Sunday, May 31, 2009


Yesterday Bill and Lauren and I went to a couple of plant sales. I love plant sales because you can ususally get some good plants for next to nothing. I bought one Frances Williams hosta, one Elija Blue hosta, one unnamed hosta, and a yellow yarrow. Bill got me two Globe Flowers (trollius chinensis) "Golden Queen", two Asiatic Lillies "Monte Negro" which is a beautiful burgundy red, and one clematis "Ville de Lyon". We planted all of them today along with my shade window box full of impatiens, and two troughs of assorted plants that I had left over for by Bill's shed. I have to "girl-ify" it. We also transplanted bee balm (Monarda) and Shasta Daisy "Alaska". A little bit of this and a little bit of that.
I had to replant one Parade cucumber. Something lopped off my newly planted plant. Bunnies, anyone?
I still have a ton of things to plant....
A mole is running through my newly planted flower bed under our Blue Spruce tree that Bill trimmed up. Bill put our two traps today. I noticed that the mole was also running throught my raised bed of peppers also. Darn thing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This weekend's plantings

This past weekend Bill and I planted our squashes and cucumbers. I spaced the cucumbers on the trellis (cattle panel) a bit further this year. Last year I had read to space them every 6 inches on a trellis. This year I am trying 12 inches. Too crowded last year.
  • 4 - A&C Pickling - Abbott & Cobb introduced this variety in 1928. The fruit is uniform and deep green. A good variety for salads or for dill pickles; large yields.

  • 4 - Parade - Popular Russian variety. Heavy set of uniform fruits that mature at relatively the same time, making it a good processing variety. Fruits 5" long by 2" diameter, one of our favorites at Heritage Farm. Resistant to extreme weather conditions. 50-60 days.

  • 4 - Sweeter Yet Hybrid Cucumber - A burp-free cucumber with perfectly balanced taste. Best when harvested at about 10inches - 12 inches long, 1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter. Fruits are dark green thin skin, needs no peeling away, sweet taste and no bitterness. Vigorous vines grow 70 inches tall on a trellis or 80 inches on the ground with no support. Fruits are long, cylindrical and mature in 48 days. Fruits are white-spined gynoecios hybrid. Disease resistant to DM (Downy Mildew), PM (Powdery Mildew), CMV (Common Mosaic Virus), ZYV (Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus) and PRSV (Papaya Ring spot Virus).

  • 2 - Sunburst Summer Squash - AAS Winner leading market variety, consumers prefer the glossy bright deep yellow fruit making it one of the most sought after for full size and baby vegetable dishes. Fruits may be harvested when 2 to 3 inches as baby vegetables, without loosing the tender, buttery flavor which is sustained in the larger mature squash. Compact bushy plants are sure to produce heavy yields. Scalloped edges and deep dish shaped.

  • 1 - Yellow Crookneck - the best yellow variety for buttery flavor and firm texture. Big plants are late to begin bearing, but then yield consistently over a long picking period. Best picked small, 4-5" long.

  • 1 - Green Zucchini

  • 1 - Costata Romanesco (Cucurbita pepo)
    Best-tasting.Distinctive Italian zucchini, prominently ribbed. Medium gray-green, with pale green flecks and ribs. Big, large-leafed bush with only about half the yield of hybrids, but much better tasting; clearly better textured, nutty, and delicious, raw or cooked. Also a good producer of heavy male blossom buds for cooking. Packet: 30 seeds.
    Days to Maturity or Bloom: 52

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally, no rain!

Spring in Illinois this year has been atypical. Usually we go straight from heat to A/C. This spring has been exceptionally wet and cool. We have had flood warnings every day for as long as I can remember and last night it got down to 38 degrees. It has been consistently in the 40's at night. It is very hard to plant under these conditions.

Today was nice, so Bill and I got 48 tomato plants and 15 pepper plants planted as well as my very late onions. I had been potting up the tomatoes and peppers along the way, so they look very healthy. I am disappointed to get the onions in so late, but better late than never. As usual, I have tons of tomato and pepper plants left over. I would plant them, but I am running out of room. Darn!!

We did a lot of weed control with newspaper and straw between the beds. We are hoping for a much less weedy garden this year. With all that we do outside of gardening, it is amazing how quickly the weeds can overtake the garden! We speak from experience.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

1st real harvest

Today I picked a 1 gallon bucket of spinach. It probably was more than that, but I kept gently pushing it down, being careful not to bruise it. It was really sandy with all of the rain we have had, but I found that using a 5 gallon bucket and rinsing a couple of times then filling the bucket again and letting the remaining dirt fall to the bottom worked well. It came really clean. I am going to blanch and freeze it. I did get the items that I need to make a lasagna this week. I am wanting to put some of the spinach in it.

I also thinned my beets and lettuces. I used the same rinsing technique as above. I picked quite a bit of this. I am ready for a great salad this week. Maybe with my lasagna.

My radishes seem to be getting lots of foliage and not much bulb. Maybe I need to check my soil.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow gardeners! It's been a beautiful gardening day here!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beautiful day and observations

Today is a beautiful day! We have had so much rain again lately. I haven't been able to get into the garden at all. The ground is great for weed pulling though, and goodness knows that there are plenty of those!

Just looking around at the yard recently, I made a few observations.
  • The crab apple didn't really bloom this spring and neither did the forsythia.
  • The lilacs bloomed and are drying up already. I didn't even get a chance to enjoy them.
  • The asparagus is almost finished.
  • My apricot irises are blooming.
  • The birds are nesting in a frenzy. I have found robin and dove eggs.
  • My knockout roses did not do well over the winter and had to be cut almost all of the way to the ground. They seem to be recovering well though.
  • We had a couple of blossoms on our Wolf River apple but not the honeycrisp. The wolf river is one year older.
  • No blooms on the peaches, but a couple on the cherry tree.
  • The columbine that I planted last year from seed is double in size and looks great. My hydrangeas seem to be doing better this year. I almost killed them a couple of years ago by putting too much lime on them.
  • I have two resident bunnies in my garden. They have been feasting on my Green Goliath broccoli prompting the placement of chicken wire around the raised bed. Of note, they don't seem to care as much for the Romanesco Italia variety.
  • The strawberries seem to have survived. They were almost decimated by something last year. Don't know what, but I thought for sure we would have to replant the whole bed. There are plenty of blooms coming on so far.
  • Everything seems to getting taken over by a weed that I have never seem so much of before. It like to spread out, I know that much! It is in the lawn and the flower beds and garden.