What can we complain about when....

mrtulinJune 12, 2013

our plants are not dying of thirst in a beautiful dry spring? We can't complain about the rain, yet. Not after no rain most of the spring.
Go ahead....

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Couldn't be happier about all this rain and low humidity! We really needed it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 6:58AM
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pixie_lou

With the higher temps expected this weekend, I'm expecting all my plants to grow at least a foot in height!

I've actually thought about what a fabulous weather pattern this is. A couple days of hot sunshine followed by a day or 2 of heavy rain. A gardener can't ask for anything better!

I'm trying desperately to get the rest of my annuals in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 7:09AM
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FroofyCat(5)

can I complain about the rabbit? So cute, but he or she has eaten some dianthus down to a little green stubble. And I purposely put them there because some website said they were rabbit resistant.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 7:57AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

How about the mosquitoes . . .

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 8:02AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I'm complaining about being forced to eat huge quantities of lettuce which has thrived, even burgeoned, in the cool rainy weather interspersed by cool sunny days,

Carol (burp)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 9:01AM
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diggingthedirt

Hi IdaBean - great to hear from you!

I would complain about the lettuce, but I'm afraid it will disappear soon. It sure has been a great year for cool-season crops (by which I mean lettuce - it's the only edible I grow, other than basil, parsley and some perennial herbs - and my volunteer asparagus).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 9:52AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The mosquitoes aren't too bad yet and repellent works pretty well to fend them off.

However, the biting flies will be out soon and they ignore most sprays. They bite through cloth! I've read that 20% picaridin works and I bought some to try. I'm armed and waiting.

Claire

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:51AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I would normally be griping and grumbling about this weather, but I remind myself that if the rain stops I'll have to go back to watering all 30-some of my newly planted trees. Let it rain! We might actually harvest some edible blackberries this year if it keeps up... a side benefit.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:54AM
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diggingthedirt

As a New Englander (adopted) I will not give up my right to complain about the weather, no matter what.

The Big Rains came just when the first tree peonies were opening, then again when the herbaceous peonies were in full swing. Completely unfair, especially since these plants so often look pathetic later in the season (unless I douse them with anti-fungals, which I'm not likely to do).

Their grasp on the limited real estate in my garden depends on their ability to WOW early in the year. One more Peony Disaster Year, and they'll find themselves in pots, being driven over the bridge - to a plant swap. I'd probably be crying, but I'd be stepping on the gas anyway. From Spring Garden 2013

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 11:55AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Sadly, DtD, I already gave up on Peonies. I was so excited waiting for them to bloom only to see the petals all over the ground and the blooming stems flopped over onto the ground 2 days after they opened, followed by awful looking foliage later in the summer, two years in a row. And that was it. My full sun real estate is too precious for that.

This year, it is roses and iris and Nepeta that were water logged. But it's okay. I have a mid and late summer bloom season and a fall season too. It can't rain all summer! And in the meantime, the long range health of everything in the garden is improved with abundant rain. And like spedigrees, I'm very happy not to have to think about keeping the hose going.

Very pretty display by the pool. Are the pink flowers roses?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:41PM
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mrtulin

DTD. I remember more than a few years back starting a thread after 2 or more weeks of rain. As I recall, it was an invitation to complain about the extended monsoon. Someone got really annoyed about the "complaining" New Englanders. I wrote back exactly what you just said: it is a basic entitlement of New Englanders..And I'm sure I tried to make it clearer, since apparently it wasn't, that we try to complain with a little flair. "Flair" that's not a word often associated with New Englanders. But I do think it applies to how we talk about the weather.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:19PM
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diggingthedirt

LOL, Marie, I was waiting for that troll to show up on this thread - I remember it (him) well.

PM, I just can't give up on peonies, especially tree peonies! I try to place them in distant areas where, as long as I keep any damaged leaves picked off, it won't matter so much when they start looking crummy. The ones by the pool are planted with azaleas and mountain laurel (it gets pretty shady in summer there) and backed by euonymus Manhattan and a line of spruce. I'm hoping to move the peonies next fall, to a sunnier location that's still out of sight in late summer.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:42AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

So where are the rains? I'm tired of watching the weather maps with furious red and yellow spots and listening to NOAA Weather Radio warnings and then the thunderstorms go north or south of here and just thumb their noses at us (if thunderstorms can thumb their noses). We haven't had significant rain in weeks and it's hot and dry.

It's infuriating to close the windows at night because they say it's going to rain and it doesn't. And the house stays hot all night.

I moved a lot of volunteer winterberries across the street (hard to reach with a hose) and I've been trotting over there carrying watering cans.

There, I feel better.

