Our 2023 garden: transplanting mysteries

Okay, so I managed to get a bit done in the garden this evening. Also, I had a wonderful surprise. Rolando Moon appeared! I haven’t seen her in at least a month, maybe two. At her age, we just never know if she’ll disappear and not return anymore.

I was also happy to see The Distinguished Guest wander into the north side of the property. Happy, that is, until I heard a cat fight and discovered he had attacked Pinky, and I had to chase him off. *sigh*

I had some squash that were getting too big for their pots that needed to go in, so I focused on the hill we grew pumpkins in last year.

This is how it looked after taking a weed trimmer to it, after the mowing around it was done. Those bricks had been placed under the developing pumpkins to keep them off the ground. The round thing is an ant trap. There was two of them, but one disappeared when it got caught by the push mower, last year.

They didn’t work. The ant hill is still there.

Thankfully, the bug spray I used seems to do a good job of deterring ants, too. I dug up the bed with a garden fork and pulled out as many weeds and roots as I could. The ground was crawling with ants, but while I had them on my boots, that’s about as far as they went.

Before, this hill had only ever had two plants transplanted into it. After weeding it and working the last of a bag of sheep’s manure into the surface, I raked it out into a flattish square.

I fit 6 transplants in. The row of three on the far right are Zucca melon, from a second seed start. In the middle row, the two in the foreground are African Drum gourd, also from a second seed start. The other four were in an unlabeled pot. I restarted both the Zucca melon and Drum gourd at the same time, but one unlabeled pot got mixed up. I think they are also drum gourds, but I’m not sure. At this stage, the leaf and stem shapes look almost identical.

We’ll figure it out soon enough, if they survive.

I then filled in the last of the space available in the wattle weave bed.

I had removed the protective plastic from the Sweet Chocolate peppers, and they now all have support stakes. I left the protection around the one Classic Eggplant, though it did get its own support stake, as did the luffa in the corner.

I transplanted one of each variety of pepper seedlings we had waiting. Between the luffa and the eggplant is Dragonfly. The three around the curve are the Cheyenne, Early Summer and Early Sunsation. I wanted to get at least one of each type transplanted, just in case we aren’t able to get things ready early enough to get the rest into the ground.

To the left of the luffa is the largest of the 3 mystery squash that germinated with some Roma tomatoes. I think they might be luffa, but I’m 100% not sure.

As I write this, it’s coming up on 8:30pm, and we’ve finally started to cool down a bit. What I got done wasn’t a lot, and certainly didn’t involve much physical exertion, but it still left me dripping with sweat. The next few days are supposed to be every so slightly cooler, and then things are supposed to heat up again. And physical exertion is going to be the main work, because we have to start hauling garden soil over to the squash patch, so we can start transplanting. We can’t even start that until I take the weed trimmer to the tall grass around the pile that couldn’t be mowed.

It’s going to be hot, sweaty and disgusting work, but we’re running out of time. It’s not just prepping spots for the transplants. This year, I was going to try direct sowing the summer squash, and those seeds should be in the ground already.

I suspect that by the time we finish building the permanent trellis beds, it’ll be too late to direct sow a lot of things. I might try, anyway. We could find ourselves with a long, mild fall again.

There’s only so much we can do, though. None of us area handling this heat well.

The Re-Farmer

There was a time…

… when I dreamed of living on a tropical island somewhere. A place where “winter” didn’t involve air so cold it hurt your face and snow measured in feet instead of inches, or whiplash seasonal temperature extremes.

As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve changed my mind. Oh, sure, I could do without the extreme cold temperatures in winter. However, my tolerance for heat has dropped considerably. We’ve got a somewhat cooler day today, at 25C/77F right now, compared to the last few days. Still above average, but not breaking any records. Yet I still can barely tolerate it.

Looking at the temperature map of North America right now – and not even looking at the tropics – I’ve come to the realization that this old dream of mind is something I probably don’t want anymore! I mean, even the hottest areas in the screen cap above are just a few degrees hotter than we are right now, in the prairies.

If it weren’t for the even shorter growing season, I’d be more interesting in going further north, rather than south!

The Re-Farmer

So many!

Horse flies on a window frame.

I just got back from picking up packages, and it is just insane out there. Insane with horse flies! I don’t remember ever seeing so many of them before.

