For a while now, my mother had been telling me she had a tree for me to take home and transplant. She’d grown it from seed collected from trees in her town, and it was in her little garden plot.
When I was at her place a couple of days ago, she had it dug up and in a bucket, waiting for me to take home.
I asked her about the tree to try and get a sense of how big it would get, or even where she got the seeds from, so I could see for myself. She wasn’t able to tell me much, but did think that, in English, it was called an Ash tree.
So I looked it up and confirmed it was Ash, but couldn’t narrow it down to a specific variety. This is not something that normally grows in our area. Using the ID function on my phone’s camera, it listed European Ash first, but there was no way that was right. Those can’t grow in our climate zone.
From what I could find, Ash trees can grow anywhere from 30 to 100 feet tall – I even saw one listed as growing up to 115 feet! Given that the trees she got the seeds from were planted to line streets somewhere in her town, I figured this one wouldn’t get that tall, but probably more than 30 feet.
Which that in mind, I decided to plant the tree in the outer yard, replacing one of the Korean pine that died.
Since I have both, it got a double mulch. The grass clippings will break down faster, and both will keep the grass and weeds down, while the roots establish themselves. Wind is a problem, though; even as I was planting it, the wind was pushing it over. The Korean Pine that had been here had a tomato cage to protect it, secure in place with a branch, so I made use of the branch to support the Ash tree. It can stay there through the winter. In the spring, we can see what it would still need for support.
We still have some chicken wire left over. I will cut some to size to put around the tree to protect it from deer, too, making sure to spray it with the high visibility paint, like the ones protecting the surviving Korean pine. I hope it does well.
Earlier on, while checking the garden during my morning rounds, I found a surprise. I don’t know how I missed this!
I’ve been admiring all the little gourds forming on the Apple gourd plants, but never saw this big one until this morning! It had been hidden behind some leaves. There is another one that’s about 3/4 the size of this one. The little ones may not have time to fully mature before the growing season ends, but this big one has a chance!
We continue to have forecasts for mild temperatures over the next couple of weeks. Early next week, we may reach as high as 24C/75F.
Tuesday, September 13th 2022, 9:10 pm – On paper, Typhoon Merbok appears unremarkable. An intensifying typhoon in the Pacific is hardly noteworthy, but its location where it’s intensifying is a little perplexing.
The part that caught my attention was this…
The perturbation continues eastward. As the trough digs across the West, there will be a region of adverse weather, including the prospect of a classic fall low developing across the eastern Prairies. The temperature extremes across the Prairies will be extraordinary, with wet snow across higher terrain in Alberta and southern Manitoba pushing towards 30°C.
Across Ontario and Quebec, there’s increasing confidence in temperatures surpassing 30°C, so some daily temperature records will likely fall next week. It’s a relatively rare feat to record 30°C across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) after mid-September, with Pearson International Airport reaching it this late in the season more than 15 times since 1938.
Where we are, we’re not likely to get such extremes, but perhaps that 24C/75F day we’re supposed to be getting is a result of this. We’re supposed to have and overnight low of 14C/57F that night, yet just three nights later, we’re supposed to reach lows of 1C/34F, which would likely mean frost. This would be a week from now. The app on my phone, however, says we’re supposed to have a low of 5C/41F that night, so no frost.
I’m just obsessing over the temperatures forecast right now. I want the garden to be able to squeeze in every bit of mild weather. However, if things start dipping too low overnight, I’ll have to at least harvest the winter squash and pumpkins that I can, and might be able to cover a few beds.
I would really, really love it if the frost held off until well into November, like it did last year! That might be too much to hope for, though. We shall see!
My morning rounds are taking longer, as I am able to do more in the various garden beds as I go along.
I harvested the largest of the chive blossoms, before they go to seed. While I continued with my morning rounds, one of my daughters washed and de-bugged them, then laid them out on a cooling rack in a baking tray to dry. They are in the oven, with no heat at all, to protect them from the cats. Once the wash water is dried off, we’ll stick as much of them in a jar as we can, with olive oil. Any extras will go in the freezer. Or maybe I should split them into two jars and use them all. There are more chive blossoms to harvest later on, so we’ll have plenty to infuse in vinegar, too.
Speaking of drying things, during the night that cats did manage to get at the stacked screens of drying mint leaves. We’ve lost about 2 screen’s worth of mint leaves to the floor. 😦
When I moved on from the old kitchen garden to check on the squash patch, I noticed one of the giant pumpkins was no longer upright. I thought it might be because it had grown large enough to start leaning over, but I was wrong.
The stem is broken, right at ground level. Possibly from the high winds we’ve been having. Or…
Possibly weakened by the ant hill that has formed on that side of the pumpkin mound!
I built soil up around to support the stem again, in the off chance that it will survive, but with a break that large, I don’t expect it to. We are likely down to just one giant pumpkin plant.
Everything else in the squash patch seems to be surviving so far, and I’m seeing new growth in most. The squash that were started at 4 weeks are so very small, though. I kinda feel like maybe we should have started them at 6 weeks.
I had a very pleasant surprise in the tomato patch nearby, though!
Of course, the camera on my phone didn’t focus where I wanted it to. 😀
We have our first tomatoes forming!
These are on the Sophie’s Choice tomato plants. We got these seeds as a freebie with my order from Heritage Harvest, which was a very pleasant surprise. They have a much shorter growing season, and were started indoors at around 10 weeks or something (it’s a good thing I am using the blog as a gardening journal to record the details, because I’m already forgetting!). So I am not surprised that these are the first to start forming fruit.
We did get some rain last night, but it was light enough that much of the water in the garden was able to get absorbed by the soil, and the paths are just really wet, instead of big puddles of water. That meant I could finally do some much needed weeding in the summer squash bed, then pruning of tomatoes.
I took some of the strongest, healthiest looking branches that I pruned off the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes and transplanted them in the open spaces between the summer squash. I don’t know if I’m breaching any companion planting rules here (do tomatoes and squash go well together?), but whatever. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. I specifically wanted to propagate more Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, as they are listed as extremely rare, so if I can save seed and help keep the variety going, that would be a good thing. Because they start producing so much faster than the other varieties we have, I’m not as concerned about cross pollination.
