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Title: Gardening
Post by: Admin on April 16, 2007, 08:56:11 PM
Share your gardening tips.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on April 23, 2007, 01:46:33 PM
Mulch, mulch, mulch

There is no better way to keep down weeds and to keep the soil healthy over winter. Last year we mulched liberally, and this spring, getting the beds ready for the annuals is so very much easier.

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 24, 2007, 02:33:45 AM
Anne in Virginia, you're right about the mulch part.  What material do you use?  I use pine needles.

This year will be the first year I use compost I made myself.  Well, nature made it, but I bought the box to put the stuff for compost in (right here I should put a smiley face but I'm just showing red Xs and greyed out boxes).

I've got roses and amaryllis, iris and cactus blooming.  Passion flower and trumpet and honey suckle vine getting ready to bloom, with wisteria, pear, and dogwood already come and gone.  I've got climbing hyacinth and moon vine growing together on the West side of the house (keeps the West wall cool, too) but they won't be above the window tops and blooming until late June.

I do a few heritage tomatoes in pots, but generally get my veggies at the Farmer's Market.  And this year I have one hive of bees.  Started my backyard pond back up so they'd have a place to get a drink of water.

What's going on at your place?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on April 24, 2007, 03:03:26 AM
Nice to see the Gardening forum brought back.This winter in Los Angeles was our driest on record.I always throw wildflower seeds and sweetpeas on top of a strip of dirt above a cement wall on our patio.(A Six Unit Apt).My neighbor and I put up trellis type fencing to cover the wall about five years ago.So the sweetpeas usually cascade down over the wall.This year I hardly got anything due to the lack of rain.But this week a few sweetpeas are blooming and I go out and sniff them everyday.The smell should be against the law!Next weekend I'll probably throw white impatiens up there.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 24, 2007, 08:56:40 AM
I'm thinking about trying a few of the hanging tomatoes.

I mean the ones that actually hang upside down. The thought of not having to do any ground preparation or subsequent weeding is fascinating. Not to mention no worrying about cutworms and other ground based pests.

I could just string a clothesline type deal and even string a dripline right with it to water it.

Has anyone had any experience with these yet?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 24, 2007, 05:22:04 PM
Bosox, LOL on your laid-back gardening (style?).  And I agree that the smell of sweet peas is real nose candy (like some iris, especially those with yellow throats, smell like some types of fresh made Kool-Aid tastes).  A look at the sweet pea bloom with a magnifying glass is revealing and worth going to the trouble.  Too bad you can't get more dirt up on that ledge.  Sweet peas need about 4 inches.

DoctorDoom, about those hanging tomatoes . . . are you pulling our leg?  I mean, where do the roots get purchase?  Or are you planting in something way up off the ground and the tomatoes then cascade down from there?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on April 24, 2007, 10:53:55 PM
Donot actually I do have dirt 5 to 7 inches deep along most of the ledge.The neighbor put up a solid wood fence some years back and with the top rim of our lattice fence raised above the wall a bit I have been dumping old dirt from the pots up there as I replaced it and added some compost.It is about 14 inches deep enough for a row of like impatiens which fill in nicely.I just did not water much this winter and with lack of rain the flowers did not fill in.Last year I had a huge little garden of wildflowers atop the ledge all winter.I stick Scarlet runner beans up there each spring with posts and they climb up behind the impatiens.Today I noticed some pink sweet peas starting to bloom.All of them though are at one end of the ledge in shade.The rest went nowhere.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 25, 2007, 03:01:15 AM
Bosox, I'l be dipped and bronzed.  You've got a neat thing going on up there on that ledge.  Lucky you to have some peas volunteer from last year's seed.  I always have to plant anew.  I get some already started (about 4-6 inches high) from an old guy with a green thumb down at Farmer's Market.  Even with sometimes 50% mortality, I still get a good showing. Half my front yard is abloom with wild primrose.  I am expecting the city "yard police" to attempt to cite me for not having my lawn mowed.  I hope they don't, but I'll go to court if I have to.  I'll mow that portion of my lawn after those primrose have seeded.  Of all the wild seed I've put out there, the primrose is the only one that came up and thrived.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on April 25, 2007, 03:13:58 AM
Well I meant 14 inches wide for the space from front to back.I have never seen sweet peas from small plants.That would be nice.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on April 25, 2007, 03:16:51 AM
Out here there are folks who plant "The Parkway" that small strip of grass between sidewalk and curb that is city property with flowers or gravel and southwest style plants.It po's the city to no end but it looks great.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 25, 2007, 09:55:59 AM
Bosox, LOL on your laid-back gardening (style?).  And I agree that the smell of sweet peas is real nose candy (like some iris, especially those with yellow throats, smell like some types of fresh made Kool-Aid tastes).  A look at the sweet pea bloom with a magnifying glass is revealing and worth going to the trouble.  Too bad you can't get more dirt up on that ledge.  Sweet peas need about 4 inches.

DoctorDoom, about those hanging tomatoes . . . are you pulling our leg?  I mean, where do the roots get purchase?  Or are you planting in something way up off the ground and the tomatoes then cascade down from there?

No joke, I'm totally serious. Here's a link to one brand.

http://topsyturvys.com/10001.html



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 25, 2007, 12:13:47 PM
I swan, DoctorDoom.  Who'd of ever thought of such a way of growing tomatoes.  I went to the pictures of how to plant and was stumped by the very first instruction: Insert plant from bottom.  How the heck do you keep it from falling back out while you add the dirt, etc,?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 25, 2007, 12:54:01 PM
I went to the pictures of how to plant and was stumped by the very first instruction: Insert plant from bottom.  How the heck do you keep it from falling back out while you add the dirt, etc,?

LOL, it does sound weird.

But after giving it some thought it's possible, I suppose, that the roots would hold it in place long enough if the bottom has say a piece of plastic that is slit to accomodate the roots.

Otherwise it would seem to be a two man operation to get the thing planted. I suppose I'll just have to buy one of the darned things and find out.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 26, 2007, 11:15:50 AM
DoctorDoom.  Okay, I'll be waiting for you to file a report on your experience with the upside-down tomatoes.

I'm trying to decide if the bug tea I make with hot peppers will upset my bees.  I'm organic and I'm used to losing X amount to "critters" both above and below ground, but this bee thing is new to me, and with all the money I've invested in this little fling I don't want to fail before I even get started good.

Does anyone coming to this discussion compost?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 26, 2007, 02:58:50 PM
"Does anyone coming to this discussion compost?"


I've had a compost pile for years and years.

A couple of years ago my brother bought one of those drums that you turn every so often and add water to. So far he's swearing by it.

As to your bees have you ever tried buckwheat honey?? It appears waaaay darker(almost black) than regular honey but it's fantastic.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 26, 2007, 03:02:03 PM
BTW I asked the folks at Topsy-Turvy about the tomato falling out while you put the dirt in. Here's their reply,

"You have to lock the tomato plant in the locking foam split disk."




Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 27, 2007, 12:14:41 AM
DoctorDoom, now THAT upside down tomato planting technique I understand.

Compost.  So, you keep adding stuff, right?  So, you must need two compost piles (areas, tumblers, pens, whatever you keep it in) so that ONE of them can be FINISHED and RESTED enough to actually use in your beds?  I mean, you don't want to put fresh scraps, coffee grounds, etc., in your flower and vegetable beds/pots.  And, the scraps keep coming, there's no letup.  Of course you COULD just throw the scraps away for a while (Oh Noooo, Mr Bill.)

Tell me, Doctor.  What do YOU do?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on April 27, 2007, 12:46:44 AM
I thought about buying one of those little self contained units a few years ago but I still rely on buying storebought stuff once in awhile.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 08:23:50 AM

Tell me, Doctor.  What do YOU do?

Well, coming from a large farm family and having about two acres of total garden growing up as a kid our organic gardening was on a bit larger scale than most.

And you're right there were several "piles" of material that we used.

We had our own self made greenhouse that was approxamately 20ft by 25ft.
It was completely modular in design, two budding carpenters in the family, and came apart in the fall and was stored in the #2 barn.

Its "foundation" if you will consisted of several railroad ties planted in the ground. Every spring, as soon as possible, we would take the loader and dig the inside pit out.(That material went to one of the piles to become compost) Then a layer of manure(mixed with a small amount of hay) would be placed in the bottom of the pit. Then a new bed(layer of about 8 inches) of compost material would be placed on top of it. Then we would plant several types of plants to "start" growing. These would later all be dug up and planted in the various gardens proper.(we had about 4 or 5 areas in different parts of the farm) The little greenhouse basically produced all the same things you see sold abound the country these days, Tomatoes, peppers, cukes, etc etc,  except for those cute little plastic trays.(ours just sat in wooden trays(made by those little farmer carpenter boys) And were then put in a wagon that was about twice the size of those cute little wagons that are now pulled behind people's lawn mowers these days.(And yes you guessed it we made the wagon too from an old car axle some angle iron and some wooden planks(Dad was also a millwright and had his own welder)[Some day I'll tell you about how we made a wagon out of the rear part of an old dumptruck for hauling rock for various projects] But I digress. That is how we started much of our garden. Things like beans and such were simply hand planted in rows in the garden.

The manure under the layer of compost in the greenhouse served two purposes. One when it was dug up in the spring it "recharged" the layer of compost above it when mixed up and put into a holding pile for use later. Second cow manure gives off heat(something a lot of folks don't know) And it actually will warm the layer of compost that is above it. So it basically kept our little sprouts nice and comfy cosy in the cold spring nights.

Lots more stories where that came from. If you want to be bored out of your socks that is.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on April 27, 2007, 09:40:59 AM
Please, bore me some more!!  I'm envious of your childhood gardening adventures; they sound wonderful.  We do the community garden thing, and it's a lot of fun - but nothing like a couple of acres, your own compost, and a greenhouse (swoon!).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on April 27, 2007, 10:00:29 AM
I'm thinking about trying a few of the hanging tomatoes.

I mean the ones that actually hang upside down. The thought of not having to do any ground preparation or subsequent weeding is fascinating. Not to mention no worrying about cutworms and other ground based pests.

I have a friend who grew grape tomatoes like that last year and she said they did great.  Just put them in a spagnum moss lined basket and water liberally.

I could just string a clothesline type deal and even string a dripline right with it to water it.

Has anyone had any experience with these yet?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on April 27, 2007, 10:06:34 AM
Donot -

Ever planted a hanging petunia basket?  You just fill the thing with potting soil, then did through the spagnum moss at the bottom and stick your plant in, then put one or two up top.  Same concept with the hanging tomatoes - and I agree it is a great concept.

I noticed they sell ready-made moss-lined hanging baskets now, but I used to buy the large wire baskets and line them with the moss myself.  It's easier to plant that way.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on April 27, 2007, 10:09:22 AM
Hi, harrrie - it's bparton454 here.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on April 27, 2007, 10:20:20 AM
Hey, bparton454/desdemona222b -- nice to see you!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on April 27, 2007, 10:38:00 AM
DoctorDoom, As Harrie says, bore me anytime you take a notion.  It's like story time for grownups.  I never get tired of hearing "farm" stories.

BartBart, I grow some of my toonies upsidedown in hanging baskets (as you have described) every year.  I've got an ice plant in a hanging basket (not upsidedown) that has formed a huge ball.  Lord that thing loves sun. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 10:39:40 AM
Please, bore me some more!!  I'm envious of your childhood gardening adventures; they sound wonderful.  We do the community garden thing, and it's a lot of fun - but nothing like a couple of acres, your own compost, and a greenhouse (swoon!).

Well if you like potaoes I could give you a helpful hint or two I suppose.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on April 27, 2007, 11:15:53 AM
Well if you like potaoes I could give you a helpful hint or two I suppose.

I do love the spud -- in fact, the hubby wanting to grow taters like his grandfather did in Maine is mostly what started this community garden adventure a few years back.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 11:53:20 AM
Well if you like potaoes I could give you a helpful hint or two I suppose.

I do love the spud -- in fact, the hubby wanting to grow taters like his grandfather did in Maine is mostly what started this community garden adventure a few years back.

Well one method of growing potatoes makes it virtually weedless and it's basically plant, wait for them to grow to a foot or so and then just walk away and never worry about weeding them all season long.

Here's what you do. After your initial hilling is over.(I'll assume you know what hilling is) you get bailed hay, squarebailed, and remove it in chunks and place all around your tater plants. Squarebailed hay will come off in square chunks about 4 inches thick. You put these "all around" every square foot of potato plot ground. So all you're going to see is the green tater plants sticking up out of a bed of hay. Water the hay occasionally when needed but thats pretty much all you ever will need to do. Some of the taters will be undergound but many of them will simply lay on the ground under the hay. Which makes it real easy to get them come harvest time!

An added benefit is when the season is over and you've harvested, the hay can be rototilled right back into the soil for organic mulching so you build your soil up at the same time!!

Don't worry about hayseeds because they will never grow as long as you do this every year. Weeds won't grow either up through the hay as long as you spread it on in thick enough chunks. You may get an odd weed that pops up through a thin spot from time to time. But just pull it and plop down another chunk of hay in the offending thin area and walk away.

We used to plant our taters this way and basically never have to work them again all season long.

And the wonderful thing is that you can do this with "all" of your garden. The method works fantastic with tomatoes too.

The hay also does two other wonderful things for your garden. First it keeps moisture in the ground. That is essential for things like potatoes and tomatoes. But equally as wonderful its dry on top of the hay. So your tomatoes won't get that rot that they sometimes get when laying on bare soil. You'll get lots more usable tomatoes this way. The second benefit is that the hay will also act as a warm blanket for tomato roots at night-time as they take in solar heat in the daytime and retain it in the night-time. And as you know warm soil at night will make your tomatoes stronger and healthier. This added warmth is especially important in the early summer months.

Am I boring you guys yet??


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on April 27, 2007, 01:09:36 PM
We're big fans of hay for weed/pest control/water retention.  Our feed store guy carries salt hay, which we use instead of regular baled, or sometimes mix up the two, depending on our needs.   The hubby hills his potatoes twice a year, I think -- once at the foot-high stage, and about 4-6 weeks before harvest. They also get fish emulsion every 3-4 weeks, as does almost everything in the garden.   

We actually prefer to dig for the taters, because the garden is in a field of a state park and gets some traffic from "lost" hikers who happen to have bags with them.  Our first year, we got a bonus bag of seed potatoes from the feed guy and plantedthem in a fenceless plot. It was obvious that someone was checking them out as the season went on; every once in a while we'd find a potato lying around like someone had fished one out of the mound, decided it was too small, and just dropped it.  We don't want to make it too tempting for passersby to test our fence, so the potatoes stay underground.  We have to hide our pumpkins under hay when they start to turn orange, too.

Another gardener does the same thing ever year: He plants his potatoes and onions, hills the potatoes once, and comes back at the end of the year to harvest.  So we see him about three times a year. 

I don't think this coming summer will be our best year, but I'm still looking forward to it.  I'm planting beets and carrots in my containers this weekend, weather permitting.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 01:57:19 PM
We don't want to make it too tempting for passersby to test our fence, so the potatoes stay underground.  We have to hide our pumpkins under hay when they start to turn orange, too.  

Ever think about getting a rather large dog??(Grin)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 01:58:26 PM
Have you ever tried pail potatoes??


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on April 27, 2007, 02:15:07 PM
We don't want to make it too tempting for passersby to test our fence, so the potatoes stay underground.  We have to hide our pumpkins under hay when they start to turn orange, too.  

Ever think about getting a rather large dog??(Grin)

Have a large dog.  But he can't stay overnight in the garden plot -- I won't allow it, and neither will the state.

A (former) farmer friend of mine does the barrel potaotes.  I mentioned the technique to the hubby and he said "What's fun about that?"  We both like to mess around in the dirt and stuff, so regular gardening works out just fine.  Unless we can't do the plots some year -- then, a barrel may appear on our patio. 

By the way, I really want to know how your upside down tomatoes work out, too.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on April 27, 2007, 03:05:54 PM
By the way, I really want to know how your upside down tomatoes work out, too.

The thing is it's only the "pots" that you buy. The choice of tomato plant is up to you. And therein lies the dilemma.

Many hybrid tomatoes produce huge plants and I would "think" thereby putting a greater strain on the stalk/stem. Maybe some of the daintier heirloom tomatoes that we've recently seen a trend towards would work better. And then there's the decision of an early or late ripener.

Decisions decisions. What do you all think??


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on April 29, 2007, 09:25:26 PM
Donot,

We use pine bark mulch that we buy in bags from where it is cheap. We have a pile of three bags bought in the fall that never got put down. As a result, the bed of pansies with the mulch came up with little need to weed. The other bed of pansies is still weedy!

Hubby wanted to try those upside down tomatoes last year, but never got a round tuit. We grew some heritage tomatoes, they weren't quite as tasty as I'd expected. They were wiped out by the hornworms that got into the garden the week we went to the beach.

So far, we've had crocuses, daffodills, the pansies filled out, and the money plants that self-sow from year to year are up and now blooming. I've planted some pinks between the pansies and daffodils, and some petunias in the middle of the bed. I've got two more six-packs of pansies to go in. In addition, I've put out some herbs to supplement what came back from last year. The oregano is nice a nice sized patch at the top of the herb bed.

Yesterday, the clemantis began to bloom. Large lavender flowers with a center streak of deep purple. We planted a red clemantis by a dead pussy willow to grow up to the porch. I want to put a pink clemantis on the other side of it. The lavender/purple clemantis (I've forgotten the name), climb up tomatoes cages around a flag pole. They do no like climbing on the flag pole itself, so it stays the size of a bush instead of soaring.

The peaches have bloomed, and a late frost took out the little peaches. The apple tree has leafed out, but no blooms. A cherry tree came back from the dead, bloomed a bit, and is nice and leafy the bottom half. The top is clearly dead. It's OK. As it turned out, the cherries are for the birds, and the apples and peaches are for the deer. We do get some of the grapes!

Hubby retired last fall, so he hitched the rake of an old, broken tiller to the back of the riding law mower, and opened up a new bed between the driveway and the neighbor's woods. So far, I planted some broccoli and he planted some watermelon. I was going to plant some lettuce and radish seeds today, but was on standby for hubby's home repair project and never got it done.

Anne in Virginia (where the Queen of England is coming this week to see the fuss we are making over the 400th anniversary of Jamestown!)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on April 29, 2007, 09:47:33 PM
I apoligize, Donot, for taking so long to reply. I'd popped in here when there was nothing new on my regular forums, then forgot to check back. It's going to be on my regular route from now on.

For Easter, son gave us a new peach tree, an ornamental dwarf peach tree (maybe the deer will eat the fruit, and another grape. That, plus starting the large new bed on the hill, is keeping us pretty busy. Yesterday, we put in two Alberta Spruce Dwarfs in front of the house. It should help keep the west wall of the house from heating up so much in mid summer.

The azaleas are blooming now. Not quite as showy as usual. We had a fairly warm and very wet winter. I guess they got too much water. And, then, just as they were budding we had a hard frost that set them back.

The blackberries are springing up - some where we like them, and others where we want other things. Oh, well, I guess I'll let them go until we get the berries, and then cut them down. They are coming up in the lily bed and between some shrubbery on the hill beside the bottom of the driveway.

We got a pot of catnip. We haven't tried it since we got the two new cats. With the Original Snow, we planted a pot, and she loved it so much she rubbed it out of existance. But, these two have never had any catnip. So, before putting it in the herb bed (with a wire tomato cage around it), I broke off a leaf for each of the cats.

Snowkitis was laying on a bench in the garden, when she got hers. She rolled on it, and it kept rolling off the bench, so I'd go, pick it up, and she'd roll in it some more. Finally, she tried to walk around, and was as wobbly as a drunk person.

Rescue didn't get his until he came in for the night. I put it on the floor at my feet. Again, roll and rub, roll and rub. Then it was time for bed, and just after I get in bed, he likes to jump up and lay next to my chest until I fall asleep (then he lays on my feet until hubby gets up and lets the cats out). That night, he was especially lovey when he got on the bed. He wanted me to rub his hed, his back, then he rolled over for me to stroke his belly. He loved that so much he rolled right off the bed onto the floor. I guess catnip for the first time is like drinking for the first time. You can surely get too much!

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 02, 2007, 12:09:35 PM
Anne (Weezo), clematis doesn't really like to climb.  It loves to "run along" horizontally on stuff like wooden rails, dead limbs that have fallen on the ground (or placed there for the clematis convenience,) even old farm machinery.  Also, see me smiling, blackberries have to be dug up not cut down.  Cutting them down will only give you more blackberry plants.  Your place sounds interesting.  You seem to have much more room than I do (city lot, old 1935 neighborhood, 125' x 50'.)

Made the first batch of rose petal jelly.  New bee hive humming along, queen happy.  Recyling came to my area with twice a month pick up and a nifty roll cart to put the stuff in, without separating it, how wonderful.  Before, we were considered too unsophisticated to participate, I'm guessing (heavily mixed ethnics of all sorts, lots of old folks, incomes under $50,000.)  The high end parts of Dallas have had this service for a long time.  I guess they finally figured out there are more of us peasants than there are Lords.  Although, when I'm out driving any area of Dallas, seems like everyone with a vehicle thinks they are a Lord (or Lordess) and born with a lifetime guarantee of right-of-way.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 02, 2007, 12:53:04 PM

New bee hive humming along, queen happy. 

Have you considered planting some buck wheat near your hive DNR??

I think you'll love the results if you've never tried buckwheat honey before.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 02, 2007, 02:12:31 PM
DoctorDoom, I'd have to Google buckwheat.  Does it need all sun? Would a raised bed of, say, 5' x 10' be enough?  Mixed with whatever else the bees find in the neighborhood, would buckwheat pollen stand out?  My hive is really for my interest, not for any honey.  Although, they have already made a bit of comb in a no-no place inside the hive and I removed it.  Tasted delicious.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: whiskeypriest on May 02, 2007, 02:37:20 PM
125' x 50' lot and you have a bee hive?  I bet the neighbors are shocked - hopefully not in the  anaphylactic sense.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 02, 2007, 02:49:06 PM
Whiskey, the neighbors are curious and some have come by to "look" but no one has said anything negative.  Ordinary bees are not dangerous unless you are allergic to bee venom.  They go about their pollen collecting without bothering anyone.  In fact, when bees are around, if you will just be calm and not wave your arms to and fro, they have no interest in you whatsoever unless you have some smell about you that they want to investigate.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 02, 2007, 03:08:28 PM
Yes, we do have a big chunk of soil. We live on a one-acre lot in the country. We are small by local standards.

Our soil is not very good. Much of it is builders soil, with a layer of good stuff that we have built up over the years in the fan shaped front garden.

The new area for this year has been in scrub for years, with us and the power company trying to keep it cleared. Hubby got most of the weeds out, but there are MANY roots and treelet springing up from them.

I have a sister living in Dallas. She has mentioned the bad drivers. She does not garden much since she runs her own business.

We are headed down the road to get some tomato plants from a neighbor who specializes in heritage plants. We got some humongous tomato plants from her last year. The tomatoes were not quite as wonderful as I'd expected, and they ended up attracting hornworms that took them out early. But, we'll try again in a new area. I had planted them a bit too close together last year because they were in a small section of the fan.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 02, 2007, 03:18:39 PM
DoctorDoom, I'd have to Google buckwheat.  Does it need all sun? Would a raised bed of, say, 5' x 10' be enough?  Mixed with whatever else the bees find in the neighborhood, would buckwheat pollen stand out?  My hive is really for my interest, not for any honey.  Although, they have already made a bit of comb in a no-no place inside the hive and I removed it.  Tasted delicious.

First you really should harvest the honey from your hives. Depending on the area even just one hive can produce a hundred pounds or more per year for your consumption. Although some areas poor in nectar resources may only produce 20 pounds or so. Do you know the strain of bees you have such as are they Carniolan, Caucasian or Italian etc etc?? And do you have a good water source nearby the hive? And as you probably already know beware of swarming. Make sure your bees do not reach the critical point of being too crowded. Harvesting excess honey will help in that regard an should keep them from producing queen cells.


Oh, sorry I thought you had a bit more space than that. You'd need about an acre to see a real difference. And you'd have to harvest the previous hive honey just prior to when the bees started harvesting the buckwheat pollen. Are there any farms or say apple orchards nearby that you know of? This will give you an idea of what kind of honey you're going to get.

Growing up one of our neighbors raised bees. So we all got to listen to him talk about bees more than we wanted. But it will be interesting to see how you make out with them this summer.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 02, 2007, 04:47:58 PM
re tomato hornworms, companion planting can help some. 

I've heard marigold, basil and garlic are all effective at repelling hornworms. I'm guesing it's the stink smell aroma. We plant basil and marigolds among our tomatoes and haven't had any hornworm problems (yet), but maybe we've just been lucky. If you have a sadistic streak, I've read that hornworms can't digest cornmeal; so if you sprinkle it around your plants, they will eat it and explode.  I've never done that one, though.

If you haven't already, google "companion planting" or "natural insect control" and you'll likely find more information than you can ever use.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 02, 2007, 05:04:47 PM
Companion Planting:

We tried the marigolds among the tomtaoes and peppers in years past, and while we didn't have hornworms, we did have lots of other bugs. The marigolds seem to attract them.

Haven't tried basil tho. That's a new one to me. I have a pkg of basil seeds, so maybe I'll sow them when I put in the tomato plants. I got some beauts today, along with some peppers and red lettuce, both a heading type and leaf type. Yum!



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 03, 2007, 08:23:33 AM
re tomato hornworms, companion planting can help some. 

I've heard marigold, basil and garlic are all effective at repelling hornworms. I'm guesing it's the stink smell aroma. We plant basil and marigolds among our tomatoes and haven't had any hornworm problems (yet), but maybe we've just been lucky. If you have a sadistic streak, I've read that hornworms can't digest cornmeal; so if you sprinkle it around your plants, they will eat it and explode.  I've never done that one, though.

If you haven't already, google "companion planting" or "natural insect control" and you'll likely find more information than you can ever use.

Cool tips harrie. I never heard the one about cornmeal. Another tip if you find a hornworm covered with little white knobs or bumps on it don't kill it. Those knobs are parasitic wasp eggs. Let the suckers hatch and they'll go right off hunting for more hornworms.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 03, 2007, 11:38:45 AM
DoctorDoom, Weezo, et al, there are about 17,000 strains of bees.  Mine are Italian, whatever that means. They are sweet and quiet and take care of business.  Remember, I am a newbie beekeeper.  Went to Paris, TX to the Dadant folks and got my queen and her minions and drove home with them in the hive I had prepared per instructions (and they complimented me on how well I had done) on 18 April 2007.  Everything they and I do is for the first time.  Yes, I started up my backyard pond so the bees wouldn't have to go anywhere to get a drink--and possibly run into pesticides and other nastys.

We had a terrible storm system roll through last evening starting about 7PM Central Time.  I lost electric for about two hours and the cable company wasn't back up til this morning.  Had to get on the Internet to get weather conditions information.  Found out who updates and who doesn't.  I live about 5 minutes from downtown Dallas.

Anyway, we had straight line winds of upwards 80-100 MPH that downed trees, etc., so, later when things calmed down, I went out to look around and saw that the top had blown off my hive.  Great God Amighty!  The little darlings were drowned, I was sure of it.  But no, there they were huddled together for warmth.  I put the cover back on and put a HEAVY rock on it.  So far this morning I've been afraid to go look.  How do you have a funeral for 20,000 (and gaining each day) bees?  Or do you just have a "show" funeral for the queen?

Weezo, plant those tomatoes deep.  I met a Polish lady in Wyoming back in the 70s and she had the best tomatoes and cukes in the whole of Sheridan county.  Besides using aged sheep manure, she told me to plant transplant tomatoes leaving only the top few leaves above ground.  She said they had a better root system that way--roots sprout from all along that stem.  She was right.  I always loved to visit with her.  English was NOT her first language so you had to pay attention.  And she never stopped working while she chatted.  Sprinkle a little sugar (along with the salt) on your tomatoes when you eat them, Heritage or no, and you'll enjoy a new tomato taste treat.  Let them sit about 5 minutes before serving.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 03, 2007, 03:28:26 PM
Jeezuz Donot nice weather!! Sounds like you're lucky you're not in Oz right now.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 03, 2007, 05:48:07 PM
Doc,

Thanks for the advice on the tomatoes. We do it that way more years than not. Since we will be planting in a new garden area this year, and there are some tree roots still there, hubby is going to use a post hole digger to put in deep holes for the tomatoes.

I will be planting basil and marigolds between the tomato plants and see how that works.

Thanks for the excellent advice!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 04, 2007, 12:16:35 PM
Here's another tip about tomatoes.

Prune off some of the leaves on those bushy tomato plants. Most folks think the bushier the better but thats not true.

Excess leaves actually take the plant more energy to maintain than they're worth. Much like removing a sucker from a tomato plant. You'll get more tomatoes that way and they'll be juicier and taste better too. You'll see. If you don't believe me take a couple of the plants you have and use them for a summer leaf trimming experiment.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 04, 2007, 02:43:46 PM
DoctorDoom, you're so right about "pinching" tomato plants (or pruning, as you will.)  With mine, after the plants get X high and I'm looking at less and less maturing time, I keep the tomatoes topped out and don't let them get any taller. That way they can concentrate their energy into maturing fruit instead of adding more limbs and blooms that could never have time to produce anything.  Like tipping grapes.  Vineyards cut those grape clusters (that hang down off of stems sometimes 2-3 feet long) back to the first 5 arms of grapes on each stem.  Those are the big, wonderful matured grapes you buy in the store.  Otherwise, you'd be offered hundreds of itty-bitty grapes with no sweetness or juice.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 04, 2007, 03:39:01 PM
DoctorDoom, you're so right about "pinching" tomato plants (or pruning, as you will.)  With mine, after the plants get X high and I'm looking at less and less maturing time, I keep the tomatoes topped out and don't let them get any taller. That way they can concentrate their energy into maturing fruit instead of adding more limbs and blooms that could never have time to produce anything.  Like tipping grapes.  Vineyards cut those grape clusters (that hang down off of stems sometimes 2-3 feet long) back to the first 5 arms of grapes on each stem.  Those are the big, wonderful matured grapes you buy in the store.  Otherwise, you'd be offered hundreds of itty-bitty grapes with no sweetness or juice.

Right on Donot. 

So hows the weather down there? I hear they got another blast round Dallas way last evening again.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 04, 2007, 04:35:53 PM
DoctorDoom, I don't know what went on in Dallas, except in my own neighborhood, which was foggy and quiet.  The cable television network went out Wednesday night at 7PM Central Time and wasn't restored in my area until the early hours of today.  I was without power only about 2 hours.  The line of storms were supposed to have moved East by noon yesterday.  This morning started off gloomy but has brightened to cloudy/partly cloudy.  I had to repot several things yesterday.  Those high winds knocked plants off pedestals and such perches and broke pots.

Realized.  It's hard (to impossible) to find LOCAL on the radio.  When did this happen?   Time was you could tune into most anything that was coming in clear in your area and get an update on emergency happenings, fires, weather, riots.  You know, breaking news reports.  Now, radio just keeps humming along as if the apocalypse has not occured.  Will that be what the last ones hear?  The top 20 Tunes, for as long as the electricity (and batteries/ generators) holdout?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: DoctorDoom on May 06, 2007, 07:41:22 AM
 Will that be what the last ones hear?  The top 20 Tunes, for as long as the electricity (and batteries/ generators) holdout?

L O L Donot.

Keep trying, there's got to be something on the radios waves. Did you try the AM band too?

Or if you get one of those multi band radios they sell, the ones that have short wave and the works you'll probably be able to find a local emergency channel.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 06, 2007, 11:56:43 PM
Does anyone know if you can root geranium cuttings just by putting them in soil?We have one in front of our bldg. which along with the jasmine has overun the trumpet vines on a trellis pulling it right off the wall.So the jasmine and the geranium are going.This geranium must be some type of spreader as it has grown about 4 ft wide and climbed about7ft.Its a pink flower and I am thinking of taking cuttings and putting them on top of my patio wall where it would grow down over.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 07, 2007, 10:07:17 AM
Not by putting them right into soil, but cuttings will take root when you put them in a looser mix.  I'm kind of fuzzy on this, as we did it in high school Horticulture class, and that was a long time ago; so here's basically what we did, with pictures.   I do believe that we lightened up our growing medium with vermiculite (white, lightweight granular material you can buy by the bag at garden shops) and peat.

http://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/howto/container/geranium/index.html


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 07, 2007, 01:11:25 PM
Harrie, I'd stay away from vermiculite.  Remember the Libby, Montana asbestos mess?  Google vermiculite dangers and see if you want to have any around your place.  You can make loose soil with a combo of top soil, sand (not builder's sand), and compost (or peat moss, although I don't use peat moss any more).

BTW, climbing geraniums?  I've heard of geranium hedges in lower Mexico, Central America, and South America, but climbing?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 07, 2007, 01:50:26 PM
Gotta say, I'm ignorant of the Libby, Montana mess -- though I know asbestos is bad news.  And I'd kind of wondered why vermiculite isn't all over the place like it used to be; now I know.  In defense of Mr. D., my horticulture teacher, I was in high school in the late '70s, apparently a time when we were blissfully ignorant of this aspect of vermiculite.  Or maybe he just didn't like us.  Thanks for the info -- and I"m off to google vermiculite dangers and Libby, MT. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 07, 2007, 03:12:32 PM
I little dip in some Root Tone does a great job of helping a cutting sprout roots and leaves. My brother-in-law wanted a piece of our camilia over Easter, and I dipped the branch into Root Tone before wrapping it in a paper towel and putting it in a plastic bag for the trip back to Michigan from Virginia. I guess I'll hear when it begins to root and grow. We've used Root Tone years ago when we were trying to expand our evergreens, and it worked great. It may be old now, but there was no expiration date on the package. All I know about it, it is supposed to be a hormone.

I'm sure someone will tell us if it is dangerous now to use.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 07, 2007, 04:08:41 PM
Donot,Maybe this geranium is just a freak but it grew way up the trellis and had to grow some to even reach that trellis.Which is why I'd like to keep it going in another place.Thanks for the tips all.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 07, 2007, 04:51:36 PM
Yes sir, reebob, rhubarb pie, Bo, you wanna keep that geranium going to preserve the particular DNA it's got.  Like Weezo says, use a dusting of Root Tone along the stem (I guess that's how you spell it, I can't find my jar of it right now.  Drat.  Where did I put it?).  Take pictures.  Have they already pulled the one on the broken trellis down?  Get pictures of that, too.

Weezo, I don't think there is a use by date on Root Tone.  Thanks for thinking of that.  Totally slipped my mind.  Of course, these days my brain, more and more, resembles a sieve.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 07, 2007, 08:11:01 PM
My neighbor pulled it all down Sat.The plant though is still in the ground.Funny thing is I put four other geraniums along that wall with it and they all died out soon after.We are leaving a Red Rose bush down low and surrounding it with low growing white roses.Up in the planter We are putting Lavender and then two new trumpet vines on the new Trellises.We would have done it already but since Sunday it's been mid-90's and DRY in L.A..I'm not doing anything till it cools off again in a few days.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 09, 2007, 08:06:49 PM
I just Googled English-French so Aveugle Oiseau Cracher roughly translates as Blind Birds Spit.At least I think so.It was after two large glasses of Cab.The sea breeze has returned so on Thurs I will be buying lots of plants for the spring sprucing of the patioon Saturday.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 10, 2007, 11:22:45 PM
My neighbor went to home depot today so I went along and together including plants and dirt we spent about 275.00.Two large trumpet vines were 43.00 each and a large jasmine vine ate up some money.I found some Dwarf Delphiniums that only get 10in. tall perfect for pots.Being Home Depot they were selling 18 packs of White Impatiens for 13.79 but a bit smaller plant in 6 packs for 1.79..The problem was I wanted to do the whole top of wall in white but all the six packs were mixed colors so mixed colors it is.Also got some nice pot sixe nemesia in different colors,Allysum,small roses,Basil,Parsley and Cilantro and some other things I forgot namres of already.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 11, 2007, 09:29:12 AM
Peonies!

All over town yesterday, the peonies were blooming and their fragrance overshadowed the usual scent of gas and truck exhausts and the train smells through the town.

Sadly, it doesn't look like we will have any blooms again this year. Last year, the buds formed, the ants never came, and the buds turned black and died. Again this year, the buds have formed, but there are no ants on the plants. We do not use pesticides in the garden, so I don't know why there are no ants.

