Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pink Delight Meadow Sage

This is the year of the Perennial. I have been hitting the clearance rack at Lowe’s buying up anything that says it is good to –30 below. The most I’ve paid is $2.00 and the lowest is 10 cents. Many of the plants are originally $12-$25 which is a huge savings. The plants are a little ratty, but if they come back next year it will be worth it. If they don’t, I haven’t really lost much and if I can hang on to my receipt I can actually get a refund.
I lost half of the Asters in one bed and need to fill in the gaps. I purchased six of the sage for this purpose. The tall shoots were once the pink flowers. Had they removed the spent flowers it would have bloomed again this summer, but I doubt it will at this point.
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I cleaned up the plants and wondered if they were going to be too time intensive next summer. There were a lot of spent flowers.
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The six are in the aster bed. Next Summer I will have to find another plant that will compliment the sage. I would like to see some of my beds become permanent perennial beds. Planting them all each summer has gotten to be too much work, but I have such a winter vole problem. Last year they lived off my one perennial bed and destroyed it. Covering these with straw is only going to encourage them to move in. We are going to have to be more diligent about trapping. This was the bed three weeks ago.
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This is today. Cool temperatures, rainy weather and not much sun equals not much change. Except dryness! It has been a rainy summer, but without a lot of accumulation so the beds still have to be watered. It is also abnormally breezy this summer so that also dries the beds out.
The Powderpuff Aster that might bloom if we get any sunshine. The ten-day forecast is cloudy and windy with highs of 65*. Not a promising end to summer.
This image was taken from here to give you an idea of what these plants will hopefully look like next summer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Rainbow Swiss Chard has become my new love. Besides being beautiful, it was quite tasty on this pizza I made. It's definitely something I will grow again. (Also in this bed is spinach that was just seeded).

I have the chard in two beds. This time it is with cabbage (that isn't doing so well).

The colors are so vibrant...hot pink...



and yellow! Do you grow chard?

110 Feet of Tidal Wave Petunias

Last summer I thought  it would be a great idea to make a 110 foot flower bed down the fence line just to the point where Daisy, my sheep, would be about to eat through the fence.  My son, Nick, helped me dig a trench about 10-inches deep and 10-inches wide. I lined the bottom with partially decomposed compost and then added dirt. We gathered rocks from the ditches to make a border. Last summer I planted around 90 Cherry Tidal Wave Petunias.

This is what the bed looks like now. At the time I never thought about how much work it would be to clean out each Spring especially when I've gotten so far behind and the grass had a chance to go crazy!

So far I have managed to clean out, rototill and plant 40 feet. Between the rain and the horrible swarms of gnats and mosquitoes we are dealing with this summer who knows when I'll finish!

My seeds were purchased from Harris Seeds. These are Purple Tidal Wave. Not even close to my idea of what purple is. I definitely think there was a mistake in packaging. I am going to go back and find my receipt. I know I intended to order purple, but maybe the mistake is on me.


This is the cucumber and pepper side of the greenhouse. I planted a variety of cucumbers to see which we like best: Marketmore '76, Spacemaster, Garden Sweet and Muncher.  Curious to see which will produce the most and that we'll like the best.

This is the first one of any size and it comes from the Spacemaster cucumber plant.

Most of the plants have multiple starts.

The one thing I am finding extremely frustrating is that many of the plants will not grab on to the string.

Looking for any and all suggestions as to why this would be.
I'm looking forward to our first pickings. We are having such a cold and rainy summer my outlook for success is getting more dim with each day. We had measurable rain on over half of the days in June, and others were equally gloomy. June's average temperature still reads high, but that is only because the over night temperatures were higher than normal due to cloud cover. It's just been plain miserable. We wait so long for summer to come...having a hard time enjoying this one. On a brighter note: July is the only month on record that it hasn't snowed in Fairbanks. Hope we don't break that one!

