LysmachiaMoon's blog: Work is winding down; gardening is gearing up

Posted on Jun 5, 2021 11:30 AM

I'm in the home stretch with the "dying kids" book, just a few more hours of work and it's outta here. What a relief. I finally feel like I have time to devote to LIFE instead of editing.

I've been trying to spend at least an hour every morning in the garden. This time of year, it's easy to fill up that hour. I try to plan what I need to do, prioritize things, but seriously....just plunk down with a basket and a pair of secateurs anywhere on the property and I'll be busy for an hour. Mostly I've been concentrating on deadheading and tidying up the last of the late spring flowers (iris are almost completely gone over, peonies fading, roses coming into their own). This morning I did a lot; I got all the spent celadine removed from several beds, removed all the spent iris stems, and did a careful once-over of the Top Border iris for iris borers. I found 5 of the little monsters, none bigger than about a half inch, all still in the leaves. This makes probably 15 that I've found over the past 2 weeks, in various iris clumps. This is astounding considering how diligently I went through my iris last fall, digging them up, digging out borers, replanting and even sprinkling some of that Spectracide around the Top Border iris. Constant vigilance. That's the only thing that will finally control and defeat iris borer. I've really developed an eagle eye for the tell tale signs of borers...look for an iris leave that has a tattered wet or greasy looking edge. If you pull it out (or cut it as close to ground level as you can), and then use a fingernail to split the leaf, you'll almost invariably find a small borer in there munching his way downward. When the borer eventually reaches the base of the leaf, he chews his way into the rhizome and that's when you have real trouble. They can eat the entire rhizome and kill the iris. Im determined to get rid of these pests. I love iris and I would love to have many more varieties, but that's not going to happen if I can't get a handle on these borers.

I've also been bringing out my dahlias from the greenhouse and planting them out in the borders, wherever I find an empty spot (usually whereever the annual celadines or fleabanes have come out). So far I've put in five nice big plants. I think I've got 5 or 6 still in the GH, so those will probably get planted out this weekend. I need to spot in a few in the circular island bed in the middle of the veg.

The veg is suffering from benign neglect, but steaming along despite the weeds. A couple days ago, I got one patch of beans and cabbage weeded, weeded along the russet potatoes, and planted out my cantaloupe plants. This morning I got the second bean patch weeded, cleaned up the circular center bed, and weeded and dusted my cabbages (which are really getting chewed up by cabbage moth caterpillars). I've been harvesting various lettuces and radishes pretty regularly. Very disappointed in the purchased broccoli plants...they bolted right out, never set heads at all. I think I'll still go ahead and harvest the tops for boiled greens, but not at all pleased with this. Same thing happened with my own seed-started chinese cabbage. Very few germinated and the couple that did, went straight to flower. I thought direct seeding them and the pak choi would be ok, but it did not work this year. Next year, back to starting them indoors and setting them out when I set out the earliest cabbages. The purchased cauliflower plants, on the other hand, have been stellar. I wish I had bought more. All four produced lovely sweet heads. I have one more to harvest for supper tomorrow night.

I've been lazy about the rhubarb this year, so I should get in there and pull a few stems and put up some pints for winter. I finally FINALLY got 100 canning jar lids delivered, had to order them online, I can't find them anywhere locally. Now that I have lids, I won't be so stingy about getting things in jars.

The black raspberries are covered in green berries, but I've learned from sad experience that's no guarantee I'm going to get a good crop. That bed is slowly petering out and this will be its last year. I've already got two new named varieties in the ground in a new bed area; I'll be layering those and hope to get at least a total of 6 plants by fall to start the new bed. I'll probably be doing the same for the red raspberries too; I just haven't decided where to locate the new patch.

For the first time in YEARS my Liberty apple has a lot of little fruits on it. Two things: We let it get way out of hand, way too big and shaggy and then I removed the Yellow Delicious that was acting as it's pollinator. That tree had to come out because it was leaning so far over it was beginning to uproot and it was tearing up the brick sidewalk in the Pond Circle. I thought that since I had two well grown fruiting crabapples nearby, they would act as pollinators for Liberty, but apparently not. Last year, I planted a new Yellow Delicious in another location and it blossomed for the first time this spring. And we did some pretty drastic pruning on the Liberty last year too. Result: Apples on the Liberty. I'm going to wait until July or August and then get in there and do more pruning. It really has gotten out of shape.

And that about catches me up here!

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One Hour by slowcala Jun 6, 2021 10:26 AM 1

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