Before the past two years, we got lovely peonies from our two plants, and I was planning to add one new plant per year, but haven't since they aren't blooming.

Anybody have any clues what we need to do?

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 11, 2007, 10:26:13 AM
Weezo, that's about the saddest thing I've heard in a while.  You got peonies but no ants.  And I can't grow peonies here, it's too hot (they grow beautiful peonies up in the Texas Panhandle).  Jaysus, Weezo.  I'd say go to the pet store and buy one of those ant farms and let them go in your flower bed, but fooling with Mother Nature like that is, well, lots of times comes to no good end.  Your neighbors don't have ants either?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 11, 2007, 11:13:09 AM
Okay, Weezo, it's all your fault that I'm Googling about ants.  Sheesh.  8,000 species?  We know a little something about 10% of them?  Anyway, here's an article you might find interesting (and funny to boot) about the studies that a lady, Deborah something, I've already forgotten her name, has/is making at Standford.

http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/93/931115Arc3062.html

Lord love a duck, who'd have ever thought . . . .  Edward O. Wilson wrote a tome on ants.  Maybe I should get a copy and read it.

Here's looking down . . . for ants.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lhoffman on May 11, 2007, 11:18:31 AM
Re: Ants in the plants.

The summer before last, we had no worms.  And now we're hearing about bees gone missing. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 11, 2007, 03:18:32 PM
Que in the Twilight Zone music, please


Title: Bees
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 13, 2007, 10:16:50 PM
With all the hoopala (which I do believe is a serious crisis) surrounding the collapse of many honey bee hives, I was amazed to see SO MANY large (I'm not sure what classification it is) bees buzzing around in late March and into April.  You know, those the big black bees, carpenter bees or what we called as kids: queen bees.

Spring is off to a green start.  Azalea blooming their little heads off.  I'm amazed at how expensive plants cost these days.  I used to purchase flats for about 16 bucks (most expensive).  But this year, it must be me.  The plants (annuals) I chose were sold as 3" pots @ 4.99 a pot.

I have a lot of shade so I purchased Coleus (in a remarkable bronzy/peachy color) and will accent with a pale/peachy wax begonia.   Lily of the valley blooming, my blueberry bush has flowered, and I hope is sets fruit for the birdies.

So glad, we have a forum to post in.  


Title: Re: Geraniums
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 13, 2007, 10:52:14 PM
Bosox,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,45.msg3457.html#msg3457
I grow perennial geraniums, and would like to offer advice but first...

Are your geraniums perennial?  Or are these pelargonium?

If these plants are a true aromatic shade-tolerant perennial Geraniums, then you should be able to divide the clumps (after flower of course) and replant them. 

If these are the aromatic annual Pelargonium but a.k.a. Geranium  (usually found in bright fire engine reds or shocking pinks with showy flower heads and considered tender annual or perennial in norther zones), then I think you can root the plant in water. 

I've never had a great deal of luck rooting plants in soil, or soiless mixes.  But, water usually does the trick for tender plants.  Usually.  Once you can see a network of roots develop the plant should take well to a soil mix.  Some advanced gardeners I know might also venture to use a root growth product to stimulate the plant further.  But, as I've never tried to induce Nature's Way; I can't give first hand experience.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 13, 2007, 11:28:20 PM
After looking through my Sunset Western Garden book I am 95% sure thatt the plant is a pelargonium and what I have is probably  P.Hortorum or garden geranium.The plant is at least 8 years old and I have forgotten even where I bought it.Maybe Orchard Supply Hardware a west coast type of Home Depot.Did you post in the old forum?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 14, 2007, 08:58:37 PM
Bosox,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,45.msg5381.html#msg5381

Then the cuttings may just take root in water.  However, I see seasoned gardeners here suggest root hormone (I'm a novice who adores plants and yes I posted in the NYT fora...)...what have you to lose? 

It always amazes me how resilients flora/fauna is, as well as so very forgiving.   We gardeners always get the credit for owning green thumbs by other who don't share the same passion for growing things.  But really, it's the plant that does all the heavy lifting...we merely make sure that a proper amount of TLC is applied.  ;-)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 16, 2007, 06:46:04 PM
I need advice on how to rid a garden bed of mushrooms.  My bed of T-Roses is comprised of clay soil, with lots mulch top dressing.  (Last year, the roses suffered from a nasty case of blackspot, but with constant applications of fungicide they did finally recover and flower.  But, it has returned, or more probably never completely died-off.)  

It is a sloping bed with hardscaping at the top and a downward incline lawn at its base, which probably accounts for its very wet conditions (do to the clay and runoff, I imagine).  We don't intend on turning on the irrigation system to this bed this year.

I lost a shrub, and tree, in this bed last year.  I've noticed an "outbreak" of mushroom growth.  Does anyone know how to rid a bed of fungus?  Should I contact my county Cooperative Extension office to do a soil analysis?  But what then?  Chemicals?  What type, and etceteras... Thanks.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 22, 2007, 10:12:45 AM
C.P.

I have one of those black bumble bees casing out my herb garden and potted plants,and thought it odd because I used to have them in pairs on the farm where they seemed to be concerned about preventing me from walking out the wash-porch door and getting past the stoop and actually into the yard. Now, that the weather reverted to "cooler" he's been gone for a few days so may have moved on. My theory was that if they are having mutations physically(and they are) because of pesticides in the crop lands on every side surrounding us, perhaps the bees are looking for food anywhere they scrounge some up by going door to door. He seems to have a route because he hasn't moved in anywhere I can discern.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 22, 2007, 10:52:52 AM
Under the heading of things I NEVER would have thought i would be doing...reading a Gardening board certainly must be up near the top there somewhere.  :)

But, after moving into a house with some property and beautiful landscaping I found myself drawn to the subject over the last year.  My best finds so far:

 Armstrong Gardening Centers where they actually know what they are talking about as opposed to Home Depot, lowes et al.
Sunset Western Gardening book that shows every type of plant and the zone that it thrives in, so you can match your climate to the type of flowers, shrubs etc that you like.  It also tells you when to plant and how to care for everything.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 23, 2007, 03:24:39 AM
Trojan as an ex East coaster living in West L.A. I think The Sunset Western Garden Book is "the balls" I assume you are out in this area also.As for Gardening it is also something I never thought I would be talking about.The only thing I planted in high school was pot plants at the edge of a farmers field in Western N.Y. 73-78 and we took a special interest in our friends Mothers Morning Glory Vines before the govt put the kibosh on that fun.My memory is vague on what they did but it involved making the seeds sterile and thus no fun though all I ever got was a slight buzz and a headache.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 24, 2007, 11:54:46 AM
Bo, on May 10th you posted that you and a neighbor went plant shopping and spent $275.  How are the plants you brought home doing?  Is the top of your wall all planted now?  Did you try even one of the upsidedown tomatoes (I didn't)?

Caltha, just off hand, I'd say work on that clay soil by adding "other," like composted material.  Work it in, work it in, work it in.  And, I wouldn't worry about the mushrooms.  Do some reading.  See what you can do without resorting to chemicals. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 25, 2007, 12:12:57 AM
DoNot all the plants are doing great cause we have had a nice onshore flow along Santa Monica Bay which keeps things nice and cool.The Impatiens on top of wall are already filling in nicely.The Squirrels dug two up looking for peanuts but I found them before they were loose for to long.We did not get around to planting the Trumpet vines and Lavender in the front till last weekend but they look good.Still have to take trumpet vine off the small trellis they came with and attach to the 2 larger trellis's we drilled into wall.Those plants are all sitting in a raised planter that was made when the apt bldg was in 51 and its that stacked slate kind of look.It looks so nice exposed we are leaving the large red rose bush in front but I am searching for some white grouncover roses to put on either side.It's funny cause my neighbor and I get along great when we are planting but don't see eye to eye on most everything else.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 25, 2007, 03:15:29 AM
Bo, ah working the soil.  The great leveler.  Maybe you could put up a picture later on this summer.  The whole project sounds great.  I've got a trumpet vine going on a pear tree back by one of my sheds.  It started to bloom the other day.  The bright red blooms attract humming birds.  I plant climbing hyacinth on the west side of my house every year to shade the wall from the afternoon heat.  This year I planted some hops and morning glories in that bed too.  I've got white and purple passion vine on the front patio.  Wish it were bougainvilla but can't seem to get it going there.  Passion vine and honey suckle will grow anywhere.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 25, 2007, 06:58:02 AM
madupont:

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,45.msg7463.html#msg7463

Thanks for a neat story about the bees in your neck of the woods. ;-)  

I have to admit I'm very unfamiliar with bees, and was unsure what type of bees I saw last March and April, bumble bees or other.   (I could only relate to them as the bees I remember as a child that my friends and I called "Queen Bees".  And, was later told by a farmer that this type of bee was really a Carpenter Bee/ant...who knew?)  It did look like this:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://bluestarbugs.com/library/CarpenterBee.gif&imgrefurl=http://bluestarbugs.com/carpenter_bee.html&h=324&w=432&sz=36&hl=en&start=6&tbnid=pdLt-4uRaiWqnM:&tbnh=95&tbnw=126&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcarpenter%2Bbee%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den

I need a good insect field guide, Taylor's or Peterson's, I have one or two Sibley's guides for birds.

I did think it was odd though, to see bees at that time of year, as the night temps here in the Mid-Atlantic region dipped into the 30s.  I don't ever remember seeing bees so early in the season, micro climates I suppose may have been the reason or bees really do begin activity earlier than I'd ever imagined.  (Calling all beekeepers.)

Anyway, I have a new subject in all things in the natural world...to explore.  Bees.  Bzz, bzz. :-)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 25, 2007, 07:10:16 AM
Donotremove:

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php?action=profile;u=24

Thank you.  Yes, add more organic matter and cultivate, cultivate, cultivate..."resistance is futile".  Thanks for the advice...clay soil is a challenge.  I will not remove last year's mulch for this very reason, as a matter of fact I'm working it in, working it in, working it in...it's better than lifting weights.  ;-)

I did read a bit about mushrooms after posting, and you're right...there's not much that can be done.  It would be nice if the deer would snack on the mushrooms instead of other expensive "deer candy" such as Hosta.  

However, I'd like to know if the mushroom spores or the underground network of mushroom "roots" (if you can call them this, it's more like a network of white mold or something) can be harmful ornamental plants like rhododendron or can cause blackspot on roses?


Title: Bunnies
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 25, 2007, 12:53:15 PM
Anyone have any good tips from keeping bunnies out of lawn and garden.  I am backed up to a regional wilderness area and they're killing me...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 25, 2007, 01:31:26 PM
Caltha, my daughter says two things.  First, for mushroom identification and information the book by The Audoban Society is the best one (about $12, very high end soft cover) and, second, use Jerry Baker's recipe for home made spray for black spot on roses.

Recipe: 1 TBsp baking soda, 1 TBsp light vegetable oil, 1TBsp dish washing liquid.  Mix with 1 gallon water.

Baker says to cut out any rose material with black spot and burn it (if you have burn laws you'll just have to put the material in the trash) and try not to transfer black spot to anything else.

The Jerry Baker web site is HUGE and very helpful.  All free.

http://www.jerrybaker.com/


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 25, 2007, 01:43:53 PM
TrojanHorse, for frustration directed towards bunnies, ask an Australian how he feels about rabbits.  Then stand back.

Back in the days when I was younger and living in a rural setting, I had the garden/bunnie problem.  I killed a great many of them with a .22 short to the head.  Good eating if they didn't have tuleremia.  Otherwise, I buried fence around my garden.  Put it down about 3 feet.  Didn't stop the moles, though.  Many times I stood and watched a tomato plant (or other goodie) shivver a bit and then disappear underground.  Hot damn.  I'd get so angry, stomping the ground tryng to get the little bastard (you CAN get lucky and kill one that way) that I'd create more garden havoc than it was worth.  And I caught a few in mole traps.  But that's labor intensive and you've got to make sure no kids step into one.  The only problem I have where I live now is raccoons, which my daughter traps (she's very good at it) and takes waaay out into the country and releases.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 25, 2007, 01:59:36 PM
End of Bunny Problem:

Years ago I read in "Organic Gardening Magazine" that putting down blood meal fertilizer. So will piling human hair cuttings around the plants you want to protect.

Our solutions are called Rescue and Snowkitis, a male tabby and a female white cat who "pay their rent" in dead rodents and bunnies. Usually, they deposit them on the porch, but if the front door is open, they may bring them inside. They loved to be congratulated on their catch. One bunny this spring came in headless. But, they do not one bit discourage the deer who eat the apples right off the tree.

Anne in Virginia


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: barton on May 26, 2007, 12:42:20 PM
Hair cuttings work somewhat for repelling deer, but I haven't seen them stop rabbits. 

Maybe if you let your hair get dirty enough.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 26, 2007, 03:38:28 PM
Hair cuttings are favored by birds for their nests.  They'll run off with most of it.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 26, 2007, 03:55:43 PM
Caltha palustris



Re: Gardening
« Reply #80 

I guess you were right about Carpenter Bees. Recently found an atrocious amount of something dumped into my top shelf potted geraniums.  I would have guessed an infestation, mealy bugs? white fly?(no wings?) I ran for the bar of Fels Naptha, grated some and mixed in warm water to spray off all the affected plants, but geraniums are not usually susceptible nor basil in a pot. While plants were wet, i went back and found the diatomaceous earth and sprinkled that  after the breeze had partially dried the clean plants.

Then the bee came back.  He is drilling holes in the beams that support the porch above the plants!  After all, it is the only wood that he can find other than a living tree. This does not bode well.

This morning when I went out watering, checked the plants and they are again covered. With wood pulp.  Like most carpenters, he doesn't sweep up right away. I gather he is building a summer home close to a food supply. But why above  the stronger smelling herbs. Well, I suppose that is because there are no wooden beams  above the blooming shady florals are there? He'll just have to fly around the building (but I have never noticed him over there.  Geese are something else, they are flying in great terror at sundown toward the North, speeding just above the tree tops, because the Heat is coming and they are heading North.(as Daniel Day-Lewis said,"I go up as far as Canada and then I turn left,"
(when asked directions on how to get to Fort Pitt. Last of the Mohicans)
 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 27, 2007, 10:33:06 PM
Well here's an interesting story about bees...

Stinging setback: Bees delay flight 11 hours
Jet bound for Portugal abandons flight after swarm sucked into engine
  
Updated: 5:36 p.m. ET May 27, 2007
LONDON - A thick cloud of bees was sucked into the engine of a passenger plane en route to Portugal, forcing the airline to abandon the trip and grounding passengers for 11 hours, a company executive said Saturday.

David Skillicorn, managing director of Palmair, said the swarm was spotted off Britain’s Bournemouth coast shortly before the Boeing 737 left on Thursday. “Some witnesses claimed there were around 20,000 bees,” he said.

“The pilot experienced an engine surge about an hour into the flight,” Skillicorn said. “He returned to Bournemouth and we found what appeared to be a large number of bees smeared inside the engine.”


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 28, 2007, 04:46:27 PM
More bunny/rodent repellent -- we've used coyote urine with great results.  If I thought about how it was procured, I would surely be horrified.  But our first year in the community garden we did battle with woodchucks and finally won, thanks to the stuff (and to many layers of fencing, some underground, plus patches to the fencing). 

A guy a few plots down doesn't know anyone knows this, but he has his little boy go around and pee on the corner posts of his plot.  I haven't asked him how it's working, though.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 28, 2007, 06:15:37 PM
What is causing our plants to develop yellow leaves? I see them on the tomatoes, the bottom leaves, and especially the radishes, which emerged and haven't grown much since the first leaves. Are we watering too much?



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 11:40:49 AM
weezo, about those yellow leaves, often at this time of year as things get hotter there is a potasium deficiency causing yellowing. I first saw this going south to Tennessee immediately after Easter in April one year, and soil depletion was even yellowing the tree leaves and causing them to drop like Autumn.

Yesterday, I made a discovery, noting that we have been having a forty degree difference in temperature between night/early morning and the heating up that culminates by later afternoon,following a violent wind storm with intense downpours of rain that sounded like hail. I went out and about, with a sweet tooth, having demolished a strawberry-rhubarb pie from previous baking done before the storm hit, so I stopped into a Starbucks which is giving away coffee grounds(used) in what looks like a foil-wrap five pound bag (it felt heavier). I immediately put it around those flowers that that have finished their Spring flowering from bulbs, and the summer-bulbs that will flower somewhat later.

As to the relationship with tomato plants, sometimes the soil has been played out(I always returned the plants to the same tomato circle,which they can do for about five years). You are cautioned however not to follow up with peppers or other acid plants in future rotations(or vice-versa) when planning your space. However at other times, there has been a temperature shift. We are experiencing later frosts than normal to the Mid-Atlantic so that it throws off tomato planting until much later dates similar to the western Great Lakes region where you don't transplant the seedlings until the end of May when the lilacs blossom for Memorial Day.  In previous years, this Mid-Atlantic farming region known as the Eastern Heartland(compared to the Midwestern Heartland)could normally set out tomato plants  by Mother's Day).

Potasium apparently  helps plants survive oncoming cold weather in Fall, cold-snaps in Spring, even late Spring; and the reason, I top dressed to soil supplement the post-season bulb flowers, it may help to keep the leaves from looking too shabby before the next temperature range of flowering plants distracts from the first blooming flowers.

Think about a soil-testing kit for the balance you need for specific plants in your garden; and, after considering the potasium factor, you can also safely add more nitrogen(manure) to green up new leaf growth on tomato plants. (donotremove was really correct about what the Polish lady taught him in planting tomato transplants deep, and  also lateral for more root area which helps support them against wind,etc. as they are staked --speaking of which, I have used everything from old panty-hose outgrown or damaged, to tie up the tomatoes as they get heavy, to ripped up flour-sack kitchen towels which get recycled as my mother first taught me that you want to tear a long strip which you can dampen and put over the pie-crust edge when it first starts to darken, so that you finish the thickening up of the filling without burning the crust of the pie.

These strips are so delicate that rags can support the early vining plants without bruising the surface tissues when you guiding their direction. I later received a special gift in New Jersey from an old man born in the Susquahanna farm land of Pennsylvania which he had left to become an electrical worker. Inside of electrical cable of less than 1/2 inch in diameter are a smooth colorful but not excessively tight braid of many variable color patterns that I would have to guess conduct differently and identify that to the electrician. These coated wires are so flexible that you can bend them readily around offshoots of the more mature tomato plants and attach them rapidly with a twist to the support you are using. They sometimes surprise you however, in place under the expanding foliage because they look like the colorful camouflage of some tropical creatures which was meant to warn you of their venomous nature, until you do a double-take having forgotten you put those there yourself!

More about support later. Don't forget, tomatoes also like a calcium supplement to their diet. Anyone have suggestions on which kinds and amounts?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 29, 2007, 12:21:21 PM
Maddy, I Googled What do tomato plants want and the first web site that came up was this:

http://www.bio-organics.com/BioNews/WhatPlantsWant604.html

Give it a read.  It's only the one page.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 01:00:02 PM
Thanks, just the man, I wanted to talk with -- about that buckwheat.

I used to spread it, with the other seeding, not as a cover crop in one place but just tossed about --it breaks up hard-pan sometimes caused, okay, definitely causedby heavy farm machinery on acid clay soils in the north, so I don't know if your  soil conditions warrant that in order to provide buckwheat-honey for the bees.  You possibly have more alkaline soil?

When I used this method, I simply hoed them out of the way when tending rows although I also did vegetable beds or wide-row plantings with alternating rows of "traps" flowers or suitable alleles.

Buckwheat prevents a lot of weeds because of its own density, grows on sloping land also where it prevents erosion, planted in the first or second quarter in Capricorn(the moon) any time from June until late July. This was the recommendation of a Southerner, if I remember correctly who also says a very fine Japanese buckwheat can be found at R.H.Shumway. The small home owner can buy it in 1 b to 5 lb packages  and Louise Riotte says "Farmer's"(?),I believe she means a seed company because I seem to remember seeing that name on packets. In my district, Ace Hardware stores sell seed in bulk out of cannister jars into bags, some bags already sealed up and placed on the shelves, for almost all varieties of things you'd want to grow in the home garden.

The bees are attracted (to pollinate the other plants) by the  tiny white flowering buckwheat which produces a hard seed kernel.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 01:19:08 PM
Yes, donotremove, potassium is in those fish pellets that he mentioned and I forgot to keep the second s in the word potassium.  People often buy a liquid of very fish smelling dark "gravy" from their garden suppliers that is then mixed with water and watered in for the vegetables especially just before Fall to keep the plants producing longer as the weather turns cold.  It is the temperature change either way to hot from cold when a plant is still too young and tender , or to cold from hot when the mature plant needs a boost , the yellowing of the leaves indicates that is what is occurring: the dupletion of nutrients sufficient at the particular stage of growth for the change of temperature.

As the weather turns hotter those mushrooms growing in the wrong places will disappear on their own; I had some pop up under decorative shrubs off the side since I live in an "end" building of a terrace because that is exactly the wood containing mulch that the contractor purchases to top dress their shrub borders in Spring.   It is locally collected at curb-side so there is no way of knowing how your neighbours several blocks away applied what to their own property before it is run through a chipper at a mulching station.  As you know, I prefer to go off to the area farmers and purchase mulching material, whether straw bales in various sizes, or spoiled hay in the home vegetable garden (it all depends on what you grow), or mushroom soil from to alter the texture of the soil.  It works on hard pan with little percolation to the surface by just laying it on as I found in community gardens here, in order to gain tillage. Back home, I'd prefer to use alfalfa on vegetable gardens because it reseeds itself as a cover crop of sorts, and since it supplies 17 percent protein to the milk herd diet, I had hopes it would effect available protein. It certainly changes the texture to Chocolate cake, the soil that is. Unlike the local farmers, I seldom taste the soil.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 29, 2007, 01:22:12 PM
Donotremove,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,45.msg8366.html#msg8366

Thanks for the Jerry Baker tips.  Years ago, I used his fertilizer recipe and bug spray (which used tobacco, garlic and something else that I can't remember now).  I'll check out the mushroom field guides, too.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 29, 2007, 01:34:47 PM
Madupont,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php/topic,45.msg8554.html#msg8554

Oh my.  Carpenter bees building hives in your house.  Yikes.  Are there many?  

Here's a link to a the Bug Clinic followed by a snippet from the site.

http://www.bugclinic.com/carpenter_bee.htm

Quote
Carpenter Bee Management

Some people don't mind these insect that much.  As with other bees, they are beneficial as pollinators of flowers.  However, other people are not as happy to have carpenter bees around and seek ways to eliminate the bees.

There are two ways of dealing with the problem: exclusion and pesticides.  

Perhaps Jerry Baker has a recipe/remedy for Carpenter Bees.  Good luck.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 29, 2007, 01:48:57 PM
Maddie,

Thanks for the heads up on the temperature and fertilizer needs. We have been having serious temperature swings the past few weeks, with temp differences day to night as much as 40 degrees, and swings from day to day almost as great. We are having a number of high 80's days, but still getting some mid-forty degree nights.

When we put the tomatoes in, we planted them about a foot deep, using a post-hole digger to do the holes, and added bagged manure. The garden is in a newly cleared area that was in undergrowth and weeds the past few years. The soil looks brown there, and we were excited about planting in it, since much of our yard soil is yellow, and only turns brown after years of amending the soil.

Over the years, we have used a variety of supports for tomatoes. This year we decided to use the wire cages that we bought perhaps two decade ago. Last year, we used cane poles and old nylon hose to support the plants. We haven't found any one way that is superior. The cages are the easiest to use, you just have to tuck in the new shoots as they grow outside the cages.

If coffee grounds are a good source of potassium for the soil, I can easily collect them and put them around the plants. I had heard years ago that coffee grounds were good for something, but they are a bit acidic and our soil tends to be acidic, so we don't use them regularly. We usually drink two pots of coffee a day, so would not need to find a star bucks to get enough for the garden. Should we mix them with lime to soften the acid in them?



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 02:18:41 PM
Caltha Palustris, thanks and I was afraid of that. No carbaryl (what was that about nonlegitimus carborandum?

So far one bee.  I don't have any boric acid in the house at this point but will have to check out the pros and cons.  Obviously he is so busy that there are likely to be others in future because there must be a lady bee somewhere nearby waiting to move in and start a family and they have deck after porch deck after porch for about four square blocks of porches never painted. Oh, perhaps not that many as their are housing condos as well but everything is row-housed at the same prices as seperate standing houses are elsewhere. This is the more profitable to the builder and the real estate ownership whose management just changed hands in January. Now that we have published the facts, it is no longer our little secret but it has been my experience that, being informed, management will take the kind of chemical action that destroyed five long needle pines in the area immediate within this landscape. That is exactly the problem that is causing demise of bees on a large scale basis; and alas there will go my edible herbs. I brought back a strawberry plant and some seed from Longwood on Mothers' Day weekend but have not set in the plant as one would, not as yet,kept it rather in a very large container with some straw mulching. The very best mulching for strawberries is of course "long needled pine needles" which I had once hoped to employ; but, they were sprayed,by injudicious lack of overseering the fellow who went around spraying everything in sight in order to empty the drum when spraying against Japanese beetles.  Which of course killed the long needled pine trees.

And pretty well explains why the carpenter bee is here to start a family in the untreated wood.

I never had a problem in the vegetable garden with old wood where I recycled  a snow-fence into a tomato circle, to place the compost in the middle with snow-peas on the outside followed by tomato varieties, I could pick peas or tomatoes and dump compost with the flying insects all about picking through the old wood. The secret is to bathe before gardening, and use no perfumed toiletries or after-shave until the gardening day is done, covering your hair with a tied scarf if, like mine,the color attracts honey gatherers, and you don't really want to swat them off either.  You just each and everyone mind your own business and go about harvesting and replanting as the case may be.  I also recycled old plumbing pipes in lengths that became tall supports for the snow fencing, one (shorter in the center of the compost pile as they are hollow and let in air to the pile; but, with the thought in mind that besides the snowpeas gathering nitrogen into their root nodes, the pipes would probably attract nitrogen as well during electric storms. Although, I had dairy barns near enough by, to allow for regular application of manure at the beginning of the season and whenever necessary.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 02:33:15 PM
reply to weezo,

I would put the coffee grounds in separate applications perhaps in concentric circles alternating with the lime, allowing for some distance in, from where the tomato roots  have been likely to travel outward from the plant; so, that you can dig these applications in, without damaging roots.

An old Welsh soil conservation steward recommended to me when he was up in his 80s that the secret to cropping was lime and more lime. Except when growing Potatoes!  It cause scab on the potatoes, and even old farmwife-gardeners have been known to forget that when rotating a garden.

But still check your soil pH for acidity and alkalinity, with a kit, or a local agricultural co-op office, usually listed in the phone book, that will either test or offer kits, and follow information available for specific vegetables as to whether you want to have more acidity or more alkalinity compared to where you are at now.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 29, 2007, 03:38:16 PM
When converting land that has been growing trees to land in which to grow root crops it must be noted that long time forest dirt (and the duff on top of the dirt) has properties conducive to trees, not root crops.  I personally have never done such a conversion--agricultural history is chock full of stories where farmers stepped off boats into forests that came down to the shore line and within a few years sustainable farms were feeding their families and the people in the towns that came afterwards--so how to change "tree soil" into root crop friendly soil is beyond me, except to muse about whether one needs to worry about it at all other than getting most of the roots out of the way.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 04:26:00 PM
Donotremove,
"getting most of the roots out of the way".

That's the tough part!  ( that I hate the most, running into a extensive root from a tree when I'm digging. They sometimes travel quite far. On second thought they are not what I hate the most. Rather it is the discovery in more recent times that all you  have to do is apply a little herbicide among the weeds, around a tall pine specimen of the kind that farmers used to mark their acreage after clearing the land when they settled, and people do this thinking they will just get rid of the weeds without having to bend and stop because a weed-whacker can  kick back at you and possibly hurt you as well as itself. I have observed that practice in no time will take down those 30 -50 foot fir trees in an average wind storm off the Chesapeake.

Then the really funny part was watching the landlord who did that have to deal with it. I'd stand at my sink washing up dishes and watch from the window, as he figured out how to saw it all off into appropriate chunks, load it piece by piece on to a cart to haul away by tractor, and then figure out whether he should burn out the stump.

By the way, what are known as hearty perennial herbs, once exposed to ignorant herbicide use by community gardeners, in a plot next to my own, where the rain naturally washes in a heavy rain season, convinced me to give up gardening with them locally, although I believe in the movement ever since it began and applied to work in  the program that USDA began. I had just bought a new collection of rosemary varieties and they were on the netting fence line adjacent to the next plot. I quickly moved the plants our of there into pots and took them home to observe. They develop very quickly into hard brittle wood, the same as the lilacs that my former landlord had given herbicide treatment from his side of the fence  although I ususually cleaned by hand from both sides of the fence to get rid of extraneous weeds. Also it was in my lease, that I would have charge of the maintenance of the hedgerows and floral borders on the property that I rented.  It was educational.  The lilacs, he had a lovely double at the end of the fencing, it is a double-bloom,that within five years had split right down the center and had to be removed because of his "attitude" problem from his side of the fence.  On my side, that is where I lost the 30 year farm peonies and the new purple asters from the Amish, hydrangeas, Chinese lilies, immortelles,etc.,etc.).

Enough said. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2007, 04:41:37 PM
Ps. donotremove,

Although I don't know if you remember Bob discussing in American History how that was the cultural conflict with the Native Americans observing how the new European arrivals brought pigs with them as their favourite kind of meat which could of  course be preserved. It is the nature of the pig to clear the land, which is what they did with that forested land.  They start in between the trees rooting up everything they can find and this did not please the locals one bit as Native Americans usually gathered as much from the forests as possible for medicine and food before women cultivated staples of corn,squash and beans; for the simple reason that they were hunter-gatherers who liked to move on and return on a cycle of the ecological year--following the game.

The visiting Englishman who stayed like the Man Who Came to Dinner, in this way began the decimation of the forests while producing bacon and ham.  As I said to Bob, at the time we read Merrell's text, I've seen examples of where the British got smart about keeping lifestock of the larger varieties behind living fences of Osage Orange for instance which produces one and a half inch thorns as it grows into a thicket. Around Mercer county, New Jersey, where I saw them for the first time, they had to be cut back bit by bit to space them apart and become rather tall trees. I noticed them because of the large oranges in the road when going by in a car perhaps to Washington's Crossing, or just Lambertville or to Bucks'County. These were actually Osage oranges bigger than a tennis ball,nearly as nice as those California navel oranges and they are an odd Shrek-green color until they ripen in color. I always tried to gather up as many as possible to keep at home in baskets as the colonials did for their quite interesting fragrance.   The side benefit in their day,it turned out to be a cockroach repellant par excellence.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 29, 2007, 10:21:25 PM
Madupont,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php?action=profile;u=164

From what I inferred from reading the link, perhaps its a derivative of boric acid?  Not sure.  And, the owners of the website no longer ship their pesticides outside of California. Sorry.  

But, speaking of Boric Acid, though, my sister lives in FL and has to endure the likes of the Palmetto Bug...a much larger look-a-like of the cockroach (if you ask me).  She found a recipe that combines boric acid with bacon fat (sorry I'm not sure of the ratios to each ingredient...I'll ask her and get back to you).  

Apparently the Palmetto Bug is enticed by the bacon fat, eats it, and ingests the boric acid; which in turn poisons the pest.  She loves it, as the Palmetto Bugs are kept at bay.  Perhaps if you injected a Boric Acid paste into the Carpenter Bee holes...

I checked in my copy of "Rodale's Landscape Problem Solver" and came across information in the chapter on roses and their most common insect pests:

Borers:

Evidently, caprenter bees are also known to lay eggs in rose canes.  Their larvae will bore out the pith of rose canes, which causes serious wilting.  The recommendation notes that the entry holes should be plugged.  

I imagine you could possibly use wood putty on your decking. The text only references damage to rose canes and recommends the use of grafting wax, putty, or paraffin.  It goes on to note that gardeners paint the end of a pruned cane with shellac or tree wound paint.  No other toxic chemicals are mentioned.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 30, 2007, 03:33:47 PM
Caltha Palustris,

I dropped them an e-mail,as it was not shipping into California, rather than out of California.  Carbaryl, as you probably know from Rodale, is Sevin which is discouraged for use in garden application although it was quite common.  I would imagine that there are warehouses full of left-overs of this stuff which would account for the amount of inappropriate spraying that went on around here that made trees look like they might come down on their own if not  removed to please lady drivers  of a certain age with slower reflexes.

I've asked them a lot of pertinent questions about the Borid turbo and the safety of the beam in future. I should think that even if the work was sealed up, our bee would probably be smart enough just to move a little further, as he or she has begun on the right side under the upper porch and unless there is some inate reason for that would probably just move  further to the next beam and the next and so on.

if the bee had shown up about a year ago or earlier, he would have had no problem,it stood empty for a over a year. After the cigar-smoker moved out who had moved in soon after I tried out one of those new fangled hanging upside-down tomato planters. To add insult to injury he threw his wrappers in the herb garden while smoking on the porch above. Tomatoes do not like nicotine or tobacco smoke; the bee probably did not either. It probably caught the lingering tell-tale scent.

It did not much matter about the upside down tomatoes, as it was just to experiment, I have heirloom tomatoes in the neighborhood in season and a plethora of most of the usual.  Brandywine, was it weezo who mentioned this one?, although categorized sometimes as heirloom was something the Amish picked up on because the territory where they settled was known as "Between the Brandywines". They have another which is a German tomato, known as the Howard tomato, a salad tomato that is known for providing the best flavor comparable to the best Italian varieties of but it is not exactly a plum or pear shape tomato or even a San Marzano  since it is more like an Oxheart tomatoe, I was never able to figure out however whether the pollination had crossed because I HAD not grown it before and it has a distinct nipple which it may have picked up from the ITALIAN tomatoes in the garden.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 30, 2007, 05:37:33 PM
Boy Howdy, this carpenter bee business is news to me.  I hope I never have a problem with one (or them).

Maddy, the amount of land I have now, a city lot 50' X 125', minus what the house sits on and a 5' X 50' easement across the back, claimed by the utility companies (electric, phone, cable tv) and the City of Dallas (sewer), doesn't leave any room for a buckwheat planting of any size.  My bees are making honey like all get out, from what I don't know.  Right or wrong, I think I'll leave the choice of pollen up to them.  Thank goodness we've had a bit of sun each day along with all this rain.  Bees hate rainy weather.

Tomatoes hate tobacco smoke?  What makes you think so?  i mean, I've quit smoking now but I used to light up while I gardened and I haven't noticed any difference amongst my tomatoes then and now.


Title: Re:Bunnies
Post by: TrojanHorse on May 30, 2007, 07:20:37 PM
Donotremove & Weezo (anne?)

thanks for the ideas.  i went to Armstong and they also mentioned Blood Meal and it seems to be working.  I sprinkled it on the areas that they were chewing last Saturday and i haven't seen one since...

I do intend to fix the fence also though.

Tried the cat idea earlier-- but it only worked for a very short while and then the coyotes got the cat--presumably after he chased a bunny out into the canyon...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 31, 2007, 01:20:50 PM
donotremove,


"i mean, I've quit smoking now but I used to light up while I gardened..."

So, did I.  It was nice being able to have a peaceful moment of relaxation planning out your next move in the gardening day. Nevertheless, that's the word that nicotine and tobacco smoke bothers them in ways that I never saw either in the great outdoors.

On the other hand, there are plants for which nicotine is recommended and I always forget which those are, but it apparently has curative effects as well as deleterious. Just in case I kept a sealed recycled coffee tin full of cigar butts under the old Stewart stove, after each Sunday's Political non-stop extravaganza  that began to teach me the fine-points of debate and argument, a little like the habit of Robert Di Nero in The Good Sheperd(of course, nobody argued with him. He just gave them assignments and they took them).  So, if you ever need to get rid of somebody who follows you out to your garden work while  they are smoking like Churchill, you can use the "tomatoes do not like nicotine or tobacco smoke" clause.

I'm not suggesting you put in a bed of buckwheat that you once considered, just sprinkling randomly among flowers and other plants because it is a soil-conditioner; and the bees can make what they want of it.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 31, 2007, 03:02:51 PM
I, too, have heard that tobacco is a no-no in a garden. Smoking around the tomato plants is supposed to make them suseptible to some or another virus or blight, but I've never seen it for myself. Nevertheless, we either wash our hands good before handling the tomato plants, or I wear gloves that come off when I light up.