Claire

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

Claire,

haha I'm glad you feel better.

I'm with you. I got a couple of quick showers this past week lasting a few minutes. Not enough to wet the soil in some areas of the yard.

-Tina

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:33PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

We finally got a good extended shower this afternoon after a couple of shorter thunderstorm and so now we've had about 3/4" of rain this week. So no complaints here.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 5:06PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

We didn't get more than a little spitting today, but yesterday we had a downpour for about a half hour. So I can't complain about how much rain we've had.

But.. I could complain about all these days of muggy weather, little sun, dark skies half the day. Not just a day or so but a seven day forecast of them! The poor tomatoes and peppers are barely growing. When I was growing up, I seem to remember plenty of 80 degree days that didn't trigger thunderstorms. So what's with that?

There, I feel better too....(g)

But...my yard looks the best it's looked in a few years! 12 inches of rain in June so far. Everything is green and growing better than it was in the dry spring. It really does amaze me though, how much rain my yard needs to look good. All the surrounding trees just suck it all up. They're finally satisfied and leaving some for my shrubs.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 6:51PM
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defrost49

I was hoping to get outside today but it's raining. I have a lot of catching up to do in the weeding dept and still don't have cucumbers planted. Tomatoes planted under the plastic high tunnel (sides rolled up) are growing much better than the ones in the elements. Oh yes, I need to put the tomato cages on, too.

Was planning to pick our first official sugar snaps harvest today.

Not much is blooming right now. A little early for echinacae. I need to do a lot of re-arranging in the perennial beds.

I don't think our lawn had dried out completely from the spring rains. Newly planted Halo dogwood has older leaves turning yellow. Surely it has enough water.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 9:27AM
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diggingthedirt

Every night for the past week I've dreamed that it's raining, but I've woken up to more baked, wilting gardens. It doesn't seem to affect the grass that's choking out the lavender, but the recently re-seeded parts of the lawn are fried. We might have had a little spritz of rain last night, but it didn't amount to anything measurable.

Today I have a guy coming to help with the weedy beds - my tendons just won't let me pull grass any more - so I imagine that as soon as he gets here the skies will open. It's a win-win situation; I'd love to have the help, but I'd really love to have the rain.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

DtD, that is so strange. Here in metro west Boston, I was just thinking the other night, that the Cape had so much rain this year! Every night when we get a local forecast they are always saying how the cape is right in the path of this thunderstorm and that front that's moving in and the amounts of rain predicted have been higher than for our area.

I know the past two years, they were always saying 'showers' and I would never get it. Every community around me would get it but we didn't. Maybe that's what's happening to you this year. Finally, this year, I seem to be getting all the predicted 'showers'. We're supposed to get some downpours tomorrow night and I hope you get them!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 5:59PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

FINALLY we're getting respectable rain here!

What's that they say about squeaky wheels getting the grease?
See, complaining works!

Claire

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:33AM
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diggingthedirt

Ha ha, Claire - I was looking for the 'like' button, forgot where I was. We got about an inch overnight and early this morning - not a moment too soon!

All the showers that were forecast - until last night - skipped the upper cape, and, apparently, Plymouth too.

Isn't there a site where you can check rainfall totals by month, by zip code? I went looking for that, but couldn't find it. At least, nothing anywhere near current. If you know where that info is, anyone, could you please post a link?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:54AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

DtD: I don't know of a site where you can search by zip code, but WeatherUnderground's Falmouth page has Weather History including precipitation rates.

Maybe more useful is their individual Falmouth Weather Stations near the bottom of the page. If you click on one near you the station may have a precipitation graph and rainfall totals.

Rockman50 might know of more sites.

Claire

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 12:23PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Boy, we must be in a special 'when it rains, it pours' spot because we've had about 12" of rain this month. I have a rain gauge. It's been enough to not only keep everything wet, but I've had to empty Earth boxes of excess water and some leaves on the Serviceberry trees are yellow. The Hartford weatherman said we may meet the June record of 13".

Jane (not complaining)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:52PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I just checked a few of the Weather Underground weather stations near me close to the Cape Cod Canal (e.g. Bournedale, Wareham, Manomet, ...) and the monthly totals are really variable but most of that rain fell in the first two weeks of June. When you get farther north (Duxbury, Marshfield,...) the totals are higher and more spread out over the month.

A personal weather station would be a great thing to have, but siting and maintaining it might be a nuisance...

