Thursday, May 31, 2018

May's Garden (2018)

Where is May's garden?  There is not much to see other than plowed soil because the garden is still sitting on the front porch.

Everything is waiting for me to plant it.  

The month of May has been difficult, very difficult.  Bill could not get the garden plowed until the second week because the weather was too cold and wet.  Never have we been that late plowing.  It was also peak season for my job and I needed to work long hours.  Running out to water seedlings before the sun rises as I leave or after midnight when I return home was impossible. 

Today is my first day off of work in...forever? (it feels like forever), so I slipped out early this morning (in the pouring rain) to take pictures.  This is not a complaint about the rain, just an explanation as to why the pictures are gray.

Bill did the plowing, installing the trellises and spreading the grass clippings. He still has more plowing to do when the ground dries.  I hardly managed to get a few things thrown in the ground.  However, I have decided to be positive.  Perhaps the garden will do better planted later.  We shall see.

This is what we have so far.  Yard-long green beans and tomato plants are planted together to go over this trellis.  Gardening books always say not to plant beans and tomatoes together.  I don't know why but it has always worked for me.  Under the arch on either side is a pepper plant and carrots are planted in the extra space around them.  

On the back side of the arch is a fence with cucumber seedlings sprouting.  The plan is for the cucumbers to grow up the south facing fence toward the sun.  If I have timed it correctly, they will probably be finished before the green beans shade them too much overhead.  It sounds crowded but it really won't be.  The tomatoes will grow up the pole about 3 feet then stop.  I will pull the lower leaves off of the bean vine so it will not shade the tomato plants.  The bell peppers will spread out so the carrots closest to them will be harvested first.  The cucumbers will become crowded but they always die after producing heavily.  These are to be pickled so I want them to produce all at once.  By the time they are finished, the beans overhead will begin to form a deep shade and I will put a comfortable chair in the cleared cucumber spot.  It will be hot summer by then and a shady spot is always welcome.

The empty rows behind the arch will have different types of bush beans and the row on the right beside the yard will have sweet potatoes.  Last year planting sweet potatoes beside the yard worked perfectly.  When Bill mowed the grass it would be thrown on the plants and it kept them mulched.  It looks like the same spot as last year but it isn't since this garden is smaller.

At the end of the bean rows is another tall arch.  It has pole lima beans planted to go over the top.  I am undecided about what to put under it.  Dustin suggested another chair.

Behind the arch is the area where the collard greens were planted for the past two years.  A few of last year's plants are still alive and I continue to pick a few leaves.  They are bolting, look ratty, but taste fine.  In front is some metal conduit laying on top of a pile of grass.  Potatoes have been planted there and the poles mark the spot so no one will think it is a walking path.

Behind the collard greens will be watermelons and cantaloupes. They too will grow toward the sun and should fill up this whole area. The plants are ready to be transplanted from the porch but this area must be plowed again.

To the left of the beans is a row of tomatoes with carrots planted between each one.  This year I will also can carrots, instead of only eating them fresh, so I have planted more than usual.  To the left are the strawberry plants. Right now they are producing heavily and need to be picked every other day.  For me harvesting always takes precedence over planting.

The row in the center was this past winter's hoop house spot.  It is needing to be plowed but will be the spot for okra and herbs.  The area to the far left will be this coming winter's hoop houses.  I learned a long time ago to choose the spot early.  It will hold the Chinese vegetables, broccoli, cabbages and all of the cool weather vegetables which should have been planted in March.  They are still on the front porch.  Am I too late for spring vegetables, or too early for winter vegetables?  I don't know, can't figure it out, but am planting anyway.

This is the remaining few vegetables from last winter's hoop houses.  Some are still alive but it has been overharvested.  Soon I will be collecting seeds then this area will lie fallow for a while. There is a silver lining to all of the winter vegetables being picked, we have not seen imported cabbage moths in the garden. WooHoo! We do see them flying around in the field and the woods behind our house but there is nothing in the garden to entice them.  I am trying hard to be positive although being happy because you have nothing to steal is odd.

"It is too quiet around the house when Mom works long hours," sighed Scooter.  "If I look pitiful enough, maybe she will feel guilty and buy me something delicious when she cashes her big paychecks."

I miss you when you are gone.
Links mentioned above:

My Job, An Introduction

Last Month's April Garden (2018)

Next Month's June Garden (2018)

Last year's May Garden (2017)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Daisy Fleabane

The other day my husband waltzed into the house and proudly announced he had successfully mowed around my flower in the fence row (located between the gravel driveway and the field fence) without hurting it.  I was confused.  What plant was he speaking about?  Was I crazy enough to sow something in the harsh environment between the gravel driveway, the hot car engines, and the field fence?  I went to investigate and found this beautiful flower blooming.

It was "chigger weeds" which I considered to be worthless.  I pull them constantly from my flowerbeds but this one was too pretty to discard.  It should be featured on this month's Wildflower Wednesday linkup and shown to the world!  Perhaps there was some unknown secret health benefit I could unearth if I searched the internet. There must be something exciting to share.  Thus began my quest to learn about my newly discovered treasure blooming in front of our parked cars.

The official name is "Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron strigosus."  It received this moniker because in the distant past it was stuffed into mattresses to repel fleas, claimed the first expert I discovered.  However, the next expert disagreed with everything the previous person stated.  As I expanded my research everyone continued to disagree.  I found no epic life-changing benefit, at least nothing I would trust enough to try and nothing worthwhile to share.  I thought the internet was always right.  After checking dozens of sites, I ended up being even more confused.  Is it worthless or not? 

