Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Garden Club

I leave the garden for 4 days and look what happens!  I guess it could have been a bad result, with a tornado or something, but still I could hear the weeds calling me outside to do some clean up as soon as I unpacked the cooler and started a load of laundry in the washer. 

According to the rain gauge, 2.5 inches of rain fell while we were gone.  Made for easy pulling weeds, but also made them all HUGE.  I filled ELEVEN 5 gallon buckets and I'm not done yet, but it's a big improvement.

There are edibles out there too!

I hadn't planned on pulling any carrots (mostly because I thought they weren't ready yet) until these came out alongside some big weeds I yanked out of the ground.  I'll let the rest grow for a while longer

I think we have finally figured out how to have a successful tomato garden.  First, spacing is huge!  As in the more the better, and even then go a foot or two wider than that.  Of course, that's not an option for every gardener, but tomatoes grow with such gusto* that unless you can keep up with the pruning (and can cut off a few blossoms and tiny, green tomatoes without having a panic attack), they spread and tangle together and become a giant mess by the time they start to ripen. 

*I think it was was Riot Kitty who commented the other week about tomatoes being the sluts of the plant world.  I couldn't agree more!  Besides the overall craziness, I am constantly pulling out tomato plants that come up on their own all over the garden.
Second, staking or caging.  For years I used those flimsy wire cages from the garden center.  You know, the kind that stack not so neatly, stick together and bust at the welds?  Never again!  Now that the Gardener made me some heavy duty towers out of used electrical conduit, I have sworn off wire cages forever.  I actually bought 2 of the heaviest round cages I could find at Fleet Farm, and still they don't hold a candle to the practically FREE homemade cages.

And third would be pruning and training.  Even with the new cages, the tomatoes still need to stay inside them to be successful which means going out every few days and tucking the new growth inside.  I also adopted a heavy pruning technique starting last year, which is proving to be quite effective.  You should have seen my brother's face last week while we were out working in the garden and I was snipping off entire branches (the suckers) of tomatoes to encourage more vertical growth and less sprawling outward.  Not only does it look cool to have tall vertical towers of tomatoes, it also prevents the tomatoes from hanging on the ground and reduces the chance of disease because no fruit is laying on the ground rotting.  The bugs seem to leave them alone this way too.

Summer squash

Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday

These photos are from last week when the girls were still in Summer School. 

It would be much too hot for even this outfit today (Binny is wearing a loose dress today but I didn't feel like getting out the camera), as this will be (if all predictions are correct) the hottest and most humid day of the year.  Believe me, I'm not looking forward to my shift at the farm tonight.  That climb all the way to the top of the concrete silo sounds absolutely torturous to me right now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Garden Club

Monday again, and a very hot and sticky Monday at that.  It is July after all, but it's always a little annoying when the weather people on the news say it's so hot out that using a fan in the house won't even help. Ugh!  Since we have no air conditioning, we have the fans cranked up, but with the breeze outside and our close proximity to the big Lake (Mother Nature's air conditioner for those of us who live with in 10 miles of it.) it's not quite as bad as it could be.

With regards to the garden, I'm just glad it's still growing after a whole week of neglect.  I have been sick for almost an entire week, making garden work the last thing I feel like doing.  I went out a few times to pick some broccoli, peas, and kohlrabi, but absolutely zero weeding has been done. Eek!



Wax Beans

San Marzano tomatoes

Silvery tomatoes


And of course my garden helper who just finished a tour of the raspberry patch, AKA lunch.
Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Garden Club

It's one thing to get up at 5am on a Monday morning to the annoying sounds of the alarm clock, but this morning we were also greeted with an early morning thunderstorm, complete with flickering lights and a frightened Binny.

We DO need the rain since we haven't had ANY in over 2 weeks, but still, I wish for once the rain would come down quietly while we're sleeping as not to interfere with the rest of our summer, which here in Wisconsin never seems long enough.  It's good for the garden though, right?

While we weren't getting any rain all last week, I decided to get my butt out in the garden and do some major weeding.  I still have more to do which is evident by my photos, but it's a huge improvement already.

Kohlrabi, ready to pick.

Bush beans

Baby peaches

The Mulberries on our tree are ripening!  When we noticed the berries a few weeks ago, the Gardener pounded some pipes into the ground and wrapped the whole tree in netting so we could actually eat our berries this year and not lose them all to the birds.  The netting has been working great and every other day, we head out there with a bowl and pick til our fingers are purple.  After last night's picking we had enough to make some yummy mulberry muffins.
Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday: Life Jackets

Can you tell which child loves tubing behind the boat and which child barely tolerates it?

This is Mae right after we pulled her back into the boat.  You should have seen the disappointed look on her face when my brother told her that NO he would not drive "wide open" while dragging her behind the 75 hp motor. 
A not so sure Binny getting ready for a slow tow around the lake.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday Garden Club

We were gone all weekend enjoying the long holiday weekend in the north woods, so not only is this garden update late (again), it will be brief as well.

We haven't had much luck in years past with wire tomato cages, so this year the Gardener welded together  some used electrical conduit he had on the scrap pile to make these tomato towers. If I can keep up with the pruning, these should be orderly columns of tomatoes by the end of the season instead of a tangled mess like usual.

Binny harvested the last of our strawberries.

And a radish too.


True to the old saying, the corn in the field is knee high by the 4th of July.
Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.