Last year we had a horrid infestation of hornworms that took over the tomatoes while we spent some time at the beach. We had planted an experimental tobacco plant in another part of the garden, which got sickly and died. I don't know if that is what attracted the bugs. There are a number of tobacco fields windward of where we live, so I don't think we can every be rid of the chance that tobacco is affecting the tomatoes. Interesting that those who raise tobacco also have wonderful kitchen gardens, so who knows!

I have seen tobacco juice used as an ingredient in home-made bug killers. I've never made any up, so don't know how effective it is.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 31, 2007, 04:14:25 PM
Yes, it was toothpaste, Maddy.  The Panamanian manufacturer didn't know the chemical (imported from China) being used to make the paste was mislabeled.  I understand it's the same stuff that's in antifreeze.  Tastes sweet and kids and animals are likely to ingest it.

I'll bow to your and Weezo's knowledge about tobacco smoke and tomatoes.

Weezo,my daughter makes a "tea" from Redman tobacco and stinging nettles??--nettles get a bum rap.  I think the blooms are quite lovely, myself, and ground nesting birds like to make their nests under nettles since most animals give nettles a wide berth--which she uses to ward off bad bugs but won't hurt butterfly chrsyllis or hummingbirds.

She's after snails right now.  Snails, BTW, use 40% of the energy they get from food to make the slime which eases their way.  Beer works, but the gardener has to beware of the tendency to pour some beer in containers and drink some, especially on hot afternoons.  Then it's even money who will go down first, the snail or the gardener.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 31, 2007, 04:19:46 PM
Sorry I posted the same thing in both Food Matters and Gardening.  Senior moment.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 31, 2007, 04:38:40 PM
Reply to Caltha Palustris ,

I was making a rhubarb-strawberry pie,the other day, and as I was washing and trimming the rhubarb, I was deciding whether or not to save the tops with the cut off ends of leaves where there is just enough left to be sufficient. You know, if turned upside-down, they resemble the shape of duck feet; but I decided not to save in the freezer as I often do because they are used for burying in beds between alternate rows of transplanted cabbages(or, all brassicae,for that matter).

However just now in looking up something other, I came across this and so I would suggest, if you don't have it growing in your garden, go buy some rhubarb quickly!

"Rhubarb leaves,which contain oxalic acid, may be boiled in water and made into a spray which,watered into drills before planting...(the above brassicae) is helpful in preventing clubroot.

IT IS ALSO USED ON ROSES AGAINST GREENFLY AND BLACK SPOT" !


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 31, 2007, 05:02:22 PM
This is what I was looking for, re:donotremove #110,"She's after snails right now".

Here's Louie Riotte,again: TOBACCO STEM MEAL discourages slugs.

But watch out for this one, when she goes on to say, "Snails are reluctant to cross lines of ashes or hydrated lime, but they love honey...

( I would imagine that bees would drive away snails that tried to move in on a hive; wouldn't you?)

She continues:
Since ordinary table salt will dissolve slugs. I find it handy to carry a small salt shaker in my pocket to use when I spot them. I feel no compunction,for these slimy creatures  will destroy my choicest cabbage and lettuce heads if they get a chance."

However, before you get carried away with this remedy, I once had a rash moment as a beginner, perhaps from overwork in the heat of the day, when I overdid it and liberally tossed salt (it's Organic, right?) at my best lettuce.  Even before I turned away to go back to the house, before my eyes the  outer lettuce-leaves turned wet,slimy like the snails, and shriveled.   But, that was long ago, so I no longer recall the awful feeling that overcame me.  By the way, there's a very good reason that many cultures preclude menstruating women from working in the garden. There are actually several reasons that are very logical, depending on the season of the year(wet and rainy cool weather when transplants are put in, would be one).

But the biggest reason is how the garden instills an inate tendency for us to overdue, stretching the work-day, and when you find yourself overworked but don't give into it, you are likely to do just a little illogical thing which in a garden can set you back weeks or months depending on the crop that you became carried away about "improving".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 31, 2007, 06:34:50 PM
Here's another  to repel squash bugs,"cigarette ash and other tobacco residue if placed with the seed when it is planted.
 
WEEZO  -- I don't think that the tobacco fields windward of the tomatoes, nor a single tobacco plant in the garden either harms the tomato plants or would attract hornworms. Tomatoe leaves simply do attract horn-worms.   And you are right, the Amish have always grown tobacco, nowadays they grow more of the low-nicotine variety, but have kitchen-gardens right outside the house, sometimes on the other side of the drive way that the horse uses to take the buggy back to the "garage".

A wife might not let her husband handle some of the plants, if he's a smoker, and many Amishmen are dedicated cigar smokers, it is rarer to see cigarette smokers among Amishmen. I did know one and he was an avid flower gardener around his household, who made raised beds to set them off; but then he has been a carpenter, a plumber, and many other things, and we miss him since he took a bad fall while at work on a building and has not completely recuperated although a year has gone by.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on May 31, 2007, 07:02:44 PM
Madupont:

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php?action=profile;u=164
Thanks, I've always wanted to try Rhubarb.  I have Ligularia planted in the garden (which resembles Rhubarb's leafy structure).

However, I have a second dilemma:  The deer have arrived and are now munching on my rosebuds...  :-(  

I suppose, it's always something; blackspot, japanese beetle, the deer.

Those dang deer.  I intend to try "hair of the dog" and perhaps I'll plant something really poisonous just to get back at them.

Hubby absolutely will not put up a fence.  They even ate  Buddleia last year.  My County Extension agent said Buddleia was unappetizing to deer.  Not.

To all:

On tobacco/nicotine:

I finally remember the secret ingredient in Jerry Baker's bug repellent (I recall having a problem with some chewing critter) for plants:

Main ingredients:

water, dish soap, tobacco (1/2 of a cigar), garlic, and hot pepper seeds.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 01, 2007, 12:09:58 PM

Main ingredients:

water, dish soap, tobacco (1/2 of a cigar), garlic, and hot pepper seeds.

I bet this works... I spent some time at Armstrongs last weekend looking at various repellants and "garlic oil" and "pepper" were key ingredients in many of them.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 01, 2007, 12:10:49 PM
is it fresh tobacco?  or ashes from a smoked cigar?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 01, 2007, 01:11:23 PM
C.Palustris  reply to #115

Ligularia Cassini?  I don't think that I've seen one, and can't find a picture(as yet). One form is found near Rishikesh and the other Missouri(?) Have you ever noticed that when you decide to weed a bed, or hoe a row, that plants appear to imitate each other? It may be because they have a preference for the same growing conditions. In any case, ligularia in Rishikesh begins to put it into the point of origins of Marco Polo's rhubarb discovery whose source is China.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on June 01, 2007, 08:49:27 PM
Trojan,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php?action=profile;u=165

1/2 of an unsmoked cigar, so I purchased the cheapest brand and snipped one in half.  I recall having to make a tea of all the ingredients.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on June 01, 2007, 09:01:31 PM
Madupont,

http://forums.escapefromelba.com/index.php?action=profile;u=164

No. It's ordinary.  Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket'.

http://www.monrovia.com/PlantInf.nsf/08510e01e61cc962882571a9005a9153/872f1650818362c888256beb0055efc8!OpenDocument&Highlight=0,Ligularia

I bought two last year, lost one that didn't overwinter.  I loved the leaf more than the flower. Yellow isn't my favorite flower color (except for daffodils, a yellow orange shade of Wallflower that I was unable to find this year, and yellow Echinacea).   What does Rhubarb flowers look like?  The stems if I recall are a pinkish color.  I wonder if fiber artists use it as a dye for wool, like onion skins are used.

Yes, I've noticed that sometimes I'm fooled by some plants that look similar yet one is a cultivar; the other a well-placed weed.  :-)  With the exceptions of:  Oak seedlings, wild yellow oxalis (not the pretty exotic ones); dandelions; maple seedlings, and a choice few other invasive weeds (forgot to mention phramites too).

Well, I'm signing off.  A thunder storm is moving through and I must loose this post if the power goes out.  Goodness, we do need a soaking rain. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on June 01, 2007, 09:05:02 PM
Sorry, that meant to read:  "Like oak seedlings"...and etceteras.  Which do seem to take root just about anywhere.  Those mentioned don't have a preference...they seem to grow anyhwere and everywhere...oh wild violets too.

Goodnight.  Here comes the rain. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on June 04, 2007, 11:03:02 AM
June is perhaps one of my favorite seasons.  Though, Spring is probably my absolute favorite, as it sweeps away the gray hues of winter and the days begin to grow longer a minute or two with each passing day.  Snow Drops, Helleborus, Crocus, Daffodils and wild Violets say their hellos.

But, in late May and into June the day is so very bright; plants ranging in so many shades of green.  The most vibrant is a vivid Kelly green.  Some plants are just bursting with vibrant flower colors (especially roses), other flower buds just ready to burst open.  The birds and bees chirping, buzzing, zooming or zipping around the flora and fauna.  It's such a busy time of year in the wild.

In my neck of the woods, the air is sweet with the scent of wild clover, wild brambles (roses or blackberrys? not sure) and wild honeysuckle.  Very intoxicating!  For those of us who suffer from allergies, if it is a bit sneezy, then it's well worth it!  Just for the scent alone.

It's also one of the busiest times of the year for we gardeners, digging like squirels and other critters, just to get one more flat of flowers planted into the ground.  This year, after almost two months, finally, the rains have arrived; the last soaking rains came on April 15.  It's a day for planning, and moving small things around in the garden.  Ahh.  There's nothing more invigorating than the feeling of sitting back and soaking up all that our gardens have to offer us.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 04, 2007, 05:50:14 PM
Trojan,


1/2 of an unsmoked cigar, so I purchased the cheapest brand and snipped one in half.  I recall having to make a tea of all the ingredients.

I will give it a try...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 08, 2007, 12:05:37 AM
caltha palustris
"What does Rhubarb flowers look like?"

Oops! If it forms a foamy looking flower head, pinch it off as soon as you catch it. That is your rhubarb going to seed! And you don't want it to do that since you 'd rather grow it to produce more stalks and get bigger and better. I have a darker red(you are possibly thinking of what it looks like when cooked:pink)--which is a Victoria from Canada. It is just putzin' along in this environment, just holding its own compared to when I grew the same variety on the farm and fed it wheat straw from the edge of the wheat harvest to keep it moist during the summer, it grew on a sort of bottom land protected by a bramble of raspberries.

You never get to eat any of what you grow, if your luck is like mine. Just when it gets to about the proper size, you neighbours' heifers break out of their barn very early in the morning and wake the landlord's wife who looks out her upper window and just laughs at all the bawling going on.

They have come up hill from the tenant's barn and homestead and follow the edge of a cornfield because that 's the Spring rotation at this time of year, corn after wheat, when things get going after Pfingstsonntag, suddenly when past the corn-is-knee-high-by-the-4th-of-July, and stands nearly as tall that it is higher than the heifers' field of vision, they have no choice but to follow the entire field until they find this nice plant with the big green leaves for breakfast, it has an almost immediate effect and as they skip past the outhouse and the garage they conveniently go and manure my kitchen-garden for me.  What a mess. Then they mosey on out along the driveway, cross the  Compass Road over to the cottage where the widow Burky lives and they turn at the edge of the building supposing it is their barn;making the turn they bump their hind-quarters into the wall and wake up the widow whose name is Anna Mary.

Befuddled from sleep, she looks out and can see there are a bunch of "boys", meaning that they are about her grown sons' age, jumping out of a truck, and she figures they had been trying to get into her house so she goes for her gun.  Fortunately, she did not hobble with her walker to get it in time before they have rounded up the heifers and lifted them into the back of the truck and are gone.

Following this, her sons pick out a nice apartment for her, pack up her things, clean up the house, have a yard sale of the junk, which makes the house so dirty all over again from the rummaging that they have to clean it again and sell it to an Amishman who rents it to a handsome light-skinned woman tall, broad, and with freckles across her nose who drives a school bus just in time to come back and pick up two or three of her kids who look like Aaron McGruder's "Boondocks" residents.

As a new neighbour, she knows what you are going to ask before you get it out of your mouth. "Did you live in the city?" (skip that, she's past that all ready)"My family has always lived in the country."

By which you know that her family came down from the Welsh mountains where they hid as runaway slaves after they went up there through the underbrush deep into the forest, because we live just a line north of the Mason-Dixon. The line that used to be the northern border of Maryland. You don't catch on at first until the day you bump into an exhibit in a little library at Christiana because you've gone there for the only copy of --Travels of a Tangerine.  That's when you learn about the paddyrollers riding up across the border and dragging some free farmer to sell back into slavery while the house burns down and the white neighbours just stand around twiddling their thumbs  unaware what to do and the Abolitionists are of course -- in Philadelphia. But it does make a headline in The New York Times.

So, you could conjure stories here until the cows come home, while you nevertheless have to naturally wait for the rhubarb to grow back again, and when it is a good size -- I then give it away to my Amish friends where it thrives to feed a large family breakfast. I might make some up for mine, before I go to bed,because I am certainly not going to make a rhubarb pie with meringue before I go to bed.  I really stopped by to drop off a wonderful list if you haven't already seen it, but I should attach it in the next post reply that goes by.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 08, 2007, 12:31:55 AM
Here is a short list of plants rabbits avoid.
                             
Bulbs:Allium,Bluebells,Daffodil,Dahlia,Muscari

Annuals:                                       
Ageratum
Angelonia
Coleus
Impatiens
Nicotianna
Osteospermum
Petunia
Sunflower
Toernia
Verbena

Trees/Shrubs:       
Aucuba 
Azalea
Bottle Brush
Boxwood
Butterfly Bush
Dogwood
Elaeagnus
Eucalyptus
Hydrangea
Lilac
Mock Orange
Rose of Sharon
Sambuca

 
Herbs:Catnip,Dill,Lavender,Mint,Rosemary,Sage

Perennials :

Agapanthus
Ajuga
Amsonia
Anemone
Artemisia
Astilbe
Bear’s Britches
Black-eyed Susan
Bleeding Heart
Clematis
Columbine
Crocosmia
Daylily
Euphorbia
Ferns
Foxlgove (bi-annual)
Hellebore
Heuchera
Hollyhock (bi-annual)
Honeysuckle
Hosta
Iris
Lady’s Mantle
Lamb’s Ear
Lamium
Leucanthemum
Leucojum
Lily of the Valley
Liriope
Miscanthus
Monk’s Hood (Aconitum)
Penstemon
Peony
Rhubarb
Sea Holly
Sedum
Toad Lily
 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lhoffman on June 08, 2007, 12:42:09 AM
Gotta tell you, Madupont.  The Bunny in my backyard loves my black-eyed susans and lilies-of-the-valley.  And he really doesn't seem to find my lavendar at all off-putting.  Someone should have given him the list.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on June 08, 2007, 01:34:43 AM
Several years ago I saw rabbits nibbling on Impatiens in front of a house close to my brothers in Lake Tahoe.Don't know if they tried them again though.On our block in L.A. around three years ago we all planted the same type tree on the parkway.It is from New Zealand grows fast and puts out large yellow blooms of flowers .It seems to drop and flower twice a year and I notice of late with lots of seed pods that look a bit like the whirlybirds of youth the neighborhood squirrels are feasting on them.Now how does a North American Squirrel know about seed pods from a New Zealand tree.Animals seem to adapt.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 08, 2007, 01:04:30 PM
Bo, I imagine that squirrels have a general, generic, "seed pod" recognition area in the brain somewhat like the we humans do.  So that the seed pod is "noticed" as probably being that, which further investigation proves as right.

My father's second wife sent me a cabbage 18 inches across by 9 inches high at the middle.  Dad gum, what a monster.  But tender?  Well, I guess.  I've shredded half of it up for slaw (whcih gets better each day.)  The other half is in the crisper, waiting.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lhoffman on June 08, 2007, 11:22:40 PM
I don't know about rabbits, but I can tell you what squirrels don't like....chocolate. 

A few years back I woke up to the sound of blinds rattling in my family room.  I was certain someone was in my house, so I crept out of bed, threw on clothes....always good to have on plenty of clothes when facing home invaders....and tiptoed down the hall.  I peeked around a corner and here was a squirrel sitting on the end of my sofa.  I was extremely relieved that it was a squirrel instead of a maniac, but how to get rid of the thing?  I walked to my front door, propped it open, then went to my pantry....hoping to find something to tempt the little dear.  Luckily I found some walnuts.  I held them in my hand and used them to lure him out my front door.  When he left, I told him no hard feelings, but I'd rather we didn't meet in my house.  I shut the front door and walked into my kitchen.

 The night before, I had baked a vanilla cake with chocolate chips and left it cooling on my countertop.  Quite a bit of the cake was nibbled away, but my countertop was covered with chocolate chips.  Apparently, whenever he got a chip of chocolate in his cake, he spit it out onto my countertop.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on June 08, 2007, 11:24:33 PM
I noticed a few nights ago and again tonight that some of our rose bushes and a bit of one Jasmine bush have what look like patches of white spider webs on them.Some of the patches are a good size.When I rub them they are a wee bit sticky but they don't look like the cotton candy type sticky white.I noticed a few very narrow white insects when I cleaned with my hand.Bigger and longer than a whitefly and all white.I sprayed some soap and water and will see what that does.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on June 10, 2007, 11:30:22 PM
I finally found a site and it does appear I have whiteflies.I did not know there were several types till now.The whiteflies two years ago that destroyed  two Hibiscus bushes were Greenhouse Whiteflies.These from the pics I looked at seem to be Silverleaf Whiteflies.I am sure two of the rose bushes have something else going on.I've never had a whitefly problem with the roses before and one of the Hibiscus plants destroyed was next to an affected rose bush which maybe means Greenhouse Whiteflies don't attack roses or just had too good a time wrecking the Hibiscus.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 11, 2007, 12:55:00 AM
White fly

Bosox18d    Try the fels naptha soapsuds trick in a sprayer, even an old household item with sprayer top can be recycled for this(I like Mrs.Meyers contribution to the organic cleaning supplies especially for recycling her sprayer bottles.  I take an ordinary grocery store bar of Fels Naptha  and grate it --(just like Parmesan cheese for pasta)-- but only have to grate a small amount of Fels, enough to make suds when you add warm water to the bottle and shake.  Spray liberally on the plants, preferably when sun is not bright.

Now does anyone know what that tunneling is called(?) and what soil pest(?) causes that to show up on the leaves as an indication of what(?) in the soil, because I've forgotten!  Literally have forgotten. It has been so many years since I've last seen that.  I've never had it in any Columbine that I've grown before.   My idea was to replace plants that I'd previously had and that were sabotaged (by someone who was a controlling nuisance)but so far this season I have not done too well with the replacements  of native plants picked up at the Brandywine Conservancy. Two out of three having difficulties is not a good ratio.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 15, 2007, 12:12:49 AM
Mad...I'm glad you only posted the short list...

So far, Blood Meal and Garlic seem to be working the best-- but after a week or two they are back... I guess I need to reapply frequently.

Although even still, I am noticing them in the neighbors yards much more than mine now.   I think they are becoming frightened of the crazy man that keeps chasing them...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 16, 2007, 03:11:58 PM
Trojanhorse,

At first I didn't know to whom you were referring as "their back". Would you enjoy eating bloodmeal on your salad? If they ever take a liking to it Run! In the opposite direction. It's like the title of a bad cartoon movie,The Attack of the Killer Rabbits. We just talk to ours, I and the cat (from the window,in her case).

She is rather fond of rabbits as if they were cousins of some kind. First noticed them, when we moved to a farm about ten years ago and saw them eatting breakfast of white clover on the lawns in the morning. She developed a strange bond  of respect for them as somehow related because of the very similar coloring and that, when aware of her presence observing from the wash-porch window-sill, they also stopped motion and apparently stared in her direction from which ever side of their head was directly parallel. Kiki probably mentioned this later in an off-paw comment that she was rather glad that she had both eyes in front of her face like a normal furry person.  She also mentioned, she'd like me to bring some more cat-grass for her from which ever green house had it available.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 16, 2007, 04:34:22 PM
One recent morning, perhaps a week ago, lost now, I did write a little treatise on what might deter animals from the garden (rather than what plants are most likely to survive their predations) but I immediately hit the wrong key on the keyboard(which is another color than the previous,and I often misestimate the distance and direction on this new background) SO THAT I TOTALLY ERASED IT.

It was so erudite, too. I'm sure at least three people would have loved to smack me upside the head.

One of the things that I picked up at the green-house along with the cat-grass was a wormwood, artemisia Powis Castle, to start in a new direction as the old Seven Oaks variety is due to be cut back severely and we are warned that they should be moved after a few years because they have a deleterious effect upon the soil which can impede the growth of some other plants, I haven't quite determined which ones at this point but it is bound to alter the properties of some other herbs, chemically.

Since they were originally meant to keep deer from foraging on the big estates of the British Isles where they are sheered into pleasant mounds, you should be forewarned that they are best set back on the edge of the property rather than close to the kitchen garden or herb garden whose alleles will be messed with if surrounded by the plant that produced absinthe expected to drive humans crazy.

It does annoy earthworms. As I meant to tell donotremove when the powerful downpours started after a long dry spell, the usual Spring hurricane season when you reside in New Jersey, I don't anymore and have become  used to long seasons of draught running several years at a time. I went to my front-door to check on the rain accumulation from that direction and switched on the overhead light in the foyer. Glad that I did, too. So much water had accumulated in the shade border that the usual earth worms had come out on the side-walk and what I discovered was that about half a dozen of "baby-sized earth worms" had wriggled their way  up from the sidewalk  and worked vertically from the door-stoop until several were on the other side of the glass storm-door clinging to the glass. Something I had never seen before. Meanwhile that other half-dozen had come in under the door into the front hall. Glad that I turned on the light, since I was barefoot. Glad also that I left the watering can right behind the door and filled with cut wormwood from last season. I sprinkled a few crumpled sprigsful of the artemisia on each one of the worms, and they turned tail in repulsion .

Now in the normal garden setting, you don't want to do that. You want to encourage the build up of tunneling earthworms who bring up nutrients from the depths.

Wormwood is also harvested to be hung upside down until dry and then placed in closets or drawers to repel moths. I seem to recall it being placed in granaries to prevent infestations there as well.

Powis Castle is in Wales, home country to the Powys family of writers, rather large bunch with a huge international fan club who probably blog each other nowadays.  I was first introduced to the writing of John Cowper Powys when I found some second hand books,recommended by my great aunt Hazel; Wolf Soylent, and Owen Glendower.

Seven Oaks is a variety of artemisia grown at that address, at Long Barn , in Kent, the U.K. where Vita Sackville-West daughter to the British ambassador to Washington,D.C, in an earlier era, and her husband Harold Nicolson, also on embassy duty but to Tehran in Persia, lived and gardened until they went in search of another castle to do up as a "White Garden" at Sissinghurst. Vita actually lived and entertained in the barn, while Harold was at his station in Teheran ( I can't make up my mind about the changed spelling but you know where).  It was a terribly nice barn, however, renovated one of those stone barns the English built so well with an angle extension so that you have a courtyard.  It was renowned for the flagstone terrace in the crevices of which grew plentious rosemary and thyme by the time that Anne Morrow Lindbergh came to visit in the 1930s.  The main house of this property at Seven Oaks was given to the Sackville-West family by Henry the VIIIth. for services rendered. And if you ever saw the tv series of -- Brideshead, Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead is Seven Oaks, with turrets and the whole works including that magnificent Catholic chapel seen in the film which hints to you how Henry first acquired the place to hand out  as he liked.

Vita moved on because she could not inherit the place; she was not a boy and it nearly broke her heart that she was actually locked out of the castle grounds by a gate as if she was some mere plebeian. This realization in her childhood apparently influenced her greatly as she began dressing preferably in men's clothing (she was a huge massive impressive figure of a woman, as the saying goes)for the comfort, except for more formal occasions or when she preferred to be exceedingly fashionable when she went femme fatale.  Her thoughts on the subject are rather well summed up in her novel, Orlando (translated to film with Tilda Swinton at her best as well as that Old Queen Quentin Crisp as his/her/his best as well. Neither Kate Blanchet nor Helen Mirren, or even Bette Davis, despite their talent have played quite such a remarkable Queen Elizabeth as did Q.Crisp).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 19, 2007, 12:36:23 AM
This morning I was greeted by a disembowled rabbit entrail on my front lawn.   No sign of the carcass...


Could only be coyotes or a mountain lion in my neck of the woods.  Coyotes are usually pretty noisy when they make a kill so I'm guessing moutain lion.

Anyway, it was thoroughly disgusting and looked rather like a small squid of some sort...

Do you suppose the smell of this will keep the other biunnies out of my yard???  If they are smart you would think so...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 19, 2007, 12:57:20 PM
trojanhorse,

Where the heck do you live (in general terms that is)?  We have cougars at least, here, in what the residents consider quite urbane territory although wooded mountain rises in much of the rural landscape have underbrush disguising the wild larger felines that feel quite safe there. And this is the Mid-Atlantic region a couple of hours north of Washington,D.C. and dittoe west of Philadelphia.

In the past, I have had domesticated cats on the farm deliver me a breakfast of decapitated rabbit,in case I cared to step on it as I came out to the wash porch from my kitchen to see what the morning was like. They would leave it right outside the screen-door, on the mat where  you wipe your feet before coming into the house.

But, by your description, it sounds like a very hungry creature left only what did not appeal to her or his appetite.  So stay alert.

When on the alert, I kept the windows closed, on both first and second floors since cats will climb trees and jump to overhang roofs with access to windows, even in this summer weather when it becomes increasingly hotter.  I'm sure you probably saw the photos that made the Pop news items on internet service carriers, and where ever, of the big cat jumping through the screen door from inside the house, as the guy came home tentatively looking if it was safe to go inside.

Extra caution at exiting garages at night is also a precaution, even when you leave some kind of light on for the area, since cats enjoy stalking.

The same alertness applies until dawn before sunrise in our rural areas where livestock will drink at watering-ponds prior to coming in from pasture for milking.  At this season, we still have calves in pasture with their mothers.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 19, 2007, 01:02:45 PM
Ps.

I wasn't thinking.  People who live slightly to the north and have regular yards in small towns have had experience of sighting unwanted animals in their front yards, like a fox stalking their house cat or puppy dog. In order to save the pet, have gone out and smacked the intruder with a shovel, as they can be rabid along with skunks that are prevalent at this season.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 19, 2007, 01:11:23 PM
Quote
But, by your description, it sounds like a very hungry creature left only what did not appeal to her or his appetite.  So stay alert.

Or perhaps a fox, bobcat or whatever brought some "takeout" home to the kids in her den and either dropped or left the entrails.

Or since it was a rabbit, I guess it might have been fast food.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 20, 2007, 04:43:59 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to kill the forum.  (Part I was serious, and Part II was just a joke based on Part I.)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 20, 2007, 11:48:59 PM
No problem.  Just busy in immigration today and figuring out how to send messages.  However... what does that horse mean sticking out his tongue?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on June 21, 2007, 08:00:43 AM
Harvesting Herbs

Day before yesterday I cut my oregano and laid in in an old cloth screen door on a vented patio table to dry. Had to take it in yesterday when it sprinkled a bit threatening storms that never materialized. They are back out today, still rather moist. Too great a quantity to do in the microwave. So it will be sun-drying. When they are dry I will crush them up and bottle it. Will be nice to share bags of oregano with anyone I visit.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 22, 2007, 02:37:32 AM
Sweet William (from seeds from my mother's garden) is blooming in pots in my back yard.  Eye candy for the soul and always makes me think of Mother and "Barbry Allen" and my throat swells and I can hardly breathe.  Such the flowers of our youth in an unbroken line to our old age.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 22, 2007, 06:28:37 AM
Out here in Colorado we have a particularly pesky weed called Bindweed.
It's rhizomous and can attach itself to almost anything and either climb (on my corn and tomatoes! DRAT!!) or spread on the ground.
Has anyone had any success in eliminating this pest?  If so, how?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 22, 2007, 11:38:36 AM
Thecapo, are you speaking of the tough vine that has barbs?  Regardless, unwanted vines can only be removed by hoe/shovel/hand in vigorous attacks at frequent intervals all year long.  And then you will not completely eradicate, merely control.  Even a small section left in the dirt will make a new vine start.  See me smiling, I don't know that complete sterilization of the soil (which renders it useless for several years) will get rid of some vines.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 22, 2007, 01:12:22 PM
dnr,

Thecapo, are you speaking of the tough vine that has barbs? 

NOPE!  This is a creeper/climber that puts out a little purplish/white flower.  It will either creep along the ground or climb like a honeysuckle.  It's like the clown heads in the carnival.  You whack one with a mallet, and another one pops up. :'(


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 22, 2007, 05:17:37 PM
trojanhorse,

Where the heck do you live (in general terms that is)? 

Orange County Calif.  Our house backs to a "Regional wilderness area" that is in turn connected to a national park area...so there is plenty of wildlife...

About a month ago, I lifted the skimmer cover on the pool and was treated to a live, 3 ft rattle snake that had become trapped in there...

I called vector control for help on that one...scared the crap out of me...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 22, 2007, 05:18:55 PM


Or since it was a rabbit, I guess it might have been fast food.

ba dump bump...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 22, 2007, 05:20:57 PM
cougars (mountain lions) are common here.  I've only seen one bobcat in 20 years, and it was late at night, so I wasn't sure I wasn't seeing things...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 22, 2007, 08:52:03 PM
We have the cougars to in the countryside, East Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Scary looking at night aren't they!

I know what you mean by the landscape out there, one thing leads into another. I had old friends at San Diego, in both meanings of the word; the daughter has  probably returned to San Francisco by now(?)

Do you suppose the rattler thought he was hibernating?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 23, 2007, 01:05:58 AM

Do you suppose the rattler thought he was hibernating?

I don't think they can swim, so I presume he crawled in through the small hole in the skimmer cap (barely big enough for him to get in.  Then I think he was stuck in there.  I assumed he was probably as scared as I was...particularly when he realized he was stuck in there with no way out but through the water...but I wasn't about to test that theory...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 25, 2007, 11:20:53 AM
Actually, snakes are quite good swimmers.  Admittedly, though, it seems odd that a rattler would seek out water.

I have one little tomato on my vine and several other blooms soon to be tomatoes.  I have the vine in a very large clay pot, and I am inspecting it every day for pests.  What should I do if it gets infested with bugs or hornworms?  I'd really like to avoid pesticides if possible. 

Also have an arbor in the backyard of my new digs with grapes growing on it (just one little bunch, but heck, I'm excited) AND a pear tree that has actually been kept properly pruned to a small tree.  We're going to have d'anjou pears this year! 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 25, 2007, 11:47:03 AM
One way to (hopefully) prevent hornworms is to invite in parasitic wasps by planting some pollen-y or nectar-y flowers nearby.  This year I'm doing alyssum, nasturtiums*, petunias, zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers (if they ever come up).  Butterfly bush and a bunch of things would do the same thing.   The wasps plant larvae on the hornworm; so if you see a hornworm with gakky, cocoon-y stuff on it, don't kill it.  The larvae will feed on the hornworm and kill it, and then morph into parasitic wasps, who you want around.   

You can also hand-pick the hornworms.  Ewww.  But it works if you just see a couple.  If you have a bunch, the stuff called Bt works - but then you're venturing (sort of almost) into pesticide territory. 

I think the hornworm is a critter that goes to the soil over the winter, so if you have them this year and  it's possible to till the area at the end of the season and then again in spring, that might be a good idea. Exposing them through tilling will usually kill the ... not larvae .... whatever they are that stage.  Plus, tilling is also a good opportunity to throw some nutrients, mulch or whatever into your soil to feed it.


*A lot of people keep tomatoes and nasturtiums away from each other -- I believe the nasturtiums are a good trap crop for aphids, and if they're too close to the tomatoes, it's like sending the aphids an engraved invitation.  But I've done it with no aphid issues in the past.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 25, 2007, 11:50:25 AM
Hi, harrie -

I have tons of wasps, so maybe I'll luck out!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 25, 2007, 11:56:48 AM
Hey, desdemona -- you're already lucky, you have a tomato coming along.  We're just green stuff and a couple flowers at this point; but expecting some heat in the next few days, so things should take off.  And, I hear that that tomato-mozzarella-basil salad is excellent with stewed nutria.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 25, 2007, 01:04:19 PM
HA!  Never did want to let loose with that one in the old cooking forum - thought it might be a bit much.

Seriously, the son of a bitch I used to be married to was working in St Mary's Parish once, and a bunch of the guys who were from around there said, "Hey, we're going over to so-and-so's for free dinner!"  My ex said he thought the place smelled a little gamey when he walked in, and when he got his plate, there really WAS a dome-shaped piece of meat on it with a ridge down the middle.  That's when he asked what it was.  The response - you guessed it - "nutria rat".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on June 25, 2007, 01:08:44 PM
Actually, snakes are quite good swimmers. 


I know some snakes are able to swim, I almost stepped on once in the water many years ago.

  I wasn't sure about rattle snakes and so I asked the guy from Vector control.  He said no...they can't swim.   I don't have any personal knowledge other than that...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 28, 2007, 07:35:10 PM
Ah, the Calla lilies are in bloom! I've been trying to get them to, for 18 years.   If only I'd known this would be the season, I would have planted more.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 29, 2007, 09:33:08 AM
Great Katherine Hepburn impersonatioin, madupont.


Title: Bulbs
Post by: TrojanHorse on July 10, 2007, 10:58:32 AM
Once you plant a "bulb"   do they come back each year?   Or are they a one and done plant?



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on July 10, 2007, 12:56:09 PM
There may be one-timers out there, but most of the bulbs I've used -- daffodil, tulip, crocus, hyacinth -- come back. The come-back rule may (or may not) apply only to spring bulbs; I grew gladioli a long time ago but don't recall if I had any repeats in subsequent years.  However, I didn't feed my spring bulbs or anything, and after a few years they did poop out.  I know other people whose bulbs multiply year after year, and I assume they do the maintenance.  But I could be wrong.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on July 10, 2007, 01:23:50 PM
Bulbs tend to multiply in leaps and bound down here in the Atlanta area (at least day lilly bulbs do), but they stop blooming.  All you get is bulb leaves. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 26, 2007, 10:47:40 PM
I live in a foggy part of San Francisco but have been able nevertheless to grow in the back yard several large bushy tomato plants (5 reg. tomatoes, 1 cherry tomato), the promising green tomatoes on which may be ready in Sept. to mid-Oct. (yes, our summer starts just as the poor kiddos go back to school).  While none of the the tomato plants have them, many other plants in our back yard (like roses & begonias), have dark spots on their leaves, which someone at the plant store told my husband was "from the water."  Hubs didn't know if that refers to amount of water (too much, too little?) or something actually in the water.  We try not to overwater, fog daily til midday during June-Aug. keeps things pretty moist, but I wonder if anyone here has thoughts about what was meant by "from the water" and why certain plants are so affected and not others (those along the fence that get afternoon sun, but not on other side, nothing related to lily family).  It's odd, is it not?

I'm also distressed because some beds of mint are developing hole-y leaves, looks like some critters (snails, likely) are fond of the mint taste and have also nibbled a bit on the dahlias, but left most other plants alone.  If you'll pardon my inelegant webspeak, WTF?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 26, 2007, 11:18:21 PM
Offhand, spots on tomatoes (and their leaves) mean blight to me -- but  [MAJOR DISCLAIMER] I am by no means a tomato expert.  According to the attached U of New Hampshire sheet (http://extension.unh.edu/Pubs/HGPubs/tomalsp.pdf), certain blights can be caused by high humidity and/or lots of rainfall, at least one of which it sounds like you might have.  I'm equating fog with humidity, which may not be the right thing to do.

We're fighting blight on a tomato plant of ours -- the hubby sprays something on it intermittently.  The good news is, it's a relatively low-harm-to-the-environment spray, or he wouldn't use it.  The bad news is, he's sound asleep.  I'll ask him tomorrow what he uses.  Unless of course someone has a better grasp on the situation in the meantime, which is entirely possible. 

