Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
Well, first of all this has to be the Picture of the Year - right in my backyard!
I hope Missy Bunny is not going to be a problem for my gardens this year :::sigh:::
Now check this out - we were on our walk today and saw this Beaver work ... it is totally amazing how they can chew down trees to dam up a stream....I was in total awe!
Wow ... huh?!?!?
Ok... let's see if this works - I saw a member's great slideshow last week ... I believe it was from Hella. I LOVED it - it was about wild potato salad and how she made it all set to music. Soooooooo of course I had to check out the whole site and made a couple shows - this one I hope works is just my new seeds, but the thing is if you want to hear the music you have to click on Original View. I am sure it is much easier but I am just learning so let's see if it works....
Spring break seemed to rule this month - it seems every school in the world has spring break on a different week! So my days were turned upside down to say the least ... I have to admit "my schedule" was disturbed lol Thank goodness I only have 2 teens to juggle. I did receive my Blueberries yesterday ...
I was wondering how in the world they were going to ship them and they did do a great job - all intact and neat. I already have 2 other types of blueberry plants that I recently purchased so once I plant them out and they get themselves all established, I should have a Blueberry Patch to sing about!
Check this out ..... Dried flowers from my own yard - how easy. I did read a few articles about just looking around in your own yard or area for what nature brings and I sure found just that - can't wait to get down south and scope it out!
This is Autumn Joy Sedum and then some ferns to follow (remember my new interest ... dried flowers)
And this............dried grass, how obvious - something I have looked at for years but never realized what a fantastic dried planting it is!
and... of course, there is always one that baffles me. This last one seems to fly into the yard every year from a neighboring yard - not sure who, but it appears! Seems like a great dried flower - no clue what it is though!
Here's Mr. Turtle ........although it was 60ish degrees on Friday it snowed/hailed lightly on Sunday ....
Daffodils are sprouting up .......but 5 hours back up into Illinois there is NO way you see daffs yet
Tons of Cardinals .......... the Illinois State Bird ....
BUT the best picture of all .......... Easter Sunset ......dang, what a shot
Hope ya'll had an awesome weekend....... Debbie in IL :-)
I caught a few Great pictures today of Nature at its best........ Ducks along the path that I usually walk & finally the sun did shine!
Amazing how the female just kinda blends in ..... Nature at its best like I said ! I did get a shot of this Happy Couple also :-)
Have a Wonderful Holiday Weekend......... Debbie :-)
Thank you for letting me share! Debbie :-)
I think the best way for me to do this analogy is just make random statements about what works with what as far as companions. I did read “Great Garden Companions” & it’s a totally wonderful book. I think though …… is that there is a ton of information & what happens for me is I get information overload & then the info is useless. So --- I need to take a step backwards & look at the information that I want to use and document it. Alright, where do I start? Ok… to explain what Companion Gardening is ……. Planting specific plants next to each other or intermingled so each individual plant grows better and flourishes “just because” the companion plant is nearby. I support the basis of this & will definitely find out if it works – I won’t have my organized rows of plant after plant but that’s ok .. sometimes, you just have to give up on being organized.
The bottom line here is – What can I plant next to my tomatoes to ward off insects … like that gross Tomato Hornworm? Well, Basil is a suggestion & Borage .. ok, I can do that. Some of the thought behind this is that the scents and textures of different plants repel insects or even animals like deer – deer don’t like fuzzy plants … borage is fuzzy, I didn’t even care for it as an edible in salads, but if it keeps the deer away… Let’s Grow It! Now Marigolds are quite fragrant and if you think about it … is the smell even that pleasant? Not really… but this plant scares away all those insects or confuses them. Marigold Golden Guardian ….. I planted these a couple of days ago and I think I will be quite guarded – Here’s what they say …hope it works,
Control Nematodes with flowers not chemicals. Golden Guardian Marigold proved to be the most effective for controlling root nematodes, killing 99% over a 3 month period. Nematodes live in the soil, feeding off the roots of tomatoes & other veggies. Ok, let’s give it a shot! This is just the beginning ….. next step, figuring out what other companion plants I will grow ….
