May 31, 2014

Gardening Thread: Mystery Edition [Y-not and WeirdDave]
— Open Blogger

This week's gardening thread brought to you by Mystery Dates...

...and mystery flowers:

FlowerCloseUpSml.jpg

Mystery flower (probably a dianthus) -- and a visitor (Boxelder bug) -- beautifying a corner of the vast quarter acre estate at Casa Y-not.

**NOTE: An alert commenter, Derak, pointed out that this is most likely an immature ladybug, not an elderbug. We DO have elderbugs in that same area, but I think he's right. Sharp eye!**

And now for your potpourri of garden mysteries...

Five Mysterious Plants are, per the folks at Mother Earth Living (yeah, yeah, I know!), common garden plants that have interesting or unusual stories. For example:

Stevia is a natural no calorie sweeter, which has made it a boon to diabetics, while becoming a bane to big business. Stevia makes the list of weird herbs not because of any strange properties or back story, but because artificial sweetener companies convinced the Food & Drug Administration to ban importing the plant for years. Since you can’t patent a naturally occurring plant, big business didn’t like the idea of some herb horning in on their territory. Even after the ban was lifted, the plant was classified as safe for use as a dietary supplement, not a food additive. It wasn’t until 2008 that the FDA granted approval for use of the product as a food additive in a derivative form, used in products such as Truvia and PureVia.

I heard a rumor that, after he's finished ridding the world of the Bilderbergers, Alex Jones is going after Big Sugar next. (Speaking of Jones, check out this classic post from Twitchy.)

Another mysterious plant is the Corpse Flower. It's mysterious for two reasons. One, you never know when it'll bloom...

CorpseFlower.jpg

...and, two, it's a mystery why this disgustingly malodorous plant hasn't been eradicated from the face of the Earth!

A common problem gardeners experience is finding mysterious holes in their yard or garden. Via Michigan State University's extension office, here's a brief article that can help you determine what, exactly, is digging in your yard. The three main culprits are skunks, raccoons, and moles. (Follow the links from the article for ideas of how to thwart the mysterious diggers.) Based on this article, I think we may have a raccoon. The hole description seems right and I didn't smell any lingering Eau du Skunk when I found the holes.

And now for your farm report...

Relatively busy week at Casa Y-not, naturally ALSO the week we had a short heat wave with highs in the 90s a couple of days! Feel the burn, Baby!

Speaking of mysteries, a couple of weeks ago I found a half-eaten strawberry in my garden. I've found a couple since then...

photo(29).JPG

Someone took a bite out of this berry

Well, this week I spotted the culprit who has been eating my strawberries. A robin! Bad bird. Trying to decide if it is worth the time to put up some sort of netting over the strawberry plants.

Not really a mystery per se, but more in the "problem garden area" category, we've got a small area of steep slope that does not get much sun or water.

Slope.jpg

Slope of Doom

The soil is clay with tons of aspen roots. There's a bit of grass growing, but for the most part it's just muddy mess when it rains... so naturally the dogs run through it. Last year we tried establishing mint on the slope. We've had success establishing mint in a flat problem bed under our plum tree.

Mint.jpg

Mint (and strawberries) naturalizing in a shady bed.

But the mint we planted on the slope didn't take -- too dry, I guess.

So this year we're trying again, but this time with the ground-cover Vinca minor (aka periwinkle). And, we're being semi-organized by putting a layer of netting over the plants to help keep them in place. 'Still working on that project. Our old bones couldn't get everything planted in one shot.

I get that some people vehemently oppose things like mint and periwinkle because they really can be invasive, but we're pretty desperate. And, anyway, they're both in places in our backyard that we wouldn't care about should they spread more than we'd wanted. Besides, we use a lot of mint in recipes, including this one for Tabbouleh salad. (In all honesty I just use it as a starting point and generally toss in a lot of other veggies and much more mint.)

On to our vegetable garden, things are really kicking into high gear. Our snap peas have begun blooming.

Pea.jpg

Someone pea'd in my garden!

They're an early crop that did really well for us last year, so we put in almost twice the plants this time around. I love them fresh from the garden or in a stir fry.

The tomatoes I wanted to plant this year (a grafted variety called Indigo Rose) didn't come in, so rather than risk missing the planting window for early-ish varieties, I went ahead and picked up two new (for us) varieties: Black Krim (link to the non-profit Seed Savers) and Black Carbon. I also spotted Padrón pepper plants at our garden center, so I picked up a bunch of them. I had to harvest the first batch of radishes to make room for the peppers.

Radishes.jpg

Radishes sown directly into the raised bed on March 26th.

If you like mysteries, Padrón peppers are for you. Eating them is considered a game of Spanish Roulette, because although most of these peppers are mild, about every tenth one is hot. They're pretty similar in flavor to Shishito peppers, only larger.

This video shows you how to prepare them:

I actually do not do the splitting step shown in the video. I just wash them, dry them thoroughly so there is no splatter during the frying step, and then pan-fry them in olive oil. You can serve with a spicy aioli, but we usually just eat them with sea salt. Follow this link to Bon Appetit for the recipe in English.