Friday, July 1, 2011


I've been a complete failure at keeping this blog updated. I hope to change that....

Spring did not go as this gardener had planned. Some family issues held me back and what was turning out to be a promising year quickly fell to being a not-so-great year. Many of my starts died from neglect and the greenhouse was completed  a month late. I have vowed to not dwell on something I cannot change and am just making plans for next year.

This bed is where I planted several varieties of tomatoes: Roma, Golden Nugget, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, Sweet 100's and Early Girl. They are a month behind schedule so I think that they are actually looking pretty good, but won't be able to produce much fruit before Fall arrives.

I decided to try the string method for supporting the plants. On some like this Roma it is working very well.

On the Golden Nuggets, however, it is not. You can see in the center where the string was started around the main stalk, but on the right you can see that the branches are even bigger. I think this plant would have been better suited for a cage.

My first Roma Tomato. I apologize for the poor photography. My camera is headed to the shop for a cleaning and the little one I am using has scratches on the lens.

These are Early Girls. I can already tell this is one I will want to plant more of next summer. They seem to double in size every other day, and I am one who likes quick progress.

Golden Nuggets

Sweet 100's

On the end of the bed I thought I would try putting three tomatoes in cages and then plant in between. That doesn't work very well and the other two should have stakes.
Most of the plants have fruit on them. The Cherokee has some flowers and the Pineapple have nothing. By the end of summer I should be able to determine which ones I want to plant next year.  What are your favorites?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quick Update

Lovin' my petunias!!  I hope I can move them out to a greenhouse soon.  The artificial lighting is really holding them back.  I noticed that two weeks ago mine were the same size as the greenhouses and now their plants are 3 times the size of mine with flowers!
Peppers gone wild!! I sure hope these produce a lot and I can freeze them for all winter.  Our peppers are $2 a piece in the store so I never buy them. (Red, yellow and orange are $2.50 each).
Lots of marigolds started.  Never as big as I would like them to be at this late stage, but it will all work out.
The zucchini is ready to get out of the house as well.
Lots of Dianthus to repot.
This cucumber is ready to climb!  We have everything to finish the roof and sides of the greenhouse, but have had high winds the last couple of days and can't work on it.  It's getting very frustrating.
The tomatoes out grew the shelving a long time ago and I moved them over by the windows.

I have a lot more going on inside and out, but wanted to give a quick update since it has been so long.  I'll see if I can get more photos today.

I'm attempting to grow barely fodder for Daisy and the chickens. It's definitely a learning process.  I think the answer is to soak the seeds for a couple days instead of one so I'll try that next.  This is a Day 6 photo and this morning it is quite a bit thicker.  It's supposed to be an 8 day growing cycle.  I'll be able to feed it, but I really would have liked there to be more greens.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Plant Room Update

The numbers are pretty close to what I have in the plant room so far.



 Wave Petunia-178
 (left) Starfire Signet Marigold-22 and (right) Livingstone Daisy-32 6-packs
 Garden Sweet Cucumber-62
Spacemaster Cucumber-3
Olympian Cucumber-11
 Marketmore '76 Cucumber-51
 Muncher Cucumber-26
 CA Wonder Pepper-56
Golden Nugget Tomato-65
 Sugar Baby Watermelon-22 seeded
 Dianthus-2 flats that need transplanted/thinned
 Early Girl Tomato-39
Roma Tomato-14
 Pineapple Tomato-9
 Sweet 100 Tomato-58
 Swiss Chard-20
 Kohlrabi-24 6-packs
 Brussels Sprouts-12
Aster Powderpuff-124
French Cantaloupe-1

I have also seeded Summer Squash, Lupine, Lupine Dwarf, Cabbage, Habanero, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Disco Marigold, Snowman Marigold, Snapdragons, Impatiens and Zucchini.  Still plugging away.  I've got many more varieties of plants I want to grow.  Looking forward to moving stuff out to the greenhouse as it's starting to get crowded!