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Gardening &
Landscaping




   BirdsNest  The garden continues to be the place I can go to for escape from the harshness of everyday life. This garden is full of beauty and dotted with disappointment. Not everything is doing as well as I had wished. The squash bugs discovered the zucchini and in days had damaged every plant, now they have moved on to the other squash plants. Eggplants are being consumed by some other vile bug, tomorrow evening I will mix up some Neem oil with water and add a bit of detergent to spray onto the plants. Waiting until later in the day when bees are not so active. I am harvesting some lovely eggplant but the leaves are being consumed by pests. Pepper plants are under performing in a big way. Last year this time we had harvested buckets and buckets of peppers, so far this year only a few small ones. I picked tomatillos and took to the tracks to sell. They did quite well, I even made some tomatillo salsa verde to offer as samples with tortilla chips. I did not like the salsa. I think it is an acquired taste. One of the other sellers tasted it and loved it, so I sent it home with her. I was going to add it to the compost pile.
July 18 at 23:16 EST .

   2 people like this.



   Surfhut  Hope the Neem oil spray will save some of your plants. God bless you, Bird!
July 19 at 08:11 EST .

  3 people like this.





   BirdsNest  We had an inch of rain yesterday so I spent part of today pulling weeds so I can get some more green beans planted. My friend cannot come til the weekend to till and I need these beans in the ground asap. There will be plenty for her to do anyway.
Picked 2-1/2 buckets of cucumbers on Wednesday and took them to the local church for their monthly Food Pantry night. Also gifted them with plenty of squash. Friday I picked 3 buckets of cukes, about 10 eggplant(Rosa Bianca and Shooting Stars ),and a bucket of squash to take to the tracks on Sat. I had been to see Hagar earlier in the day and was happy to get home early enough to get the picking done in daylight instead of in the dark with a flashlight on Sat morning. Good thing,too. Sat at around 6am it started raining. I went to the tracks anyway, a little bit of rain won't turn me away. I sat with another fool til about 7 when her husband showed up, I went back to the van and waited for the rain to stop. It would rain softly, then a downpour, then it would stop. Around 7:30 the other fool said goodbye, they were going home. I set up my table and my veggies and eggs and waited for customers. First customers bought eggplant, squash and a bucket of cucumbers. Yay!!!! And 3 dz eggs. Then customers came in spurts. It never really rained any more, just a few spits, but it was overcast and cool. Perfect for being outside. A lady I gave a bunch of plants to last week stopped by and bought a few eggplant. She pressed a bill into my hand and said "That's for you. God told me you needed this right now." I was gobsmacked. I thanked her and hugged her. Now I can buy the 2 tires for the van. One more big thing off the list. I am not destitute but I am on a strict budget. That just made life a bit brighter.
July 12 at 20:58 EST .

   3 people like this.



   HopeandGlory  Prayers are answered . . . Birdie's posting again . . . God be with and Hagar.
July 12 at 22:00 EST .

  4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Prayers answered indeed, Hope. On many levels. I will try to post more often, I have just been very focused on the garden. Last week the heat tried to take me out.
July 13 at 06:33 EST .

  3 people like this.



   MeiDei  News flash: Bird Beats Heat! So glad for the good news - see, you did a kind and generous thing and it WAS multiplied back to you - PTL! Tell us about any other "blessings in disguise" that come your way again. Love your posts & your produce - maybe the Good Lord will direct my path to a local grower.
July 13 at 11:57 EST .

  5 people like this.



   Balogreene  You're right, the heat and humidity last week were killer! And, I didn't work outside.
July 13 at 23:23 EST .

 1 person like this.



   BirdsNest  I couldn't grasp why last week was so tough on me. Previously we had had higher temps, the day it got to feeling like 107F and by 5pm felt like 111F. I worked outside all day in the garden until about 4pm, I was cooked but nowhere near as toasted as last week. I got overheated Sunday,Monday and Tuesday until I felt I couldn't do anymore work outside. It was an exhausting week, my clothes getting soaked everyday all day long. I relented and turned on the A/C in the bedroom, on low just to remove the dampness. It made sleeping better.
July 14 at 07:14 EST .

  4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Oh yeah, I got the flat beans planted yesterday. 3 short rows, but they are in!! I was hoping for a good soaking rain, but we only got a shower. Also picked 10 pounds of flat beans, will be calling customers today to come get their produce. Cucumbers need to be picked and I need to check on eggplant. Zucchini plants are done, time to pull them up. I think I saw the guineas actually EATING insects from the zucc plants. I only thought they were interested in poking holes in my watermelons. And they were working the bean rows too. Maybe leaving them out was good. They DO eat ticks and will chase away snakes. They missed the one snake that gobbled up 5 fertile duck eggs though, the hen is still sitting on the one remaining egg. The snake is eradicated.
July 14 at 07:20 EST .

