July 29, 2017

Saturday Gardening Thread: Hangin' with the Horde [KT]
— Open Blogger


Tithonia rotundifolia


Last week, I included a link to Don's flickr page, but he also has some great stuff for July on his blog, including the Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower, Red Sunflower) above. As he notes, Tithonia grows tall enough that you can look it in the eye. It is a great butterfly plant. If anybody knows why it is called "clavel de muerto" (carnation of death), let me know. In addition to orange and orange-red cultivars, there are a couple of butterscotch-colored ones, and some half-height "dwarfs". Check out Don's closeups of regular sunflowers, too. He's in Kansas, after all. Don has cultural notes on growing flowers from non-midwestern climates (including the Tithonia) in this post. What worked and what didn't work as well. Attention: denizens of the East. Guess the Tithonia got red spider mites.

This is a plant that worked for him, Gilia tricolor. It is native where I live. I love little wildflowers like this. It is reputed to smell like chocolate, but I think some people tend to use their imaginations a little when comparing flower fragrances to chocolate. Apparently makes a good cut or dried flower. I have never tried drying it. If anybody can confirm that it is attractive to hummingbirds, please let us know.


Bird's Eyes

Annie's sells two additional species of Gilia. Gilia capitata (Blue Thimble Flower) is renowned as a bee plant and is often included in pollinator mixtures. Gilia splendens, a little rose flower from Southern California, is long-blooming and has surprising turquoise anthers and pollen.

And here is one of the cactus photos Don selected for special attention.


Mammillaria huitzilopochtli

Back on his flickr account, there is an outstanding new water plant photo.


A while ago, Kindltot send in this inviting landscape photo:

[This] is a farm out by Gaston OR that used to plow up and plant Dahlias and put out a bench and plastic buckets and a drop-box and let you U-Pick.

I had a girlfriend who loved going there to take pictures.

dahlia edit.jpg

I can see why.

North Carolina

Back at the end of June, Lurker liz953 sent in the following fascinating photo:

palm flwr.JPG

It's a Pindo Palm, and some also refer to it as a Jelly Palm. The fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple and lemon. Very fibrous, and has a rather large seed. Apparently the seeds are easy to propagate.

At my home away from home in Nags Head, NC. I have three palms that are in flower like this one. Long green pods grow out of the trunk, then harden up into woody pods as the flowers grow inside (you can see the top of the pod ion the photo). Then the pods split open and the yellow flowers tumble out, as in the photo. Each flower produces a yellow/orange grape-sized fruit that falls to the ground. Some guy came by last year and asked if he could have the fruit to make wine. I asked if it was good wine, and he said, "Not really, but you can drink it."

Hmmmm. Anybody every made jelly or wine with the fruit of this palm?

Gardens of the Horde

There are more photos from members of The Horde waiting for my computer to cooperate. Tune in again.

We have ripe Pluots. Keeping the trees alive. Battling spider mites. What's going on in your garden?

If you would like to send information and/or photos for the Saturday Gardening Thread, the address is:

at g mail dot com

Include your nic unless you want to be a lurker.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:44 AM | Comments (109)
Post contains 607 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Good Afternoon greentumbs The question first is to pull the lettuce up or not?

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 07:41 AM (pPKG5)

2 Pretty plants. I'm taking a break from pulling goats head burrs. I sprayed the early ones but got busy with other stuff for a month and now there are lots of monster size plants. That is still better than a mess of crowded little ones setting burrs but in a perfect world I would have a gardener on retainer who took care of this for me.

Posted by: PaleRider at July 29, 2017 07:42 AM (8qFZP)

3 Skip at July 29, 2017 12:41 PM

Is the lettuce bitter?   Too bitter to eat wilted?  if so, pull it. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:44 AM (BVQ+1)

4 Finally have a couple cucumbers and picted a tomato, will have lots more IF the sun ever comes out again. Picked a green Anaheim but doubt this one will ever ripen though.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 07:45 AM (pPKG5)

5 KT, Thanks as always for the thread. I swear the phots get better each week. The cactus photo is especially interesting (and I wish I had taken it). That complex and repetitive patterns on a three dimensional surface is fascinating. In an odd way, it reminds me of the feathers on an owl, especially the face and breast, with similar complexity.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 07:45 AM (V+03K)

6 PaleRider at July 29, 2017 12:42 PM

Those goat heads are miserable, aren't they?  Mr. Bar-the-Door is currently doing some work at a dairy.  Comes home with the burrs in his shoes,  Takes them off outside and puts the shoes in a box. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:45 AM (BVQ+1)

7 Lettuce looks notmal but its getting bitter now. Still had some mixed with bought in salad Thursday.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 07:46 AM (pPKG5)

8 JTB at July 29, 2017 12:45 PM

That's probably why Don called the post "spine feathers". 

If you scroll through his July blog posts, you'll also run across a youtube video of a gas plant on fire.  A fun alternative to firecrackers. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:49 AM (BVQ+1)

9 KT, that is a good idea. Having them in our own yard means they get dragged in by the dog. Right now they are green enough to stay on the plants as I pull them. I hate the nasty buggers but overall it has been nice to be riding more and watering some trees rather than just being in kill the burrs mode like too much of my previous 2-3 summers.

Posted by: PaleRider at July 29, 2017 07:52 AM (8qFZP)

10 Skip at July 29, 2017 12:45 PM

Congrats on your harvest.  Green Anaheim chiles are perfectly acceptable.  Incidentally, the dried ripe ones make "Chile California" for pozole. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:54 AM (BVQ+1)

11 My tallest corn stalks are about 8 feet tall, and just showing the tassels.  My tomatoes are still green, and in trying to suspend melons to keep them off the dirt, I broke off one of the largest ones, so that project is on hold.