When I go outside, they start flying around me in clouds. This morning, I had them getting stuck on my hat somehow, and when I took my hat off to wave them away, they got stuck in my hair!

While backing the car out of the garage, they are bouncing off the windows. As I drove up the road to the intersection, I could see clouds of them outside my window, keeping up – they can fly really fast – and still bouncing off the window! When I got out of the car to open or close the gate, in the few moments the door was open, there were several stuck inside, bouncing against the inside of the windshield.

The sun room, though. Oh, my goodness! This is the down side to leaving the doors open. There are hundreds of them in there, bouncing off all the windows and crawling around the frames. The buzzing noise is so loud! There was one butterfly stuck in there and bouncing off a window, but I was able to get it out. The horse flies? Some might rediscover the open door, but most will most likely bounce themselves off the windows until they drop dead.

Usually, it’s mosquitoes we have problems with. Especially with the wet spring we had, and how moist things still are, even without rain. We do have them, but not especially high numbers of them. It’s all horse flies this year, instead!

Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels.com

We always have horse flies in the summer, but I wonder why we have so many of them this year? The poor cattle and other farm animals around us. Not to mention the wildlife. Horse flies like to be around bodies of water, but much prefer livestock – or anything else they can get blood from! They seem to be leaving the cats alone, thank goodness. They certainly had an extra level of discomfort when trying to work outside!

The Re-Farmer

Damp morning

I headed out to do the morning rounds a bit earlier than usual. We’ve finally been able to arrange for our septic tank to be emptied (usually we try to get it done in April or May, or as soon as the snow is gone). The truck is coming some time this morning, so I wanted to make sure the gate was open.

While continuing my rounds, I checked out the Crespo squash, and they are looking great! They are all getting increasingly robust, and I’m seeing roots forming all along the main vines. Two of the vines have started blooming already!

I’m quite happy with how these are doing.

This early in the morning, everything was feeling wonderfully cool, and everything was still very wet! For all the rain we got, it did reduce the humidity, but not by all that much, really.

Which might explain this.

I don’t know where Gooby was when I first came out with the kibble, but he was there when I got back to the house, and completely soaked! Only Decimous had wet fur like him, but only on her lower half, not all over, like he was. All the other cats managed to stay almost completely dry!

We really, really need to get ahold of Decimous. She is so badly matted, I can see burrs stuck in her fur, there are some mats starting to dangle, I see bald patches and I’ve even found some of them in the yard. I’m guessing she’s been scratching at them. While I’ve managed to give her neck and ear scritches a few times, she mostly moves away before I can get close. Aside from trapping her (which is more likely to get other cats, first), if we even had a trap, trying to socialize her is the most we can do. It would be easier if we could offer her wet cat food, but if we did that, we’d have all the friendly cats crowding in for a treat.

Oh, and either she’s got a whole lot of mats around her belly, or she’s pregnant.


Well, we do what we can.

I now await the arrival of the septic truck. I want to be around when the septic guy gets here, mostly to make sure the cats stay away from the open tank while it is being worked on, and at some point I’m going to have to go out to pick up some packages. It seems that for one of them, Purolator decided not to leave the package at the store our post office is in, as they have been lately, but at the depot in the down my mother lives in. We’ve got two packages that are supposed to be in right now. When I check the tracking, it says that Canada Post had issues with delivery. Neither says they were to be shipped by Purolator, so I don’t know what’s going on there. What I really want to do is go back to bed. I got almost no sleep last night. It was finally a relatively cool and pleasant night, but I didn’t get to bed until late, and then got hit with busy brain. It wouldn’t be any better to get my daughter to drive, because I think she had an even worse night than I did.

We’ll see how it works out.

The Re-Farmer

A garden tour

I ended up not being able to get to doing outside work today.

It was actually cooler, but things are still too wet. I just got back from outside. It has cooled down to 23C/73F, and with the breeze, it’s gorgeous out there, but too dark to start anything.

I did, however, get to see a hole bunch of kitten out by the spirea and grape vines. So when I went out to feed the cats, I moved one of the kibble bowls over for them to discover. I’m guessing they must have already been hiding in the spirea, because just minutes later, I saw all six of them at the bowl, enthusiastically eating!

I did get some productivity in, and finally finished putting together video I took on June 1. Here is a tour of our garden, taking one day before our average last frost date.

Of course, a whole bunch has been done since then. I’ll aim to do another garden tour video on July 1 or so, to compare.