As for the slugs, which it sounds like are doing the munching, put a pie plate in/on the ground, so the lip of the pan is flush with the soil.  Fill with cheap beer.  Empty pan in morning.  Hopefully it will be full of slugs who crawled in, became inebriated and drowned.  Repeat as necessary.  Or if you're feeling sadistic, patrol the garden at night with a box of salt.  Sprinkle the salt on slugs you see -- sparingly, as it will affect your soil chemistry -- and watch the slugs dissolve before your eyes.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on August 27, 2007, 09:52:21 AM
harrie,

Diatomaceous earth (in a box) works pretty well too when lightly dusted on the leaves using a shaker-box.  Softies like slugs, and even caterpillars with their treads on, do not particularly like crawling along gritty surfaces and there is just enough sharp substance in the diatomacious earth (bought at the garden-supply store) to make it very unpleasant for them to munch your vegetables' foliar input of sunshine received.   I did have an event in the parsley, in which the brilliant psychodelically costumed caterpillars were showing off that they could get to the top; but, when they are just a few guys competing for who has the loudest wardrobe, I often take a rough stick of any kind and slip it under them and then flip them out of the area. Preferably on sand or other gritty surface.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 27, 2007, 09:57:53 AM
(http://www.ento.okstate.edu/ddd/IMAGES/earlyblight.jpg)

That's early blight on a tomato, courtesy of Oklahoma State.  By the way, I just love the ag extension programs at schools where they put stuff online.  It is sooo useful.  Cornell and UMaine are my favorites, OKState had the photo. 

The hubby uses a copper spray on blight, can't remember the brand name.

madupont, I'm a big fan of dio -   diatom --- that sharp, granular stuff, too.  For some reason, not easy to find at my local Agway or feed or garden store; but my sister found some at hers, and you get it ina box, so it's out there.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: liquidsilver on August 27, 2007, 10:10:12 AM
My rosebush is getting attacked by beatles or slugs - not sure which - but they are doing some serious damage to the leaves, anyone know a good solution?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 27, 2007, 10:13:36 AM
And for future reference, this guy on davesgarden.com had good results growing the Tigerella, aka Mr. Stripey, variety of tomato in San Francisco.  Sorry, I get obsessed.

Quote
On Sep 19, 2003, eje from San Francisco, CA
(Zone 10a) wrote:
Looking in the Seeds of Change catalog for good short season tomatoes, found Tigerella (among others). Started seeds in early spring and then planted out in a large container. Healthy vigorous tall plant, no pests of note, heavy producer of very tasty small-ish fruit. Perfect for salads. Any tomato that does this well here in the fog of San Francisco, is a winner for me. Will plant more again next year.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on August 27, 2007, 10:19:59 AM
liquid -

Sounds like you have aphids - you can see them if you pull off a leaf and look at the back side of it carefully.  The only thing I know of that will get rid of aphids is the insecticide you can get for them at the store.

I had a lot of slugs in my garden a lifetime ago in Baton Rouge, and I also had roses.  If I remember correctly, slugs aren't crazy about roses.  However, if it is slugs, you can easily tell just by looking around for the little buggers.  There is a product called Bug-Getta for slugs - little pellets you scatter into the dirt that they eat.  There are organic ways of getting rid of slugs, too, but I can't remember any of them.  (Sorry)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: liquidsilver on August 27, 2007, 10:35:42 AM
Okay, thanks for the help


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 27, 2007, 10:36:09 AM
With some of the slug stuff, read the package carefully, especially if you have pets.  Some of the products will harm birds, snakes (who are your garden friends) and small animals as well as slugs.  

Japanese beetles are often a culprit when your roses are munched; but generally if you have them you know it, because they're buzzing all over the place.   Neem oil soap is pretty safe and effective -- as effective as anything with those little buggers -- but it wears off in a few days, so needs to be re-applied when you notice chewing again.  Or on a weekly or every other weekly basis if that works better for you.

This site has good stuff on Neem, and also a good-looking roses page (said by one who doesn't grow them, so take that with a grain of salt).  And I'm now officially relinquishing my crown and stepping down as Miss Google 2007.

http://www.yardener.com/TipsForUsingNeemOilSoap.html

http://www.yardener.com/ProblemsofBushRoses.html


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on August 27, 2007, 01:38:49 PM
Des,

There are organic ways of getting rid of slugs, too, but I can't remember any of them.  (Sorry)

It's called BEER!!

No joke.  A saucer of beer among the roses will draw the slimy little critters.  They will slither in and die (quite happily, I may add! <;-) )


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on August 27, 2007, 02:08:28 PM
The beer tin in the garden works great unless you live by a Fraternity House.I second Des and say Aphids on the roses.I have never had a slug problem with roses.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on August 27, 2007, 02:43:35 PM
Doesn't soapy water sprayed on rose leaves (and don't forget the underside) get rid of aphids?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 27, 2007, 03:18:05 PM
DoNot, I believe that is correct, and that Dawn is the preferred soap to use. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on August 28, 2007, 01:00:41 AM
All RIGHT, thanks so much to all, will try the suggestions and bookmark the websites.  I did hear, after a frustrating attempt at growing tomatoes in the fog belt last year (before that we lived in sunny SE part of the city and had plenty for us and to share each year), that it can be done with small ones, harder-to-impossible with larger varieties.

My husband said he will bring home some diatomaceous earth and might even part with some beer (no frat houses nearby, thanks be  ;))   

Quote
Japanese beetles are often a culprit when your roses are munched
  This recalled to me my least favorite chore as a child, shaking Japanese beetles off the rose bushes into a coffee can containing gasoline or kerosene...hate, hate, HATED it.  I recall wondering if those beetles were named "Japanese" because of resemblance to those dive bombers in WWII.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on August 28, 2007, 11:41:03 PM
Those Japanese beatles took over a small climber-rose that sprang up on its own a few years ago under the rhododendron on the predominantly shade side of the house. Due to better than average rain the rose-vine was now coming through the top of the rhododendron foliage  so I carefully inclined it to grow under several branches and head toward a support for hanging plants, whereupon I discovered the coppery beatles. I removed them by hand but I was furious because the tree in the front yard whose species I cannot remember other than it grows a kind of faux cherry, very hard that the birds like to eat, had been sprayed two years in a row with something that "they tell me" is done to keep the Japanese beatles out.


This has done two things,since the tree continually drips on to the lower shrubbery and plants, during any rain, the spray may have kept beetles out of the tree  but they laced the foliage of the rose.

The  far worse thing is that the tree has become heavy with faux fruit dragging down the branches, very shady but you must remember not to walk into the darned things when checking your plants.  And of course the birds will not touch the fruit, with a ten foot pole --if you can picture that image? It is obviously poisonous to them.

There is only one young rascally squirrel that hangs out at my house, I fear the others were probably victims of this spraying, rabbits as well otherwise they would have come out in the cooler weather last week and run around in the rain eating salads of grass in the down-pour.  The squirrel has made it his business to survive by hunting frantically all day. Usually he is busy scraping oyster shells with his teeth, that I use to mark short perennials and annuals under "his" tree, He regularly takes them out to the street or tosses them around forgetting where he dropped them. Then I discovered he had found one more particularly edible thing, my only light pink geranium on the second shelf of a French plant stand that fits in the angle behind the front door. I thought at first he had broken off a flowering shoot but then discovered under that broken bit he had been stripping it down a bite at a time, like an exotic salad. Since most of those shade plants are tropicals that are poisonous to some degree, he carefully found the one plant that smelled safe and went for it. He does not care about the coral coloured geraniums on the sunny side of the house that I've kept propogating from slips since I first bought them at a plant sale to support the one room library with closet  in Hopewell, New Jersey, twelve to fourteen years ago. 

I kept them as a souvenir because, though most of the clientele read nothing but romantic fiction, they had the very best collection of the Gore Vidal historic novels and a few other offbeat witticisms of his, as well as the Edith Wharton collection and the  odds and ends like Canadian history, Doblin's Alexanderplatz,Dos Passos, the latest cookbooks and magazines, received  new books with infinitisimal regularity as well as willingly ordering whatever you requested. For a village barely between four to six blocks east to west and not that many north to south, it had everything.  A wine collection in the liquor store on the square which had  been an old  2nd Empire hotel with a mansard roof; an Hungarian restaurant with Sunday brunches; a pharmacy with a wall of fashionable fragrances; a small supper-theater, a post office; a conditerie that disappeared as soon as I moved there to be replaced by a so-so lunch room; a summer park very small but with meticulous upkeep of the flower beds; several tile shops for those who collect and likewise antiques at country prices, as well as  new fake antiques by young ladies who thought they ought to go into business; a beauty parlor for them, a grange turned in an art gallery of nothing special; several Indians from Bombay(Mumbai) who turned out to be a family in the suburbs who drove over to run a convenience store and look authentically like shops at home in India when the heat became oppressive in summer.  A veterinarian,  a big guy like Brian Dennehy who walked the lowest to the ground dachshund imaginable, a Muslim family who walked single file  in the usual order so many paces behind. A family of Coptic Christians who ran the dry-cleaning establishment across from the bank  and a step away from the cleanest laudromat in the country, a pizza place almost across the street where you could pick up thick,soft breadsticks when you ran out of bread for dinner; of salads in a box when the weather finally was too hot to bother. A young man across the street who could have been Nicholas Cage's stand-in.     

It has it's own small historical society displaying small town life furnishings; except this never became more than a village from the Revolution until the end of the 20th.century. I lived where the paper was composed  from the days when the "town" still called for such a thing kitty-corner from the blacksmith and wheelwright. It may have lasted as long as the commutter train still stopped at the delapitated antique station that rumour had it would be resuscitated. That never happened; instead the morning commutter traffic poured around the curve from Pennington to Rocky Hill dispersing in what ever direction North or South had to be attained between eight and nine a.m.  It jolted me awake but was pleasant to watch in winter since we lived in this neverland right between those who came from New York and those who came from Philadelphia to get away from the big city. Observing their rush hour was sufficient to make me feel like I was almost in touch with a city of some sort some where.

But it wasn't. Straight ahead from my second story windows, that somehow managed to be almost three floors from the street because of the uphill incline, I could see the opposite hill and High Fields above the town where the Lindbergh kidnapping took place.                               


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on August 29, 2007, 08:13:58 PM
Just to complete the loop on the fungicidal, "copper spray" I referred to for blight -- it's called Serenade. 

http://www.serenadegarden.com/


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on September 03, 2007, 05:51:18 PM
Many thanks, harrie, have printed that out to be taken to plant store next trip.  Can't help wondering about who came up with the product name, which reminds me of the most recent Colson Whitehead book, Apex Hides The Hurt about the "adventures" of a naming specialist who is given the task of renaming a town established by African-Americans as "Freedom" then later renamed after an industrialist who brought the town's main business enterprise there.  I'm a Whitehead fan, though I've not encountered many who are likewise, or who have even heard of him.

But back to the garden...   



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 04, 2007, 03:35:49 AM
Nytempsperdu, I'm a Whitehead fan myself and Apex Hides the Hurt was a brilliant performance by him. Back in the old NYT Forum days I touted the book.  To stone silence.

Which reminds me, I meant to read his The Intuitionist and John Henry Days and forgot--I have a really senior mind, alas.  His subject matter is so, well, um, off the beaten track.  I mean, who knew that a tale about an elevator inspector or some obscure journalist covering the issuance of a commemorative stamp could capture and hold your interest?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on September 04, 2007, 09:18:39 PM
And yet, he certainly does.  Hope you enjoy his first two when they mosey on into your reading space.  Cheers!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 07, 2007, 04:37:40 PM
Sorry, donotremove, but also thanks, first you tell me "You're a big girl and can take care of yourself." And, so I did.

But back to the garden. Within days of turning in the lease under new management, instead of the copy coming back, the management office drops off an announcement following the holiday weekend that they have a contractor coming on Monday.

I was going to tell you how nice the morning glories are in the morning, after two years ago when the wall and porch washers came to  spray or hose-down the porch above my garden and insisted on taking a ladder into my garden so they could reach the porch! 

So on Monday, we have a repeat performance in which they spray down the walls in the door yard as well to prevent mold (I used to do this myself with no problem) but over the floral shade border!

This means of course, that although this is the hottest humid day of the summer, I started bringing in the decoratives yesterday and keeping them out of any cool blast of air-conditioning or in direct line with a fan, I collected boxes to set the plants in--from the patio(under the carpenter bee who has not been back after his busy season; Fels Naptha plus his contribution of wood pulp sure  makes the geraniums healthy and gives the old-geraniums new life). They will all adapt to the interior early because the weather when I would enjoy being out to admire the garden is just coming on ahead into October. I will take down the shelved frame, because all of that must be cleared, along with the weber-grill in the far corner and the folding chairs and the dolly with which big plants are moved will help me take things to the dumpster which is now full because everbody on the premises is madly cleaning up their patio under threat -- they've got us over a barrel as they haven't brought back our leases as yet, and it is only the old ladies who garden or Mr. Schroeder, with his bird feeder, who likes to  watch birds who come visit the garden, and they threaten to charge us a fee for having the contracter come another day if every object is not off the patio or out of the way of the front porches in most cases.  But there go the morning glories.  Now, do you see why California is a godsend.  I say that, knowing the implication of that word.   

I will see if I have enough plastic covering  to throw over the plants in the ground, some herbs will be covered with old pots or boxes under the translucent plastic, along with the barrel in which the Indian Summer crops were seeded around the end of season eggplants. I have to get back out there now, moon in Leo, and cut the last cutting of wormwood.  I was very loathe to even sign a lease with these new creeps after checking their holdings. They are a cut below the old owners.  Ask me about the realtors dodge, later.  Only nicety is the chance to pay them off two months and blow off to the coast when I'm up for it.     Kiki is wondering what I'm doing to her garden.

Sorry, if I embarrassed you, but I'm neither Alexander King, nor Dick Cavett;  but I have been undergoing a campaign on an almost daily basis of a couple taking turns dumping on me in the forums. I can just about ignore hopeless who is having some kind of a crise de nerves or is that smurfs? But I already got the alibi of the other on a Sunday months ago, and she used it on you perfectly. Will give you the dates and details. I have reading to do when I'm not tuckered out from the Plant Rearrangement,which sounds like a Japanese hobby doesn't it?                   


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 07, 2007, 05:09:33 PM
Maddy, that's a bummer, having your patio and walls "washed" to the detriment of your morning glories.  but if men are hostages to wives and children, tennants are hostage to management of rental properties.  Tennants who are usually badly treated, if I am to believe all the horror stories I hear from people I know, and on the local news.

No, I'm not interested in the details.  Going through all of it once has rubbed me raw and I'm not willing to sit through a replay.  Yes, I did say you are a big girl and can take care of yourself.  NOW, I'm saying back off and start over.

My yard is a mess.  And I am getting more and more philosophical about having it "tidy".  I need to win one of those contests so I can call a landscaper to do an overhaul.

Does your California son own his own home?  Will you live with him?  Does he know you are obsessive about some things?  I don't want you to suffer elderly abuse (not intentionally, of course) from a loved one who really doesn't know you all that well.  Does he know you tootle about the house til 3-4 am sometimes?

Fall tomatoes are coming on, but they're never as good as summer ones.  Yellow squash has worn out its welcome.  So has zuccini.  I tried frying some blossoms.  What a disaster.  I like green pepper slices on baloney sandwiches and my green peppers have been shy and reluctant to come out.  Something happened to my daylillies.  A mole?  in the city?  Three or four is all I've had and I used to have dozens.

Drat.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on September 07, 2007, 06:45:01 PM
I live in a foggy part of San Francisco


hmmm, "the foggy part" ...so that would be either the inappropriately named "Sunset" District, down near Lake Merced, or most likely, The Richmond.

I had lived in all three.  Personal fav was The Richmond as the sound of the foghorns preparing to enter the Golden Gate was continually soothing to me.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 07, 2007, 06:55:06 PM
madupont, I notice you mentioned Fels Naptha.  Do you know of any use for this?  We have a bar or two of it hanging around.  The hubby ran into some poison ivy earlier this year; his nurse sister recommended Fels Naptha and some domebro (or something like that) powder to dry it out, along with Caladryl.  None of that worked of course, and eventually we ended up at the walk-in where he got 'roids and an antibiotic.  Hubby was oozing pus everywhere -- it was gross.  But the end resutl is, we have a bunch of stuff we don't need and aren't going to use, Fels Naptha being one such item.  So if there is a way we can use it, please....enlighten.  If you like, of course.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 09, 2007, 04:20:04 PM
harrie,

Take an ordinary grater to grate up as much of the Fels Naptha as you care to shake  up in some warm water. Are you familiar with Mrs.Meyers Clean Day ? As a result of liking the Geranium scent she supplies as Shower spray to keep the walls and especially the interior shower curtain  clear,  after  a shower. I have a collection of well-built 22 ounce sprayer bottles.  I am an obsessive recycler among other obsessions that donotremove has noted but it is a bit of a translation problem. I'd say anywhere from a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup makes a  clingy shakeup solution for that 22 oz bottle.  Some plants might choke on 1/4 c. as excessive. But potted plants if not in too huge a pot can in any case be rinsed in the tepid temperature range under the shower! Then you reach for the Mrs. Meyers again.  Vicious cycle.   The fels spray is for the bugs that you want to eliminate before the plant is too far gone

In any case let the grated soap and warm water cool off before applying to house plants or plants being brought into the house at this time of year as they readjust to indoor lighting conditions before time to turn on the heating system.  Last year, I found an "insect from another planet", whose name is Arnie, who had emerged from a Begonia plant in that very shower when I hooked his summer residence  over the rod.

A really bad case of poison ivy will not respond to Fels naptha bar soap, at the oozing stage. I had a neighbor who was an old-timer when I was located at the Lawrenceville Prep School; a next door neighbor rather than an "Inn" house neighbor, where we each had a floor as a flat in a Georgian colonial 17th.century coach-stop where Lost Angels, Cry Baby,Blue Sky,School Ties,Melrose Place, Carried Away, Secretary, Amy and her mother lived on the first floor.  But, the lady next door did her yearly clean up in the English Ivy around her brick out-door shady spot under the tall trees.  Next thing I knew, she was still valiantly soldiering on wrapped in plastic  bags over her medication.

Several herbalists who attend the Landis Museum Mother's Day weekend gigantic sale of herbs, flowers and shrubs, plants and seeds (as they are a heirloom seed-saver group from whom I've bought seed since about the day that I discovered they were selling early  Pennsylvania-German stuff that even Thomas Jefferson's Monticello was not selling, and that must have been back in 1970) have sold me bars of soap made from Jewel-weed which I've fortunately never had to use.  I had a Jewel-weed bush growing in the Midwest at the time I was extending my food garden but it had taken me possibly three years of study before I identified it as being that. It usually grows locally somewhere near the poison ivy but I had none on that place(?) On the other hand there was no Jewel-weed, the day that I was cutting out excessive something or other climbing the Rose of Sharon Hedge on the Lancaster-Chester county border.  It did not act up. The landlord often did by dousing poison ivy with diesel fuel!

I'm hoping that I'm immune to it by now, although people lose their immunity as they get older. People get it particularly at this time of year working the garden reading for Autumn when it is hot enough to work up a sweat as you are going around in cut-offs and a bikini top plus work gloves and those non-slip rubber sandals from Israel.  The worst mistake was the guy who tried to burn the poison ivy in a bonfire to get rid of his cleanup scraps, without realizing what he was doing! But then, he was also the neighbor who mixed white wash lime for a project, and let his gloves get wet but wore them anyway.  But, he was born in Pennsylvania before moving to New Jersey where we had this saying about Pennsylvanians and then I moved here and found out it wasn't just a sprinkling but a full fledged population way of thinking and I hope "That" isn't catching. It never ceases to surprise people passing through from other places.

So, other than fels naptha being something that bugs do not like the taste of, I've used it grated when the big boxes of laundry soap were no longer available; and let it melt in some hot water before adding more tepid merely warm water  whether in a gentle cycle of a washing machine or by hand washing depending on the sizes of washable woolens which are softened by Fels Naptha.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 09, 2007, 05:27:05 PM
Thanks for the Fels Naptha tip, madupont.  That should be a very workable solution.  We buy soap from a lady who makes goats milk soap with botanicals and stuff in it.  She sells a Jewelweed soap for use on mild poison ivy, and we found it takes the itch out of bites and just those weedy irritations you sometimes get.  Good stuff!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on September 09, 2007, 06:00:20 PM
Quote
hmmm, "the foggy part" ...so that would be either the inappropriately named "Sunset" District, down near Lake Merced, or most likely, The Richmond.

I had lived in all three.  Personal fav was The Richmond as the sound of the foghorns preparing to enter the Golden Gate was continually soothing to me.

The area is called Parkside on maps, though it's considerably S of GG Park, but folks all know what I mean when I say West Portal neighborhood, just across from St. Cecilia's, (Patron Saint of Music) and we hear its bells several times a day.  Amazing how many hymns I recall from my growing up among S. Baptists, and that they are ecumenical.

There are many green tomatoes that are ripening slowly.  If we could just have one warm week there'd be enough for us and friends & co-workers, too.  Have forgotten my sundance moves from NM days--dunno if there's a patron saint of tomatoes...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 09, 2007, 09:53:55 PM
harrie --guess what?

I found an extra bar of Fels Naptha (while washing rags in the laundry room that had wiped down plastic covers which I might have to lay over garden; and,also, from the cleaning bucket for the folding chairs) so, I carefully read the label on the back of the bar. It says,"May be irritating to skin"; definitely not the thing to apply to apply to poison ivy. Any "sibling rivalry" left over from long ago, in this scenario?

What is "domebro"?  I swear by Caladryl, but gosh with poison ivy the trick would be applying it!  Caladryl works with itchy insect bites but usually has to be applied several times to relieve what ever bites you at the change of season.  They are dedicated to getting inside before you  do for the oncoming weather and there is nothing as interesting to eat as the  people who live in the house.   Spider season drives me wild and is one of the reason's that I became fond of Mrs. Meyers Geranium scent. Spiders apparently don't like the smell of Geranium oil.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 10, 2007, 11:10:03 AM
madupont,
The Domeboro is a powder that you mix with water to make an astringent solution.  Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/3cetaa

Re the sister recommending Fels Naptha, maybe it was sibling rivalry, maybe it was just an attempt to dry the crap out of the poison ivy, which at the time was not yet festering.  But using that Fels Naptha stuff was like drying out your skin so it flakes off down to the bone or something.  As for me, I kept my distance up to the point where I said "Come on, let's go the leper colony walk-in place."   

I think geraniums deter, if not repel, a number of insects.  I know I don't care much for their smell.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 11, 2007, 12:00:56 AM
That doesn't mean you're a spider.  Just that you don't care for the scent.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on September 11, 2007, 12:35:43 PM
Domeboro is really expensive stuff, but it's good for (among other things) really bad cases of athlete's foot because it dries out the tissue quite a bit.  You soak your feet in it once or twice a day and it works miracles in conjunction with topical cream.

Not much of a gardening tip, but had to throw in my two cents.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 11, 2007, 04:01:27 PM
Thanks for the info, desdemona.  At my house, that will come in handy.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on September 11, 2007, 06:05:30 PM

The area is called Parkside on maps, though it's considerably S of GG Park, but folks all know what I mean when I say West Portal neighborhood,


Sure, but since when is West Portal "the foggy part" of the City?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: nytempsperdu on September 11, 2007, 11:37:50 PM
Dunno the meteorological history of the neighborhood, that's for sure, but have lived here 2.5 yrs. after living in sunny Noe Valley for about 15.  Seems to me anything W of Twin Peaks can be counted on for fog in a.m. & by around 5-ish p.m. throughout most of summer. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 22, 2007, 01:37:45 PM
HARRIE!

you will never believe what I went through.  I didn't grate the fels naptha quick enough or sprinkle the diatomaceous earth because something has been eating my seedlings of Lacinato Nero. Otherwise known as Black Kale, which I was looking forward to having for one of those Vincent Schiavello recipes for Black Kale and corn-meal soup. It takes about three months to grow properly so that you harvest it in the cold months like November but now I am a little short of time-span for an extra seeding.

Whatever it was, figuring maybe a Monarch butterfly got in there but actually I haven't see any this year, not only ate off the leaves but the new growth sprig! Then I look closely at the Italian parsley that manages to produce Gigantic neon Missoni striped caterpillers because I even have special twigs for lifting these off the parsley stem and flinging them into outer-grass.   But there haven't been any since the last large surprise( usually, I nab them when small) but taking a closer look at the seed  brackets, I saw them, baby black with a nice ocean-blue contrast  middle-stripe like a sweater you'd put on an infant.

These urchins had been insidiously working under-cover from the parsley in its seed phase and crossing the terrain (in a barrel) under the mulch and I never spotted one of them in time.  At this rate, I would not have any Lacinato until Christmas!  Maybe I need to try for some short term broccoli.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 22, 2007, 01:40:33 PM
But there's more, Chapter 2 stuff. Maybe I should put it in HOME


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 22, 2007, 02:04:38 PM
Maddy, Monarch's lust after milkweed ONLY.  No milkweed, no monarch crysillis(sp?), so no chomping of leaves and no monarch butterflies.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on September 29, 2007, 04:16:48 PM
It's been hectic this summer.  

Does anyone here grow Clethra?
http://www.monrovia.com/PlantInf.nsf/08510e01e61cc962882571a9005a9153/96096c593952618988256c720077a063!OpenDocument&Highlight=0,summersweet

Mine did not bloom this year, and I'm concerned that I may have pruned it back too much in Spring. (I have to admit, I brutal with a pair of pruners...there should be a permit law to wield those things.)  

There's plenty of growth, but no sweet smelling spikes.   ;'-(   Really missed the fragrance in the garden this year.

Oh boy!  The Montauk daisies are just about to burst open...and last year's field mums are blooming nicely.  Planted a bunch of new ones the other day...flower heads are just about to open.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on September 29, 2007, 04:24:07 PM
Donotremove,

I'm sorry, I've a bit of catching up to do - but may I ask this: If you do not grow Milkweed, then Monarchs don't visit or they don't lay eggs?  There were many pollinators in the garden this summer, but I've discovered the Queen and the Viceroy.  Since I don't have the markings etched yet in my brain, I'm not certain which is which when I'm in the garden and see a black and orange butterfly.  I don't grow Milkweed, but do grow Buddleja and Monarda.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 29, 2007, 08:38:28 PM
Hi! Caltha palustris,
we've missed you. I've been folding up my garden, although that is never really done. Just had a horrible experience, several weeks ago, when the new management of the apartment/condo,housing terrace decided to wash exterior walls.  I brought in all the potted things, until my living room looked like a funeral parlor; other things went under covers to protect them. But, then "the guys" never arrived to do up the site from which the removed potted things had gone into the house far too early.

They did the front walls, or the shade garden, but began one morning by awakening me to the sound of hosing along an outside wall next to my bed.  All of this eventually went quite awry, in things not foreseen by people who don't think it through.  I awaited the arrival of the crew on the sunny side location where the herbs and flowers blossom ( I had been worried about the morning glories being torn away)  and occasional butterflies do arrive to interest the cat with their strange behaviour, their inability to make up their "minds" about what they are really after.

A day came when the crew was gone for good never having touched the area that I feared but they left other consequences. Which began when putting geraniums back out and bringing them in a few nights of dropped temperatures too sudden for the region. It has since warmed again and the wind is autumnal most days. I had boxes in which to set plants while moving them about, but one night forgetting where one of them actually was, I fell with a pot of flowers which defeated the purpose of keeping the floor clean. It was only much later that I found the bruise somewhat lower left of my navel. Wonderfully purple.

Meanwhile, I had already been attacked by what ever the wall washers had driven into the apartment to escape them. As I had an equally large,very itchy,very reddened area where I had been bitten on my right buttock.   One consequence of their industriousness was picking up little things on the floor that turned out to be something like a sow-bug which rolls up into a ball if disturbed. They came in from outside, having been driven to it, to escape the water pressure.

I survived the bite of what must have been a very angry spider disturbed in his end of summer contemplations. Caladryl lotion helps. Baths and soap,etc. Then one day I noticed a darkened area had returned on the bathroom floor, surrounding the toilet. That X-14 Orange is a fairly good remedy but it took a day or so for my rational mind to return to the day when I heard the hosing of the wall arouse me from bed.  After a summer of drying out, what the pressure hosing contractors had done was create a pooling of water that washed under the wall at the concrete foundation and then soaked between the concrete and whatever that synthetic tiling used in bathrooms.

So let's just say this suddenly announced obligatory experience was a disaster.  The morning glories are however perfectly lovely each morning when I let in the light somewhere between making coffee and turning to the computer.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 29, 2007, 11:18:59 PM
Someone, somewhere asked about the yield when you grow potatoes.  If it wasn't here, I apologize, but -- today we dug two rows out of the four that we have.  Per five pounds of seed potato, we harvested about 45 pounds of taters; so it's something like a 9-1 ratio - this year, anyway. 

We also tried out the Harvest Moon theory this week and it didn't work all that well for us.  That is, you're supposed to be able to harvest by the light of it. Due to bad planning but also circumstances beyond our control, we were harvesting in the dark Wednesday night. Maybe Thursday, it's all a blur. This worked okay for larger things; but I missed a boatload of broccoli florets and green beans.  So I picked some monster-size green beans this morning, not exactly haricots verts.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 30, 2007, 03:09:16 AM
Caltha, Monarchs migrate (they end up in Mexico) from all over.  I don't know (just right now--I can Google it for you) where all they go.  you could have some passing through.  But for the crisyillis (drat, I've got to learn to spell that) stage they will only use milkweed because the resulting caterpillers will only eat milkweed leaves.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 30, 2007, 03:41:44 AM
Caltha, here's a site telling about milkweed and all the varieties there are in the US and Canada.

http://www.butterflybushes.com/milkweed_information.htm

I had no idea there were so many.  But the lady says the majority of her Monarchs lay their eggs on the "tropical milkweed," which has to be planted each year (get starts from your nursery.)  I had always thought milkweed was just a weed, but now I see that lots of varieties are quite beautiful in bloom and worthy to have space in your garden for themselves alone.

Monarchs have a fly pattern to and from Mexico thousands of years old. Mostly the Eastern half of the US and Canada.  But other articles I scanned say they are found everywhere there is a good supply of nectar for food.  A Monarch lives about 30 days, but the ones that migrate and over winter live longer.

Anyway, have fun learning about these beautiful butterflies.

As for your Spring pruning of the clethra, no, no, no.  Clean up your clethra plants, removing dead spikes and leaves, in late Fall when everything looks dead.  Lots of next years' blooms will be lost form all sorts of plants, like plants from bulbs and corms, vines like wisteria, or flowering bushes like lilacs (or here in Texas--we can't grow lilacs, too hot--crepe myrtle).  Check with your nurseryman for advice (not the boy who loads up your car trunk.  The owners.)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 30, 2007, 04:16:53 AM
Harrie, congratulations on your potato harvest.  What kind were they?  Oh me, potatoes out of your own garden (or barrel) are soooo good.  Don't wash them.  Wipe them off with newspaper and store them in a cool, dark place--not the fridge.

Maddy, I am truly sorry you fell.  Glad it came out reasonably well, considering.  Please convince yourself that it is important that you NOT do anything spontaneous as you move about.  If somehing is falling (or slipping out of your hands,) step back and let it go.  Falls, as we age, can often be a death sentence if there are broken bones. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on September 30, 2007, 10:12:20 AM
Harrie, congratulations on your potato harvest.  What kind were they?  Oh me, potatoes out of your own garden (or barrel) are soooo good.  Don't wash them.  Wipe them off with newspaper and store them in a cool, dark place--not the fridge.

Maddy, I am truly sorry you fell.  Glad it came out reasonably well, considering.  Please convince yourself that it is important that you NOT do anything spontaneous as you move about.  If somehing is falling (or slipping out of your hands,) step back and let it go.  Falls, as we age, can often be a death sentence if there are broken bones. 

Thanks, donot.  These were Yukon Gold and Rose Gold (red skin, gold flesh), 45 pounds of each, safely stored in our dark, wish-it-were-a-little-cooler garage.   In a couple weeks, digging up Kennebecs and Pontiac Reds.  If that harvest is half as productive, we'll definitely be making the rounds to the soup kitchens, church dinners, food drives, etc.  Not to mention eating taters every day until the novelty wears off. 

Madupont, take care of yourself!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 30, 2007, 01:41:02 PM
Harrie,![quote
"Madupont, take care of yourself!"

I promise.  I used to grow "fingerlings" a German potato with translucent skin. 

" So I picked some monster-size green beans this morning, not exactly haricots verts."  Throw those m-s green beans, just tipped and"snapped", into a pot of potatoes(peeled), and some of what is known as side-meat, ham-hock,or bacon or Italian pancetta. Often the latter types of bacon can be used after a low saute in which to "sweat" some chopped onions thrown into the pot of potatoes and green beans. Every region does this a little different, sometimes with a bay leaf, sometimes with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Otherwise a good grind of black pepper is usual.

The Pennsylvania Dutch have some odd customs of mixing a last minute seasoning to this pot, since they often dry snap beans for the winter and then re-hydrate them(or, that's their history, at any rate). It's quite good adding several tablespoons of cider vinegar, and brown sugar to greenbeans, even canned beans. I usually cut it back to just a tad of cider-vinegar and brown sugar, so as not to sweeten it too much, particularly when the green beans are with the potatoes.

But the Amish have a sweet tooth for plain white sugar and buy atrocious goodies to take home to small children from a shopping trip. Unless, you see the whole family shopping together.  Amish men almost always like to accompany their wives and children on grocery shopping in supermarkets, to see how the other half lives(I think).  The way they carry the groceries home again,without a hatchback or a station wagon, is generally surprising to the onlooker who happens to drive behind them or passes their buggy and any other attached add-ons; although they generally opt for smaller shopping trips done less often.

Harvest moon theory is another part of their history, seldom done anymore except by Mennonite farmers who are allowed powered vehicles and used to drive me nuts, not only do you hear them doing it --this is for "field harvest"--through your open bedroom windows  but they use these huge flood lamps  attached to the cab of the harvestor which, seen at a distance, as they begin the field, down near their end at their barn, looks a bit like space men have landed and are proceeding toward you. If you've grown up with it, you know what it is. If you've just moved to the country and are unaware of the latest implementations, it is a never-ending surprise.  But they are often working against weather.

I immediately called up Country Curtains(or,Pierre Deux?), after checking the window inside frame measurements, and ordered some room-darkening  pull down shades to use along with my light,airy bedroom curtains(which are now  at the back of a closet shelf for posterity). You see, light and airy was fine in a landscape where there were no street lights; just barn light from late milking, which I often mistook for casinos off in the distance when I first arrived. Within five years, the world changed.

When I first started growing things by about 1970, I experimented with every new breed of haricot verts. Automatically, I'd divide the batches by separating small from large, to keep the beans producing in the garden,depending on what I was immediately cooking and stash them away in a cool vegetable drawer. It got so that after a decade, in fact to this day, I could pick them blind just by the feel of their texture, like velvet. I still do this in grocery stores that heap the beans into a flat along a binned counter, by just running them through my hands, tossing the defects to the back of the heap; and, when I have filled the bag to a weight of two pounds, that's it until I wash them.  Learning to live with yellow beans was an adventure, since they rust from the rain, must be eatten quite soon and can't wait around when you bring them to your great aunt for a surprise, but are at their best served with pork loin roast and potatoes. The Germans chop fine and lightly salt an onion  so that it can be squeezed by hand or between scraps of flour sack toweling into some sour cream (sauer raum)with a touch of white sugar as a dressing served over cooked and chilled schnipple beans(yellow beans cut on the diagonal) or over cucumbers.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on September 30, 2007, 02:42:24 PM
donotremove  

"Maddy, I am truly sorry you fell.  Glad it came out reasonably well, considering.  Please convince yourself that it is important that you NOT do anything spontaneous as you move about.  If somehing is falling (or slipping out of your hands,) step back and let it go.  Falls, as we age, can often be a death sentence if there are broken bones."
 

The first time that I ever dropped something, I was going down the stairs to the cellar,bringing in the "indoor plants" that had summered outside on a metal table under a pine tree next to the driveway.  The actual cellar steps would have been a shortcut under the cellar door but the steps were too worn with age. It was an old Quaker house.

So I brought the plants in through the kitchen and down the nice wide wooden stairs to another set of shelving where I had hung one of those long growth lamps with the two different bulbs to give the right mix of light.  The plants generally did very well there by winter lighting hours in a cool atmosphere, a non-heated room, as the furnace shot the heat strait up to the risers. This system of a cool unheated room, in a lower room with some window light in the exterior wall under the above deck, as my friend Sadie and her family appreciate in their gross-dawdie-haus bungalows which are like Tyrolean cottages, where there is often a small wood stove that can be banked to keep the room cooler, is how the Amish keep over plants, in the Winter months, that return to the garden in Spring as the appropirate temperature range returns.

