Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Young Poke Weed near Blooming stage.
Mature Poke Weed Flower
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Folks, I've run on to a plant that is bewildering me. It kinda looks like a berry bush but since I've never seen it before and I've never seen a squirrel or bird eat the berries, I am a little leery of it.
So I am putting it up here to let you take a look at it. It's rather a pretty plant. This is about 3 foot tall, but I have seen it a few years back about 6 foot tall.
Here we see the tiny white flowers that will become berries within a few days. The flower stem is about 5 inches long as well as will be the berries that will form from it.
The leaves as you can see are broad and fairly big.
When the "berries" are completely formed and "ripe" they have turned a deep reddish wine color.
This is what it looks like before it's finished.
So there you have it folks. This thing looks rather alien. Hope it's not some kind of "Pod" plant!
Friday, August 15, 2008
A few weeks ago a visitor came to our door one evening and decided to make it home. Just out on the porch steps a large "Orb" garden spider weaves an enormous web every evening about an hour after sundown. Early in the morning just before the glow of early morning she quickly gathers up her web full of small insects and takes them home. Home is a hanging gismo like spider decoration hanging down over the porch eve.
It's kinda like a short windchime - without the chimes. Its legs and feet hang down about 4 inches from the body and its feet are little bell shaped metal things that are about the size and shape of hershey kisses.
This is where "Charlotte" lives during the day and I presume eats her breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is also where she goes if it starts to storm in the middle of the night. I found it very hard to get a good picture of her but I will keep trying.
I'm also not sure of her identity. Can anyone help me here?.
Charlotte is about the size of a quarter over all. My wife is very solitisus of her and makes sure people going in and out the door avoid disturbing her or her web. Charlotte has been around now for about 3 weeks. And ate a lot of mosquetoes. I can deal with that.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A few days ago, I realized I was going to have to put a tall stake in my Tomato Derricks (TM). So I ripped some sturdy stakes from a red cedar fence board and stained it with green stain. The plants are already reaching the top of the stakes.
And I'm dreaming up some kind of extension that can be bolted to the 6 foot stake!
And the plants are loaded with green tomatoes. I think I'm going to need to rig something up fast.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
All Rights Reserved
Some people have been wandering what my Tomato Cages look like when the plants are more mature. Well, take a look. I call them Tomato Derricks (tm) because they look like Oil Derricks Without the Christmas Tree lights! They do a wonderful job of supporting my tomatoes. I developed these myself over a three year period of testing and revising. I hated the looks of fence wire cages, Upside Down Wire thingys, and tomatoes left to sprawl all around - many rotting on the ground. These not only look good, but will last several years with care - Some of mine are over 10 years old! You will find that they do a wonderful job of protecting the tomato plants and beautifying your garden too. Each comes with 2 ground stakes that I've seen keep the Tomato Derricks (TM) secure in near hurricane force winds.
A lot of people would like to have these in their garden and "How-To plans for personal use are Available . If you would like to build them for resale, Please contact me. The design of the Tomato Derricks (TM) and the plans as well are copyrighted. Home use (built for your garden) plans are only $12 Postpaid.. We use PayPal for your Safe Ordering. We never give your name to anyone else.
Contact RobertLee97@gmail.com for Order Form
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Lets see. Today is July 8. I finally got my last tomato plant in my Tomato Patch. If it takes 80 days to get a mature tomato, I should be able to pick my first ripe tomato about [insert DrumRoll here] Tuesday of September 25! Our first real freeze is generally right on time - Halloween - October 31. I don't usually raise "Determinate" tomatoes but that's what their going to be this year. They have about 30 days to Make it or Bust! As I placed my last tomato today. I could hear the rumbling. The rains started in April and as you know, they hardly stopped in the Central MidWest states. I did manage to get two "back-up" tomato plants in fairly early and they have a few small tomatoes started. And the days are turning hot - tomatoes don't like to set in hot weather once the nights reach close to 80 degrees. But tonight is 71 degrees. Perfect night temperature (when they set on)for tomato plants. A cold-front has moved in and a line of storms reach from down in the Baja area of Mexico stretch across the midwest all the way up into Minnesota. And it raining again.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
flowers ... I bought and planted 1/2 pound of clover seeds
in the lawn to distract them ... $8.00
... and waited patiently for the clover to germinate -
as my husband raised an eyebrow and the baby bunnies
continued munching my flowers.
So I went to the pet store and bought a bale of timothy hay and
gourmet rabbit food to distract them ...$27.00
... and while my husband shook his head in dismay,
the bunnies joyfully added my new bunny buffet
to their favorite flower diet.