While I was weeding and tending different parts of the garden, I had Rolando Moon hanging out and keeping me company. Not wanting attention. Just being nearby.
I had to chase her out of one of the sweet potato bags, as she decided to start rolling in it! Then she jumped up into the high raised bed and lay down on some onions. THEN, she moved into the squash and corn patch, and sat on some corn seedlings!
That cat seems determined to be destructive!
The tomatoes are not the only things blooming. Two of the Styrian hulless pumpkins have suddenly burst into bloom, and they are all covered with buds again. Their first buds had been pruned away when they were transplanted. They look to still be all male flowers. I’m debating whether these flowers should be pruned away, too, so more energy can go to the plants establishing themselves more. It hasn’t been that long since they were transplanted, after all.
Anyone out there know if it would be helpful to prune the flowers off now or not?
The beans and peas at the trellises and bean tunnel are looking quite good. The cucumbers seem more touch and go. The first peas that were planted are getting quite large, and the snap peas are already large enough that some have latched onto the vertical trellis strings already. The snap peas are growing noticeably faster than the pod peas.
There is a single, out of place pea plant that showed up, right near the upright post at the start of the row. It seems to be a pea from last year that finally germinated! It germinated quite a bit earlier than the others, and I’m trying to train it up the support post, since it’s too far from the vertical lines to climb. Last year, we planted the King Tut purple peas here, so that’s what this one would be. It’s even almost as large as the purple peas we started indoors from saved seed, and transplanted against the chain link fence to climb. They are all tall enough that they’ve attached themselves to the fence and are making their way upwards, even though they are still looking kinda spindly.
The Wonderberries have been ripening, though the plants haven’t really gotten any bigger, and have what looks like weather damage. I’ve been able to taste them. They are lightly sweet, but don’t have any predominant flavour. This may be something we just leave for the birds. I’ll have to get the girls to try them, too, and see if they like them. I don’t mind them self seeding in this location, as I’d rather have the berry bushes that produce food, either for us or for the birds, than the invasive flowers.
In other things, my plans for the day have had to change. My sister never made it out to my mother’s yesterday, because my mother told her it was “too soon” to start packing and bagging things in preparation for her apartment being sprayed for bed bugs. She has a shift today, so that’s out. My brother, meanwhile, is out of town for a funeral that had been delayed until now by the lockdowns. So it looks like I’ll likely have to go to my mother’s to help out. I’ll phone her, first, once I’m sure she is back from church. My sister will be able to come out tomorrow morning, and I hope to come out in the early afternoon for the last of the packing and bagging, and moving of larger items. Then she’s back the next morning to bring our mother to her place for the night. I’ll head over in the early evening to check on the place and make sure it’s locked up while my mother is gone.
On Tuesday, I should be heading into the city for the first half of our monthly shopping, too. I will time it so I can check her place on my way home.
Which means I’ll be getting very little accomplished at home over the next few days!
The rain held off this afternoon, so I headed out to where we finally decided to transplant the ground cherries.
After thoroughly dousing myself with mosquito repellant!!
This spot by the compost heap has been covered with that sheet of metal for about 2 years. The metal was placed there as something to put grass clippings on top of, so they’d be easier to collect and use later on.
Isn’t it amazing that, even while under metal, things were still trying to grow under there? !!
The soil was so soft under there, I could easily push the garden fork deeper than the length of the tines, and probably could have gone deeper if I’d wanted to. The ground was also pretty saturated, so it was muddy work to loosen the soil and pull out any roots – including some thoroughly rotted roots from the old tree stump under the compost pile nearby! No watering needed after they were planted, that’s for sure. In fact, I’m a bit concerned it might be too wet for them. We shall see.
The groundcherries got a good mulch with some of the grass clippings I had to move off the sheet of metal in order to move it. Here, they can be left to self seed, and hopefully we’ll get them year after year. We’ll just have to make sure they don’t spread too far and become invasive, which I’ve heard some people have had problems with.
The sheet of metal, meanwhile, is now sitting on top of the tall grass and weeds next to the ground cherries, weighted down with rocks to keep it from blowing away. Hopefully, it will help keep the crab grass and other weeds from invading the ground cherries.
When my daughter came out to help, we went looking through all the garden beds, talking about what needed to be done in each, before she started working on where we decided to plant our corn.
First, she dug a fairly narrow trench for the Tom Thumb popcorn, between the green patty pans and the Boston Marrow. These have a slightly longer growing season – 85-90 days – so we wanted to get them in first.
After she dug the small trench, she moved to the space between the Boston Marrow and the Lady Godiva pumpkins. There’s more space there, and it’s where we will be planting the Latte corn, which needs only 65 days to maturity, and bush beans.
While she worked on that trench, I used the hand cultivator to loosen up the smaller trench, pulled out the bigger rocks, and as many weed roots as I could. Then it got a layer of shredded paper, and finally a about 1 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of garden soil was added. I also removed the divots of sod and dumped them under some trees. They are so full of roots and rocks, it wasn’t worth the time to try and salvage any of the soil.
The Tom Thumb popcorn only grows to about 4 feet. The instructions said to plant them 5 or 6 inches apart, and in rows 36 inches apart, in blocks of at least 4 rows.
Obviously, we didn’t do that.
What we did do was plant two rows, with all the seeds about 6 inches apart. Once the soil was ready, my daughter had finished removing sod in the other area, so I just went down the prepared row, poking pairs of holes into the soil while my daughter went along behind me, dropping the little bitty corn seeds in! 🙂
I’m glad we got those planted, because the next job was a killer.
In the second space, I went over it with the hand cultivator to get some of the bigger rocks out, and the more obvious roots. There’s just no way we could get rid of all the roots. While I worked on that, my daughter used one of the old, busted up wheelbarrows to get grass clippings. A full recycling bag of shredded paper went into the bottom, then grass clippings got scattered over the paper.
After dumping the remaining soil in the wheelbarrow in, my daughter went to get more soil with the good wheelbarrow, while I used the old one to remove the divots of sod.
I was reminded of just how badly broken up that old thing was! I’m amazed we got away with using it for as long as we did. In the end, I had to switch to the other old wheelbarrow. It’s smaller and also busted up, but at least it didn’t try to tip over every time I dropped a piece of sod in it, or roll away!