My garden is looking so nice this year since I got in on my hoeing and raking early.  Almost no thistle is coming up from the roots, and even the bindweed seems discouraged. 
I need to look into different plants other than squash, melon, peppers, eggplants and corn for next year. 

Posted by: Kindltot at July 29, 2017 07:54 AM (mkDpn)

12 And should take a count of "volunteer ' tomato plants and what type they are. Wondering if its a certain type that do this. I get them popping up all over as I use compost liberally, but usually pull most of them but not all.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 07:57 AM (pPKG5)

13 No, as Alton Brown says "Why would you eat a unripe pepper?" I love Anaheims in their full ripest if I can get them. But unripe can be used.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 08:00 AM (pPKG5)

14 I planted hearty begonias a few years back and now they grow everywhere. Nice flowers and if you weed eat them back they don't mind, they just grow back.

Posted by: Hairyback Guy at July 29, 2017 08:00 AM (5VlCp)

15 I bought pluots last year and they were some of the best fruit I ever tasted. This year I bought some and they were just all right. This batch tasted like it had more plum than apricot. Not a huge fan of plain plums. I may just stick to nectarines.

Posted by: Aunt Luna at July 29, 2017 08:03 AM (oF6wJ)

16 I love the cactus photo, it's stunning. The Mexican sunflower reminds me of gerber daisies.

Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 08:05 AM (Ri/rl)

17 KT, I imagine your air quality is still bad. Have they gotten a handle on the fire in mariposa? Our big fires are under control. We've had a few small fires that they've had under control immediately. I can't imagine how hot it is in the valley now. It was 105 in Paso so I can imagine how hot it has been in your neck of the woods.

Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 08:08 AM (Ri/rl)

18 Heat wave--drought--water restrictions A mild case of the sadz. This is always the worst time of year, but it's a bit worse than normal this year. Oh well, this too will pass. Today will be one of the hottest days we've had here in years so we're just hunkering inside mostly, except I just set a soaker hose on these two Durantas that can never seem to get enough water. Hmm, maybe I should let them expire and replace with something tougher. The esperanzas nearby are laughing at them and calling them pussies. As always, thanks, KT for these theatres as well as the threads below.

Posted by: stace at July 29, 2017 08:13 AM (DElAm)

19 The lettuce is done for now. The heat took its toll and the plants got a bit tough and bitter sooner than expected. Just a weird year for weather all around. We'll do a fall planting in a month or so. The tomatoes aren't doing too well on the vine; something (probably a squirrel) is getting to them as they ripen to red. We're picking them green and letting them ripen on the window sills. The may not be warm from the sun but the taste is wonderful. The summer squash is way behind schedule. The plants look good but they are slow to do anything. I'm starting to take it personally.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 08:13 AM (V+03K)

20 Theatres=threads

Posted by: stace at July 29, 2017 08:14 AM (DElAm)

21 Kindltot at July 29, 2017 12:54 PM

Sounds like you have some good things going.  Were you using slings to suspend your melons?  I did that once.  On a fence.  Looked like they were in old-fashioned diapers. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:16 AM (BVQ+1)

22 Hairyback Guy at July 29, 2017 01:00 PM

I have never heard of cold-hardy begonias.  What region do you live in? 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:17 AM (BVQ+1)

23 My wife and I went to a presentation on native orchids at the local library this week. Fascinating....I had no idea there were 55 species in SC alone. You may have seen some w/o realizing they were orchids. Here's a link to the guy's flickr page. https://www.flickr.com/photos/22032600@N04/sets/72157623846282487/

Posted by: BignJames at July 29, 2017 08:19 AM (x9c8r)

24 Aunt Luna at July 29, 2017 01:03 PM

Varieties of Pluots vary from mediocre to wonderful.  For example, some look-alikes of "Dapple Dandy", the original "dinosaur edd" Pluot, have its looks but not its flavor.  There are big ones, little ones, red ones, yellow ones, purple ones and green ones. 

And you still have to pick the good ones when they are ripe for them to taste good. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:20 AM (BVQ+1)

25 I'm awash in elbertas, cukes tomatoes, beets and peppers, so I'm canning this week. There's a peach pie in the oven as I type. We're enjoying the first of the grapes and melons. This one is not only a vigorous grower and delicious but so charming that it makes me smile: https://tinyurl.com/ybds2fag Other than roses and Cosmos, the most successful flowers this year has been the Gladdies and Star Gazer lilies. Over the past two years I've planted several hundred and they've filled the house with their happy faces and perfume. I'm looking forward to a big patch of Belladonna "Naked Ladies" later this month. It's so hot in the Valley that some crops are tired. I pulled a row of mostly spent green beans and planted another crop of beets and cut the sunflowers, which were spectacular this year...reaching 12-15 ft. I cut the sunflower heads off...leaving a 3-4 ft stem, tie them together and hang from the branches of a nearby oak tree. The birds can easily feed, and we have a volunteer seedling crop in the spring to transplant.

Posted by: Shanks for the memory at July 29, 2017 08:24 AM (TdCQk)

26 Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 01:08 PM

Evacuations have been lifted in Mariposa.  A new fire started nearby the 27th but they seem to have contained it, too. 

It hasn't been that much hotter than Paso.  Don't know why Paso seems to get hotter than other nearby areas.  Here it was 107 yesterday.  Forecast is hotter for next weekend. 

