Garden update

Posted July 23, 2017 By Ruth

I got two zucchini, and pulled up the plants and put down black plastic to kill the weeds.  Not only were the plants not happy, but then borers found them.  It wasn’t worth it.

 

Snow Leopard Melon

 

My surviving sunflowers

 

Onions and parsnip

 

Baby Lima beans (I forget the variety name at the moment

 

Blue Berries

 

Berry vines.  I’d actually given up on these, they’d basically not produced at all (which massively pissed me off since I’d spent a fair bit of time and money finding varieties and buying them), and I’d planned on pulling them up this spring and Roundup-ing the roots.  But then I broke my arm, and now they’re producing!  I’m probably still going to kill them, if I leave them they’ll take over the wildflower bed next to them, which would be fine if they were reliable producers, but they aren’t.

 

Bill Bean Tomato

 

Black Gypsy tomatoes starting to show color

 

Today’s tomato and cucumber harvest.

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The joys of home ownership

Posted July 17, 2017 By Ruth

So, remember back when the front deck collapsed?  One of the things we did afterwards was put gutters on the house.  At least part of the collapse was caused by water damage, so it was worth it.

When we put the gutters on the house, everything that wasn’t tied into rain barrels was instead tied into a drainage pipe put in place by the former owners.  That should have been a warning to me, you, and everyone else right there, but yah……

So half the house’s gutters drained down a pipe, that exited over a corner of the leach field.

We had the septic tank pumped late winter/early spring 2016, it needed it.  We’ve always had some issues with water backing up into the tank, but nothing to serious.  But then last summer was so dry that we had no issues at all.

Till fall.

By early winter not only was water backing up into the tank, but the tank was backing up into the house.  Mumbling rude words about things that break we had the septic folks back out to pump the tank and do some quick trouble shooting.  The general consensus was that come spring we needed to have one of their guys come out and run a scope down the leach field, since that was the most likely cause of our sudden problem.

Except come spring I couldn’t get them to talk to me.  Long story I won’t bother to get into, but after 2 phone calls, an email, and a missed (by them) appointment I finally started calling around to find someone else to come out and look at the leach field.

Found someone to come out, we didn’t get things scoped, but they didn’t charge us either.  The resulting conversation basically decided two things.

1: old system, likely grandfathered in, and since the former owners had only put in a new tank, not a full new leach field they’d TECHNICALLY been legal.  However the whole leach was so far out of code that they weren’t going to be willing to do any repairs, it was going to need to be replaced completely, and due to the high water table, and low soil permeability it was likely going to need a raised bed system, which means an engineer…..

2: the likely cause of our current sudden problems was likely the extra water from the gutters.  Had a massive duh moment over that one.  Thankfully despite the monsoons we’ve been getting we’ve not had anything backing up into the house this spring/summer.  So far anyway.  But that water from the gutters needed to be diverted.

Our original plan had been to rent a trencher, and put in additional drainage pipe.  But with everything thats been going on that wasn’t going to happen.  So yesterday I spent a couple hours digging out the end of the drainage pipe, digging a level trench from it out to where it exited the little hill the house is on, and fitting on 30feet of additional drainage pipe.

Its makeshift as heck, it’ll have to be moved every time we mow, but maybe just maybe it’ll divert enough water to keep things from getting worse!

Speaking of which, this is a photo of the end of the buried pipe:

I didn’t dig up enough to read any markings on it, but it looks like a thin walled PVC.  But its also not any (current) standard size.  This is a closeup of the measurement of the diameter with the tape on the outside of the pipe:

Just a hair under 3 1/4 inches for the inside diameter.  I have no idea where they got the pipe.  I can’t find it anywhere.  3 inch fittings are too small.  4 inch are of course to big.  I finally jut bought the standard 4 inch flexible drainage pipe and dug up enough of the pipe in the ground to slide the 4 inch pipe over it enough to stay.

I don’t suppose anyone recognizes it?

