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Archive for July, 2008

The first thing I had to do after our return from the long weekend trip down south was visit the gardens!  We had a good rain and it definitely made a difference – tomatoes are budding from the flowers, cucumbers are developing, the squashes are doing wonderfully and much more!  I could go on but I will show some pictures I just took.  Tomorrow I will organize the pictures from down south and post about the amazing sights down there!

 Last  harvest of peas and more beets!

 Pearl cucumber looking cool

 

Corn tassles and corn silk ….. first one of the year!

  The spinach seed dried on the stalk – I left all the stalks in the ground after the final harvest of spinach so I could save the seed. 

Before I left I spent 2 days drying with the Excalibur dehydrator – the chives were from the garden and the blueberries and mushrooms were on sale so I bought an overload and dried them for future use.  The beef jerky I dried to take along on the trip for snacks…

  Excalibur loaded with fruit

  Dried chives, beef jerky, blueberries and mushrooms

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I can’t believe I actually caught this on camera, but I did and it sure tells the tale of activities in the garden!  I have posted about Companion Gardening and Good Bugs (Beneficials) in the garden and the bad bugs.  Not to long ago I showed the damage the Imported Cabbageworm did to my Sunset Kale plants … posted on July 8th .  The adult to these damaging bugs is the White Moth that flutters around in great abundance here.  So today I visit the garden with camera in hand and I spot a White Moth and it looked stuck!  Stuck enough where I could grab it and make history of it, BUT I stopped!  I looked closer and it was stuck in a cobweb made by a beneficial spider under a cucumber leaf.  Check this out …

  The white moth in my garden The spider is dining on another bug with the white moth in the background – sure is a cool looking spider … white and black!

 The cobweb is difficult to see in the photo, but the spider did a Great job for Deb’s Gardens and I thank him!  Also I found a rather large toad the other day in another part of the yard as I was pulling weeds and I moved him into the garden and he Stayed!  I bet he is eating tons of bugs so I thank the toad too!

  Toad in the garden

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The next few days here (Illinois) are suppose to reach the 90s so I have been working like crazy to weed everything before the heat hits and with all the rain we just had it’s been a huge task!  Weeds do pull out easily after rainy weather so I can’t complain too much!  I also decided to Divide a Rosemary plant that I received as a birthday gift from my sister.  I want to keep some here and take some down south to plant.  The rosemary I take down south I will be planting directly in the ground since I plan to start a herb garden and I am hoping the rosemary does well and grows into a nice bush. 

  I soaked the rosemary with water and then pulled from the pot and it sure was rootbound!  I first attempted to cut the root mass in half with scissors but had to resort to using a much sturdier garden tool to accomplish the cut.

 

And finally …….. Success!

I will add more dirt to the larger pot of rosemary that remains here and the other is headed down south this weekend.  I also decided to Dig for Treasure today … Black Gold!  Compost is a treasure indeed in the gardener’s world and most of us do get excited when it comes to Compost!  The compost bin we have set up in our yard has been there for years started by the previous owners and I have never taken from the bin – I just added to it for 10 years!  So today was a big moment as we removed a board and dug some black gold out …

 

  I bet this will sure add great nutrients to my gardens…… Yes!

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We had a huge storm last night and it went on and on … I thought it would never end!  The gardens did need a good drink so that was Wonderful, but sure enough the Slugs are back!  Slugs have to be one of the most disgusting bugs of all time .. they just are.  I will be scattering crushed eggshells under most of the plants.  This is suppose to deter the slug since the eggshells have sharp edges and they just won’t go there.

  Slug … so gross!  Crushed eggshells to whoop his slimy self!   Ok…. so I photoshot the slug and decided to snap some shots of other bugs that were buzzing around – now keep in mind, this is only one day and maybe a total of an hour.  Can you image the pictures of bugs I would have if I camped out in the gardens for a day!