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Jun 29, 13 at 17:34

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 5:33PM
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defrost49

On Sat our lawn was almost a marsh but we got some sun and it was in much better shape yesterday. We're expecting a crowd next weekend and usually put up a large canopy tent. But with the lawn this wet, we don't want people on it. We'll have to move it to a drier spot. Of course, I left my weeding buckets and little riding mower/cart out in the rain. The empty buckets looked like they got 6 inches of water in them over the course of several days.Still don't have cucumbers planted but the cages are on the tomatoes. Humidity and recent illness have slowed me down big time.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:00AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Defrost - Hope you are feeling better. Your 6" sounds pretty comparable to what we've gotten here, a bit over 5" in the last 4 days.

I still have plants I need to plant, but the soil is so wet I hesitate to do much digging. We have rain predicted for today, tonight, and tomorrow, but Wednesday through Friday are currently supposed to be drier. Hopefully it will be a bit less humid as well.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 1:38PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Too much rain and heavy soil so veggie garden never got planted. If it ever dries out I'll plant buckwheat.
The hostas like the rain so no complaints and I'll buy veggies at local farmstand and farmers market.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 10:07AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Corn and sunflowers are up, but both are stunted from lack of sun. My summer squash rotted in the ground and I planted it for a second time, but I'm not holding out high hopes.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm seeing the beginning of another recurring thread on this forum, like the "What's Blooming in your garden" threads.

"What can we complain about" is a fine topic to continue through all seasons in New England, IMHO. idabean has performed a service for the forum.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 1:24PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I'm all in favor of turning this into a serial thread. I'm a winger, whiner, griper, and b*tcher from way back, lol! I'll be happy to contribute!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 3:44PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Atta girl, Sped!

The more than abundant rain this year has turned my 8 newly planted "Frosty Morn' sedums into towers. These lovely variegated specimens, normally ranging from 12" to 18" tall, are now a 43" towers with buds already. I've had to put peony hoops around sedum . It's definitely a different year.
Jane

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 4:40PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

You folks are always good for a chuckle . . .

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 9:43AM
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pixie_lou

In this heat wave - have you noticed how all the garden plants are flopping over listless. Yet the oxalis and crabgrass are thriving, easily growing a foot in height last night?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 11:14AM
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defrost49

Thanks, nhbabs. Yesterday wasn't a good day but today is much better healthwise. I went out at 7am to pick sugar snaps and dill. Even pulled a couple of weeds. The dang echinacae did not bloom in time to show off for company but the ground mostly dried out. Usually the house stays cooler than outside but today there is a pleasant breeze. One visitor and her family is on their way back from an iron man competition. She's got great muscles and is about 30 years younger. I wonder if I could convince her to do some weeding and bed edging?

The cukes are planted. The winter squashes are developing their true leaves. Only a few potato beetles so far.

I want good health and cooler weather. The bag of mulch is also sitting in the kitchen door walkway waiting to be spread. I hope none of the company trips over it.

And did I mentioned DH mowed the lawn yesterday morning so I have to take my shoes off before I go into the house. Fortunately, company know to take their shows off too.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Sami56

Well, I can tell you folks having lived up and down the eastern seaboard and parts of the Midwest that complaining about the weather is a universal trait found in all Americans maybe everyone else too! Happy gardening (and complaining (LOL)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

I spent hundreds of dollars on perennials last summer until I found the CT plant swap in the fall and this spring.

I waited patiently for the plants to grow and fill out this years. Only, they are being eaten by darn beetles and maybe earwigs.

The plants look like skeletal frames....stem with leaf veins. I have no petals on echinaceas, sunflowers, and daisies. What used to be flowers are just buttons on a stalk....sigh...

I grew sunflowers from seeds so that I would have some blooming later in the season then the ones I have in the ground now. The ones I have in the ground now have tattered leaves and no petals. Hopefully, they will still make seeds for the birds. The seedlings are nothing but miniature stumps in pots since their tops were eaten off.

-Tina

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:59PM
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defrost49

oh no Tina. I can happily complain about the weather but BUGS are another thing. I also have a lot of plants from the NH plant swap that have spread. We have a lot of birds since we live in a rural area. Do you have any birds that could be helping by eating those bugs?

Knock on wood but I think I've only seen about 6 Japanese beetles so far. They got squished along with whatever potato beetles I found.

Bag of mulch got spread. Some more half dead plants found their way into pots and garden. I thought I was smart putting small purchased plants in a tub planter filled with dirt. The two in the new-fangled peat pots put roots out into the tub. Hope the survive getting torn out of that and put into something else.

Hope Miracle Gro for tomatoes is ok to use on pots of annuals. Sheesh.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 11:21AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I share your pain, Tina. Skeletal frames will soon describe many of my plants when the biblical plague of beetles finish with them.