And now for some words of wisdom from the incomparable WeirdDave:

Garden Thread - BDSM edition

First things first. Just noticed today that the Sweet Million has started to produce. I've got my first tomatoes!

May31Fig1.jpg

That's exciting, but I also noticed that I've got to do something about the green beans, cucumbers and snap peas. The peas are grabbing onto their neighboring plants, and the others are long enough to be climbing the trellis.

May31Fig2.jpg

Step 1: I must break you

Doing this is a process called “training”. It's not fun, but it's got to be done. Basically, what you have to do is to break the plants to your will. The first step is to leave a light on the plants 24 hours a day. This interrupts their diurnal rhythm. At random times during the night, stick your head out the window and yell “HI!” at the plants so they can't get any regular sleep. Don't worry, your neighbors will understand. At the same time, change their diet to one with no/low protein and minimal nutrients. Gruel works well. Within a week the plants should be putty in your hands, ready to be trained in correct growing procedures.

Step 2: Indoctrination

There are all sorts of indoctrination techniques. Some gardeners have experimented with sending their plants to union run public schools. This does result in indoctrination, unfortunately plants subjected to this become convinced that they are the most perfect plants ever and can do no wrong, so they blame other plants in the garden for their failure to climb and tend to ferment conflict between different plants in the garden. This is known as employing “grass warfare”. They also become lazy and insolent and expect someone else to provide their fruit to them rather than growing it themselves. These plants are called “Democrats” and the only proven cure for them is Roundup. No, a better technique is chanting. You should spend at least an hour a day leading your plants in self improvement chants to instill proper thinking into their chlorophyl. This is the chant I use:

“WE CLIMB! WE CLIMB! WE CLIMB HERE ALL THE TIME!
THE HIGHER THE BETTER
NO MATTER THE WEATHER
THE SOIL IS FILLED WITH LIME!”

If that doesn't shift 'em, nothing will.

May31Fig3.jpg

Keep a close eye on your plants during training

Step 3: Discipline

Finally, you must be prepared for your plants to backslide. It's not easy to retrain a plant, their psyches can be incredibly resilient, and in an instant they can break free of your careful conditioning and return to their former habits. Keep them isolated from each other, a plant that feels utterly alone is less likely to resist. Be alert for tap codes which can let plants communicate with and support each other even if line of sight is broken. Be vigilant. If all else fails, be prepared to use physical force to get your plants trained properly. It's distasteful, I know, but a gardener's got to do what a gardener's got to do. Put on your monocle and remind your plants in your best German accent:

May31Fig4.jpg

”Ve haf vays of making your stalk”


Thanks, WeirdDave!

To close things up, for the moronetttes, I give you Henrik Lundqvist. Just because.

henrik-lundqvist-gq-style-225x300.jpg

Go Rangers!

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:37 AM | Comments (111)
Post contains 1554 words, total size 12 kb.

1 skunks, raccoons, and moles.


Here we have "voles" which are a small version of the mole.

http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/pictures/data/6/BankVole2.jpg

Posted by: Vic[/i] at May 31, 2014 05:39 AM (T2V/1)

2 Well, the butter/coffee was not all that bad. Dang, forgot the rum.

Posted by: Erowmero at May 31, 2014 05:39 AM (go5uR)

3 Who are these Rangers of which you speak?? Go Blackhawks !

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:39 AM (oMKp3)

4 Yeah, I was surprised they didn't mention voles, Vic. Maybe because they're small so the holes are smallish?

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:40 AM (zDsvJ)

5 I loved Mystery Date. My parents wouldn't let me have it so I had to sneak-play it at my cousins house.

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:40 AM (oMKp3)

6 Anybody here do battle (successfully?) with Boxelder bugs? Damn things are everywhere.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:41 AM (zDsvJ)

7 I have a question: I have a maple that has recently begun to flourish. It's about 2 foot high.

It's in a place I don't want it. I want to move it where I would like to see a tree or two.

When's the best time to dig it up and replant

precautions/actions to take to aid survival of move

chances of success.

I've googled but I'm getting mixed or muddied signals on when and how.

Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That (Eagerly Awaiting the Warmth of Climate Variation) at May 31, 2014 05:42 AM (JS0vr)

8 No garden for me this year. I'm off the manual labor list for the foreseeable future. This stinks.

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:43 AM (oMKp3)

9 Bitter,
You might want to call your local extension office just in case it's dependent on local climate.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:43 AM (zDsvJ)

10 How are you feeling, grammie?

Could you take up bonsai?

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:43 AM (zDsvJ)

11 Oh. And if you have little divots about 2" across?

That's effing squirrels digging for grubs.

(little bastards)

Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That at May 31, 2014 05:44 AM (JS0vr)

12 4 Yeah, I was surprised they didn't mention voles, Vic. Maybe because they're small so the holes are smallish?

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:40 AM (zDsvJ)




They are hell on a lawn and damn near impossible to get rid of.

Posted by: Vic[/i] at May 31, 2014 05:44 AM (T2V/1)

13 Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:43 AM (zDsvJ)

Whut?

Extension office?

I understand the words but not the meaning.

Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That at May 31, 2014 05:45 AM (JS0vr)

14 LOL! Holy crap. That was hilarious. Waterboarding your tomatoes (still laughing)

Posted by: tangonine at May 31, 2014 05:46 AM (x3YFz)

15 When's the best time to dig it up and replant

precautions/actions to take to aid survival of move

chances of success.

I've googled but I'm getting mixed or muddied signals on when and how.

Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That (Eagerly Awaiting the Warmth of Climate Variation) at May 31, 2014 10:42 AM (JS0vr)



Late winter or very early spring.  The books will say any time but that is the "best" time.

Posted by: Vic[/i] at May 31, 2014 05:46 AM (T2V/1)

16 Your state university - whichever one has the Ag school - runs "extension offices" whose function is to advise and help residents with yard and garden etc questions.

They'll even come out and test your soil, I believe.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:46 AM (zDsvJ)

17 I planted vinca in the front (north) yard of our house under three huge trees, which meant I no longer had to mow the dirt which is all that grew out there. They did spectacularly, spreading naturally and blooming like mad. Just be sure they get good water the first year, maybe mulch around them a bit, and away they go. Gonna miss that garden this year something fierce.

Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 05:47 AM (g+qqc)

18 10 How are you feeling, grammie? Could you take up bonsai? Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:43 AM (zDsvJ) I wouldn't even know where to start with that, Y-not, although that might be something to think about. I like to grow things I can eat. Maybe I could find a recipe for bonsai soup

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:47 AM (oMKp3)

19 Yes that's a dianthus, if it hasn't been answered already.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 05:47 AM (GDulk)

20 Oh and there's no way guys are going to stop and glue stuff to the tip of their dick. Well maybe some but not many.

And if it can stay on during sex, how's it going to come off when you're done? (double entendre fully intended)

Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That at May 31, 2014 05:48 AM (JS0vr)

21 They are hell on a lawn and damn near impossible to get rid of. Posted by: Vic at May 31, 2014 10:44 AM (T2V/1) Get you a terrier dog. Ours cleared the yard, house and garage of every critter smaller than himself, and a couple that were nearly as big.

Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 05:49 AM (g+qqc)

22 Periwinkles are going to take a while..., several years perhaps, but ought to be worth it.

Posted by: Mike Hammer at May 31, 2014 05:49 AM (aDwsi)

23 I need a dog bigger than a bear.

Posted by: Mike Hammer at May 31, 2014 05:50 AM (aDwsi)

24 Maybe I could find a recipe for bonsai soup Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 10:47 AM (oMKp3) My sister in AK grows tomatoes and cukes indoors, in pots, and trains them up and down a curtain rod. They grow all winter and produce like mad.

Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 05:50 AM (g+qqc)

25 Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 10:49 AM (g+qqc) Good advice. Those little terriers don't give up when it comes to ground critters.

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:50 AM (oMKp3)

26 Get you a terrier dog. Ours cleared the yard, house and garage of every critter smaller than himself, and a couple that were nearly as big.

Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 10:49 AM (g+qqc)



Yeah, my neighbor had one of those rat dogs.  He would get rid of the voles but he dug up the entire yard doing it. Also dug up my foundation.

Posted by: Vic[/i] at May 31, 2014 05:51 AM (T2V/1)

27 My sister in AK grows tomatoes and cukes indoors, in pots, and trains them up and down a curtain rod. They grow all winter and produce like mad. Wow! That's amazing!

Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 05:51 AM (oMKp3)

28 Your state university - whichever one has the Ag school - runs "extension offices" whose function is to advise and help residents with yard and garden etc questions. They'll even come out and test your soil, I believe. Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:46 AM (zDsvJ) We're going to get a couple chickens next year, we'll hit up the ag dept for coop builds. Great resource.

Posted by: tangonine at May 31, 2014 05:52 AM (x3YFz)

29 Good advice. Those little terriers don't give up when it comes to ground critters. Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 10:50 AM (oMKp3) Louie wouldn't sit still for a belly rub, but he would park his butt above a critter hole for four hours straight until the little vermin gave up. Cracked me up when he brought it in the doggie door to show off. Then it grossed me out, but first I had to laugh at how proud he was.

Posted by: tcn at May 31, 2014 05:52 AM (g+qqc)

30 One hope is up to my neck (I'm 5'7') the others are chugging along slower.) As I said last week I've cut down to 1 hybrid tea rose, and replaced the other with a Double Knockout. I'd rather have roses than my pride. Other than that, I've done nothing but grow grass and weeds. Oh that's not entirely true, I took a clipping from the wonderful Japanese maple behind my house that everyone tells me is "special" (including 3 landscapers.) I'm trying to root it, if it works I might plant the same thing out front to block the sun in the family room window (damned East/west house.) I've got years before I have to worry but the shade path would probably end Tea rose #2 (if it even lasts that long.)

