Sunday, May 31, 2020

Midwest Gardening: What's Blooming-End of May 2020

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Pond is cleaned and the fishing is good...! 
We dumped four bags of sand and a bag of rocks into it, since I am no longer able to kneel and clean out the bottom of the pond. So we raised the bottom, which is now reachable for me, well mostly. 

Pond maintenance is an issue, I'm hoping the frogs will move back in even though it is shallow.

To the right the Viburnum is bursting! Best kind of snowballs for Chicagoland. I have Nasturtiums from seed in the planter in front

This tree is about 25 years old. Last year I cleaned out all the dead wood and opened up the center area---and more blooms than ever.

Around the pond, are Iris, two Lime Barberry. 

they are gorgeous this year...

I can't stop taking photos of them...

Sunshine in ruffles....

Planted pots...I forget the name of the purple plant, something new for us with Zinnias and a red geranium.

I still have two Peppermint to plant---a bee deterrent for our 'people spots, designated for the front  porch.

Our focal pot at the base of the stairs, lots of plants in here, Wave Petunia, Hibiscus, 2 kinds of Sweet Potato Vine and some seeded flowers.

Lots of green right now under our Maple tree, the copper colored plant lower left is a Carmel Coral Bells. The green in front is a Creeping Sedum transplanted the last two years from other areas in the yard. Hostas were grown from starts 10 for $5.99 last year, except for the super large one.

I'm amazed at how large these variegated Hosta got in one year.

My mosaic bowling ball---from post here:Garden Mosaics Class

Here the Iris are more purple than blue.

and yellow! 

The super large Hosta on the right we purchased several years ago, and it gets humungous. 

A planter with Liatris from bulbs, a Wave Petunia, Burgundy Cordyline and a Rust Coleus. all these plants will be very large and will be moved into the center of this bed, when we get the old bush branches out!

Not much is blooming yet in the backyard. I do choose a lot of variegated plants for interest in shady spots with a few Impatiens and more Lime Coral Bells.

Along the fence the Hollyhocks are going crazy and our Giant Hostas. I have some squash and Sunflowers in here also, and other seeded flowers.

The front walk is just getting started, with yellow, red, purple flowers and  lime green  and purple Sweet Potato Vines. I haven't found any reasonable viney plants for the trellises yet.

The new shelf on the front of the garage which replaced an old bench, is still not finished. I need some other interesting things. This spot gets lots of sun and heat.

And the mail box is planted: Wave Petunias, Vinca transplants, Salvia, and yellow Marigolds. 

What's Blooming in your Neck of the Woods?
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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Midwest Gardening: First Crop May 2020

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OUR FIRST CROP....Lettuce!

We've planted Lettuces in several areas of the yard. Railing boxes were started early in the greenhouse, while more was started in the ground or transplanted from trays. I trimmed the bolted lettuce out.

We have Black-seed Simpson, Mesclun Mix, Traditional Mix, Bibb, Romaine and Red Lettuces in various areas. When it gets too hot, the railing planters will be moved to semi-shade to prolong growth.

So yesterday, May 29, 2020, I walked around with a scissors and picked a bit of everything. Never cut your plant completely away, just remove no more than half, that way your lettuce will continue to grow. I rinsed everything in nice cold water. 

Plain clean dish towels are ready--I'm no longer using paper towel for this...! It's been too hard at times to find paper products, and this is a GREEN way. 

I carefully set all the stems up with narrow ends down to drain. Leave it this way for 10-15 minutes to completely drain. 

Spread your greens on the towels. Gently layer another towel on top. 

I bleach my towels, so these will come easily clean and are sanitary on the greens. 

Double over the bottom edge and then roll the towel loosely. Place in plastic bag, (I wash and reuse these all summer for greens). 

Loosely cover with a second bag...

Stand on end in the upper part of your Fridge. Simply unroll for serving. 
This will keep your greens up to a week, and of course it will be time to pick again! 

Onions aren't quite ready, maybe later next week! 

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Friday, May 29, 2020

Midwest Gardening: Putting in Vegetable Garden May 15-29, 2020

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We've been planting our little hearts out...
with a PLAN?

After a hard freezes May 8-10th, we planned on planting the week of the 15th. 
Chicagoland weather forecasts were for lovely weather with reasonable temps in the evenings. We made a basic plan for the vegetable garden and began laying it out. 