What the rain, or lack of sun, didn't do to my poor vegetable garden, the Japanese beetles are now doing. The summer squash never sprouted, on the first OR second plantings, the sunflowers' lower leaves are black and shriveled, and the corn is half the height it was last year around this time. My one and only sunflower blossom is chewed and ragged, and it is hard to believe it will yield any seeds.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 6:37PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Ooh, a serial complainer thread sounds like fun.

Spedigrees, the lower leaves on my sunflowers are getting bare legs like that also. I finally get more than 2 to grow, and they got some weird fungus on the leaves. Sigh.

As for the weather, well for awhile it's too dry, then for awhile it's raining cats and dogs, now it's dry again and I'm having to water the gardens.

Unfortunately we haven't had any significant rain since my next door neighbor spread his most recent Scott's chemical concoction on his lawn on July 3rd. Every time the wind shifts downwind I have the pleasure of smelling eau de chemicals. It's going on 2 weeks and I hate it. :(

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:40AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

spedigrees, is all that damage from the beetles? What a shame. Isn't it amazing how different one season is to another.

terrene, I wonder if you could water the neighbor's lawn w/o him noticing, by setting the sprinkler to run over his lot line closest to you? Just enough to water in the lawn chems. :-) Assuming he wouldn't do it himself with a little encouragement.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

spedigrees, O, that is a big difference.

terrene, the wind can really carry chemicals. My neighbor was spraying some type of chemical as I was leaving the house for a walk with my dog. I tried to quickly get down the street but the wind shifted and I could smell the insecticide. We were probably about 40 yards away.

I realize we have a bunch of beetles and mosquitoes. I just hope whatever he is using has less of an effect on the bees and butterflies.

-Tina

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:44AM
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terrene(5b MA)

PM2, great minds think alike, I did that very thing, watered the "xeric" garden which is right along our property line, and included about 5-6 feet of his grass. At least so I could walk along the garden without getting the chemicals on my feet. He has a big lawn though, we have long narrow 1.25 acre lots. I can't water much of it!

The last time he dumped the chemicals (around May) it was also dry, and he was out there watering his back yard for days with the rotary sprinkler!

I worry a lot about the wildlife, like the squirrels and whatever else walks across his lawn, and the beneficial insects that may contact his systemic insecticide, etc. And I've been keeping the cat in most of the time - I don't want her walking on his lawn either!

Honestly I am appalled that people dump these poisons on their property so cavalierly, some even have little kids and pets too (my neighbor doesn't).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 1:23PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Terrene, I also worry about the chemicals that filter down into the water table and end up in waterways. I can't fathom how people don't think it through. Especially when there are other ways of doing the same thing without causing a problem.

I have a neighbor who I saw outside last year with a large container of some weed killer with a tube and a pump applicator, using it on weeds around a play area for his kids. I have a friendly enough relationship with him to talk to him about it and explain the dangers of using it. It was also a windy day and he knows I garden organically, but an hour of weeding and a layer of bark mulch would have done the same thing. Then this year, he was back out there again and this time, they had just added a new play gym for their young child and the same weedy area was coming up through sand that had been there for an old gym. Again, I would have hand pulled the weeds and put down mulch. Much safer for the child. And I don't see the point of killing weeds on contact with a chemical and leaving the dead plants there. Don't they still have to be pulled? But I had my chance to speak to him about it last year, and you can't beat people over the head. I think that is about all you can do, unless they outlaw them.

I think some people believe that if they were harmful they wouldn't be able to sell them and they are time savers. So I put a lot of responsibility for these problems at the door of the EPA.

I saw some product on a commercial yesterday...oh, it was some new Dawn dishwashing detergent, that is supposed to work on dried on food in 5 minutes instead of soaking it for an hour and they claim it is full of enzymes that do the trick. All I could think of, was what are those enzymes going to do when they end up in the lakes and rivers?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 7:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Here is my best tomato plant so far and by now it should be out the top of that cage and just about bursting out of it. Happy we are at least getting sun this week, hope it makes a difference, but it's so late in the season, doesn't the number of hours of sun start to signal the plant to stop growing soon?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:04AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

This is a summer squash plant that was direct sown the third week of May. I should really be harvesting squash by now and it's just starting to flower and it's SO small.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:08AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

PM2 - I hope you get a bumper crop by the end of August. But if it makes you feel any better, you're not alone. Below is my first watermelon last night. That's 1" square netting.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 8:47AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, I hope that watermelon is huge by the end of August, too! It's so tiny! All I can think is that at a critical time when the plants needed a lot of sun, they didn't get it. Whether they can make up for it the rest of the season, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

I had no problem with string beans, which are giving us a bumper crop. And I have peppers on some of my plants and none on others. I guess I need to start salvaging what I can of the season and start some fall crops soon.

