okiedawn1

May 2020, Week 3

We've made it to mid-May, perhaps despite the weather in some cases. This is the time of the year when the burden of garden work is heavy: planting, harvesting, weeding, pruning, staking, caging, mowing, edging, etc. and I know that everyone is busy. It also is the time of the year when many cool season crops are producing a harvest and you also may be getting an early harvest from some of the warm season crops as well. I hope your yards and gardens are doing well, and that the persistently cool, wet, windy weather hasn't managed to take all the joy out of gardening.


It is important to stay on top of the weeds in May or they'll take over, so may we all have the patience and fortitude to keep weeding and mulching. Remember to keep scouting for pest insects as they can reproduce very quickly at this time of the year. We are seeing almost no pests in our garden so far this year and I am thinking that maybe the persistent fall, winter and early spring rainfall and flooding here might have killed off a lot of them. We will not, of course, have a pest-free year, but at least the pests are off to a very slow start this year. We have a garden full of beneficial insects looking for a meal. I hope they are finding enough to eat. Last week a spined soldier bug rode into the house on my clothing when I came inside, and I was not amused to find him there. Perhaps he was hoping to find some pest insects to eat on the indoors plants.


Did everyone get a lot of rain last week? If so, I am sure that the moisture is interfering in various garden chores. The rain had mostly missed us, and I was feeling pretty relieved when we only had received 1.25" of rain for the week as of Friday afternoon. Then, the rain arrived on Friday evening and it rained all night and all day Saturday, and now we have over 4" for last week and are under water yet again. Most of my garden chores this week will consist of trying to not float away, trying to avoid fire ants, and probably caging the tomato plants in the garden. Oh, and mosquito avoidance. The mosquito population will explode in all this moisture. At least the temperatures for this week look really nice though, with temperatures (at least at our end of the state) in the 80s/60s and veering a bit towards the 90s by the end of the week. For us, this is typical May weather. It is hard to believe that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Summer comes after that.


What's new with y'all? The biggest news here is that last week we ate gloriously delicious BLT sandwiches, or in Tim's case BOLT sandwiches because he always adds onions to his. There's nothing that warms the heart of this gardener more than fresh tomatoes from the garden. We'll be harvesting the first peppers soon. I am amazed by how well both the peppers and tomatoes have done considering how many recurring cold nights we have had. The tomatoes were from the earliest plants, transplanted into large containers in March, but the peppers are from in-ground plants that were planted fairly late for us, but also were in bloom and had small peppers on them when transplanted. Our temperatures have been all over the place, but we have had plenty of days with highs in the 80s and occasional days with highs in the 90s, so the plants are making rapid growth and are very happy and healthy. From the viewpoint of the granddaughters, who are with us for their fifth and final day of this visit today, the best thing we did yesterday was to pretend it was summertime despite the cool, rainy weather we had all day. We made home-made vanilla ice cream in the ice cream maker right here in the dining room during the afternoon hours and now they are so fascinated and so in love with the ice cream-making process.


We had gone to the Academy store in Ardmore early in the day, since rain already was falling and our options were limited, and bought pool supplies and some new pool toys (remember, we were ignoring the rain and pretending it was summer) and then ate lunch (fast food, eaten in the car) on the way home. Maybe it is because we have been trying so hard to stay home away from people and away from the corona virus, but I was totally shocked at how crowded everything in Ardmore was, even very early in the day. It almost looked 100% back to normal, except a couple of restaurants have opted not to reopen yet. Whenever the warm weather returns, we'll have new pool toys to enjoy. At least last week's two very warm days, on Thursday and Friday, gave us lots of outdoor time to enjoy the pool and all the birds and butterflies. A female Luna moth who was in her last few minutes of life came to sit beside me while she died. She frantically tried to climb my leg, and I gently brushed her off, not wanting for her to be sitting on top of me as she died. She expired there in the shade beside my chair on a lovely Spring afternoon, fulfilling her ultimate destiny. The grandchildren were fascinated with her, if not with her aging, tattered appearance, so I showed them photos of healthy Luna moths on my cell phone and explained their life cycle while the kids took a break from the pool to enjoy watching the Luna moth.


The grandkids also learned how smart the hummingbirds are. We are not necessarily seeing a lot of hummingbirds at the feeders right now, largely because there are so many flowers in bloom for them to visit. During yesterday's rainy weather, though, the hummingbirds came to the porch feeders so they could feed under the porch roof and stay dry, and we noticed they stayed there most of the day, just hanging out, eating, and staying out of the cold rain. When the rain finally stopped, they left and went about their day, no longer feeling the need to stay out of the rain.


Have a great week everybody and be sure to let us know what's new with you!


Dawn




Comments (62)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    10 days ago

    Larry, Yesterday I sat and cut up an entire old miniblind, turning the slats into plant labels. I didn't need more labels at the moment, but I knew if I didn't cut it up to use it that Tim would carry it out with the trash and I'd lose the opportunity. I know I'll use this labels eventually.

    I'm glad your helper can over for a while. I suspect he is an eager young sponge who just soaks up everything that he is learning from you, and I think that is great.

    When I grew mini-bells, they were slow to get started, but from mid-summer onward they were simply covered in fruit, so I think being slow starters might be natural for them. I grew the Mini Belle Mix from Renee's Garden Seeds (undoubtedly sold out right now like most of her seeds in this year of the Covid-19 survival garden movement) and they did really well. If I remember correctly, it was a blend of red, orange and yellow mini bell peppers. I like all the varieties that Renee's sells because they are specifically chosen for high productivity.

    We are so wet that I cannot walk anywhere without having instantly totally wet feet and shoes/boots. The humidity is awful. We got hotter than they said we would yesterday, and the heat index just made it feel worse. However, the sun is shining and it isn't raining so there are a few positives too. I am trying to get a lot done today before the rain returns beginning tomorrow evening (and hopefully no earlier). If I was smarter, I'd stop trying to plant things in the wet, soggy ground and just fill up and plant more plants in large containers. We're so waterlogged again, and the Qualitative Precipitation Forecast currently shows us getting 3-4" of rain over the next 7 days. I hope that the QPF is wrong. Here's the QPF in case anyone wants to see it:


    7-Day Qualitative Precipitation Forecast


    In our location, we have a chance of rain every day and every night beginning tomorrow evening and running through at least Memorial Day. I think that Memorial Day weekend might be a washout.

    Jennifer, I know that I've had Seminole seed germinate even when it was 5 years old, although the germination rates do drop as the seeds age.

    I am still exhausted after 5 days and 4 nights with the grandkids and was very slow-moving all day long yesterday, looking for any excuse to sit down and take a break. I probably should have ditched the idea of working and just taken an all day recovery nap. (grin) I stay up too late, get up too early and stay busy every single minute of the day when they are here, and I wouldn't have it any other way, but I am really, really tired by the time they go home. I was happy to give our son and daughter-in-law a break though, and urged them to go out and have some relaxing child-free time, which they did. Jana went to the hair salon and had her hair cut and colored and they ate dinner out at the nice kind of restaurant where people rarely take kids. I am envious of the wonderful food that I know they enjoyed, but envious in a good way like "oh, I bet that was great!" lol. I think they needed it after a couple of months of being at home constantly with the kids, working their jobs, and teaching the kids at home. This is the last week of the semester for school-at-home for them and I think all of them are ready for it to end. I think both girls go for the half-summer to their dad's houses in the June/July time frame, so we have to enjoy the time we get with them now as we likely won't have a lot more time with them until around July 4th. At least that is how it has been every summer so far.

    Some of my favorite cookbooks are vegetable cookbooks from Southern Living magazine from decades and decades ago---they have many, many ways to prepare each and every vegetable, with so much more versatility than you see in published recipes nowadays. I like using them when we have a surplus of any given vegetable and I'm trying to think of new and different ways to prepare that vegetable.

    Last night I made sure I was in front of the TV for the evening news because I had missed the noon news. I learned our county now has 4 Covid-19 cases. Now that won't sound like a lot to those of you in more heavily populated areas with a lot of cases, but it means our # of cases here has doubled since Oklahoma began "reopening". It is worse for Carter County where the kids and grandkids live. They've gone pretty quickly, in less than a month...maybe 2 or 3 weeks....from 4 cases to 13, so they've more than tripled in the same time frame. It is the same across the river in the Gainesville area. We expected the increase after everyone began reopening, and I am sure at least some of it is because they are doing more testing, but I'd be happier if the case numbers were dropping instead of rising. Tim and I feel like we have a couple more good, relatively carefree weeks here before the casinos down here reopen. Most of the people who come to our casinos in our county are from the DFW metro, where there's over 15,000 COVID-19 cases. We fear that some of them will bring a lot more of it to our county.