So I went to the nursery and bought yarrow, asters,
coreopsis, and lamb's ear ... $42.00
... because these were on the internet
list of rabbit proof plants.
My husband was less than amused-
but the baby bunnies were delighted!
The bunnies love me now, (my husband is questionable),
and as they sidled up to me in the garden last week; I noticed
that they were covered in nasty ticks. So I went back to the
pet store and purchased flea and tick spray
made just for rabbits ... $12.99.
And they sat contentedly eating my rose bushes as
I sprayed each bunny one by one ...
I didn't tell my husband.
Today, they hopped happily into my bee balm,
(another so- called "rabbit-proof" plant)...
but they are tick-free!
Rabbit supplies ... $89.99
Marital status ... shaky
Peace of mind ... priceless
Gracefully Contributed by Susi Gifford
Sunday, June 8, 2008
- Determinate Tomatoes are tomatoes that bloom and bear in a very narrow time window. 2 or 3 weeks only in a growing season.
- Indeterminate Tomatoes - the ones most of us grow, have a long blooming season. Indeterminate Tomatoes, once the start blooming, bloom all summer up until the bitter end and the First Freeze. Here in Central Kansas, last year, mine bloomed and bore right into the last of October. I had to bring in several buckets full to avoid them being frozen on the vine. Anything smaller than a golf ball; I told my grandkids to let on the vine.
- At all costs, do not plant your tomatoes in the same spot as last year. The fungus that got your tomato plants last year, may well get them again this year. It lives in the soil. This year, plant somewhere different.
- Always plant in full sun. Tomatoes like at least 10 full hours of sunlight a day. 12 is ideal. Also, Tomatoes blossoms set fruit on at night. You may have tons of blooms but if the nights are not at least 55 degrees - no cooler and not over 75 degrees, tomatoes will not set. And you wont see any little tomatoes until those conditions are met. That's why tomatoes will set in the warm spring. Not in hot summer, then they will start bearing like crazy again in the fall when it cools down - just before the freeze. Now you know.
- Do your tomatoes have tons of luscious green leaves and not much else? To much Nitrogen. Cut back on the fertilizer. If the leaves soon turn yellow after first opening, you probably need to add fertilizer. Once production is started. Stop fertilizing. If tomatoes think they are starving to death, they start bearing like crazy. "Got to Save the Family. Quick -have more kids!" Tomatoes are funny like that. In this case, a little stress is good for them even if they don't like it.
- Don't use a herky-jerky method of watering. Water regularly. Never let your tomato plants dry out. If you reach down into the soil with your finger - one inch, and it doesn't feel damp, you need to water. If you placed a large coffee can around your new tomato plants when they were first planted Your cans embeded at least one inch in the soil - you will not only protect your young plants from cutworms, you have a handy watering container. Depending on your climate, fill these cans up with water as often as necessary. I paint mine with a cheap green enamel paint inside and outside. They last several seasons with cleaning and care. But note again. Erratic watering produces misshapen and especially Cracked tomato skins and flesh. So, to avoid ugly tomatoes, water regularly. Drying out also causes "Blossom End Rot" -Ugly, leathery, black circular spots on the blossom end. These get thrown away.
- For best tasting tomatoes, pick fully ripe on the vine. Picking early and letting ripen atop your refrigerator is O.K. but you will loose flavor. This is what you buy in most grocery stores. Nice, vine ripened tomatoes you get at your local Saturday Afternoon Farmers Market. Also, I suspect; tomatoes are like grapes. The longer on the vine they are left to ripen, the sweeter they are! Let me know if you find this to be true. I'm also going to experiment with this.
- Don't let tomatoes sprawl on the ground. A lot of tomatoes will be wasted do to high winds and bugs. Always use a stake to tie them to as a minimum and also a wire or wood cage, or derrick like I designed if you want to snazzy up your garden a little. (See Page 1 ). Tie the main stem loosely to a stake set within a few inches of the plant. Years ago people used old strips of torn cloth. Now you can buy green twine or plastic (bread tie) stuff at any store that sells plants etc. Bread ties are probably too short. Trash sack ties work great! Do they still include those with the bags? I don't do trash anymore... Also, I hope to have How-To plans available soon for my Tomato Derricks. Be watching for them.
- Do not mulch around your tomatoes until the soil is thoroughly warm. Mid -June for here in Central Kansas. Mulching early, usually when you first put the plants in, will slow the growth of your tomatoes by a couple weeks at least. But Do Mulch. It keeps the ground cool and holds moister in longer and more evenly.