Unless of course they keep a green house producing plants because they have seven daughters to run it (this is somewhat like Faery Tales, when you begin to wonder why none of them marry?)as I discovered at Willowbrook farm where their father had no sons to work the fields. That was the other thing that I was going to tell Harrie about Harvest Moon. Amish men will almost always finish off the harvest by hand, allowing a daughter to stand in his place on the truck bed keeping the reins on the Belgian horses. He will then toss up shocked-corn with a son if possible, another son on the truck bed to position the shock, as they go down the field,with the daughter tending the horses.

My mother used to help with the haying but I have not closely observed non-mechanized haying since I've been here. Consequently, she developed a broad back that stood her well in the profession of nursing, and which tanned gorgeously once she left the farm and got to wear those modern step-in bathing suits by the Thirties. I always got to scrub her back, as the only one available, which she looked forward to, after the bathing wash down which you probably saw in the Harrison Ford movie,Witness.

Anyway, I felt the large pot of whatever plant slipping; so, I let it go. And,guess what? It hit me right in the lower shin, leaving a discoloration mark for several years.

We never had any shortage of Monarch butterflies on the western shore of Lake Michigan.  They would inevitably arrive  by mid-August when I would throw a birthday party for my son in the  hillside parks along the  upper drive within blocks of our old urban neighborhood and then the other kids his age, mostly the children of artists who lived in the same area, could chase outside, crayon up paper table "cloths" on the picnic benches, have lemonade, and cake or whatever for the afternoon.

Now, let me get this straight, they are migrating to Mexico, not from Mexico?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on September 30, 2007, 03:14:58 PM
maddy, monarchs fly from Mexico, where they have over wintered, in the early Spring.  Then in the late Fall they fly back to Mexico.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Lhoffman on September 30, 2007, 03:21:40 PM
Madupont (and DoNot, too)....falls are frightening.  Balance and strength exercises....at any age....can be true lifesavers.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on October 03, 2007, 07:34:16 PM

So let's just say this suddenly announced obligatory experience was a disaster.  The morning glories are however perfectly lovely each morning when I let in the light somewhere between making coffee and turning to the computer.

I'm not even kidding a little bit...

You need to carve out an hour or two a day and start writing...

Let me know when it's finished...I'll buy.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 04, 2007, 08:24:56 PM
Thank you, kind Sir.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 07, 2007, 02:48:40 PM
Madupont:

Thanks so very much for the warm welcome back.  I'd like to fold things up, but it was 94 here last week and continues to reach the 80s most days.  I'm torn betwixt shearing things back, or leaving them to bask in this extenstion in the growing season - an Indian summer indeed.  The trees seem to be beginning to turn - one by one.  I imagine we'll see everything suddenly change over in the next few weeks.

Isn't it just like a contractor to say they'll be there tomorrow - meaning your guess is as good as theirs as to when they'll really show up.  ;-)  Have you reported the water damage to your Condo board?  I hope not too much damage was done to the interior of your home from the "power washing".  I'm glad the "morning glories" survived.

BTW:  I just love the way butterflies flit about - reminds me of ballet - it must be quite perplexing to cats.

I hope you're healing from the spill - do go for follow up with your physician, or physical therapist.  Especially, if you've still a twinge of muscle pain - you can never be too sure if there's a muscle tear.

The sour bug you describe reminds me of a funny encounter I had with a HUMUNGUS bug - that I've yet to identify - this summer.  I want to say it was a June Bug, but it didn't look at all like one.  Anyhow, I was in my bathroom when I heard this loud zzzzzzzing sound.  This huge thing that looked like something from a sci-fi film or book, was at least two and a half large, seemed quite discombulated (still don't know how it made it into the house) - a sense that it was out of it's element - and bounced off the walls.

I was determined to capture and release it back outdoors unharmed.  But it was frightening all the same.  So I grabbed a plastic shopping bag (came in handy - perhaps these can be recycled into butterfly nets...) and threw it ontop of the bug to slow it down.  I managed to get as far as the dining room when it made a break out of the bag and flew towards the window (meanwhile I let out the loudest screech you could imagine - quite funny, actually) where it rested upon the curtain.  In a flash, somehow I managed to fold the curtains in a way that kept the bug from flying around the house, opened the window screen and flicked it out into the "safety" of the outdoors.  

I wish I knew what it was.  It was a light brown color - and reminded me of those smallish triangular shaped green colored bugs...can't think of the name right now.  Most unusual.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 07, 2007, 03:07:17 PM
Donotremove,

Thank you for the excellent link - bookmarked it into my plant resources.

Yes, isn't it remarkable that Monarchs' migratory path is just like that of some birds.  I read a few years ago about the crisis with Monarch populations.

Pruning - I'm always torn about when and where to prune.  Everything I read did not specify that clethra was are similar to Hyrdrangeas in that you must be careful of what and when  and where to prune.  Thank you for clarification.

Actually, I think it need to be transplanted to another spot - it get so tall - my thinking is it's not getting enough sunlight and reaching towards the light it does get.  I'd say it's in a bright shady spot - but not part sun.  New growth seems quite leggy - thus the reason I pruned it back.  The bottom half of the bush is lush and full.  I'm also having the same leggy issue with two lilacs next to this shrub - actually these do get part-sun - but should really be exposed to full or more hours of part sun.

Your contributions to my queries are always gratefully appreciated.  Which brings me to another question, why does Muscari x (Grape Hyacinth) send up shoots in the Fall?  It's happened last and this fall.  I planted them last year.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 07, 2007, 07:35:36 PM
Caltha Palustris,

From last to first, the muscari have done that for me as well. I believe we had a cold snap quite some time back which started the process; whichever your zone, you probably had a similiar but by now forgotten change of temperature sufficient to kick them off. I think that they do it to store up nutrients through their strappy leaves(which are actually quite upright this season)long enough in advance to make the bulbs stronger for the winter survival period although there may be some more production of smaller bulbs as well.  I give them a sprinkle of bulb food before the temperature drops again, early enough to let them nourish themselves and then I water it in if I missed doing it before a rain day.


Actually, immediately following the rain day isn't bad either as long as the plants themselves are not wet but the soil has remained damp.  I don't even scratch it in because the multiplying planting of several things, some ivy that really does better in the country where it gets plenty of wind-borne fertilizing, leaves things rather snug. The annual flower variety  will fade off for the season, leaving space between the bulbs and ivy, and I will also cut off some tree suckers that come up  between  what I have planted to circle the tree.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 07, 2007, 07:50:45 PM
C.P.
The cat at my house is still fascinated by butterflies who can't settle upon where they would most like to descend for a brief moment of feeding in passing before ascending and flitting again.  They may also be laying eggs. I saw the predominantly black parsley butterfly returning for another try while the weather is hot.

But day before yesterday, when I moved a few plants to be sure they had access to the light, the tiniest Monarch butterfly flew out at me and of course I thought it was a moth until I saw the coloring.  It was not much bigger than a thumb nail, if that.  It immediately hid itself, so I try not to think about what that implies. I called Kiki to come see the tiny thing but she was not a bit interested; because she had not spotted it herself, I would suppose.

The Humungus bug that you mentioned also visited my bathroom last year. He emerged. Definitely extra-terrestial but this was a dark almost black color and I  captured him in a paper cup with kleenex over the top and sent him back out in space.  It did have something like a tilted triangle atop its head at a jaunty angle that was quite unsettling when never having been seen before; and you are right, it is reminiscient of the praying mantis that I'm always glad to have when one shows up in my garden.  Nothing is sillier than the occasions when I've spotted one elsewhere, like outside a drug-store in some small town, and proceed to capture it and keep it somehow for the trip home because every garden needs one.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 07, 2007, 08:24:42 PM
C.P.

Thank you, for your best wishes, I recuperate pretty fast. The morning glories were just at the point several days ago earlier in the last week when there were about a dozen blossoms in the early light. Then the "boys" showed up, not the contractors, just the boys sent to mow or prune or whatever they can get into and mess up. The first day,after mowing was done, I noticed they were not taking off but sizing up the yards. I spied on them as unobtrusively as possible and they seemed to be contemplating a scraggly thorn bush whose name I've forgotten but it never was mine. It was just there. Figuring that was all they were up to, was the wrong estimation.  Before I knew it, they had taken the power saw to a large graceful --well, what would  you call something not as small as a sapling and not as large as tree would imply?

It was too late now, they had outfoxed me. Cut it to half its height, which means it will now "broaden" out, if it doesn't just collapse from the audacity. I have more concern about the dirty tools carrying things from one shrub or bush to another along the row. But, I did rather like it just the way it was, graceful on rainy days, bending delicately across the window when viewed from the inside. It grew this way to reach the light that you were talking about before,not direct sunlight but, standing just on the edge of the shade, a young tree will incline toward the light. It drops leaves at this season which would cover the flower bed below.

Oh, and then the boys went round the back to give some junipers a hair-trimming. Because the morning glories were twisted into the thick juniper(which was of course exactly the effect that I wanted), I and Kiki are down to one blossom, perhaps two surviving at least till the cold stops everything. We've had several morning of thick dense fog that does not lift until somewhere between ten-fifteen and eleven o'clock a.m. But this has not encouraged the morning-glories to make a recovery as I had hoped.

My idea of significant water damage is how the force of water prompted a rather large spider to move in early and hide somewhere about, he bites me at least once per night if not twice, knowing exactly where to find me. He's downright vampirish about this,which is why I can tell he is large. I now start the morning with coffee -- and disinfectant.  So much for having told harrie that geranium oil would discourage this behaviour.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on October 07, 2007, 08:54:25 PM
I'm all "live and let live" and stuff, but at this point I'd be staying up with a can of RAID at the ready.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 07, 2007, 09:46:52 PM
Oh, I have that. I just can't stand breathing it all the time. I have to see the critter to spray him.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on October 11, 2007, 12:08:23 PM
Wow - I am so behind in this forum - thought there was no activity for the longest.

Regarding the Queen and the Viceroy - is that referring to the male and the female Monarch?

I have a huge amount of lantana in my backyard - it forms a gigantic, beautiful bush that is still blooming after supplie numerous fresh flower all summer.  Boy do the butterflies love that!  I had about four different species plus a tiny green hummingbird all over that stuff every day about a month back.  The butterflies are mostly gone now.  I think people often mistake yellow and black butterflies for monarchs - we had lots of tigertails, I think they're called, and a very large black species with blue coloring at the bottom of each wing - gorgeous creatures.  I'd like to know more about butterflies.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on October 16, 2007, 07:19:42 PM
I don't know the pH requirements or anything for lavender, but I have one growing out front that's doing really well.   It's in sandy soil that gets sandier each year as the plows kick up the snow (and sand and whatever other chemicals) during the winter. The exposure is due south, and even though I'm not in The South (I'm in CT), it gets very hot and dry, which doesn't seem to bother the plant at all.   Maybe you're paying too much attention to it.  Seriously, maybe it needs a sandier soil?  I'll test mine and see what the pH is.  It's dark now, so I'll do it tomorrow, though.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on October 17, 2007, 12:26:24 PM
Des, lantana is so old fashioned tht Noah must have had some on his boat.  I love that plant--in all the different colors, but especially the multi-colored ones.  Bees like it, too. 

As for butterly information, go to the bookstore and look for either a Petersen's field guide (Petersen's guides are usually divided into sections of the country, so you'd want Southeast), or the Audubon Society's field guide to butterflies of North America. Both of these guides have beautiful photographs and notes telling about each one and where they are likely to be found.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 17, 2007, 01:54:57 PM
Reader,

Some species of Lavender are not winter hardy.  I've never had much luck with Lavender or Rosemary - either I have too much shade, and have never quite paid attention to what species I'd brought home. 

Last year a friend, who is not as interested in growing things as I am, made a purchase of Lavandula augustifolia (English Lavender) and plopped it in a clay bed that has a very warm winter microclimate.  It thrived this year. So...try a different species...and pay attention to the microclimate of your "yarden".  Good luck.

Here's Monrovia's selections.

http://www.monrovia.com/PlantInf.nsf/PlantThumbsAv?SearchView&Query=lavandula&count=10


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 17, 2007, 05:10:50 PM
Yes. I lost a couple of my lavenders this season, in pots, on the window sill, no doubt overwatered.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on October 19, 2007, 09:00:09 PM
There is a great Spot in Pacific Grove to view Monarch butterfiles.  It's pretty amazing actually...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 22, 2007, 05:49:15 PM
The last of the flowering has occurred in the sunny side of the apartment garden. Up until this morning, I was greeted by a bright squash blossom where a zucchini continued a late start in a barrel shaded by a Japanese eggplant. But the night temperatures have dropped to freezing. The morning glories no longer attempt to put up a fight  following the shave and a hair cut given the prickly junipers by a concerted team of marauders who look forward to that free Thanksgiving turkey from their employer.
 
This morning was just about the last straw when finding Stephen Colbert guiding a stump-removing piece of equipment up to the end of my shade garden where they cut down a shaped conical juniper last week. As long as the junipers are theirs, who cares? but, when they overstep and cut something like that specimen somewhere between sapling and tree which was mine and I rather enjoyed until they cut it in such a way that it may now be damaged sufficiently to be prone to diseases, that's another matter.
 
I suppose that I should go out and take a look if there is any time to replant a spring bulb, and check on deheading a chrysanthemum to keep it going. If that wasn't Colbert out there resolving the technical problems of his day job, we'll know soon enough by 8:30 if he does not show up for his Show!



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 23, 2007, 05:29:27 PM
Is there an arborist in the house?  Is anyone pruning trees at this time? And, if so which?

Had a customer request to prune a white birch today, but I'm not a tree specialist...and I'd rather wait when the time is right....help?  Please?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: TrojanHorse on October 23, 2007, 05:30:52 PM
Is there an arborist in the house?  Is anyone pruning trees at this time? And, if so which?

Had a customer request to prune a white birch today, but I'm not a tree specialist...and I'd rather wait when the time is right....help?  Please?

Yeah, well I'm no expert either, but I always thought the right time to prune was late fall.  Some people do it a bit earlier to avoid having to rake the leaves...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 23, 2007, 09:37:17 PM
Thanks Trojan, from what I've read it seems dependent on specimens.  Some more temporamental than others on when, where and how to prune.  But can't find anything specific on white birches.  I terrible with trees.  Have adversely affected more than I care to admit. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 24, 2007, 12:52:48 PM
I think the rule of thumb( which my mischievious and pestering old Swiss landlord never honored) was that you prune Spring bloomers after their flowering season and likewise with arboreal autumnals but I may have something around here about white birch (I know that Crabtree & Eveyln makes a dandy body spray from it!).

The point of the after-flowering shrubbery or trees is to get it trimmed before it starts forming new growth for the next year's flowering season.

But this may vary greatly for trees. Will check.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 24, 2007, 01:17:31 PM
So far, no luck. I checked my Garden Landscaping volume and every single page they had listed in the index: as Pruning  was rather devoid of anything to do with the subject. Nothing under Betula, white Birch.

The only suggestion, they made about keeping branches from drooping as one unknown specimen in my front yard loaded or weighted down with faux cherries, was that branches that are lower than seven feet above ground will be a hindrance to walk under and that pruning should be done professionally while the tree is young because then there will be little noticeable scarring of the trunk below the branch line.

May have something in a farm maintenance encyclopedia however.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 24, 2007, 09:29:20 PM
Thanks Maddie...so far all I've been able to determine on birch is that pruning May to August is a no, no.  So perhaps it's okay to prune now.  Apparently, heat and drought attract the birch borer...I'm really horrible with trees. I try to leave them alone as much as possible.  There's also a fungus affecting a rather old, oak.  We had an arborist come and inject something into the soil.

Much thanks. ;-)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 27, 2007, 03:52:06 PM
Caltha Palustris

Gosh, all that I'm losing at present are my sage plants that I tucked into the pots of Rosemary when I bought a new speciman of sage this Spring to replace one that I had lost.

Rosemary does swell. One out of five is flowering right now( since they were brought into the house earlier than average for Fall).  I guess, that was not the moment to separate the sage out and give them their own pots, which was the idea.  So that they could "Grow" larger. They were wonderfully healthy outside in the sunshine and amidst the Rosemary all summer.  Yet I did lose a new additional rosemary from Haifa when bringing it into the house.  Dare I transplant a thyme to a pot all it own to call home?

I suspect a deficiency of lime for this entire group, rosemaries,sage, and lavender plants,that they did not get an additional boost from this element in time for them to be sturdy when undergoing changes of environment.

But losing a tree or trees  is painful, as I lost two before I knew what signs indicated they were going when I'd just moved to a farm and that process was probably underway but I could not recognize it. One was from a pair of German pear trees which was suddenly swarmed with bees --which indicated to me that there was probably something that the bees were feasting upon under the bark of that pear tree. The other was an ash in the front yard nearest the  area where I would have the land plowed for my kitchen garden on the other side of a row of tall fir trees used for demarcating the acreage lines. It just suddenly went -- and I either phoned the development company or they must have already known about it(too long ago to recall)and they came and took it down before it caused any damage. I found the people in the upper Midwest were better that way about knowing how to avoid further  arboreal problems by taking a proactive stance when it became apparent that damage might result. Eastern Pennsylvania has become  either too urbane or too long settled into achieving a middle-class suburbanite lifestyle at the risk of losing farmland, so that they no longer are aware of those little things that add up to landscape expertise.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on October 27, 2007, 04:02:45 PM
C.P.

I've checked The Home and Farm Manual (from l884) but when it comes to trees including white birch they simply advise including them in your landscape plans with nary a word about pruning, etc.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on October 28, 2007, 01:54:12 AM
Caltha, I Googled <pruning white birch> and the first thing that came up was this:

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_birch/ht_birch.htm

I think it is pretty much everything you've ever wanted to know about white birch.

Seems to me that pruning is important if you are growing the birch in pots.  Otherwise, if it's in the ground, I wouldn't worry about pruning.  I'd worry about soil conditions and golden borers.  One thing, if you are going to cut on the tree, winter and spring are no-no's.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on October 29, 2007, 11:38:58 PM
Madumont, Thanks for all the tips - we had our first cold snap!  Turned on the heat today.

DoNot,

Yes, I saw the website you linked - and read about the bronze birch borer.  I also read something else that clearly stated no pruning May 1 to August 1 - bronze birch borer breeding season.  The tree needed small limbs pruned that hung over the lawn, during the summer - as the landscaper would brush past them as he mowed the lawn - so we trimmed just the lower branches - several branches.  There are many small branches that fill the middle portion of the tree (are these called sucker branches? - not sure) that make the tree look dense - and cross each other.  I'm afraid.  I don't want to overdue it.  As I said, I'm ruthless with a pair of pruners - don't own loppers -but I do own a pruning saw, but if I have my druthers - I'd rather not prune at all.  


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on November 09, 2007, 06:45:51 AM
I have kept a poinsetta plant alive since last Christmas. Now I have brought it in from its perch on a table under the apple tree, and have it in the sunniest spot in this dark house. Does anyone know what I need to od now to have it bloom for Christmas?



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on November 09, 2007, 08:02:02 AM
Anne,

Does anyone know what I need to od now to have it bloom for Christmas?


Among other things, you must give it 12 hours of TOTAL darkness (unopened closets work well) every day starting today.

Even then, the darned things are fiendishly difficult to bring back into flower.

BTW, did you know it is named after Joel R. Poinsett, one of the fiercest defenders of slavery prior to the War of Southern Treason?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on November 09, 2007, 11:28:06 AM
Cap,

I thought I remembered something about putting them in a closet. Thanks.

Yes, I recently read the history of the war with Mexico and hit Poinsett's name. He won't make it into my Famous Americans!

Maybe we'll just enjoy it as a green plant for Christmas and I'll buy a blooming poinsetta as I usually do.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on November 10, 2007, 12:35:21 AM
Well, to tell you the truth, I've never been able to entice one into bloom again. They used to deliver them to the door from the apartment management on the coldest day in the year,and preferably when you were out shopping in preparation for the holidays, so that you would  come home and find it standing there like a lonely child and would have to wonder how long it had stood like that?

I've been here five years since the farm had to be abandoned from all hope all ye who entered there. After the war began, I think they bothered one more year with the perfunctory Good Cheer. Then the economy went South, if you'll pardon the expression(I know you have lived there quite a long time now. That was, however, one of those sayings that carried a load from the past by implying that harder times were at hand, if you were quick enough to discern it, and might get as bad as the post-Bellum "strapped" for petty cash. 

So I do have two originals, and have at various times started cuttings which did not take very well. I seem to remember three plants in all but it probably gave up the ghost.  They are a hot weather plant in the South, where beautiful  small hedges of them grow in front of historic hotels that are very small, like the house devoted to gambling men of another century but they still come in this century, there is a corn-row fence unless I have it mixed up with another historic building on Bourbon more than likely but could just as well be on Royale, in New Orleans, Vieux Carre. The poinsettias are in a row along the ironwork fences.

I used to do what the capO recommended but he's right. So now I take them outside when the weather warms up; and it was rather shrewd when I thought to place the pots under the protection of larger shrubbery so that the pot itself stays shaded from the heat which will continually dry out the soil. They do quite well with this overhang of  protection while the top of the plants absorbs the sun to maintain the greenery of the leaves steadily. Coming in before cold weather returns and before any heat is put on in the house, I keep them as large specimen plants. The biggest stands on a  window seat area  but does not get the maximum of sunlight it should have; and it will have to be relocated as the weather turns yet colder near window.

I experimented with the smaller that receives more light on the opposite side of the household, it faces the east at sunrise, so I gave it a helping of those water retaining Terra-sorb hydrogels. The trick is to get them further below the soil surface, closer to the root area without harming the roots in the process, loosening up the soil always helps with these large scale plants.         

As with other houseplants taken in and out of the house in season, once in awhile, it could be as often as each quarter of the year if you keep track to do it with regularity, I give it those Jobs spikes for flowering plants. I discard the dropping leaves so they don't clutter the container(also you want to avoid interesting the cat in this process because they are the milky euphorbia to which some people are allergic , which can cause you to itch , but may give the cat a bad trip of enlarged pupils, disorientation and possible failure to survive the experience brought on by nibbling what appears to be a beckoning plant when lushly green; or, even when the cat just decides that it wants to knock some dried, rolled up leaves around because they crackle and crumble).

I definitely have to call it a day and get some sleep.


Nontheless, no return of the rosy salmon turn of color in the leaves.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on November 20, 2007, 06:18:20 PM
After reading an article in yesterday's WSJ about tainted ginger coming into the US, I looked up how to grow my own.  It looks pretty simple -- bury the rhizome (you can use one from the produce section, but I guess you'd have to find an organic source or you're propagating a tainted plant) in rich soil, and once it sprouts, kind of ignore it.   

But I'm wondering -- does anyone have any real-life experience growing ginger?  And if so, is there any big secret thing I should know?  (Like "whatever you do, don't.....")  Thanks in advance to any ginger experts!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on November 21, 2007, 02:31:26 AM
harrie,

It's kind of like the poinsettia that grows best in the next hemisphere.

Where is the tainted ginger coming from, may I be so bold, as reported in WSJ ?

I never succeeded while growing everything Chinese from the get go. You know those things known as Chinese Ginger Jars, at any antique dealer in Chinoiserie, somewhere nearby to you in Conn. there are examples sitting in a window. My mother was into Cloisonne.  The idea was to keep the root buried in that jar with the cover on for it to remain dark and the root get well established. This takes some moisture but, the "whatever you do, don't...." is not to give it too much moisture and I never established where this begins between too dry and too wet. More plants are lost like this because the temperature also has to sustain the mid-dry/mid-moist. Too cold and it rots; too dry and it loses the urge to grow because it has dried out.    I do have an article tucked away somewhere and I will check on it again and let you know.  It is really hard to get good ginger here in the boon docks.

A good "hand" of ginger should have a thin, shimmery,as if translucent skin; not that thick dull stuff they send slowly from Hawaii and Jamaica. It can be very good from those places of origin but I think it depends on whether the buyer knows what it should look like when he orders it from the distributor.  Hint: my store-bought ginger will, if it gets lost in the vegetable drawer, in a ziplock baggie, start with the red discoloration of damp,cold rot. Therefore it needs to be in a warmer place but not necessarily too wet.  So this is going to take some experimentation.

I have a hunch that Nichols up in Oregon should have some. Try --
www.nicholsgardennursery.com


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on November 21, 2007, 04:45:45 AM
Harrie, thanks for the heads up on the tainted ginger.  I went to Google to have a looksee and, whew, what confusing information.  With food bought one place and packaged and shipped from another place, how the hell do you know what you're getting from where?

I used to grow ginger just to enjoy the blooms.  I never ate any of it.  You get a really nice (untainted) tuber, lay it flat, and just barely bury it in the soil of a (not less than) 14" pot.  Make sure the soil (a good potting mix a bit heavy on the sand) is already wet and that there is good drainage (this is easier in the months when you have have the plant outside and the water can just run out the bottom without hurting anything).  Inside the house (unless you've got a mud room with a drain hole) you need a 4" deep drip pan underneath with about 1" of small gravel in the bottom. But don't let the water sit there if it is above the gravel.  Siphon it out with a turkey baster (I keep one of these handy just for plants).  Not much water indoors.  Everyday or so outdoors in the summer.  I used to water mine with liquid Miracle Grow (1/2 teaspoon of the granules to one gallon of water) most everytime I watered (rinse out about 6 one gallon milk jugs and keep them prepared ahead for watering).  I forget now if ginger likes acid or sweet fertilizer.

Didn't mean to go on so long.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on November 21, 2007, 12:08:59 PM
madupont, the ginger came from China.  I'm back on the run right now, but when I get a chance I'll try to find a non-pay source with the same information as the WSJ article.  And thanks for that nursery tip; I'll have to check it out later, too.

Donotremove, thank you very much.  And please, run on and on as much as you like.  What you said is exactly what I'm looking for.   


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on November 21, 2007, 01:35:53 PM
Here's the ginger story, madupont (and any other interested parties).   http://tinyurl.com/32rxy4


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on November 23, 2007, 07:11:33 PM
Harrie, Pallensmith sent e-mail today, so there are two headings; the first is one of the projects that he remembers from his own childhood, on selecting the root (with nodes), starting it in the house with bright but not direct light and that it likes some shade outdoors, and the emphasis on moisture that I previously mentioned and that donoremove has further specified.

The second heading has to do with making an arrangement in a large container for planting along  your walkway or at your entranceway with several kinds of plants including last but not least the wild ginger from China. Asura splendens.

http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=39

http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?
option=com_content&task=view&id=1090

I did not spot the ginger root at Nichols Garden Nursery but perhaps if I look again for it as a growing plant and by the species name.

Thanks again for the article, yet to read, but I've heard a rumor that Murdoch is going to give all of us free access to WSJ in order to interest us in investing.  They must be desperate.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on November 23, 2007, 08:18:38 PM

Here's the ginger story, madupont (and any other interested parties).   http://tinyurl.com/32rxy4



Having just bought one of those huge bulbs of giant garlic from Christopher Ranch, in order to avoid buying garlic from China (which I used to buy to avoid buying from any producer in the Baja of California  after the colloidal form bacteria scare; and I believe that is exactly where Christopher Ranch is located), I shall try to believe their tag which says USA-grown when I get ready to make monster mashed potatoes from the latest organic potatoes from 10,000 acres in Wisconsin grown on a USDA grant to the University Agronomy Department.

One of the things that I learned about what was once known as Mao-syang, which was a combo of Marxist,Leninist, and traditional Chinese folklore such as a poet like Mao would collect, is that there are at least two ways to picture what takes place in a revolution, known as Fanshen in Chinese,which means turning over, as when a plow turns over a furrow. The other image is of a pendulum swinging back and forth to the extreme point where it reverses and falls back to the position it had before.

As we have gone organic in the US, but not because we have,China went the way that we had been demanding for the last thirty-six years (or longer),"Modern", which to them translates as,"just like you conduct business as we have noticed".

We complained, and complained, and bitched about their collective, "Communistic"methods of organizing production, and now it is no longer "organized" but is a method that previously we were free to use because we were
"enlighted capitalists" able to practice free-trade.  Plus, noticeably, everybody and his brother, without as well as with business experience in trade, wanted in on locating production in China to export here.  It was the fastest growing way to make what is considered a US fortune in the last six years.  The Chinese of course had seen this before , out of the west; in fact that is why they had a revolution. First of all to punish everybody who had cooperated and had dealings with westerners taking advantage of cheap rates of production in China where (as everybody knows or at least says,)"Life is cheap".

But to be fair about it, some credit has to go to the Japanese who invaded China first before the Revolution took place at the end of WW2. The Japanese kicked ass in the major banking/trade centers and sent the British packing. Then the Chinese communists defeated the Japanese.

Apparently, we did it again during this current administration by demanding cheap consumer goods  that we could buy on credit from China; and, now, this is what we get.  I have to admit that the Chinese have an odd sense of humor, having been in the practice of mercantile trade for several thousands of years.

But they could resolve the problem of unaccountability easily, by once again collectivizing their agricultural production and then we would complain bloody Loud about their reverting to their incipient communist ways of which we have never approved.   This is why they are amused.

It does keep us from admitting our production problems in the best use of our agricultural farm land. Just yesterday the front page of nytimes.com had a butterfly picture that headlined we would no longer be able to send genetically modified corn because it destroys butterflies, but I no longer recall if it was the Western Europeans, just the Germans, or several Asian countries declaring they were wise to how we upped production profits by destroying multiple  seed strains.  I got tired  of the Archer Daniels Midland commercials on Sunday mornings between political roundtable discussions on tv as public relations promotion.

Meanwhile, if you don't find some likely ginger root to begin growing at home, I do pick up various preparations of ginger, including crystalized, which can be added to cooking, and is sold by the trade name,The Ginger People, their product is Australian grown ginger, in small cylindrical cannisters or packages, as well as liquid ginger. It's the season of the year when the ginger usage goes up for holidays, preparing baked goods; so it is nice to know that there is some still out there somewhere.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on November 23, 2007, 09:11:49 PM
madupont, thank you for the P. Allen Smith info.  Finding a rhizome is more problematical than I had anticipated; I tend to do the good old knee-jerk reaction when there's a plant product tainting issue and it's a plant that I can fit into a container on the porch or patio. Which is why I have a bunch of garlic cloves planted around that won't come up (if all goes according to plan, of course) 'til next summer/fall.  But garlic seems to be a lot easier to find.   

And I should clarify -- there wasn't a tainted garlic issue of which I'm aware.  But I/we read that a huge amount of supermarket garlic comes from China; and this was amid the lead news, and it was the time of year that garlic is available at the feed store.  So it seemed like zeitgeist, a sign, or whatever you want to call it, and we bought and planted.

Usually I use fresh ginger in cooking; but if your Ginger People let you down, I use Mountain Rose Herbs for stuff like peppermint leaf and alfalfa, and I'm pretty sure they do ginger (powdered at least, maybe crystallized too) as well.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on November 24, 2007, 05:13:47 AM
Considering that China's fresh water is (mostly) polluted with such a God-awful amount of dangerous stuff, I don't buy anything from China that I would put in my mouth.  The Chinese farmer's can't be blamed. The government has looked the other way while this disaster developed.  The Chinese people are suffering from bad water, too.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on November 24, 2007, 11:00:11 AM
Donotremove,

Not that the gov't was looking  the wrong way or rather, yes, it did; that's what they call "Modernization" (or, doing what "other" people do) which was the policy that they put into motion with a gradual shift following the death of Mao in Sept.1976, and through another tyrant or two who were veterans of the Long March and the PLA until it exploded with the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in 1989.

The new model was  a shift from elderly military officials to businessmen as the leadership.

Now, they are just like other people, including the West; and the Chinese farmer can be blamed. A generation having gone by, my point was that they have reverted to what they were before the Revolution and the corruption that caused the Revolution, so that once again everybody is out for what ever they as an individual can get.  They are still in a transition period, in which they still do certain  functionary social agencies, for instance in  matters regarding women, but less like the neighborhood block committee, and more like having an appointment to go to an office bldg and see a social worker who no longer wears a uniform because they all are dressed in the same clothes that they are selling us through Walmart and every other catalog that comes in the mail selling womens' clothing.

In other words, everything that we've got to dislike in our society is also happening there but on a larger scale because of 4 times the population statistics at the very least.  And when, as you said, the "suffering" suddenly do something about it, we will be very critical just as we were previously because first of all we will declare that they are going about it the wrong way. Violently.  Of course, who knows what our system will look like following the next election?

They are historically used to a heavy penalty system, once for crimes against the ruler(dynastic emperor) and then for the last half century as crimes against the People.

You know what will happen with that plan mentioned in a sentence or two in the WSJ article posts by harrie; when they send people from the FDA "to be on the ground in China" for better inspection, the likelihood is very strong (given our administration having broken up "large government responsibility") that they will send the kind of people under current economic straits of their own who will be susceptible to the bribes that the Chinese will be glad to offer as part of doing business the old fashioned way. And with the pre-2009 administration that we have still in power that would probably be acceptable; although I did notice this morning that the nytimes runs a lead article that Bush will concentrate (during his "Duck year")--In Bush's Last Year, Modest Domestic Aims
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
With his big plans blocked, President Bush is focusing on
"kitchen table issues" -- small ideas that affect ordinary
people's lives.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on December 14, 2007, 03:17:30 PM
Evergreen Question---

As a Christmas tree, we bought a dwarf Alberta Spruce in a 2 gallon pot. It is pretty decorated with shiny miniature ornaments. Also, it takes up less space in the room and, since it is living, we can leave it up into January if we've a mind to.

What I'd like to know is what needs to be done to keep it healthy indoors for the winter. We don't have much sunshine in the house, and I'm thinking of moving it out on the porch on pleaant Virginia Winter days, bringing it in overnight. I know it can withstand the cold, since we have several Alberta Spruces in the yard, one about 15 years old now. But, I don't know how much sun it needs as a minimum. Is it to be a daily chore to move it out on sunny days, or would a once a week day in the sun be enough?



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on December 17, 2007, 10:57:31 PM
Consult a tree man, quickly. That is, one who works at an arboretum or sells shrubs and trees year round (not just Xmas trees on a lot) because you  have to keep in mind the difference from your home-grown-in- ground Spruces. Your Christmas tree is in a pot and that will make a difference in the temperature it can abide and the amount of water, that last I find very tricky at this season even with house-plants, sticking with a forumula: of water on moon-in-Water-signs and Earth-Signs; refrain on Fire-Sign days and Air-signs, because there is heat on in the house and yet when the heat turns off for awhile those near windows are cooler than they were while in the sun during the day and the water will not evaporate as fast thus possibly causing a rotting away.  It's tricky.

I'm now down to my last lavender and will have to replace them in Spring.(the ground here is too acid for lavender, as it is awash in junipers and fir trees)  Today, the pot of gigantic Genovese Basil was emptied around the trunk of a tree in the front yard; I found myself conducting an experiment to see how long a basil would grow from start of season until finish, rather than making some pesto to throw in the freezer. At holiday season the freezer is too busy.

I did witness one mistake with the root ball Christmas tree of some young neighbours who wanted advice where to put the tree when it came time to plant it. And the area adjacent to their lovely sun room which was what is called a "mud room in New Jersey, with wrap around windows on almost all of three sides, where they ate their meals and enjoyed nature, was over branched by a tall chestnut that attracted the resident goat on occasion and many other forest trees so that the white lilacs along the edge were spindly from lack of light.

The couple decided to plant it where they could see it from their windows but it was like the "little tree in the forest", standing alone at that height amidst these tall specimens of old trees.  I reminded them to water it in well with a bucket of water; but they had forgotten to remove the burlap from the root ball when they planted it and the hole was probably none too roomy with roots from other trees in a network that generally packs the soil texture unless enough leaf fall accumulates to keep nourishing and texturizing the earth.  In any case, they forgot to water it, that bucket carrying when there was no outside water spigot. I kept a barrel during the growing season to water plants and kept it screened, but this was earlier in the year when they put in the Christmas tree and it would have meant carrying water from their kitchen out to the tree. Eventually they moved off to go to school in another state where there were huge arboretums.  I'd ask a local professional  for the demands in your region and climate, describing the setting so that you can pick the appropriate place after winter. And have an expert's suggestions on how much water, and how much sun it should have at what outdoor temperature until then and for what length of time compared to taking into the house..

I've never dealt with the potted.  If it happened to be potted, it was a rosemary tree, which are suddenly popular this year --and even then when I had it I overwatered it too close to  downdraft of cool air because I kept it near a kitchen window with maximum sun.