Well, the cat videos I took earlier were much shorter and quick to upload to YouTube, so here they are!

First, the kittens.

Gooby, meanwhile, decided he really loved my boot.


The Re-Farmer

We got rain!

Working in the heat must have been really getting to me. I went to be early last night, and ended up sleeping for about 10 hours.

I did wake up briefly at about 4am and could hear the rain and see lighting out my windows, as I tried to convince myself to get out of bed and go to the washroom, only to fall asleep for several more hours.

So I was late heading outside for my morning rounds. The cats were waiting for me.

They do love having access to the sun room again! Especially when it’s really hot out. That concrete floor stays pretty cool.

Of course, there’s a cat in the bin.

The cats that weren’t in the sun room were very wet, just from walking across the grass! It was even still, almost, barely, just a tiny bit, raining.

The rain barrel by the sun room was completely full, though! Which means I slept through quite a lot of rain.

I also spotted this guy through the sun room window.

He was tucked into the bin we keep under the laundry platform bench, where the bucket of clothes pins can be kept dry – and for extra shelter for the cats. The folding closet doors we used to put transplants on for hardening off is still there, and the cats are enjoying the shade it provides on the bench, too.

To be honest, when I first spotted Sad Face in there through the window, with his chin on one of the bricks, I wondered if he were dead, he looks so rough. Then he lifted his head.

His behaviour has definitely changed over the past few days that I’ve seen him. Could be the heat. Could be injuries. Could just be getting old, on top of everything else. He’s hanging out on the laundry platform a lot more, and not running away as quickly. Aside from the wounds on his face, he does not appear to be injured. No limping or anything like that.

This morning, I left some kibble for him on the platform, as much to keep him from chasing the other cats away from the food bowls as to let him have food without moving too far. I did need to get the diverter for the rain barrel, though, and it’s kept on the laundry platform between uses. I tried to be slow and careful in moving it, but he did move out of the bin and disappear. Not long after, I found him under one end of the bench, curled up against the bin – and another cat was eating the food I left for him. He seemed totally uninterested in food, or even moving very much at all.

As for my morning rounds, everything seems to have really enjoyed last night’s rain. I was messaging with my SIL while outside, and they were in the middle of a downpour at the time. From the looks of the weather radar, they were being hit by the same system that passed over us last night. They really needed the rain, too! So that was good news.

The newest transplants all seem to be doing well. While checking the pots of transplants under the market tent, however, I discovered that the trays at one end of the picnic table were just barely outside the tent roof, and full of water. Among those were the small Jiffy Pellet trays that had zero germination rates. The rain had actually uncovered some of the seeds. They don’t look like they’ve been rotting away, but show no signs of germinating, either! I was able to drain the excess water, push the seeds back into the pellets and top them up with a bit of soil. It’s still possible for them to germinate.

Some of the squash and gourd transplants are getting big enough that they need to get into the ground, but it’s too wet to work on that right now. We’re not expecting more rain for possibly a few days, so we should be able to get started once things dry off later today.

Which is fine. I’ve got some indoor projects that need to get finished, too!

The Re-Farmer


We’ve had all sorts of things budding and blooming in succession. The most recent buds developing is the pink rose bush in the old kitchen garden.

This rose was almost dead when we first moved here. It took years to help it recover, and prune away enough of ornamental apple tree above it, so it was finally getting enough light. Now it’s starting to thrive and has SO many buds developing!

The Re-Farmer


Look what I found peeking at me, while I fed the outside cats this evening?

It was completely alone in there. I tried to leave it a handful of kibble in the cat bed, but it ended up running off. I got too close.

It’s possible it’s one of not-Junk Pile’s pair.

What a cutie!

The Re-Farmer

My whack job and, I can see!

It’s past 6 as I write this, and we’re still at 31C/88F, with a humidex of 38C/100F. We’ve got all sorts of heat warnings going on. The hottest temperatures start at about 3pm, so I tried to do as much as I could outside, before we reached that point.

Today was a weed whacking day.

I was able to use the trimmer around all the raised beds. I could get in between them with the push mower, but that left a lot of tall crab grass and dandelions along the edges. The weed trimmer line can get under the logs a fair bit, so it makes quite a difference.

I also got the tall grass and weeds in the squash patch, then kept on going. Much of the area in the back is too rough for a mower, though my SIL did make a few passes across the area. I did the squash hill, and the corner on the left that’s in shadow.