- Never Spray Your Tomatoes When Watering. This promotes fungus growth. Always water close to the ground. If you use coffee cans around your tomatoes you can just stick the hose in them. I found that one minute of watering this way for each can is just about right . Since it will be hard to see through the foliage later on. You might want to add a little fertilizer again near Fall.
I hope this article has been helpful. Have a great gardening day!
PS: Don't forget to check back often . Or check on the Atom reader below. You'll get notices of my new articles automatically in your e-mail.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
This disease is spread and carried to other roses by the leaves of infected roses coming in contact with soil and water that splashes onto them.
Infected leaves should be removed and not composted. If your roses have symptoms of the disease, spray them with fungicide for Black Spot to protect the canes and any new growth that may occur during the season.
For next year, I would recommend spraying roses with fungicide as soon as new growth appears, and then again during the growing season according to label directions. Black Spot will not kill your roses...it just defoliates them, and affects their ability to perform photosynthesis, which in turn affects their ability to produce flowers. Good luck...
Article By Melissa Medina
Gracefully Contributed To GrandBobsGarden on June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Probably the quickest Garden Seed Marker of all is to pound a stick in the ground next to your seeds, slip the seed package over the stick right side up, (unless you already ripped the top side off the seed package when you opened it - in which case all bets are off ); then drop a fruit jar over it. It works!
a little class in our gardens, even if it's just nice Seed Markers. I checked in the garden catalogs and at the plant nurseries and I just couldn't find markers that I wanted to use. I finally designed my own.
And a saw. The type of saw is optional. You Could use a simple handsaw. A coping saw, an electric saber saw, or if your a real woodworker, a table saw. Use what you have or what you can afford. If this was rocket science I wouldn't be doing this.
A hammer thats easy for you to handle. Even a small tack hammer would work.
White enamel paint. Regular spray can paint from the discount store will work.
Lets Get Started!
Rip Marker Stakes
Rip Marker Stakes out of 1" (actually 3/4 inch - Don't ask) thick lumber or just cut 12 inch lengths of "1 x 2" lumber and avoid the "ripping" step. In any case you need some skinny little boards about 1-1/2 inch wide, cut into 12 inches long stake pieces.
Make a Point on Bottom of Stake
Miter (cut at an angle) one end of each stake. This end will now go easily into the ground.
If your a Boy Scout, you could shape the points with an ax. Do they still do that? I sure hope so.
Make the Plaque Pieces.
You can "resaw" 2 X 4 studding into 1/2 inch lumber like I did (not recommended for amatures), Cut out 3" X 4" pieces from 1/2 inch plywood; or just buy 1 X 4lumber from your Builders Supply Store and cut into 4 inch lengths
giving you quick little Plaques that are 3/4 thick instead of 1/2" You could then cut the corners off at a 45 degree angle just for good looks. Or not.
Here is Your Parts
The glass of iced tea is optional.
ATTACH THE PLAQUE
Here you will notice that the plaque is set about 1/4 inch down from the top of the stake instead of flush with it. This is so when you tap it in, you won't hit the plaque. Just center the plaque over the stake and nail it down as shown with 2 nails.
If your Really serious about these markers, you could slip a little waterproof glue on the stake before nailing it.
Your Assemble Marker Looks Like This
Not Bad. You might even be able to take these to the local Farmers Market. Be My guest. But were not quite done.
PAINT YOUR GARDEN MARKER
I like to use a White Enamel. Regular spray paint is fine. You might want to experiment with other colors but I find White easy to use with a permanent marker. If you are a little bit of an artist, you could put some nifty border designs or even "Plant Characters".
You Could Write Directly on the Plaque
I used a large Permanent Marker here. However,
you could do it a differant way. See below.
Use a Replaceable Card
Print your information on a plain 3 X 6
notecard. Thumbtack it to the plaque.
Protection From Wind and Rain
Slip a sturdy zip-lock sandwich bag over the
Plaque and tack it down too. Walla - A Garden
Marker with a rain coat!
Hope you try these out. I use them in my own garden.
PS: Many, Many more projects and articles are coming. Don't miss a one!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Anyway, shortly after that I put the little onions in the ground. The soil was terrible in this spot but I didn't have time to work it over. It was typical "Fill" soil often used around new housing to provide proper run-off. A little subsoil and chunks of clay as big as your fist. It was put in years ago, about 1960 when the house was built and was never amended with good topsoil or something to lighten the soil to compensate for the clay. The only thing growing in it this spring was a few weeds and grass. I dug the bermuda grass out of the bed, plunked in the little onion bulbs worked a little dry fertilizer in and hoped for the best.