We used this plan as a guideline.  I will make a copy of actual plantings when everything is done. It did help though especially when planning plants that are helpful next to each other. 

New/old redone trellises were placed along the north fence for squash/pumpkins, green beans and sunflowers between.


Tomato cages were set out a reasonable distance apart and spaced so we can open/close the greenhouse windows.
 We grouped by colored cages for different varieties of tomatoes. We planned on Early Girl, Better Boy, San Marzano, Golden Jubilee in the garden and Cherry Tomatoes in pots on the front porch and along the sand box. (The Grand girl loves to pick them, and that way she can help WHEN she visits.)

Planting Tomatoes! 

Two posts ago---I explained why we no longer will use peat pots, or starter pods. 
I very early transplanted small seedlings into larger deep pots 2-3 plants per pot.  Here you can see the root formation ---in the larger pots.  Excess weak stems were clipped off early on.


HERE: We trim all but the top three sets of leaves off our plants when we plant them. A sharp knife or scissors will do a good job. clippings go to the compost pile.


Here's a planted drink cup and showing the fabulous roots.


These are then planted as deep in the ground as they can go--up to the first leave branch. YES---12" or more deep! 


Cages are placed the plants roots will not be disturbed. The plants look short because they are planted so deep. All along the buried stems, roots will grow, making your plant even stronger and a higher yield. (Learned this one from my Mom in law!)


Here we have zucchini plants, green beans along the fence and trellises. Some sunflowers and zinnias planted between the trellises. Flowers will encourage pollinator visits. Pumpkins, squash, were planted along the fences.


Our pickle/cucumber plants along the bedspring trellis. We planted two varieties Pickler and Burpless. I planted sunflowers, zinnias and coreopsis(?) at the ends to attract pollinators.


Swiss Chard plants were set in slits of the fabric, as well as some seeded rows.
Sweet peppers (mixed) went in the pots by the mini patio, we've had so much rain, I removed the saucers.


Pots really work well here in Chicagoland for Peppers. Helps to eliminate pests and munching critters. 


Here we have Kentucky Blue green beans on the trellises. Bush pickles (something new for us) Eggplant in front, and flowers along the fence.

Move on to May 29, 2020


Roughly two weeks later. We have had lots of rain and lots of sunshine. Currently the Silver Maple trees are raining wingy-dingys...and they are piling up quickly. ONE of the major reasons for the weed fabric. I will be able to sweep and vacuum up the mess instead of pulling thousands of maple trees out of the garden.  It will be a full time job for a two weeks or so.


Our Broccoli has been munched on. We will sprinkle some slug control, and spray with soap...and see if we can stop it. 


The hot peppers are over on the side patio---sequestered to help with no cross pollination. Excuse the messes, we have only been planting and it will be a few posts later when all the 'messes' are removed. 


Last night the Mesclun lettuce bolted. I will clip that out this morning. We have lettuce on the fence and on the front porch. More on herbs and potted veggies, later.

Rough plan for along this wall and fence shown below.


South side (shady) of the shed mostly planted with peas, and lettuces. These are doing very well. We added a couple of romaine plants as well as our own seeded varieties. 

We will have salads everyday now until Fall. (We removed three bushes and an old/dead rose from here. I think I want a flower box for color, we will see. I had originally planned on pumpkins in here, but planted those elsewhere.


In the greenhouse we still have a few plants waiting for my son, coming this weekend. We have all been in shut-down now for over two weeks, so we will be visiting with family ONLY! 


Our San Marzano plant starts were looking so putrid in the house, I planted this second batch in late April. The originals revived in the greenhouse so this second batch will go to friends and neighbors. I never bothered to put them in large pots, and we had no room in the greenhouse at the time! 


Our almost EMPTY greenhouse!  It's a mess, but we will clean it up when everything is planted. I still have flowers and transplants to do. 
Plan for back forty...
And I will take photos of the back forty---!

Yesterday Hubby worked on irrigation hoses, and dug my big hole for the roses.
We have been so busy---and really have so much more to do! Off to supervise bush removal for the front of the yard! 

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Thank you for any and all comments.
Finally I am able to reply to comments by using Chrome. So all you Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina---this might help the glitches on Safari  and Blogger!

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