• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Summer Gardening Tips

Mid-summer my garden still thriving in spite of the heat.  Usually in the month of August here in the McKenzie valley, Oregon warm not overly hot without humidity.  Since late spring when all seedlings are in the ground, I have been faithfully weeding, watering, and fertilizing to keep them healthy until harvest day.

Next summer, if you want to keep your garden growing and being able to harvest a bountiful vegetables from your garden, you might want to consider this.

In addition using well-known water wise techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, try grouping your vegetables according to their water needs when you plant them.  That way you can vary their amount of water you give different plants of your garden.  In general try giving your crops no more water than they need, rather than as much as they can withstand.

Mulching the plants is also beneficial suppressing the weeds and keep the moisture in.  Use chemical free grass clippings this is important because you do not want toxic substance in your vegetables.  They also can kill your plants.    Compost as well as shredded leaves are good for mulching and an added benefit for the vegetables.

To fertilize  I use a combination or compost tea and 2 tablespoons of fish powder per gallon diluted with water.  I make my own compost tea, you can get them in the nursery, but, do ask how they make their compost.  You do not want to feed your plants with unknown ingredients.

Happy gardening………

Autumn Harvest and October Gardening Calendar

Autumn Harvest

Late August through October is my hectic time in  the garden.  Harvesting every other day before frost arrive.  From the garden, juicy tomatoes, carrot, pumpkins, digging the potatoes, kale, mustard, chard, etc.  The orchard, apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries and last month blueberries.

So far this year has been excellent, over abundance of everything.  That is good for my hard work.  (smile broadly)

October is the month to start preparing the garden for winter and next year planting.

  • Spade or till available organic matter such as tree leaves, into the empty spaces in the vegetable garden.
  • Mass plantings of one type or color of spring bulbs masses a more effective display than mixing them.  I’ve place an order for next hear bulbs.  Waiting with excitement.
  • Scrape loose bark from trunks, forks and main limbs of apple trees to eliminate sites where insects could winter.
  • Save seeds from vegetable and flower garden.  I have gathered cosmos and marigold.
  • Plant evergreens now and winter rains will do the watering.
  • Dig and divide rhubab (should be done about every four years).
  • Rake and destroy disease infested leaves. apple, cherry and rose., etc.
  • Harvest squash and pumpkins.  Store in dry area 55F. to 60F.
  • Dig and store potatoes in a cool, dry and dark location so they don’t turn green,
  • Clean and oil gardening tools, coat with handles with raw linseed oil to prevent cracking.
  • Mulching around azaleas, rhododendrons and roses will keep weeds from invading and will protect the roots that are close to the surface from severe cold.
  • Correct any drainage problems in the yard before the winter rains begin.
  • Devide crowded perennials.
  • Harvest sunflower heads and hang them in a warm dry area to dry the seeds.
  • Shake off dead rose petals, allowing hips to form.  Plants will then wind down and go dormant.
  • Early October begin manipulating light to force Christmas cactus to bloom in late December,
  • Store garden supplies, fertilizers in safe, dry place out of reach of children.
  • Ripen green tomatoes indoor.
  • Clean and paint greenhouses and cold frames for plant storage and winter growth.

 Happy Ggardening……

 

For the compost and vegetable garden

 

 

Butterfly Garden

Butterfly with its dainty wings fluttering in the air.  Hopping from flower to flower feasting on sweet nectar.  Swallowtails, monarchs enjoying their leisure time in the  garden.  It is indeed a joy to see these beautiful creature in the garden. To keep them visiting often,  install a fountain, small pond or bird bath this would benefit the butterfly to linger a little longer.   Butterflies visit both fragrant and scentles flowers including white.  They seem to prefer small flowers or florets that are arranged flat, round or elongated clusters.  Appreciated, too, is a shelter afforded by tall hedge, sturdy wall, or a butterfly house.

Also,  growing these flowers in your garden will surely attract these gentle creature.

Daylily (Hemerocallis), prefer sun or partial shade.  Need fertile and well-drained soil.   Watch for trips which brown and disfigure the buds control them with soap spray.

Delightful lilac (Syringa), I love the sweet scent of this flower and butterfly seem to enjoy it too.    Lilac need full sun, good fertile soil and drainage.  Prune immediately after bloom by removing oldest stem.

lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). prefer fertile soil, well-drained, blooms in the summer.  Aromatic gray foliage.  Prune immediately after bloom to keep plants compact and neat.

Pansy (viola) prefer light shade, moist soil, plant no more than 6′ apart.  These flower looks pretty in hanging basket.

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), prefer sun, sandy, humus rich soil, pinch plants when they are 3-4 inches tall for more bloom.

Sedum, “autumn joy”, flower in late summer or early fall.  Grows in full sun and in well-drained soil.  Wet soils especially in winter will cause rot at the crown, pest free, but watch out for deer, they will nibble on the tender crown.  Division is necessary to maintain good flowering.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta), start seeds indoor or by young plants.  Grow in full sum or partial shade in average soil, well-drained or dry soil.  Plants usually survive winter, depending where you live.  Self-sow freely.  Long blooming and trouble-free.

