Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beneficial insect or can I kill it?

This bug crept up on me while I was sitting on my deck! Ack! Scared the daylights out of me! I don't believe I've ever seen this bug before in my entire life of living in the same area. Can anyone identify what this is? It was about the length of my thumb. I prodded it with a cup and it stood up sort of like a praying mantis, and it had long fang-like protrusions coming from its head! It had no wings. It was gray or steel in color. It looked like some creation from a Burton movie. If it's not beneficial---I'M GOING TO KILL IT THE NEXT TIME I SEE IT!

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Melons and Cucumbers in Earthboxes

This is a side view of my melons and cucumbers planted in the original Earthboxes. I bought 3 of them out of curiosity after making my own. My plants do 100% better in these self-watering containers than anything else.

In these Earthboxes I have Baby Golden Midget watermelons (Baker's Creek), hybrid Little Baby Flower watermelons (Johnny's), and hybrid French Charentais melons (Baker's & Johnny's). The cucumbers are from a local vendor. I chose these types of melons because they were made for containers and the melons are smaller but still with good taste (or so I read). Any comments on the taste of these?

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Change comes quickly...

Adding wisteria and a grapevine to the garden

I know this picture looks the same as the ones below from the other day but this time there is a wisteria vine in the picture. I'm planting wisteria on one side and another grapevine on the other side of the arbor.

My Berkey Light Water Purifier

I thought I'd throw this in the mix of pictures. I haven't actually done anything with it yet. I am going to test it first! Since I've always been kind of a "yuck!" person, I'm planning on getting some river water, purifying through the purifier, and then I'm going to take it over to my soil & water conservation place to have them test it and see if it really does what it says it does! Sorry--I have to do this before I feel comfortable using it in an emergent situation where I'd have to use something like waste-laden river water!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Beginnings of my Secret Garden

This shot I took this morning has changed even since then! I bought a wisteria vine and a grape vine to wrap around the arbor. Oh, and the reason I have nothing growing in the right raised bed is because the rabbits have successfully eaten down everyone of my sunflowers I planted there. I was intending to grow them for seeds and beauty....didn't happen. I ended up plopping some of my veggies in containers on top of the raised bed for now where they'll get better sun. The sunflowers I picked out looked like they would've been really pretty. The sunflower in the picture was nothing but a wild sunflower seed that grew where it fell from the bird feeder! I just let it grow amongst the bell peppers I planted.

I'm in the process of tacking up 12" chicken wire around the base of my fencing. I am using garden staples hammered into the ground to keep the critters from getting into the fenced in garden area. I'll take a picture when I'm done to show you what I'm talking about.

Nevertheless, I am experiencing a wonderful view from my deck. Sometimes it looks like a jungle with all the wildlife that is thriving from my plantings.Birds, rabbits, butterflies, and bees are all gladly pollinating my veggies!

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Gardener's Mistake #23: Impulse Buying

That's right. I'm guilty of impulse buying when it comes to plants now. I just couldn't let the artemesia wilt away in the clearance aisle at Home Depot! Calendula was named the "Herb of the Year for 2008", so I couldn't pass that one up, either. A woman at the Farmer's Market was selling herbs, and she had the calendula and a feverfew plant. I couldn't leave the feverfew go by because of it's reputation of medicinal qualities that have little tiny white flowers similar to chammomile. The lily was sitting beside the artemesia plant in the clearance aisle for $1.50! Now all I have to do is figure out where to put them....hmmm....(before they die on me!)...

(L to R: calendula, feverfew, lily, artemesia)

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I Have Peaches!

I'm finally getting peaches this year!

My Rain Barrels Arrived in June!

My rain barrels arrived before expected in June! So here they are! The first weekend after I installed them, mother nature brought a storm and filled them to the brims! Since then, I've had more than enough water to water my plants without the water bills! I llloooovvee 'em!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

How to Make Your Own Garlic Powder--a Link

Go here for a photo essay

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Friday, June 15, 2007

How Can I Get Mad at This Little Face?!

Click here for bigger picture.

I actually got so close as to touch this little guy I found hiding behind my rasberry bush while I was watering everything! He ran as soon as I touched him, though.

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My Homemade Earth Box

homemade earth box

Here's my first homemade earth box. I forgot to put holes in the part the soil sit on top of. I also forgot to place a drainage hole towards the bottom. I did find some pond baskets at Home Depot in the pond department in gardening. The workers hadn't the slightest idea what i was talking about when I asked them where they were. I had to show them! lol They had never heard of such a contraption as I was making! The closest thing they could relate to what I was talking about was hydroponics! Oh well, they learned something that day! :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hanging Baskets

SINCE my dh won't allow me to hang anything from the deck for fear of splitting the wood, I thought of this idea. Nevermind the petunias on the left. I'm just trying to rescusitate them. They were a birthday present from my mother and I almost killed them by neglect because I was so busy during the time period in which I received them.

On the right is what I planted my cherry tomatoes in. I started these from seed and they are doing excellent. I am very proud of them!

Jerusalem Artichokes

I'm having NO problem growing these!

The rabbits aren't even eating them this year!


Weeds or Rasberry/Blackberry?

I'm having trouble identifying if there is a weed interspersed in my berries or if it is another part of the rasberry bush, especially the one in the middle. To the left is a clematis. This side of the fence is to be my berry bush side.