There he IS ... the first sign of Spring! I grew up watching for Robins .. Now I seem to be paying more attention to Nature and I realized birds are really cool! So, of course, I had to take a couple more snapshots ........
That's a Hawk!
Don't let nature pass you by ... it's remarkable!
Last year was my first year going all out with growing herbs & I want to mention a few tips which may help someone out with their herb gardening. I have found that some herbs like dill, cilantro, chives seems to grow better in a cluster. They get very lanky or leggy and I think the added support from each other makes for a better visual effect & I am sure works more effectively with the Companion Gardening concept (growing flowers & herbs together with vegetables). Cilantro & dill are 2 herbs I have started so far this year.
I did have a lot of the herbs in containers & in the hot weather, they didn’t do very well. Seems most couldn’t take the extreme heat so along with watering daily I ended up bringing them back into the house & after getting socked with the extreme heat they didn’t seem to do as well. So find a spot for them that has some shade or move them out of the sun for part of the day. Once your herbs go to seed, they are done growing for the season but you can prolong the growing by cutting the seeds off when you first spot them. I let some go to seed so I can save the seed for the following year & have had good results so far. Basil is amazing & there are so many different varieties & all work well just tossed with a fresh salad – Large Italian, Cinnamon, Purple Ruffles, Thai, Lemon Sweet Dani to name a few.
Herbs can be dried for later use which is great – no waste & you have herbs all winter. Find a dark, dry area in your home – I used a spare bedroom and laid the herbs out in trays for about 2 weeks and then bagged them up. When cooking use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs or 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs for the same result.
I grew quite a variety of peppers last year also & two I want to make mention of – the Padron Pepper and the Alma Paprika Pepper … both are Hot! I will admit I am a total whimp when it comes to hot stuff, but I do try. I just can’t handle it. Neither pepper description mentioned the heat from these peppers. The Padron was advertised on tv as the new appetizer at one of the chain restaurants so I thought – How cool, I can grow it. The description says one in every 10 or so is Hot, so watch for the surprise…not SO, I had grown men crying after taking a bite out of these. The trick with these is – up to a certain growth size they are mellow (actually, quite small like a quarter). Once they grow past that …POW! The Alma Paprika is unique – it goes through 3 different colors during its growth. First it is a pale yellow, then orange & once red it is Sweeter with a spicy accent. The first 2 color stages it will knock your teeth out …naïve me, got all excited when I saw my “first” Alma ready to pick (or so I thought). I plucked it off the branch & took a huge bite – well, my eyes almost flew out of my head LOL Both peppers can be dried and crushed for use in recipes. I used the red sweeter Alma peppers in tomato pepper soup and froze it – it’s outstanding. The Padrons I actually just froze whole and when I need a kick in a recipe like chili or taco seasoning I cut one or two up – I do discard the seeds since I don’t want it THAT hot.
Lastly, I want to mention the Tomato Hornworm who makes his appearance every year & makes a feast out of your hard grown tomatoes. Be on the lookout for this fella since he is very hard to see with just a casual glance. He blends in very well & I have overlooked him several times UNTIL you finally realize something is going on with your plant – obvious signs are chewed up tomatoes & large hornworm castings on the ground. I spotted the castings easily since the plant was a Green Zebra Tomato in a pot on my deck, otherwise the castings would probably blend into the soil. I first blamed the chipmunks last year for the half eaten tomatoes until I brought the plant inside & did catch sight of the hornworm dining on my plant – My jaw dropped & yours will too when you spot your first one … these guys are big! I did get a good picture of wasp larvae (beneficial parasite) attached to another hornworm in the garden (another jaw dropper). If you see this leave it alone. They will eventually feed off the hornworm and kill it & then fly off to find other hornworms to lay their eggs. I believe at this point the hornworm is no danger to your tomatoes anymore, but they can sure eat a whole lot when they are active!