I was really appreciating the shadows!

I did take a pause after the paths around the beds were done, to go to the post office.

My glasses were in!

The ones with the smaller lenses are what I wore as I continued working, as they were closer in size to my old glasses. They needed less getting used to. I didn’t want to be dealing with depth perception issues or head rushes while using the weed trimmer. I got use to the new prescription very quickly, though.

I’m wearing the larger lensed glasses now. Those are a lot like the glasses I used to wear through most of junior and senior high. I like the larger lenses, and I have better peripheral vision, but they do take a bit more getting used to seeing with.

After I finished the weed trimming and headed inside, I decided to try watching a movie on my desktop. I watched the entire movie, in one sitting, with zero eye strain! Not only that, but I can also tap or read messages on my phone, without having to take my glasses off!

I am quite happy with them, so far. I do feel nervous taking them on and off, though. The designs on both are a lot more delicate compared to my old glasses, so they feel very fragile. They aren’t, but it’ll take some getting used to!

After I had a chance to cool down and get used to my new glasses, I headed back outside to do a few things. One of those was to water all the garden beds. In this heat, even the stuff that is mulched is needing it.

Once again, I found so many frogs coming out from under the boards covering the Uzbek Golden carrots! I checked and saw that carrots were sprouted, so removed the boards. I set them along the edge of the bed, on top of the mulch, making sure to dampen the mulch first, so the frogs will still have somewhere moist and cool to rest under.

When watering the Spoon tomatoes I transplanted last night, I found on looking like it has slumped over in the heat. It turned out to be snapped above the lowest branch. I broke the top off the rest of the way, but the remaining stem may actually do okay.

There is more weed trimming to do, but I’m done for the day. In fact, I’m seriously considering going to bed once I’m done this post!

That is, if the cats on my bed would give me any space.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2023 garden: transplanting eggplants, onions and tomatoes

I didn’t get outside to do some work until past 8pm, when it finally started to feel cooler. Thankfully, the days are still getting longer, because it was just past 10pm when I was done, and pretty much full dark by the time I finished putting things away.

There wasn’t time to work on the big stuff, but there was some small spaces I could work on.

The first area I worked on were the 4 empty blocks in between the gourds and Zucca melon. I had some potting soil mix left, so after digging around in the blocks and pulling out any roots I could find, I added a bit of the potting soil to top up each block a bit. There were a total of 5 Little Finger eggplant seedlings, but two were still quite small, so I planted them together. We’ll see how they do and if one will need to be thinned out. I had plenty of new grass clippings to mulch around them, too. I collected a wagon load, and when the eggplants were mulched, I used the rest to finally give the asparagus bed a deep mulch. Until now, only the strawberries in between them were mulched. I was happy to see one new spear of asparagus, already at the fern state, had showed up. That makes 5 out of 6 crowns in this bed that survived last spring’s flooding… if barely!

Our spinach is just starting to get big enough to harvest a few leaves here and there, even though they were planted so long ago. As they will likely bolt quickly in this heat, my daughter went ahead and harvested the largest plants earlier today. In between the spinach, I started transplanting some Red of Florence onions. We grew these last year and really liked them. These are the first of this variety that have been transplanted, and they’re going to be shoved in every place we have room, as we go along planting other things.

Next, I worked my way across the retaining wall blocks, clearing and weeding. Every other block had mint transplanted into them, to contain them. It will be a battle to get the rest of the mint that’s growing in the old kitchen garden, but these were originally from my late grandmother, so I don’t want to get rid of all of them. They don’t seem to have handled last winter very well, and one block’s mint seems to have died (!!! who ever heard of mint dying on its own? 😄). A few other blocks got onions that survived the winter, that I found while prepping the area. Some stayed in the blocks they were found in, while others got transplanted, so that each block had 3 or 4 onions in it. In the end, I found a total of 6 blocks were free. Those got dug into to remove roots, topped up with the last of the potting soil, and then I transplanted some Spoon tomatoes into them. Each tomato got a bamboo stake they can be clipped to as they get bigger, then mulched with grass clippings. It’s not the area I wanted to grow these in, but at least we’ve got some in the ground. At this point, we could give away all the remaining transplants.

Not too bad for just a couple of almost cool hours before things got too dark to see!

The Re-Farmer