Other times, I have had a small tree kept in soaked sponges at the base when decorating in the dining room. Big trees are taken out and cut into logs following the Christmas season, with the piece saved for the next year's Yule log.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on December 18, 2007, 07:08:43 AM
Thanks, Maddie,

We bought it at a garden center that has a store to tide them over in the winter. I've never found them very helpful, but they are close by. We usually keep the plants brought indoors for the winter on somewhat shorter water rations. The room they are in is usually cooler than the room we spend time in. I would like to keep it potted for a few years to serve as a Christmas tree, but they are not pricey, so planting each one out either in a warm spell during the winter, or in the early spring would be fine.

We have wide swings in temp, usually all winter long. Last week we had two beautiful days with the temp hitting 75. It is not unusual to have 70 degree temps on either Christmas or New Years. But then it hunkers into cold for January and the beginning of February, after which we again have the random warm days. We can have temps in the 60's one week, and get blanketed with snow the next week. That's winter in Virginia!



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on December 19, 2007, 02:27:25 PM
Although we are colder up here north of Maryland and Delaware, we had really no snow to speak of last year, certainly not at Christmas; and, although the temperature seems much colder this year than last, we had a snow and it disappeared, we had an ice display beautifying the trees and it disappeared, we had a huge darkening of the sky at 4 o'clock in the afternoon  and about six counties lost light and power-- I suspect it is who they are voting for did that or God has mysterious ways. The computer kept working at my house.

In terms of weather, when donotremove mentions that it is 55 degrees,  I always want to tell him that is how we start summer in the Midwest (with the rule that you can't plant out your tomatoes until after Memorial Day); especially when he makes a remark about it hitting "freezing",because at my house the thermometer just says,"Glaces", at approximately 30 degrees (meaning that whomever made that thermometer  worried whether the wine being stored is at a temperature that does not destroy it). We know that all plants must  be
inside before that happens;and that  usually takes a week or two  of in and out, back and forth to adjust to change of conditions.

I know what you mean about the restricted water. All that I'm growing  particularly for Christmas are some paperwhites for the window sill and which might actually open in time for Christmas with a follow up batch by New Year in their little tin tub. The "others" are taking a rest, the Red Lion Amyrillis which I thought might but is probably going to slowly sleep until the Lunar New Year when red is the appropriate color. (Likewise, the "Christmas Cactus" remains dormant, after seeming to change cycle at Easter following last Christmas. I think it wants a new big pot which I can provide when I wash out the emptied basil pot that had a veritable "tree" of Genovese basil until seven months after it was first put outside last season. I like to experiment when the opportunity occurs to me. I will give the Christmas Cactus a special feeding for Christmas dinner and that ought to do it. Would also like to plant some small Galanthus snowdrops in my barrel outside, to force them, since I didn't get the bulbs back in the ground earlier.  It's either that or cookies for which I finally found real (still moist) "California" dates!".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on January 05, 2008, 04:19:19 PM
The seed catalogues began to arrive and I have barely time to read them which, as you know, consists of looking at pictures which grab your attention and then you read the details. I am already somewhat behind at knowing recent latest varieties, after four years of being disappointed at no longer having a kitchen garden that won't be tampered with and, I suddenly realized that i have  put in just a year short of forty at the apprenticeship of gardening techniques par excellence and have nothing else to show for it after the memory.  Other than the first decade, every garden that I put in has been tampered with by people who do not understand why you do not contaminate the soil. Meanwhile, the realtors divided the homestead that I had originally lived on after the death of the German-American who had lived there and sold his orchard farm in parcels; and they of course put a small suburban  house on top of my "mou" of kitchen garden that had been organically kept, built better and better in fertility for ten years. They started by bulldozing out the fifty or so feet of purple lilacs to dig the foundation of the house directly on the garden! then the meadow was turned in to lawn and I don't recall seeing the last pear tree nor the raspberries and gooseberries. Nor did the mulberry tree gigantically supporting the west end of the barn remain on the end of the graveled drive way;neither did the barn for that matter where hops grew.

There are times when I pass  specimens of "Baby's breath", or "Bridal veil" that grew at the entrance of that drive way when I lived there, the formal garden of many varieties of narcissus/daffodils, to which I added black tulips, hyacinths with that acrid smell until you get used to the  underlying base-note that perfumes Easter season, spotted lilies beneath the kitchen windows Unter der Linden and the many Tibetan "crown lily" plants that kept the voles from eatting the flower bulbs.  Where did the rugosa red farm rose go  that stood at the front pavement on the end of buddleia bushes?  The forsythia was unhesitatingly whacked continually by the chief of police. Men seem to have a delight in destroying yellow forsythia which announces the Spring.  I often forced branches of various flowering trees toward the end of winter.

You guessed it, yet? My favourite columnist throughout the years at the nytimes.com was the best writer they had. Verlyn Klinkenborg whom I always pictured as some seasoned old farmer until to my surprise he turned out to be younger than me!                                                 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 16, 2008, 03:57:04 PM
I got camelias!!!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on January 16, 2008, 04:29:12 PM
Dessie,

Congratulation!!! I just went out to see if we did, and we have buds - looks like a lot of them.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on January 16, 2008, 11:40:24 PM
Yikes, you guys "are" in the South. Pearl Buck grew the most beautiful peach or apricot, dark golden variety under glass in her Bucks County house, it was in a pass through from her Library, in her writing area, so she could enjoy them by just looking out the window(or, into the window, depending on how you saw it that was glassed between her farm house and another out building).  Unfortunately, the last time I was there, October last year about mid-month, I think, because my sister-in-law was here and was excited to find out that Pearl Buck had her home here within an hour or so, it took us rather longer because she had a tendency not to believe me about the roads but we got there in time for the "last show".

On this occasion, when we got to that last room on the first floor that had been somewhat revamped, included her portrait that used to be in the main room where her writing desk now stands with typewriter, I noticed that they had at some point enlarged the green-house from that former breeze-way that had become a glassed in pass through; but they had let it go to wreck and ruin, not organized in an orderly way and the Camelias were also the worse for wear.  Marguerite, our docent for the day, a tall woman somewhat older than I am and who dressed like my mother who was a short petite woman, happened to notice someone in the green house and opened a panel to talk with her. One of the locals, she said. I know that many of the children that were the early generations of adoptees in the Buck family live in the vicinity permanently although I think her only child by birth  had died? Nevertheless, I pondered because this woman, who was supposed to be working the green-house, was a Caucasian and quite blonde. Maybe she was just a volunteer, but I had the strangest feeling. Pearl Buck's child was born too long ago to be alive?

The entire house is more worn and less well kept, there have been various scandals about that, where does the money go? That sort of thing. Nevertheless, there are certain things that I like about the house, the cobble entrance to the kitchen from the courtyard takes you immediately into an environment that is half Chinese and half Pennsylvania farm-house outside Dublin and Perkasie. I go for that reason, no matter how the place expands with the educational programs.Which was why we were a day late, Laura Bush was there the day that we expected to drive out.

I like how when you go up to the second floor, the bathroom off the landing is decidedly 1920s, not as in good repair as my great-aunt's which I may not likely see again, so I appreciate seeing this one, that it survives. Across from it is the Chinese clothing collection that Mrs. Buck saved and it is preserved behind a glassed-in enclosure.  Then you go to the bedrooms. A really period style Quaker farm bedroom overlooking the courtyard, with wooden floors, the same cross-draped white  curtains we all had in the 1940s are at the windows. I think there was always a fireplace in that room with a sitting area near the fire. Then the other bedroom had become her husband's work room, John Day was a book editor. They use that room to display all her first editions in a glass case, her awards, the pictures of her in the dress on the dressmaker's dummy, which was very Eisenhower era, but the photos are of her seated next to JFK while Jackie on the other side of Jack is dressed in a little French number all in white formal length with elbow-length gloves talking to some other ambassador of good will at an evening soiree. Nixon would not let Pearl ever go back to China even once, although Julie Eisenhowever pleaded with him to allow her to see her former home. He would be more inclined toward the Communists than the Christian Pearl Buck because she was there at the wrong time. He was a very confused man. She had to leave there and go back to school in her native Virginia, with the oncoming war; then she met Mr.Dey, her publisher, and bought the house and land in Pennsylvania for a pittance so that she could be more or less midway to the publishers in New York and in Philadelphia on the rail line.

My sister-in-law who is Japanese-American was enthused because she had read, if not all Pearl's books, a lot of them by the time she was in high-school. She was born after Pearl Harbor in an internment camp. She met other local people there that day, from the nearby towns on the commuting line. But I forget if that other Asian-American was Chinese or Japanese. The docent assumed my sister-in-law was Chinese. Perhaps it is thought Japanese-Americans would not come there. The three of us joked, because sometimes I think of another niece of mine as having a good name for a hotel in Maui, the Kiana Imperial.

Pearl Buck is of course buried on the estate, very much in the Chinese tradition. The other buildings, attached and unattached, are now more devoted to the teaching program for all the American parents who have been adopting Chinese "orphans". 

Tune in next week, will Laura Bush put money into this institution to refurbish it and make it more presentable?  Will the orphans save their American parents from the debt? All right, Stage-hand in black,strike the gong! The Dragon Lady from the Green Dragon is going back to politic business and seed catalogs and eliminating e-mail.

weezo! Do you get any of Thomas Jefferson's sample plants from Monticello?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on January 17, 2008, 06:37:33 AM
Maddie,

Was only there once in the spring, since usually we're pretty busy with our own garden that time of year! But, one summer when the kitchen garden at Monticello was at its peak, I sniched a few heirloom beans from the plants. They are dried in a jar - never got around to planting them. I seem to have been at Monticello more often in the fall and winter, although when family comes down, I've gone in the summer. Last time was three years ago with sister Patty whose middle daughter had just settled in Virginia to the dismay of the rest of Patty's family who is in Michigan.

On that last trip, the emphasis at Monticello was in discovering what was originally in Mulberry Row, where the slave cabins were. Our guide that day was not as knowledgeable of the life of the slaves there as some of the historians I talked to online, but the guide's name was "French" and to my brother-in-law's delight, spoke good French, so he enjoyed her more than I did.




Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 17, 2008, 10:14:06 AM
I hope the brief snowfall we got last night didn't harm my many little buds about to burst into bloom.  I knocked all the snow off the bushes afterwards.  I had one bloom a couple of days ago - camilia pink.  Don't know if the other bush is the same color or not, but I hope so as I adore it.  Never lived anywhere with camelia bushes before, so didn't know what they were til I found the buds about a month ago.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on January 17, 2008, 10:22:37 AM
Dessie,

Camelia's are a beautiful flower!!! The one we have is white with red stripes on the petals. I will post a picture when/if they bloom.

It is snowing here today, or perhaps it was this morning. Seems to have stopped coming down the past hour or two, and melting from warm spots.

As you said, I hope it won't affect the bloom. We'd had this bush for about 10 years. Some years we see the blooms, some we only see the dead buds when it gets warm enough to get out. So, it is a delight when we see them bloom. When they do, the whole bush is covered, almost as thickly as a clemantis later in the season.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 17, 2008, 10:51:59 AM
You're right about them being gorgeous blossoms - they are so perfectly symmetrical and intricate as can be. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 18, 2008, 02:00:40 AM
Des what breed is your dog again.A friend just sent me pics ot his three dogs,two boxers and one of what you have.His name is Hoss and the Boxers are Little Joe and Hop Sing.Hoss rules the Boxers.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 18, 2008, 03:32:35 PM
bo -

I love those names - hilarious!  Ivan's a mini schnauzer, and I know what your friend means when he say Hoss lords it over the other, bigger dogs.  That's how Ivan is, too - very strong sense of self-importance, as the AKC puts it.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 19, 2008, 12:18:18 PM
Snow storm!  My camelias are just about to burst into bloom!  ARRRGGGGG!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on January 19, 2008, 12:21:43 PM
Dessie,

Where are you? You must be in the southeast - they are to get pummeled this weekend. We are on the upper edge, where the storm is expected to move out to sea over Norfolk. Maybe we'll get a few inches, maybe not. We're hunkered up for the weekend just in case.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on January 19, 2008, 07:34:49 PM
Query: Does anyone here know the best time of year to prune a severely overgrown apple tree?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on January 20, 2008, 02:15:47 AM
Cap, how old is the tree?  How tall?  What's the width of the widest point across of the lateral branches.  When is your last freeze?  When is the earliest the apple tree has ever had the buds start to swell?  Google <pruning apple tree>.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 20, 2008, 02:43:24 AM
I just noticed this fall driving out to my friends cottage between Rochester and Syracuse along Lake Ontario that many of the old Apple trees are being replaced by a much more compact tree.Don't know what it's called but it is much shorter and bushier than the old apple trees.There are a lot of orchards out in that area and migrant camps.There are still a lot of places where you come upon what was once a small farm with several big old apple trees with weeds and vines growing all around.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on January 20, 2008, 10:18:21 AM
bosox,

I just noticed this fall driving out to my friends cottage between Rochester and Syracuse along Lake Ontario that many of the old Apple trees are being replaced by a much more compact tree.Don't know what it's called but it is much shorter and bushier than the old apple trees.

I used to live in that area as well, and I find the trend frightening.

When I go to the store, or even to a farmers' market, and ask if they have any Baldwins, Northern Spys, Pippins, Winesaps, or Jonathans, people here in Colorado look at me as thought I just came from Mars.

The idea of a tart apple just does not exist here, and from what you say, it won't exist in NYS too longer, either.

I find it more and more difficult to make decent apple sauce or apple pies (and yes, I still make and can my own).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 20, 2008, 02:11:42 PM
Cap,you can still get tart apples in Western New York but not as many types as in the past.I think the Northern Spy makes the best cider of all.Funny thing is I have driven through a little town called Bloomfield south of Rochester hundreds of times and just this fall noticed a sign that said "Welcome to Bloomfield,Home of the Northern Spy"


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on January 21, 2008, 06:22:09 PM
I don't know anything about pruning apple trees, but -- at a couple of orchards around here (in CT), you can still get tart apples.  Mostly Winesap, Stayman, and Macs -- our backup place says they have Granny Smiths for PYO, which I didn't know you could grow here --  but they're definitely around.  The place we usually go for PYO has about 6-7 long rows of Staymans alone; I know this because they ripen late and the horses love them (as do we), so I've picked many a bag.  Macouns, while not at all tart, are the most popular and hardest to find; when word's out that they're ripe, people swoop in like vultures.   

The trees for all the apple types are mostly short with the branches angled kind of downward, but I thought they were just regular trees pruned that way for easier picking.  It definitely cuts down on the owner's need to use picking machinery or even ladders.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 21, 2008, 10:01:37 PM
Well I think apples are easy to graft onto other rootstock so they could put all types of apples on these shorter trees.Cornell and the stae of New York have a large nursery/research station in Geneva N.Y. where they do this kind of stuff.I read somewhere where they have thousands of different seeds in the collection from all over the world.You are right that the advantage of the shorter tree means easier picking.But ten years ago in western N.Y. the orchards were made up of mostly the larger older trees and now you see fields of the new type tree standing next to fields of overgrown  older type trees.Apple wood makes nice firewood though.There are still fields of the old type though and I like to think there are folks who still hold out to the larger trees.Change doesn't come fast in that area of the country.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 21, 2008, 10:05:37 PM
I bought some Macouns at a Wegmans this fall and they were nice eating.I then saw them for sale by the half bushel and bushel at a farm stand in Naples New York a few days later.Naples is near one of the Finger Lakes.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on January 22, 2008, 12:49:16 AM
Do any of you know where I can get Crab Apples? I miss them. They were very common in the upper Midwest, especially since, north of GreenBay, the Peninsula stretches into the Great Lakes and produces apples and cherries like Michigan does.  I have not been able to find any jars of them from any of these on-line purveyors either. When canned, they have a distinct taste of at least some cloves rather than cinnamon and were common to be served with meat at all winter festivities whether pork, or poultry, or game.

It is apparently too warm on the Mid-Atlantic just a hop,skip and a jump down to the Mason-Dixon line.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on January 22, 2008, 01:05:02 AM
I've seen crab apples at farm stands around Rochester.I think folks still make jelly with them there.My parents had two trees in our front yard for years but when I drove by the old house this fall both trees were gone.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on January 22, 2008, 02:16:31 PM
Dessie,

Where are you? You must be in the southeast - they are to get pummeled this weekend. We are on the upper edge, where the storm is expected to move out to sea over Norfolk. Maybe we'll get a few inches, maybe not. We're hunkered up for the weekend just in case.



I live in the Atlanta area, weezo.  I covered my camelias with sheets for 2 days - so far, so good.   BTW, the other shrub looks like it has blooms like yours - can't wait for them to open.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on January 22, 2008, 02:24:20 PM
Dessie,

You got a good hit from the storm last week, and maybe this weekend as well. We were on the top of both storms and they didn't do much. Biggest problem here is low temps. We were single digit overnight the past few days and not expected to rise about the mid-thirties until into next week. So, when it warms, I'll go see if we are going to have blossoms or freeze-dried buds.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on March 14, 2008, 08:08:00 PM
Harrie,

P.Allen Smith says spring is the best time to plant Ginger Root



The best time to start a ginger plant from the root is in the spring. When you select roots for growing, choose those that are fresh with 1 to 2 inch long sections and plenty of nodes.

Materials:
fresh gingerroot
1 six inch terra cotta container with drainage holes
sterile potting soil
water

Directions:

Begin by cutting the root into a few pieces, making sure that each piece has a few nodes or buds from which to sprout.

Fill your container 2/3 of the way full with potting soil.

Place the gingerroot pieces flat on top of the soil and cover with about 2 inches more of potting soil.

Water well and place it in a warm windowsill with bright but indirect light. In just a few weeks a stalk will emerge at each one of the nodes. You can expect your plant to grow about 4 feet tall.

If you live in a mild part of the country you can plant this directly outside.  Ginger prefers to grow in areas with partial shade and consistently moist, rich soil. In climates that have cold winters, treat it as a tender houseplant and bring it indoors when temperatures drop below 40 degrees F.

While your ginger plant may occasionally produce flowers, it is not a common occurrence. But when you consider what the roots have to offer, you'll hardly miss the blooms. Wait about 4 to 7 months to harvest new roots. Simply cut the leaf stalks close to the top of the root and lift it out of the soil.

What an amazing gift from nature - a fresh supply of flavorful and healthy ginger root and a fun way to introduce your children to the benefits of gardening.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on March 14, 2008, 10:40:41 PM
For those of you who aren't seeing green yet, let me share what is blooming in our yard: The forsythia is in full bloom with a few daffodils and a grecian windflower below it. The camelia is blooming. Crocuses are blooming all over. The daffodills have opened a few blooms, but the rest are still to come. One snowdrop is blooming. The periwinkle is blooming and violets are peeking up every place the get a toehold.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on March 21, 2008, 09:41:48 PM
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=16179

I'm posting this in two place because so many of you have cats; and I put  it in the Pets forum for those who should consider planting things for their friends.

Marge’s Favorite Plants (she is Allen's garden-cat; and there are two or three other articles that she suggested to him for on-line publication)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on March 22, 2008, 08:02:15 PM
Happy Spring to y'all!!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on March 22, 2008, 08:04:45 PM
Weezo,

Forsythia is just about to open here, daffodils have set up buds (and in some south facing gardens, they are blooming like crazy!), hellebores are blooming their flower heads off and snow drops has just petered out. And, green shoots galore of all spring and summer perennials!! Ah!! Spring has sprung, here in z 6-7 (coastal NJ)!!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on March 22, 2008, 09:15:16 PM
Glad to hear I am sharing spring with others to the North.

Yesterday, the peaches burst into bloom. Daffodills are in full bloom, and crocuses have disappeared. Violet and Periwinkle run a carpet underfoot. One pink was opening.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on March 23, 2008, 11:57:57 AM
So glad you are back, Caltha Palustris, now that Spring is here. It is not yet arrived overseas:

Britain is recovering from unseasonable snow and gale-force winds that wreaked havoc across much of the country yesterday, but the Met Office says the bad weather will continue. Forecaster Chris Almond said: "There is no sign of spring out there, to be honest." (Independent on Sunday)



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on March 24, 2008, 01:04:33 AM
Madupont:

Glad to be back although I won't be blooming until late May into June ;-)

Oh my! Gales...brrrr....all the more wicked when the winds blow off the water in March and April. 

There were predictions for snow and rain last Saturday, but nothing came of it.  Though, it's still pretty chilly here, 30s to 50s F. - yet, when the sun is out and one is leeward to the weather ...it's livable.  ;-)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on March 24, 2008, 02:48:19 AM
Oh, yes, we had the snow just to shock us on Saturday in Pennsylvania.
Fortunately, it didn't stay but sure dropped the temperature back to winter range; so I turned mine on and baked Kulich, the worst that I ever made. We don't bloom in off years like this, either.  Only the pink geranium decided to say must be Easter? Even the bunnies are not coming out; they are either still hibernating like the cat who just moves from room to room for long naps, after getting up in the morning(or, they are missing in action, because of the nonecological methods of landscape management). She eats, checks out the sun  on the back garden; if that's missing, she meditates staring out the front windows. When she disappears, she is snoozing in the back bedroom and I adjust the draperies for her. When she shifts to another part of her residential suite, I open everything up again and she usually goes back for a sunbath cat-nap for the afternoon. In the evening , she watches tv or sleeps on a perch in the living room.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on March 28, 2008, 06:19:21 PM
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=16186

A talk with desdemona222b decided me to post above, and in it you will definitely find the word "hardscaping".   I believe it was about the second picture down which was more of an example of how I see open-run with a more natural fence, as I had a couple of acres originally defined by the Pines that the Germans leave to demarcate acres, while purple lilacs were used  to run between them on the west as the north-south line, with white lilacs doing the same on the east.

That was the acre behind the barn, in front of which was the hardscaping of the hops garden entangling the cypress that led to the barn roof.

Allen has a lot of practical ideas on how to perceive your landscape before you begin.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Caltha palustris on April 23, 2008, 09:30:47 PM
Is it me, or is it just a little TOO early to see Iris blooming (while the daffodils are still nodding their little flower heads!).  It's a first for me.  Lilacs are in bloom in a garden I visited yesterday, too.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on April 23, 2008, 11:03:02 PM
C.P.

I caught a glimpse of some smaller iris, yesterday but most of the daffodils were just past their peak; with the exception of a mixed floral island, yellow, white and red(the latter tulips)  on the end of a  church parking lot, since believe it or not we vote in church-facilities in Pennsylvania.

Most of the people in my area who have been here awhile in older homes carefully plant the road embankments with daffodils, whether or not they themselves are Amish, because they've observed this all their lives that the Amish plant the embankments, decoratively.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on April 27, 2008, 12:21:07 AM
HERE is your basic bug list, everybody, as it is time for them to show up now that we've gone out to garden.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 01, 2008, 10:11:25 AM
So I was looking for some gardening info, and I came across this blog which includes instructions for growing your own rice.  I don't see a rice shortage going on around my local stores (yet?), but I thought this looked neat -- might give it a try once it gets a little warmer.

http://offthegridgirls.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/grow-your-own-rice-at-home/

Check out the rest of this blog at your own risk; you may or may not disagree with some of the viewpoints contained therein.  But it's an interesting read.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 01, 2008, 01:09:11 PM
Just put my New Guinea Impatiens back outside since it dipped below 45 last night. Today is warming up into the seventies, and I've got some plants to put in. Some pinks to fill in an area by the patio, and some more-sunloving stuff for elsewhere in the garden. Have a handful of columbine and freezia bulbs. Columbine does well in our garden, but I haven't been successful with freezia. Need to clump them instead of stretching them into a row.

The seeds that Snowkitis hatched - some marigolds and zinnias are ready to go in the garden. May use them to border the herb garden.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 01, 2008, 11:29:55 PM
Harrie, what a great site that offthegridgirls.com is.  I marked it so's I can go back and read up a storm.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 02, 2008, 12:34:14 AM
Harrie,

"I’m going to do a little experiment on some of the store bought brown rice that I have
here at home.
I’ll keep ya posted on how it goes! and how it grows !"

That was the bottom-line; this person has not yet grown rice.

While reading the directions, I kept seeing this person's "garden"; in most of our climates, it is not going to be the thing.  Carolina was once prime rice-production lowlands.

Donotremove, how do they manage to do it in Texas? irrigation?  My uncle used irrigation in Arizona for his lettuce crop. But that was long ago, I imagine there is more concern today  in regard to water-preservation especially as the weather heats up. I don't think it would have crossed Uncle Joe's mind that we would arrive at a time with something called Global Warming. He was just a young man returning from WW2 in New Guinea, who thought he would experiment with soy beans first when he returned to the farm and would see how they would do after raising cows all his young years. What ever possessed him to go  to Arizona, I have no idea,other than: to raise his family because the "parental farm" was not large enough any more to produce for as many family members as had come into being.

I once made the mistake of gardening in the sand predominent soil that drops south into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey; an expense that I would not incur again although I used the Jack Nicholson method that he employed in the film --The Missouri Breaks, where Marlon Brando rides up to visit him; in a dress. Part of the garden responded very well for the Spring months but when Summer arrives the additional garden on the other side of house should have been left in Gaillardia because the heat evaporated the duck pond by  June.

Mao always advised that you bury 50  lbs of rice (which the Chinese usually do in a large earthen vessel that they seal) because old rice can be reconstituted quite readily; which is why you  used to see the advice on your box of rice to put a tsp of butter in with the water and salt while cooking. The Chinese will add about that amount of oil  to old rice when cooking.  This is generally a habit against possible crop failure, Buddhist monasteries generally stored rice as well as other seed, for which they are once again taking a pounding from the Chinese civil/military authorities in Tibet although Tibetans eat more millet and barley.

Actual pounding to release the outer coating from the grain was done in the courtyard or rural areas and city as well with a rice pounding board on which you stand  and rock it back and forth like the movement of a low-level teeter-tooter.

But the advice was given during a war in an occupied country, as Mao was a farmer's son from the inland South. But the advice applies to all conditions of extremity. During his lifetime, the Chinese made "great strides" in terrace construction in  hill and mountain country(I notice Thomas Jefferson did that as well)to produce more edible vegetation crops while leaving the lowlands for paddy rice for which you must paddle wheel channeled water to inundate your banked paddies.

The assassinated former agronomist Jean Domingue of Haiti who  broadened radio communication there --first developed irrigated paddy rice farming to make the rural population self-sufficient. With his death and the continuing migration out of Haiti, the leadership that followed to this day was not only incapable of forethought in food production because it wasn't their thing to be knowledgable about but they are really not that interested in feeding a Haitian population, any more than they were interested in seeing New Orleans spring back to to life.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on May 05, 2008, 04:22:57 PM
Does anyone know a source for Heirloom Tomato plants?

I don't want seeds, as it is too late for them to germinate.

Thanks.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 05, 2008, 04:40:45 PM
I don't know where you are, but around here (in CT) the smaller nurseries tend to have some heirloom plants.  Not your Home Depot/Lowe's or Agway type of place, but a locally-owned, smaller place may have some in stock, depending on what time you plant in your area.  If that fails, you can Google-TM "buy heirloom tomato plants" and you should get a bunch of hits for mail-order adventures.  Good luck.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 06, 2008, 11:15:32 AM
Many of the plant providing companies took their orders in March and April and delivered up until May 1st.  But I will continue looking through my collected lists on-line. I live in one of those places where major greenhouses provide plants at about $2.50 to $2.75 each which helps because I no longer have the space to start as many plants as I always did from seed. It takes about two months to have a good starter plant ready for the last frost date in your climate.

Also have catalogues that I have not even gotten to this year during an exciting election, will check them out as to who is doing plants deliveries just under the wire. If you live in a hot state already warmed up, some catalog houses do not ship for fear of loss of tender plants.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 06, 2008, 03:29:37 PM
Heirloom tomato plants are available at any garden center. 

Is it really too late to start from seed, though?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 06, 2008, 07:55:36 PM
Heirloom tomato plants are available at any garden center. 

Is it really too late to start from seed, though?

Now that you mention it, last year we got a late start, and I planted a bed of tomatoes from seed in early June (in CT).  Then, when I thinned the seedlings, I almost killed them; but they all bounced back and had a great summer.  Those late-seeded plants obviously didn't have July 4 tomatoes for us, but when everyone else's plants were browning up and getting tired, we had excellent September tomatoes from them.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on May 07, 2008, 05:55:48 AM
Thanks for all the good advice re. heirloom tomatoes.

They go in the ground Saturday.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 08, 2008, 08:12:03 PM
Caltha Palustris

Today's the day that the Carpenter Bee returned on an overcast rainy day since the rain began at about 5a.m.   He's bigger than ever but I think he prefers the upper floor and upper porch.  Will keep my eyes open for the pile of wood borings.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 09, 2008, 09:54:24 AM
Some time back, someone brought up lavender; and the local garden column guy addressed it in today's column, so here: 

LAVENDER WOES I keep hearing many, many complaints and questions about growing lavender, and the seemingly difficulty many gardeners have with this perennial herb. Common lavender, English lavender and Lavendula angustifolia (L. officinalis, L. vera, and L. spica) are wonderful garden additions, not only for their violet-blue to deep purple flowers that bloom in early summer, but for their excellent foliage, which adds a nice contrast in the garden.

In talking to many of these gardeners, the same "problem" seems to be occurring; that is, gardeners are paying far too much attention to soil and fertilizing than they should.Lavender requires full sun, and a rather poor soil (poor, as in sandyish, rocky and with little organic matter) that is well drained. A soil that is acid also isn't good, since they enjoy a fairly alkaline soil environment. While lavender will survive most winters, it isn't the hardiest of plants and can sustain quite a bit of winterkill if the plants are not properly protected with a layer of mulch. In this particular case, less care, even some "plant negligence" is the best plan of action with lavender.


Here's the link to his whole column, if anyone's interested - we don't take his word as gospel or anything, and often curse him out for various reasons.
http://www.connpost.com/women/ci_9197280


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 09, 2008, 10:12:54 AM
   Wisteria Woes...attempting to create a blossom filled arbor.   Year two and still no sign of flower buds, just more greenery.  Any suggestions?   TIA!
   


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 09, 2008, 10:29:31 AM
Kit, as far as I'm aware, a wisteria vine needs some age on it before blooms start to appear.  I have one, started from a sprig, out front that is 9 years old and the last coupla years it has bloomed spectacularly.  Before that, ho hum.  Do not, I repeat, do not prune a wisteria vine in the fall or winter.  The blooms you get this year are formed during that time.  It is safe to prune a wisteria after it has bloomed.

Do you know what you are getting into with wisteria?  Are you expecting your vine to stay within the arbor setting?   :)

Good luck next year.  Be patient.  Blooms will come.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 09, 2008, 11:02:56 AM
  Donot~~

  Well, you just nailed it, I think.  Pruned it -- yup -- so looks like it will be another year at least  :'(

  Meanwhile, thanks!  At least I know not to from now on... of course your point re: keeping the sucker manageable is why it's already been gettin' trimmed!

But, it's still beautiful..............


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 09, 2008, 11:30:25 AM
Donotremove, and kitinkaboodle,

I started three wisteria in Princeton between 1987 and 1989, then moved them in pots to Lawrenceville across from the prep school and placed them strategically in the ground where they might eventually cover an old shed.  To my chagrin, in what we referred to as "the Flower Wars" among the tenants of the colonial inn, one of the wisteria was removed from where it might shade the roof of the storage shed and placed next to a chain link fence to the back yard which was become a childrens' play
area. I guess that the idea of the "mover" of the wisteria had been this would disguise the parked cars in our parking lot.

By 1993, I cleaned up the flat and prepared to move my lilacs and the wisteria to Hopewell.  So, what I am saying is that in approximately five years they were so well sunk in and permanently rooted that when I found that I could not readily dig them out for moving, I phoned a professional to get a price on it.

It was then that I discovered,(if the wisteria was to be disengaged from the chain link fence --where I had not placed it-- it would require pruning most minute in detail to get it all done) there was an odd flying insect infestation that I'd never seen on wisteria before. So I left it to the perpetrator of the "landscaping initiative"  when I now realized that in a short time, the mighty vine would be able to lift the fence from the ground and make a royal mess!  He would no doubt blame it on me but nobody knew where I was going for the writing that I now wanted to explore, so too bad!

That's just my caution, because Princeton is where I learned to appreciate wisteria for the ability it had to entirely cover the front of the Frick Chemistry building each May. The vines were as thick as a man's wrist and they would intertwine in clumps of half a dozen or more into something truly Medieval on the facade of this Gothic bldg. 

The only people who had it under control were down at Longwood where it covered the domus of the garden's founder, Pierre duPont, who build a smaller glass conversatory to cover his front courtyard for his tropical plants brought back from Florida in the late 1920s. The Wisteria keeps the  new glass living room which rises to the second floor windows appropriately shaded and cool.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 09, 2008, 12:37:28 PM
Maddy, some folks might think it an exaggeration saying that a wisteria will lift a fence out of the ground.  But 'tis true.  Besides pruning, one can keep a wisteria "focused" by twining it around and back on itself.  Some folks make wisteria trees by doing this for many years and then cutting back all but a main stem, up about 4-5 feet (and keeping the lower part pruned forever afterwards.)  This makes the bushy top cascade and the flowering is absolutely stunning.  You're right about the thick stems.  Some very old wisteria (100 plus years) are way thicker than a man's wrist.  And those, I'll wager, can lift tall buildings with a single bound.   :)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 09, 2008, 12:53:19 PM
We had a wisteria "bush" as you describe when I was a child in Lubbock, donot.  But here in the Atlanta area, it grows wild and climbs all the way up very tall trees everywhere you look.

Anyway, the bush had been pruned when we moved in and it kept its shape without any maintenance whatseover, so once you get your wisteria established, kit, you can probably just sit back and enjoy.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 09, 2008, 12:58:23 PM
Caltha Palustris

Today's the day that the Carpenter Bee returned on an overcast rainy day since the rain began at about 5a.m.   He's bigger than ever but I think he prefers the upper floor and upper porch.  Will keep my eyes open for the pile of wood borings.

OMG, don't get me started on Carpenter Bees, the little pests.  I live in a little wooden house with a large deck and front porch made of pressure treated pine.  Supposedly Carpenter Bees don't like pressure treated pine.  Guess again.  Those little buggers have been boring holes in my fence railing in front and back, but we're getting rid of them as fast as they come - we had three to deal with so far this year.  Those things are downright frightening - I love walking out on my deck to be greeted with a pile of wood shavings where the thing has chomped a big hole in the wood!

The deck and porch have been treated with sealant, but I've figured out that the bees are finding areas between the rails and underneath the steps where the coating didn't reach.  We're gonna have to get out there with a paintbrush and get those areas covered - supposed any kind of polyurethane based paint or coating drives them away.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 12, 2008, 01:51:48 PM
desdemona222b

That was the very next thing that I was going to report to Caltha Palustris. I found the wood powder from the borings on the leaves of the geraniums which are out in the cold and blossoming in a deep rich rose-salmon shade this Spring.  The wee beasties also live in the many pines that were used in the landscaping or remained and most of which are taller than the buildings.  This means they are quite near by, after they go dormant or whatever it is that they do for the winter, and just fly a short distance to investigate what we've got left for them to enjoy as a breeding spot.

For five years, I had a pair of these swoopers flying in formation across my exit from the wash porch on a local farm. I kept looking around to find out what floral attraction  brought their sentry duty? Nothing that interesting caught my eye. Not at that particular spot. Eventually there would be a clump of iris that I divided regularly. But most  blossoming shrubs were not at the kitchen entrance. 

The wash porch of course was a botched job that the aged landlord had done in his most young petulant days when ordered to do so by his father(wrong size nails protruding on the interior gave the bizarre characteristic one had to assume consisted with the  inside of The Iron Maiden in"The Three Musketeers").

Nonetheless, he had slap-dash painted it with an equally "ouch" color of enamel in the kind of green you might frost a St. Patrick's day cake or why not petits fours. Of course, he inferred that this could be fixed. That was the last heard on that subject.

Which is why the pair of carpenter-bees were being territorial about it, although I had no idea that was their profession at the time. They seemed more aviation stunt pilot as a matter of fact.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 12, 2008, 02:09:54 PM
Donotremove, re:#307, we have one of these creations, less the work of man or woman but Nature's God who has a mysterious way, so that the Wisteria grows from one side of the road and having achieved the overhead lines, either electrical or telephone(?), should have unfolded its total splendor the next chance I have to cross the bridge and enter the Conestoga country road that leads to a local version of "Cold Comfort Farm". The houses go from better (on the high ground) to lesser on the road's decline down to the river level where the humidity mildews interiors.