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Garden Update

Posted July 17, 2017 By Ruth

I’ve now picked 4 ripe Black Plum tomatoes.  While this isn’t tons, it is several weeks early.  And there are more turning colors.  So far though neither of the other varieties I planted this year are ripening  yet.

The garden isn’t as well grown as last year, BUT, we may have finally passed the worst of the monsoons this year (crossing fingers!) so hopefully we’ll see some more regular growth now.

Snow Leopard Melons, although you can’t see it in the photo this is the only melon so far to have an actual baby melon growing.  Though the others are all blooming away, so it shouldn’t be long.

 

Potatoes and corn.  Despite the fact that the tallest corn stalk is barely a foot tall several of them are trying to produce ears!  I guess we’ll see what I get……

 

Sugar Baby Watermelon

 

Honey Dew melon

 

Melon Pear plants.  There’s a fair bit of baby fruit there, maybe I”ll get some this year!

 

Nutmeg Melons

Overall everything looks good.

One weird thing though…..the lettuce had bolted, and one day this past week, I noticed that the tops of several of the tallest lettuce plants had been clearly munched.  I figured a deer, but nothing else had been chewed on….then I looked closer, and realized the middle of the lettuce was flattened, as if something had plopped down into the middle of it.

So then I thought that maybe a bunny had finally noticed the tasty stuff over his head (these stock tanks are 2ft tall) and hopped into the bed to munch…..but there was no bunny poop!

I decided that since it had all bolted anyways it was time to pull it all up and reseed.  In the process of pulling it all up, I found an empty, but fairly new, mouse nest!  The grass used to make it was still pretty green.  Looking at the top picture, at the top of the bed, right to the right of the tall green spike, it was under there!  So now I’m wondering if the flattening was the result of someone making a meal out of a mouse…..but that doesn’t explain the munched tops either.  So a mystery it remains!

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Carrots!

Posted July 9, 2017 By Ruth

I guess I was wrong, the carrots are happy!

There’s five varieties in that picture, two orange, yellow, white, and purple.

Either that or they’re desperately trying to produce before the weather kills them…..

Cause its awfully early to have tomatoes ripening too……

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Garden update

Posted July 6, 2017 By Ruth

We had a few days of nice sunny (hot!) summer before we get buried under more rain.  So some more photos!

First cucumbers of the summer, and one of the cucumber tires.

 

my zucchini plant is not happy, but I got my first one of the season off of it

 

Carrots LOOK really happy, but I’m not convinced that they’re not just reaching for the sun in desperation……

 

Bill Bean Tomatoes.  I’m thinking we have another magnesium deficiency here, all of the tomato tires got treated with epsom salts just in case.

 

Black Plum tomatoes.  I had a couple spare traditional tomato cages, so I plopped them on top of the home made ones for some extra height.  Not sure its going to work long term, but whatever….

 

Black Gypsy tomatoes

 

Green Nutmeg Melon.  This is one of the ones I had to completely restart from seed.  Cross your fingers!

 

Baby Corn

 

Itsy Bitsy baby Habanero peppers

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Quick garden photos dump

Posted July 2, 2017 By Ruth

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Garden update

Posted July 1, 2017 By Ruth

As of Tuesday evening I’ve been able to get into the garden again!

I spent Wednesday weed whacking most of the weeds down.  My arm didn’t hurt for the weedwhacking, but it sure hurt the next day.  Oh well.  Annoying too, because I totally missed a row….

Planted out the 2nd attempt at most of the melons.

Weeded, and mulched with straw.  Ran out of straw, and keep forgetting to get more.

Haven’t gotten the 2nd layer of tomato cages on, and I’m not sure its worth bothering at this point, I guess I’ll just let them fall all over.

Its basically not stopped raining.  Oh Wednesday was dry enough I could weedwhack, but that was it.  Its been constant rain.  There’s standing water everywhere (hello mosquitos!) and even my raised beds are completely saturated.  Thankfully most of the plants seem to be doing ok despite it.