Cosmos,  annual,  (cosmos bifintus and cosmos sulphureus), sow seeds indoors for early bloom, sow outdoors when soil warm or buy young plants.  Grow in full sun.  Don’t over fertilize soil, you will get more foliage than flower.  Tall variety need support.  Remove faded flowers for further blooming.  Put cut flowers in deep water to prevent wilting.

Marigold,  annual, sow seeds indoors 6 week in advance or directly sow outdoors after weather warms.  Plant in full sun in average soil.  Remove faded blooms for more flowering.  Good cut flowers.

Zinnia, (zinnia elegant hybrid), sow seeds indoors 4-6 week, or sow outdoors after last spring frost.  Grows best in warm weather in full sun, and in well fertilized soil.  Keep faded bloom picked for more flowering.  In cool, humid weather can be subject to powdery molds.

Butterfly House

 

Colorful Butterflies

Happy Gardening !

June Garden Calendar

First week spray for codling moth and scab in apple and pear trees.  Continue use of pheromone traps for insect pest detection.

If you have had problem with apple maggot insect, try coating three or four red balls with Tanglefoot (a sticky product like glue) and hanging them on the tree

Plant insectary plants to attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Learn to identify beneficial insects such as ground beetles, rove beetles, ladybugs and their larvae, lacewings and their larvae, minute pirate bugs, syrphid or flower flies, spiders and wasps.

Apply fertilizer to lawn.

When mowing never cut more than one-third of the grass-blade length.  If the grass is three inches long mow off one inch.

Control adult root weevils in rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses and other ornamentals.  Use beneficial nematodes if soil temperature is above 55F.

Remove seed pods after blooms have dropped from rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.

Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.  Control garden weeds by pulling , hoeing, or mulching.

Sow the seeds of green beans, sweet corn and squash (summer and winter) directly into the vegetable garden,

Plant starts of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Sow seeds of Zinnia,cosmos, sunflowers directly into the garden.

Plant cucumber around the middle of the month.  Cool temperature cause bitterness.

Continue to bait for slugs and snails especially around new plants.

Cut rhubab.  Cease harvesting when stalks begin to get spindly.  Trim off seed stalks.

Harvest ripe vegetables.  Thin future squash and pumpkin crops by cutting off blossoms.

Use netting to protect blueberry plants from robins and other birds who like the berries.

Trim watersprouts or suckers from the trunks of fruit trees.

To attract hummingbirds to the flower garden plant crocosmia, nasturtium, Salvia and penstemon.

Happy gardening !

Garden Hints for February

Looking around the garden after the winter storm,  lots of work to be done.  Strawberry plants needs to be pruned.  I found this garden information a help.

  • Have soil test performed on garden plot to determine nutrient needs.
  • Test leftover seeds by placing a few of each in a damp-rolled paper towel.  Keep in a warm place for five days and see how many germinate. If none sprout, you need a new supply of seeds.
  • All out slug and snail control begins as new shoots of annuals and perennials appear.
  • Prune clematis, and other Vining ornamentals.
  • Plant seed flats of cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts).
  • Good time to plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs.
  • Delayed dormant sprays of lime sulfur for fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Dig and divide irises that are at least five years old.  Give extra to friend or enlarge your plantings.
  • Give rhubab clumbs a mulch of manure or a complete fertilizer to stimulate growth.
  • Consider making a hotbed or cold-frame for growing transplants.
  • Repair winter damage on trees and shrubs.
  • Prune roses.  Now is a good time to plant roses and new rose varieties.
  • As soil warms and earthworms become more active, so do the moles.  Trapping is the bes control.
  • If weather permits and soil is dry enough, spade or till garden areas for planting later.
  • Make planting plan for your vegetable garden;  include vegetable names, planting location, row spacing, plant spacing, succession crops.
  • Spade or plow down cover crops or other organic matter.

Happy Gardening !

Remembering My Garden Companion

Spencer was his name,  a Labrador Retriever trained to retrieve motionless ducks in the water.  But we never used him to retrieved ducks, instead Spencer became my constant companion everywhere, including the garden.

He loved to roam around the large garden, especially under a huge old maple tree.  Once awhile a squirrel would challenge Spencer for a hide and seek, which of course made him excited.  Barking furiously at the squirrel, running around the tree chasing the elusive creature until he tired of it.  Feeling exhausted and thirsty, he trotted straight to the pond for a drink.   Then Spencer find a peaceful spot to rest until the next adventure .    He also enjoyed chasing butterflies and small birds too, of course he never was able to catched any of them.  They were to quick for Spencer.

When the fruit season arrived, Spencer was over the moon.  Lots of food to eat.  He would sniff each fruit for ripeness.  One apple or pear was not enough, he ate many of them until he could not eat any more.