Ok we turned the clocks ahead an hour -- Now where is Spring hiding?? The weather report for the coming week does look somewhat warmer so maybe I can get outside and kick around some snow :-) I did purchase a BIG bird feeder today after reading Bill's blog and seeing his pictures of the birds - I thought ::: yea, I should be feeding those hungry little guys too!
Now to get a lot of bird food to fill this baby up! Look at that snow - don't ya just wanna say Blah! Now if that look on my face doesn't say Cabin Fever ... not even a hint of a smile LOL Actually, I was listening to my plants talk to me about being outside ..... really, I was testing the self timer on the new camera - it worked! Still a good facial display of Cabin Fever -
There is a Smiling Deb in my photo albums - because I do Smile ... gosh, that picture even scares me and it's ME!! oh my.......I need Spring Have a Wonderful week Everyone!!! :-)))
Ok - between the dinner intermission and the worm saga ... I have revitalized myself and have to post this experiment since this drying flowers is very new and something I want to really engage in ...
Baby's breath 3-7-08 .... doing very well, so I had the idea to take some and hang upside down to dry. Let's give it time and see what happens.........
I have dried herbs before - so I know they do dry .... the thing that will be different with the flowers I think is somehow retaining their shape?? Has anyone done this before? I am planting quite a few flowers that I hope to dry next season... it's all a wait and see for now. Below are my dried herbs and Noooo there is nothing illegal there for the minds that ask ...... it's herbs - sage, basil, spearmint, rosemary, etc.
Alrighty..........I need to go check out the site for the Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show which starts tomorrow and I didn't realize it runs until next weekend. I need to find the day to GO - gosh, how could I not. I know it's huge and expensive and probably mostly commercial BUT it does say "Flower & Garden Show" - so it has to be kinda cool. I will report back...........Adios for now! Debbie :-)
Remember this guy?? Frankie our newest pup, fits in perfect here except for the fact that he loves to rile up the other dogs ALL the time - he's a full time job, but oh so cute and he's enjoying the Sunshine that we had today! The sun shining brightly sure makes it alot easier to handle this Cold weather! Remember Daylight Savings Time this weekend - clocks spring ahead an hour.
This week I spent a whole lot of hours transplanting - I usually start seeds in a tray and then when they get too cluttered and need more room to grow I will pull some out (ever so carefully) and plant them in small pots. This year I ordered 100 pots and I knew I would need more, but DH suggested I start out small. Well, yesterday I ordered 400 more - I went through those first 100 in No time!! The picture is a tray full of transplants I made up for a friend - I will keep them here under lights until time to plant outside which is another 2 months or so - yes, yes, I start seeds very early but it's OK ... I just can't stop myself LOL
Tomatoes, peppers, basil ... per his request. I may add another tray of flowers or who knows what I will come up with! I also plan on making up a nice tray like this for Mom for Mother's Day and I am SURE there will be more trays I give to family and friends....Easter is right around the corner.
Nowwwww....for the update on the worm bin composting!!! The following pictures of the worms are not for the weak of stomach - so be prepared :-) Actually, before I started composting with worms I thought they were SO gross and slimey and .... they still are, but I got used to them! Especially when I had to pick up one or two after they fell out of the bin or had a cluster land on my hand .........ewwww It's just something ya get used to ....
Picture #1 This is the bottom bin
Now what I do on occassion is stir them up so I can see how things are going in there and the next picture shows how I stirred this up a bit and there is still some leaves and newspaper that needs to decompose so I will let this go for AT least another 2 weeks and not add any more food scrapes or anything ...
In the meantime, I added kitchen scraps to the bin above this one along with wet shredded newspaper and there is some action already going on in there but this is the place I will be adding food scraps, leaves, etc. from now on and the bin above that I added some stuff to get it going kinda. When the time comes I will take that bottom bin and place it on top of the other two and stir it up, let the light get to it to encourage the worms to travel to the next bin and Voila I will have a bin of worm castings! I hope I am making sense here ... but the thing IS - this is not an easy thing to do or learn (for me at least). In time I imagine it will become second nature and something I am used to, kinda like the cluster of worms landing on my hand LOL
Ok time to go work on dinner - but to tell ya the truth after taking and posting these worm pictures - I lost my appetite! Go Wormsssssss............