  2 people like this.





   BirdsNest  Our cucumber patch is producing like mad. I have sold cukes, given them away, and fed the chickens till they can't eat any more. The last bucket got chopped up and tossed on the compost pile. Today I sold some, gave away more than I sold at the tracks, had some left over and went to Food Lion and walked the lot with my box of cucumbers giving them to anyone who would accept them. I have become a crazy lady.
June 27 at 19:15 EST .

   2 people like this.



   MeiDei  May your efforts & generosity be multiplied back to you ten-fold!
June 29 at 07:26 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Balogreene  Mei Dei is right, your generosity will be multiplied back to you ten-fold, but, as a dear friend once told me, it might be in the next life (sorry ). I wish I'd been there, Cucumbers are a favorite, kimchi, soup, with onion salad, with tomato salad, plain, who knows I eat a ton of them!
July 3 at 19:02 EST .

  3 people like this.





   Balogreene  Bird, if you need someone to come down and cook your veggies on weekends let me know.
June 18 at 21:41 EST .

   2 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Balo, you are one busy lady,that is one generous offer. I am not cooking anything these days, veggie or not. What I am trying to do is sell these vegetables. People call, but I think they expect delivery. Sorry. At $1 pound for beans there is no way I am delivering them.
Thank you though for your kind offer.
June 19 at 06:33 EST .

  3 people like this.





   BirdsNest  I had string beans, zucchini, and cucumbers to sell at the tracks today along with all of the plants. Surprisingly the zucchini sold out first. Brought some cucumbers home and gave away the last pound of beans. Traded them actually for some large plastic pots. Not a big crowd today, maybe because it got hot early this morning and kept getting hotter. I know I was close to melting. We have had 3 straight days of high heat and it has really worked me to a frazzle.
June 13 at 21:03 EST .

   4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Sunday I loaded the van with plants and had just picked a 5 gallon bucket of beans and cucumbers along with some zucchini and patty pan squash. Only one car stopped and he was a friend, he bought $3 worth of cucumbers. I stayed 2 hrs. In town a friend saw me and bought $4 worth of cucumbers and zucchini. On the way home I stopped at the established farm stand and asked if she would like to buy the beans and cukes. She hemmed and hawed and relented to buy just the beans. It was a fraction of their worth but I have no place to hold them so they would be saleable. I piled some cukes on the table and told them they could have them for themselves. She stopped me and bought the remaining cukes-again a fraction of the cost but I was not interested in trying to hold them another day in this heat. I am not ready to start canning, I could have made them into bread and butter pickles, but I have no help. At least maybe someone could enjoy them. It was disappointing but sometimes you just have to learn to live with disappointment.
June 15 at 06:42 EST .

  3 people like this.



   Balogreene  Bird, here you go, one of my favorite ways to eat cucumber:
Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup with Pepperoncini
Ingredients
1 pound cucumbers—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, plus cucumber spears for serving
10 small pepperoncini—4 stemmed, seeded and chopped, plus ¼ cup of liquid from the jar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt

Directions



In a blender, puree the chopped cucumbers with the chopped pepperoncini, the pickling liquid, 2 tablespoons of the dill, the yogurt and buttermilk until very smooth. Stir in the cumin and the remaining dill and season with salt. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Ladle the soup into 6 bowls. Serve each bowl with a whole pepperoncini and cucumber spears on the side.

I don't use the dill.
June 15 at 21:25 EST .

  6 people like this.





   BirdsNest  Ah Summer, picked 4 cucumbers. One I took to Hagar, he ate a small slice, said it tasted of summer. He is right.
Picked Swiss Chard and gave it to a friend for her sister. The older tougher leaves I set aside for the chickens. They mowed them down. I will be picking more cucumbers, Swiss chard, and zucchini.
June 10 at 23:50 EST .

   8 people like this.