Spencer was a gentle, sweet, loving dog,  he enjoyed car rides and meeting people.  He was a people dog.  Gradually old age stole all his exuberance.  No more chasing  anything his energy was not there anymore.  On January 2000, my beloved garden companion heart gave out.  I felt heartbroken lost a friend who gave me joy everyday of my life.  My husband and I decided under the old maple tree would be a suitable final resting place for Spencer.  He would loved that as this area was his favorite playground.

Until we meet again……….

Here is a lovely poem to remember my garden companion.

RAINBOW BRIDGE  (author unknown)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so the can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;  they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent;  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face;  your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent rom your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together………

Source:

http://www.petloss.com

Dexter, our beloved Labrador age 11 passed away on September 27, 2010.   He spent one year in the Labrador foster home because no one want to adopt him.  We came along to adopt Dexter who was 8 month old, full of energy, playful, with a enormous appetite. 

We gave Dexter lots of love and a wonderful life, in spite of his health condition toward later in life.   The orchard was his favorite place to roam.   When the fruit trees heavy with apples, pears, plums and cherries,  Dexter would trot from tree to another looking for ripe fruit by sniffing.  Then, he pulled the fruit with such force the branch shook violently.  Naturally several would fall to the ground and he would gobbled them up too.  Harvest season was his favorite time of the year.  Not only eating was his passion, chasing squirrels, birds, occasional deer who came close to his territory.    He was an adventurous dog, enjoy roaming around the property.   We burried Dexter  near our other Labrador,  Spencer who passed away 11 years ago.

We gave you a wonderful stable home,   in return you gave us joy.  Have a good journey Dexter,  we will meet again……….

SEED STARTING

 

Growing your own seeds is fun and easy.   I have been sowing my seeds in the greenhouse for many years.  Timing is critical for success.  Soon I will be sowing peas in a reusable polystyrene trays with  individualized pyramid-shaped cells which virtually  eliminate transplant shock.   I have been using this type of tray for several years.  You may find the trays here http://www.groworganic.com/ , those mushroom containers, milk carton, tofu containers, yogurt/pudding cups,  they are all perfect for seeds starting.  First you need to clean the containers with a solution of 9 parts of water and 1 part of  chlorine bleach, followed by thorough rinse with water.  The picture on the left is the polystyrene tray where I sow garden pea seeds.

Need to remember too, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes are slow germinating.  You want this to start early, especially when summer is short in your area.  I sowed tomato seeds in March, peppers a little bit early in January.   The peppers have germinated well,  I spray them with chamomile tea to prevent damping off a fungus type disease.  Broccoli and cauliflower sowed in the greenhouse as well as herb seeds later this month.  The rest such as summer squash, pumpkins, lettuce, collard, kale,  carrots all directly sowed in the garden.
Use sterile soiless seed starting mixes.  Either you make them yourself or store-bought. Do not use garden soil as this contains weed seed, harbor diseases and tend to be muddy, hard and reducing germination and root growth.  Seed-starting mix containing sphagnum, vermiculite, limestone, and gypsum.

Read the seed packet for instructions and carefully determine when you have to start sowing, and  tinning the seedlings.  Germination can vary from few days to several weeks.  This depending on what variety of seeds you are sowing.  With my experience, you need to sow the seed thinly, over crowding will produce weak seedlings.  Into medium barely cover seed with starting soil and gently press into mixture.

Label and date each variety as you work.  This is important, if not you will forget which variety of seed you sowed.  Water lightly with a spray bottle.  Keep the soil moist as this important for gemination.  Then cover flats with clear plastic and keep out of direct sunlight. 

Remember to remove cover for an hour or two everyday to provide air circulation.  Most seeds germinate well between 70-75F.  I used heating cable that is buried under soil and the containers or flats I rest on it.  It worked well as long as you keep the heating cable on all the time.  Don’t forget to remove covers once 50 to 70% germinated.  Remove flats or containers from heat to prevent seedlings grow thin and leggy.

Place seedlings in a bright, sunny window or if you are lucky a greenhouse.  If you do not have adequate light use artificial light 12 to 14 hours each day.  I used plant fluorescent light in the green house after dusk.  I keep checking the seedlings for fungus disease.  This is their crucial time.  Seedlings require little fertilizer.  As they mature apply your favorite fertilizer


It is so much easier to thin seedling when they are larger. generally 1-2″ tall.  Thinning is necessary to prevent crowding.

Before transplanting in the garden, acclimate the seedlings outdoors 1to 2 weeks,  this is called hardening off.  Select spot out of direct sunlight and away from wind.  If nights are still cold bring them inside.  After several days, provide 3 to 4 hours direct morning or afternoon sun.  Gradually increase daily exposure to sunlight.

Move young plants to garden for transplanting preferably on cloudy day or late afternoon to minimize transplanting shock.   Set out hardy plants after heavy frost has passed.  Set out sensitive plants once night-time above 58F.  I covered sensitive plants with a sheet when the forecast called for low temperature.

Happy Gardening