The wisteria resorted to its own devices crossing the road by the overhead means to follow the movement of the sun from east to west.

There are many more pink dogwoods this season than ever before in Lancaster.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 13, 2008, 04:22:27 PM
Okay, I'm planting my garden this weekend.  I have one tomato plant, a cucumber plant, squash and bush bean seeds, and a honey dew melon plant.

Does anyone know how much water these plants need?  I have a sneaking suspicion the melon doesn't need a lot of water and likes to be neglected. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 13, 2008, 04:23:49 PM
Quote
There are many more pink dogwoods this season than ever before in Lancaster.
 
 
 
Aren't pink dogwoods gorgeous?  Everywhere you look here in April there are dogwoods in bloom.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 13, 2008, 08:15:17 PM
In my experience, the tomato and cucumber will be pretty thirsty - a good, deep watering every other day or in the GA heat, possibly not so deep a watering but every day.  The droopy leaves are always a good indicator.  The beans, thirsty but not as thirsty as the tomato and cuke; they'll droop too, and rebound within about 5 minutes of watering. 

Water the cucumbers too heavily, and you stand a good chance of getting slugs.  Water the tomatoes too much -- probably not likely in GA, but we've had it happen with three days of monsoon at the end of the season -- and your tomatoes can split.  Words of wisdom from the hubby (the real gardener at our place):  water the stems/ground, not the leaves.  But you probably know that.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 13, 2008, 08:45:31 PM
Okay, I'm planting my garden this weekend.  I have one tomato plant, a cucumber plant, squash and bush bean seeds, and a honey dew melon plant.

Does anyone know how much water these plants need?  I have a sneaking suspicion the melon doesn't need a lot of water and likes to be neglected. 
  Untrue.

I had a piece of very wet land in an angle of  two plowed fields, behind a garage which made a third wall perhaps twenty by twenty feet square, because they like to ramble, melons that is. These were Asian melons, related to white pumpkins  which I also attempted. Proximity is a problem for any of these cucubertae which the bees will cross breed for you


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 13, 2008, 09:08:31 PM
This is probably more than anyone wants to know about melons, but here's the UGA page on cantaloupe and specialty melons.  If you go down about 11 paragraphs, you'll see that honeydew are included in this group.  http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/b1179.htm 

We grew cantaloupe one year, and watermelon another year.  I think each year we got one melon out of the deal, but they were delicious. As madupont said, they do like some elbow room.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 13, 2008, 10:02:01 PM
Accident: partially posted,here is the rest.

quote author=desdemona222b link=topic=45.msg89962#msg89962 date=1210710147]
Okay, I'm planting my garden this weekend.  I have one tomato plant, a cucumber plant, squash and bush bean seeds, and a honey dew melon plant.

Does anyone know how much water these plants need?  I have a sneaking suspicion the melon doesn't need a lot of water and likes to be neglected. 
[/quote]  Untrue.

I had a piece of very wet land in an angle of  two plowed fields, behind a garage which made a third wall perhaps twenty by twenty feet square, because they like to ramble, melons that is. These were Asian melons, related to white pumpkins  which I also attempted. Proximity is a problem for any of these cucubitae which the bees will cross breed for you.

They took off as expected, roaming over to the summer feed-corn which a previous tenant had used as a buffer for growing tomatillo.

The Asian melons, Japanese, with the exception of the Winter Melon of China which is more of a true melon, are very much like squashes, orange fleshed like pumpkin although their name in CHINA AND JAPAN is categorically three little letters designating "melon". I had to learn this all from scratch, when I was first given seed to experiment with many years before.

But back then I prepared my soil by doing patches that large -- filled with marigolds and then other crops to clean the soil. This was a completely new alien soil to me.  Then came the first wilt. Which is not lack of water, but is a larvae in the vine that they recommend you remove by slitting the vine. Not recommended to somebody who has not faced a lot of other crop infestations that harden you to doing the gooky chores.

They tell you to then bury the slit vine under soil and let it continue to, well, "vine".  But I already knew that would not do because the soil was already "infested". They could be pulled, or just left to die off  after you enjoyed some of the blossoms when you turned the corner of the garage. Either way, you have to trash the vines (if pulled by hand, wear  farmers' gloves because the vines are prickly) and push them all into a trash barrel to be carted away now that they contain all those larvae or vine borer which have made their way to the squash/melons or pumpkins to have a feast, you will notice the declining of formation of fruit pretty soon which just rots on the vine.

The next Spring, I divided my black willow which was dividing itself anyway and relocated "them" in that empty patch, closer to the corn alternating with winter wheat crops in rotation, but not overly close. Each Spring after that, they produced pussy willows and I planted muscari in a circle under and around each tree which grew to about 15 or 20 feet within five years. They had no problem.

Melons seem to like a more sandy soil rather than heavy soil, so this will take quite a bit of watering. Just keep the cucumber someplace else than the melon plant and the squash seed, if the squash are ramblers rather than bushes, well either way actually, they will probably like to be grown with those beans in alternating rows. Throw away radishes help to prevent spoilers in the vines, if you either seed the radishes in cool Spring or recklessly later when they would turn hot to the taste and go to seed in any case which is what you want to help protect your squash, melon,and cucumber.

Just to be sure I tried another tactic with melon, on this new place, thinking that perhaps if I just stuck them in the flower beds of the floral border to shade them that they would not droop in the hottest weather but this was when we had drought for several years in a row, so they drooped nevertheless, and when I went over to the bed to occasionally water, which was limited according to law because drought weather brings fires, I had the surprise of my life that the hose spraying revealed dozens of butterflies hiding under the foliage of taller flowers. They were sucking the nectar out of the plants but were glad to have a little shower just the same.

I did not find a single hiding melon, not of any reasonable size.  Better luck to you since all depends on your soil in your location and how the weather holds up. Melons grow well near corn and sunflowers(but not potatoes), it is recommended to place a heavy waxed paper under melon to prevent worms from entering(one year, I was lucky to find a stack of cardboard, the thick packing box type of brown with corrugation between the smooth sides, and I used those to keep the melons up off the soil). I have never used Sabadilla dust, maybe Donotremove knows what it is?

I am warned that it is not to be breathed in and to handle carefully; very toxic.

Morning glory helps grow melons; and, once they have grown without any insect problem, the leaves contain a lot of calcium to add to the compost heap.

Harrie has just brought up that tomato splitting problem for which calcium is a god-send. I learned that in Tennessee. It generally comes from bone-meal but you have to wear a mask for that too and wash your hands well even if you wore gloves. See what your garden supply store recommends. Dolomite Lime of course also contains calcium but do not overdo. Better yet, we should ask Harrie's husband what he recommends for calcium!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 13, 2008, 10:47:38 PM
madupont, we mix into the soil a compost that contains lobster and oyster shells, this stuff from Coast of Maine - http://www.coastofmaine.com/soils-quoddy.shtml   It's a good source of calcium, plus we have lime on hand to combat clubfoot in cabbage and broccoli; and that has calcium in it as well.  As for the tomatoes splitting though ... some Septembers, especially when a hurricane or tropical storm parks off the coast, we just get hit with rain for a couple days; and I don't think any amount of calcium is going to prevent the splits we get when that happens.  I believe it's just too much water, too fast.

I forgot about the radish thing -- we do that with the butternut squash and pumpkins, and it works very well.  I think it works with just about anything vine-y, as the companion plant pages say to put radishes with cucumbers as well.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 14, 2008, 03:24:31 PM
Thanks for the link, harrie.

BTW, how's the reading coming?  I'm not particularly enjoying The Bin Ladens, but I'm reading through anyway because I made the committment.  Have you started Under the Banner of Heaven?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 14, 2008, 03:36:29 PM
Our garden is moving right along towards summer. The azaleas are done, the rhododendroms are blooming now, as is the Mock Orange. The pinks are a splendid bed of color viewed through my window.

We are going to try our hand with container gardening this year. We bought two potted "gardens" with a tomoto plant surrounded by herbs. It was nice when it dropped below fifty last two nights, we just brought them inside instead of having to try to cover them. We have peaches on both potted trees. Need to put some peppers in a pot or two. Nice thing about the containers, as the shades moves around the garden over the season, we can move the plants to the best positions.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 14, 2008, 06:28:38 PM
BTW, how's the reading coming?  I'm not particularly enjoying The Bin Ladens, but I'm reading through anyway because I made the committment.  Have you started Under the Banner of Heaven?

I'm plugging along with The Bin Ladens - it's not a hard read, or even dry, but it doesn't set me on fire.  (Around page 175 or so, but I'll pick up the pace.) I haven't started Under the Banner ... yet because I'm two-thirds through The Company; and if I split up my reading further, everything will just go along that much slower.  The thing is, with reading The Company (a novelization of CIA happenings), when in The Bin Ladens I see the mention of people with stacks of travelers checks/money or jet-setting, I automatically think "Khashoggi!" ie weapons brokering or some other kind of illicit activities.  But so far, if there has been any of that in TBL, it hasn't come out and been stated.  So I guess I'm 1) a little frustrated and 2) apparently very suspicious in nature.

And now back to Garden Tawk....


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 17, 2008, 12:40:34 AM
harrie,

The quoddy soil is a perfect way to   insure your vegetables have an endurance against cold before the Autumn arrives. You get a longer growing season, if you take this precaution.  It used to be done with very smelly fish liquid; or by seaweed meal. Of course, the British (and East Coasters depending on location) have collected seaweed to apply to their gardens.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 17, 2008, 12:50:57 AM
the Cap0,

http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/tomato-collections.html

Take a look at these and keep them in mind, if not for this year then next. The catalogue just arrived today and they have ingenious patio tomatoes as well as heirlooms. I did buy one of their plant stands about five years ago, still have it although a few cross bars seem to be missing which is an inconvenience. And, one warning. It comes with an extremely useful cover that zips up the front sides and covers over the top so that you have a spot to place plants that you are bringing into the house at the end of season.  Here's the catch, this covering, which extends the time you can have the plant out because it protects from lowering temperatures,is susceptible to tearing unless you are exceptionally careful, not because of thinness but the zippers are not impervious to the changes in temperature on plastic.

They can not replace the covering for you, so the plant stand has a longer life than the cover. Apparently the unit comes from their supplier this way, one cover to a customer.  You would think to extend things, they might start making covers available to replace worn out covers. No such luck.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on May 18, 2008, 05:57:50 PM
madupont,
Thanks for the tip.  I started out with a few heirlooms from some local gardeners out here in Colorado.
We have the advantage of lots of sun, but we also have the disadvantage of a dry, high altitude climate, so I will just have to wait and see what develops.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on May 18, 2008, 10:26:41 PM
We are on our way to container gardening. The flower bed is about full for the year, and we have to put the Salvia's in. Walmart didn't have any, so we need to make a trip to Clay's. And some impatiens for under the apple tree.

We have some large plastic biege pots. I'm filling the bottom fourth with smashed drink cans. They will be lighter than filling the bottom with gravel. I'll put a layer of mulch on top of the cans, and then fill the pot with potting soil, and put the veggies in that.

Some of the tomatoes from Walmart were dry as a bone, so may not do well. I will plant those three to a pot, with some lettuce sown when I transplant, to take over the pot if the tomatoes don't do. I'll do peppers two to a pot with lettuce for the end of the season.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 19, 2008, 11:30:21 PM
   Wisteria Woes...attempting to create a blossom filled arbor.   Year two and still no sign of flower buds, just more greenery.  Any suggestions?   TIA!
   


Kitinkaboodle, Donotremove was obviously correct. Take a look at this --
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=1646&questionid=656


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 22, 2008, 12:46:21 PM
So I'm having a problem with some (Purple Cherokee) tomato seedlings; and in looking for a solution, found this nifty page on the Cornell site.  http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/pubs/ask/tomato_qa.html   Since there are a number of tomato-growing people here, thought I'd share.  (The Cornell site has been a valuable resource for me for lots of planting/growing questions, not just tomato-related.)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 22, 2008, 01:07:59 PM
Thanks for the "Plant Doctor" link, Harrie.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 22, 2008, 04:13:38 PM
Just read the info on the link you provided, harrie.  I pruned all the suckers off the bottom of my little heirloom tomato plant.  I wonder if I ruined it?  >:(


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 22, 2008, 04:47:45 PM
I was thinking about theCap0's description of his climate as dry, high altitute re: tomatoes because I had a couple of friends who wintered there in preparation for "trips".

My closest friend wanted to go into the Himalayas(and I cautioned her to hold back unless outfitting herself in suitable recognizable ways) and she did make it as far as Dharmsala or what the Tibetans call Dorjeling and we call Darjeeling. These are the tea slopes where the Dalai Lama founded an "orphanage" monastery and the kids would produce simple things like block-prints on rice-paper of thanka images that could be sold to tourists or out in the world at large. Later, she regularly went up to Nepal in the hot months of summer to get away from the heat at Varanasi(Benares).

Our other friend was into the Andes but it was mostly a Crosby,Stills, and Nash thing, although she brought back pre-Columbian artifacts.

So I well remember their reminisciences about wearing long underwear and going out to chop ice to heat on the stove for water that winter as they became accustomed to the altitude.

This is why I began to think that we ought to ask harrie who handles horses, what is the going rate for a bale of whatever theCap0 will be able to find baled in upland Colorado ?  

I used alfalfa in my climate in the Midwest. Later, with horse country in New Jersey, would start the garden with spoiled hay that had to be thrown out of barns and stables although -- straw, which cross hatches when tossed on the ground over a seed bed, is better for starting plants from sowing seed.

theCapO won't have that problem since he started with plants, but to keep the plants, in the climate that he describes, will take something to keep the moisture in at the root-level(or, is it better to use those red-spectrum plastic covers these days?) I usually go for the "soil-improving" factor, if one is going to be on the same plot of land. Tomatoes can generally be grown for several years on the same soil.

And, of course, in Wisconsin, I always had cow manure available from the dairy barns in the vicinity. In Pennsylvania, most of it gets applied to the fields in a regular cycle of generally ten days sometimes earlier in water signs as well as earth signs( but that was discussed in another forum where we launched off in Chinese 60 year cycles of five elements multiplied by twelve astrological animals).

What theCap0 has nearby for his garden is another matter. Will it have to sit awhile; or will he have to buy bagged manure from a garden supply nearby.  I usually do not recommend horse manure after dealing with an excessively  large garden in which a mini-tractor-driving nurse got carried away when founding a farm in the Viroqua area of western Wisconsin close to Mississippi river bluffs and where the mountains are not yet quite mountains but are larger than hills when people give you directions that mention "hills".

Although the horse manure was highly productive, it leaves behind, in the soil, the start of several different insect infestations.  The mini-tractor-driving nurse put it on, never having heard of this, and because she had an entire barn to clean out when she bought the place, So, naturally, she put the whole barnful on the garden to get rid of it.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 23, 2008, 08:20:34 PM
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=1646&questionid=4830

Manure for the garden and e-coli?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 28, 2008, 09:48:12 AM
You've never seen as many roly-polys in your life as I have in my yard right now.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Little suckers ATE my bush bean sprouts UP.

Guess we won't be having bush beans this year.  Dang it.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 28, 2008, 10:11:08 AM
This morning glancing from my kitchen window for a quick garden "look-see" I spotted another type of "roly-poly" altogether.

Sniffing around -- a black bear...!

According to the local news he's been wandering around the neighborhood since yesterday a.m. -- the thinking is that he's looking for a mate.  I just hope he doesn't get shot -----


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 28, 2008, 12:07:20 PM
Black bear up-date:

The DEM has set up a "trap" -- I have to laugh -- would a bear actually walk into an enclosure?????


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 28, 2008, 01:20:09 PM
Black bear up-date:

The DEM has set up a "trap" -- I have to laugh -- would a bear actually walk into an enclosure?????

If there's food in it I bet it will.  Black bears wander into the Atlanta urban environment occasionally - the last instance I knew about involved a lost bear cub who was spotted in a Kroger parking lot.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 28, 2008, 01:36:34 PM
Film crews (and the "trappers") were setting-up as I was leaving the house.  Seems I can attract (just about) anything 'cept hummingbirds!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 28, 2008, 08:14:42 PM
Is a roly-poly a groundhog, then? 

Our first year at the community garden, they enjoyed 1-2 bites out of each and every butternut and acorn squash. I shed many a tear over those cute little guys as I patched the fence (only to find a new hole right next to the old one the next day); I think the hubby just quietly whimpered when he thought I was out of earshot. 

Have just finished the fencing, and I think potatoes and onions go in tomorrow.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 29, 2008, 12:37:25 AM
If you want to catch a bear everyone knows you have to put a picnic basket in the trap.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 29, 2008, 07:46:04 AM


 :D Too cute -- love your comment Bo -- and he's still on the run --


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 29, 2008, 07:55:44 AM
   

And now the thinking is that it's not just the one bear but  - "Lunch for two, please!"


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2008, 12:04:31 PM
Kitinkaboodle!   Alarm.

I thought you mentioned living in the West? You are watching this from your kitchen window (I am imagining my own when I was on a Pennsylvania farm; we just  have buffalo or if you can spirit one up: a cougar). Have you not watched the Sopranos?

You will in that case have seen what kind of gun-cabinet Tony had just off the kitchen and the weapon he used to fend off the bear which is normal in suburbs of Northern Jersey. He then sat down and contemplated his ducks in his swimming pool.  As my brothers regularly hunted black bear until recently, I think this is something you have to keep in mind, rather than the cute you-tube coverage of the cat sitting and waiting where it has treed a bear cub; or maybe that was a full grown bear in the back yard, whom the family pet would not let down from the tree?

I think it depends very much on the community in which you live, as to what resources they recommend or have and will apply. There are areas of New Jersey hill country in which they haven't the faintest semblance of animal control officer.   I tried for what i think was six months to trap an ancient ground hog of aged great size, by renting a trap and never able to entice it into the cage. The rental was the hobby of some farmer's kid who made a fortune off of me. But, I didn't think that I'd have use for a small cage trap again anytime soon; and I was right.  At any rate, I suppose the great ancient ground hog took one look at the trap and decided it wasn't worth it; it was much too small compared to his own size, for him to bother getting into.

If you see my point, I am making an analogy here, unless your local control officer has the equipment, they will likely shoot it unless there is territory to which to return it -- in which case, it may be merely shot with a tranquilizer. Otherwise, it could be in your kitchen by the time that you get home.  The camera crews are just a farce.

I kept this in mind, when first getting wind of the cougar because they will climb on a roof; a mountain lion can in fact do that in a single bound to my wash-porch roof so I carefully pulled down the windows rather than let the bare screen let in the breeze on summer nights. This is a factor oft recalled by old farmers in the Midwest where they settled in cabins and, cats of this size will go up to the chimney to let themselves in, if there is no fire in the grate. On the frontier they were known to dig under your door frame to get the goodies. Of course, many people first lived in "storm-cellars" as they proceeded on the prairie; and then, built the house over it on that foundation.

It's beginning to sound like Hillary may have had something there about her excellent adventures in Pennsylvania or what ever did she actually do in Kentucky, by now, I forget, did she actually go to the haunted land of forest and hills with bluegrass?

Nowadays in New Jersey, they just call a yearly bow-hunt in Mercer county for the wild deer; just as in Pennsylvania, they ride to hounds at this season after the fox in horse-country. Tradition is everything to Celts and Britons.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2008, 12:57:43 PM
Is a roly-poly a groundhog, then? 

Our first year at the community garden, they enjoyed 1-2 bites out of each and every butternut and acorn squash. I shed many a tear over those cute little guys as I patched the fence (only to find a new hole right next to the old one the next day); I think the hubby just quietly whimpered when he thought I was out of earshot. 

Have just finished the fencing, and I think potatoes and onions go in tomorrow.



Yes. I'm wondering now what desdemona has by way of roly-polys? Do you suppose it is bean-beetles?  They destroyed mine where there was too much sandy-soil slightly north of the Pine Barrens.

On the other hand, I know what you mean about ground hogs as I watched them bite a hunk out of each fully grown cabbage down below in first garden tried at Lawrenceville(although they were rife in the community garden there as well, where you had to plant reasonably thick to be sure and keep them away from your best prizes); I viewed this during a heavy lightening storm in what we called Tornado Alley that runs from the Philadelphia to Trenton base of the Delaware which then follows the curve northward as far as Rockingham in Hunterdon county. The danged ground hog would run out from under the shed  into the down-pour and  grab another cabbage between lightning strikes.

The very next day I was out there taking wood from the wood pile that had been put stupidly against the neighbors paling fence, and carrying the logs to shove up into the open space under and around the circumference on three sides of the shed; I was so angry that I "had the strength of ten"!

I was yet more angry when some short while later, the second-floor flat neighbor had removed all the log work back to the pile! I repeated my task, hoping that would cause  him to catch on, and did it in about 1/10th. the time it took me at first! I was just furious.  He got his, in his own fateful way. In another few thunderstorms, the tree overlooking the neighbor's driveway, which was why the paling fence was there for
privacy and not to have a wood pile heaped against it and over the base of the tree, came down with a crash on the diagonal over the
palings, over the driveway, and he was just lucky it did not have
branches damaging her bay window at the front with the Chinese foot
bath on display for passersby.

It of course is wrong to build any sort of compost pile at the base of something so old as a Mercer County tree because it will heat up and kill the roots, toppling the tree in this way, the damage from which had to be paid for somehow.    As I recall, the responsible person later moved on to Dublin, Pennsylvania, claiming it would be closer to his job midway to Philadelphia, having bought a small house there.

If it is any consolation, even William Penn had ground-hogs all over his garden at his home in Pennsbury Manor on the New Jersey side of the river from which he would pole the Delaware(or, have his boatmen row it), as if it were the Thames, down to Penns' Landing on the Pennsylvania side.  Of course when he was there, he probably had them shot.  It was otherwise a lovely garden that people come to study because it was well planned to have all the necessities of English country life in America, the kitchen garden, the herb garden, the medicinal herb garden, the textile dye herb garden, etc. surrounded by floral borders.  It's those floral borders that will do you in every time.

Actually, it was those hedge rows symetrically parallel running down to the water's edge, with a lawn between on which he parked his "ark", or the riverside gateway to his country estate.  Hedgerows, be they ever so neatly kept, are of course why ground hogs are sometimes called "hedge hogs",
although they are not as bad as the northern climate porcupine of Vermont which will destroy every piece of wood which bears the scent of your sweat. They lick it clean for the salt.

I talked to a ground hog, a young one just the other night, who has a whole house to himself, which makes him rather shy, historic farm-house preserved on the midst of a new golf course and former stable become country club. He must have been left behind in the uproar so he stays under the front stoop to watch the strange comings and goings of family outings, dining outside on the Memorial day weekend, the children in colorful summery clothes. At night he can sneak past the spicy aromas in flower beds and urns and cross the bridge to slip into the marsh filled with cat-tails and other things that a muskrat, possum or racoon might like even better.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 29, 2008, 01:30:36 PM
Maddie:

Swamp Yankees aplenty around "these here parts" --  along with state biologists -- the DEM folks -- the bow hunters -- all of which (or maybe just  one -- all it takes is one) unfortunately, will make a mess of this...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on May 29, 2008, 01:59:40 PM
I'm talking about doodle bugs, you guys.  Whodathunkit?  They like to eat certain fresh sprouts.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 29, 2008, 02:29:12 PM
Des, I knew you were talking about doodle bugs but I've been having a good time reading the posts just to see how far afield speculation could go.   :)

Too bad doodle bugs don't like beer like snails do.  Drowning is the way to go.  I pinch and squash all the doodles I find. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 29, 2008, 02:59:54 PM
http://www.whatsthatbug.com/neuropterans.html

I love this website.  So is your doodlebug the same as theirs?  (Small, brown, kind of a like a tiny horned toad.  Full description about 3/4 down the page, they won't let me copy the picture.)  They sound pretty useful, it's a shame they like some greens with their ants.

Or do you mean those icky little pillbugs that roll up as a defense?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2008, 03:42:55 PM
Okay, so what is a "doodlebug"?  At least, I knew "it were a bug".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 29, 2008, 04:13:21 PM
Harrie's got it.  A doodle bug by any other name (pillbug) rolls up. They are, um, grey-ish (to my eye anyway,) and roll into a ball at any provocation.

"Doodle bug, doodle bug roll away home . . .".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 29, 2008, 04:36:49 PM
Okay, doodlebug/pillbug ideas.....

1)  Toads like 'em.  But your cats like to mess with toads, don't they?  So probably not a great idea.
2)  Chickens? They eat a lot of bugs (including ticks, which is a nice bonus, plus .... real eggs!).
3)  Dixie Cup collars (cut the bottom off a paper cup and put it around your seedling, pushing it into the ground a little) for your seedlings until they get large enough that the doodles can't easily get to them?
4)  Insecticidal soap (ie, SAFER)?  It's pretty gentle and pretty effective, and I don't think the runoff is harmful.  Here's the poop on SAFER - cautions, indications, etc. start on page 3 of the PDF.  http://www.planetnatural.com/planetnatural/images/safer-soap-rtu-label.pdf 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2008, 05:19:37 PM
I was just doing my best Rick Bragg imitation.  Now, the bugs that roll up around here do not have pincers like a doodle bug in harrie's posted pictures. In fact, I have never seen a doodle bug but I can understand the description when harrie mentioned that like a toad they swivel back into their holes.

I had many of these at first on an old Wisconsin farm that surprised me, the soil had been undisturbed for some time when it appeared. And I was pleasantly surprised, twice over, because I used to have a small Japanese toad that looked real but was not; a present from my father but one of those things that get lost around a household with numerous children.

It is forever in my memory as are small zoo-animals from the Washington Park Zoo where I played almost every day when it was safe for a child to walk several blocks  to a park, look both ways before crossing a street at a time when there was hardly any traffic; that world is as far gone, as being a child in  a Monet painting in white stockings, a proper hat, and short coat, with a rolling hoop to spin in a public park.

I was surprised, secondly when the toad which I had now noticed suddenly spun on one of its hindlegs and like a corkscrew in a wine-bottle cork went underground.    It again showed up on previously undisturbed land when I dug two salad squares after visiting the Philadelphia Flower show for the first and last time as I will never do that again.

It's famous, but most resembles a serious civil emergency. Too crowded to get close enough to the interesting plant exhibits from which you could learn a thing or two; and this is not going to change. At most, I noticed that some "greensperson", as they say in the movie credits, had diligently duplicated a salad square, as this was the day that I learned to appreciate the great French manor house gardens for their careful patterning.

(By the way, has anybody seen where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are moving into. One of the more famous French wine estates in God's creation:Miraval, just east of Aix en Provence, north of Marseille, far west from Nice but again quite west of Arles. It's big, it's huge, it's terraced, many of the terraces no longer in grapes but turned over to oilives. It has a very famous history over the years, everyone from St. Thomas Aquinas doing his Sean Connery routine in The Name of the Rose, when Aquinas did his mule trip from the Bay of Naples, through Piedmont to Provence on his way to somewhere,oh, yes, Avignon, home of French Popes, until closer to our time when Sting and various other recording artists had a studio at Mirval.  

It also has a house such as Monet lived in elsewhere but somewhat larger because the wine made money whereas Monet lived a more bourgeois painterly style. The studio is obvious as well as the barriquette for the wine barrels, and the pleasance --below the door coachyard where you always find pots and more pots and urns of flowers against the wall of the house-- is the kind of place where you think you will just go for a stroll in the morning and perhaps have a picnic on the grass but, then somebody shows up to mow the lawn and you have to go back inside, if you know how bossy the French really are).

So I'd grown lettuce like that for years, closely placed, you pull out what you want and leave space for the rest to be grown but I'd never thought to grow it in patterns such as my friend Elf-Laksmi who grew it to form letters that spelled out things.

The "greensperson" had however gone into a greenhouse somewhere and after arranging the design on paper carried out flats of squared off pots and laid them out in patterns to fill a frame with colors and textures of salad greens.  This does conserve moisture because it makes use of two old techniques, the one being Chinese mound planting of several different vegetable varieties grown together according to the time of when they are pulled or harvested at different levels, like harrie has said about onions which grow under -- has anybody seen Egyptian walking onions recently? -- while greens with shallow roots grow close to but above; the other technique is called French double digging in which soil is removed to a wheel barrel and then you  dig again to a second level down or trenched --you  put the first level back underneath and top it with the lower level of earth now become top soil.

What I did not know, where the toad showed up with the hind leg routine in Pennsylvania, there were other surprises.  Flowers that had come up around the square for salad, such as Pot-marigold to flower in the cooler weather of Autumn(Calendula), or marigolds for the summer tomatoes, would suddenly disappear from sight.  I thought it was cut-worm at first but upon inspection, no left over cut off stem remained. The flowers had all been pulled underground by moles!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 29, 2008, 05:41:58 PM
Thanks, harrie, for the Safer Soap reminder. I just noticed black fly has returned and I used to pick up Safer soap regularly but forgot that it is available.   This is probably why my grandmother tossed the dish soap out of her wash-basin into her flower beds which were always placed in a circle to the front or side of the house nearest the summer kitchen entrance.  But soap has changed since then. 

It was also nearest the watering trough so that she did not have to pump water for watering flowers. In those days, bull-heads skimmed the algae that formed from "cud" and then the fish deposited their own fish-manure that sunk to the bottom. Things were very cyclic in ecology in those days. She just dipped a bucket when watering was needed.

My sisters and cousins tried for some time to convince me that my grandmother's  name was Emma, like Madame Bovary; which was so unlike her character physically (but perhaps a touch of acquisitiveness).

I said, nonsense, her name was Josephine(Josefine) Esmeralda. That's where your Aunt Meralda got her name. Although they were written about  fifteen years apart, she was not a Flaubert type but more of a Victor Hugo influenced because her mother was born, after her parents arrived from France, while Hugo was having a hot writing streak.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on May 29, 2008, 06:18:59 PM
I think this is the doodlebug in question - not the horned guy. He rolls up into a tight little ball when danger is near.
 (http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s77/harrieb/pillbug.gif)

To be honest, I didn't know there was such thing a doodlebug, I figured it was like a thingamajig or doohickey.





Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on May 29, 2008, 07:23:57 PM
    eeewwww!  Gross!  Looks like a cockroach wearing Russell Crowe's Gladiator armor... 

Thinking like you, Harrie -- sounds like it should be something cute at least.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on May 29, 2008, 10:52:44 PM
That's it, Harrie.  Shows up darker in color than I'd remembered.

Maddy, if you are on the scene whilst a mole is working your garden, you can see a plant sort of wiggle a bit then, poof, disappear underground.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 30, 2008, 12:06:35 AM
What was the Disney flick where Burl Ives sang"The Ugly Bug Ball".


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: bosox18d on May 30, 2008, 12:13:38 AM
Well I see it was the 1963 Summer Magic.Even though I was 8 that Hayley Mills did something to me.That hair that cool British accent.As a matter of fact I think the opening flick to it as Disney films came in two then was the nature one about the two bear cubs lost from their mother wreaking havoc all over Yellowstone(not Jellystone) Park.You can even get a free Ugly Bug Ball ringtone.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 30, 2008, 01:15:14 AM
kitinkaboodle,

The ugly-bugly, that harrie reproduced on screen so much bigger than it is when you happen to see one, is really not that gross.  In fact, if you notice one around, you can patiently  torture it by prodding it with a pencil point to see it roll up. This is actually a lot less than torture, more like inquisitiveness.

But if these are what are eating Desdemona's bush beans, then they deserved to be prodded.  I have never seen them in "gross amounts".

Bean beatles usually remind you of lady bugs until you go, "Gee, whiz, that is not a lady bug! They are larger, not as pretty in color but have a few spots; and they start from orange eggs, as I recall, under the leaves of the bean plant when you turn them over.  I find that planting lots of marigolds in their vicinity helps avoid that.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 30, 2008, 01:22:03 AM
That's it, Harrie.  Shows up darker in color than I'd remembered.

Maddy, if you are on the scene whilst a mole is working your garden, you can see a plant sort of wiggle a bit then, poof, disappear underground.


Yes, I remember them as a sort of greyish brown and think of them as sort of the most minute of armadilloes.

And yes, many a time the mole was working the garden unbeknownst to me,
until the wiggle and gone. I understand that they are omnivores, eating your plants while also eatting the bugs.  Coyote piss is recommended(but then, so are many things in this life...).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 30, 2008, 01:25:19 AM
Oh, yes, the other thing recommended, which it is said that they hate, is to sink beer bottles into the ground so that the prevalent wind can blow over the rims and orchestrate that squeal and moan crescendo from time to time.


Title: Doodle Bug Update
Post by: desdemona222b on May 30, 2008, 10:29:32 AM
Thanks, harrie, for posting a photo of the little beasts.  I always liked doodle bugs - used to play with them as a little girl in Dallas.  But my garden is COMPLETELY INFESTED with them.  Someone did a lot of gardening and landscaping in the back yard at some point in time, and the ground underneath stayed very damp all the time.  I am gradually ripping away the landscaping plastic but I have no earthly idea how to get rid of the pests.

Ya'll should see my vegetable bed now.  I planted a watermelon plant last weekend, and it is virtually eaten up.  Six well-developed marigold plants have been stripped down to the stems, although the blossoms are still there.  The only thing they haven't eaten is my cucumber plant and my two tomato plants.

I'm going to call the cooperative extension service and see what advice they have to impart.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 30, 2008, 02:12:52 PM
desdemona222b,

That's terrible, I have to commiserate because I've lost many years of plants and the money that went into their upkeep because of a "diffferent" type of bug who was my landlord.

Please let us know what the cooperative extension recommends.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on May 31, 2008, 01:57:56 AM
kitinkaboodle,re:#333

"In an interview with The Washington Post in 1990, Mr. Garrett recounted what happened after he encountered a bear outside his home. It was an exchange that could have been lifted straight from one of his Southern stories:

“There’s a bear yonder in your backyard,” the policeman who arrived on the scene said.

“Yes, sir, I know that,” Mr. Garrett replied. “We’ve met.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/books/30garrett.html?em&ex=1212379200&en=5886776341ba6ba3&ei=5087%0A



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 04, 2008, 12:10:51 AM
Harrie, amidst the "aphid lions" on your bug-roll, do you have one with orange-red "bolero"( is a good way to describe it;a short jacket  on an otherwise dark gray-black body. And, on the  back of this  bright color, similar to that worn by crossing-guards  for grade school kids , is a large black dot.

Are they aphid lions? Or, what are they?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 04, 2008, 01:35:17 PM
desdemona222b,

That's terrible, I have to commiserate because I've lost many years of plants and the money that went into their upkeep because of a "diffferent" type of bug who was my landlord.

Please let us know what the cooperative extension recommends.

The co-op extension told me I could use Sevin Dust in the soil.  We've done a lot of clean-up work in the back yard and it seems to have helped.


Title: Hydrangea emergency!
Post by: desdemona222b on June 04, 2008, 01:39:19 PM
I just planted a hydrangea a couple of weeks ago - it's in a very good location as far as mixed sunshine/shade.  We planted it in a pit we filled in with good commercial topsoil.  The pit itself is (and native soil surrounding the pit) is hard as a rock clay.  It is a very large hole that took about 20 bags of soil to fill.

The hydrangea is now very, very droopy.  We've been watering it everyday since it likes evenly moist soil conditions.  A week ago it looked great.  I check the soil yesterday and it was only moist, not wet.

Are we overwatering or what?

I'm in a panic - if that thing dies it'll take a little of me with it - I paid $25.00 for the thing and I've always wanted a hydrangea.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 04, 2008, 02:14:18 PM
   
Becky~~

I've had good luck with (both the lace and ball) hydrangea with little watering -- if it gets really hot they will wilt -- really hot in New England doesn't usually happen until August.  Generally, a drink when they're drooping then pops 'em right up...


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 04, 2008, 02:33:16 PM
desdemona, I know just how you feel, I've wanted at least one decent hydrangea ever since Martha Stewart thought she invented them!

(actually, I had 30 to 50 feet of them before I moved from an old farm in the Midwest; and I never paid much attention to them except to cut off the end of season dried brown blossom heads to use as Autumn decor in vases without water. They grew in a well-protected area without a lot of wind, so that the blossoms remained intact while plenty of taller trees producing shade to protect them from the summer sun.)