 Another bad bug .. the cucumber beetle, striped

  Daddy long legs .. he’s a good guy!

 I notice all the different colors and varieties of dragonflies … they are amazing and a Good Bug!

  A fly … this one is visiting the onion bloom, but I did notice a whole lot more this year especially on the buckwheat white flowers.  I would guess they are good guys in the garden.   The Hover Fly … next photo is definitely a good guy!

  Ladybugs are good in the garden and it appears they are having a Good time while there!

  Although very colorful, this redbanded leafhopper is bad news in the garden!

  Spider and next is the Wasp .. both good guys for your Garden!

 

Nature is amazing and beautiful !

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I harvested my first somewhat successful batch of garlic July 9th and I was very lucky these grew … here is what I learned.  I planted garlic LAST spring (not this spring) and had no clue when to dig it up, so I more or less just forgot about it.  In the meantime, I purchased the book “Growing Great Garlic” by Ron L. Engeland and guess what …… Garlic should be planted in the Fall – not spring!  AND it needs to stay in the ground for 9 months before harvest!  So considering I am in Illinois I should be planting garlic in October and harvesting in July.  The reason I think I was confused with the planting time is because most stores sell garlic in early spring so I just figured that’s when it gets planted.  The few garlic that I just did harvest sent up tops and were growing along with the rest of the garden.  The tops did start to die down just recently so I decided to dig them up wondering what I would find.  July is harvest time I recalled and here is what I found!

 

I spotted a few cicadas in the new garden we dug up this year.  Last year was the year for the 17 year cicada to emerge in our area – we had very few, but other towns were swarmed.  Not sure if these newly emerged cicada are late bloomers or our area will get hit this year??

 

This is the shell they leave behind –

The Swan Family is doing very well and seem quite happy – they even acquired a new buddy … a Beautiful Blue Heron!

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This is my first experience growing Sunset Flowering Kale and I thought (or should I say “hoped”) that since this was a Flower it would not encounter the insect problems that the Cabbage family does.  One of the reasons I never put the effort into growing cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. is simply because of the insects that do major damage to the plants.  The adult white moth is abundant in our area and will deposit her eggs on the cabbage family plant and once they hatch destruction follows.  As I watched the Sunset Kale grow, I totally noticed how it looked just like cabbage leaves.  After being gone a few days, I inspected the plants today and OMG …

 Notice the droppings from the Imported Cabbageworm who had a field day with this plant.  I now have the book “The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control” so I am somewhat more informed, and the learning never stops!  A few more pictures of the destruction and the culprit…

  I sprayed the plants with Insecticidal Soap and it appeared to work – now we will see if the plants can recover and flower.

It has been a month since I first saw the baby swans out and about swimming in the pond and today I did take a few more pictures … they are growing and growing and SO adorable!

Today I did harvest a few beets … this is another first for me – growing beets!  I am the only one in the family that likes beets so the harvest is all mine!!!  I could have let them grow bigger BUT I was pretty excited that they grew and couldn’t wait – I will cook them up tomorrow!

  I also plan to cook up some Parsley Pesto tomorrow and this is from the garden …

Last but not least … a Friendly visitor on the Borage

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If jet lag wasn’t enough we jumped in the car and headed down south to check on the place there – 5 hour car ride!  We did celebrate the 4th of July with family and wished Gramps his 95th birthday!!!  Here’s Frankie still trying to adjust after his kennel vacation …. hm

The hibiscus were in bloom and one of the rose bushes I recently planted had a beautiful bloom …

The Coneflower took off well and definitely will be a nice addition to the landscape down there.

Purple Echinacea(Coneflower) with Yarrow

I also spotted TWO tomatoes on one of the plants and a Snake critter which I am not used to seeing.  This guy was much smaller than the previous one we encountered behind the barn, but a snake is a snake … the dragonflies were buzzing all around and I saw some new birds!  I added more flower pictures at DebsFlowers 

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