    I want to go shopping in the worst possible way, and this weekend we might just do it. I miss Costco. I miss Central Market. I miss Barnes and Noble. I miss Mike's Garden Center and I really need to go there and buy Come and Get It to kill the fire ants. I probably could make myself stay home and work in the garden if it wasn't going to rain all weekend long, but if it rains, I think we'll take masks and just go shopping. (Every time I think this and say this, I look at the huge case loads of the virus in the D-FW metro and talk myself out of doing it, lol. This time I don't think I am going to talk myself out of it though. ) I was looking at our supplies of stuff we stocked up on in Jan-early March, before the panic shopping hit and we just started staying home all the time, partly to stay safe and partly to avoid the craziness in the stores. I am out of Tomato-Tone and it is hard to find in stores, but I usually can get a 25-lb bag at Mike's Garden Center. Since we have not been there this year, I don't know if they have it or if the Covid-19 gardeners have wiped them out. We are going to run out of Costco's brand of dog food before the end of June, and we have about 6 weeks of dry cat food left, which I guess also means about the end of June. I always knew that our pet food supplies were the weak link because there's only so many places in a home you can store huge bags of dog food and cat food, so we only had enough for a few months. We're down to our last three rolls of paper towels from the huge package I bought at Costco and/or Sam's Club back in the winter, but we could get those anywhere, of course. At least now we can. A month ago they still were spotty in stores, but everyone here seems to have them now. We still have enough groceries for a year, at least as far as frozen, canned and dry products go, but we need to buy some dairy stuff and some fresh produce. I spent some time yesterday shifting stuff around, doing proper grocery rotation to make sure we use the oldest stuff first. Our pantry still is jam-packed, but the extra stuff I had tucked away in every single nook and cranny, every shelf and cubby, has been mostly used up we aren't so overloaded any more.

    Kim, I have fermented both carrots and radishes in a manner similar to the way that you ferment cabbage to make sauerkraut. Is that the kind of thing you're wanting to do? I'm pretty sure I just used radishes, chopped garlic, some salt and water and just treated it the same as making sauerkraut. Maybe we had thrown some dried red pepper flakes in there to add a little flavor. Fermenting will sort of tone down the radish flavor a little bit, and then they also will take on some of the flavor of the garlic and/or hot pepper. I fermented in a food-grade plastic container in that instance, but you also can do it in large glass jars. I haven't pickled radishes in jars like regular pickles, but I know that it is done---you can pickle almost anything as long as you use enough vinegar to make it safe.


    Dawn




  • luvncannin
    9 days ago

    Thank you Dawn and Marleigh.

    exactly what I needed. my daughter and planted lots of radish. Now they all need to be harvested. I like mine roasted and will probably roast a couple pounds but they are French breakfast type and very long so I thought why not.

    i think we will do refrigerator and ferment. I am so excited for first real harvest and preservation of the season. It’s been too long.

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  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Kim—I usually treat mine like do chua, which is a Vietnamese pickle usually used for banh mi. I put them on everything. I’ve done sliced and pickled in salt and white vinegar in the French style (eaten with bread and butter and salt), too, but I tend to favor Asian food.

    Here’s a reliable recipe for do chua:

    https://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/05/daikon-and-carrot-pickle-recipe-do-chua.html

    Dawn—I always turn to either “Passionate Vegetarian” or ”Vegetable Love” when I need to find a way to use up a particular vegetable. Good vegetable cookbooks are indispensable! I’ve also recently fallen in love with Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes, which you can find plenty of on the website for “The Guardian.” I borrowed his latest cookbook from the library and haven’t found a dud yet. I think we’ve made his asparagus with almonds, capers and dill about ten times this year.

    —Marleigh

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    9 days ago

    Oh, dear, stormy Memorial day weekend. I've lived through too many Memorial day floods.

    Got rid of some tomato plants yesterday. I didn't start them too early, but they are definitely too big for solo cups. The plan is to plant the last of mine today and then daughter can have what's left. I also plan to pot up things in the little green house. Basil could go in the ground somewhere. If I move the tomatoes I can use their tubs for pepper plants. Flowers and herbs need pots.

    Walked away and never submitted. Tomatoes moved. Peppers in a tub for sun. They are still flipping tiny. Need to feed them. And decide where they're going. Sorghum never came up. Of course Ron weeded out there today, but he's learned to only weed stuff he knows. Most of the time. I have a kale plant bolting already in the kale bed. Most aren't big enough even to eat yet. I can't plant tomatoes yet, till he moves the cattle panel laying on the bed. I need to go look for pots for out front.

    I need to look up vegetable cook books. I have one from the 70s, but most recipes didn't appeal to us.

    I need to go back to work.

  • dbarron
    9 days ago

    Just like you, Amy, I transplanted basil, and it was tiny...the bell peppers are just too little for me to separate and plant out yet. It's been so cool that growth has just been darn slow.

  • hazelinok
    9 days ago

    Hi Everyone. I wish all of you could have enjoyed a weather day like I did. Unfortunately I couldn't spend all day outdoors because of other commitments, but wow. I would happy if all spring/summer could be like today. I am sorry for you all who have standing water and such. Right now, we are perfect. Of course that could change. We could be way too dry soon. OR we could get way too much water over the next week.


    But today was lovely.


    Who took your tomato plants, Amy?


    Kim, I'm jealous of your radishes. I've never gotten a great crop. They seem to go from very small to cracked. I can't seem to find the spot in between. And I really enjoy radishes. I think this year is the best they've been for me and they're still not great.


    All of our first tomatoes in the survivalist garden have small fruit. Almost all of the others (in all the gardens) have blossoms. Things are just so lovely right now. I know that insects and disease are around the corner, but this is that time of hope--that time when you think that maybe--just maybe this will be the year without a lot of pestilence in the garden (we have a plague going on already...can't that be enough?) You look at all of those lovely squash plants of all varieties and just can't imagine them being destroyed by squash bugs and SVB.

    Yeah, it's that time.


    This week...

    *I've put up a couple of ziplock bags of strawberries.

    *Pruned and trimmed up the chaste tree...so it looks like a little tree and not a shrub.

    *Up potted the cardinal climbers. These things have been difficult and should be much further along, but are finally looking healthy, although small.

    *planted a lavender that I've been holding on to for a several weeks. It's in a giant pot.

    *started tucking in peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash whereever I could find a spot.

    *put a few herbs into pots

    *harvested most of the spinach and used it in cooking. However the cooler days have caused the plants to put out new baby leaves even though a couple of the plants are bolting.

    *dealt with the hinged hoop salad garden. New issues to think upon. Too much to share now.


    I'm sure there's other thing too...but those came to mind.


    HU bought a new outdoor stove so we will have that when canning time comes.


    Tom will fix the little coop door tomorrow so we can move the broody hens to the little coop and give them a couple of chicks. So we can all get on with the rest of our lives. Our neighbors buy pullet chicks and then raise them to a couple of months old...and then sell them for a lot more than what they paid. They offered me a couple of chicks for my trickery. They're on their second batch. I believe he bought 200 last month. But, next week might be too early for my ladies. They need to be broody for a certain amount of time....in my (limited) experience.


    Anyway....that is my report.



  • johnnycoleman
    9 days ago

    Larry, it worked very well. A lady in the N E suggested that I create fertile raised rows in the middle of Winter, lay cool season crop seeds on top and wait.

    https://www.facebook.com/100010229659519/posts/1154625934888384/

  • slowpoke_gardener
    9 days ago

    Johnny, I think that would work fine. I would have to get more equipment to do something like that. I would have to get a hilling attach to go on the back of my small kobota, much like the one you have for your 8n. I would like to have a set up like that old Farmall has in the picture, but that tractor is about 70 years old. I have enough trouble finding parts for the junk I have. Also as wet as it has been here for the past 2 years I have trouble getting any ground ready early.


    On another note, I planted some jute that you told me about, but it is not up. I am having trouble getting warm season crops up. It has been too cool and wet here.


    I am getting sleepy, time to hit the sack.

  • johnnycoleman
    9 days ago

    Larry, my okra just came up. It has been in the ground about ten days but it was planted very shallow.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    9 days ago

    Johnny, mine has not been in the ground that long, so , maybe mine will still come up. Some that have come up look like they have leaf damage, some of the beans look the same way. The PEPH peas were planted in unamended clay and it has been rained on and looks packed and muddy. The peas have only a few up. I have two small gardens and plan on extending one ( adding about 300 to 500 sq. feet for peas and squash.


    I tried something a little different this year. After thinking that the squash and cucumbers were not coming up in the wildlife garden, I planted seeds on the light shelf on a heat mat.