I never gave them a thought in season. All I did with the Edwardian era garden around the house was to rake out any disturbing detritus(we were a corner property where cars had to stop before crossing and as you may imagine soda cups and coffee cups and candy wrappers and fast food convenience wraps were a big ticket item at our house!).

I DID NOT rake out under the hydrangeas because --each Spring there was a major river  flood inundating the land in our vicinity-- now, before you get too excited, the overhead big trees such as very gigantic old Willow, some juniper,maple, aspen, an apple because this had been an orchard farm,equally gigantic mulberry tree supplied enough deep roots--and we never had a tree come down despite the June tornado season,which has become a lot worse, in fact, really bad, in the Midwest although as children we had always been told they would never happen this close to the Great Lakes.

Quite frankly I never wandered back there in the low ground  spontaneously without precaution because wetland is habitat to snakes(which the cats proved were there by offering me a dead one on my doormat as I opened by kitchen door to the wash-porch).

However when packets of the land had been sold off to support the old German farmer who had lived there until age 93, the apple and possibly pear trees were removed from the upland, lots were determined and split level homes developed with underground parking garages at the end of the driveway.  We thought nothing of this until there was a change in ownership of the house beyond the hydrangeas at the back fence and their driveway. Then with the Spring flood, the distraught neighbors could be heared howling because they had used part of their underground garage as storage for possessions they had not figured out where to put about the house.   Obviously, the original builders had not made allowance for the proper drainage.

Now the secret of all this is that hydrangeas like woodland conditions among other trees, which means that besides the wet soil that they like the acid soil of woodlands, so much depends on the kind of dirt that you put around the hydrangea(in the pit) and I'm presuming you removed the burlap wrap if your hydrangea came that way. The remedy is to get natural wood chips(not saw-dusty) but the natural looking undercover of forested areas. I grow mine with ferns, lilies of the valley, Siberian bugloss( a kind of forget-me-not), bleeding hearts, woodruff, vinca vine, some small lilies that would probably like to be moved out to the southern most sunny reach of this area thus giving more space to the hydrangea. Your's will want as much acidity of soil as possible.

It is also warm enough now for me to dig out the calla lilies, from whichever box I put them and hope for the best, so that I can plant them out for the summer in the last part of the shady border. As usual the bad boys of lawn and yard maintenance  came around too early in the season and dug around the tree in the front yard, thus overturning the well-started perennial Candytuft and Aubrieta which is the kind of stuff that looks nice along side a curving flagstone walk to your front-door. Or at least it did in the country at a farm-house.

I figured on using it to fill in some empty spaces between small bulbs and vines around the tree. By the time that I got out there to stop the boys, they'd already flipped out the bulbs  which I quickly pressed back into the overturned soil. Nary a miniature flower returned, however; made do with some shady pansies.

It is harder to get pine or fir needles for ground mulch on acid soil because nowadays they are quite often sprayed.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: weezo on June 04, 2008, 02:43:50 PM
Maddie,

Are you sure that Hydrangeas need acidic soil? We had some beautiful ones in front of the house I grew up in in Reading, and that was a very rocky/limey soil. The blooms were a beautiful blue. Growing up I heard that if planted in to acid of soil, the blooms will turn pink. They were growing against the house, with the part sun/part shade that such placement yields.

In any event, I think Dessie is overwatering. It may be better to only water once a week, especially since that bagged soil is more likely to hold water than the rocky stuff it replaced. The rocky soil under the plant may be acting like a bowl and keeping the top soil more wet than the plant needs.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 04, 2008, 02:54:18 PM
I'm going to stop the daily watering for awhile and see what happens - the hydrangea doesn't look wilted, it's drooping.

Hydrangeas will do well in acidic or alkaline soil - which type of soil you have determines the color of the blooms if you have the blue/pink variety.  Mine is a Blushing Bride, which is white with just a hint of pale pink in the mophead blooms - very pretty.

http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/colorchange.html


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 04, 2008, 02:57:18 PM
I really want to turn my backyard into a haven of hydrangeas eventually.  You guys keep your fingers crossed that my new baby doesn't die.  :-[


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 04, 2008, 03:15:09 PM
weezo, I had one that I had to leave behind in Gap, at the edge of the garage on the shade side. Forgetting that the landlord had put in much lime to soften the soil when he replaced a pipe that led to the kitchen from the pump (no one had lived in the house for many months before I moved in my belongings, and thus quite suddenly  later there was no water in the house. The landlord handed me the traditional milk can  filled with water and then drove off with his wife to his daughter's house to take a shower).

The hydrangea that I intended to remain blue as it had been for several years in New Jersey, now became the most beautiful shade of pink, despite being adjacent to numerous long needle pines within 12 feet  outside the kitchen. The people were Switzers or Schweitzers, Swiss-Germans who left the demarcation of the acreage with a row of these pines up to the out-buildings, and decided to keep a couple adjacent to the kitchen of the house where his mother went to live when he married and took over "the big house". The pines make nice decor next to the windows in summer when  you can listen to them; as  you know, the Native Americans always believed the energy from them was just what you needed and therefore, hug a tree.

I never tried to return the hydrangea to blue again, which require aluminum sulfate, sold in large bags all over the porch at Zimmerman's grocery store in Intercourse which has changed a little since Harrison Ford made his phone call to Philadelphia to warn his buddy in the police force (in the plot of,Witness).  The Amish ladies like their hydrangeas to be as blue as they can get them because of course the lime around here just blows from the fields at the time that the kids ride out there to apply it.

To get the best blue,pH should be between 4.0 and 5.0
To get the best pink/red color,pH should be between 5.5 and 6.2   Also, add phosphorus, to help color and flowering. Light shade seems to help intensify color.  They flower on old wood, so it is recommended not to prune, or only light pruning after it flowers. I leave the old not yet flowered buds and those joints for the next year's blossoms.

We are having excess rain this season, where we usually have drought. But since this is a foundation plant for me, in the main shade garden, I do not water them at all .  Which is why I said,(I'd rather) move my lilies which are now big enough to use extra sun in ratio to the soil  moisture they have at present. They may bloom longer with a little less moisture and a little more sun compared to hydrangea.



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 04, 2008, 03:32:05 PM
Now that I've read dessie's link from Georgia which gives pretty precise directions. I can tell you that I use Starbucks Used coffee grounds from their shops which they provide in large compact bags for all those who want them. I am lucky when I can find some because it goes like hot cakes. It's a soil amendment.

Once upon a time, I saved all the little filters(unbleached)for drip coffee, which is the fastest way to get your coffee in the morning, New Jersey style for commutting. And I put them into an old covered Le Creuset pot and then  I would dutifully shake out all the filters so that I wouldn't have paper blowing around, since the object was to have the coffee grounds on top of the soil. It works for all the acid-loving flowers.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 04, 2008, 09:22:14 PM
Harrie, amidst the "aphid lions" on your bug-roll, do you have one with orange-red "bolero"( is a good way to describe it;a short jacket  on an otherwise dark gray-black body. And, on the  back of this  bright color, similar to that worn by crossing-guards  for grade school kids , is a large black dot.

Are they aphid lions? Or, what are they?

madupont, I'm grasping at straws here -- take a look at the pictures on this link and tell me if I'm warm or cold.
http://tinyurl.com/6qpfj9

They're Palmetto Weevils; judging by their name, probably South-dwelling, and so probably don't get up to your neck of the woods. But it's somewhere to start.

desdemona, we put in the cabbage today, and part of that ritual is sprinkling diamotaceous (sp?) earth around the bed to aggravate slugs; and I thought that might help a pillbug situation, too.  But I'm glad the Sevin and clean-up is doing the trick.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 05, 2008, 01:06:11 AM
Harrie, thanks but no, or rather -- no shell involved, no beak, either.

More of a soft bodied creature.  But it does have that black dot on the upper orange-red portion of the body.


Re: diatomaceous earth for crawling insects.

Depending on whether you are setting seedlings into your cabbage bed. If the seedlings are quite small -- I used to start mine under a lamp in a cold pantry, with the lamp suspended from the shelf above the flat,AFTER the cabbage seed sprouted at a warmer temperature in the covered flat. This was done quite early, by March, perhaps even late February. And then they would harden off a bit in a cold frame after receiving light under the lamp. This was a process of just walking them out the door of the pantry, turn left through the kitchen door down the back steps with the cold frame facing east and a temperature automatic lift  to avoid too much heat build up.

The seedlings would then go to the prepared bed in the kitchen garden as soon as the Pear tree blossomed. I became quite used to planting according to what other "things" were in bloom, of course this varies by region. -- diatomacious earth in a handy cylinder probably is best when the seedlings are young. When they have become a fairly good size, regular dry sand is cuttingly sharp enough to annoy the heck out of slugs.

From then on, The Old Wives Tales( I wonder where that little book ever went to?) mentioned that it does cabbage good to transplant them up to a richer bed that you've prepared for them.   I did this and it made them healthy and sturdy.  I would usually grow about three varieties of cabbage, and have about fifty feet of European cabbages at a time, and also fifty feet of Chinese  in particularly the Napa variety which is cylinder-shaped because I was doing a lot of organized cooking at the time furthering delegations of tourists to China and usually prepared and/or directed preparations for serving about 100 people at a time. So I grew all my own vegetables when they were still a bit rare to the supermarket.

Have recently realized, that what we call pe-tsai, spoon or ladle shaped bulbular base to the dark-green leafed cabbage is best when eatten very small.   I did a project once to dry these on the clothes line, common to China but it hardly seems worth it somehow. Much easier to experiment with what the Koreans call Kim-chi, fermented but peppery.

European cabbage,although I would grow ball-head for sauerkraut, and some red for winter meals, my favorite was definitely the Savoy cabbage for summer French dishes.  Then I discovered one that I told  Donotremove about, in this country it is known as Early Jersey Wakefield and has a pointed head; but in Germany, they heavily muck them as the English say, to get a very large pointed cabbage that they shred for sauerkraut making.  Another lost process was, at this time in Jersey, I discovered that when washed clean, the smaller early Spring variety(which actually over-winters in the UK and along our Atlantic region, by which I mean that you seed it  in Indian Summer or even earlier, nowadays you can put it under a row cover and staple it down with cover-staples until next Spring whereupon the Early Jersey Wakefield "wakes" and begins growing, just as radicchio is grown there in Jersey)anyway,

being in Jersey, the community garden folded up for plowing by the Quaker farmer upon whose land we planted our plots, so I was forced to take in my young Early Jersey Wakefields, and after washing them clean. placed them end to end in cold water in a long plastic rectangular box more often used for storing the long ll x 9 x 2 or 3 inches high dessert cakes. The cake box with the cabbages in cold water, with a little coarse salt, was placed in the refrigerator and checked every day to be sure it is not spoiling(any form of a mold) but smells like it is fermenting for you. You can take off any scum that forms as it does with sauerkraut, by using a cheese cloth just to lift it off, and add more cold water. Some people are very particular with the water, either bottled jug water or water boiled on the stove and cooled.  When enough fermentation has taken place, you test some out by cooking it with something like smoked pork chop and dumplings or potatoes. It has a flavor different from any other form of stoneware fermented crock of sauerkraut or pantry jars set in a basin until sealed for the pantry shelf over winter. Particularly because it is not shredded or cut fine but left as a small whole little vegetable.

In Wisconsin, I became used to the fact that whereas I had little trouble in growing the cabbage and protecting them from insect predators, it was inevitable that the rabbits would respond to Autumn changes and do me the honor of eating an inch from each cabbage, one a night because I had not thought ahead to devise a way to keep them off, They never finished it; but I left it for them.  Much safer.


Salt is an excellent preventative of slugs, when the cabbage is old enough to stand on its own past the seedling stage of life. Better done when the sun is not shining on the cabbage, just sprinkle them with some coarse salt. ( I once made the dreadful mistake on an overworked afternoon of thinking that if it was good for the cabbage, why not the lettuce?  Don't try it; what a mess!)

At a different stage of the game, once past the slugs, there is the inevitable Cabbage butterfly  and that cabbage caterpiller, when you note the black eggs she has deposited,which have to be sprayed off with the hose, here is where the diatomacious earth comes in handy as the follow up, because the caterpiller itself is so exactly the same color as the cabbage that you may not notice it  quickly enough.  Again,"the old wives" and their farmers would run to the pantry in a pinch and mix flour or cornmeal with sourmilk that they might have planned to use for baking, or perhaps it had gone past being good enough for that, but they would slurry up he meal and milk and toss it on the cabbages in the field.

The caterpillers would then bloat up and fall off the cabbages.  In those days, cabbages were often fed to lifestock if not looking attractive enough for the table. My grandfather solved the problem by planting them in rows three feet  apart going down hill to the creek from the pig-sty which was the stone foundation of the corn crib above it. This was entirely a fenced in run where the pigs ate all the fresh green  vegetable that they wanted and inadvertently manured the field in a traditional European method.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 05, 2008, 04:35:04 AM
Here's a "tomato article" appearing today in the NYTimes.  Good reading.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/garden/05garden.html?pagewanted=all

Especially the part about a plant farm in California that will still ship tomato plants in the middle of June.  Who knew?  The California Gov says they might have to impose water rationing out there.  It's about time.  Nothing like waiting until the water faucets don't produce anything but sand.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 05, 2008, 11:22:48 AM
Donot -

Thanks for the article - very interesting.  However, I don't understand why she says to remove all suckers, since you're supposed to leave the first three on the plant to get the maximum harvest.  I overpruned my first tomato plant this year based on such advice, and I'm just now getting a single sucker going - hopefully I'll eventually get a decent yield from that portion of the plant producing a couple more of them, but it will be a very deformed plant.   :-[

I'm growing a Mr. Stripey heirlom and yellow pear tomatoes.

Speaking of pears, my pear tree is so full of pears this year!  The thing got fire blight, however, so we've been very busy pruning the diseased parts of it back. 

Hydrangea doesn't look any better today - I wonder if the fact that it suddenly got quite hot has it upset?  Someone said they will droop in the heat over here - I don't get that because my sister has gorgeous blue hydrangeas everywhere in her backyard and she lives in Stockton, CA, where the heat is much more ferocious in the summer than it is here.

Sign me -

Agonizing Over My Blushing Bride and Pear Tree


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 05, 2008, 12:07:13 PM
madupont, we use salt on cabbage once the head forms. Right now we're talking about 2 leaves and a stem, so diatomaceous earth is our weapon of choice.  DE works against all these critters (with thanks to ghorganics.com for the info) - Diatomaceous Earth may be used as a barrier to control adult flea beetles, sawfly, coddling moth, twig borer, thrips, mites,  cockroach, slugs, snails and many other insects such as:  Aphids, thrips, earwigs, silverfish, and ants. Can be used for bedbugs, cabbage root flies, carrot root flies, fleas, pillbugs, ticks  and is helpful in dealing with fungus gnats. - and we have earwig issues as well, so it just really works for us.  I also put rosemary in the cabbage beds; they seem to like each other and the rosemary wards off some bad guys (or disguises the cabbage, scent-wise -- either way, it works).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 05, 2008, 01:07:19 PM
DNR, Great article, thanks from me too for sharing.

I gotta say,while we feed, nurture and encourage our tomato plants, we don't think of them as babies and are a little rougher with ours than the author with hers. 

Sucker pinching seems to generate controversy everywhere.  Our local gardening columnist says you don't have to pinch at all; says he did a test in his garden, pinched versus non-pinched tomato plants one year. According to him, there was no discernible difference between the yields and fruit quality of the two test groups.   

The hubby is a sucker-pincher, though not militant about it. For one thing, his Irish grandfather, a farmer, was a pincher and passed along that lore. I also think it gives the hubby a chance to take a good look at his plants and maybe notice anything else that looks troublesome (or quietly gloat about how good something looks, if that's the case).

I had some Cherokee Purple starters a friend gave to me, but they didn't do well, and the ones that lived were enjoyed by a groundhog, skunk, rabbit or deer.  So it's also good to know that White's has stock left; guess I'll have to take a run by there, though it's hellish this time of year.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 05, 2008, 01:32:01 PM
Interesting about the suckers, harrie - I had always heard that if you don't pinch the suckers, your fruit would be smaller. 

Donot is a proponent of neglecting your tomatoes.  When I grew them years ago as a young woman, I babied them a great deal - I'd aeriate the soil around them a couple of times a week and give them a dose of Miracle Grow weekly.  I grew some beautiful tomatoes with that method. 

Now that they have the long-acting Miracle Grow pellets, I just put some down when I planted them and won't fertilize them anymore.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 05, 2008, 03:06:56 PM
To sucker or not to sucker, that is the question.   :)

I think the babying gardener was speaking about the deep planting of the stem when you first transplant from growing pots to the ground.  You plant the stem deep, right up to the topmost 3-5 leaves, and all that stem will sprout roots to go along with the bottom roots already formed.  This is the same advice a Polish lady gave me 35 years ago and has worked for me ever since.  The only pinching I do to a tomato plant after that is to keep the plant at about 4 feet by pinching the top ends of the branches so the energy is directed to everything below rather than going to new stuff.  The season is short, it gets too hot real quick, so you want TOMATOES after about 4 feet not new growth.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 05, 2008, 06:29:56 PM
Interesting about the suckers, harrie - I had always heard that if you don't pinch the suckers, your fruit would be smaller. 

Well, yeah -- that's the garden column guy we cuss out every other week or so.  We're not exactly rushing to try his experiment in our garden because things are working okay with our current methods and we're not rocking the boat.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 05, 2008, 06:39:52 PM
DNR, we grow the tomatoes to about 8-9 feet; it's like a point of pride for the hubby because he's always had remarkably tall, lush plants; and he gets a huge harvest despite all that leafiness.  Other people at the garden make their plants bushy, but it's not like we've ever compared harvest amounts.  We're still working on last year's harvest (in the form of sauce), though.  Though Texas (right?) and Connecticut have very different growing conditions....  We plant the seedlings good and deep, too.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 05, 2008, 11:14:10 PM
Harrie, you're right about different growing conditions.  Last night our temp didn't fall below 82°.  And our daytime temp was 97°.  Looking to stay that way.  Tomato growing is short here in the normal outdoors situation.  So, if we want lots of tomatoes, we plant lots of tomato plants and force them to bear and ripen on shorter bushes.  Not everthing in Texas is biggest and tallest.   :)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 06, 2008, 10:23:29 AM
DNR, we grow the tomatoes to about 8-9 feet; it's like a point of pride for the hubby because he's always had remarkably tall, lush plants; and he gets a huge harvest despite all that leafiness.  Other people at the garden make their plants bushy, but it's not like we've ever compared harvest amounts.  We're still working on last year's harvest (in the form of sauce), though.  Though Texas (right?) and Connecticut have very different growing conditions....  We plant the seedlings good and deep, too.

This works for me here in Colorado also. 

Since it is so dry out here (except for the 1 1/2 inches of gentle rain we got yesterday) I also place 2-3" of mulch around the base of each plant.  Keeps the ugly critter known as bindweed at bay.

I also plant big, stinky marigolds with each tomato plant.  Really keeps the aphids away as the marigolds secrete natural pyrethryns.

Yes, I'm a pincher!


Title: Pinching Cpntroversy
Post by: desdemona222b on June 06, 2008, 10:49:53 AM
Donot -

That's what my grandfather used to do, too - he kept his tomatoes bushy.  That was back in the day - he usually grew beef steak tomatoes there in Mart (McClennan County near Waco) to impressive size and yield and the flavor was wonderful.

harrie -

I've decided to just leave the suckers on my yellow pear alone.  Too late for the Mr. Stripey heirloom.

I've eaten those Cherokee heirloom tomatoes - they are like manna from heaven.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 06, 2008, 05:23:20 PM
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/40062,arts,salad-days-of-covent-garden


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 07, 2008, 01:36:29 PM
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=1054&jnfcb622ca=1#jotnavfcb622ca1ca2dc3230563d4eb64f1eab

108 other inquiries and/or comments on our hydrangeas


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 10, 2008, 12:11:59 PM
Squash as a Groundcover
Here's a trick that saves space, keeps down weeds and deters critters, all at the same time. Plant winter squash along the edge of the garden and train the vines outward, through the fence. The vines will soon blanket the area just outside, shading weeds out; the leaves make a prickly carpet that some animals prefer not to walk on.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 10, 2008, 09:53:48 PM
harrie,

Picked up a new hanging begonia in a deep coral red shade with oodles of blossoms. Was unable to save mine in time last year and instead of drying the corms to store, I hung it on the shower-curtain rod in the bathroom until -

One evening as I was stepping from the shower, I noticed something odd emerging where I usually water between the fragile stems. I'd never seen anything like it in my life. I quickly found a half-cup glass jar (used for canning jelly),with a cap and hustled the creature into it. He had a high-ridged spine(or so it appeared) and he was as black as metal about an inch and three-quarters in length.

I turned him out of the front door. You may ask how I knew it was not female? Predominant sexual differentiating characteristics feature something cute about a female anything; in fact, we often say, "Cute as a bug's ear!". 

Just this evening, I finally found out what That was.  A katydid.  It also has lots of other Latin qualifications but I could not find another example that looked entirely like what was living, and probably trying to be dormant but for those shower sessions, immediately adjacent.

Then I gave up and looked online in hopes they would have the same photo that alerted me in the Sunday paper that there was such a thing. Admittedly this one is a lot more cute, probably younger retaining that youthful green, and likely female.

http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/5/222717/katydidJ8


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 10, 2008, 10:01:01 PM
Ps. That is not actually "a spine" but folded wings that give the appearance of a  high point in the middle of the back. My own personal begonia pet looked more like something from an antediluvian age when it was smart to look foreboding.
 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 11, 2008, 09:33:59 AM
We had a rain storm the other night and my hydrangea is looking great now.  Trimmed off all the blooms and babied it a little yesterday .... whew!


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 11, 2008, 09:47:48 AM
 

  So, it was hot and thirsty  :P...

Battling beetles on roses here...big Japanese Bombers.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 11, 2008, 10:10:21 AM
So where do you live, kit?

I think the hydrangea was reacting to a significant increase in temperature (about 10 degrees).

Are Japanese beetles those humongous things that fly in an upright position? 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 11, 2008, 10:25:07 AM
   

 State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations -- or -- 'lil Rhody -- for short.

   Those beetles look as if they could be on a scarab bracelet -- all gold and glimmer -- but they are nasty beasties.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 11, 2008, 11:29:30 AM
I love Rhode Island. 

We have flying black beetles down here that I had never seen before I moved here - I have no idea what they are, but they are about 1 1/2" long, and instead of flying belly down like most insects, they fly bottom down, so it looks like they're standing up as they fly. 



Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: kitinkaboodle on June 11, 2008, 11:50:20 AM
   

  Bizarre!  Can't imagine -- I detest all and any bug, beetle, spider -- it's whooosh &  smooosh -- no mercy.  I have one extremely kind-hearted chum who literally won't "hurt a fly".  Not me, a certain satisfaction in that crunch or splaaaat, although it took me awhile to do it myself.  But, those big and glossy beetles are tough -- they do crunch and I do hate the feel of that -- even with a (sandaled) foot.   And, trying "green" products to deter the beetles; garlic seems to be having some effect but there are still way too many munching  away....


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 11, 2008, 03:13:57 PM
Kitinkaboodle,

Be careful what you apply to remove the Japanese Beatles chemically. My tree in the front yard was sprayed two seasons ago, for the first time with something detrimental because much of the faux cherry fruit dropped off which used to feed robins and squirrels. There have been no birds to normally eat insects since that chemical intervention by the management(not me. I told the guy as soon as I saw him un-spool the hose that it would be good of him to aim toward the street and not toward the house --which has that floral border, the greater part of which is my own doing at my own expense.)

The result of which is that roses took off and grew upward in the shade so that I can tie  the vines to a window-frame hook.

And that squirrel, the only one left in poisoned territory? He secretly digs in my  back sun garden , uprooting what he considers "squirrel delicacies" in my tomato barrel; or gnaws off the top of the saw-toothed Leaved sunflower in the corner of the border. I picked up a pinwheel "at the Good's Store" last week to flash light in his eyes.

Of course, it could be a rabbit that gnawed, but I  haven't seen any around when they don't want to be seen. They no longer think of this place as Paradise, it's just "Manor" something and no longer their "Terrace".  They sneak around in the dark to get from there to here and back to there. Rabbits seldom can scamper up the side of a staved half-barrel, however.

Most people in this vicinity where suburbs preferably climb the hills above farms, post a Japanese Beetle trap which is bright yellow and hangs from a post in which ever  yard they are trying to protect. It is my hunch that the spraying squad, which is a replaceable changeable man each season, is not really informed about precautions to exposure. But that the management company which buys either the supplies or the service realizes a bargain on chemicals no longer legal.

The effect of the chemical spray on the tree was such that much of the faux fruit dropped off in a high wind storm and this has a deleterious effect upon the lawn which we,(I and Christopher, a very young farm boy who has been left as the only person in charge of two housing complexes to do all maintenance on the properties)are trying to encourage to grow back. Raking the rotting fruit was almost impossible, it is the size of a cherry; Chris seems to think they are miniature crab-apples, a decorative full-size tree for shade which is now losing leaves as well because the pH is wrong as a consequence of the chemical application "guaranteed to deter Japanese Beetles".

Now, it is one thing for a management company to have such largesse about losing plantings that have to be replaced before they can sell properties; but, it is another thing for you doing your own landscaping and gardening to afford.  I can say this after losing 21 years of plants propogated plus the expenses of caring for them because of a landlord with an addled mind who wanted to assert his dominance up to his last breath.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 11, 2008, 09:57:44 PM
And, trying "green" products to deter the beetles; garlic seems to be having some effect but there are still way too many munching  away....

Catnip is supposed to work, too; and I've seen recommendations for white geraniums as well. Though with the geranium, it has to be white, and I think the object is for the Japanese beetles to eat the crap out of the geranium instead of whatever you're protecting.  Maybe it's just me, but I find it difficult to sacrifice a geranium; though I have no problem doing exactly the same thing with eggplant. (And we still get a good number of edible eggplant, so it's not all that bad, just ratty-looking.)  Gotta say, though -- garlic works wonders in so many ways, and it's tasty too.  Those bag traps can easily work against the gardener, so lots of garden writers say not to even bother with them.

madupont, I read the winter squash as ground cover and just can't wrap my mind around it.  Having experienced the groundhog nightmare of a few years ago, I cannot imagine leaving the delicious product just hanging out there, begging to be chewed on.  We corral our winter squash and go absolutely nutty protecting them.  I may have nightmares over this.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 12, 2008, 12:24:20 AM
DO YOU MEAN THAT THE GROUNDHOGS DIG UNDER THE FENCE?

I know they are capable of digging burrows to be comfy. I think this was a PAllen Smith suggestion but not sure.

Reminded myself today to put some garlic-chives under the rose vine with the beetles in mind.

I vaguely remember white geranium being recommended for beans of all kinds (and although I do not have a bean of any kind in my garden right now, two bean beetles showed up out of nowhere as soon as desdemona mentioned them.  I wonder what else that they like, which I apparently have out there, that caught their attention where ever they keep it, not smell so what kind of receptors do they have that responds so emphatically as they did to desdemona's beans?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 12, 2008, 09:17:38 AM
DO YOU MEAN THAT THE GROUNDHOGS DIG UNDER THE FENCE?

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but YES!  They will chew through fence that is not metal (trust me on that one!) and dig under to a certain degree.  We have not had a digging under problem since sinking the metal fence about a 8-12" deep and then building the Walls of Jericho (banking dirt up against the interior side of the fence) and periodically applying coyote urine around; but our garden coordinator guy had something, presumably groundhogs (but could have been cute little bunnies), dig a Great Escape-type tunnel that came up into the middle of his garden.  His zucchini was just massacred.  Groundhogs (and bunnies):  So, so cute....but evil.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 12, 2008, 01:18:08 PM
No sarcasm. I think the guy who came up with the vines on the outside of the fence, as well as on the inside to save squash, was offering entanglement involvement which many scavengers detest.

I tried this out at one time, without a fence, when I added a section to my garden when I planned to grow pumpkins.  I had prepared the soil with marigolds the year before, and then put in those Paris potirons with plenty of vine.  My neighbours across the road tried to grow corn, because they had moved to the country, and often insisted that my cats were stripping the stalks of cobs! Which just goes to show they were city people now suburbanites, since cats are not that interested in corn on the cob. I knew the culprits were raccoons that I've previously described in rural Midwestern areas.

That was the year when the house was sold because the realtor's tax-write off on property in their inventory elapsed. They decided to subdivide, selling two lots;  and to develop the lot on which my garden had thrived, the slow ten year nourishment of the soil would go along with the lot frontage from property line to property line of beautiful purple lilacs. I think they kept the white lilacs parallel at the back of the property dividing it from the neighbor who experienced the Spring flooding of driveway.

I relocated, taking a job in the Pathology laboratory of a city hospital; and never did see how the pumpkin project turned out as I'd been too busy packing when also coming home from the hospital and finding that the realtor while showing the house had left doors open to the outside as they departed, using up the fuel as the heat went out the door. Sometimes leaving lights on as well.

My Amish neighbors here in Lancaster grow large fields on the slopes alongside the lane, from their gross dawdy haus where they can watch the pumpkins grow to an immense size, and then their sons load them for sale up in New York state and surrounding area. (I much prefer the Connecticutt "Cheese" pumpkin ever since finding out about it while living in New Jersey. It is both handsome as decor and edible in pies.)

I've noticed that here in Pennsylvania farmland many of the scavengers took the hint from the continual field activity for the last going on 300 years and just moved on to set up their territorial imperative elsewhere; with the exception of the seasonal deer, and the occasional cougar, and the twice yearly arrival of raucus black birds because the location is on their migration route.

Meanwhile, the excessive rain that we've had with encroaching storm patterns, after years of drought, caught me off guard. New little lobelias and alpine campanula tucked into corners of a square decorative planter that holds agapanthus never needed drainage before, so they've now been practically drowned out in one night's downpour for which there was no warning it would be Evan Almighty!  Otherwise I would have thrown a plastic over the thing and weighted that down rather than miss out on the beautiful shade flowering of diminutive blue and violet colours.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 12, 2008, 01:46:58 PM
Quote
(I much prefer the Connecticutt "Cheese" pumpkin ever since finding out about it while living in New Jersey. It is both handsome as decor and edible in pies.)

That's funny (ha-ha, not strange).  Here in Connecticut we call them Long Island Cheese pumpkins.  At least that's how I've heard them referred to.  This year we're giving Rouge vid d'Etampes ("the Cinderella pumpkin") a try as well as the good old carvers.

I know what you mean about the entanglement factor - the hubby doesn't ask me to water the squash mounds after a certain point, since on occasion I've lost my balance in that patch and gone all Godzilla -- but it takes some time to get to that point.  And the critters in my neighborhood move in when things are nice and tender. 


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 12, 2008, 02:19:38 PM
Is anybody composting?

Or using worms to eat garbage and using the worms castings for dressing in flower and veggie beds? Holy-in-your-face worms eating garbage . . . one web site has a unit that is a coffee table if you live in an apartment!

I got started looking into the worm thing after I read a book title "Worms Are Eating My Garbage."


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 12, 2008, 08:03:55 PM
Is anybody composting?

Yep!

I purchased a commercial drum type composter last fall.

Everything organic goes into it - coffee grounds, lawn clippings, leaves, vegetable peelings, and a bit of composted manure as a starter.  I turn the rotating drum about every 3 days.

I put it on my garden this spring, and I'm beating my tomatoes off with a stick.

It takes about 3-4 weeks to turn my scraps into really rich, dark organic stuff.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 13, 2008, 01:35:39 AM
Cap, with that drum, and the three weeks to finished compost, do you stop adding fresh material at some point and then the three weeks wait?  I see where some drums have two compartments. One being added to and the other "finishing."


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 13, 2008, 07:57:35 AM
Cap, with that drum, and the three weeks to finished compost, do you stop adding fresh material at some point and then the three weeks wait?  I see where some drums have two compartments. One being added to and the other "finishing."

I fill the drum to capacity, rotate it a few times, and then I add something wet (coffee grounds, for example), and then I rotate it a few times each day.

With our hot, dry climate here in Colorado, I will occasionally add a quart of water.

Once the process is under way, it then moves along quite rapidly.  At this point, my garden is well composted, so the wait is tolerable.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: Donotremove on June 13, 2008, 09:37:38 AM
Cap, sorry to pester you but the extra finished compost, do you bag it and put it aside for later or do you give it to friends and neighbors?  Spread any on your lawn?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 13, 2008, 10:20:49 AM
Is anybody composting?

Or using worms to eat garbage and using the worms castings for dressing in flower and veggie beds? Holy-in-your-face worms eating garbage . . . one web site has a unit that is a coffee table if you live in an apartment!

I got started looking into the worm thing after I read a book title "Worms Are Eating My Garbage."

I don't have to, donot, what with all the doodle bugs and earth worms I have.  My Georgia clay is a rich loam in many areas of my yard much like the soil in your area.  Now if I could only grow something in it that the doodle bugs won't eat.  They don't seem to like the tomatoes or the cukes so far, but there's no fruit yet, so I am steeling myself for that.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: desdemona222b on June 13, 2008, 10:23:40 AM
So these compost drums are available at garden centers?

What kind of heirloom tomatoes did you plant, cap0?


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 13, 2008, 10:29:20 AM
Cap, sorry to pester you but the extra finished compost, do you bag it and put it aside for later or do you give it to friends and neighbors?  Spread any on your lawn?

Between my roses out front and my vegetable garden out back, I use all that I produce.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: madupont on June 17, 2008, 09:03:03 PM
http://www.pallensmith.com/index.php?id=16259

I just had to post what pallensmith has done to the place he built.Last I saw was the homestead house standing in a barren landscape almost ominously as if they were about to do a performance of:
 Mourning becomes Electra !

But I was quite interested as he went on to explain how he built terraces.

This is all a bit much. To attend to but then I can picture him running about tending or, he has hired a batch of gardners?  Sometimes, it is all a bit "twee". Had no idea that Arkansas was his getaway (from what?, I forget).


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 17, 2008, 11:20:46 PM
So these compost drums are available at garden centers?

What kind of heirloom tomatoes did you plant, cap0?

Greenstripies, Brandywines,  and Russian purples.  They might have different names in different parts of the country.

I ordered my composter from an outfit in Pennsylvania which sent me a brochure.  I have yet to see one in any garden center near me.

Once one would sell composters, they would no longer sell as many bags of compost.


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: harrie on June 18, 2008, 08:24:25 PM
So these compost drums are available at garden centers?

What kind of heirloom tomatoes did you plant, cap0?

Greenstripies, Brandywines,  and Russian purples.  They might have different names in different parts of the country.

Those sound yummy - can we have a review at the end of the season?   


desdemona, my beans are getting eaten alive!  We're thinking slugs, so I've tried something.  Sage is reputed to deter slugs, and I can't find anything saying sage and beans are incompatible; so I've interplanted some sage and will see if the beans recover and/or improve.   If this works, I'll be sure to report back.  Meanwhile, we have a ton of seeds and luckily, beans sprout up pretty quickly.

I never did find any replacement Cherokee Purples, so guess I'll have to fess up to the friend who gave me the starts.  (Shopping at White Flower Farm was a heady experience, but I surely do not belong in a place like that.)


Title: Re: Gardening
Post by: thecap0 on June 18, 2008, 10:20:36 PM
So these compost drums are available at garden centers?

What kind of heirloom tomatoes did you plant, cap0?

Greenstripies, Brandywines,  and Russian purples.  They might have different names in different parts of the country.

Those sound yummy - can we have a review at the end of the season?   


desdemona, my beans are getting eaten alive!  We're thinking slugs, so I've tried something.  Sage is reputed to deter slugs, and I can't find anything saying sage and beans are incompatible; so I've interplanted some sage and will see if the beans recover and/or improve.   If this works, I'll be sure to report back.  Meanwhile, we have a ton of seeds and luckily, beans sprout up pretty quickly.

I never did find any replacement Cherokee Purples, so guess I'll have to fess up to the friend who gave me the starts.  (Shopping at White Flower Farm was a heady experience, but I surely do not belong in a place like that.)

The best treatment I have found for slugs is a shallow saucer of beer near the plants they are attacking.  Apparently there is something in the beer, perhaps the hops, that attracts the little slimy critters.  They crawl right into the saucer and die quite happy.

Also, see if you nave any old lumber, shingles, or even downed limbs lying on the ground.  They love hiding under it during the heat of the day, as it provides darkness and moisture.


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