Posted by: tsrblke, PhD(c) (No Really!) [/i] [/b] [/s] at May 31, 2014 05:53 AM (HDwDg)

31 Have you tried Kudzu on your "Slope of Doom"?

Posted by: Guido at May 31, 2014 05:55 AM (GYg/s)

32 Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:46 AM (zDsvJ) You mean every city doesn't have a world class botanical garden that does all this for you?! (Actually having only owned a home for 18 months I'm just now discovering what MoBot does. And it does look like it's in conjunction with the extension program.)

Posted by: tsrblke, PhD(c) (No Really!) [/i] [/b] [/s] at May 31, 2014 05:56 AM (HDwDg)

33 'Mornin'! Your mystery flower is a Sweet William, which is indeed a dianthus/carnation relative.

Posted by: Mindy at May 31, 2014 05:56 AM (16TAZ)

34 I think it's too dry here for kudzu.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:56 AM (zDsvJ)

35 Posted by: grammie winger at May 31, 2014 10:50 AM (oMKp3) Our rat terrier wants at the lizards in the wood pile in the *worst* way. If we ever get another mouse I'm betting on him getting it instead of the cat.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 05:56 AM (GDulk)

36 we so overplanted our greenhouse. Danged thing is like a forest now. just a couple pics from a week ago, it sure doesn't look like that now, need a machete. http://greyttimes.com/?p=822

Posted by: tangonine at May 31, 2014 05:57 AM (x3YFz)

37 Mystery flower, Sweet William http://tinyurl.com/kw7erwe

Posted by: bour3 at May 31, 2014 05:57 AM (5x3+2)

38 The dianthus thing threw me off because I have others that are true perennials (the plant foliage exists through winter as opposed to these that die off) but whose foliage is different than this flower's. I guess it's a big family.

It grew out of one of the those "wildflower mix" seed packets we sowed a couple of years ago.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 05:58 AM (zDsvJ)

39 "Mystery date, are you ready for your mystery date...." I remember the jingle. But yeah, my parents would never have bought that game.

Posted by: Rosemarie at May 31, 2014 05:59 AM (KFHid)

40 Posted by: tsrblke, PhD(c) (No Really!) at May 31, 2014 10:53 AM (HDwDg) That's why I *love* my yellow knock-outs. They have a citrusy scent that is pronounced and if they're anything like the bright pink ones we had in MO will be *very* easy care.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 05:59 AM (GDulk)

41 My sister and I didn't have Mystery Date, but our cousins did.

We had Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! :-)

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 06:00 AM (zDsvJ)

42 34 I think it's too dry here for kudzu. Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 10:56 AM (zDsvJ) I know you know I was s/ but see now you got me with a straight answer. lol.

Posted by: Guido at May 31, 2014 06:02 AM (GYg/s)

43 Thinking of trying a garden this year..any thoughts on the square foot gardening in raised beds?  No way in hell I am tilling up our claycrete.  What is the minimum size to make it worth it but not too big to overwhelm a newb?

Posted by: Bruce Lee's Green Fist at May 31, 2014 06:03 AM (M+evy)

44 Heh. I *thought* you might've been joking, but... :-)

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 06:05 AM (zDsvJ)

45 I had a slope like that off the back patio at my GF's house. She couldn't mow it so she decided to make it a rock garden. The idea moved into the idea of a terraced rock garden, and then I wound up spending hours each weekend for two years making cyclone fence gabbions and filling them with rocks picked out of the neighbor's pasture and backfilling with earth to made a terraced garden. It made one really wonderful crop and then the GF moved. I am getting the second batch of indian corn in today.

Posted by: Kindltot at May 31, 2014 06:07 AM (37NI1)

46 Bruce Lee --

Yeah, raised beds are the way to go here, too, because our soil is clay with tree roots.

Size? I guess it depends on what you want to grow. I like mine because they're tiered with a built-in trellis. I found it hard to find ones deeper than 18." Seems like most are only 6" to 9" which I think is too shallow for things like need deep roots.

4' x 4' is a common size. Make sure it's not so wide you can't reach across them to the center of the bed.


Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 06:08 AM (zDsvJ)

47 OK I don't know a whole lot about gardening but when we lived in Boise ID the growing season was enormous and the ground fertile. I never had a garden and planted like 30 tomato plants in case some (all) didn't make it. So as you can imagine we had a gazzilion tomatoes....oh and zucchinis; those sneaky little bastards we would find every time we moved a leaf. if our neighbors left their car doors unlocked guess what they found in the morning?

Posted by: Guido at May 31, 2014 06:12 AM (GYg/s)

48 If you were capable of traveling back in time and eradicating a kind of plant, what would it be? I'd vote for cenchrus. I hated getting sandspurs stuck all over me whilst growing up.

Posted by: Sandra Fluke's Solid Gold Diaphragm at May 31, 2014 06:20 AM (bHnlE)

49 48 way to blend the threads ...!

Posted by: Mindy invites you to the Colorado Morondezvous at May 31, 2014 06:25 AM (16TAZ)

50 How quaint! None of those mystery dates ended in a "private" sex tape being "released" to the public and ultimately resulted in an entire family of nobodies being draped in riches followed by a marriage at Versailles.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at May 31, 2014 06:28 AM (DmNpO)

51 Black Krimm are a family favorite here. You'll like them. I just had to replant cucumbers. Frigging field mice. I hates them.