After a while, however, my daughter was waving the white flag. It was pretty hot, and very humid. For all the bug spray we used, we were just sweating it right off. The mosquitoes were after my daughter more than me (I reapplied bug spray, several times!), and after all the back breaking labour of removing sod, she was just done.
After she escaped the clouds of mosquitoes, I managed to move some more of the sod – using the good wheelbarrow! – before switching to getting a couple more loads of soil, and that was it. I surrendered, too! I think we did manage to get half of the area covered with fresh garden soil. The other half will probably need at least 4 – 6 more loads of soil, depending on how full the wheelbarrow is. It’s a fair distance to haul the soil from the pile in the outer yard, and we have to go around through the smaller person gate, rather than the closer vehicle gate, because there’s water there again, so we can’t get away with over filling it.
It’s a good thing the Latte corn and the bush beans we will be planting with them don’t need a lot of time to grow, because we probably won’t be able to work on this area tomorrow, and not just because I’m driving my mother to another medical appointment. We’re supposed to start raining again tonight, with thunderstorms over the next two days – complete with overland flow flooding alerts! I’ll be using my mother’s car to drive her. Hopefully, that one patch on the road near our place will stay solid enough by the time I am coming home, that her little car will get through. Anyhow; with the expected weather, we might not be able to finish this area and plant the Latte corn for several days.
By the time we’re done in this area, it will be quite intensely planted. Between that and the straw mulch we intend to add, I’m hoping that should keep the weeds down. Before that gets done, we’ll have to remove the rest of the sod and the piles of rocks scattered about.
It would have been much easier if we could do the carboard and straw like we did for the potato beds, but we just don’t have the carboard for that. We could get more later on, but we really wanted to get these in as quickly as possible. This will be the last direct sown seeds, besides any successive sowing we might do for a fall harvest.
This is also about as close as we’re getting to the “three sisters” method of planting. Hopefully, doing it this way will have the same benefits as the more traditional way. The only real problem I foresee is being able to access the bush beans to harvest them, when everything is all grown in. If we focus on putting the corn in the middle and the beans on the outside, we should be able to reach them okay. It’ll be trying to walk around the Boston Marrow and hulless pumpkins that will be more of a challenge, I think! With the Tom Thumb corn, it will be less of an issue, since they won’t be harvested until the cobs are completely dry on the stalk. Once the mulch is down, there’s not going to be much more needed for them.
If nothing else, this will be a learning experience.
And an experience in humility, as we get driven away by hoards of mosquitoes, trying to eat us alive!
I’m now going to go borrow my husband’s bath chair and shower off the smell of insect repellant now!
The squash bed prepared by my daughter has been filled!
Some things went in some odd configurations. It’s going to take some doing to remember everything, even with the labels.
In my previous post, I’d stopped for a break after getting the Kakai hulless pumpkins, and the Crespo squash, started in the squash bed. As expected, the rest went much faster.
I’m so tired right now, I’m not sure I’m going to remember everything I planted in here at all! 😀
At this corner, the four Endeavor green zucchini got transplanted, running parallel to the low raised bed. This way, they will be easily accessible for harvesting throughout the summer.
There was a bit of space at the end of the row the green zucchini was planted in, so a couple of Teddy winter squash were planted there, and the remaining 6 were planted in a block in the next couple of rows. The Teddy squash has a growing habit similar to zucchini, so I wanted to make sure they were near the path, so we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting by while tending the low raised bed, or the green zucchini.
Next to the Kakai hulless pumpkin, I planted the Baby Pam pumpkins. There was six of them, planted in a 3 x 2 block. These are a smaller pumpkin that are supposed to be excellent for pies.
The poles are with the Apple gourds. I can’t remember if they’re climbers or not, but they are the only gourds in this bed, so I wanted to make them easy to spot.
I know we had some Ozark Nest Egg gourd seedlings, but as I planted them, I got a closer look and it does seem the are all Apple gourds. I don’t remember the Ozark seedlings dying off; if I had noticed, I would have tried planting more! I have no idea what happened to them.
Fit into the remaining spaces are the Georgia Candy Roaster and Winter Sweet.
Of the 7 x 7 grid my daughter dug, I did not plant anything in the south row, as it was too far into the shade. So this squash bed has been planted in a 7 x 6 grid.
The next step will be to mulch this area with straw. There had been thunderstorms forecasted, but now they’re just saying showers – those storm predictions keep going away! Still, we want to make sure the mulch is down as soon as possible.
If I can, though, I’ll see if I can get in with the weed trimmer first. It’ll be more difficult, now that the seedlings are planted, but it will make a big difference later in the season.
There were still seedlings to be transplanted, however. Which means a whole new section needed to be claimed. We were hitting 25C/77F, though, so I went back inside to take a hydration break, though I ended up making a dash to the store to pick up more bug spray. I’d just bought some, and we were already running out. They didn’t have a lot of options – normally we get something that will repel ticks, too, but there was none available. Still, with how fast we’ve been going through them, I got two.
For the rest of the transplants, I decided to start transplanting here.
In this area next to the potatoes, the grass I’d cut was growing back faster that the squash bed I’d just finished planting in, so I couldn’t make do without using the weed trimmer.
I worked in sections, starting out with an area large enough to include walking paths.
I had a couple of bins of transplants already at the garden, so I started on those, first.
These are the G-Star, green patty pan squash. The plants will be more compact compared to the winter squash, and they will be more easily accessed from the path between them and the potato and melon bed. I started by digging the row of holes then, using the jet setting on the hose, drilled into the soil and into the divots to blast as much soil back into the holes as I could, while leaving the roots and rocks behind. Then each hole got a spade full of sifted garden soil, and finally the squash were transplanted.
That process was then repeated for the next row, for the Boston Marrow. There were three pots, but so many of them germinated, I was able to plant eight. Which is probably quite crowded, even though I spaced them out more, as I think these will sprawl quite a bit as they grow.
Once those were in, I went to get more transplants – and found the only squash left were both hulless pumpkins!
Oops. I’d intended to plant them further apart. I would have put the Boston Marrow in between them, if I’d thought ahead. Ah, well.
