Ozarks Gardening Journal - First half of July

christie_sw_mo(Z6)July 7, 2010

What's everyone been up to?

There's rain in the forecast but I've been out watering plants anyway. I'm skeptical since it's missed me the last few times we had showers.

My first zinnia opened up today, a pretty pale yellow from a volunteer.

My Star Gazer lilies just started blooming this week and a few glads. Also have tall garden phlox blooming and a few cosmos volunteers. Raspberry Delight monarda is still blooming but Jacob Cline looks done.

My butterfly bush is blooming but still not seeing a lot of butterflies, just a few. I chased a beautiful yellow Tiger Swallowtail around and got a few pictures. Also took some pictures of a luna moth that hung around all day on the screen of our storm door yesterday. The kids were thrilled to get to see one up close. They're so pretty.

I picked a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes today and several handfuls of ground cherries. I'm finding a worm in a few of the ground cherries and not always seeing a worm hole. I won't be able to use whole ground cherries for a pie. I'd have to cut them open first.

I have some melons and watermelons flowering but no melons setting on yet.

My hostas have done well this year. They're bigger than usual. I think the lack of late frost must've been good for them.

The kids and I saw a skunk again yesterday, this time in the neighbor's yard, just before dark. It was wasn't very far away from where we were standing.

We found homes for all but one of the dumped kittens. We still have the black and white male and somehow he's in the house now. The kids didn't want him to be lonely since the others were gone.

Ceresone - Haven't seen you post for several days. Just wanted to let you know I've been thinking of you. Hope you're doing ok.

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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

I've been picking tomatoes with blush and a lot of cherry-type. I harvested my potato "crop" recently and will send a photo of the results. You REAL farmers will probably laugh. lol

Glad I watered yesterday so it is raining a lot today here in Joplin. ! Everything was getting so dry. This rain is washing the Sevin off the crepe myrtles but I will reapply when it stops. I've had very good results with a spray bottle of it. I bought a hose-end bottle but I'm taking it back because it's too big a deal for not a whole lot of Japanese Beetles showing up. A downside to Sevin is occasionally there is a honeybee in there, but I don't spray if I see any. I spray directly on every JB I see. Maybe if I get most of them I won't have moles next year, and in August I'm going to put grub granules down. BTW, I saw a can of Milky Spore in Sutherlands the other day. Haven't seen it anywhere else. I may do Milky Spore next year to keep the darned moles away.

I'll check the schedule that Glenda (?) posted on planting dates and see if it's too late to plant a couple of zucchini and a couple of rows of green beans. There might still be time.

The green peppers are doing great. I had two of my Farmer's Market (plants) Black From Tula (Russian) last night and they were surprisingly smoky-tasting and wonderful. I'll grow that variety again. Does anyone want a few seeds? If so, e-mail me.

The flowers are blooming well. My white Butterfly Bush is in bloom, but no butterflies either. I haven't mulched all the flower beds with shredded leaves yet, but will, after I fertilize tomorrow while the ground is very saturated. Won't have to pull so much little grass starts after mulching and mulch does keep the moisture in.

I have to make myself mow and trim -- anyone else feel that way? And I still have to hedge trim the taxus in front. It never ends.

Remade the compost bin and got the temp up to 110 degrees so far. That thrills me.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 9:54AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Christie what are you going to name your new house cat? I am getting lots of tomatoes and giving them away. I have stink bugs which ruins the outside layer which I peel off. I have been able to catch a few at night with the flashlight but in the day they escape. My spray does not seem to kill them. I don't spray anything strong - Bt for worms and Spinosad. I have some Surround but didn't get it mixed up; it is a clay that makes a barrier. I am still behind from helping my friend who had surgery, but he is getting better so I can't use that excuse much longer.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Helen - I'm not ready to call him my new housecat yet. Don't rush me. lol The kids are calling him Gizmo.

I've gotten pretty tired of mowing too Sunny. Glad to get the rain yesterday until I remembered that it makes the yard grow.