Looks like the blogs are buzzin' - hard to keep up after being gone for a bit! Can you imagine how crazy we will be in the summer when we are out gardening for real (well, some of you lucky folks are already gardening in the warmer states) BUT not me, so I will share my latest cool learning experiences......first of all I had TWO blooms the day I left! The blueberry plants were flowering and I had my first ever lavender buds! Let me show ya ...
kinda fuzzy but you see the flowers - thing is, I read that I should cut off these blueberry flowers since this is the first year and that will help the root system develop stronger - so I may do that tomorrow, unless someone has other advice?? Now my FIRST ever lavender buds which will go down in history for me at least LOL
Ok ... so on our trip this time we transplanted several pine trees that were over in never never land and I figured I would bring them over to grow nice and strong and be close to where I want to plant the blueberries.... acid soil - which by the way, I did a soil test while I was down there and am kinda stumped, but back to the pine trees ..
Here's one of the guys we transplanted and GET THIS... the next day "someone" had him totally dug up! SO this tells me once again that I can NOT garden down here until we are there fulltime BUT...we were there LOL hm..go figure We planted him back in the hole and told him to be strong. One last picture I need to share -
I added the words but this is in Illinois at the crossroads of Rt 57 & 70 that we pass every time we go to our other place - this cross is HUGE, actually 198 feet and it does catch your eye. It's our last hour of a 5 hour trip and wakes ya up LOL It's a cool thing - 50,000 vehicles pass this way Daily and ya can't miss it. Debbie :-)
Well, we keep getting hammered with Snow and more is on the way - sure, it looks lovely in a picture and sure would make a nice Christmas card BUT thing is ... I am maxed out on Snow. I will keep my sanity in tact by going down south tomorrow for some relief (watch it snow down there!) I made sure to add the last of my February photos to my album since March will arrive when we are gone and WARM weather I hope LOL
Check out this next photo of the Citronella plant I bought at the recent Garden Show - it has flower buds on it! I will tell you the plant does give off a definite fragrance and now we will see what these flowers do - I have to find time to research this plant a bit more. I have been looking into Lavender and dang there are more varieties then I even imaged. I am still waiting for a book to arrive that I just ordered - will turn me into the pro I am sure :-)
Ok I do have to mention "the Luffa" also here - I know some of my friends here have planted the seeds I sent and others have ordered seeds so let me offer this. Last year when I planted the seed I didn't pay much attention, just planted it, moved it several times and it did do well. This year I paid more attention and the seed I "just planted" took 3 weeks to start growing (that's a longgg time). So I planted a tray full of seeds on 2/18 and they sprouted their little heads on 2/24 ... 6 Days! I did soak them overnight AND nicked the seed with scissors - What a Difference!
I will catch up with blogs before I leave and do hope everyone is doing well and Keeping the Garden Spirit within each of us Growing...... rock on or should that be garden on?? LOL
Well, I think I might have another hobby to keep me occupied during this long, long winter! First challenge is to figure out this new camera - it's actually not as easy as my old digital Kodak, but I am sure once I figure out how all the fancy buttons work I will adjust. Ok...so I have my FIRST Poppy bloom happen just the other day and I take snapshots of my latest wonder. Well, the picture came out blurry (or at least the close up one did) so I attempt to clear up the blur with my Paint Shop program and oh myyyyyyy - what did I discover! Every time I go into that program to work on photos I never EVER remember how I did what I did and will probably never be able to duplicate what I am doing - unless of course, I keep practicing. So here are the photos -
This is the clear picture of the first bloom - Red Poppy 2-20-08
Now the BLURRY one -
and..........the new improved dynamite Kaleiodoscope Poppy created who knows how on the computer ...
and of course, I couldn't stop there - I had to experiment further with some Lavender pictures ...
Ok - I am done for now :-))) Thanks for letting me share - I think I may have opened up a part of my creative artsy brain .... I hope I can sleep tonight ! Debbie :-)
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