Future Orchard

Miller's peach tree planted this year

Shumway's peach tree planted last year
Partially school property

Here are my peach trees. They look very different from one another. One I bought from Shumways last year and one I bought from Miller's Nurseries and planted on this year's Earth Day. I think I might've pocketed some air when planting the Miller's peach tree this year. I hope it will come out of it. It only has one bud so far. I haven't had bugs on them yet as per someone I know on the ROE3 discussion list!

The longer view above is the whole area I where I want to plant more fruit trees (and ASAP!) We have a written agreement with the school corporation that we can plant A tree there if we mow the area and keep it clean up to the sidewalk. All of the area isn't our property there. So...I'm taking my chances. I have nowhere else to put fruit trees. I plan on planting pear and apple trees. If not both, I will use my inner backyard garden and try to grow some espalier dwarf apple trees and train them along the fence. Heaven forbid all of these things I'm growing along the fence if it falls down!!!

My Floating Row Cover Experiment

This is my floating row cover experiment. I'm going to use this mainly to keep the rabbits out. Here is where I planted some lettuce and carrots. I love those and know I and the family will eat these. I alternated each square foot with carrots (16 per sq.ft.) and Tom Thumb lettuce (4 per sq.ft.). When they seedlings start protruding enough to where the rabbits will want to eat them I will place some chicken wire at the opening and open and close it as needed. The water goes right through the cover. It does quite well. I am pleased so far.

Oh, I did plant a couple nasturtium up there in the left hand front corner. I didn't know where I wanted them and I needed to plant them or they would die so I just stuck them there.

Just Another Part of the Garden

Just a garden picture of part of my raised beds. I've planted mainly beans and squash here. The look of this bed has even changed since I took this picture. I've transplanted my peppers in the left>right part of the bed. The Victorian bell covers have been working wonderfully against the critters! If you click on the picture, you can also see a closer view of the trumpet vine and rose bush I bought and planted there in the background.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

My Cherry Tree and Two Elderberry Bushes

The Back "40"

This is a picture of my cherry tree from Miller's I planted this spring and then my 2 elderberry bushes I planted last fall. Sometimes I'm not sure if the elderberries are weeds or not! They sure aren't very pretty. The cherry tree did bloom and looked really gorgeous, though! I'm still waiting for fruits from these plantings. They're out in my "back 40" and I have to keep remembering to water the cherry tree--out of sight, out of mind.

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Aronia: an edible berry bush

I received these bushes from Miller's Nurseries this spring. Here is why I decided to buy and plant them in my edible landscaping:

"...In spring Aronia is covered with clusters of white, sweet scented flowers followed by shiny green berries that turn a dark bluish black in late summer to early fall, depending on location. The blueberry size fruit can be eaten fresh, usually with a sweetener and is known for making delicious and nutritious juice that also blends nicely with other fruit juices and wine. Aronia berries have up to 10 times the amount of antioxidants as other berries and are rich in Vitamin C, a great health benefit! Outstanding fall color of flaming red makes Aronia ideal for any landscape. An extremely adaptable shrub,it is rarely bothered by insects or diseases and has a high tolerance to salt making it ideal for roadside plantings. Once established Aronia is highly drought tolerant. Adapts to most soils but does best in a well-drained soil and a sunny area. ....Reaches about 6' at maturity and is hardy to -40 degrees...Self-pollinating. Zones 3-8."

Doesn't this sound like a good plant to have around? Hopefully they will do well and I will like them. If you are interested, go to
Miller's website here.

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After four years, I will FINALLY have some grapes! Yeah! The problem is, I recently bought an arbor to place at the entrance of the backyard (you can see in the topsy-turvy pictures below) so the grapes can climb around along with some clematis I planted awhile ago before the grapes were planted. The grapevine is totally wrapped around its present trellis.... I will eiher have to wait until winter to try and untangle it or I will just have to leave it in place and train the growing vines to go up and around the arbor. I would have bought an arbor sooner except that I couldn't find one I liked well enough for a reasonable amount of money.

This arbor was only $90 at BigLots. I REALLY like the wooden ones better but the ones I liked were anywhere from $300 on up. I didn't want to ask my dh to build me one because he and I think differently and he most likely would want one completely different than what I would probably want. We are already disagreeing on where the arbor should be placed--he wants it outside the fence, I want it inside next to the grapevine where I envisioned it. So we're at a standstill until he gets to the doctor and gets some blood pressure medicine because his blood pressure is high. I don't want him to stroke out on me because I insist on having it my way! I will wait until his blood pressure is controlled before I do that!

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My Topsy-turvy Upside-down Tomato Planter

I'm trying out the topsy-turvy upside-down tomato planter. So far so good. My dh wouldn't let me hang anything from the bottom of our second story deck for fear of "splitting the wood" so he came up with this idea--a chain hanging from around the tree limb. I hope it gets enough sunlight. It's been a week and it hasn't died yet.

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"Strawberry Fields Forever"

Well, not quite but look!

This is my very first strawberry I've ever grown! The plants on the top are from my local garden place. The smaller leaves in a couple of the lower tiers are ones I started from seed. I didn't have anymore to put in the lower tiers. Oh, well. I am proud because this was the first year in three that I've ever been able to start some strawberry plants from seed.

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