I saw a hummingbird today. I hadn't seen one for a few weeks. I never see any in mid summer when they're nesting.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 8:25PM
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Wish I could mow here. Think about it and it rains. Dog will not go off porch because his nether regions drag wet grass.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:58AM
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I mowed for the first time in over a week and still on parts could barely see where I had been. The grass looks sad; maybe the good rain will green it up again.

We are just getting a few tomatoes, nothing of slicing size, but they taste good.

We have had another heavy round of beetles. I couldn't believe it! They were swarming around the apple tree and on one Rose of Sharon. Almost as bad as the first ones.
I sprayed a rose with Sevin and yet I saw a cluster on the blooms the next day. I guess they will become immune to the pesticides like everything else gets eventually. I am going to spray again today regardless.

The garden is looking promising with corn and tomatoes. The poles beans have been hurt by the beetle infestation.

All the rudbeckias and heliopsis should be cut back heavily. Maybe I will get that done later today.

Blooming: Melampodium, zinnias and a couple marigolds....all self seeded. I was surprised to see a couple ageratums have returned again. Feverfew is past its prime; a few roses (always attacked by the beetles first); rose of sharon, daylilies, cosmos, nicotiana, petunias and snaps.

I don't have Helen's excuse, but the flower beds have got way beyond me this year. I know the heat has really slowed me down.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 5:25AM
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Glenda - Are you cutting back your annual rudbeckias? Then they will rebloom? Mine are mostly laying down on the ground and look awful. I don't know what to do with them.

Beerhog - Thanks for the laugh about your dog. If there's rain on the way and it's sprinkling, I put ours out on the back porch then go around to the end of the house and call them to get them off the porch. I have to take doggie treats. They'll usually take a potty break on the way back to the porch.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:18AM
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Christie, I am not sure but they look so crappy now, I am cutting them back anyway.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:00AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

And, the rains came!!!! We got over a inch yesterday evening. I guess all I needed to do was walk away from home--I walked over to my daughters, only for a few min., you know? And it poured.
My Daughter in Spf. is having a big problem with JB's eating all her plants too this year.I would mention, that for the second year, I havent seen any, But afraid I'd get mobbed--LOL. Think my chickens are helping here.
I only have one blueberry still producing, I have several gallon in the freezer, the plants in the ground had 1 blueberry-rest came from ones in pots.
Few tomatoes producing--but what I miss most of all is my kolarbi(Think I need to learn to spell it too)reminder to self--plant lots next year.
Strawberries in new raised beds doing fantastic.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:22AM
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I'm jealous of your blueberries Ceresone. I only got a couple handfuls. My new bushes that I bought last year are growing good this summer and look healthy though, so maybe next year will be better. Have you ever planted kohlrabi in the fall? I have a few seeds left over and was thinking about it.

We saw half-grown baby turkeys back in our field yesterday. So cool! I'd like to get a picture of them but they ran back into the tall weeds/brush pretty quick when they saw us. They're getting quite common around here. I saw a group in someone's front yard this week.

I found one marble size watermelon finally. I'm going to be sad if I don't get any watermelons this year.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 10:18AM
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It has been a long month, and it is only the 18th. I stubbed my toe and couldn't walk much for 4 days. My peach and necterine tree lost all the fruit to brown rot. I feel so sad about that because I have waited 3 years to even get fruit.

I got out in the early mornings now that my toe is well and weed and water. I have tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapeno, and this year blackberries. Our potatoes and onions rotted in the dirt, our broccholi had no flavor.

I grew 4 o'clocks because I read that japanese beetles love them, eat them, and then die. Hmmm. They are the only plant without holes in the leaves, not really, but they look pretty good.

And most of the time I am inside either reading or online.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 4:38PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Jessaka I'm sorry about your disappointing fruit tree experience; this is the time of year to be inside reading or online. I had beautiful poppies several years, but this year they rotted. My columbine which I thought was a great discovery because I didn't know it was such an easy, pretty plant did not do well this year. From year to year you try new things and sometimes you have success. I went through the fruit tree phase years ago. My brother in law in CA grows wonderful fruit. I ate so many plums when I was there once for a visit that I was afraid I'd be sick. Plums in the store don't taste good at all to me. But my plums got borers. I know if you spray, it is possible to grow them, but I don't like to spray and I am not organized enough to do what you have to do at the right time. I do plan to get another sour cherry because I had one of those for years. This time of year is the time to go swimming and enjoy what it has to offer. In fall you can think about gardening again.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 6:13PM
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i know they say to use fungicide on the trees, but why would i want to eat the fruit if they made it? I also read about giving it calcium and mulch. I already mulch. One friend thought that a vinegar/oil/soap spray would kill the fungicide. I am not so sure.