    I dont have a good starting system, I just have a waferboard cut the size of a twin bed and placed on a bed in our center bedroom with my home made light shelf sitting on it. I placed the heat mat on the waferboard and then turned on my 12 light tubes and shut the ac vent and waited 24 hours before I checked them. I got to thing that I may have rigged my heat mat and lights to get too hot. I went in with my laser thermometer and the potting soil checked 123 degrees. Thinking that I probably killed my seed, I planted again and did not place on a heat mat. The heated seeds are coming up, except the cucumbers. almost all the roselle are breaking through the soil, the butternut and Seminole are a little ahead of the roselle, it has been about 3.5 days. I bought 14 small peat pots to use on the okra. I saved a few seeds just in case I did not get good germination. I have heavy hitter okra and do not want to lose these seeds. The past two years have been the pits for me because it is so cool and wet.

  • robert_higgins_okc
    8 days ago

    Hey everyone! Great to see all the cool things that everyone is doing, what gardens we shall have this year!


    What exceptional weather here in OKC the last few days, I have been outside most of my not working time. The veg garden is thriving, everything is up and going. Like JohnnyC, my okra only just popped, but it is growing fast....I put okra in a mound between every 4 pepper plants for late season shade.


    I am already getting jalapenos, some nice fresh ones with tacos last night. All of the peppers and thriving, many small sweet peppers. Growing some unusual varieties this year for fun, excited to taste the Purple UFOs.


    The cool evenings are a treasure, the lettuce and other cold stuff is hanging on and still very productive.


    I will post up a picture, with apologies ahead to Dawn....I know the old fashioned straight line veg gardens aren't her thing :)




  • Marleigh 7a/Okmulgee Co.
    8 days ago

    Small black beetles, about the size of cucumber beetles, with a red stripe on each side munching on my tomatillo plants. Never seen these before. Any idea what they are or how to eliminate them without poison?


    —Marleigh

  • slowpoke_gardener
    8 days ago

    Robert, it good to see your picture, your garden looks great. I just came inside after checking my garden, it looks like my okra is still coming up. I dont have anything growing fast.


    Marleigh, I have something my sweet potato plants, and looks like I may be having some flee beetle problems on other plants. I cant get down low enough to see what it is.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    8 days ago

    Kim, You're welcome and congrats on the harvest. It is so good to hear you are happily harvesting again after a couple of rough years where you were so limited by only growing in containers.

    Marleigh, As I get older, I'm trying to semi-retire from cooking so much, and it just isn't working out well because we always have so many yummy veggies to prepare. lol. At least I have cut back on the non-stop canning, though I still intend to do enough canning, but just not 'too much'.

    Amy, Ditto on rainy Memorial Day weekends. Really, the whole of May and most of June can be nerve-wracking in a very rainy year. Our worst rainfalls have mostly come in May, with over a foot in one day on several different May days in several different years, and over 24" of rain in those same years. Well, after all, if a foot of rain falls in one day, it isn't that hard to get over 24" for the month. At least we aren't in Michigan where dams were breaking, flooding occurring and evacuations underway last night. I feel sorry for those people, and simultaneously feel relieved that we aren't having that here. It has been cloudy and heavily overcast all day, but I think our worst rain is expect more in the Sunday time frame. Anything between now and then will be small potatoes.

    I know a lot of y'all are not liking this cool weather as much as I am, but I abhor the heat of June, July and August so this weather appeals to me. However, we have had enough intermittent hot days that we have great fruit set on tomatoes and peppers. If it was cool enough to keep fruit from setting well, I'd likely be irritated.

    Robert, Now, you know that I personally don't hate straight rows---it is just that my mind doesn't work that way. lol. I think your garden and your plants look great! We're already eating tomatoes and peppers, and I know that sounds bizarre, but it is happening this year. I couldn't even plant cool-season crops because we were under water in January, February and March, but that is okay. It just left more room for warm-season plants, which are my faves anyway.

    Marleigh, Hmmm. Beetles that size can be hard to catch. If they move quickly, I'd try thumping the plant while holding a bowl of soapy water beneath it so that they will fall into the bowl and drown. Another option, especially if they are slow moving, would be to roll over them with a lint roller. You likely will have to put your hand beneath the leaf, on the side where the bugs are not, and press down the leaf with the lint roller. I have marvelous success picking up all sorts of pests (especially young squash bugs and young stink bugs) with a lint roller. A third option would be to suck up those little jerks with a hand-held portable vac. I have used a small, hand-held car vac (back when they made them with enough power to actually pick things up) to do this, but my favorite method is a Shop-Vac, especially now that they make cordless, rechargeable Shop Vacs. If you put a little soapy water in the bottom of the Shop Vac before you use it, they'll likely fall into and drown after you vacuum them up.

    The weather is sort of icky today---cloudy, cool, overcast and it feels like rain, but it isn't raining. I know the rain is coming. The flowers in the garden are lovely today, with so many things in bloom. My favorite at the moment is the red hot pokers, which in this case are Mango Popsicle, so they aren't even red...they are a sort of mango orange. So much is in bloom in the garden for the hummingbirds that they have been skipping visiting the feeders the last couple of days, and it makes me happy to know we have so many plants that they like. I garden for the bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and other wild things as much as I garden for us, and it is just a bonus that a veggie garden with lots of flowers in it also remains filled with lots of little flying creatures and never has pollination problems.

    The tomato plants that I transplanted into containers long before I could put anything in the soggy wet ground are about shoulder high now, and I am delighted. While the tomato plants in the garden have been hit by herbicide drift already, the ones in containers remain safe so far and are producing a lot of fruit.

    I have a list of outdoor projects that I'd like for Tim and I to work on together over Memorial Day weekend, but I have a sinking feeling that it will be raining and my plans will be dead in the water.

    Look at the 7-Day QPF today. It doesn't give many of us hope for anything other than a really good soaking, whether our gardens need it or not.


    7-Day QPF

    I have spent today cleaning the house. I know, that is shocking isn't it? We are still really, really wet here and have an epic number of fire ant mounds, so it seemed like a better day to stay indoors than outdoors. We've never had this many fire ant mounds, although they have been here ever since we moved here. Just looking at them makes me feel sick. There's just too many of them. I usually only treat fire ant mounds in the raised beds in the garden, but I'm going to have to break down and treat the ones in the yard too.

    Enjoy what's left of the day and the week. I'm looking forward to having Tim home for an extra day over the holiday weekend. His workdays and commute are so long that our daily time together is pretty much limited to a couple of hours in the evening, and the cats and dogs demand a certain amount of his attention too----they are like little kids demanding "look at me, look at me!"


    Dawn

  • johnnycoleman
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Larry, when things ain't working well, wait a while and replant. (;-)

    I ate lambs qurters for supper last night. GOD gives me some interesting foods.

  • dbarron
    8 days ago
    last modified: 8 days ago

    Sadly, I had to water a few things that were planted in last two or three weeks. The exposed potting soil just dried out and they haven't made much roots outside it yet, due to cold and wet. Today was warm, the first in 2 or 3 weeks.

    Dawn, our veggies (or mine at least) are far far too small to worry about fruit set yet :) Which probably means they won't grow till it's too hot to set fruit..and sigh.

    I love lambs quarters possibly my favorite green.

  • johnnycoleman
    8 days ago

    Larry, I will be plowing under the cover crop at our largest garden In June. Our Farmall Super C and Little Genius 2 x 16" is very pleasant to use even in clay.


    https://youtu.be/rd90R-9YfWA

  • Rebecca (7a)
    8 days ago


    I made dinner.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    8 days ago

    Johnny, that Supper C was good ole tractor in its time. I sure like the 3 point hitch though. I am afraid of drag type equipment. I also want a roll bar. I should also use my seat belt, but I don't. We had an old F-12 at one time. Tractors have really improved since then, but a lot of things have improved since the 1930's.

  • luvncannin
    8 days ago



  • luvncannin
    8 days ago

    This is our first harvest. We have so many radishes which my daughter enjoys daily shave on avocado toast with feta and fresh dill. Great use of radish but not my cup of t ea. So I googled. Not sure if I like the brine. I do really like them thrown in with a chicken or roast and cooked like potatoes. The lose all their bite.

    gardens are exploding right now. Everything is blooming.

    my little man and my son are coming to my rescue today. So many things I ca not do myself. I am so excited to see my boys.

    not sure who gave me elderberry two flings ago but it is huge and blooming!!! It makes me smile everytime I see it.

    i am so enjoying my potted garden. Everything is thriving and doing amazingly well

  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 days ago

    Kim, those look good. I would like to try something like that. I use to make pickled beets. I had an outdoor setup under a large shade tree near the garden. Then I married Madge and she does not care for anything like that and I don't want to fix anything just for myself, now she has false teeth and cant anything that is a little hard to chew. If I could stand long enough I would like to try it making something outside again.


    Those of you that grow in containers, do you have to paint the containers to make them last longer? I am using mineral tubs as containers. So far my plants are doing okay in the containers. I have always grown in the ground in the past and this is taking a little getting use to, I forget to water.


    I am having my helper till up more garden space. I am not sure I am up to caring for more space, a new in ground bed needs a lot of care and amendments, but I am doing it to where it can be turned back into lawn very easily.