   BirdsNest  Friday afternoon I organized plants and loaded the van as full as I could for Sat morning. I got to "the tracks" at 5:15am. First one there, it was starting to get light so I went ahead and starting unloading. Many yard sales were happening all up and down the Shore so I knew we were due for an unusual day. It started off slow, a few people here and there. There were a good number of people selling and even some new ones. Lots of plants for sale. One man ran up to me and said "Oh good, you're here, do you have any pepper relish?" Of course I had some, it just wasn't out on the table, he bought 3 jars. Around 10:30 it started picking up. I stayed busy until 1:15. Our friend was waiting at our house for me, she had brought her tiller and she spent about 45 min tilling the garden and we chatted awhile. I sent her home with some Swiss chard for her sister and over a doz. eggs for her and her family. I took a bit of a break once she left and then I had to scramble to WalMart for plastic for the garden and another 2 cu.ft. bag of MiracleGro soil. More plants to pot. Today I am getting a row set up for the ground cherries. That's my goal today. I picked a few string beans and gave them to some friends. Last night I chatted with a friend on the phone at 7pm. for a few minutes. The next thing I remember, it is 1am and I am still sitting in the chair. I did manage to get to bed in about 30 min and I went straight to sleep.
June 7 at 07:00 EST .

   3 people like this.



   HopeandGlory  Hugs for Birdie and Hagar . . . God be with you and yours and keep you strong.
June 7 at 21:49 EST .

  5 people like this.



   Linder  Good grief....you are unbelievable. I don't know your age but your level of energy (or maybe it's sheer will} is unbelievable. Think of you every day!
June 9 at 22:22 EST .

  10 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Thanks to all. I am trying to be strong and am fairly successful right up until Hagar says something like he did yesterday "Do you still want me?" Kind of hard to keep ones composure. I am pretty sure you know what my answer was to that.

I have always had a good work ethic, maybe I am the only one of my parents' 7 children that did. I was always the most responsible one. This year the garden is for Hagar. I am determined to make it great for him because he will probably never see it.

I am 64 years old but don't feel like I am. Also I don't act like it so it surprises people that know me. I think I look aged because of wrinkles and some days I am bent a bit from back issues. Each day I get up with a list to get done, some days it takes longer to do. Animals have a tendency to throw a wrench into your best laid plans. Like the day I was preparing to visit Hagar and had just so much time to get things done so I could meet my ride. That's the day 4 baby chicks were scooting around in the chicken house. I had to quick grab a cage big enough for a mom and 4 chicks and the feed bowls to go along with. Got everyone in, Mom was not happy with the change of homes, but she did well and all survived the transfer. I was gone all day and when I stepped foot on the property they were the first things I checked on.

So please, think of me everyday because right now I need good thoughts and prayers coming my way. My dear Hagar may not get to come home anytime soon. Thank you all.
June 11 at 07:01 EST .

  5 people like this.





   Zzen01  Ok all, I have 5 Potted Tomato Plants(got then from http://www.chefjeffsgarden.com/ via Bamgaars ) how do I make sure that these plants bloom and "create" Tomatoes and just do no "create" Leaves? They all are growing real good(tripled in size in 3 weeks ).
June 5 at 11:45 EST .

   8 people like this.



   Zzen01  I EVEN Play Classical Music(low volume ) to them(anyone every hear of “Sonic Bloom” ) :- )! My wife and kids think I have gone NUTS!
June 5 at 11:49 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  You say potted? What size pots? Do not over fertilize. Miracle Gro Tomato fertilizer is great(it's red ) I suggest you use it half strength and when you water use that. Bees are needed for the blossoms to be pollinated, in absence of bees then you gotta do it yourself. Are the pots big enough to sustain the growing plants??
June 5 at 12:50 EST .

  5 people like this.





   Surfhut  Hello Bird and all gardeners! I'm moving so didn't plant this year. Here in OKC, all gardens planted by family and friends have drowned with all the rain. Almost everyone has to start over. We are told the rain pattern is over, but predictions are for a rainy, coolish summer. Please wish us luck! Don't know how I will handle a summer without home-grown tomatoes!
May 30 at 10:28 EST .

   14 people like this.



   MeiDei  I wish you green-thumb neighbors who will need to share. At the garden center near us, they did the real lazy planting - they cut a cross hatch [X] in several big bags of Miracle-Grow potting soil & planted a tomato plant in each - worked for them. : )
May 30 at 20:38 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I am planting my hot peppers that way. I use compost mixed with soil from the field next door. That way I can segregate the hot peppers and get pure seed for saving for next year. I have an amazing selection of hot peppers. I use old feed bags bags because they will allow moisture to wick through the bottom, so no wet feet for roots. Underneath the bag of soil I put feed bags that I cut top and bottom off and then slit the length so it becomes one layer, flat. I make them act as landscape fabric and the bags of soil mixture sit on top so cutting grass around them is easier. Because we have it, I cut lengths of wire, shape them as use them as staples to hold the fabric down. I will have these bags in various places all around the yard for the hot peppers. Still have more to do but my time has been split between many other duties. Our friend in CT has been growing her garden for 3 yrs now using bags, she has been successful. This year she has 40 bags with just potatoes. I need for her to send a picture, she mostly talks to Hagar about this as he is the one who encouraged her to start.
May 31 at 05:57 EST .