When I grew up in a very small town in CA, the almond capital so to speak, we had an apricot and a plum tree. no one watered them, but every year I ate the fruit. Not so
easy to do in humid climate. But it wasn't lush there either, and I love how lush it is here. I saw Missouri when I was 16 and dreamed of living there, but my husband said it was too cold, so we are here. At least Green Co. looks the same.

I have two almond trees here but the leaves are sparce. Maybe they need more water. And now they can get the fungus I read. Also have two granny smith. Only one tree has apples this year and it is doing fine. Oh, I do have a bing cherry, but no fruit, and the bugs made lace leaves.

So, if my trees die; they die. My apricot went last year when the bark all around it peeled of. It was sickly from the word go--well, it took a few months.

Ah, swimming. I used to do that in the summer as a kid, but I was never good at it, and now I wouldn't think of it. Sure sounds good though. I am back to sprinklers at my age. Sometimes when our own sprinkler is on I go out and pull weeds under it. Keeps me cooler.

I can see why you gave up on your fruit trees. One friend told me that we could have a dry summer and then the fungi will die and I would get fruit. Hmmm. Not sure if she is right. But I will care for my trees and find out about the calcium idea. Just not into spraying. I was also told to thin the branches so they could dry well between rains.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:30AM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Well, I finally, finally mowed yesterday. Thought I would die, for sure! The tidy neighbors all around me smiled because everyone's property values went up. lol

I've been picking tomatoes and composting a lot of fruit trimmings -- the temp is staying pretty high and it's because I watered it last evening.

Helen, my columbines didn't do well this year, either.

Here are photos of my potato "crop." The whole growing of them didn't take any effort at all - I watered the bins twice and got to cut up and compost the plant tops. Now granted, there are not a lot of "crop" there, but I don't really care. I planted four -- Gold (darn- what's that name?) to each bin and they took off. I think they are going to taste good.

Other than the above, I'm up to my eyeballs in genealogy research. I spend way too much time on Ancestry.com, but it's fascinating!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:29AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Jessica stay in the shallow water; I don't swim either. Sunny, to me the mature potatoes in the store taste fine. But new potatoes have a different flavor worth a little effort. I grew potatoes for new potatoes and just a few is all I need. I grow them under straw or mulch. I wish I didn't like butter on them. I just mowed and my grass grew again. I got another three quarters of an inch Friday and bad lightning which knocked out a phone. I am used to lightning damage. I unplug most things and always my computer. Annie does not like thunder at all.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 11:13AM
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Oh, wow! You got potatoes. I told my friends that if this were the pioneer days we should have starved for sure, because so little produced for us. Next year the straw method for sure.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:53PM
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Sunny, that is not a bad crop. The gold may have been Yukon Gold. I do love them. I haven't dug my rows yet but need to. I will have to mow the weeds off first.

I worked in the new garden a couple of hours this morning. I tied up the tomatoes and tilled the weeds out. I have good prospects for lots of tomatoes if they ripen. I am amazed at the Reid's Dent corn. It is 7 feet and hasn't tasseled out yet and still no ears. I am growing it to dry.

The Seminole Pumpkins have taken over the north end of the garden and are duking it out with the Beauregard sweet potatoes.

The plums trees are leafing out after being devoured by the beetles and I need to get out there this evening and spray before the devils find them again.

I mowed around everything again; this time very short.

I need to do a lot of trimming but it will have to wait.
I am not sure when the southern peas are ready to pick. They have little peas now but according to when I planted them, I should wait until about August 5. I will keep my eye on them.