  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 days ago

    good morning!







  • hazelinok
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Rebecca, those are beautiful flowers! Did you post a picture of your garden harvest? I thought I saw one and was going to come back and look at it again and comment, but now I can't see it. Maybe I dreamed it.

    Kim, those look so good! I like radishes and pulled some of mine this morning. Some of them look "right". I'm making progress. Two flings ago, I was given elder sticks from Bruce, Nancy and you. Those are long gone. I went to buying plants. I think I should have left mine in pots for a year or so instead of trying to plant them directly into the ground. I'm so happy yours looks good.

    Speaking of elderberries, and maybe this is a question for Lori, I'm confused on the flowers and berries. You know how flower usually "turn" into the fruit of a plant. How does that work with elderberries. I have beautiful flowers Some are drying up now, but there's no berries left in their place. Or do the later (in the season) flower clusters make berries?

    Dawn, I like cooler weather! Today is my kind of day. I got so much done outside today.

    I hope you enjoy your extra time with Tim And have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Robert, you garden looks so nice. I'm jealous of your peppers! Mine are doing well, but I don't have fruit just yet. Well, I do, but it's not ready to harvest.

    Johnny and Larry, I don't understand your tractor talk but I like reading your exchanges.

    dbarron, if we don't get rain today, I'm going to need to water as well. At least a few things.

    Okay, so I came in to eat and put on the latest Roots and Refuge video. It's about propagating tomatoes. About a minute or so into the video I started thinking that propagating might be the best way to do fall tomatoes. I was going to ask y'all about that here....and then towards the end of her video she mentioned that is, in fact, what she does for her fall tomatoes. Anyone here try that?

    I have a couple of tomatoes that I would like more of--the Rebel Starfighter for one. I have one Rebel plant that looks amazing and one that does not. I'm not sure it's going to make it.

    Because I need more tomato plants. Part of my chores today was to invent places for the extra tomato plants.

    Do y'all feel safe using Bt? I pulled little worms off our collards today.

    Cocozette squash? Anyone grow it? My neighbor gave some seed to me and I just found it yesterday. It's an Italian heirloom bush plant. It looks like a striped zucchini in the pictures online.

    I counted the okra plants in the survivalist garden. There's roughly 75 plants. That's not including the plants in the kitchen garden. I had about a dozen plants last year and gave away several bags of okra, as well as freeze a few bags and eat it fresh a couple of times a week. I'm laughing now...

    So, I did it. I went to Marcums and purchased an oakleaf hydrangea. It's called Alice Oakleaf. It went into the ground today. I hope I don't screw this up. I feel like things like hydrangeas are "grown up" plants, that someone like me should not mess with. I should stick with impatiens, zinnias and...dandelions. haha! I hope it does okay with clay soil. I hope it can take some sun. It's mostly shade in the afternoon. It's about 10 feet from a big tree...so I hope the tree roots don't bother it.

    My Endless Summer hydrangea is on it's 4th year at our house and it's flowers are turning pink.

    I need to up pot a citrus tree today. That feels like another task for "adults"...and one that I shouldn't mess with.

    My strawberries are doing so well. With the survivalists garden in existence now, I should be able to take a few things out of my kitchen garden and that will free up a space for another strawberry patch. Also, perhaps a place for blueberries. I know that the blueberries have specific needs that my garden currently can not provide.

  • dbarron
    7 days ago

    I don't like to use BT (as Dawn has previously noted), because it kills all types of caterpillars, including monarchs and other ones that don't eat our food.
    I think the oakleaf will do fine as long as you don't allow it to get too dry, it's naturally an understory plant and will tolerate half shade just fine.

  • johnnycoleman
    7 days ago

    Hazel, you are too kind. I will try to include more pix.


    Larry, the local soil is almost all hard red clay. I plowed for years with three point plows. They would grab the clay and throw the front of my Ford out of the furrow. My Super C and Little Genius just slows down a little in the same circumstance. Three point plow shakes up my arthritis way too much, makes me hurt. We are looking forward to testing our All Crop 60 on our cereal rye plot this year. We expect about 60 bushels. It will be cracked and fed to chickens and pigs. Wish us luck.


    https://youtu.be/7dZYJV5oOFE


    https://youtu.be/bBuLfzUrEjI

  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago



    I am not sure this picture will post. I go to my computer to edit because I can't see this tablet.

    Johnny, I have to agree on the 3 point shaking you up more, although a torque wheel in the rear furrow should keep the front wheels in place. The short wheel base of the 8 n and the tricycle front end on the super c dont handle a lot of torque. I dont have much equipment, most of mine is junk that was given to me. I have no drag equipment. I have a John Deere 2240, and a Kubota B2100 tractor. I did not start working on the wildlife garden till I had some equipment to work with. I am working on the wildlife garden mainly to improve the soil, and just give me something to do. The land belongs to my daughter, and she has told me to do what ever I wanted over there. I had about 3 or 4 acres cleared, and a tree trimming company come in and trim the trees up high, and also take out a few trees that the dozer could not get to. The wildlife garden will be a pretty building site some day.

    Above is a picture I took of my south garden boarder. I am adding about 3 hundred to 4 hundred sq ft of growing space. The picture will show how I use organic matter to make sort of a raised bed. I pile hay, grass clipping, or any other organic matter along the edge to hold the soil. I use the counter rotating rear tine tiller to push the soil around to make the garden some what level. You might not think that grass clippings, leaves or hay would make a good border, but I like it than a wood or stone boarder, and I have had both. I can drive my tiller or mower across the border, and when the boarder rots I use it for mulch or compost. I have worked on this garden for about 10 or 12 years, and you can see how the grade in the garden is higher than the lawn that it use to be. When I become unable to garden, I, or one of Madge's sons can take the tractor and push the dirt out level, or scoop it up in the bucket and take it where ever.

    The border in place now is contaminated hay, it has been sprayed with herbicide and I dont want to use it yet ( I really dont want to use it at all but ). I will let it sit for a year or 2 and test it again. You will notice that I have beans planted very close to it and so far they are doing well. The beans that were planted in the hay did not come up, but there may not have been good enough contact with the hay to sprout. You will also see grass growing in the hay, which makes me think that it was sprayer with 2 4 d.. The last time I had bad hay it ruined my tomato plants. The next year I could grow a garden in that spot. I dont like using contaminated hay, but it is easier than building a new garden or digging out the soil, and I hope the chemicals break down in a year or two, I think glyphsate is suppose to break down faster than that.


    Johnny, I forgot to mention your rye or the combine. You plan on making both those tractors have their toung hanging out after a long day of pulling that combine. I would sure like to be able to steal some of that straw. I have never worked around a combine, but I expect it could get dusty just like working in the hay.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 days ago

    Johnny, That is great advice about replanting. With our long growing season, we can just keep on trying!

    dbarron, I hope you enjoyed your warm day. Our days yesterday and today were humid and warm, but not hot, and mostly cloudy. I haven't had to water anything lately, and shouldn't have to water anything for a while, unless all the rain misses us.

    Rebecca and Kim, Nice harvests! It is so much fun when the harvests start rolling in and you get to eat the end result of some of your work.

    I hope you have a wonderful visit with your son and your little man, Kim. I bet he is getting so big and grown up now!

    Gorgeous flowers, Rebecca! Our lilies bloomed insanely early this year. I don't know why. Maybe it was those really warm days before the cool weather came back. They're all done now, but the daylilies have begun and the various ones will be in bloom for weeks and weeks now.

    You can propagate fall tomato plants from spring/summer tomato plants as long as the plants you're using for cuttings are in good health. It takes no time at all for cuttings to root.

    I feel safe using Bt, but rarely use it because we have so many butterfly nectar plants and butterfly host plants mixed into our garden and I don't want to hurt them. If you use it, just try to make sure it only gets on the target plants you're wanting to plant, and not on any of your butterfly plants. I generally just hand-pick and destroy caterpillars that are doing damage in the garden, but there have been times I sprayed. There was one horrible year, and I believe it was 2010, when we had cut worms, army worms and climbing cut worms literally wiping out every single plant in the garden and you couldn't even find Bt in the stores because everyone else had the same problem. It was sold out online. I just kept watching the stores for it. When it finally arrived one day and they were putting it out on the store shelves at a tiny little local shop in Gainesville, I bought some (2 bottles which, yes, was rather greedy) and sprayed every vegetable plant in my garden, and that was the end of the plant-eating caterpillars. Wiped them right out. It is very effective. I did not have nearly as many flowers planted in the garden then as I do now, so I don't know if I'd ever spray every single veggie plant with it again.....but then, if the choice is to spray or to continue finding all your plants chewed off at the ground level, I bet I would make that choice to spray. A gardener does what they have to do, within reason.

    I am sure your new hydrangea will be fine. You're not a rookie gardener any more! You ARE a grown-up gardener, so go forth and plant and believe! Your plants are going to be fine.

