I've got a bit more tomato plant donating to do, but expect to still have plenty of plants left - some eggplant and sweet peppers, more hot peppers, and loads of tomato plants.
Plus - if you want to try out some of my sweet pepper and hot pepper and eggplant dehybridization projects, or dwarfs....lots of possibilities there as well!
Email me to set up a time to come by and get what you want - fill in those extra pots, spaces, replace struggling plants. The remaining seedlings look great - not too leggy at all! I will probably keep them going for two more weeks at the most - this heat will be brutal on them!
As far as what's been happening in the garden lately:
I managed to get 1/3 of the big garden weeded - from row tomatoes and tomatillos back to the rear bean rows. Next on the list will be the middle third - cukes, squash and the rear bean row...then finally the back two rows, consisting of lettuce (not yet bolted), beets, and greens.
Everything is now planted....and everything is now staked - just need to tie the middle driveway dwarfs to the stakes. All indeterminates have been appropriately pruned - eggplant got a weak Sevin treatment to knock down flea beetles.....and all plants got their first feeding today (Miracle Gro blue soluble plant food).
Once I get it completed, I will post my excel spreadsheet that represents this year's growing log.
Often, when working in the garden, I am preoccupied with tasks, plans, observations - and tune out the sounds. If I pause and listen, the constant soundtrack of bird calls and songs becomes clearly evident. It is so varied - constantly changing as different types swoop in to announce themselves, and others depart to visit other yards. And it is wonderful - it refreshes, it soothes, it becomes and essential part of the outdoor activities, once you let it.
We have a few feeders in our yard - some seed, some suet, and a hummingbird feeder - as well as bluebird boxes. There are also plenty of trees, shrubs and flowers, which means we are blessed with quite a bit of bird diversity. At this time of year - late spring - there are a few constants....Carolina Wrens, with their surprisingly piercing "teakettle...teakettle" phrase......Tufted Titmice, calling "peter..peter...peter", and their partners in crime, Carolina Chickadees, the bird that calls its own name. We also seem to have plenty of Cardinals that seem to sing and call to each other constantly with their upward whoops and whistles. The House Finches that moved into our front porch ferns babble their loud, jumbled song as they make their frequent visits to the feeders. Red Bellied Woodpeckers hammer and call to each other with their distinctive, upward rasp....they seem to be feeding their young right now as well, making frequent visits to the suet. Robins flit about the yard, tree to lawn, loudly announcing themselves with their lilting songs.
Then there are the more subtle singers - the toy horn tooting of brown headed or white breasted nuthatches, not quite as common now as in the winter. Bluebirds sing their mournful, gurgling call on occasion - right now the pair that live in the front of our garden seem to be feeding their third family of the year. Often I can hear the odd clicking call of Summer Tanagers from high in the trees - if we are lucky, we can catch a glimpse of the bright red male as he makes the rounds. Recently, a Great Created Flycatcher has been in the neighborhood, announced by his sore-throat-raspy upward whistle. The lilting "perchickoree" call of the American Goldfinch is not quite as common now as earlier, but I always delight in seeing the impossibly bright yellow males with jet black wings perched on the feeders or flowers. The most common bird at our feeders recently are Chipping Sparrows, with their thin, reedy, easy-to-miss calls. On really hot days, the Red Eyed Vireos sit high in the trees and endlessly ask themselves questions, then answer them in their next phrase. I've heard them often, but seen them rarely. Then there is the far-away, monkey-hooting call of the magnificent Pileated Woodpecker - once again much more often heard than seen. Even the tiny Ruby Throated Hummingbird has an unmistakable sound - especially when it is being territorial!
Leaving my favorite for last - early in the morning, then just around dusk, the Wood Thrush can be heard singing its mournful, complex, lovely song that is impossible to describe, but just as impossible to forget. It almost sounds like a flute player practicing different combinations of notes. Its sound defines summer evenings to me.
We are very fortunate to have such birds as our close neighbors. Aggressive, common birds like House Sparrows, Starlings, Grackles and Pigeons don't seem to find favor with our yard - and for that we (and our local birds!) are thankful!
Editing to add this linkhttp://www.birdjam.com/habitat.php?id=5
click the bird pic, get the song - great reference, esp. for warblers!
Pretty much everything is now planted.....things are growing very well. Here is a little videoclip of the state of affairs in my driveway garden. (as of 11:15, it was still in prep mode - check back in a bit and it will be ready to view)
We are having a typical summer day (I know, it's still spring!) - humid, sun comes out, clouds up, cloudburst, rain stops, sun comes out, rinse and repeat. But we are between showers, so I am about to head out to pull some weeds.
Things are looking great.....lettuce of course is starting to bolt, greens are starting to bolt. Beets are just about ready, beans are setting fruit - basil is just about at a usable size. Tomatoes look very healthy and most have open blossoms. I've noticed that the dwarf varieties in white grow bags, though planted first, are now a bit behind those in black grow bags - which makes good sense with regard to heat reflection or absorption. The peppers and eggplant look like they are supercharged - growing at a rapid clip. I've still got some tomatoes and hot peppers to plant, but that should happen today or tomorrow. I've tied my indeterminate tomatoes to stakes twice now, to give you an idea of the speed of their growth.