I chose to plant the Lady Godiva variety here, because there was 5 seedlings, to the other variety’s four.
The last four, the Styrian hulless pumpkins, went next to the bean tunnel. I wasn’t able to use the weed trimmer here, though. I had to add another length of extension cord, but for some reason, it just wouldn’t run. I think there’s an issue with one of the extension cord plugs.
Oh, I almost forgot!
While watering the beds out here earlier, I noticed that we now have peas sprouting! The ones my daughter planted at the finished trellis. There are 2 varieties, and both have broken ground. 🙂
So here we have it! That last of the squash, gourds and pumpkins are now transplanted! As with the others, these will also need a straw mulch.
We might end up finishing off the bale, soon!
As of tonight, the only things left to transplant are the ground cherries and the Yakteen gourds. The Yakteen gourds will be filling in some gaps in other places. After talking about it with my daughter, she suggested a place for the ground cherries that I hadn’t thought of. Next to the compost ring, there’s a spot where we’ve got grass clippings sitting on top of a sheet of metal. That metal has been there for about a year now, so it should be just fine to plant into. We’ll just have to find ways to use up the grass clippings that are there! 🙂
I am so glad to finally have the transplanting done! Where we’re planting them is far from ideal, but they should be fine, I think.
We still have corn to direct seed. We’ll check the days to maturity and see if we still can, or if the seeds will just have to wait until next year. There are other seeds I’d hoped to plant this year, but they will have to wait until next year. They should have been sown back when everything was flooding. There is no longer enough of a growing season left for them.
While I was working on all this, my younger daughter took care of some other jobs, including doing a burn. We haven’t been able to get the burn barrel going for a while, and it was over full of the cat litter sawdust. That meant she had to stay and tend the fire for several hours.
She had just reached the point where she could put the cover on and finally let it smolder away on its own, when I came by to the pile of garden soil for one last wheel barrow load. Previously, I’d been sifting soil from the remains of the pile near the squash bed, but what’s left of that is so full of roots, it’s not worth the effort anymore. Later in the season, we’ll break up what’s left of it and use it to level off that area which, like so many other spots around the old garden area, is really rough, making it difficult to mow.
While sifting soil into the wheel barrow from the other pile – which went so much faster, as I was able to work from an area that hadn’t been taken over by weeds, yet – my daughter and I both heard a strange sound.
Coming from the branch pile.
A teeny, tiny mewing sound!
There are still kittens in there! Well. At least one. I’ve seen the mamas taking their kittens out of there, so this may be different litter? I have no idea. It’s going to still be a while before we start seeing the moms bringing their babies to the kibble house.
We’ll have to keep our eyes out for them. 🙂
So, there we are. The squash transplants are finally done!
Looking at the 14 day forecast, we’re looking at highs hovering around 20C/68F during the day, and the lows hovering around 15C/59F, which fairly regular showers throughout. Which should be just excellent for the garden! It would be so good to finally have a good growing year.
As for me, I am wiped out. A daughter has been kind enough to take care of my laundry for me, I’ve taken my pain killers, and am more than ready to go to bed!
Well, I got some of the transplants in this morning! I’m just taking a break for hydration and sustenance, before I get back at it.
The first priority of the morning was to fill the remaining “instant raised bed” I got from The Dollar Tree that had a split seam, so my daughter sewed it up for me.
The one with the sweet potato slips in it got some straw on the bottom to act as a sponge, and to hold up the sides while I added soil, then stove pellets to create the sawdust mulch. For the eggplant, I had grass clippings, so some was added to the bottom, then it was filled almost to the top with sifted garden soil, with more grass clippings to mulch the top. Then the two eggplants were transplanted. It should be interesting to see how these do, compared to the ones that were transplanted earlier, in one of the low raised beds.
The next job was to reclaim the squash hill the Crespo squash was in last year. The old straw mulch was pulled back, the soil broken up and weeds pulled up. I ended up using our makeshift soil sifter on quite a bit of the soil, to get out more of the weed roots. After I sifted enough to fill the wheelbarrow, I broke up the soil in the hill some more, pulled out as many roots as I could, then returned the sifted soil. After re-burying the watering container (to fill with water for deep root watering, rather than spraying the entire hill), the hill got mulched with grass clippings, then straw. Once that was all ready, the two giant pumpkins were finally transplanted. If the critters don’t eat it first, these should get quite large and spread out quite a distance.
Then it was time to start planting into the holes my daughter had already dug. I did use the space to loosen the soil a bit more (it’s so incredibly hard!) and ended up pulling out quite a few rocks. The smaller ones got tossed into the trees. The larger ones, I set aside. We might actually find a use for them.
After loosening the soil, the holes were filled with water, then they got a couple of spade full’s of sifted garden soil. We still have some left of the dump truck load we had dropped off here, but it is so full of roots now, most of my time was spent sifting it out. At least the pile is close to where we are currently working!
The first thing that went in were the two Kakai hulless pumpkins. Once in place, they each got a light spade full of soil places around them. Then they got another watering.
Along the same row went the three Crespo squash.
For all of these, any flower buds got removed. Hopefully, they will now expend their energy towards establishing their roots and growing, rather than making flowers.
With the squash hill and the eggplant planter done, the rest of the transplanting should go faster. Except for all the soil sifting! Once everything is in place, the whole area will get a layer of straw mulch. I had intended to use the weed trimmer, first, but the sheer amount of time that will take is a bit much. All the grass and weeds would eventually make their way through the straw, but I hope that the plants will be big enough for the leaves to start acting like a mulch.
Well, I’m done eating lunch. Time to use more bug spray and get back at it before the hottest part of the day! We’re almost there now. On the plus side, we’re expecting overnight showers, so that will be quite nice for the transplants. 🙂
It’s been a very long, hot day today, and we got a lot done in the garden!
My first priority was to get the melons transplanted, as they were getting too crowded in their toilet paper tube pots and starting to yellow and weaken. We had 100% germination on all but the watermelon, but one seedling had already simply withered away.
The only place we really had for these was in the deep straw mulched beds that have potatoes planted in them. The potatoes are in the north side of the beds, with one having slightly less room than the other.
I had 4 varieties of melons with just 4 seedling each, so they went into the bed that was slightly smaller.