Yesterday, I moved two potted vegetables out to the front walkway to get more sun, and I think I will get out there and give them all another dose of fertilizer! :-)

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Jul 16, 13 at 12:03

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 10:42AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I really sympathize with those of you who have neighbors who use herbicides and pesticides. Thankfully none of my neighbors do. I try to avoid anything toxic. I won't even grow any poisonous plants (although I drool over photos of foxgloves) lest a domestic or wild animal might nibble on them. The only exception I make is to destroy wasp nests with hornet killer.

Prairiemoon, at least you have a summer squash plant! Mine never made it up out of the ground. And Jane, I had to laugh at your miniature watermelon!

The Japanese beetle scourge marches on here. They have now added basil to their menu of sunflower and marigold. In answer to your question, Prairiemoon, the lower leaf damage to my sunflowers occurred before the JBs showed up, but now the beetles are working on the flowers and healthy leaves at the top of the plants.

This photo doesn't really do justice to the scale of the damage. Apparently JBs are camera shy, because the swarms literally covering entire leaves have always dispersed by the time I return to try to photograph them.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:15PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gosh, spedigrees, that is a lot of Japanese Beetles and you say it is more than that? I have a little better than average tolerance of bugs in the garden, but many many multiples of any bug really creep me out. That's awful! I'm sure you would love to just flick them all into a bucket of soapy water. I imagine the heat is not helping either.

Don't I remember that a bad Japanese beetle problem has something to do with the grubs in any surrounding lawn? Of course, you have a large property and aren't you surrounded by fields there? I would assume that is where they are coming from. They recommend treating the lawn for the grubs at a certain point in the season, but I don't see how you could cover that large an area. Plus I hear it is expensive. Hand 'flicking' into a big bucket of soapy water is the only suggestion I can think of. The more you kill, the fewer that can mate and reproduce and come back next year.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

PM2, my cherry tomato is about the same size and in the same size pot. O, I hope we have a prolonged mild fall so that you and Jane can harvest some goodies.

Jane, that watermelon is cute. I know you don't want tiny and cute but large and juicy! :-)

spedigrees, ugh....so sorry that you have to deal with that many. I'm getting the willies just looking at the photo. You would have to dunk the whole sunflower in that bucket of soapy water.

-Tina

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:34PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Man, that is a lot of Japanese beetles! Yikes!

This seems to be a big year for beetles. No huge number of Japanese beetles here, but there are greater numbers of at least 4 or 5 other species. Oriental beetles, little reddish-brown ones, black & white. They are everywhere.

I smush them where ever I see them, also go out every night to check the basil, coneflower, and daylilies, where they seem to be the worst, and smush or drop them into a container of soapy water.

Do they all start out as grubs in the ground? I heard somewhere that fireflies also start out as grubs in the ground, and I have a lot of those this year too.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:17PM
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defrost49

Thanks for all the complaints. Now I don't feel so bad because I never got sunflowers planted. Yeegads, I just took a closer look at the sunflower photo. Is this a new Alfred Hitchcock film?

Thank goodness we don't have close neighbors. We do have a nearby cow corn field that is spray but I think we are far enough away.

According the NH Dept of Agriculture, late blight is in Frankly County MA on the NH border and the squash bugs are coming. My winter squash was planted very late and the protective nasturtiums never sprouted.

OTOH maybe there will be less tomato hornworms this year because they're going to starve to death.

I planted some fava beans this year for the first time after being unduly influenced by an English gardening friend. I seem to have nothing yet except messy looking plants crawling with ants. Must be aphids. Sheesh.

AND this heat wave is probably going to break right when I have to leave for a week.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:07AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Thank you everyone for the commiseration with my beetle problem. It is sort of Hitchcockian and ought to be a film entitled "The Bugs." Insects don't exactly creep me out, but they certainly disgust me.

I am surrounded by acres of mowed and grazed open land, 2 acres of it my own, so milky spore isn't an option. Last year I did start the bucket of soapy water method of Japanese beetle removal. I kept it up for about three days. On the third and last day I walked out into the meadow where I have a small apple tree (about 8 to 10 feet tall) and it was covered in the beetles all the way up to the top branches. That was when I gave up. They are on the tree again this year, but it survived last year's ravaging with no apparent damage when it leafed out this spring, so I'm not going to worry about it.

I've decided to just stop planting anything that attracts these fiends and stick with plants that they don't bother as much. I foresee less flowers and more wooded land in my future. We've been reforesting parts of our land and I predict we'll be planting more trees as time goes on. If I disappear, you'll be likely to find me on the tree forum!