    Cocozette is an old heirloom I've grown many times. It is one of my favorites. The plant is fairly compact for a zuke, and it produces heavily.

    Tim surprised me by taking a vacation today, so we went shopping to the places in the DFW metro that I was missing and hadn't been to in months....since before Covid-19 hit, and one of them (Mike's Garden Center) I hadn't been to since last year. This was my first big outing since Covid-19 hit and trapped us all in our homes, so I was really excited about it. I won't lie. I felt a bit paranoid venturing down to a metro area with almost 17.000 COVID-19 cases, but I didn't let that stop me. There was a line to get into Costco, but we got to skip it because we arrived during the Sr. Citizens Early Shopping Hour (which we didn't know they still were doing cause we hadn't been keeping up on it) and waltzed right in. I guess all the people waiting in line were younger than 60 years old and were waiting for 10 a.m. to arrive. Walking into Costco was like going home again. It was just the way I remembered it, lol, except two rows of cleaning aisle shelves had cases of cold drinks on them because they are staying sold out of those cleaning supplies. Except for the lack of certain cleaning supplies (none of which we needed) and hand sanitizer, it seemed pretty normal in there. I had a mental list of things I wanted to get. Every single person in there was wearing a mask (the first store I've been in where I've seen that) because they are required, and we didn't waste any time---we got what we came for, paid for it and left. It wasn't like it usually is with people visiting and saying hi and smiling and they don't do the free samples of foods on weekdays, and they probably aren't doing those during Covid-19 anyway. We stopped at the nearby Sam's Club to pick up a couple of things that Costco doesn't carry, and then we headed for Central Market. It is a produce haven with hundreds and hundreds of kinds of produce items, so walking in that front door right into the produce section is always like a dream for me. About 90% of the people in there were wearing masks. Again, we shopped, but it was all business. People had their heads down, minding their own business, doing social distancing, getting their stuff and getting out ASAP. We did the same. Central Market has prepared dinners you can pick up on your way to the checkout counter, so we picked up dinner for tonight: chicken quesedillas, southwestern veggies (yellow squash, zucchini, onions and peppers) and boraccho beans (pinto beans, onions and hot peppers cooked in a beer sauce....I couldn't taste the beer at all). We picked up separate containers of queso, salad and Mexican rice to round out the dinner, and a small Texas chocolate sheet cake. It was a yummy dinner this evening. Despite all I keep hearing about supposed meat shortages, all the stores we were in had plenty of meat, perhaps because we were there early in the day, and I didn't see any signs about any limits so we could have bought a lot, but the only meat we wanted was bacon, because it is BLT season. We have bacon in the freezer, but always pick up more when we are down there, and I doubt we'll go back down there to those stores until July.

    We couldn't go to Barnes & Noble because those don't reopen until tomorrow (darn it!) so we headed for Mike's Garden Center. I found SlugGo Plus there (for the pill bugs and sow bugs in case their numbers get out of order in all this wetness) but they didn't have the organic fire ant killer product (Come & Get It) that I wanted, so I guess I'll have to order that online. They had a fire ant drench made of botanical oils, but I've never tried it and am not sure I'd want that much oil poured on mounds near plant roots, so I skipped it. They had Medina Orange Oil, which is part of a home-made recipe for a fire ant drench I can use in the yard, if not in the garden, so I got it. I was really disappointed in their plant selection---it was basically the same old same old stuff every big box store has, though some of their plants were (and always are) a much larger size and better quality. It is just that I like to find unusual, offbeat things and they were lacking in those today. I did pick up three 'Confetti' lantana, which is a very old lantana variety that is older than I am. It always grew well for us in Fort Worth and sometimes overwintered there in zone 8, though it is a zone 9 plant. I don't care. I bought it anyway even though I'm in zone 7. We'll enjoy them all the rest of this growing season, and if they come back next year, great, and if they don't, I'll go to Mike's Garden Center next spring and plunk down the dollars for three more of them. The butterflies flock to 'Confetti' more than to any other lantana I've ever grown, and they do love most lantanas.

    It was cloudy and misty but not quite rainy all the way down there, while we were down there and all the way back. It wasn't rain and was not quite fog, but sort of a low cloud ceiling that was very persistently low. At least it kept the temperatures down somewhat, but the humidity has been horrible all day long.

    We have a lot of mosquitoes and I have killed quite a few of them today, including one that was in the car. I hit it so hard that both of its wings stuck to my hands and the rest of it just disappeared into thin air, which is okay with me.

    That's a summary of "Dawn's Day Out" and my return to the real world outside of what Tim's best friend jokingly calls "The Coyle Compound", because he knows I'd rather be happily at home than anyplace else. I enjoyed it, but I'm not in a big hurry to repeat it either, at least not down there. It is hard for me to feel comfortable going down there knowing how many cases there are there, and I try to just not even think of how many cases the entire state of TX has (well over 50,000) or I just wouldn't go to Texas at all. Cooke County, TX (Gainesville) had 2 new cases today to our south and Carter County OK (Ardmore) had 1 new case to our north. Our county had no new cases. For so long, all our numbers stayed ridiculously low, but now they are climbing. This is not unexpected since everything is opening up, but I still hate to see it. We're also seeing which businesses say they are dead in the water and aren't returning, and that is sad.

    I'm hoping to work in the garden tomorrow. I've been waiting all week for the horrible mud to dry up enough to work, and I think perhaps it has. Maybe I can get some chores accomplished before the next round of rainfall arrives.


    Dawn

  • johnnycoleman
    7 days ago

    Dawn, after a lot of reading, I decided to transition my front yard to Dutch White Clover. It has been a slow process but my front yard is full of drunk honey bees daily. (:-)


    Thanks again for your encouragement.


    By by the way, we grew Jet Star tomatoes last year. They were planted deep into raised rows and hilled with the tractor in the video that follows. We gave away more than 700 pounds of tomatoes last year. We did not use any form of support. Just let them spread as much as they wanted.


    https://youtu.be/2ZzmASjc5P4

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    7 days ago

    Johnny, I am so glad that things are going so well for you up there at Vision Farms. It has been so rewarding to see you making your plans and dreams come true and the amount of people y'all are helping with the food you raise is just amazing. You truly are doing the Lord's work there and I am so proud of you.

    I want to replace some of our lawn with clover too! I love, love, love clover. I had big plans for redoing all the landscaping around our house this year. In fact, I was going to skip veggie gardening completely except for about a dozen tomatoes and peppers in large containers to focus on landscaping, and then very heavy autumn and winter rain kept our yard under water for months and I had to abandon those landscaping plans---pushing them out to 2021. It probably all worked out for the better, because it left me free to have a big veggie garden in the midst of the pandemic of 2020. I am frustrated, though, every time that I think of the hardscaping and fencing we are not installing in our landscape yet. Oh well, I'll be patient and wait for the weather to align more closely with our landscaping plans.

    We joked for months that we always wanted lakefront property, we just didn't expect to have it here in our present location far from a lake.

    The downside of having perpetually wet soil for months on end is that it has driven the previously rarely-seen fire ants above ground in numbers that are terrifying. We have larger fire ant mounds now than we had in 2015, which was our wettest year ever. It is hard to walk in our side yard, which is the main part of the yard we use, without walking through fire ants. I guess one focus of our efforts for the rest of the warm season will be those fire ants, especially the mounds near the pool. I don't want for the grandkids to hop out of the pool and run through mounds of fire ants. Tim and I hope to start the Texas Two Step fire ant treatment program in our yard this weekend, Lord willing and if the creek don't rise, and if the rain doesn't ruin our plans. Treating the yard for the fire ants means the free-range chickens can't free range until the fire ant granules are watered more deeply into the ground, so I'm going to have to leave them in their fenced chicken run for the long holiday weekend and they are not going to be happy. No one shows their discontent more than wet hens, and confined wet hens who are used to free-ranging are going to be flat out cranky.

    Our weekend forecast went from a 'not much rain until Sunday-Monday' to 'heavy rain expected today/tonight' while we were sleeping, so I may have to amend the fire ant treatment plans and not start until tomorrow until of today. I wouldn't want for heavy rain to wash the fire ant granules downhill into the woods, and since we have a pretty serious slope to our land, that is a definite possibility with heavy rainfall.

    I hope the hail misses all of us today. Our flowers are so incredibly lovely right now and I'd hate for the weather to ruin that. The trumpet creepers began blooming yesterday, much to the daylight of the hummingbirds for whom we planted them. The daylilies started blooming earlier in the week, and all the rest of the flowers that have been in bloom for many weeks still look good so far because hail hasn't found them and battered them yet this year. The flowers in bloom within our fenced veggie garden include dianthus, the previously mentioned daylilies, larkspur, the last of the poppies, many different kinds of perennial and some annual salvias, autumn sage, lavender, lantana, cosmos, zinnias, petunias, Mango Popsicle red hot poker, gladiolas, verbena bonariensis, and the usual herbs that bloom at this time of the year like comfrey, which we have everywhere. We don't have a lot of Indian blanket flowers on our property because of all our clay, but the few that we do have just started blooming this week, and the native milkweeds are huge with very heavy flowers for the monarchs right now. The front wildflower meadow that we overseeded with the TX/OK wildflower mix from Wildseed Farms last fall has more wildflowers than it ever has had, and more and more Mexican hats and coreopsis burst into bloom daily. Let's just say that our place is a-buzzing with happy little flying critters right now.