The Zucca melon, which is actually a gourd and can grow extremely large, is planted on the far right in this photo. For the longest time, we had only one seedling of the Zucca. A second one germinated late, and I was happy with that. Then, less than a week ago, the law two germinated! As they grow, we can train the plants out into the open area beside the bed, where we hope they will shade the grass and weeds. I’ll be going over the area with the weed trimmer, working to cut things as close to the ground as possible, which will help, too.
The other three varieties are from grocery store melons. One, on the far left, is Crenshaw melon. The other two, I lost the names off. Both are cantaloupe type melons. On the label for the jar of seeds, I’d made note that one of the (right of centre) had a nice crisp texture. The other (left of centre) has only 3 seedlings. There’s a prepared space to plant something, if we want.
To plant these, I dug my way through the straw to the carboard, which was still nice and damp. After cutting through the cardboard, I dug out a small hole and loosened the soil, then drilled down into the holes with the hose on the jet setting. Each hole then got a spade full of sifted garden soil (and any worms that hitched a ride) before the melons were finally planted. The seedlings aren’t particularly large, and in the deep mulch, they practically disappear!
This bed is slightly larger. I started 8 Halona melons and 8 Kaho watermelons from seed, so I prepped two rows of four, just like the other bed, with more space in between for a path.
The watermelons were much like the Zucca… some germinated early, some just recently. Of the 8 seeds, there were 5 seedlings, but I went ahead and planted all 8, just in case the remaining seeds still germinated.
Getting these in took quite a while, though I think most of the time was spent sifting the weed roots out of the garden soil. It took two wheelbarrow loads of sifted soil to fill all the holes, with a bit left over.
I was returning the wheelbarrow to the pile of soil for my daughter to use when planting the last of the trees, when I had a bit of of a surprise. There was a car in the driveway, and a woman had just climbed the gate to get in. !!! She turned out to be with the electric company to do a regular maintenance check on our meter. They do it about once every year or two. The startling part was, from a distance, she looked just like my sister! 😀
I’m quite happy to have gotten the melons in. I don’t know that they’ll all survive – at least one might not make it, as it had so few roots, it fell out of its pot as I tired to remove them from the small bin they were in. Before heading in for lunch, I watered all the other transplants, and so far, nothing looks like they are suffering transplant shock.
After that, I took a break from the heat (!!!) before moving on to the next project, which I will write about in my next post. 🙂
It’s shortly before 8pm as I start this, and it’s all I can do not to just go to bed right now!
My day started a bit earlier, as I wanted to get my morning rounds taken care of before making some calls, then heading to the city. My husband and I now have medical appointments for the end of the week. We are both way overdue. Especially my husband.
Once that was done, I headed to the city, stopping to get gas at the town my mother lives in, first. Too early for their fried chicken to be available, so breakfast was a bag of beef jerky. 😀 Usually, I just get $20 or $30 in gas, but decided to fill. At 197.9/L $20 wasn’t going to get me much. It cost almost $55 for about a quarter tank.
Then I got to the city and the first gas stations I saw were at 207.9/L
That’s USD$6.24/US gallon.
As I got further into the city, I saw stations that were still at 196.9/L but it likely is just a matter of time before all the stations jump up in price.
I’m sure glad I filled my tank earlier!
Today was our day to do the rest of our monthly stocking up, and I went to The Wholesale Club again for this trip. Ended up spending just over $400 there, and the only things that could be considered splurges were super long metal tongs, and a super long wooden spoon, for cooking over the firepit. Oh, and more 500ml, wide mouth canning jars for the stash. 😀
There were a couple of things they didn’t have in types and sizes that I wanted, so I went to a nearby Walmart. My splurges there were a heavy duty garden hose, and a fan for my window, to replace the box fan that broke last year. The garden hose was actually a bit cheaper than the medium duty garden hose I was looking at. Normally I’d say, you get what you pay for, but the last time I paid a more premium price for a heavy duty hose, it suddenly burst apart at the tap, the first summer we used it. We’ll see how well this one lasts.
Between the drive and the shopping, the whole thing took about 4-5 hours, but I got pretty much everything on my list – including the highest SPF sunscreen I could find, an more bug spray! After this, we’ll only need to pick up fresh stuff locally, as needed.
I’m glad I remembered to stop at the post office on the way home. Several packages were in, including a birthday gift for my younger daughter. We also finally got the credit from our previous internet provider, which we should have gotten back in February. Since I was there, I also picked up another bag of wood shavings to use as mulch.
Once at home and the girls unloaded the van and put everything away, I headed back outside. We hit more than 20C/68F today, and I wanted to make sure all the transplants – both the ones still in pots, and the ones in the gardens – got a good misting. Happily, there is no sign of transplant shock in anything we transplanted. In fact, one tomato plant that got all droopy right after being planted, has already perked up.
My younger daughter was able to get the Wonderberry transplanted.
We decided to put them around the stone cross. I’ve read that these are good at self seeding, so they can be treated as perennials, and we thought this might be a nice place for them. They are so full of flowers and berries! I would certainly prefer these spreading around the area, instead of those green leafed plants that are taking over everything. They do have pretty flowers but, wow, do they ever invade! Almost every area we’ve managed to clean up among the trees is now covered with these!
Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t get much more done outdoors after this. She was driven inside by the clouds of mosquitoes. I had bug spray on, and it barely kept them at bay. I ended up mowing the main garden area, instead of working on more transplanting or bed prep as I’d intended, because the tall, damp grass is just a haven for mosquitoes. Huge clouds of them would rise up as we walked through! They’re just nasty.
Before I started mowing, my daughter helped me move the row covers we made last year. From the droppings left behind, the deer walked all over them during the winter. They are completely falling apart. When we can, we’ll take them apart and salvage what we can to reuse in other ways in the garden.
I didn’t get all of what needed to be mowed – some areas are still too wet – but the main garden area, and the spaces between beds and trellises we used last year, are now mowed. I also set up the old, patched up rain barrel and filled it with water (which I could now reach without having to steal a length of hose from the front tap, thanks to the new hose I got today) while I mowed, so we can use it to water the silver buffalo berry and sea buckthorn with ambient temperature water. Plus I could reach to use the hose to water the peas.