Glad your big fires are under control. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:25 AM (BVQ+1)

27 A reminder for those who care, the 2018 Old Farmers Almanac comes out August 29. I look forward to it every year and just preordered a copy. There is so much interesting and fun information in each issue. I keep my copy by the recliner and dip into it now and then as a treat. Never tried it but I wonder if planting by the phases of the moon and similar gardening lore actually makes a difference.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 08:27 AM (V+03K)

28 Posted by: stace at July 29, 2017 01:13 PM

I don't know much about Durantas.  Maybe there's a reason, if they don't like heat and drought. 

Hope things cool off for you soon. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:28 AM (BVQ+1)

29 Skip at July 29, 2017 12:57 PM

Volunteer tomatoes often revert to cherry types.  But not always.  It's potluck unless you planted heirlooms and they self-pollinated. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:29 AM (BVQ+1)

30 Pluots sound good ... I had to google to see what they are.  I have two nectarine trees but haven't sprayed enough to get a crop.  They used to get some fungus, this year they were swarmed by Japanese beetles, completely coated them, eating right down to the pit on some.  The beetles seem to prefer the smooth skins over the peaches (as do I), but raccoons got most of the peaches, eliminating that chore.

But the two pear trees finally bore fruit, and the raccoons didn't find them yet.  Lots of nice tomatoes, melons not ripe yet, have some grapes the birds are working on as they ripen, but may get enough of the Frontenac to make 5 gallons of wine.  Some indian corn is about 12' tall, but not all put out ears.  But enough for more seed ... just for fun anyway.

That dahlia plot is a cool idea.  My plant/harvest guy grows some melons and leaves a table in the little nearby town with the melons and a box for money.  Works pretty well, plus I guess he has a camera somewhere that can catch the cheaters, and in a small town can find them.  My wildflower plot is blooming nicely after mucho weeding, one pound mix of annual and perennial.

cheers ... thanks to all for posting your garden updates.

Posted by: illiniwek at July 29, 2017 08:35 AM (HQuBO)

31 BignJames at July 29, 2017 01:19 PM

Thanks for the link. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 08:39 AM (BVQ+1)

32 I don't know why but the crepe myrtles in our area are especially beautiful this year with full foliage and extra colorful blossoms. Spectacular! Even our bargain basement little crepe, which a few years ago looked like an undernourished pencil, is reaching 6 feet. The long established ones in the area easily top 20 feet tall.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 08:39 AM (V+03K)

33 Temperatures have cooled here. Highs in the 70s this week. Been getting some rain for a change. Have some green tomatoes. Picked one cucumber. Spinach bolted. Too hot I guess.

Posted by: Ronster at July 29, 2017 08:46 AM (qk/ok)

34 I love flowers And FUCK John McCain in the face with a trident

Posted by: Gaius Julius Caesar at July 29, 2017 08:48 AM (FTPVM)

35 Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 01:39 PM (V+03K) I love crape myrtle. Mine hasn't bloomed yet. Maybe we pruned it wrong. They have them in Paso Robles and those are blooming beautifully. They must like the heat.

Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 08:48 AM (Ri/rl)

36 Kindlot, The flower photo is beautiful. They grow gladiolus around here. Acres of blooms are so pretty but I about drive off the road trying to get a better look. I always tell my husband to steal me some. He hasn't yet. There's a field of them next to where we farm.

Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 08:51 AM (Ri/rl)

37 Our wine grapes are coming along nicely. The crews de leafed and put the nets over the Pinot. The chardonnay grapes look like they have mildew. They sprayed sulphur. They haven't put the nets up on the chardonnay yet. The birds are going to wipe out the crop.

Posted by: CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 08:55 AM (Ri/rl)

38 The deck cracked on my Husqvarna pushmower. I went on the internet and found new replacement one for $150delivered. But it's not going to get here for two weeks. My yard will be a jungle by then.

Posted by: Grump928(C) at July 29, 2017 09:00 AM (LTHVh)

39 35 ...KT, I learned that some varieties of crepe myrtle bloom at different times. Apparently, ours is a late type as it is just starting to blossom. That suits me as it extends the show.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 09:00 AM (V+03K)

40 Shanks for the memory at July 29, 2017 01:24 PM

Love hearing about your bulbs.  I have Naked Ladies by the driveway, and one of the neighbors has glads. 

I have never considered planting beets in July.  Maybe I should try it. 

I have planted beans and cucumbers in August.  Some spring varieties of beans are big disappointments in fall.  Some do really well. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:04 AM (BVQ+1)

41 We discovered goat head burrs when we moved to a more rural area in SoCal and went bike riding on day. All of us got flats and the guy at the bike shop just said "goat head burrs". Damn! Well, I noticed the dreaded fig beetles were at the fruit again because I missed 2 days of harvesting any ripe fruit so I braved the few that were there and shooed them away while screaming at the top of my lungs in terror. Now what to do with all these very ripe figs? Found a great recipe for fig jam among other things at Simply Recipes. I would never dream of making jam except: you sterilize the jars in the oven-easy- and the jam is made in the microwave- even easier! It's delicious and this may belong in the food thread but loved this easy recipe: http://tinyurl.com/lsxuuay

Posted by: keena at July 29, 2017 09:05 AM (RiTnx)

42 JTB at July 29, 2017 01:27 PM

I have a theory that planting by the phases of the moon helps by . . reminding you to plant. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:06 AM (BVQ+1)

43 Wow, Don!  Gorgeous photography!

Garden Thread is always a treat.  Thanks, KT!

Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 09:07 AM (5muuD)

44 KT, I have some kind of bug on my trellis rose and the guy at the store told me what it was but I forget. Anyway it's not a caterpillar so BT won't work. Said you can go organic and spray Capt Jacks Dead Bug but the thing is huge and I will never reach the top. Said you can go nuclear and just use systemic Bayer 3 in 1. I want to do that but the bulk of the roots are under the lawn. Will that do any damage to the grass?

Posted by: keena at July 29, 2017 09:08 AM (RiTnx)

45 Posted by: illiniwek at July 29, 2017 01:35 PM

There are not many Pluots that would make it in the midwest.  Nectarines are a bigger challenge than peaches even in California.  We don't have Japanese beetles, but there are little moths that lay eggs on the fruit. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:09 AM (BVQ+1)

46 JTB at July 29, 2017 01:39 PM

I'm glad that there are low-mildew cultivars of crape myrtle now. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:11 AM (BVQ+1)

47 I almost forgot already: this week I took a hard hat tour of the new addition to our city botanical garden, which will open in October. I was involved in some early concepts in the children's section. My friend and I wanted to have a dung beetle be the children's garden mascot but for some reason that didn't fly. Despite that, it's going to very nice when complete.

Posted by: stace at July 29, 2017 09:12 AM (DElAm)

48 Not quite gardening but plant growth. The grass seed we put down where the wisteria was removed has started to come up. It took about two weeks before anything happened. This is my first attempt to grow regular, lawn-type grass and I had no idea if it would work, especially in ground so densely planted with wisteria stems. I'm hoping the grass will eventually crowd out, or at least slow down, the wisteria which keeps trying to come back.

Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 09:12 AM (V+03K)

49 stace at July 29, 2017 01:14 PM

Yes, sometimes we share some drama in these gardening threads. 


Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:13 AM (BVQ+1)

50 Ronster at July 29, 2017 01:46 PM

That awkward time between spinach and ripe tomatoes.  But still, a cucumber!

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:15 AM (BVQ+1)

51 The first flower, Tithonia, contains a secret message in the name. Tit Honey - A 10 out of 10 babies use the product and agree with the grade. Yeah, I got nuthin'.

Posted by: naturalfake at July 29, 2017 09:17 AM (9q7Dl)

52 CaliGirl at July 29, 2017 01:55 PM

A lot of people don't realize the amount of care involved in producing grapes.  Good luck with your harvest. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:17 AM (BVQ+1)

53 Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:09 PM (BVQ+1) There used to be a boutique Pluot Grower that shipped out Pluots as they came ripe ala Harry and David. I thin their name was "Eden Garden". Best dang stone fruit in the history of the planet. But, then they stopped doing it or ran out of business or something. *sheds single tear*

Posted by: naturalfake at July 29, 2017 09:20 AM (9q7Dl)

54 Speaking of flowers, I'm at the mall right now and Daisy Dukes have definitely made a comeback. I'm so glad I don't have a teen daughter.

Posted by: Jack Sock at July 29, 2017 09:20 AM (cWAlb)

55 Grump928(C) at July 29, 2017 02:00 PM

Pushmower . . . . A way to maintain the capacity for physical work. Have you been reading VDH?

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:21 AM (BVQ+1)

56 Just planted Mexican sunflowers a few weeks ago, after sprouting them in peat pots.  The germination pots were intended as a preemptive measure against slugs and squirrels, but I fear they've also slowed plant growth.  It's not at all clear that they'll have flowered before cold weather comes to the Puget Sound area. 

Posted by: Born Free at July 29, 2017 09:21 AM (GOCJR)

57 keena at July 29, 2017 02:05 PM

Thanks for the recipe and for braving those big fig beetles. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:24 AM (BVQ+1)

58 I think that Pindo Palm shows some Rasta influence. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:25 AM (BVQ+1)

59 Posted by: keena at July 29, 2017 02:08 PM

I am not aware of any systemic insecticides that harm grass, but the label should say so if it does.  Most of those bottles have a number you can call with questions. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:27 AM (BVQ+1)

60 Posted by: stace at July 29, 2017 02:12 PM

I remember you talking about the planning process for that botanical garden earlier.  Congrats. 

Sorry that the dung beetle was voted down. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:30 AM (BVQ+1)

61 Posted by: JTB at July 29, 2017 02:12 PM

Grass seed counts as gardening. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:32 AM (BVQ+1)

62 naturalfake at July 29, 2017 02:20 PM

Sorry.  Some Pluots are indeed fabulous.  There are some great new supersweet apricots, too. 

Look around.  There may be others.  Some outfit in Lemoore is breeding trees, but I think they intend to release them to the nursery industry.  

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:34 AM (BVQ+1)

63 Well, the Japanese beetles seem to be diminishing. After they completely shredded my roses. Oh well, the leave are starting to regrow, and some new buds are forming. Love Don's photos. How beautiful! I putz around in flowers with my camera, from time to time. Such lovely subjects. https://tinyurl.com/yas6yvxj

Posted by: lizabth at July 29, 2017 09:36 AM (p0fBx)

64 We got our first tomatoes this week: 3 little 'Jubilee' cherry toms.  They're actually pear-shaped, about an inch in size, not too sweet and very good flavor.

There's an 'Early Girl' ripening, may be ready by tomorrow or Monday-- only a couple of clusters on that plant now but plenty of flowers.

'Brandywine', 'Beefmaster', and 'Jelly Beans' are full of flowers and starting to show tiny fruits... it seems so late, but then I got started pretty late.

Supposed to be over 100* all of next week, so hope the little ones survive it.  If not, there's still plenty of time to recover before first frost.  (Assuming it doesn't kill the plants!)