    One more reminder y'all….it is chigger season! Remember to take precautions to protect yourselves from the little red demons. I've either been wearing muck boots in the yard and garden or spraying my legs and shoes with OFF to try to keep those little blood suckers from ruining all my lawn and garden fun.

    Finally, here's the latest version of the Qualitative Precipitation Forecast for the next 7 days. It updates multiple times per day. It has pushed a lot of the heavier rain totals down into Texas, but shows parts of OK on track to receive a lot of rain too.


    7-Day Qualitative Precipitation Forecast


    Have a great day everyone. When I make it outside this morning, I'm going to open up the tornado shelter and air it out for a while just in case we need it later. We haven't spent much time in there this month, not that I'm complaining.


    Dawn


  • slowpoke_gardener
    7 days ago

    Johnny, what made you choose white dutch clover. I have clover in my lawn in spots, and like it. I choose ladino clover for my wildlife garden, but I dont remember why, maybe I choose it because of low growth height, but is is taller than I like. I like to top the weeds with the brush hog but miss the clover. I would like to do the lawn the same way with the lawn mower. When I mow now I get a lot of the clover blooms, which I dont like. Will white dutch clover bloom as long and grow longer than my Ladino clover? I have a spot tilled up and maybe to answer my own question I should buy some white dutch and plant some side by side with the ladino. I keep bermuda and ladino seed on hand to fill in any bare spots that I might find in the wildlife garden or the pasture, although I am now filling in with brown top millet to get seed ready for the birds.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    6 days ago

    Well, all my outdoor plans for today are ruined, lol, because the weather is gonna do what it is gonna do. Somehow the northern/western OK rainstorms of this morning have made it all the way down here, which wasn't really expected and a line of storms is sweeping across our county and even reaching down into Texas to our SW. The dogs and I came back indoors because of the thunder and lightning and the cats are sitting on the porch looking grumpy, like they know their outdoor time is limited.

    The QPF drives me crazy. Yesterday it showed 3-4" of rain at our house over the next 7 days as it had been showing for several days. Last night they dropped us to 2-3", which made me even happier. This morning's update has us in the 5-7" category. I sure hope they are wrong about that. I don't think our garden can take 5-7" more rain on top of last week's 4+". We're going to have new fire ant mounds on top of the current fire ant mounds.

    I still might be able to go out and weed and work in the garden if this morning storm runs through quickly and doesn't drop much more rain. Meanwhile, I'm wishing my entire garden was in containers where the excess rain would drain through and not be such a burden. I'm going to have to get out the little vegetable boats again, or build an ark and load the plants on board, two by two.

    My weekend plans are changing moment by moment. Currently they involve rounding up every container not currently in use, filling them up when it isn't raining, and being prepared to plant something in them to replace garden plants that are likely to drown if we get another 5-7".

    This rain is especially hard on the lavender, even though it is in a raised bed 20" above grade level, filled with fast-draining sand that is fairly low in organic matter by design. This is the only place I've ever been able to keep lavender happy, and the winter rains killed all three plants that were growing there. Now the spring rain is threatening to kill the 3 replacement plants. They already are fairly unhappy. I suspect if I am going to be able to grow lavender again at all, I'll either have to wait for a drought year or plant into containers filled with a sandy/gravelly mix and put them on the porch or under the patio cover so the rain cannot reach them.

    To make up for the dismal lavender performance outdoors, I have two fake lavender plants from Hobby Lobby sitting in baskets on our mantel. I bought them back in January. They look great, and everyone thinks they are real, including the kittens, who jump up there and chew on them every chance they get. I cannot convince the kittens that the lavender is not real. Maybe fake lavender is what the garden needs. (Just kidding about that. I think.)


  • slowpoke_gardener
    6 days ago

    My plans have changed today also. As I was going out the door to go to town for supplies, Madge yelled at me ( I dint hear well ) . She had fallen in the bathtub. She is okay, had a pretty nasty skin tear on her right arm and was bunged up a bit. We got her arm bandaged up, and I waited a while to make sure she was alright. Now it is raining like crazy, so it's a good thing I did not go for supplies. We decided that it was not a good idea to leave while the other is taking a bath or shower. I guess that when folks get old they have to adjust.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    6 days ago

    I'm looking forward to catching up on all your posts! It's wet and rainy and cool outside. Oh NO, Larry. I do hope she IS okay. Bet she'll be sore tomorrow!

  • hazelinok
    6 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    I'm finishing up a strawberry pie (yes. from my own berries) and am about to have lunch with my friend whose husband recently died, so this will be a quick post. I read everything though.

    Larry, I'm SO glad you were home! Honestly that's not a bad idea for all of us--never shower or bathe unless someone else is home. It's so easy to slip. Of course, some people live alone, so that wouldn't work for them.

    We got a little over an inch of rain at our house. We needed it, but no more, please. If I say "please" will that make a difference to Mother Nature?

    Dawn, are fire ants and red ants the same thing? If so, that makes sense about 2015 for us. We had a ton of red ants around us that summer...haven't had that many since. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've not seen any at all since that summer.

    More to say. I'll be back.

    Take care everyone.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    6 days ago

    Nancy, Jennifer, thanks for your concern. I expect Madge will be sore tomorrow. You know, we had a handicapped shower installed when mom came to live with us. It has seat, hand rails and a long spray attachment, and we almost never use it. We installed it for mom, and I guess we think that was to be its only use. Its strange how people get stuck in a certain way of doing things. I hope we use the handicapped shower more now.


    My north garden just is not growing properly. It is much wetter than the south garden, I think that has a lot to do with the growing problem because the soil test about the same in both gardens.


    I have not been over to the wildlife garden because it is so wet, but I did put some butternut and cucumber seeds on the light shelf because I felt that germination was too slow over there. I have plants ready to take over there when it drys a little.


    Nancy, I have some of the seeds you sent in a mineral tub. They are Sunset Runner beans, I dont know what that is but plan on putting it on the deck with a trellis to climb. They are up and looking well. I have more seeds to plant in the wildlife garden if it ever drys.

  • johnnycoleman
    6 days ago

    Larry, Dutch White Clover is resilient. If it likes growing where you plant it, you won't have to do anything to support it. I set my mower to about two inches. That is high enough not to damage it. It provides the first bee food, in my yard, every year.


    Johnny

  • slowpoke_gardener
    6 days ago

    Johnny, I was just going out the door to get lumber and clover seed when Madge fell. I think they will weigh me out some at the Farmers Co-op at Greenwood, if so, I will buy some and try it. I have planted Ladino around in spots, mostly in my wild life garden. Some I planted in my yard, but I cant tell if I have any of my lawn clover is Dutch. I bought a 50# bag of Ladino and that lasted for a long time, I dont want to buy that much clover seed again, plus I dont need that much. I am really happy with the Ladino, but I wish it was shorter. I have some crimson clover in the wildlife garden that came in a deer food plot mix. I think it is the prettiest, but it really grows tall and dies out too soon. But after it dies out I can drag a disc through where it was growing and I have new clover plants coming up. I have found that dragging a disc through a lot of stuff gets me new plants. I did that with my zinnias last year but the frost killed them before they could bloom, so I sorta shot myself in the foot on that experiment.


    I have thought that I might want to try white clover for a live mulch in the garden, but have not had the nerve to try it. I have had to fight to keep clover and hairy vetch out of the garden. The vetch will take over every thing, I think that I might be able to manage the clover.


    I need more ground to play with. Last year I started stealing rooks and compost from my neighbor, along with redoing his long drive way. He like what I was doing so well he just told me to come up there and do anything, and help myself to the diesel tank, also to use his tractor. But I am afraid of his tractor, its a high dollar John Deere with heat and air and all the bells and whistles.


    Thanks for your reply about the clover, I am going to get a few pounds of seed and do a side by side comparison.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    6 days ago

    I am eating Margaret's goulash for lunch, guys! Think homer simpson drooling. Yum. We went to buy the refrigerator and since it's Friday, Margaret's has goulash.

    There was A LOT more traffic on 169 today than there was last time we were there (2 or 3 weeks ago).

    I thought I posted about the bathtub fall, but I must not have submitted it. I hope Madge is ok. I can't do tubs any more. I have a shower chair in the shower. I have this in the bathroom on the tub to help by the toilet. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082DP9Y23/?coliid=I1YD32QJF87IJV&colid=2RY7WVDY8ABRS&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    We got about a half inch of rain this morning, but sun is out now. I may go put more stuff in pots.

