We had our first frost this morning. It was pretty much a killing frost - not so much in the upper yard, but the veggie garden is brown and droopy. We'd been hovering just above freezing for several mornings in a row. Luckily, we harvested the tomatoes, peppers and onions. I should have probably picked the rest of the tomatillos, but I've canned enough green salsa to last us a year and I've got all those tomatoes to deal with. The cukes and beans were about done, there were a few more melons that we brought in, and the cabbage should be fine for a little while. Time to put her to bed.
The fall color this year is outstanding. All the sumac is brilliant and the virginia creeper is turning bright red. The trees are just beginning to turn a bit yellow, but we drove to the coast last weekend and the vine maple was gorgeous on the passes, as well as the high mountain ash bushes. The daytime weather has been sunny and warm; the smoke is pretty much gone. There is fresh snow on the northern mountains.
Finished planting the vegetable garden today. We got the tomatoes in a few days ago, the peppers yesterday, and today I just had to pop in the melons & cucumbers and plant the beans. The cold crop section has weeds so high, you can barely see the plants, but other than that, it looks pretty good. The onions look good, but the raspberries could use some attention, and I don't know what to do about the blueberries. I'm thinking about yarding them out and letting the cilantro go to town there. There was one year it self seeded itself in that raised bed and we had cilantro all summer long! On the other hand, we've each eaten about 3 blueberries off those tiny little plants in 4 years and they aren't getting any bigger. OK, I just convinced myself.
I've been planting like crazy and trying my darnedest to catch up with the weeding. I think it's not possible. I got one section of the greenhouse garden squared away at least. I pulled out the tall white irises that wanted to flop over, (not in my prime real estate!), and the salvia plumosa that also flops and stinks as well. I hate weeding around salvias and they better look real pretty to justify that cat pee aroma that gags me. I planted a balloon flower and a liatris back in there where they used to be. I moved both the salvia and the irises out to the front bank. They can do whatever they want out there.
The little cold frame deal I bought for cheap was a great investment! It worked perfectly to harden off stuff as it came out of the greenhouse and the deer couldn't nibble on anything!
I spent a hard day digging out the willow end of the corner garden - weeded, fertilized, pruned the viburnum, removed wayward saplings, and mulched. Planted a couple more hostas and another sedge. I also moved one of the hostas from the front garden to the east side of the willow. I'd like to get that thing completely surrounded by something to make it look tidier without having to weedwack. We'll see how this hosta does, but I don't think they would fare so well on the west side of the tree where they would get that afternoon sun to some degree.
I really wanted to keep my momentum going and continue on down the garden the next day, but I have too many plants that need to get in the ground and will have to move on to another location with hopes of returning here and getting the whole garden finished sometime soon. I also planted petunias in the wheelbarrow.
We have mowed everything once already and after a big thunder and rain storm the other night, it could use it again. The mower seems to be working just fine. We still have the old one to get rid of and I can't even remember exactly what's wrong with it. I would give it away at this point just to have it out of here. We've got the zodiac on the trailer parked where the lawnmower goes and need to get the old mower gone from the covered storage next to the chicken coop so we can get the new one out of the garage! We're about due for a new push mower as well.
We bought a power edger this spring and Greg is liking it for defining the edges of the vegetable garden before tilling. I tried it yesterday on the flowerbed next to the garage and the jury is still out for me. My line will need tweaking and It's almost harder for me to hoe the stuff out then if I use my edging spade. We'll see. Maybe after I get it under control it will be easier. It was faster to cut the line in, that's for sure.
My joints are getting more and more stiff and painful, which makes this spring clean up thing increasingly difficult. I'm trying hard to get caught up with the weeding, but it's quite overwhelming. Basically, I have too many flower gardens to maintain so it always looks like a mess. Somehow I need to simplify. So far, I've only managed to do the basic cleaning out of the beds and not much actual weeding. A couple wheelbarrows is all I can get in an ambitious day.
We didn't get home from traveling until the first of April this year so it was my latest start ever in the greenhouse. I had exceptionally poor germination. I probably shouldn't have used the bottom heating mats in hindsight - the increased temperatures at that time of year make a big difference. I did end up with plenty of tomatoes, but that's about it. I've replanted the peppers, melons, and done a first planting of cucumber in 4" pots in the bottom watering trays. We'll see how that pans out. None of my flowers or grasses came up and I don't know if I have the inclination to try again on those. I did buy a bunch of bare-root flowers from mail order and almost all of them are doing great.
I also picked up this little cold frame shelf thing, that fits perfectly next to the window of the pump house. I really had problems with the deer feasting on everything I put out to harden off last year. Of course, we got the first frost in over 3 weeks the night I moved plants out into it. It performed perfectly - when I went out and opened it up to check on stuff mid-morning, warm and humid air wafted out at me and all the plants looked very happy. Yay!
There was a ton of snow this winter and the river is raging right now. We are losing a lot of bank so who knows what the beach will look like when the water goes down. It's a bit worrisome, but what can you do? You just can't argue with a river. There is still really a lot of snow in the mountains, so we are just hoping that it keeps on melting steadily. It stayed colder than we would have liked this spring and we're a bit concerned about when it hits the 80's at some point this month. Tony and his son came by yesterday and put their kayaks in here. They paddled out just past the trees and took off like they'd been shot from a gun! It did go down a little bit this morning after cooler weather yesterday.
I was startled by a Little Brown Bat that apparently the magpies were assaulting in some fashion yesterday while I was working in the greenhouse. I opened the outer door to see what was making the odd screeching noise and a magpie flew off the bat that was laying on its back right outside the door. It righted itself and flew off, but it sure creeped me out for a second. It was much bigger than our normal bats that I see around and I damn near stepped on it!