Category Archives: Gardening

Too Much of a Good Thing

Last week, when I took you all on a little garden tour, our gardens were doing well. We had gotten some much needed rain and did not anticipate having to water anytime soon. Now we have gotten too much rain, and our gardens are suffering .

June 27, 2021

It is called wet wilt. The ground is simply too wet for the plants and they are basically drowning.

June 27, 2021

We have lost significant amounts of tomatoes and peppers and the entire row of green beans. Today we noticed that the cabbage and potatoes have also taken a hit.

June 27, 2021

On June 27th, when we first discovered that we were losing plants, my husband removed all of the straw mulch in order to give the ground an opportunity to dry out and prevent further damage, but with showers and storms adding water to the ground each day there has been no chance of that. We now have about five dry days in the forecast so hopefully the worst is over and all is not lost.

While this is discouraging we must remember –

Do Not Worry
(Matthew 6: 25-34)25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

As soon as the ground dries up some we will be placing some of the lost plants. My husband was able to find some tomato and pepper plants at a garden center and he also bought more green bean seeds. 🙂

Early Summer Garden Tour

Well summer arrived this week – incognito it seems. It came disguised as spring of all things. It showed up as the rain storms that were absent throughout April and May. They dumped over two inches of rain on us in about 12 hours Sunday and Monday. It also brought cooler temperatures that dipped down into the 40’s in the overnight hours.

The rains returned today and it seems as though we have gotten at least two more inches. If there is any accuracy in the forecast for the next 10 days our drought problems should be over since there are some chances of rain everyday over the next 10.

For some crops. such as our strawberries and blueberries, it’s too late to make a difference but other crops should be served well by the rain.

Shall we take a look around?

The apple trees have some apples, not a bumper crop, (we had several days of frost while the apple trees were blossoming) but hopefully enough for a pie or two.

The blueberries are beginning to ripen. Again this won’t be a bumper crop. I suspect these were impacted by both frost and drought but we are grateful for what we get.

In garden 3, which now has become the puppy playground, these cabbage and onions were some of the first vegetables to be planted. They are doing well.

Also in garden 3 the potatoes (above) were also planted early. They have blossoms.

We also have a row of potatoes in the main garden (above). These were the first to be planted and despite being hit by frost on several days they have flourished.

The above photo was taken as I enter the main garden and look to the north. Sweet corn, pie pumpkins, cantaloupes, tomatoes and three different types of squash are growing in this area.

The photo below is from the same spot looking to the south.

Pumpkins, cucumbers, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant. tomatoes, okra, green beans, beets, swiss chard, and dill are growing on this side of the garden.

We have several varieties of tomatoes. Some have begun to blossom and make fruit.

Jalapeno peppers are starting to bear fruit

as are the bell peppers.

It will be a while before we are picking green beans (above) but just the thought of them makes my mouth water.

We also have sunflowers planted in several areas along the fence, some of which came up as volunteers.

Thanks for joining me for a garden tour. Are you enjoying any home grown produce or looking forward to doing so?

It’s Time to Stop and Smell the Roses

If there is any time of year to literally stop and smell the roses it’s now while the wild roses are blossoming.

Wild roses, unlike their domestic counterparts, give off a lovely fragrance that will even at times drift in he breeze.

Technology, at least to my knowledge, does not allow me to share the that fragrance with you through my blog.

So the best I can do is share some photos.

Our domestic roses, which really don’t have a fragrance, are doing well this year also. This small bush (above) is one of 4 bushes my husband rescued from the nursery/landscape company he worked for two years ago. Had he not brought them home they would have faced certain death.

This larger rose bush (above) has struggled over the years. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughters several years ago. It first produced yellow blossoms. After being severely damaged by weather and critters I pruned it way down. It then began producing red flowers. Apparently the yellow rose had been grafted on a red rose bush and it was only the original red rose that survived. This year it is producing more flowers than ever before.