Once a bare minimum of mowing was done, I went ahead and did some more transplanting.
We had 5 surviving Little Finger eggplants, and they just fit into the middle of the half-bed that had space. They are encircled by spinach and onions. Now that the eggplants are in, we can finish setting up the hoops – they just need cross pieces joining them in the middles – so we can cover them with net. I don’t know of the critters would eat eggplant, but I’d rather not give them the opportunity to find out!
There were 7 surviving Purple Beauty bell peppers. Most were from the second seed start. Only two survived the Great Cat Crush. 😀 Once they were in, there was still some space in the middle of this bed. Just enough for the last two Cup of Moldova that didn’t fit in the bed that has just tomatoes in it.
This bed is encircled with onions on the outside, while the inside has turnips on one side, spinach on the other. The turnips – all three varieties – germinated a couple days ago, and today I could just see little spinach coming up, too.
With the peppers now planted, we’ll add twine to the supports, and then will be able to put net around the bed.
Tomorrow, we’re going to need to put a priority on transplanting the melons. They are starting to suffer in their too-small toilet tube pots. So they will go into the deep mulch space left over, after the potatoes were planted. I was going to plant the summer squash in there, though to be honest, between the two beds, we might have room for both. Well. Not all the summer squash. We do have a lot of patty pans!
We’re expected to get as warm tomorrow as we did today, so I think an early bed and early rise will be in order again. I want to get more work done in the garden, while it is still cool.
After I pain killer up and slather my dried up hands with lotion! I am in such pain right now. It’s fine if I’m sitting down, except for the joints in my fingers making it hard to type, but every time I get up, I find my joints have completely stiffened up and I can barely walk.
While I spent most of my time with the kulli corn, my daughters took care of other things.
My younger daughter got the sea buckthorn planted. These saplings are quite a bit larger than the silver buffalo berry! This will eventually close the gap of the hedge along the north fence line, where the deer jump through. Hopefully, we have both male and female plants, and will have berries. We do plant to get more, over time, but it will probably be another year or two before we know for sure.
The only trees left to plant now are the Korean Pine.
My other daughter started on the tomatoes.
Along the chain link fence, she planted the dozen Chocolate Cherry tomatoes. That’s a variety I got specifically as a gift for her. 🙂
Last year, tomatoes did REALLY well in this location. This year, we’ll see how they do in other locations!
The next tomatoes she and her sister transplanted here were the Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes.
The row on the left, and in the centre, are all Cup of Moldova, while the Sophie’s Choice are the row on the right.
There are still two Cup of Moldova waiting to be transplanted, but they ran out of space.
While they worked on that, I transplanted into the blocks we finished adding along the chain link fence this spring.
The Red Kuri/Little Gem squash went into these. I hope they do well here. Last year, we had only 2 plants, but they produced quite a lot of squash. Unfortunately, with the drought, the squash developed so late, we only really got 3 that were mature enough to be edible. The girls and I found them delicious (my husband is finding that he’s not a fan of winter squash), and we look forward to having enough to store for the winter.
While one daughter worked on the bed of tomatoes in the main garden area, adding more support posts and winding bale twine back and forth to help support the tomatoes as they grow, my other daughter and I made use of the newly available bed next to the kulli corn.
There was a total of 13 Yellow Pear tomatoes to transplant. Once they were in, we got the box of red onion sets and planted them all along the outside of the bed in a single row, then fit the rest into the middle, in 2 rows.
The last thing we needed to do before heading inside was putting netting on the kulli corn and the Red Kuri squash. Those were the only two things that were most at risk of betting eaten overnight!
The net is hard to see. I used pipes hammered into the ground to hold the net away from the squash. The blue bits of pool noodle shoved into the tops of the pipes are there to protect the net, as there are some sharper edges on some of the pipes. Last year, we had chicken wire at an angle over cucamelons and gourds, and the vines kept wanting to attach to the chick wire, instead of the chain link. There’s no way the net could hold the weight of squash climbing it, so I wanted to keep it away from the plants as they start growing large enough to reach the fence and start climbing. On the inside, the edge of the net is held in place with ground staples. The excess net went over the fence, and my daughter rolled it up and zip tied it down. We still want to be able to access and tend the plants as needed, which will mostly be done from the inside.
The last thing the girls did was lace up the ends, so keep the critters out. A determined critter could still tear through the net, but hopefully, they won’t want to be bothered.
In the background, you can see some wire “fencing” has been added to the outside of where the Chocolate Cherry tomatoes were planted. It will get netting as well, but the only thing in there that is in danger of critters are the carrots, and they aren’t even germinating yet, so there it no hurry, there.
We have a lot more to transplant, but work needs to be done to prepare for them, first. The supports for A frame trellises need to be added, and beds need to be weeded. The rows we used for the bush beans last year, as well as the straw mulched mounds we grew summer squash in, are completely hidden by the crab grass that has taken them over. The squash tunnel, which will be a pole bean tunnel this year, needs minimal work at least, and the summer squash can be planted in the deep mulch near the potatoes. After we’ve transplanted the squash, gourds, melons and cucumbers, and planted the pole beans, we’ll have a better idea of where we can plant the yellow corn, and the popcorn. We have more bush beans and peas we can interplant with the two types of corn, too.
We also have another variety of baking poppies and dill to plant, but I think we’ll have to skip those for this year. I know where we will plant the Wonderberry, but have still not figured out where to plant the ground cherries. All of these will be treated as perennials, as they will reseed themselves year after year, so they need permanent locations.
We’ll figure it out.
As for tomorrow, I’m finally going to make our second stocking up trip to the city. It’s unlikely I’ll be able to do any work in the garden, but we shall see. It’s hard for me to stay out of the garden, now that the weather has finally turned nice, and we can catch up! 😀
It feels so good to finally get things into the ground!
Yes! Finally! Major transplanting was started today. 🙂
The first thing I needed to finish was topping up the low raised bed they were going into.
Since the snow melted away, we’ve been adding our kitchen compost in the trench, which already had some straw in it, and I even tossed in the soil from various pots we had, from house plants that died, to seed starts from last year that didn’t germinate. The last layer before adding the soil was some fresh grass clippings.
This is the first time this pile of garden soil has been uncovered since last year.
