Archive for August, 2010

Getting Rid of Crab Grass | Pictures | How to Kill Crabgrass

Getting Rid of Crab Grass | Pictures | How to Kill Crabgrass

via Getting Rid of Crab Grass | Pictures | How to Kill Crabgrass.

More sunshine, more sunshine, more sunshine

Today the fellas from Michael’s Tree Service came to trim the Norway Maple in the backyard. The plan was to raise the canopy and ‘punch holes’ in that canopy to let more sunshine into the back gardens.  Here’s a view of the tree as Matt begins the trimming.

ready to begin

Four guys worked in 90 degree weather to prune the tree, let in some more light, and finally to carry away all the trimmings they extracted from the tree. All I had to do was to make sure they had plenty of fluids and frequent breaks. Here are a couple of shots of the work in progress and the final result. 

dave and Matt begin


holes in the canopy

There is a lot more sky in the backyard.  But come next spring there will more sun for the pie garden.

Attitude adjustment!!

I’ve not blogged in a few days mainly because there has finally been a change in the weather so that I can get into the garden and do some of the tasks I have put on the back burner while hazy, hot and HUMID dominated the weather here in Rochester.  There was no way this OB(old bird) could spread all that mulch in such hot weather. For one, I’m not one to get going early in the day and  I really hate walking in the lawn in the heavy morning dew. UGH.  Anyhow, I’m proud to report that I have scooped, toted and spread all of the mulch delivered way back in May (or was it June?)

I really had lost confidence that I could accomplish the job.  All my orthopedic mishaps have come home to roost in the past 6-8 months and I have truly been feeling every bit the old bird.  But it turns out that a simple change in the weather-most notably the humidity and I can still accomplish some of those heavier gardening tasks.

  However,  the real change in attitude comes with the realization that my gardening blogs have become a litany of disasters. Well of course, all these little setbacks are meant to keep me humble but maybe for a minute I could dwell on the joys of the garden. The green beans have been such an ego boost!  Wow! look at those beans producing, producing, and producing.  And wow! The nonstop basil allows me to make pesto up the wa-zoo.  Sure my tomatoes are SLOW.  But they are healthy except for a bit of early blight.  So the tomato extravaganza WILL be delayed this year. However it’s all part of the  learning process. ( I’m still trying to figure out why this crop is so darned late.)

One thing for sure is that we will have a pro come in and trim the Norway Maple in the backyard.  If  he can  raise the canopy enough to increase the sunshine, it will be worth every penny. The tree guy will be coming in the next couple of weeks to tackle that project. Also on the plus side we’ll have a few less leaves to rake(blow) this autumn.   

The delight of August is that there are some perennials just setting their blossoms.  Although there are other flowers blooming, these newbies are so fresh and exuberant that it is just a joy to see them spring up. The giant  red rose mallow is such a wonder.

rose mallow '09

It sure is a beauty! Soon to come is the perennial anemone and Caryopteris ‘Dark Knight’. 

My current love is the hanging basket of Million Bells ‘Crackling Fire’  that my kids got me for Mother’s Day.  I know, why get all fuzzy about a plant that has been ‘hanging’ around since Cinco ‘de Mayo?  Well, maybe it’s the fact that it almost bit the bullet during our vacation.  When we got back that sucker looked to be on its last legs.  But I resuscitated it with lots of water and fertilizers and much to my delight it bounced WAY back.  Here  it is, the center of attention from all different angles——plus a couple of shots of the containers on the patio.


cruise redux Wolfe Island wind turbines

This was our view of Wolfe Island from the south and west as we approached Kingston on our recent cruise.  It would be interesting to read the sentiments of the surrounding population to their new visual panoramas. Completed in 2009 there are 86 wind turbines on the island.

I wonder where the ‘wonders’ went

Kentucky Wonders

Here’s how they began in late May.  I gave them their own private little garden enriched with aged manure and the best garden soil money could buy (right).  I built this pleasant little space in a round 2 ft deep tub normally used for water gardens. I know I want to use these tubs to extend my garden space but I bought this a little later than I planned and decided to put the beans in it for this year.

As I wrapped my dim plan around the task at hand I neglected a very important concept.  If the tub was to be used for gardening, whatever the crop, it would have to have drainage holes.  BUT I MIGHT use it for a bog garden/water feature.  Back and forth…which one???? until I just dug a hole filled it as described and planted the Kentucky Wonders.  Here’s the result after the poor bean plants drowned while we were cruising.

Yuk! What a mess.

Sludge, anyone?

This post is a note to self.    Don’t, DON’T,  DON’T

all dressed up and…..

canner at the ready

Today is dilly bean day.  I collected the beans, trimmed them to size, washed them, gathered garlic, dill, canning salt, and vinegar. Yesterday was shopping day.  I needed a new canner, jars, jar lifters and lid magnet. Check, check, check.

After I washed the jars and lids and prepared the brine I brought the new canner in from the garage, peeled the sticker off of  it and read: ‘Do not use on glass stove tops.’  WHAT????   Do NOT use on glass stove tops. Sooooo…..I prepared the beans anyway.  I figure I can refrigerate them without harm to self or others. As the filled jars cooled they all snapped to indicate a seal.   Nah….I’ll refrigerate them anyway.  The flavors will have to build for a couple of weeks before a taste test.

Dilly beans 2010

Beans, beans, beans

Just yesterday I was thinking: ‘where are those beans?’ and then this morning I picked the equivalent of 4 days of last week’s harvest in 5 minutes.

beans and more beans


Of course I have an assistant who monitors the flavor and crunch factor.

searching for the perfect bean


I need my big sister to visit and bring along her pressure canner.  Just like old times, eh?

The fruits of my labor

I was really looking forward to my return to the garden after our cruising vacation and was sure I would find vines just loaded with ripening cukes, tomatoes and beans.  

Imagine my disappointment on finding little to crow about. Even though I have been gathering scads of the bush beans in the last 3-4 days and the tomato vines are dense and have a few cherry and grape tomatoes turning I have yet to pick a fully ripe regular sized tomato.   

The cukes are the real puzzle. There have been bright yellow blossoms on the two vines for at least the last month.  I had visions of at least a peck of those beauties waiting for my arrival back home. Instead,, this is what I came home to.  

Cuke in the making This looks a little more promising


I have a theory…….I planted the cukes in the same raised bed that has three ‘Walker’s Low’ plants awaiting a place in the revamped back bed.  These babies are bee magnets.  Just before I left for the cruise I finally got around to cutting them back for a second round of blossoms.  So…..I think that the bees were interested only in those perennials until I removed the flowers.  Then they ‘found’ the cukes and at last the plants are doing what they are supposed to do.   

All this concern over two cuke vines….sheesh….what would I be doing if this was a truck farm??????? Just one more report.  I did manage to harvest some basil and churn out some yummy pesto.  I used the lettuce leaf basil and added some of the Thai basil for a little more zip.  

lettuce leaf and Thai basil

you snooze, you lose

Oh brother.  I harvested some beets after we got back from our cruise.  As I did I was thinking how the heck can I store the rest of the beets until we’re ready to eat them?  Problem solved——some critter came by and harvested them for me–nothing left but beet leaves……

July Recap

Since we were gone for the last half of the month there’s not much to report about July.  It’s a time to weed, weed, weed and deadhead perennials.  I continued to spread that mulch, feed the roses, the container plants and other ‘heavy feeders’ like the Cannas we got from Harry.

Love those Canna leaves