Next to that is a low growing rose bush that I have had to keep pruned because it wants to spread everywhere. I don’t know the name of this type of rose but it is very hardy. It too is loaded with red buds and blossoms.

Low growing mini rose bush (above).

My peony began to blossom last week. I think it was the most beautiful peony I have ever seen.

It may have been the stark contrast of the bold pink flowers set against all of the purples and greens that made it look so beautiful, or it may have been that I planted this peony in 2019 in memory of my Aunt Shirley who passed away that year and this was the first time it has blossomed since it was planted.

It has brought back many fond memories of her.

I had read that deer normally won’t eat peonies so I felt that it was safe to leave it uncaged. I guess the deer in our neighborhood are not normal.

Those bright pink globe-like flowers were apparently irresistible to them. There are still two small buds that have yet to open so the peony will remain caged until it is done blossoming.

While the irises are finished blossoming the thyme and salvia are both in full bloom and attracting the bees and other pollinators. The lavender is getting ready to open. I expect by this time next week it will be in full bloom.

We added some creeping phlox along the new rock boarder. We chose three different shades of pink . They have already begun to spread so hopefully by next spring they will have filled in much of that area.

Not everything gets planted in the prayer garden though. I planted four chamomile plants amongst some wild flowers and they seem quite happy.

While their flowers look similar to chamomile these are wild daisies that have made their home amongst my marshmallow plants this year.

Last but least I’d like to introduce you to Mari the pig. I’m not exactly sure how Mari came to live on our farm. My husband picked her up somewhere in his travels and she fits in quite well at the farm.

I can, however, tell you how Mari got her name. Several weeks ago when I went to plant our porch pots I discovered a plant had started growing in one of the pots. It looked like a petunia so I figured a petunia from last year had dropped a seed there and it sprouted. Since I needed to work that soil in order to put in the plants that I had bought I decided to plant the petunia in the pig planter. I then named the pig Petunia.

Over the weeks we have been watering the petunia and watching it grow while waiting for it to begin to blossom. Last week while looking at it I told my husband that it was looking more like calendula, also know as pot marigold, than a petunia. A few days ago when I took the above photo I noticed that a calendula bud was beginning to form on the plant. I told my husband that I was renaming the pig Mari(gold).

Thanks for visiting and remember to make it a great day! 🙂

The Garden Is Planted and Other Farm Happenings

We got some light rain yesterday and there is more in the forecast for tomorrow. Boy is that a good thing. Our garden is planted but we haven’t had much rain so we’ve been watering plants to keep them alive.

On Saturday, May 15 my husband put the pump in the pond so we could begin filling the tanks that we use for irrigation.

It may or may not have been my turn to put the pump in the pond but here’s how that works each year.

My Husband: “It’s your turn to put the pump in the pond.”

Me: “Ok as soon as we have a couple of consecutive days of 80 degree F (26.6 C) weather for the water to warm up I’ll do it.”

My Husband: Puts the pump in the pond when temperatures are still in the 60’s or 70’s F.

OR some Years it goes like this

My Husband: “It’s your turn to put the pump in the pond.”

Me: No honey. Last year was my turn. I know you did it but it’s still your turn this year.

My Husband: Puts the pump in the pond.

I didn’t get any pictures of the planting or the garden as of yet but I’ll tell you what we have planted. Potatoes, onions and cabbage were plated first and are all doing well at this point. Tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, melon, cucumbers and basil were planted as seedlings or young plants. Beets, carrots, Swiss chard, green beans, three types of squash, dill, sweet corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, and broom corn were planted as seed. ** My husband brought home a package of okra seed yesterday and we are going to plant some. We have never grown okra before and I have only eaten it a few times but we decided to give it a try.

While it feels good to have the garden planted we realize the work has only just begun.

Now for other farm happenings:

Puppy Playground

This spring we doubled the area that we have fenced in the back field. It’s an area where we have apple trees, our blueberry patch and our strawberry patch. It is now known as the puppy playground. It’s over 52,000 square feet where Ranger can safely run off-leash and sniff ’til his heart’s content.

