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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8 Friday Farming

We returned from our 4th of July trip to Coeur d'Alene to a farm/ garden which EXPLODED in the 6 days I was gone. I was shocked! I'm grateful to my cousin, who stayed at our house while in town for a wedding, for  keeping everything watered. It would have been wilt-city without the water!

The kitchen porch is looking good. All of the irises are done blooming but I'm still debating as to when to start snipping back the leaves. I kind of like the vertical-spiky visual effect they give off. 

I planted pansies in with this trailing lobelia. The pansies can't quite keep up...

Twist and Shout hydrangea blossom!

"Fern Gully" has totally exploded too. DJ did a little happy dance the other night when he realized that every single plant came back this year. I want to plant more ferns; those things are cool.

The driveway bed is doing okay.

I finally transplanted the only start of a snapdragon that I've successfully grown all year. Sigh. Starting plants yourself is so much cheaper than buying them... if only I could actually start them successfully!

These larkspur were also transplanted from seed.

The delphinium looks good, I think.

The bee balm is doing well, with exception of the spots in them. I'm not sure what those are from; aphids, maybe?

The same bug is munching on my oregano too!

Mmmmm oregano. I can't wait to try out our food dehydrator later this summer and have garden-fresh-dried herbs for fall cooking.

The cilantro has totally gone to seed, which makes it coriander. I've got a few recipes which call for coriander, so I'll let this plant keep growing.

Raspberries! MMMM!

Purple basil, transplanted.

This chrysanthemum plant has totally exploded! It's bigger than the burning bush! And in the process, I'm afraid it's shading the peppers planted behind it. I'll observe over the weekend, and either transplant the peppers or, more likely, trim back the chrysanthemum. 

MMM peppers!

Check it out! we have a tiny little pepper growing!

Here are my starts. Again. Starts. In July. Yeesh. Zinnias on the bottom left, more larkspur in the middle, and marigolds at the back. Somewhere in there are more basil and snapdragons. I've heard that snaps can reseed themselves, so hopefully this fall planting won't be a wasted effort.

To the left of the porch. Yep, they've started building a new house two lots over from ours. Yay! Less weeds! The area immidiately adjacent to the steps has been kept clear, with the idea that we'll plant some kind of evergreen bush there this fall. Mid summer is less than ideal for transplanting. And I don't really feel like digging a hole in clay soil when it's 90 degrees out.

More peppers.

Powerbox bed. I'm inclined to transplant something, maybe the bee balm or ecchinacea I started from seed, into the front of this bed along the sidewalk. I also need to build a trellis this weekend for the sweet peas.

I might transplant that little bee balm again. It's already been moved from under the hammock to here, and it might move to along the sidewalk next. The grass and daylilly are overpowering the bee balm.

I do like the grass though!

And between the power boxes that Russian Sage is getting going. Next summer it'll be as big as the fountain grass.

Ecchinacea coneflower, from seed. I'll transplant it to either the powerbox bed, or... maybe where the larkspur are along the driveway. Or into the rocks on the right side of the driveway.

Did I tell you we bought a patio set? I love Costco! The only kicker is that our back deck is on the northwest side of our house, and gets full late afternoon sun. Ie, it's HOT in the evening. I vacillate between planting a taller shrub, like a crabapple hedge, and just waiting until they build a house next door to see what happens.

I wonder when gladiolus bloom?

Garage bed. The clematis is out of trellis. I'm tempted to string more... string, or a metal fishing line or something, up to the rafters under the garage so that the plant can keep growing. Maybe this weekend.


The goofy thing about clematis is that until it leafs out, I can't tell if a blossom is more leaves or a blossom. I haven't seen hide nor hair of an actual purple blossom yet... And yes, there is a spider in this picture!

And now, the farm. Sigh. I'm learning a lot this year. I'm a MUCH better farmer than I was last year, but definitely haven't perfected this yet. Of course, it doesn't help when you have to contend with the GD gophers, or when the contractors building a house two lots down SET FIRE to a debris pile last Wednesday. When it was 93 degrees. With buffeting 20-30 mph winds. Which were blowing towards our house. Yeah... the burlap around the bottom of the garden caught on fire, and it scorched a coupe of potato plants and the zucchini. Who the blue fuck SETS FIRE in the city limits on a hot and windy day and then leaves their SET FIRE totally unattended?

Good news: juliet tomatoes beginning to set!

Bad news: the gophers got to the lettuce again. I give up on in-ground lettuce. Henceforth, it shall be a potted plant.

The little bastards also trimmed the carrots.

Which are actually growing back quite quickly.

Good news: the red onions are rocking it!

So-so news: the Walla Walla sweets aren't really thriving...

Good news: the bell peppers back here are doing well.

This one even has bloom buds on it!

Is eggplant supposed to be bigger by this point?

All of these Roma tomatoes are rocking out. Some have blossoms on them. I have a question for you though... talk to me about pruning tomatoes? to increase tomato size? How do I know how much is too much? Which do I trim and which do I keep?

I have memories of my parents growing onions from seed, which were great for throwing in salads and stuff. I can't seem to make mine grow.

The summer squash also has blossoms on it!

Remember earlier when I said the contractor for the house next door STARTED A FIRE? Yeah... it got into the dried grass mulch I use.

It also burned the zucchini plant back. Thankfully, the little bugger is stubborn and growing back.

Marigold, direct seeded into the ground after the last frost.


I considered hilling the potatoes before we left for the 4th of July, but got lazy. You're supposed to hill them when they blossom, right? Well, we got back and the things had grown a FOOT in a week. I was busy on Tuesday night hauling dirt and compost by the 5 gallon bucket full.  I'll add another few rounds this weekend.

Spaghetti squash.

The peas also exploded last week.

See this little  pea pod? I ate him right after I took the photo. Peas for breakfast!

Hey, I just noticed the blossoms on the spaghetti squash!

Where's the corn, you ask? Well, I'd like to know too! I planted something like 3 rounds of corn, saw a few shoots, and now nothing. I think the gophers are eating it before it can get established. Darn, I was looking forward to sweet corn this summer. 

Things are chugging along! Right now it's a contest to keep things well watered during the really hot days, without over watering. While I've learned a lot this year, I'm really pleased with my progress as a farmer! 

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