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Hi, all Gardeners 2010


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How lovely to have birds in the garden!

I used to have some too, but have to scare them off now, if seen. Crypto my timid cat captured her first (baby) bird recently then came home with two mice (on two separate days). Mrs Blackbird is very wary but I don't want to encourage Crypto to catch birds. Easier to make the garden less attractive to them.

After much effort my garden path is (partly) finished. The top part, at least, and some new steps. It looks nice but hardly worth all the effort it's taken. I have once huge 1/2 tonne bag of rubble left, and have disposed of the same amount at the tip. I have two sacks the same size of surplus soil which may be used later.

This year I've hardly planted anything. I had some nice strawberries earlier. The autumn fruiting raspberries seem to have come in July and vanished (pigeons got there first, perhaps?). Last year's leeks are still in the ground, in flower, and I will collect the seed if any later. I have runner beans and there is enough for a small boiling; the plants aren't very leafy despite watering and Miracle-Gro over the past few weeks. My rhubarb is completely defunct. I do have self-setter potatoes which seem to be flourishing.

Flowers have come and gone very quickly. Weeds haven't grown at all (that's nice).

It has been a drought for the last 3 months, baking hot, too hot to be outside at all really, so pity the poor plants that couldn't grow. How any have survived is amazing. Have only cut the lawn x2 this year.

Today has rained lightly all day. It will do the garden good. Probably be full of weeds tomorrow.

I'd like to get some winter crops in - brassicas, maybe, if not too late. See what's on offer in the farmers' market, can get sturdy little plants ready for planting out.

Ah. The joy of gardens....

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Our Roma tomatoes were plenteous and wonderful. The "regular" maters, I forget which they were, not so much. We got about 6 off of two plants.

The lettuce was awesome and just kept on coming. Our neighbor's lettuce was all bitter and unedible.

The bell peppers are still tiny, but very green and I don't know if they'll grow to normal size. One started turning a bit red now. I asked Annie if they were maybe dwarf peppers? We'll try one this weekend to check it out. They're cute, if nothing else.

We just did a small garden this year. I imagine we'll go bigger next.

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My flowers have been amazing this year, and have attracted a lot of butterflies to the front yard as well as two little yellow finches who are nesting in one of the bushes in the front bed. I trimmed the other bush to resemble a bonsai tree after it was attacked by some sort of weird wormy things last year that took out chunks of it. It looks better than it did, but I will be very curious to see how it looks next year after it gets a chance to grow back a bit. Once it cools down this fall and the finches have moved out of the other bush, I will probably trim that one up as well. My herbs have also done remarkably well this year.

It seems that my tomatoes are late in turning red. I will have two I can pick next week, but the rest are still green, and not as many as I would have liked. Same story with my cucumbers. We had a lot of rain this year, and I wonder if it has resulted in my plants being stunted. But, the thyme, sage, and basil have almost made up for my lack of tomatoes! My cabbages seem to be doing well, although the cabbage worms turned two heads into lace while I was on vacation for a week!

I'm planning on planting a couple of rose bushes out front next year, and maybe trying some earlier producing tomatoes in the back next time. I had some success a few years back with the Paul Robeson black tomatoes. I might try those again. And I might plant some daffodils and tulips for next spring, too!!

I swear, gardening is like a form of meditation for me! I come back in after a few hours of working with the soil and my plants and I feel like a huge weight has lifted off of me.

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Oh and I have some tomato plants too. They are huge and there is abundant fruit on them. I have never grown such enthusiastic tomatoes. Last year they seemed to get blight, or damped off. These have great big trusses. All green so far, nothing beginning to turn red.

JJ, gardening is really therapeutic. Agree totally with you. I used to have a very stressful job...come back home, do a couple of hours in the garden, and the stress would dissipate like dew. Tending anything that grows can be very therapeutic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I've returned after years... see "members" for details if u wish.

This is only my second year growing veggies... I grow organically.

I've got two small gardens

and one medium sized joint... 10x10, I think.

This because my small property is completely shade...

my 7X5 shade garden produced lettuce, herbs and carrots.

(radishes failed, spinach failed, snap peas failed)

the medium garden is at a friend's house 1/2 mile from my house

and the other is behind a church..

I can use the small plot in exchange for teaching the teens how to garden.

The church also provides space and lots of leaves/grass for composting.

My Romas did very well... the others ("Better Boy" was one) just OK.

I've worked hard at composting and improving my soils.

btw: I've started top dressing compost on my front yard under the two HUGE oak trees.

Can I hope that the bare patches fill in? Seed failed this spring... will try again this fall.

The soil there sucks.

Today, I harvested nice medium sized carrots which are delicious... ....

a couple of cukes, wax and green beans, jalapeƱos, and seranos

I had no luck with snap peas this year.. two diff varieties... got a handful.

I belong to an organic CSA called "Good Tree Farm" in New Egypt, NJ.

The farmer is a PhD in plant breeding...

a delightful Muslim man with a beautiful family.

He bemoans the lack of rain this summer.

I got lots of squash: patty pan, white/yellow squash, 2-3 vars of zukes, long white radishes, musk melon,

... his grape tomatoes are unique (to me) and to die for.

so that's me.. I'll to read the above on my next day off.

I hope to compost my way to instant perfect veggies every time.

too optimistic? lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

fwiw...i am finding that it is true...if you pick tomatoes when they are green-yellowish to orangish and put them in a paper sack they will ripen in the sack quite well over the next week or so. Putting a banana in the sack helps with the process. Also, every time you pick a tomatoe, the rest of them ripen faster. So you basicaly get more tomatoes out the season.

Same with squash. I am finding that if you pick them while they are smaller, you will get more.

btw...squash blossoms are edible, and scrumptious....chop em into salads, sandwiches, chilis, breads...

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btw...squash blossoms are edible, and scrumptious....chop em into salads, sandwiches, chilis, breads...

Also good stuffed... maybe some goat cheese in there? pine nuts? The possibilties are endless!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got some tomatoes this year. Lots. Nice, too. But what am I to do with so many? :confused:

Not much else did well this year, partly because I was too busy to tend the garden much; and partly because it's been so very dry. I have mown the grass twice in the last two weeks - and only the 3rd and 4th times this entire year, the other two times being in the spring - too dry even for the grass to grow. (So much for "It always rains in England" !!)

I also had some luscious autumn raspberries, first good ones ever in these youngish plants. Very large, very deep purple - nearly black, very sweet. Mmmm-mmm!

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