Prayer Garden

As always the prayer garden is a work in progress.

We decided this year to add mulch to dress it up and for weed control. I started by weeding then edging.

Then we began adding the mulch.

It’s nearly done and I hope to have it finished by this weekend.

Salvia and Thyme

Mean while we have watched the transition from mostly yellow blossoms to lots of purple and some pink blossoms.

Irises
Dianthus
Chives
Lilac

Chicken Coop Construction

We are in the process of building a new home for the chickens. It’s a slow process because it gets worked on in between other things that need to be done. I don’t have any photos yet but as we get further along I’ll share some of the process. Hopefully by the end of June our chickens will be in their new home.

Bees

Our bees arrived as scheduled on May 13. It was a lovely day for hiving bees and my husband had the two new hives set up before noon.

My husband and I agree – it’s nice to have bees on the farm again.

Mowing

It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time mowing grass this spring. According to the mower it’s been over 18 hours. The task has been made easier by this new mower we purchased last month.

Outdoor Décor

When the local greenhouses opened in the beginning of May we stopped by a new one just down the road to purchase flowers for our hanging baskets and porch pots. Their prices were a little higher than the one we usually shop at but we wanted to support this new local business.

They did have a nice selection.

Thanks to my husband’s diligence in taking them inside on the frosty nights and making sure they have enough water each day they are all thriving.

The one above has a volunteer sunflower growing in it. Not sure how it got there but I see it as a gift.

Play Time

It’s not been all work though.

We’ve been blessed to have a couple visits from the grandkids (and their parents).

And we’re looking forward to many more of these.

Thanks for visiting. Do you have a garden planted?

It’s Still Winter but…

We have had very spring-like weather this week – so much so that I did some work in the garden. As far a I can remember this is the earliest in the year that I have worked in the garden.

Thyme

After pruning last year’s dead foliage off some of the plants and raking dead leaves from their winter resting place I discover that the thyme is growing green leaves

Oregano

as is the oregano

Sage

and the sage.

It’s not only the herbs that are coming back to life. I also spotted dandelions, winter cress and some other UIP’s (unidentified invasive plants) which means that before long the weeding will commence.

In addition to my work in the prayer garden my husband fluffed up the straw mulch in the garlic bed in order to assist the shoots that are beginning to emerge from the ground. We also raked out the straw that was blanketing the strawberry bed and discovered bright green leaves forming on the strawberry plants.

The chickens have been loving this weather. They spend most of their days out scratching and pecking finding bugs and grubs and bits of green vegetation. They did however think that seeing me or walking towards their coop was their cue to fall in line.

Others came running to greet me.

I didn’t have any treats or table scraps for them but they were satisfied when I scattered some scratch on the ground for them.

I then went on to gather eggs – a full dozen that day. 🙂

We have come a long way since December when we were getting one egg every three or four days. In November our flock went through a late season molt. I didn’t take any pictures of the molting hens because they looked so pitiful with their half naked bodies and new feathers poking though their skin that I felt sorry for them. Molting takes so much energy from the hens that they stop laying during that time. It was some time in early January when egg production gradually began to pick up again.

In December, for first time in 5 or 6 years, I ran out of eggs. Thankfully in the spring of 2020 my sister and her husband started their own flock and by fall their hens were laying well. Chickens don’t molt their first year so they did not experience the egg drought like we did.

It was strange a strange feeling, and we had a good laugh, the day I called my sister and asked “do you have eggs?” The tables had turned. For many years she had been calling me every couple weeks and asking “do you have eggs?” I couldn’t have been happier when she replied “how many do you want.” 🙂

It is time to consider adding to our flock so that our egg supply will continue through this upcoming winter. Perhaps rather than buy chicks we will allow a hen or two to brood some chicks. I’ll let you know what we decide.

Have you been experiencing spring weather?