Peppers are blooming profusely, finally!  They dropped first blooms and growth stalled for a couple weeks-- maybe because I had to move them?-- looking forward to chiles rellenos next month.

For container growing, I think it's all going quite well. 

Chiles are in tall 2 (3?) gallon nursery pots, tomatoes are in 16"d x 18"t decorative pots. 

Using a mix of various brands of potting soil and soil amendment. (Cleaned out the potting shed and got just enough 'new' to fill the pots, lol.)

Giving half-strength liquid Miracle Gro every other week.

Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 09:42 AM (5muuD)

65 Posted by: lizabth at July 29, 2017 02:36 PM

Nice photos these.  I like the birds and the little grasshopper on the micromister.  For some reason.  Feel free to send in a photo or two or three sometime. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:48 AM (BVQ+1)

66 Posted by: Born Free at July 29, 2017 02:21 PM

Tithonia likes a long, warm season.  I have mixed feelings about peat pots.  You might try Root Trainers that train roots straight down sometime.  Good for plants with taproots. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:50 AM (BVQ+1)

67 Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 02:42 PM

Thanks for the report.  Keep the plant roots (in containers) cool as the weather heats up. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:53 AM (BVQ+1)

68 Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:48 PM

Oh.  It's a baby katydid.  Maybe that's why I like it. 

One of our friends says that they are good luck. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:55 AM (BVQ+1)

69 Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:53 PM

Good advice, KT.

Best I can do is to shade them by putting pots of flowers and other garden decor around them... hope it works!

Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 10:02 AM (5muuD)

70 Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 03:02 PM

A little extra light-colored mulch might help, too.  Even shredded newspapers.  Maybe mixed with something else. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 10:06 AM (BVQ+1)

71 Gla

Posted by: Spun and Murky at July 29, 2017 10:18 AM (4DCSq)

72 A little extra light-colored mulch might help, too. Even shredded newspapers. Maybe mixed with something else.

Top of soil is shaded by petunias.  I just couldn't resist those dark royal purple ones.

Posted by: JQ Flyover at July 29, 2017 10:27 AM (5muuD)

73 Let me try that again... Gladiolus remind me, fondly, of my Grandmother in Farmersville, CA. She always had, at least, a 20 foot row in her garden. Beautiful! That dirt would grow anything, as long as it was irrigated. Central Valley heat? I went to her funeral in '91 there. Temps were over 100 and I was wearing my Air Force Class A's. As long as I stayed in the shade, it was comfortable. Low humidity is wonderful when you've lived in the south for years...

Posted by: Spun and Murky at July 29, 2017 10:29 AM (4DCSq)

74 I love deep purple petunias, too.  Some of the burgundy ones are also stunning. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 10:30 AM (BVQ+1)

75 Posted by: Spun and Murky at July 29, 2017 03:29 PM

Wonderful remembrance of your grandmother.  Glads seem to do well in the Valley. 

Our humidity here is usually not bad, as you have noted.  It can be moderately high, off and on, during monsoon season, which means now.  Daytime heat is more oppressive on the days when the typical 30 degree plus swing between day and night temperatures doesn't happen due to high pressure.  Usually this is just a few days during the season. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 10:37 AM (BVQ+1)

76 I made 5 gallons of dill pickles this week from the cucumbers picked last weekend. Probably have enough for a rew more from the one picked this week. They, like the summer squash, need picked every day. It looks like anther big pickingmid setting up fro picking ina few days. We end up giving away most of the pickles to family and friends. They love them, and they are not vey hard to make. I submitted the recipe for the cookbook, so maybe iy will make the cut. Dug the garlic this week. Not as big as usual, but still will be plenty plus enough for planting for next year. We've had a couple dozen Early Girl tomatoes. We cheated and they were big plants when we planted. Got themmfrom my wife's sister who runs a green house. Also getting some grape tomatoes. The paste tmatoes are setting many tomatoes so we should have plenty for making sauce. Heirloom tomatoes are also looking good. As well as good eating, they make excellent tasting juice and stewed tomatoes for canning. We also can a mixture of tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. This makes easy osso bucco and cacciatore. We also can salsa and Serbian hot rice mix if we have enough tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Many small mlons setting now. They should still have enough time after a late start. Corn is a bust this year as well as beans. Wet, cold spring spring followed immediately by hot and dry. Still watchin the rain we need go just north and south of us. Not even a chance in the forecast this week., so, will be watering this week. The vegetable garden is going better than it should, but it has been a lot of work. So, the flower gardens around the house are suffering from neglect (mainly weeding,) but there are some volunteer trees and bushes that need to be dug or pulled out with the truck. Also waiting for my sons to cut back a very overgrown Japanese maple. Until next week, good luck, and God bless everyone.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 10:46 AM (lIZQs)

77 bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 03:46 PM

Thanks for the extensive report.  We'll be looking forward to the pickle recipe. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 10:50 AM (BVQ+1)