As soon as most of the onions are pulled, I will dig some of the old subsoil out, add some topsoil and a little compost, old leafs etc, and maybe a little fertilizer in preparation for a fall crop that should be good until December and even early next spring when any onions left will probably come up again. Previous onion plantings have survived here in zone 6; especially if a little dry leaf or straw cover is layed over the plot. You can do it too. It took me three years to learn how to grow big onions in Central Kansas where I live now. I will have an article on how to do that later on for you people who want to try it yourself. You can grow an enormous amount of onions in a small space! And maybe it won't take 3 years to learn how to do it!
But first you need to get a better idea of your soils composition if you want to grow anything. This is how to go about checking to see just what your soil is made up of. In a later article, I will tell you how to check your soils PH etc.
Things You Need to Check-Out Your Soil's Composition:
- An old quart fruit jar - or any clear container that you can put about a quart of water in.
- Water to fill the container about two-thirds full.
- 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent used as a "wetting agent".
Start adding soil alittle at a time until the jar is just about full. Shake it up ( I would recommend a lid here) and let the mixture settle out for a few hours. First you will see the sand and other heavy particles settle to the bottom of the jar and (after several hours) fine silt and clay will settle out last at the top. You might want to compare this with soil from a good growing plot. If you aren't able to grow anything in your soil, find a friend or neighbor who can. Compare his soil with yours. You may be surprised at the difference. And you may learn a lot from this experiment!
Will your plants thrive in your soil?
The Early pioneers had 2 things that they used to check for good soil. First they looked for weeds. If the weeds were growing proliferously, there crops would probably grow well too!
Second, they tasted the soil. If it tasted "sour" - it was too alkaline. If it was "sweet" it was acid inclined and was probably good farming soil for their crops. If you want to avoid paying for a ph test kit for about $20 dollars, you could try the old fashioned method I suppose, (I can't recommend it) or you could take soil samples to your local county extension office. They'll check it out at a nominal price. Sometimes, you can even mail in test samples of your soil and in a week or so they will mail you the results of the tests. There is usually a small fee for this service. Look for them under your government-county listings in the phone book.
That's all for today.
Have a great Gardening Day and stop-by again Soon!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
New Growth From Lilac Cuttings
This is a new shoot coming off of a 2 inch cutting. It took approximately 2 weeks to see new growth and the beginning of roots. With about 30 cuttings, I am seeing a 75% success rate at this point. Cuttings were all made with a sharp "box knife" at a 45-degree angle and the cut ends tipped into a "rooting compound" called SCHULTZ Take Root. A rooting hormone. I then made an appropriately sized hole in the rooting soil and pushed the cutting (hormone side down) into the soil. Make sure the top of the cutting is upright. Leave a leaf on it so you know which side is UP!
I mixed equal portions of Potting Soil (The Cheapest I could find ), Kiddies Play Sand (once referred to as "Sharp Sand", (fine), Peralite, and Top Soil purchased from the local True Value store. I then added a little water. Just enough that the soil was well moistened but still slightly crumbly in the hand after making a ball in your fist.
You will want to keep the soil just about this moist throughout the process.
The photo below gives you an idea how your soil should look.
VERY IMPORTANT POINTS
1. Best water from the bottom when possible.
2. Keep a cover over container-save moisture.
3. Mist cuttings at least once a day. More is better.
4. Allow a little fresh air every day for an hour or so every day.
5. If you tug on the new plants and they resist, they probably have a good root system started.
When they have good roots, repot into small pots for further growth. This is when I add a half/strength of Miracle Grow. It may not be politically correct but it works fast and doesn't stink. Fish Emulsion anyone? I try to stay as Organic as possible - but I'm not a purist.
I also use a plastic shoebox from the Dollar Store. They come with a nice lid, are stackable, and cost around a dollar here. I then use an 8th inch bit in my electric drill and punch several holes in the lid and several more in the bottom. The lid for some air circulation, and the bottom to allow watering if needed. In the time it took for my cuttings to produce new growth, I didn't have to water once. I did mist every day. Sunlight? My cuttings were outside on a table in constant shade. Now that I have new growth, I will gradually introduce them to more and more sunlight over a 2 or 3 week period. Be careful. New cuttings sunburn easily and also will quickly die from to much sun - to soon.
A shoebox full of new growth cuttings off my wifes Lilac bush.
Bye, and thanks for stopping by!