Posted by: Luke at May 31, 2014 06:33 AM (L24QQ)

52 Wanna know why the Green Giant got kicked out of the valley?

He took a pea.


Posted by: Grampa Jimbo at May 31, 2014 06:35 AM (V70Uh)

53 Lots of flowers out all around the house. Lilacs, ground cover, etc. And on my tomato plants. I had one plant trampled because I was lazy putting out my tomato plant supports and I'm sure one of the squirrels fell on it. They have a habit of fighting each other on the magnolia nearby, or on the fence behind. Happy that I finally figured out what was really eating up my pepper plants, and no problems since I've been spraying (white flies - no clue where they came from since this just started happening a few years ago). I spray and a cloud of little white flies take off. A few diggings by the chipmunks, but the wire supports I put out should stop that mostly. I found this video - which can be annoying to listen to because it's windy, but never heard this before. To yield more tomatoes, they lay the plant down initially, and allow it to bend to the sun for a few days, then bury more of the root/stem system in a trench. Start at the 3:00 point. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYDrNkMdl-o Anyone do this?

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at May 31, 2014 06:38 AM (IXrOn)

54 I had to harvest the first batch of radishes to make room for the peppers.

Yeah, I see how it is around here.  Lol.


My cherry tomato plants have blossoms already.  I got cages to put in the pots, I'm wondering if I need chicken wire to keep the birds and raccoons and children away.  O_O 

I also got some of this.  Gonna try it tonight.
https://www.sancoind.com/products/tnt-tomato-booster-1

Posted by: HR at May 31, 2014 06:42 AM (hO8IJ)

55 Anyone do this?

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at May 31, 2014 11:38 AM (IXrOn)

 

I swear I just read that in Square Foot Gardening, I know I saw it somewhere.

Posted by: Bruce Lee's Fist at May 31, 2014 06:43 AM (M+evy)

56 slope of doom... one could try angelina stonecrop/sedum. i have had it establish in the most inhospitable of locations.

Posted by: Phil at May 31, 2014 06:50 AM (gTSL/)

57 One way to deal with a bad slope, and/or bad soil, would be to embed clay pots into it and grow your plants in them.

Posted by: toby928(C) at May 31, 2014 06:51 AM (QupBk)

58 Ah the corpse flower. I am familiar with it. You just have to love the names Chemists gave to chemicals (diamines) the long chain alkanes capped at each end with an NH2 group that evolve in flesh during the rotting process. Cadaverine, heh! and Putrescine. etc. In these days of government induced PC BS, if they were discovered now I am sure they would be named after a combination of flowers and government leaders names. Smells like rotten roses Kerry. or You can't stand it orchid Obama .

Posted by: The Walking Dude at May 31, 2014 06:54 AM (V0RG6)

59 Nood non-gardening thread.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 06:55 AM (zDsvJ)

60 I trained a plant once.  Trained it in the morning.  Trained it at night.  Calisthenics. Weapons.  Tactics.  It was a tough little conifer.  Didn't complain much, ate little.  One day, the next-door neighbors disappeared.  A week after that, the folks across the street moved out.  That little pine tree just sat there and grinned. People started complaining to the cops, so I went back to the gardening center and talked to the lady who sold me the plant.  I said 'I'm having local trouble with my little pine tree."  She looked at me stranglely. "Local trouble?", she said.  I said "Yep.  It was just after I started the night march exercises."  She raised her eyebrows. "That's not how you train a bonsai tree.  You're not doing it right.  Here, we have some Japanese snips for sale and .... "   I left the store and googled "bonsai".  Holy  shit.

Posted by: mrp at May 31, 2014 06:55 AM (JBggj)

61 my carolina reaper plants are already producing, I've got 18 sprouting

Posted by: The Dude at May 31, 2014 06:56 AM (bStrg)

62 Trying something different with my white potatoes vs the red potatoes of last week. I'm pulling out the largest in the manner of new potatoes and hoping the little ones will fill out while I wait for the tops to shrivel, which they are showing no sign of doing, contra the red potatoes which all turned yellow at once.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 06:56 AM (QupBk)

63 I went out and counted my sweet potatoes and I have 50 plants, more or less. I'll be rolling in carbs come late summer.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 06:59 AM (QupBk)

64 wish my tomaters were growing faster, they seem to be a month too late

Posted by: The Dude at May 31, 2014 07:00 AM (bStrg)

65 Anybody here do battle (successfully?) with Boxelder bugs? Damn things are everywhere.

Posted by: Y-not

 

A few drops of dish soap in a spray botlle of water and douse the buggers where they congregate.  It's taken us several years but we have significantly reduced the population.

Posted by: Farmer at May 31, 2014 07:02 AM (LgCwh)

66 Thanks for that tip, Farmer.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 07:03 AM (zDsvJ)

67 And pace the sweet potatoes, I told you guys that rather than painstakingly growing and transplanting slips, this year I just put some small and cutup tubers from last year into the ground like white potatoes after the risk of frost was well past. It appears to work, which is a lot less trouble that previously.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 07:04 AM (QupBk)

68 Maybe too late for this thread. We have Vinca as ground cover in a few places around the house. Another one that works well is Pachysandra. It takes a lot of abuse and keeps coming back. Ours is mostly in the shade, but gets a lot of morning sun.