Looks like another week of this hot weather. I hope we can all hold out.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:28PM
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Hot, hot, and more hot! First we have torrential rains (Mt. Home, AR)... now this heat. I'm wondering how veggies are coming along for other folks. This is an odd gardening year for me. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and broccoli are all just fine. My beans (3 varieties) are terrible. I haven't harvested a single bean and the plants look terrible. My dill, carrots, and beets didn't grow either. In 30 years I've never had this happen. I have a great crop of corn earworms too. :-) I can't figure out if it's too dry, too wet, too hot or just too Arkansas! For a sense of satisfaction I just bought a crate of peaches to put up. The peach jam on top of vanilla ice cream is very comforting!!!

I'd love to hear how other folks are making out this year. Are any of you in Mountain Home? Been here 11 years and haven't met a veggie gardener yet. There must be some... but like me... keep to themselves. Or, maybe it's masochistic to garden in this area. :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 4:56PM
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Welcome Tavy! My husband used to travel in Arkansas and I am sure Mt. Home was one of the towns.

Here is the update on my gardens (I have two) so far.

Two cucumber hills....just starting to produce...both died.

Sweet Corn: laid flat by wind but recovered nicely should make unless the raccoons find it first.

Cabbage: finished did great
Onions: Very sorry crop, no size
Garlic: Did decently but not as good as last year. Will be planting a lot more shortly.

Pole Beans: Kwintus variety. Have done very well on the cattle panel hoop house, probably a bushel total. Frozen 14 quarts and cooked a couple more.

Pole beans on field corn: Looks iffy, firing up at bottoms, maybe need to water more.

Open Pollinated Corn in new Garden: Looks fantastic, maybe 8 feet tall and beginning to tassel out.

Tomatoes: Just beginning to produce some main crop, mostly Granny Cantrell, San Marzano. Looking very good for later tomatoes

Broccoli: Did great, been pulled up for a long time now.

Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard. Vines looking good

Pumpkin: Two hills of Seminole Pumpkin. Vines looking good, so lush I don't know if I have fruit or not.

Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas. Looking outstanding. I have picked a few, made one small batch of jelly from l gallon of the purple hulls. A first for me. Not too bad. Need to pick them today.

Okra: Fighting Japanese Beetles. They are blooming now. I need to check and see if I have any.

Zucchini: One hill. No fruit setting!

Peppers: Producing OK. Too far ahead of the tomatoes for me to make salsa yet. Will have to buy onions to make it.

Potatoes: Did well. Need to be dug!

It is too darned hot to do much beyond 10 AM and in the evenings, I am too tired to go back out.

I did force myself to mow the new garden yesterday afternoon around 3 pm.

My aunt in the Nixa, Mo. area said her bush beans hadn't done anything either. Curious. I only grow pole beans.

This will not go down in my journal as a stellar gardening year! We had a month of drought, way too hot too early and was too wet in the spring so I was very late getting started.

I just have one neighbor who talks about a garden and I think she just does the picking and processing. Her DH puts it in. Here I am the only one gardening.......DH wouldn't know a tomato plant from a bean plant.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:20AM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Tavy, hope you enjoy this Oz forum as much as I do, and welcome!

You win a few, you lose a few in this part of the country. This was the first year I didn't get aound to planting green beans, and it apparently was not a good year. Same for broccoli and carrots. My lettuces even didn't do as well as other years, and they are always producing enough to share with everyone. Tomatoes, though, seem to be better than ever, and delicious.
I need to get out and fertilize flowers while the ground is still wet. Got almost an inch Friday night in Joplin, and believe me, even though I watered well Friday I was so glad to get the rain. No wind here and that's always good.
Have a lot to do outside this week with low humidity forecast. I might even enjoy it, since I won't be coming back in sopping wet.
Lots of leaves have fallen from the oaks, due to hot, hot weather. Continuing to hand spray Sevin on the J beetles -- wonder how much longer?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:34AM
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I just toured the yard and just found a few beetles on Diana rose of sharon and two others and on one rose bush, I just knocked them into a bucket of water. None on the slowly ripening peaches, thank God or the okra.

