Garden Daybook 6/20/13


larkspur and spiderwort 6 12 13 small

The gardens are in full blown, late spring, grow like crazy mode. The Larkspur and Spiderwort in the herb garden are blazing blue right now. I LOVE the blue Larkspur. I started mine from seed years ago and they return every spring. After the blooms fade, the seed pods develop and burst at maturity. The seed lays in the garden until the following spring – when it germinates and blooms anew. So easy – so beautiful. The flowers aren’t the only things in the gardens that are growing like they can’t wait for who knows what – – –

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The asparagus patch is gorgeous this year. Greg had to add a third tier of twine to support the rampant 6 1/2 foot growth. I have been battling asparagus beetles for a few years but this year I sprayed Spinosad at the first sign of the beetles and the plants are healthier than they have been for quite a while. I have seeded Calendulas in the asparagus bed (the yellow flowers) – supposedly they help control the beetles. I like to think that the combination of the Calendulas and Spinosad are the reasons for my healthy asparagus bed. The Calendulas grow like the Larkspur and reseed themselves. They are unwavering in their loyalty – they appear every spring. Calendulas are an old-fashioned garden plant – I call them “happy little flowers”.


See what I mean! Doesn’t it make you smile? A morning ‘sound’ that makes me smile is buzzing in the asparagus bed. We have a hive of wild bees in a huge maple tree in our backyard. They are all over the garden and at this time of year they especially love the blooming asparagus. Look carefully at the picture and you can see the bees pollen sac filled with orange asparagus pollen. I love that the bees are healthy and pollinating the garden (we’ve had 2 swarms come out of that hive this spring!). FYI: I spray the asparagus beetles with Spinosad VERY carefully. I spray only in the evening and aim carefully to cover only the beetles – not the entire asparagus patch.

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The rest of the vegetable garden has decided that the growing season is flying by – everything seems to be screaming Grow Grow Grow! The onions have begun to bulb. They will only be in the garden until the end of July and will spend the last part of June and all of July swelling their bulbs. I have kept them weed free, mulched them with grass clippings, and rain has provided all the moisture they need. The onion necks have gotten fatter and the leaves are tall and healthy – all the better to support bigger bulb formation.

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The Tango Celery is making itself proud – again. I love this celery variety – it never fails me. Of course this spring we have had PLENTY of rain and celery loves the moisture – but – Tango seems to adapt to moisture fluctuations and still grow sweet and tender. That is the celery to the right in the picture.

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The potatoes (Kennebecs, Yukon Gold, and Fingerlings) were planted late this spring, but once they started pushing leaves they filled out quickly. My fear with the potatoes is that all the rain we have had will cause the tubers to rot. We need a string of sunshiny days to dry the soil. So far the plants are lush and growing well. I am impatiently watching for the first potato flowers because that tells me that the plants are forming potatoes. If I carefully reach into the soil mound I can harvest small, new potatoes. These tiny, tender, spuds make for fabulous eating.

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The Dewberries are loaded with fruit. My Dewberry, a gift from a friend, came to the garden late one fall in a 4 inch pot. I planted it into one of the raised beds in a last minute attempt to keep the little thing alive through the winter. The roots took off and the following spring it was rooted and pushing up runners. This spring the plant it is filled with berries. I have never tasted a dewberry and don’t know much about them. At the very least I hope the berries will make great jelly. I will try to move the plant into the berry bed this fall. Though,I must admit, the plant is big and has some serious roots. Moving this plant looks like a major dig!

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Last fall I finished a 6 month medicinal herb class with Mary Colvin, a Master Herbalist. I started to collect plants that could be useful for herbal preparations. Yarrow is a classic herb for fever, colds, flatulence, and much, much more so when I found a patch in the lawn behind the garden I dug up a few small plants. I planted them into a cold frame in the garden and they wintered safely. Look at them now! After they finish blooming I will transplant them into a bed at the edge of the garden.

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The flower heads are beautiful!

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I hope your garden is beautiful and growing well. I hope you are inspired to keep on gardening and not allow weeds, bugs, and other thugs to discourage you. If you are new to gardening, I promise, if you keep working hard, your garden only gets better and better.

Hey from the farm
Fran The Country Cousin

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5 comments to Garden Daybook 6/20/13

  • Tomma


    What do you do with all that Celery ?! Holy mackerel ! I put in 5 plants and think I probably planted too much, of course, with canning season getting close, I will probably be glad I have it. By the way, I finally had 6 little tiny Fennel seeds sprout after the last storm. go figure.

    Dewberries – no, that wasn’t me.


  • I just watched a segment representing your website that said a lot of people had problems growing tomatoes this year. I did too. But they did not say what the problem was and how to solve it for next year. Please elaborate. Thank you
    Jane Dietrich

    • Those segments are soo short I can barely say enough to get a point across! This summer’s tomato problems are related to the constant rain and wet soil – the roots of many tomato plants rotted before they could put out much new growth. The humidity also played a role in disease problems. Raised beds might help soil drain better and a loose soil – meaning not heavy clay – would help. Incorporating compost, grass clippings, and chopped leaves would help.
      Choosing tomato varieties that are labeled with a V and/or F after their name would help fight the disease problems. For example Rutgers VF. V = verticillium wilt and F = fusarium wilt. Both are soil born diseases – they get into the plant through the roots. If you grow tomatoes that have those letters in their name they will tolerate these diseases and give you a tomato crop.
      Unfortunately, some years are just not “good garden” years. This year the rain, humidity, and heat were the enemies – especially for tomatoes, beans, potatoes, and cucumbers. On the other hand the okra and sweet potatoes look great! I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.
      Keep on gardening!!
      Fran Blank The Country Cousin

  • Karen viterna

    How do you save tomato seeds from this year to start plants next year?

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