    A long time ago H/J asked who I gave my tomato plants to. One of the Y ladies gets the bulk of my leftovers every year. She was coming by to bring my birthday present, so I gave her tomatoes. She likes purples, but I didn't have many left.

    I agree, white Dutch clover grows well when it's happy, but mine likes the low, wet spots and bermuda crowds it out where dry. There was a conversation earlier in the year about ground covers. (I've been searching for a bermuda replacement.) One article suggested planting yarrow and mowing it like grass. I like yarrow, but I have my doubts it would stand up to bermuda.

    I killed a mosquito in the car today, too. I am worried that people will call to have spraying done. They're talking about it in Tulsa. I don't like them, but I don't want them sprayed.

  • johnnycoleman
    6 days ago

    Amy, I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. My Dutch White clover has spread over the years in unpredictable patches. There is very little Bermuda in my front yard.


    Johnny

  • slowpoke_gardener
    6 days ago

    The past two years have been very wet for my, and my Ladino clover has done very well. It does not seem to do well in dry weather. My real disappointment has been the fescue I planted in the wildlife garden, I would sure like to get rid of it, it is so aggressive, but I have no idea of how to.

  • johnnycoleman
    6 days ago

    Larry, have you tried plowing it under?


    Johnny

  • slowpoke_gardener
    6 days ago

    Johnny, this is where I need a plow. I think my John Deere would pull a 3 bottom, but I would take a 2 bottom plow if I could find one at the right price. I would brush hog it and plow it in a heart beat if I had the chance. Because I just use my equipment as a hobby and never make any money with it, I have to watch the $$$$. I look on craigslist every day hoping to find a plow to fit my John Deere. I dont think my Kubota would pull a plow, but if I could find a singe bottom at the right price I would buy it anyway and try to use it. I could probably use a disc plow better but I never see one of those. I had the top bull dozed off but there is still a ton of roots under the surface..

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    6 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    We let weeds and grasses fill in on a gravel-filled 3-car wide driveway. The property slopes from west to east, and every time it rained hard, it washed gravel down the drive onto the back half of the property--sometimes to the point of washing gullies into the drive, which then necessitated more gravel being hauled in. Meanwhile, Garry used to spray that entire drive with weed killer (Roundup??). I got here and the Round-up stuff stopped. He owes me SO MUCH!! I have saved him SO much work! Every time I make an ecologically responsible decision and approach him with it, it saves him work that he used to have to do.

    Why I started this is that now the back half of that 3-car drive has filled in with Bermuda encroaching from the south, and white clover covering the north half. But I have a question for you. Why does the clover show up? I noted that it went crazy with a couple decomposing tree stumps in the lawn. And then after then stumps had composed for a couple years, the clover died back. But then in the gravel drive, what's with all the white clover--there's at least a 50/50 shade-sun mix.

    I hear you fellas discussing larger properties and gardens--which really amount to farming, on some scale, smaller or larger. I am realizing how very different growing any kind of garden is, for each of us. From small to huge, the approaches, of course, are different. And we all approach "gardening" with a different mindset. It's all so very interesting.

    As you might know, I'm gardening in two different places (like HU, I guess, only on a MUCH smaller scale.). I have my garden at the "school" in town, which isn't really MINE, but rather the school's. But it actually is mine. John and Suzanne let me do all the growing. John, Garry, and 3 other volunteers and me--we did the hard labor, mostly the guys, God bless them. My main focus here was flowers, herbs, and shrubs. Then Garry wanted to grow potatoes, and I wanted to grow a couple tomatoes. This was beginning 5 years ago. I ALWAYS grew herbs and flowers up north and when I was younger had a big food garden. But had a tense 50-plus work week that didn't include gardening--an office job, for 30 years.

    SO. Now I choose to spend all my time outside. Veggies, herbs, flowers. . .forbs. Sustainable gardening. My mantra: Being a responsible steward of. God's Garden. Saving the pollinators; native plants.

    At the school, we have approximately 2000 square feet, we have half of that in native plants and nectar plants, so 1000 feet of veggies..

    Here, we have only about 900 square feet of veggies, but another 1500 sq. feet of forbs.

    So when I hear folks here talk about vegetable gardens, I am a dabbler. LOL

  • johnnycoleman
    5 days ago

    Nancy, if you are improving the soil in GOD's garden, you are my kinda gardener.

    One of my main gardening goals is to leave a few plots of really good soil for the next generation.


    You may find this interesting. - https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur


    Johnny



  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 days ago

    Johnny--I have a perfect stash of rotting firewood I'd been saving for my hugelkultur bed here. But when I mentioned it, Garry said, "REALLY? You think you need another bed?" LOL. He's right. BUT! So now my new plant is to put one in at the school! Good learning venture for the kids, right? Brilliant, I say. Just have to find the energy to get all that firewood loaded into the truck. :)

  • slowpoke_gardener
    5 days ago

    I have had a wonderful day. I called my daughter who lives across the line in the edge of Oklahoma, and ask her if she had any storm damage, and she did, but not from last night. Loren, her younger daughter had come in from Stillwater and was going to repair the damage. After the damage was discribed to me I got the tools and lumber that I thought it would take to make the repair and went over to supervise.


    I am so proud of how Loren repaired the roof. My daughter lives in an old barn that has one end turned into a house, the other end is still a horse barn. The second story has a false front which was broken, and leaning out like it was going to fall. I told Loren how to attach the "F" clamps and then attach a ratchet strap and pull everything back into position. Every now and then she would say " its hanging". I would tell her to " cut clearance, we will repair everything once we get everything located". She told me that she liked the demolition saw, and wanted one. I bought her and her sister both a lot of tools before they went off to college, but I never thought that either one of them would want a demolition saw. I love Loren and Laken both, but I cant be of any help to Laken's music, but I can help a little with Loren's engineering projects.


    When I got over to daughters, everyone had their mask on. When I hugged my daughter she said " don't let the kids see you do that, we are suppose to be 6 feet apart". I dont like this, I want to hug my loved ones.


    Don't pay any attention to this post. I just wanted to brag on my family, and cry a little about my garden. Repairing the house was easy, but the garden can't be repaired. I just cut off the damage, and hope the plants will keep growing. The part that baffles me the most is how a hail stone can tell the difference between a flower and a vegetable. I thing all my vegetables were damaged and very few of Madge's flowers were damaged, but she did have two busted pots.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    5 days ago

    Larry, I am so sorry about your garden and about Madge's pots. Most of your plants should recover. In our worst ever hailstorm we've had here in OK, my tomato plants were between knee-high and waist-high and loaded with fruit when hail that was about the size of ping pong balls busted everything down to the ground. It probably was very late May when this happened. I literally had to cut every plant off an inch or two above the ground and start over, just hoping that at least the broad-leaf plants would come back from their roots. I raked up endless busted fruit and demolished plants and my garden was pretty bare by the time I got all the destroyed stuff out. The compost pile got fed huge, endless amounts of plant matter that week. Cutting back the plants to remove all the damaged parts clinging by a thread worked for tomatoes and peppers, and most of the flowering plants. It did not, of course, work for onions and corn and much of anything else that has a central growing point. I salvaged the onions, though, harvesting all of them early and only half-sized, but chopped and froze them because the bulbs were bruised from the hail and likely would have spoiled quickly. Our tomato and pepper plants made a full recovery and we had a great harvest that year, albeit a late one. I replanted all I could so we'd have more than just tomatoes and peppers. I was so grateful for the garden's recovery. Still, if you had looked at our garden in May with all that damage, you'd never have dreamed how good it would look maybe 4-6 weeks later. This was very early in our years here in OK, maybe around 2004 or 2005. We've never had such bad hail since, for which I've been exceedingly grateful. We had experienced baseball to softball sized hail in Fort Worth a couple of times and, needless to say, garden plants just did not recover from that but, honestly, we had so much damage to the house and vehicles that the garden was the least of our worries.

    I'm always so impressed with Loren's skills and her willingness to tackle whatever job must be done. She is learning to be so self-sufficient and such a great handywoman, and she is learning that from you! You should be proud, and you should brag. Your daughter was so lucky to have you and Lauren then repairing whatever you could. I hope her house is going to be alright.

    You know what, I am glad you hugged your daughter. We did all the proper social distancing for 5 or 6 weeks, but once the kids started bringing the grandkids over again, we all started hugging again and it just felt so right. I have noticed that our neighbor (stage 4 pancreatic cancer) has been surrounded by his kids and grandkids, and now nieces and nephews and their kids, this past week....and why not? If they cannot be with him now and hug him now, then when? While everyone is praying so hard for a miracle for him, the unspoken thought in my mind in his case is that sometimes God doesn't give us the answer to our prayers that we were hoping for. Our preacher used to say "sometimes the answer from God when you pray is no or not now" when I was a kid and I've never forgotten that, so why can't our friend's family just be with him now while he still is here? Who knows how long he has, especially since complicating factors have prevented them from starting chemo as planned. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow on this earth. Sometimes families may have to choose love and togetherness over social distancing and I believe that is okay. We cannot let this pandemic turn us into robots who stay six feet away from everybody we love forever.