After spending the past two sunny days in the car driving to dentist appointments, vet appointment with my dog, and running other assorted errands, I have another axe to grind, for which there is really no answer. Still the question is why do these scheduled appointments always fall on days that would be perfect for mowing, weeding, or other outdoor gardening tasks. I guess it must be the Murphy's law of weather and scheduling.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:29AM
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defrost49

I found where the Japanese beetles were in my garden, they are infesting the last of the sugar snap peas. I didn't get the last of the peas picked in time so quite a few got wasted. I wouldn't feel so bad if the green beans were ready but I planted so late they have weeks to go.

My tomato plants don't look very good except for those in the high tunnel (sides rolled up) where it gets over 100 deg each day. The plants are huge and look terrific. I expected them to be collapsing from the heat. This is the first summer of growing some tomato plants in the high tunnel.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 1:27PM
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mrtulin

oh, sped. that is truly a dreadful and gross photograph!
Marie

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 2:02PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I think the milky spore idea is doable on two acres, if you break it down into increments. Tedious, yes, but doable. I believe that once you put it down it spreads somehow as well.

I have about an acre, and I put down milky spore on about three-quarters of it a few years back. It was *extremely* tedious to walk and drop a spoonful of the stuff every three feet, in a grid over the property, but I did it in a couple of days. (Could have probably done it in one day but then I would have to have been admitted to an insane asylum, lol)

I originally planned on finishing the rest of the property the following year, but didn't. First of all, I was putting it down for oriental beetles, not Japanese, and I really didn't know if it would work. Secondly, I never had a Japanese beetle in my yard in my life until AFTER I put down milky spore! Not saying it was cause and effect, because rationally I'm sure it wasn't, but I decided not to bother finishiing up.

However, if I were guaranteed that it would definitely eliminate (or heck, even just decrease) my beetle population, I'd be back out there in a minute with a tablespoon, walking the acre, lol.

Dee

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 2:02PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I had an email from Weston Nurseries in MA this morning and part of it was on the topic of Japanese Beetles. For some odd reason part of the article was in the email with a link to read the rest of it, and on the link, they left out the beginning that was in the email. Anyway, so, here is the beginning and the link is to finish the article...

'Tis the Season of Popillia japonica - Japanese Beetle

by Dirk Coburn, Horticultural Specialist at Weston Nurseries

I recently ran into a neighbor who knows about my secret life as a horticultural specialist. "Help!" she cried. "Japanese beetles are devouring my roses!" We have recently gotten similar calls at the Horticulture Desk.
Let me start at the beginning. If there are many Japanese beetles in your neighborhood, then one or more residents probably have had a lawn grub problem. If you find areas of your lawn not just going brown but also collapsing and lying flat, your lawn may be fostering the beetles in the grub stage. Once the beetles are out in force it is too late to stop the current generation of beetles in the grub stage. However, in the beginning of August you can stop the next generation with a variety of anti-grub products. If grubs are an issue for you, you might consider inoculating your lawn next year with Milky Spore, a beneficial bacterium offered by St. Gabriel Laboratories.......(more, see link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Beetles

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:44AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Uncle.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 12:21PM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

Ugh!

I'm now seriously contemplating getting my dog a kiddie pool.

-Tina

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:50AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Some dogs LOVE kiddie pools...lol. We had one that had a blast jumping in and out of it to get wet. You actually might enjoy it yourself on a week like this. :-)

Claire, that is a cute thermometer. I hope you will take another photo today to see how hot it gets. I was just outside to refill the birdbaths and in 5 minutes standing there, I could feel the sun burning the back of my legs. And that was at 9am.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:08AM
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spedigrees z4VT

My previous dogs loved their kiddie pool, but my current dogs think water is just for drinking, preferably without getting their feet wet, so I replaced their pool last year with a water bucket.

I'm impatient for the trees we planted to grow, so that we humans and our dogs will have a shady walkway across the meadow to reach our cool wooded paths. Right now the meadow crossing is like traversing the Sahara desert.

Prairiemoon, I appreciate the info about the beetles, along with your optimism, but even if I were able to treat our two acres of mowed pasture, I can do nothing about the 10 acres of grazed pasture bordering our northern boundary, the 20 acres of mowed lawn to our south, or the 10 acres of lawn across the road to our west. I know that our property, and those bordering it, must be thick with grubs but there is no visible damage as described in the article, no collapsed grasses or brown patches etc. I think the focus of the article is on small suburban lawns, perhaps separated by tall privacy fences, and home to some single variety of lawn grass mowed short.

I'm an easily discouraged gardener who abandons plants that don't do well and goes with the most hardy, even invasive, plants. I am taking stock of JB resistant plants, as well as those that are being decimated, and will plant accordingly next year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:36AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I'm considering getting MYSELF a kiddie pool....