So. Many. Thistles!
And those roots go all the way though the pile.
Which meant I had to bring the makeshift soil sifter into service, so get as many of the roots as possible out. It was long and tedious, but at least it was made a bit easier by scavenging a couple of scrap boards out of a pile to support the steel mesh, rather than the found branches I was using before. Sifting the soil had to be a gentle process, because there were SO many worms.
I kept the worms for the new bed. 😀
After the soil was added, stove pellets were scattered across the top and hydrated so act as a thin mulch. It won’t stop any weeds, but it will help keep the soil surface from compacting. After several soakings, the sawdust was spread evenly with the back of a fan rake.
It took a couple of hours, but I could finally transplant the kulli corn!
They had a major root system going! It made it difficult to get them out of the bins, then pull apart the tubes. The toilet paper really wanted to come apart!
With the larger bin, it was even more difficult to get them out, and the whole thing ended up falling out and apart. I think only one corn plant actually got broken, though. We’ll see if it makes it.
I counted the seedlings, then marked three rows of 20 evenly spaced spots for the corn. The actual total was 58, including some smaller ones that may or may not make it. We ordered 100 seeds, and there were extras, so we’re looking at roughly 50% germination rate. Which I don’t mind. We would have had trouble finding space for more. They are quite closely planted, as it is. Which should be good for improving pollination.
Of the remaining rolls, I broke apart the cardboard and rifled through it. No sign of the remaining seeds that did not germinate. The carboard went into the compost pile, while the remaining soil was used to top dress any seedlings that looked like they could use it.
I had also grabbed a bag of bush beans from last year, picking the one that looked like it had fewer seeds. That was the yellow “Golden Rod” variety. We still have some green bush beans left, too.
I counted the bean seeds and there was 38 – which was perfect! I could plant two rows of 19 beans, in between the corn.
As they are “old” seeds, I don’t expect 100% germination. This bed is very densely planted, but they should be complimentary.
The corn, however, needed to be protected. The question was, how?
I made a trip to the barn and dug out the T posts I spotted in one corner, a while back. There turned out to be 6 of them, all different lengths.
I had to dig holes to be able to set them, using a garden trowel, since a spade would have been just too big. Within inches, I was hitting water, then rocks and gravel. After placing the posts and trying to push the soil back against them, there was literally water, shooting out from the ground, as I stomped on the soil!
We have no post pounder, so I found a heavy hammer to try and drive them deeper. Especially the longest one, but I think that one ended up hitting a rock. Being the short person that I am, for the taller once, I had to stand on the corners of the bed to reach. Even with a board across the corner to stand on, I was wobbling all over the place! LOL
Once they were in, I strung some twine around to further support the net, once it was added. That was a job that had to wait for when the girls were available.
In the two garlic beds, the nearer one had only 6 remaining garlic coming up – and one of those was barely there. I could find no sign of the few others that had emerged, as well.
I decided to transplant those 6 garlic into the other bed. That one has a lot more garlic trying to grow, but there was still plenty of space at one end to transplant the remaining 6 of the other variety.
The left a bed available for planting into, which we did end up doing.
The main challenge was, how do we cover the bed with netting, yet still be able to access the plants, easily, for weeding and eventual harvesting of yellow beans.
Piece of pool noodles were added to the tops of the posts, so they wouldn’t tear apart the net. When the one on the tallest post fell off, I left it. If it tears, it’ll only go down to the twine, and will actually line up better with the rest.
When I brought the T posts out of the barn, I also grabbed a stack of narrow pipes. I have no idea what they were for, or why they were stored there, but I figured the might make good supports. The short ends of the net are wrapped around those pipes and zip tied into place. For the long sides, we zip tied narrow fence posts we found… somewhere, to weigh down the netting. Any gaps were further secured with ground staples. If we want to tend the bed, we can remove the ground staples and lift the poles to get under the netting.
Hopefully, that will work out.
The corn can potentially grow to 8 ft tall, which is higher than the netting, but if they do get that tall, we’ll deal with it, then.
That was my big job for today, but it wasn’t the only one we got accomplished! I’ll write about that, in my next post. 🙂
Since I was wanting to go to my mother’s early, my morning rounds were cut a bit short.
That and the ground was just too wet for all of my usual checks.
It wasn’t raining quite yet, but I decided to NOT put our transplants out. With all the pots in bins and trays to water them from below, the bins already had more water in them than they probably should have, just from what rain we got yesterday. Some of them are on baking trays, which are easier to tip and drain at least some of the water out. With the bins, we’d have to remove all the pots to be able to drain it, and I would rather we didn’t knock them about too much. Especially the pots that are made to be planted directly into the soil. When they get wet, they are a lot more fragile and basically fall apart.
So today, they stay indoors.
I did remember to grab the bag with what’s left of our wood shavings to put a light mulch where the peas were planted yesterday. After switching out the memory card on the corner cam, I popped through the barbed wire fence to check on things.
The most obvious was that the “road closed, local traffic only” sign is gone.
The stand is still there. Just the sign has been removed. The stand had already been blown to the side of the road by wind, heavy as it is. I guess they’ll come back for it later. I don’t think the road has been repaired, though. I think the water levels have just finally dropped low enough.
The area in front of where the corner cam is, is where I’d sown a western wildflower mix in the fall, and I was hoping to see if anything was coming up.
I’m still not sure, but…
… we have strawberries! There are quite a few, all around. We don’t mow this area often, but I’m sure I’d have noticed strawberries if I’d seen them before, and deliberately not mown there. There were a few other things growing that didn’t look familiar, but it’s hard to say. With last year’s drought and heat waves, following even more years with lack of spring rains going back well before we moved here, it’s entirely possible that our current wet conditions mean that things that had been dormant are now finally sprouting. When I had the chance, I looked up the description for the seeds I got. It has 16 varieties native to Western Canada, but only 7 are listed.
Well, we’ll find out eventually! I’m just happy to see strawberries growing there.
I then checked out that really bad spot on the road that’s close to us. It was very muddy, and it’s getting longer, but it still looked like I could drive around it on one side. It did convince me to use our van instead of my mother’s car. Her car is lower to the ground, and I didn’t want to drag her undercarriage on some of the muddy ruts left behind by heavy trucks.