Posted by: Bruce at May 31, 2014 07:04 AM (HgCDt)

69 Iceplant is used a lot in SoCal for the slopes of doom.

It probably doesn't tolerate sub-freezing temperatures though.

Posted by: Grampa Jimbo at May 31, 2014 07:25 AM (V70Uh)

70 That's a nice looking plant, Grampa.

Looks like *some* could be hardy enough to stand the winters here.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 07:36 AM (zDsvJ)

71 I bought a knockout rose to be delivered to a friend in OK as a sympathy gift. Thanks to CountrySquire for the suggestion. Reading the reviews and testimonials here makes me want one but we are right at the edge of the zone and probably too dry so I'll pass. Maybe I'll get a Juniper to replace our evergreen shrub that died. Damn grasshoppers, but I think the county sprayed them, they died off and haven't come back the last 2 years. Lots of plants I thought had been killed have come back but not that one.

Posted by: PaleRider at May 31, 2014 07:36 AM (Zo60C)

72 Wow, I didn't realize grasshoppers would kill a shrub.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 07:43 AM (zDsvJ)

73 ...I'm sure one of the squirrels fell on it. Posted by: artisanal 'ette at May 31, 2014 11:38 AM (IXrOn) I'm pretty sure that's what happened to one of my Butterfly Weeds. Went to the pool, everything was fine, came home two hours later and *one* plant under the redbud had all three stalks broken and squashed. Looks like they'll be okay, just ugly for the rest of the year.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 07:45 AM (GDulk)

74 Posted by: artisanal 'ette at May 31, 2014 11:38 AM (IXrOn) Have seen recommendations to bury all but top couple leaves of tomatoes since the stem will sprout roots. Apparently tomatoes were originally a vine.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 07:46 AM (GDulk)

75 My squash is attempting to break my will and climb wherever it wants. It will not succeed.

Posted by: Zombie John Gotti at May 31, 2014 07:47 AM (zT0DN)

76 They were horrible, eating leaves and bark off trees and even taking a toll on the pfizer (sp) bushes. I was reluctant to go to serious pesticides so thank goodness the county sprayed whatever they used. It was also a hot dry year and my mom was sick so watering was haphazard.

Posted by: PaleRider at May 31, 2014 07:48 AM (Zo60C)

77 Anybody here do battle (successfully?) with Boxelder bugs? Damn things are everywhere. Posted by: Y-not My in-laws use Thiazine (?) ,something like that name I think, out of sheer desperation. Dish soap sounds much safer and cheaper though.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 07:50 AM (GDulk)

78 Y-not: If the Vinca minor doesn't work you might try creeping thyme.  It will grow in dry areas and tolerates some shade. Google for creeping thyme for info.  I never heard of the stuff until recently.

Posted by: Taken Aback at May 31, 2014 07:56 AM (m4h3l)

79 Yeah, I love creeping thyme. I thought it'd need more sun, but I'll definitely check that if the vinca doesn't work.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 07:58 AM (zDsvJ)

80 Posted by: Bitter Clinger and All That: ...I have a maple that has recently begun to flourish. It's about 2 foot high. It's in a place I don't want it. I want to move it where I would like to see a tree or two...I've googled but I'm getting mixed or muddied signals on when and how. Bitter Clinger, you might be able to grab your shovel today and move your tree! Plan to move it at the start of some cool, cloudy days if you can-- or at least before the weather turns hot. The smaller they are, the easier they are to handle and move, which translates into: greater chance of success. The taproot goes approximately as *deep* as the little tree is *tall* and you must not break it. Since they can grow a foot or more a year, transplanting only gets more difficult/risky as time goes by. Have the target location ready before you dig up the tree--dig a hole at least as deep and as wide as the tree is tall. Water your tree before digging it up: give it a good soak a few hours before you dig, to make digging easier *and* help the soil and rootball stay together. Dig straight down in a circle around the tree, about a foot from the trunk in this case, just to cut the side roots from surrounding soil. Don't lift away any soil yet. Then dig another circle, about a foot outward from the first circle--now removing soil up to the inner circle, forming a trench around the rootball. Deepen this trench to 2 feet, wrapping the rootball if you must, so the soil doesn't fall away from the tree. Now, you're ready to dig under the rootball, the final step in lifting out the tree. Once lifted, you simply take it to the ready-made target location! Set the tree in, add or remove soil to put it at the same level it was previously. Halfway fill-in the hole, add about a gallon of water. Finish filling in the hole, (remove the wrapper if you used one!) tamping down gently and leveling the ground. Build up a 6" high basin around the tree, about 2' diameter, using extra soil. Fill this basin with water, let soak in and then fill again. Pray. Give it a good soak about once a week. Pray some more. Best of luck! (I've sucessfully transplanted or potted many volunteer trees-- sometimes keeping them in pots for years. Seedlings are appearing right now, which is prime time for digging them up!)