    The government asked us all to be careful and to self-quarantine in order to slow the spread of the virus and we all did that, but even they do not expect us all to self-isolate forever. We slowed the spread. So far our hospital systems have not been overwhelmed, but we also have to go on living. I can tell you from going shopping on Thursday that most people up here in OK are completely over social distancing, and few are wearing masks. People down in Texas don't seem to be doing much social distancing, at least not when we were in the DFW metro last week, but they were much more likely to be wearing masks. And, of course, they should be taking it very seriously down there because just the DFW metro area has well over 15,000 cases and that case load alone makes me think they'll keep wearing masks down there for the foreseeable future. I think everyone is trying to do what they can, within reason, while getting on with living their lives. It seems to be a rather delicate balancing act.

    Nancy, I want to dig out my annual veggie raised beds next year in the off-season and fill the bottoms of them with hügelkultur materials and then pile the dirt back on top. Of course, heavy rainfall could ruin those plans too, but we have tons of wood to use if only we can do that. We don't need more beds, but we need to feed the beds we have and I want to feed them with hügelkultur materials that will keep them happy for years.

    Ever since we moved here, I have focused on improving the soil first and foremost. Maybe no one but me ever will understand how much it has improved, but at least I will know that I left the soil here much better than I found it. We also have tried to heal the land. Our property is essentially 14.4 acres of creek hollow, with three creeks and numerous ponds and a swamp. It was so badly eroded when we moved here because almost every bit of it slopes downhill. Only the part where we have our house and detached garage is flat and fairly level. So, for years, we have healed eroded gullies by filling them with hügelkultur materials and letting all those materials sit and decompose in place. It is amazing how such a simple thing pays off. The gullies stopped eroding and the native plants returned to them, filling in the bare denuded soil and covering it with grasses and forbs that have reclaimed those eroded places. Because so much of our hügelkultur material was tree limbs and such, the wildlife flocked to the gullies to nest in the piles of brush we placed there. It was a win-win situation. We'll always have sloped land. We'll always have heavy rainfall flowing downhill from surrounding places that are on higher ground than ours. We'll always have some erosion, but that doesn't mean we can't work to minimize the erosion, to fix the land and to control the flow of water and to improve the soil. We just do what we can. All we really have to do is stop the erosion and keep the soil from washing away, and the native plants come back on their own and take over. To me, that's a huge improvement we can see that pays off in terms of the native floral and fauna.

    It rained overnight and again this morning, so we remain lakefront property at this point. What can you do? God is sending us rain and we shall have rain. Tim, being type A and OCD was going to lose his mind yesterday over (a) the HVAC not working and (b) our HVAC guy being on vacation. So, he spent his whole day (and my whole day) obsessed with fixing it himself. He couldn't even think of anything else. Couldn't talk about anything else. Didn't want to do anything else. Guess what? All the parts places are closed on the holiday weekend too. He went everywhere, he called everywhere, he was relentless. He finally found a guy in Muenster, TX, who had the two parts he thought he needed to fix the HVAC, so off we went to Muenster to this very nice man's house, because he runs his HVAC repair business out of his shop building on his property. He was such an angel because, you know, it is his holiday weekend too, and he found the parts, pulled them and had them waiting for us when we arrived. Once we were home, Tim fixed the AC, with a little telephone guidance from the gentleman in Muenster. Now, I want to be a fly on the wall when Tim explains to our usual HVAC repair guy that, um, never mind and forget the discussion we had on Saturday morning---I fixed it myself. lol. Most of those guys aren't overjoyed if you tell them you need them and then turn around and tell them "never mind". It isn't even that hot this weekend, only the mid to upper 80s, but my husband acted like we were going to die if he didn't get the AC working this weekend. On the other hand, it was too muddy to do any of the other 99 things on his To Do list, so at least he had something to work on.

    Amy, I'm glad you got your goulash! Did you find the refrigerator?

    Jennifer, Fire ants are not the same as red ants. If you have red ants, those probably are very beneficial in the garden. We have giant harvester ant mounds outside our garden and those ants have worn pathways through the grass and into the garden. I see them in there all the time, carrying out whatever food they find (seems like they like seeds a lot, and the bodies of dead insects) and working quite diligently. I like them. Most all ants are beneficial in the garden, but fire ants are not, and the damaged they do just to the gardener is bad enough to make you work hard to keep them out of your garden. Red imported fire ants are tiny compared to harvester ants, except for the queens which are much larger than the rest of the fire ants, and they sting like crazy. I will tolerate all ants in the garden, except for fire ants. Here's some info on Red Imported Fire Ants. I think they probably were what you were seeing in 2015 because all that rain was hard on them.

    Red imported fire ants

    Congrats on being able to enjoy a strawberry pie from your own strawberries and I hope your lunch with your friend was nice.

    Larry, My sweet sister recently was hanging a new shower curtain, and she was standing on the edge of the tub to hang it on the rod when she slipped, fell, and broke her foot. It is impossible to get up out of a slippery tub with a broken foot. Thankfully someone was home when she fell. I cannot imagine what it would have been like if she'd had to lie there for hours waiting for someone to come home and find her. I hope Madge heals speedily. I always take my cell phone into the bathroom with me so I can call someone to come rescue me if I fall in the tub. Tim's gone to work for so many hours per day and I'm usually home alone, so I have to be super careful.

    My friend, Jo (Fred's wife), fell once at the mailbox at the end of their driveway and broke her pelvis and couldn't get up. She didn't have her cell phone with her, and their private road, with just their house and one neighbor's house, gets very low traffic when everyone is gone to work, so she laid out there for several hours waiting for someone to come driving along and find her. I learned from her ordeal and had made a habit ever since of taking my phone with me everywhere, even if I am just going to the garage, garden, chicken coop or whatever, just because I want to be able to summon help for me if I've fallen and can't get up. Heck, if you fall here, the fire ants right now are going to come over and start building a mound right on top of you. I haven't been having to use the water hose, and the fire ants have built numerous mounds right on top of it. One of our friends was thrown off a horse last year and laid on the ground with a broken hip for several hours. By the time someone found her, she had fire ants all over her, just adding insult to injury.

    I had started making aging adjustments at a fairly young age---around 54 or 55. When Jo fell and laid out there on the hot ground in the sun for so long, it made me more serious about carrying my phone if I am home, or letting people know where I am going if I am not at home, because I realized what happened to her could happen to any of us at any age. I'd rather be smart and proactive and face the fact that every year my body finds it a little harder to do all the things I used to do, than to live in denial, like the man I'm married to, and pretend I am not getting older. There is nothing wrong with getting older---it is, indeed, a blessing, but we have to be smarter as we age and we have to have a plan in place to help ourselves if we fall or otherwise get injured in some way. So very many of our older friends here remained in excellent health well into their 70s and 80s (and some of them, their 90s) and drove their adult kids insane by always being out on the tractor, on the horse, etc., until they fell off the tractor or the horse and laid on the ground for hours waiting to be found. I've tried to learn from them (and all of them did have to learn to always have that phone on their person just in case). I also learned that a stubborn person who is insistent that they will heal and return to the tractor and/or horse tends to do so. For all of them, a broken hip, tail bone or pelvis was just a temporary impediment to living their life normally. One injury does not keep a good person down, and for many of them, the motivation to do all the physical rehab after breaking bones was that they wanted to get back on the tractor or back on the horse. I guess for me it would be that I wanted to get back into the garden since I don't have a tractor or a horse.

    If this rain keeps up, my whole garden is going to drown again, and all I'll have left is what is in the containers. I'm so grateful for the container plants because there's a ton of rain in our 10-day forecast.

    Dawn

  • johnnycoleman
    4 days ago

    Larry, here is another idea. We loan our equipment to other gardeners regularly. Maybe someone in your area will loan you a plow. It ain't like you would be asking for a gift, just a loaner.


    Johnny

  • slowpoke_gardener
    4 days ago

    Thanks , Johnny, That is a good Idea. I dont get out much and dont know of a plow around here. So many of the people around here have gotten old and died, or moved to town where their kids can care for them. I will ask my neighbor if he know of someone that may have a plow. He is younger them I am and seems to know everyone. I know a lot of people know me, and I might know them, or some of there family. I am always out side working and someone will pass and wave, or honk. For the life of me I cant see who it is, but I wave anyway. There are not many gardens around here, most everyone that raises anything , raises cattle. But you brought up a very good idea. Thanks.

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