to lush grass needing cutting and good growth in the garden even only after three days being gone. But in my absence an evil critter somehow got into the garden and the dandelions, broccoli, carrots and beans show its presence. I hope its a bunny and not a ground hog ( they are really tough to trap). The lettuce and pea vines are not eaten to the ground as in the last ground hog attack so I think (hope) it's a bunny. Now all I have to do is see it and then the chase is on. I figure it's a small one able to get under the fence someplace and now big enough not able to get back out so I'll help it out - PERMANENTLY.

I snapped suckers this week and did not break any terminal growth off. I have green tomatoes on several plants and the grafted plants are making a good effort to catch up with the other plants. The next set of scions and root stock is in the greenhouse and maybe in a week or so I should be able to try again. I should put out the watering jugs soon as I have rain barrel water but not enough gallon jugs to do all the tomatoes.

The beets are doing nicely and so are the carrots except for the ones the unknown critter ate. Fortunately, it did not eat them to the ground and only ate a few leaf stalks and that is why I am thinking - bunny. I planted more carrots today along with fennel, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and lettuce. I also planted another cucumber in a pot for greenhouse culture as the current plants seem to have run out of steam and are not putting on many new fruits so maybe it's time to pull them. I gave one a fertilizer shot in hopes of some new growth.

The cucumbers are finally taking off in the garden. The melons are still slow. I planted pole beans before I left and most of them are up. With the critter danger lurking, I will dust them with cayenne pepper religiously till the danger is removed. I buy the biggest containers of cayenne I can find as it work well to keep bunnies off transplants and spring crocus. One must reapply after rain. Some plants will show burning from the pepper but soon grow out of it faster than if the rabbits eat them to the ground.

I have again included some of the photos that were selected by the TGOA/MGCA convention judges.
Happy Gardening