Posted by: JeanQ Flyover at May 31, 2014 08:37 AM (82lr7)

81 I just planted some watermelons in the same long bed as the sweet potatoes. I predict a vine war.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 08:47 AM (QupBk)

82 I can't think of a worse place beyond the desert to plant other than dry shade on a slope. I think that you have to decide what it is that you want. Do you want plants, and are you willing to put a little of your back into it? Personally, I'd terrace this thing either with a couple of retaining walls with supplemental dirt, or go au naturale and make a sloped rock garden. Or you could do a variation of both, mixing bedding plants, boulders, along with interesting containers. Whatever you do, you're going to need to do something about the water for dry periods if you want something good back there. You could personally install some drip irrigation and then plant whatever shade loving lovely that you want. Personally, I'd go with ferns and hostas, with well placed large rock. You could make something spectacular that once installed, doesn't take much babysitting. Just fyi, for the comments about moles/voles, you get rid of them by getting rid of their food supply, and reducing their nesting areas. With moles, they're eating insects and love grubs in your yard. Kill the grubs, kill the food supply. Milky Spore, three times a year for two years can not only give you protection against japanese beetles, but by killin g that larvae, you're interupting that food chain. You can also do commercial chemical treatment. Btw, this also took care of the stray skunks in my area. They're grub eaters, too. Voles are like mice. Get rid of your yard leaf litter. Wrap the base of small trees with tree tape, and keep mulch away from the trunk. We had both when we first moved to this location which is suburban, on the edge of rural. Treated the lawn for grubs, hacked back Ma Nature at the perimeter, kept flower beds and the yard free of leaf piles, and that pretty much did it. Bonus points about six years in, we got a couple of dogs. Rodents don't like them.

Posted by: tired at May 31, 2014 08:54 AM (adOUE)

83 That bug looks like a ladybug in nymph stage. Voracious predators of bad bugs. I'd positively identify before you kill it off. Box elder bugs stink when you squash them. Fwiw.

Posted by: Derak at May 31, 2014 09:14 AM (3pF+p)

84 We had a long and cold winter. My tough-as-nails spinach "trees" made it, but the oak leaf lettuce that had wintered surprisingly for several years didn't. I'm still waiting to see my old friend volunteer cherry tomatoes -- I don't think Nature is capable of killing them. I pick out six or eight, transplant them to cages (with double locks!), and keep hoeing the rest. A few still escape. They will pull down the corn if you let them. Sit out at night, and you can hear them grow.

We have a plant the oldsters just called "daylilies," that, with proper training, make a good problem-ground cover. Mine come from a patch my grandmother started in the thirties. She's been gone since '61, and they still come up.

They thrive in damp or dry, shade or sun -- although they do follow sun, and "congregate" if given a chance. They will grow right in a mat of other plants' roots, but you have to watch them because they form a dense "lily-turf" of their own, and if they establish where you don't want them (I had them in a herb garden, for instance--my fault really, as I changed my mind abut what I wanted there) there's some deep digging involved.

I plugged them in around some hostas and tall lilies, where there used to be a brick sidewalk over clay that had been treated with every legal vegetation killer and one or two that weren't. They took right off, and try to reach out into the yard. The mower forms the edge. In another spot, they are thriving where there used to be a packed stone driveway, just making their own dirt as they go along and choking out weeds. Instant garden.

Posted by: Stringer Davis at May 31, 2014 09:18 AM (xq1UY)

85 Posted by: Derak at May 31, 2014 02:14 PM (3pF+p) And make a popping sound. Very gross.

Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette at May 31, 2014 09:25 AM (GDulk)

86 83 That bug looks like a ladybug in nymph stage. Voracious predators of bad bugs. I'd positively identify before you kill it off. Box elder bugs stink when you squash them.

Fwiw.
--

You know what? On second examination, that IS a ladybug. Good eye! We have both hanging around that area. But there is a bad infestation of boxelder bugs right now.

I guess I won't even be able to do the soapy water thing or I'll wipe out the lady bugs who are protecting my plum tree.

Dammitt!

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 09:25 AM (zDsvJ)

87 Go BlackHawks

Posted by: Jeffrey Carter (@pointsnfigures) at May 31, 2014 09:40 AM (LnE5F)

88 Weekly check in on the garden. 7 out of 8 tomatoe plants are producing madly. Only my beefsteak has yet to show a fruit, but I'm hopeful. The Cherokee purple are outrageous, and the cherries and plum tomatoes are going nuts. I have a few dozen volunteer squashes and melons fruiting now, I need to go thru them and take out the useless decoratives from last year. And then replant some more melons and pumpkins. Sadly, my tobacco was washed away in a deluge, so I'm looking daily at an accusatory bare corner. I'll feel better when I prove to myself that I can grow the stuff

Posted by: Ddgreen67 at May 31, 2014 10:16 AM (aSYGh)

89 Normally, I'm opposed to government getting involved in every single thing they can get their grubby hands on, but after reading this thread, I'm thinking that maybe there should be some kind of licensing requirement for gardening. WeirdDave would be denied a license under this regime.

It's for the plants.