I hope to do an update video soon - or at least some pictures. Anyway...out to pull the weeds!
I was hoping...hoping that we could have a spring without humid 90-plus degree days. Oh well....that is where we are - and the long range forecast is peppered with plenty of those types of days. Here's hoping that the night time temps will fall enough to allow the tomatoes to set fruit.
Sara (our daughter) did a great job taking care of things. This morning Sue mowed the lawn (producing the much-needed grass clipping mulch for my pots) while I watered everything and took stock of progress. Things look great.....I will take some pics when I get a chance.
Here are a few more pics from our trip up north - these are of Carolyn's house and grounds (rows 1-2, the first six pics), and a few of the lovely B&B that we stayed at (thanks to Carolyn's generosity!).
After the visit to Carolyn, and the B&B Stay, we went to Williamstown MA for Sue's niece's graduation from Mt. Holyoke - then to Lowell to visit Sue's mom, finally ending up back home (to a broken downstairs heat pump!) last night after a 13 hour drive.....off to take a nap!
Highest priority garden chores - tie and prune the plants, add some stakes where needed, weed the big garden, and plant some more tomatoes and hot peppers....donate extra seedlings.....etc...!
We are in the midst of quite a road trip.....a highlight being this -
Recently, I start some special seedlings for Carolyn Male and the postal service does the delivering. Well, since Sue and I were heading up north for her niece's graduation, we decided to swing by Carolyn's place and do the delivering ourselves! We had a lovely afternoon finally getting to speak face to face (we've been mail/email/phone friends since around 1988!), and enjoyed dinner together.
Great to finally have met you, Carolyn! Hope that the plants we brought you thrive this year!
All that remains to be planted are a few flats of hot peppers that will go in 3 gallon pots...and about 10 tomatoes, also for 3 gallon pots and short stakes. Today I planted the majority of my experimental hot pepper selections in 1 gallon pots.....also did some more tying of tomatoes to stakes.
But - one picture is worth 1000 words - and several pictures? Well - here is how things are coming along...
The edge of the driveway has large pots of staked indeterminates alternating with dwarf varieties in the white grow bags. Then comes a double row of small pot, short stake, extreme prune indeterminates - then a double row of sweet peppers in black plastic grow bags....then a row of dwarf varieties, then another row of dwarfs....then a row of eggplant, finally a double row of small pot experimental hot peppers. Here's hoping for regular rain! It is indeed going to be a jungle out there before long!
The center row of pictures - left to right: Mexico Midget, a very unusual yellow foliaged potato leaf variety (which I named "Surprise" and discovered when growing Turkey Chomp some years ago), then some of the small pot experimental hot peppers. Lower right picture is a dwarf variety.
Today was a day to move a bit more slowly - though I didn't get any more planting done, the driveway was mapped and indeterminate tomatoes all are now tied to their stakes. I noticed that the tomatoes look like they are finally getting adjusted to their environment - they are taking on that bright, green color that indicates rapid growth is underway. There are open blossoms on a few varieties as well....with daytime temps still in the 70's or 80's, fruit set should be successful. I am actually pondering doing much more pruning of my large pot indeterminates than usual - at this point, I am considering pruning to three main fruiting stems. However, if it gets really consistently hot again, I may change my mind....
Now onto the Dwarf tomato project. Several of you who live nearby to me now have a selection of the early generation, experimental dwarfs in hand. But I have so, so many left and would love it if you contact me to arrange a time to get some more - don't forget, these will do fine in 5 gallon pots and don't require long stakes. Jump on in to the project!
Tomorrow I will resume planting - on to the hot peppers.
I had a nice blog post all ready to go then hit the wrong button...the computer ate my blog!
Well, it is late and I am tired, so I will try again tomorrow. Today I planted eggplant and sweet peppers - tomorrow I will begin planting hot peppers, which will finish off the planting for the year.....leaving the best part - observations, picking, tasting, evaluating.
Tomorrow (Sunday) from 11 - 11:30 AM EST I will be on the radio talking tomatoes with Niki Jabbour on a Nova Scotia gardening show (you can listen live here http://www.news957.com/ ). I've been doing this a few times a year for the past few years, and it is good fun!
Aside from when tomatoes come in (and since we grow so many, we don't really depend on the market for them), this is quite the time to buy fresh, locally grown produce! This morning's haul included strawberries, blueberries (!!!! - finally!!!!!), sugar snap peas, asparagus, broccoli, cukes - and great Florida super sweet white corn at Charlie Cole's, in the building above the market. This is just a great time of year for fruit and veggie lovers.
So, with all of that put away, I am off to bleach plastic grow bags and complete the dwarf planting. Yesterday I staked my indeterminate tomatoes (well, those that were big enough to start tying up - the stakes are in position). If the rain stays away, I hope to set up two more water scarecrows, do a bit of weeding in the big garden, and start planting the eggplant, sweet and hot peppers. I also need to find my short stakes for the many pots that are now in place in my used-to-be driveway! Then, if needed, everything will get watered. Whatever I don't get to today will get done Saturday, Sunday, into early next week.
Off to bleach the bags and pots - have I mentioned yet that it is NOT my favorite task? Hence I am here blogging, instead of out there scrubbing!