  6 people like this.



   MeiDei  Bird, you made me wonder if the garden center split the bottom of the bags - good catch on that. I'd love to hear more about potato growing in bags, does she stand them on end rather than flat?
May 31 at 10:12 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Stands them up. Potatoes need lots of vertical space. Put soil in bag to a depth of about 6", roll the bag down to make it easier to work with. Put in an "eye" or two. Cover with enough soil so you can't see the potato. When the green part has popped through the soil, let it get about 4" tall, then put more soil on top, leaving just a touch of green showing. Each time the plant gets to that 4" mark, cover til there is just a bit if green showing. As you add soil, you will be unrolling the bag. Once full let the plant grow like normal. I would recommend putting holes in the bottom of the bag unless you are using something like a plastic mesh burlap bag. And I would use landscape fabric under the bag for weed control. I use the plastic mesh/burlap bags that catfood and chicken feed come in. If you are using a plastic bag of sail or compost, poke holes in the bottom of the bag before planting so water can drain out.
May 31 at 19:57 EST .

  5 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I have a Red Robin with 3 tiny cherry tomatoes forming on it. I think I will keep that one!! Cukes forming also zucchini. And string beans. I need more time in the garden to get everything in.
May 31 at 20:11 EST .

  3 people like this.



   MeiDei  Thanks, just like growing in a barrel. Here it is June 1st and absolutely no bees - again.
June 1 at 07:32 EST .

  3 people like this.



   BirdsNest  No bumblebees either? We rarely see honeybees, but we do have bumblebees. They are the earliest of the pollinators to show up, they don't mind cool temperatures. They have done a good job of pollinating our blueberries. I have seen a few butterflies, not many. Our friend in CT talks about everyone in her neighborhood using Chemlawn. No bees. Maybe that could be your problem, Mei. If you need anything pollinated you will have to do it yourself.
June 1 at 11:55 EST .

  6 people like this.



   MeiDei  You made me think back a few years & pollinating by hand -
I planted some squash that travelled across the garden & wound itself up a pear tree - no fruit, but everyone wanted to know what kind of tree I had that produced such huge, lovely, orange flowers. Then there were the cukes that only formed round balls and tasted like watermelon ... too cold up here to plant watermelons so I don't know what pollinated them : )
June 1 at 13:37 EST .

  4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Squash Bees (Peponapis ) are up early, as early as before sunrise to pollinate the squash blossom as they open. Squash blossoms have lg. pollen grains so the bee has sparse hairs with which to collect the pollen. Mating takes place inside the blossom and males shelter overnight in the blossoms.
Squash blossoms that are not pollinated can be batter fried and eaten. Their flowers are lovely.
June 1 at 15:34 EST .

  3 people like this.





   BirdsNest  I am really proud of how the garden looks so far and all of the plants we have grown. We get loads of compliments on the healthy look of them. We take care of them, try not to neglect them. I was counting on rain today so I would not have to water, but it never came so I had to water. A friend is picking me up at 9am to go to Va Beach to see Hagar. I am happy to be able to go. Another friend(the son we never had ) is going to come up on Sat. to see him then stay long enough so I can get over there and see him too. Other friends want to go on Sunday, so I guess I will have 3 days in a row making that trip. Hagar says they mentioned something about sending him home June 1.
May 28 at 21:27 EST .

   15 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Sending him home June 1 will entail a miracle of sorts. He has a blood clot in his lungs, and they moved him to ICU Fri. night. He was resting comfortably, our friend was there and I got to see him and we talked for a couple of hours. It was so good to see him. He gave me a big old hug, he is a good hugger.Just like Hagar. Today's jaunt across the Bay will start at 11am. No idea what time we will get home. I am trying not to be exhausted.
May 31 at 06:01 EST .

  4 people like this.



   HopeandGlory  Praying here Birdie, for both of you . . . God give you strength to overcome these latest trials.
May 31 at 21:09 EST .

  4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Thanks Hope, it is a stressful time, each day bringing another setback. Today I am in garden mode, some friends are going to stop by and visit Hagar, so I am not going. Plus I could not find a ride. One friend has her hands full with her husband in this hospital here. Planted a row of okra, I cannot wait to have some of that!
June 1 at 11:58 EST .

  3 people like this.



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