  Does it, or does it not repel fleas?  Is its name a lie?  What is the truth?

Since the correct answer was elusive, I decided to ask my own in-house flea expert - someone trustworthy - someone who has always been honest and spoken the truth.  At least I could be sure of one fact and could share it with everyone.

"Scooter," I asked.  "Does Daisy Fleabane repel fleas?"

"Worthless weed!  I don't know about fleas, but it sure does REPEL ME!!!!!"

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today's Blooms, May 15, 2018

I love May. It is the month where my perennials do all of the work because I can't.  This is the busiest time at my job so the only thing I am able to do is rest for a few minutes and enjoy the blooms.  Isn't that what they are for anyway?

The columbines have almost finished blooming but I don't mind because the iris took their place in center stage.

Three different colored blooms on one Hellebore's stalk.  Isn't nature amazing!

This is the view looking to the right while sitting in the chair under the arch yesterday.  It is surprising to see how much the garden has changed since I shared an exhaustive tour on March 28th.  Within six short weeks, my garden has gone from barren to lush and the weather has gone from winter to summer.  Yesterday we hit 90 degrees, broke some kind of record and today we hit 95 degrees. We didn't have much of a spring this year.

This is the left view while sitting in the same chair.  As of today, the iris are almost finished and the peonies are just beginning to bloom.  

The arch in the corner is not covered in morning glory vines yet. A few have sprouted but that is all.  It is my big goal for the year to finally have the arch covered.  I keep showing it to everyone because it motivates me to haul water up there to keep the seedlings alive.  I want to plant a clematis in this spot come fall and let it take over next year.  Well, at least that is my dream.

Since it is ALREADY too hot to go outside, I will share my garden and enjoy other people's blooms from around the world at this month's Garden Blogger's Bloom DayI invite everyone to join me.

Links mentioned above:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day! Or is it?

Nana, I would like to wish you a Happy Mother's Day! Mom got some very expensive presents which she can't wait to tell you all about but I know you prefer a picture of me grinning.  It is much better than anything else in the world.  

Love ya, Scooter

Scooter is right, I received some very expensive gifts this past week.  It all began when I was in the middle of nowhere and my tire began to make a funny noise.  I called Bill and said, "Got to talk fast because my cell phone battery is dying.  My car tire is making a funny noise and a light on the dashboard is flashing.  What should I do?" 

Bill asked, "What does the light say?"

"I have ten pounds of pressure in my left front tire.  Is that good or bad?"




"I see a nice big shade tree a few feet ahead and I will park under it while I wait for you to rescue me.  You will come to my rescue...won't you?"

"Of course I will come and get you.  You have my car."

I rolled a few feet down the road and parked under the large shade tree - which was covered in POISON IVY!

I sat and waited, and waited, and waited.

A very flat tire.
When life seemed to be the darkest, a Good Samaritan arrived.  He offered to pump up my tire and of course, I accepted.  He tried, but it would not hold air.  Then he offered to stay until my husband arrived and of course, I accepted again.  Being bored, he began to amuse me with bits of gossip about all the people who lived close by.  He knew everyone and all of their news, even from thirty years back.  I decided it was not sinful listening to gossip since I didn't know any of the people.  That is my Gospel Truth from the book of Second Opinions.  

Eventually, my knights in shining armor arrived after their GPS sent them the wrong way.  I was extremely happy to see them. 

Watch out for the poison ivy!
They quickly discovered there was not a jack or a spare tire in my car trunk. However, there was a tire wrench...

...which broke the first time Bill used it to loosen a lug bolt.  The Good Samaritan knew someone close by who had all types of tools.  He offered to run borrow another tire wrench.

Dustin to the rescue!  He had a jack in his car plus he was young, had a strong back, no arthritis in his knees and could bend down without feeling pain.   All us old folk voted unanimously to let him jack up the car.  It was a good education and he needed the experience anyway. 

A very flat tire with a very big screw!

I'm screwed.
The Good Samaritan offered to take Bill and the tire to his friend down the street who also worked on lawnmowers in his garage. Bill rode with him and waited while the man plugged the tire.  It only took him a few minutes, then he refused to take any money from Bill, another Good Samaritan!

When they returned we all agreed Dustin should continue to crank the jack.  Wait a you see what I see?  

Dustin is wearing my fancy, diamond sparkly sunglasses!  I thought I had lost them because they disappeared from my car.  Where did he find them?  Doesn't he know they look very feminine?


Tee hee hee. I look fabulous!

They fixed the tire, we limped back home then Bill went shopping for my Mother's day gifts.  This year I received a doo-dad called a "cigarette lighter plug to USB adapter" so I can charge my cell phone in the car.  It was paired with a new jack, a portable tire pump, a heavy-duty lug nut wrench and since all my tires were worn, four NEW, VERY EXPENSIVE TIRES!!!!!

Sometimes you get what you want, other times you get what you need but this year I got both.

Ain't she purty?
For the first (and probably last) time, I gave Dustin a Mother's day gift.  He received a $1.00 pair of masculine sunglasses equipped with a beer bottle opener on the side.  Oh, so manly.

Sometimes you get what you want, other times you get what you need, but the worse is when you receive what your mother thinks you need!

Happy Mother's Day!