78 Saturday already..... the 100+ degree heat in Idaho's Treasure Valley is really wearing me down. I get up each morning, go out to do 2-3 hours of work (sometimes without eating breakfast first), then have no energy for the entire rest of the day. It seems like this summer has had more 100 degree days than normal - but since I have only 3 previous summers here under my belt, I can't be completely sure of that. Trying to put my brain back together, after spending the morning picking a total of 56 feet of green bush bean row, putting fertilizer side-dressing on the asparagus bed, and cleaning up the easy strawberry bed (pull off dead leaves, manage the runners, and put on fertilizer).... Well, let's see, while I was gone for 11 days, and had the irrigation sprayers running every day, of course both vegetable plants and weeds grew well. Husband had to take 2 passes to mow the grass back down to normal height. That gave us lots of grass to compost (with last year's shredded leaves, which we save in wire hoop cages). And he's done a ton of weed-spraying. It wasn't a bad time to be gone, as we had finished with spring carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes, June strawberries, and most of the early raspberries - and no summer crops had really gotten going yet. Of course, the green bush beans were growing madly and we might have started harvesting those - we had to get rid of the large fibrous ones we picked when we came home. At this point, we have to pick and process them every 2nd day. As I work, I try to keep my mind on all the beans I'll be grateful to have in the freezer, come winter... I had actually left the smallest spring carrots in the ground hoping they'd get a bit bigger. One of them went to flower, and it amuses me to leave it there; the rest I dug up. The spring ones aren't as large as last fall's, so I'll eat these raw, and freeze the fall ones for stews. We left the spring (green) onions in too long and they got too big to be "green onions" - lesson learned is, don't plant 30 of them at once!, just maybe 10 at a time, every 3-4 weeks! We dug up what was left, and ended up with 5 that can be called flattish white onions. The squashes are baffling me, especially the zucchini. We're running an experiment, trying to grow some crops directly in the ground instead of the raised beds. We have a sugar pumpkin, a Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato, 2 zucchini, and a butternut squash. None of them seem to like their location, but the zucchini seem to have stopped producing fruit completely. This is baffling, since last year we had so many zukes, I was going to have to go 'round town and stuff them into random open car windows... And the pumpkins are already starting to turn orange! The six rows of sweet corn (20 feet each) are looking good. We're trying 2 bicolors this year. (We did plant what remained of last year's seed, and got 3 plants out of 40 seeds, so had to replant those rows!) We're also trying a row of beans in the same bed, hoping to improve the soil, and we'll compare the beans grown in the ground with all the ones in the raised beds. The 4 cantaloupe vines are looking great, which shocked me. They sprouted so slowly, and grew so slowly, that I was sure we'd never get anything from them. But I can see at least 4 good-sized fruits already. We have scary amounts of herbs - sage, marjoram, spearmint, English thyme, and especially parsley and chives. The chives I cut down to 2" tall last month are full height again! We cut down the Asian snow pea vines. We plan to try field peas this fall, after the corn is done - that will be our first try with those. We've gotten one very early Roma tomato, and a handful of Sungolds, but we're still waiting on the rest of the tomatoes. The Early Girl and Sungold are in cloth pots, and they don't seem to be thrilled about that any more than the squashes are thrilled to be in the ground. The plants in one of our "potato bags" look like they plan to die early - if the potatoes are still small, I guess we get to try some "new potatoes". And if they're normal, so much the better. The old red raspberry patch already produced the early part of its crop - and it looks like we'll get a great late summer crop - yum! We're already planning to clear last year's out of the freezer by home-brewing "raspberry wheat beer, 2nd try". The new row of raspberries (started with root-chunks that got out of bounds from the first bed) looks like it's doing well - some of the plants are trying to flower and fruit. Although I don't go to the back edge of our property to check on them often, husband mows past the apple trees every week, and brings me back reports. He says both trees are heavy laden (Golden Delicious and probably-Jonathan), which is a surprise. He's rebuilding our apple "scratter" and press so we can make more cider this year - and we can make more jars of canned applesauce too. I think we already have quite enough jelly... Alas for the blueberry bushes... they look bad - perhaps the harsh Snowpocalypse winter followed by a scorching summer? We may eventually have to replant - for now we're just keeping an eye on them. As far as flowers, the lavenders in the herb bed have already flowered, so it's good I got some buds for sachets before we did our vacation. The small golden day lilies out front have completely stopped blooming - the large red-orange daylily out back has stopped as well. The clump of penstemon/fireweed by the back shed is looking scraggly, but we still occasionally see a hummingbird back there. The Johnny jump-ups look scraggly too. But - BABY QUAIL! I *told* my husband, while we're on vacation, our local quail will start hanging out in the paddock, and they'll be insulted by our presence when we come home. Sure enough, we flushed a pair, with a pile of chicks, out of the corn patch when we wandered out to check the garden. (Quail chicks are squee!, don't let nobody tell you different!)

Posted by: Pat* at July 29, 2017 10:51 AM (nFPUy)

79 I saw5but didn't pick up on it my Dill is taken to seed already, and found a Swallow Tail caterpillar on my parsley wich is next to some dill. I let it live reluctantly.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 10:51 AM (pPKG5)

80 Those supersweet apricot sound great.  Going back over old emails to see what I'd actually ordered, found three supersweet apricot.  Took me awhile to recall, but they were out where there are more deer and didn't last one year, though I had a meager little cage around them.  Same with a honeycrisp apple tree, and it was right in my yard.

It seems the supersweets also have supersweet limbs, because the deer will chomp down 1/4" limbs. 

My more local Stark Bros nursery I see quit selling the pluots ... they didn't say why.  The "supersweets" are really good though, whether sweet corn or melons ... and I guess the tree fruits.  The supersweet corn is "good eatin" right off the stalk, no cooking or butter needed. 

Posted by: illiniwek at July 29, 2017 10:54 AM (HQuBO)

81 illiniwek at July 29, 2017 03:54 PM

The cultivars of Pluots that Stark sold bloom too early for most of the country.  They are suited to climates like mine.  There is one bred in the middle South (Satin something) that would have a wider climate range. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 11:28 AM (BVQ+1)

82 awesome pics lizabth ... that hay bale going into the barn brings back memories ... still have the barn here, but they do the big round bales now, and I have no cattle.  The big barn here still has the ropes and pulleys hanging from where the horses used to pull loose hay up into the loft by the big side door.

