Senior Gardening

One of the Joys of Maturity


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July 3, 2020

One of the joys of getting a bit older is having the time to putter around in the garden. Below is my garden blog. This site also contains sections of recipes and features about specific, and often obscure, gardening lore.


Friday, July 3, 2020

I got an early start on gardening this morning to beat the mid-day heat. When I got out to the East Garden, I was dismayed to find that another hill of melons had been mauled. The Tam Dew honeydew plants weren't apparently eaten, but were torn apart. With Tam Dews being a hundred day variety, there isn't enough growing season left for me to re-seed them into the hill. Instead, I seeded some Passport honeydew, as they're just a 73 days-to-maturity variety.

I again sprayed our sweet corn with Not Tonight, Deer! I also sprayed our melon vines and spread Irish Spring soap chips around them.

I watered, scuffle hoed, and mulched for a couple of hours in the East Garden.

As I returned to the house, I brought what was left of our last bale of peat moss with me. After a short break, I hoed in peat moss, lime, and fertilizer between our double trellis where our cucumbers will go. I optimistically began watering the bed from our sixty gallon rain barrel. Although the barrel was pretty full, the watering barely made a dent in the dryness of the half of the bed watered!

Cucumber bed in main raised bed prepared

Since I've been using a double trellis for a few years for our early peas followed by cucumbers, I've gotten the bed prep down pat. I raise the bottom wire of the trellis on one side. That gives me access to hoe in soil improvements. I also take time to tighten the clothesline wires that hold up the trellis, as the wire stretches in warm weather.

I'll probably start my gardening day tomorrow by watering the rest of the cucumber bed. I may transplant cukes into it if I can before it gets too hot. With our daily highs now in the 90s, it's no time to transplant in the heat of the day.

Spinach plants full of seed falling overAbundant Bloomsdale spinach stalk filled with seedAfter lunch and a short nap, I braved the heat and went out and snipped off Abundant Bloomsdale spinach stems laden with seed. I actually waited a bit too long to do this chore, as several of the plants had fallen over and/or begun dropping their seed. But I got a lot of stems filled with seed clusters. I later spent some time pulling the clusters off the stems and rubbing them between my fingers to separate the seed. When my fingers got sore from the task, I put the separated seed on a cookie sheet to dry and the stems in a paper grocery bag hung in our plant room to dry.

Things are getting really busy here. Trying not to work outside in the heat of the day, I'm not getting stuff done as I'd like.

Our lawn desperately needs to be mowed. Once the mowing is done, I'll need to switch out the lawn tractor from the mower deck to our pull-type rototiller, as weeds are trying to overwhelm our East Garden plot.

But mowing and tilling will have to wait, as our green beans are ready for a first light picking. There's no reason to put in the effort growing vegetables only to pick them when they're overripe. I might even dig a few baby carrots for a delicious side dish of steamed green beans and carrots seasoned with fresh garlic.

Our garlic is also ready to be dug. I may steal an early bulb for the green beans and carrots, but it too, can wait. The garlic certainly won't rot in the ground as dry as things are.

These are the nice kinds of gardening problems to have.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July. And keep a mask on when out and/or maintain social distance.

 
 

Thursday, July 2, 2020 - Bad News, Good News

Deer found our sweet corn last night. I thought I was ready for them, having spread chips of Ivory Spring bar soap around the planting. But it had rained, which seems to cut the effectiveness of the soap's odor. While the deer nipped the tops off some corn and uprooted some other plants, we still have enough corn to produce a nice crop...if we can keep the deer out of the patch. The nipped plants may not tassel, but could still produce ears. And fortunately, I hadn't yet thrown out the backup corn transplants I'd started.

Sweet corn nipped by deer

After surveying the damage, I grabbed our organic sprayer and loaded it up with Not Tonight, Deer! The deer repellent I'd mixed a year ago May smelled even worse than it did last year. I put a heavy spray of it on both our sweet corn and kidney beans.

Minnesota Midget cantaloupe hill damagedPassport honeydew plants uprootedI also found that a couple of our melon hills had been damaged overnight, presumably by deer. Since the melons were mulched, there were no incriminating deer tracks around the melon hills like there were in the unmulched sweet corn patch.

Our hill of Minnesota Midget cantaloupe had been roughed up, but one plant may survive. The plants in our hill of Passport honeydew had all been uprooted. I stuck the rootballs back in the ground, but they probably won't make it. I added seed to each hill.

The Good News

Re-seeded hill of Kazakh honeydew upVolunteer gloriosa daisy by mailboxOur hill of Kazakh honeydew that I re-seeded recently has three plants up. I not sure if I put three or four seeds in the ground to replace the plants that apparently died of natural causes. But we have three seedlings up.

Normally, I have a few replacement plants left over from our transplanting. I went a little crazy this year with our melon patch, putting in every melon transplant I had. I even cut out a couple of rows of potatoes from our original East Garden plan to make room for more melons. And actually, I'm not sure my old knees would hold up to all the digging involved in harvesting potatoes.

The surprise good news of the day was by our rural route box. As I drove up to get our mail, there was a volunteer daisy in bloom by the mailbox post!

After replacing plants and scuffle hoeing a bit, I surrendered pretty quickly to the heat and humidity today. While I really need to mow the lawn, I also still need to do our taxes! Yep, I'm a procrastinator. So as I wrote this afternoon, I was also downloading TurboTax updates.

Burpee Herb Seeds & Plants

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Our Senior Garden - July 1, 2020AmazonI didn't get much gardening done in today's heat and humidity. But I'd resolved to correct one issue that has bothered me all spring.

Every time I've taken our near daily splashshot that tops this page, I've been annoyed that a young maple tree's branches obscured part of our narrow raised bed of Earlirouge tomatoes. So I got out my pruning supplies and removed the offending branches. Unfortunately, the nozzle on my can of Spectracide Aerosol Pruning Seal was clogged. I began soaking it in alcohol, but also ordered a new can of it.

As we move into full summer, I'm excited by the harvests to come. We'll certainly be picking green beans soon. We'll also dig garlic and spring carrots. And from the looks of our Earlirouge tomato plants, we'll be enjoying BLTs by mid-month. But looking at our current ten day extended weather forecast, I'll also be hauling lots of water to our garden plots.

Butternut vine outgrowing mulchButternut leaf showing powdery mildewWhen I took some spent pea vines out to dump on our compost pile, I saw that our butternut squash were outgrowing their initial grass clipping mulching. I added more mulch around them, but also noticed the beginnings of powdery mildew on one of the South Anna Butternut plants. South Anna's are supposed to be resistant to downy mildew. I guess that doesn't extend to powdery mildew! Both the butternut and pumpkin plants got a thorough spraying with Serenade biofungicide.

Note that I have again omitted a link to Serenade. Vendors who have the excellent product in stock are still price gouging, charging two to four times the normal price!

Botanical Interests Burpee Gardening Required FTC Disclosure Statement: Botanical Interests, Burpee, and True Leaf Market are some of our Senior Gardening affiliate advertisers. Clicking through one of our ads or text links and making a purchase will produce a small commission for us from the sale. We're also a consumer member of the Fedco Seeds Cooperative. True Leaf Market Fedco Seeds

 

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