The funny thing is, I got a call from my brother later this morning. He was at work but, he knew I planned to go to my mother’s. Having driven through that spot himself just a couple of days ago, he called to recommend I take the van instead of my mother’s car, because it’s so much lower and we wouldn’t want to catch anything in the undercarriage on those ruts…
I love my brother. 😀
I also wanted to leave early enough to hit the post office first. While at the store, I picked up another bale of wood shavings and some black oil seed for the birds. Then I remembered to ask about bale twine. We’ve been using some light sisal cord for most things, but I wanted something more durable. There wasn’t any bale twine in the store, but the owner went to check in the house behind the store (I guess inventory is stored there now; the previous owner used to live there), which gave me time to load the big stuff into the van. While I did that, a Canada Post van arrived. As I went back to the counter to wait, the post master brought a package to me that had just come in, even though she hadn’t had a chance to process all the deliveries yet! That was very sweet of her.
It was also sweet of the owner to go check for me, as she came back with a pair of bale twine rolls. I hadn’t realize that size came in pairs. I’d always seen the larger ones. I asked for the smallest size; only 2800 yards. 😀
We’ll be set for a while!
The package I got was our perishable stock order from T&T Seeds, including two highbush cranberry trees. As I was writing the above, my younger daughter came by to talk about them, and now she’s outside in the rain, transplanting them!
What a sweetheart!
Once I had everything bought and paid for, it was off to my mother’s, picking up some fried pierogi for lunch (it was too early for the usual fried chicken I get as our lunch treat) on the way. My mother was already waiting for her telephone doctor’s appointment! The appointment was at 11:50. She thought it was at 10:50. When she realized we still had about an hour for the call, she dove right into those pierogi – all the while telling me she should probably stop eating pierogi, because the last time she did, that night she had severe stomach pains. Which as never happened before, but every time she has some sort of physical discomfort, she blames it on whatever food she most recently ate.
Then the phone rang. The doctor called almost an hour early!
It turned out to be a fairly short call. My mother’s back is feeling much better now, though she insists the painkillers she was prescribed, have not been helping her at all. The doctor asked the expected questions about if she had twisted it, lifted something heavy, or done anything that might have triggered it. He was looking at her Xrays and couldn’t see anything that would explain the pain. The way he described it, she just has a 90 yr old back! He mentioned arthritis, but I don’t think she heard him.
Ultimately, though, he wants her to come in, in person, as it’s been a long time since she’s been to the doctor. My mother was already talking about doing exactly that. Normally, she would have to phone the clinic and talked to a receptionist to book that – though I would have been the one to actually make the call – and he did start to say that, but then changed track and simply named a date and time. It worked for us, so in a few days, I’ll be driving my mother in for that.
Hopefully, using her smaller car instead of my van, though!
Once that was booked, that was it. We were done, and much earlier than expected.
So we finished our lunch, then headed out to run errands. My mother had three places to go, and was a real trooper about climbing into our van! Especially since the van has no hand grips, like her car does. Getting out was a lot easier, but I had to insist, each time we stopped, that she wait until I brought the walker around before trying to climb out. The last stop was the grocery store, and for that I go in and get a shopping cart and bring it over for her to use as a walker, instead.
Having looked at the weather forecasts, I took advantage of being there to pick up a few little things, too, just in case I’m not able to make the rest of our stock up shopping in the city. That should be tomorrow, but we’ll see.
You know what I didn’t buy today?
Because, WOW the prices have gone up!
Cdn$4.49 is currently US$3.54 Those tins are 156 grams, or 5.5 ounces Cdn$4.99 is $3.94 Those are 213 grams, or 7.5 ounces Cdn$6.49 is US$5.12, for 340 grams, or 12 ounces
Small town grocery stores tend to be more expensive anyhow, but this is almost double what I last saw them at.
When my mother was almost done her own shopping, I quickly went through the till with my own stuff to get those put away in the van first. While chatting with the cashier, the increase in prices came up. He told me the prices have been going up daily! This store is affiliated with a larger franchise, so they don’t control the prices, but the whole point of being affiliated with a franchise is to be able to get inventory at lower wholesale prices, so retail prices can be lower.
Which means the wholesale prices have jumped significantly.
Thankfully, my mother only needs to buy enough for herself, and with me there to help out, she got extra in a lot of things, to stock up. She didn’t even look at the meat section, though. She’s convinced herself that meat, especially red meat, is bad, but she’ll buy deli meats or sausages instead of fresh meat. *sigh*
The main thing is that she is now stocked up for the next week or so. With her back giving her grief, she might supplement with Meals on Wheels every now and then, too.
It was raining every so slightly when I left my mother’s, but I found myself driving through several areas of heavy rain on the highway home. I’m so glad I didn’t take the transplants out this morning! The gravel roads were just soaked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more sections degraded until they were like the bad patch near our place. I messaged the family before heading out, and the girls were waiting for me at the garage with the wagon to help bring things in, since it was too muddy to drive up to the house to unload.
Just a few minutes ago, the girls came in – soaking wet! – to let me know they finished transplanting the highbush cranberry, as per the instructions that came with the trees. They planted them at the opposite end of the rows originally planned, because it has somewhat less water there, though they still had to shovel out as much water from the holes as they could. The holes they dug were mostly gravel, so the wheelbarrow of garden soil I had ready for something else was used instead of putting all the gravel back in the hole. The last of the bag of wood shavings I’d used to mulch the peas was used to mulch the cranberries. Hopefully, they will take root well enough.
It may be a couple of days before we can plant the sun chokes and sweet potato slips. The forecast says “light rain”, but it’s also supposed to be chillier than today. The sunchokes could probably handle it, but I’m not sure the sweet potato slips will. These are supposed to be a variety suited to our climate zone, but they’re still not a cool weather crop.
And we still need to get those potatoes in, but the package said not to plant them until temperatures are above 10C/50F. Looking at the 14 day trend, we won’t have overnight temperatures above that until June 7 – over a week from now! They will be under deep mulch, though, so that should protect them. I hope.
So much to get done, in a very short time, and the weather is not cooperating!
Well, we’ll do what we can. Little by little, it’ll get done.