Dee

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:52AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

spedigrees, I completely understand and I'm with you in that regard, that plants need to be easy, hardy, and non invasive. I think you are right to try to go with plants they won't bother and hope for some kind of act of God to take care of those japanese beetles. (g)

My posting the article is just my own habit of 'dotting my i's and crossing my t's.' If someone asks a question and I offer a response, beyond my own experience, I like to include some expert information to just double check that I'm not giving out wrong information. And not only for the person who needed the information originally, but also for those who may be either lurking and following along, or may come across this thread in a search and all the pertinent informatiion is right there.

I agree with your conclusions about the article. I'm sure it was not meant for someone in your position.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:56AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I appreciate all information, Prairiemoon, and I thank you for offering it. You never know when one particular article might hold some kernel of a solution that hasn't occurred to me. I always try to read everything written about a particular subject before deciding how to deal with it.

I do give up on things easily though. I grew a few tomatoes every summer for 30 years or so, but the late blight ended that. If it were a disease that claimed the plants early on, I would have tried again, but it was too stressful to watch the fruits mature only to turn black at the very end.

I'm with you about wishing for an act of God to strike down the beetles! One can hope! The parasitic red lily beetles are a bright spot of inspiration. I'm still rejoicing that my tigerlily has come back, although I guess the parasitic wasps were a man made solution. Whatever, it's good news!

On edit: I usually start by assessing a situation based on what IS, then work my way around to what IF, and I'm now thinking about what if my property were surrounded by woods on all sides. I think if it were, I would be inclined to try laying out my lawn in grids like a crime scene and applying the milky spore, time consuming as it might be.

Of course then there would be the question of whether the milky spore might also harm firefly larva in the ground (if in fact fireflies do begin life as subterranean grubs). It's always complicated!

This post was edited by spedigrees on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 14:09

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:20PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

How's the thermometer doing today, Jane? We've been elevated from "Heat Advisory" to "Extreme Heat Warning" (colors are my interpretation).

Claire

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:25PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

It's actually a few degrees lower than yesterday at the same time This current temp is close to Wunderground's heat index of 106. Here, in central CT, it is cloudier and breezier than yesterday. Not the 'birdy' forum, but last night cruising down the CT River, the perched eagles and ospreys were all panting - beaks open. Soon as this heat wave is over, I'm gonna open my beak for a gin & tonic and thank Mr. Willis Carrier for the air conditioner!
Jane

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:03PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow, that is hot! Sorry, Jane, I thought it was Claire's thermometer. I just checked my thermometer in the shade and it's only 98 degrees. So certainly a little cooler than where you are.

I guess some of us are in the house in the a/c. We just got a new a/c window unit this spring and it has a thermostat on it and has been humming along today, very quiet. I turned the thermostat down to 61 about an hour ago and now it is like an icebox in here...lol. Time to shut if off for awhile. The rest of the first floor is 77.

spedigrees, I haven't seen fireflies since I was a little kid. Every once in awhile I try to remember what things were like when I was a kid and the fireflies were amazing. Some times when you would take a drive along a road that had fields or green plants on both sides, and no houses, there was a smell that wafted in the windows of the car that was so wonderful. ( no a/c in those days) I can't remember the last time I was anywhere that I could smell that particular fragrance. It's hard to describe. It wasn't exactly the fragrance of one plant, but it was just all that green growing naturally and undisturbed.

Sorry, a little off topic, but the mention of fireflies did it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:35PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Lets see.......Can I complain that the pool water temperature today was 90 degrees? You can start playing that tiny violin for me now. Or how about the ocean water temperature? I measured it last evening, in the surf, and it was an astonishing 81 degrees! (at Horseneck beach in Westport MA). I think that makes it official....this is Florida. What I won't complain about is that my Crape Myrtle has grown like 5 feet in the heat this summer and is setting flower buds like crazy. This has been an admirable simulation of a SE July...not that I am complaining.

Oh.....we can complain about being hit by an unusually strong hurricane later this summer/fall.....with the heat content of the ocean so high, watch out.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:00PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

PM2, I'm a little confused - why haven't you seen fireflies? Are you saying you don't have any? We have tons....

Rockman, you could take a bar of soap with you into THAT water, lol!

Dee

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:45PM
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spedigrees z4VT

We don't have anywhere near the quantities of fireflies that we had 30 or 40 years ago. I've heard various theories as to why their numbers have fallen, among them ambient light and pesticides. We certainly have a lot of ambient light here that we didn't have in years past, some of it our own outdoor lighting. Scientists believe the light could be interfering with the insects' phosphorescent signals to one another which are vital to their mating/breeding process.