How much has it been raining?  Well, last week Watertown NY (north of me by a couple hours) got more rain in one day than they normally get for the entire month of June.  And in Utica NY they had this problem today.

Garden pictures hopefully tomorrow.  If the rain will let up enough to let me take them.

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MY garden!

Posted June 25, 2017 By Ruth

I have Tree Swallows nesting in the nest box closest to the garden.  I had to move that box a bit further from the garden a few years ago, when the nesting pair got fussy about me being in the garden while there were chicks in the nest, but haven’t had any issues since.  Well, not seriously, they get fussy about me working the row closest to the nest when there are chicks in the nest, but that’s manageable……

Till this year.

As I was planting those pepper plants last week (Wednesday) the Swallows started fussing when I walked the row closest to them.  I figured the babies were hatching, tis the season.

Friday I had a few minutes and headed out to do a little weeding…..and got driven out of my garden by dive bombing Swallows before I’d gotten the furthest row done!

Dammit, its MY garden!  I was here first!

I like Tree Swallows, they eat mosquitos, and deer flies, and the like.  But they don’t get to claim my garden either.  Once this set of babies leaves the nest I’m going to have to move the box again……..

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Garden Update

Posted June 21, 2017 By Ruth

Despite Husband’s and my best efforts the weeds are trying to take over the garden.  I shouldn’t be surprised I guess, considering I was trying to do everything with a bad arm (which is mostly back to normal at this point, thankfully).

Remember this baby tomato seedling?

I planted it a month ago today.

Here it is today:

ALready in need of a 2nd cage.  So much for not overwhelming myself with tomatoes this year.

Also, Bill Bean Tomatoes:

and Black Gypsy Tomatoes:

The corn bed, which has turned into potatoes and corn:

a volunteer Melon Pear plant!

There was a BUNCH of them in the two tires that I had the Melon Pears in last year.  I might not have been able to tell the fruit was ripe, but clearly that didn’t matter!

This year’s Melon Pear plants:

Jalapenos:

Black Pearl Peppers:

This year’s incredibly wet spring resulted in over 90% of my sunflower seeds not even sprouting, and more than half of what did sprout just dying.  I’m going to have exactly TWO sunflower plants this year.  Dammit.  I debated just covering the now empty tires with black plastic for the season, but decided this was my chance to try a BUNCH of different hot peppers.  Baby plants arrived today.  Hopefully the season will last long enough to get a decent crop!

I also had to restart a bunch of melon plants, for what is likely the same cause.  Though SOMETHING (insect not mammel) was munching the hell out of them too.  Not happy, though at least there everything is short season enough it should work out.

BTW, I didn’t even get those tomato seeds started till AFTER I broke my arm.  So beginning of April.  And they were still that big when I planted them mid-May.  I started 3 of the Black Plums for a friend and he couldn’t get over how big the seedlings were in comparison to the store bought ones he usually buys.  I have no clue what I do thats so different, but clearly it works……

I also got the deer fly traps setup and out today, a bit later than planned, but hopefully early enough to keep them from being a pain this summer!

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Hostas

Posted May 28, 2017 By Ruth

You may remember that last year I planted a bunch of hostas in an odd corner of the yard.  And that the reason for it was that nothing else was thriving there, except for the weeds.

Not only did they come back up this year, they’re almost all quite large and thriving!

Not quite sure whats munching on that one, one other one is being munched on too.

 

Top right corner there is one of the ones that didn’t come up big, but since we had to kill a bull thistle that decided to sprout right next to it last fall I’m just thrilled it came up at all.

 

Is that not the cutest little hosta plant ever?  Its called Blue Mouse Ears and I want about 10 more to scatter around that area.  Unfortunately that was the one expensive pot of the bunch, so I’ll have to settle for 2 or 3 most likely, assuming I can find them local again.

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