Posted by: illiniwek at July 29, 2017 11:29 AM (HQuBO)

83 Pat* at July 29, 2017 03:51 PM

Wow.  Fantastic report!  Especially about the baby quail!

Any chance that some of your zucchini matured to near ripeness while you were gone?  That could keep them from producing more fruit. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 11:30 AM (BVQ+1)

84 Skip at July 29, 2017 03:51 PM

Is any of your dill seed still greenish?  Pick it and freeze it for pickles. 

You could always pick some parsley, put it in a little vase and watch the caterpillar eat it, leaving the rest of your parsley untouched.  They generally stay where you put them until it is time to make a chrysalis.  I think it's kind of restful to watch a critter that only has to concentrate on eating. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 11:34 AM (BVQ+1)

85 KT, yes; I had encouraged my neighbors to come pick zucchini while I was gone, but they didn't. I cut 3 large zukes off one plant. The other has about half its leaves turned yellow, for no obvious reason. I just put a little fertilizer near each dripper for the 4 squashes. There are certainly flowers, so I wonder about lack of pollinators - but there are tons of honeybees on my beans and raspberries, so the squashes *should* be getting pollinated. I just have to wait and see what happens. I still have plenty of frozen grated zucchini in my freezer to make "zatkes" and zucchini bread - but I was hoping to get a few fresh ones for the grill.

Posted by: Pat* at July 29, 2017 11:59 AM (nFPUy)

86 I could, should have enough dill seed from two years ago. To do that I put heads into a paper bag ( tall narrow is best) and let dry till they fall off. Main point of growing dill is for pickles and its also good in potato salad.

Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 12:00 PM (pPKG5)

87 thanks kt for that pluot info ... I'll look around.

Quail are really neat.  I've had some little coveys around here, but it is one reason there is a real need to reduce the overpopulation of raccoons.  I used to hear turkey every morning 10 years ago (rarely saw them except on trail cams) ... but now I rarely see or hear them.  Some partly blame the increase in bobcats as well.

So far the mountain lions or black bears are almost non-existant here, and we don't have the wild hogs.  I'd really like to see pheasant populations as well, but those are rare here also.  We get too many Canadian geese though.  Always a balance getting out of balance somewhere I guess. 

Posted by: Illiniwek at July 29, 2017 12:08 PM (HQuBO)

88 Skip at July 29, 2017 05:00 PM

Dill seed tastes far better in pickles before it is fully dried. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:17 PM (BVQ+1)

89 Illiniwek at July 29, 2017 05:08 PM

Pluot is a brand name.  Plumcot is the "generic" name.  Spring Satin (the one bred for the mid-south) was bred at a university.  If I remember right, it is very sour until it is dead ripe. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:22 PM (BVQ+1)

90 Pat* at July 29, 2017 04:59 PM

Are you currently getting female flowers on your squashes? 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:33 PM (BVQ+1)

91 Spring Satin Plumcot requires an Asian plum for pollination. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:40 PM (BVQ+1)

92 "79 I saw5but didn't pick up on it my Dill is taken to seed already, and found a Swallow Tail caterpillar on my parsley wich is next to some dill. I let it live reluctantly. Posted by: Skip at July 29, 2017 03:51 PM (pPKG5)" "Is any of your dill seed still greenish? Pick it and freeze it for pickles. " I have had good luck putting dill in a plastic bag with a spritz of water, then putting in the fridge. Keeps good color and texture for about a month. We put the carepillars we find in a small bucket with some dill, carrot greens or parsley to munch on until they pupate. Then, a couple weeks later they metamorphize. The grandkids love to watch the process, plus the caterpillars are kinda cute.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 03:04 PM (lIZQs)

93 Found some information on Pindo Palm fruit (and trees) from a fan in Alabama: 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 03:07 PM (BVQ+1)

94 thx again KT .. yea I found plumcot, and was curious why you capitalized Pluot, but my brain quit at that. 

I should probably quit at getting my nectarine trees to produce good fruit (if that ever happens), but always like to try new things.  I have a space in the yard for some supersweet apricots, or maybe the Pluots and an Asian plum.  I really like that you know this stuff and present it here. 

Life is a highway ... as someone sang ... I like to go on these adventures.

Posted by: Illiniwek at July 29, 2017 03:10 PM (HQuBO)

95 bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 08:04 PM

The bucket idea for growing swallowtail caterpillars sounds easy.  Sometimes they won't switch leaves from the kind they started on, though. 

I used to use a rodent cage from the pet store with greens in a vase.  You can watch them from all sides.  For other kinds of caterpillars that tend to wander off, like gulf fritillaries, you may need to add a layer of fine netting (like for a ballerina tutu) under the lid.

The last pupae of the season should be taken outdoors and put somewhere out of the weather and sun so they have a chance to survive over the winter.  

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 03:14 PM (BVQ+1)

96 FWIW, re: summer squash. We really prefer the yellow straight neck (not yellow zucchini) to zucchini, but still grow zukes for a little color. We always plant Pik More variety of yellow from Harris seed. One plant will provide more than most people would want. Mostly female flowers, but also male, but we plant 3 to make sure there is good pollination. One packet contains enough seeds for several years as long as the seed is kept dry and in a location without much temperature change.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 03:17 PM (lIZQs)

97 "Life is a highway ... as someone sang ... I like to go on these adventures."