I need to mow and trim but it is still so wet out, I will have to wait until later this afternoon.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Hi Tavy - I'm glad you posted. : )

Glenda and I are practically neighbors but I didn't have the drought that she had. Our rains have come just in time and our weather has been perfect for gardening. June was hotter than normal. So - I should have lots of watermelons by now and I really only have one, about the size of a baseball. I have a couple others, just now setting on, less than an inch long. Last year was disappointing too but I planted them late so it was my own fault. This year I don't know what the problem is.

I planted some other melons around the same time that are getting to be almost melon sized. : ) Honeydew, Juan Canary, and another (forgot name).

My broccoli was bitter and we didn't even eat it.

Kohlrabi was not at all bitter. I planted Kossak Giant seeds this year that I ordered from Shumways, my favorite kohlrabi so far.

I had lots of dill volunteers this year. Some has already gone to seed. I've been deadheading it because there's so much and I planted it for the black swallowtails anyway. I've never made pickles.

My parents plant zucchini and give me more than I can use every summer but theirs is not producing this year. They've been sharing a few cucumbers but grew a different kind this year they were disappointed with. My dad said he's going back to Straight Eight next year.

My yard is as thick and green as I've ever seen it this late in the summer. Lots of weeds but at least there's no bare spots (except where the dogs tread). We've had no break from mowing.

Glenda - I agree it's too hot. Yesterday was our first "cool" day in awhile but with no wind and high humidity, you couldn't tell it was cooler.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:32AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I went out and saved some melampodium seeds after reading Glenda's activities. I did not know about this annual until Glenda spoke of it. It is a good one that I will plant from now on.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 3:17PM
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I enjoyed reading the replies and updates. I loved your report gldno1.

My cucumbers are doing great for a change. I switched to "Little Leaf". I'm harvesting daily right now and throwing them in a 10% brine. This allows me to collect for a couple of weeks.

My Shallots and Garlic did OK but, like yours, not as good as last year.

My pole beans are on my hoop house, runners are up to the shed roof, bush beans are in raised beds. They ALL suck this year. NO BEANS! I even made a second planting. The little buggers are stuck about 3" high. Been that way for a couple of weeks.

Broccoli is kind of funny. I'm growing purple sprouting for the first time. I started it in February. By mid June I'm wondering what's wrong. No heads. Hmmmmm. The broccoli is now as tall as me. No exaggeration! I did some research via Google. One site, out of a hundred different sites that sell what I have, mentions this broccoli takes all year to develop. We'll see.......

Three plantings of Zucchini have all failed. I just planted again with house started plants.

Sunny mentions lettuce. I got so frustrated I replanted all my lettuce in giant flower pots. It worked. I was able to keep it in the shade under the oak trees.

My melons are about like yours Christie. But unlike you, and unlike any other garden in human history, I can't grow any dill this year. How weird is that? I'm usually pulling it like weeds.

I planted my bulb fennel in giant pots this year so I could drag it around to cooler spots when necessary. Right now it has baby Swallowtail butterflies (caterpillars) keeping the tops trimmed. The numbers are dwindling so I think the birds like them too.

Unlike other years, I've only seen and murdered one Japanese beetle. Sounds like they are all visiting Missouri! I don't have gaggles of Harlequin bugs this year either. I did have to pick off Asparagus beetles daily for a few weeks. They seem to be gone now. I used some of that nematode stuff for slugs late Spring. I don't know if it's a coincidence or if the stuff really works. I haven't seen a single slug since a few days after I drenched with the nematodes. They usually line up to eat all my seedlings. This is a bad year for flea beetles. I haven't found a way to deal with them except to plant eggplant for them to destroy. I'd love ideas on dealing with these little nasties.

Here's hoping the rest of summer is kind to all our flowers and veggies!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 5:26PM
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I'm working in a victory garden northeast of Springfield near Strafford. The beans are producing great. The variety we planted is called Derby. I'd not heard of it before but it is delicious. I cook it with onions, potatoes and a little bacon. My daughter cooks it with nothing but salt and pepper and she says they are the best she's ever tasted.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 6:20PM
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