Posted by: Anon Y. Mous at May 31, 2014 10:37 AM (IN7k+)

90 They'd never do it Anon. Dems only "protect" potl voters. Plants can't vote. Yet.

Posted by: Y-not on the phone at May 31, 2014 10:46 AM (zDsvJ)

91 Neither can children. The appeal is to those who care (or who would like to preen that they do).

Posted by: Anon Y. Mous at May 31, 2014 10:52 AM (IN7k+)

92 Y-Not, as long as I have your attention: that MSU link about the holes is no good. It has an extra html character at the end of it. It was easy enough to fix in the address bar by just removing it, but I thought you might like to know about it.

Posted by: Anon Y. Mous at May 31, 2014 10:57 AM (IN7k+)

93 Dammitt! thank you Anon. I'll fix that and the elderbug thingy.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 11:27 AM (zDsvJ)

94 Fixed.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 11:38 AM (zDsvJ)

95 If anyone cares, I was motivated to put up pictures of a part of the garden in the rain http://is.gd/9fL9kF The five empty blocks are where we pulled out the dead brocoli and you can see where I had to brick in the corn to save it from the raccoons digging.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 12:06 PM (QupBk)

96 oh and some potatoes I dug this morning

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 12:12 PM (QupBk)

97 That's an impressive garden, toby.


Hey, does anyone have recipes that use radish greens? I have all of these lovely radish tops. Seems a shame to waste them.

Posted by: Y-not from the barrel at May 31, 2014 12:19 PM (zDsvJ)

98 That's an impressive garden, toby. Thank you. Learning to grow corn in raised beds has been interesting.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 12:20 PM (QupBk)

99 This Monday Animal Control is supposed to bring some raccoon traps by the house. I've been wasting some cheap cat food from Dollar General in a completely different part of the yard as a sacrifice to the coons. It seems to be working as no ears have been stolen since last week. But it's a pita to have to feed raccoons to keep them out of the corn. Soon.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 12:34 PM (QupBk)

100 It's like paying off the mob.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 12:41 PM (QupBk)

101 >>Learning to grow corn in raised beds has been interesting.

What are the issues unique to raised beds vis a vis corn?

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 01:00 PM (zDsvJ)

102 On the up side, toby, you could be well-set for Daniel Boone caps for the kids or grandkids.

Posted by: Y-not at May 31, 2014 01:01 PM (zDsvJ)

103 What are the issues unique to raised beds vis a vis corn? The one that I'm wrestling with is whether and how to hoe up the soil around the corn as it grows. In row gardening, you have plenty of dirt between the rows to pull up over the lateral roots of the corn. This year I tried planting about 2 inches deeper than normal in hope that the laterals would not become exposed at all. This actually seems to have worked. My main problem with the corn, and with this garden in general is sunlight. You can probably see that I am surrounded by tall trees. I get 6 hours of sun tops. Corn really wants direct sun for as long as possible. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I will use my last gasoline to blow away the trees to the west and gain enough sun-hours to make it a survival garden.

Posted by: toby928(C) Lord of the run on sentence at May 31, 2014 01:17 PM (QupBk)

104

Y-not...some Rye Grass might work on that Slope of Doom.

 

You could let it grow up and fall over, re-seeding itself.

That way you wouldn't have to mow it.

Posted by: wheatie at May 31, 2014 01:23 PM (XaGbp)

105 Couple more tomato plants have developed cucumber mosaic virus. At least it doesn't seem to be TMV, thank goodness. Planting wheat in the spots where I take them out, because grasses are generally not susceptible. Will dig the grass in. Have you ever drunk wheat grass juice? An experience.

Posted by: KT at May 31, 2014 02:36 PM (qahv/)

106 Sweet woodruff or lamium might work for your slope, Y not, at least the shady part.

Posted by: Tammy realizes that Robert was correct about The Royal Bum last night at May 31, 2014 04:18 PM (iIpOP)

107 I know I'm late to a dead thread but Greene's makes raised bed garden kits that are dove-tailed so can be put together without tools and can be stacked on top of each other so you can make them as deep as you want. they make two types so make sure you get the dove-tailed kits if you go this route. You can buy them through Home Depot online and get free shipping if you spend over $100. I have 3 of their 4x8x10.5 raised bed gardens and do the square foot gardening, seems to be working so far.

Posted by: lindafell at May 31, 2014 05:49 PM (PGO8C)

108 Henrique, it's over!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsZja3yxSRc&feature=kp

Posted by: spike at May 31, 2014 07:17 PM (vxKe0)

109 Oh, thanks for that info, lindafell!

Posted by: Y-not at June 01, 2014 05:28 AM (zDsvJ)

110 Interesting, toby. I've never grown corn so I didn't know about that side root thing.

Posted by: Y-not at June 01, 2014 05:30 AM (zDsvJ)

111 'Meant to mention, I would like next week's gardening thread to be a Brag Page.

So if you're interested follow/DM me on Twitter @moxiemom or email me at bailesworth g mail with links to your garden pictures.

Posted by: Y-not at June 01, 2014 09:41 AM (zDsvJ)

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