A nice thought. 

Some of the Asian-American plums would be an interesting challenge, too.  They are hardy.  Check em out.  May need an unhybridized pollinator (See the blurb at Fedco Seeds). 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 03:18 PM (BVQ+1)

98 bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 08:17 PM

Yellow straightneck (or crookneck) is my favorite summer squash, too.  I like some of the pattypan types when they are tiny.  And there is a zucchini look-alike (except for the shape) from a different species that is interesting.  Zapallo del tronco (or similar spelling).  I think Burpee did a version once called "roly poly" or something. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 03:23 PM (BVQ+1)

99 Posted by: Jack Sock at July 29, 2017 02:20 PM You and me both...They call them coochie cutters around here.

Posted by: Shanks for the memory at July 29, 2017 05:03 PM (TdCQk)

100 Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 02:04 I buy big bags of glads in a variety of colors in the spring and plant them in large random stands... they are cross pollinating, producing some gorgeous color combinations. My favs thus far are a creamy pale yellow with a shocking pink throat and a white with a magenta and yellow throat. I also like to mix packets of flower seeds together and fling them into a prepared bed and see what happens. Sometimes it's train wreck and sometimes it's amazing. Isn't the unpredictability one of the pleasures (and frustrations) of gardening? I found a NorCal source for Naked Ladies online for 45 cents a bulb (large healthy bulbs) so went a little nuts. It ain't really summer until the nekkid ladies bloom. By the by...for those of you who commute on Highway 24 between the East Bay and CoCo County...there's a large stand of Belladonna on the Hiller Road side of the hill before the Caldecott tunnel...the house wasn't rebuilt after the Oakland Hills Firestorm but the lilies survived. Didja know that game designer Will Wright lost his home in the firestorm and it is one of the scenarios in SimCity 2000...but I digress. The raccoons ate all my d'Anjou pears very early ...one day I had scads of fruit ready to thin and the next there were none. Netting saved the peaches, grapes and figs...so far. I drove to Lodi for old school Tokay table grape vines and by the gods the critters aren't getting them. My zukes (and winter squash) have been slow to come on too...although I harvested a huge zuke today that I missed for several days...it will be zoodles topped with cherry tomato marinara for lunch tomorrow.

Posted by: Shanks for the memory at July 29, 2017 05:45 PM (TdCQk)

101 We get many Althea ( Rose of Sharon, Tree Hibiscus) volunteering in the beds around the house. We usually pull them like weeds, and once they reach a certain size they cannot be pulled except by extraordinary means because of a very strong tap root. Well, we just had one that we didn't get around to extracting last year start to bloom today. Pure white, with no crimson center. Very rare. Do we try to save it, or just get rid of it? It is right next to the foundation, and would take exceptional effort to save it.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 05:59 PM (lIZQs)

102 Thanks, KT, for the effort you put into this thread. I know (lord, don't know) you have better things to do. I look forward to it every week, though I am usually late to join in. I used to participate enthusiastically in the GardenWeb.com Vegetable and Tomato gardening forums, but it was taken over by "organic" and, basically, Hipster-types. Even though there was a separate "Organic Gardening" forum.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 07:13 PM (lIZQs)

103 102. Oh, and I was one of the founding authors of the "Hot Peppers" forum.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 07:16 PM (lIZQs)

104 Shanks for the memory at July 29, 2017 10:45 PM

Wow.  You have some interesting things going.  And you have some interesting stories. 

I planted my naked ladies from fresh seed harvested in the fall.  You can see the leaves starting to develop inside the translucent seed.  Once the seeds dry, I think they can take a long time to sprout. 

I wouldn't try any of the typical bulbs like tulips or daffodils from seed, but I might try glads, freesias or sparaxis. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:38 PM (BVQ+1)

105 KT, I will now have to go "sex" the flowers on the squashes.

Posted by: Pat* at July 29, 2017 07:39 PM (nFPUy)

106 bergerbilder at July 30, 2017 12:16 AM

It's cool that you helped start the "Hot Peppers" forum at GardenWeb.  You're right.  The site used to be more fun than it is now. 

About your pure white Rose of Sharon seedling:  You might try to save a cutting (or more than one cutting), maybe by layering, if the flower form is exceptional. 

But there is a pure white triploid Rose of Sharon called 'Diana' that produces little or no seed.  Flowers are big and stay open into the night, making it useful in a "moon garden".  You might look it up and compare your flower's form to 'Diana'.   Might not be worth extraordinary effort to salvage the seedling. 

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 07:48 PM (BVQ+1)

107 I wouldn't try any of the typical bulbs like tulips or daffodils from seed, but I might try glads, freesias or sparaxis. Posted by: KT at July 30, 2017 12:38 AM (BVQ+1) We have a strain of hosta that liberally reproduces from seed, and they are attractive. Deep green serrated leaves with deep purple (YouTube link not included), not lavender, flower stalks. Some seeds have even been washed to the creekside and are flourishing. We live in 5B hardiness. If anyone is interested, I will try to harvest seeds.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 08:21 PM (lIZQs)

108 Bergerbilder, are the hosta flowers white?  We could ask next week if anyone  would be interested.

Some kinds of hostas take more sun than others.  Do you have an assessment of this one?  

Posted by: KT at July 29, 2017 09:12 PM (BVQ+1)

109 KT - The hosta flowers are deep purple, not white. They are more sun tolerant than the variegated types we have, but they are hosta, afteralll. Also, slug damage does not seem to be so bad.

Posted by: bergerbilder at July 29, 2017 09:29 PM (lIZQs)

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