So to make this more on topic, I am annoyed that these delightful creatures are threatened, or at least their numbers decreased, while there is a population explosion of various plant eating beetles, ticks, and other undesirables!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:53PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Dee, not only do I have no fireflies but I donâÂÂt think IâÂÂve seen one in 15 years at least. You are very lucky to have them!

Rockman, I heard on the news that the water is so hot it is interfering with the Nuclear Power Plant down in Plymouth. They rely on cool water. I canâÂÂt imagine trying to enjoy the beach in this heat. Yes, the warm waters stirring up hurricanes soon enough. I guess this âÂÂcomplaintâ thread is going to get longer this summer and fall. (g)

spedigrees, we have a lot of ambient light too and they spray for mosquitoes every summer in our town. It is so unjust isnâÂÂt it, that fireflies are on the decline while you have hoards of Japanese Beetles!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:26AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Is it hot enough yet?? I can't remember the last summer we had 3 heat waves, let alone only half way through summer.

Ugh - I hate this weather, and I hate air conditioning too so I only use it on the hottest afternoons (like yesterday). And then I wait as long as possible because I know that these are times of peak electric load, and the grids may be overloaded.

One of the nice things about summers here is that it usually cools off at night, but not last night. If I wanted to live through summers like this I'd move south and at least experience nicer winters!

Spedigrees how many years have you been plagued with the JB's? From what I understand they are somewhat cyclical and their population tapers off after so many years.

I have lots of fireflies this year, at least more than I have previously noticed. And I don't have a lot of grass, but I do have a little meadow and a lot of natural areas, and the only thing I do to the lawn is topdress with compost and spread dolomite lime annually.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:08PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Now that spedigrees mentioned it, I do recall hearing about the plight of fireflies, and ambient lighting, etc. But I guess, since I have never noticed a significant decrease in my area, that I assumed every place had them, perhaps just in a slightly smaller quantity. The thought never crossed my mind that certain areas might not have any at all. PM2, I'm so sorry for you. Fireflies are indeed one of the small joys of life! I think the decrease in their numbers is definitely worth complaining about!

Dee

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:11PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thank you Dee for your sympathy! I always thought they were delightful the very rare times I've seen them and I definitely feel deprived!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:17AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Last summer I saw a very deprived firefly. For about one week late last July, every night a firefly rested on a bottom corner of a window screen in my office, the window closest to my computer, maybe 30" away. The office lights were out and in the dark he flashed and flashed. Every time I went down the hallway, his phosphorescent green shone like the summer night time beacon he is. Sorry to say it took me way too long to figure out that this poor little firefly was in perfect flashing sync with the little LED green light on the computer router. Some romances just aren't meant to be.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:21AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

LOL, Jane! Ah, unrequited love!

Dee

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:49AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

In regard to fireflies, someone has asked if perhaps it was more of a local or regional absence of fireflies, so I went Googling and found what I think is an interesting article on the subject - link below as well as a link to Firefly.org. I learned new things, maybe you will too. I do know that I felt sorry for the little fellow on my screen and that his presence was noteworthy due to seeing fewer lightning bugs here than what I remember seeing almost 40 years ago in this house and certainly, far fewer than when I was a kid. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer everywhere.

Jane

"http://www.firefly.org/";

Here is a link that might be useful: Carella: Scientists in dark about lightning bugs

This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 9:15

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 7:39AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks, Jane, for the link. It says:

"To encourage fireflies to visit your yard, don't mow your grass too short, since that's where they live. Turn off outside lights whenever you can. Let logs and leaves accumulate under trees so females can lay their eggs. Avoid pesticides and use natural fertilizers."

Yet another reason to keep your yard-cleaning standards low.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Tina_n_Sam(CT-Z6)

I had fireflies last month. Haven't seen any lately.

Thanks for the links, Jane.

Claire, it's good to know I'm ahead of the game in providing nesting sites for them! :-)

-Tina

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:57PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

LOL, no wonder why they love my yard. It truly is the messiest yard on the block, and with two neighbors on either side that mow their lawns every three days (no exaggeration - sometimes more!) and who have spotless yards (not a leaf in sight!) and use chemicals, I guess my yard is much more fire-fly friendly!

Dee

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 4:05PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Jane, your tale of the firefly courting your LED router light is definitely the most fantastic wildlife stories of all time, and my favorite for sure! A doomed romance!

My property qualifies as firefly friendly in all respects except for the outdoor lighting. I feel guilty that it is bad for the fireflies, but I'm not willing to relinquish my outdoor lighting.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 12:09PM
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