August journal

helenh(z6 SW MO)August 6, 2010

I am freezing the peppers and cilantro I bought at the farmer's market. I thought I would need to make salsa to use up less than perfect and overripe tomatoes. This week I don't have nearly as many total tomatoes as last week. I had them piled everywhere last week. I am going to mow part of the yard just to make it look good by the house. I thought I would not mow at all this week but the rain perked things up a bit.

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we just got a little rain, but I will have to mow again shortly.

I will be planting turnips this weekend. I have the spot all ready for them. I think the secret is don't let them stay too thick for very long! Thin, thin.

I processed the sweet corn this morning, picked the okra and will freeze it later today. I may have to do like you, Helen ,and freeze some peppers, it seems nothing for salsa is getting ready all at the same time. My cilantro plant self seeded, grew large and set seeds and died. I did dry some but don't know how that would work in salsa.

I will be canning tomatoes or making catsup tomorrow morning.

Trying to pulls weeds here and there as I go.

The poor pink eye purple hull peas are still waiting for me to pick them; some are already at the dry pea stage. I will be bagging the hulls and freezing for later jelly making.

Pole beans in the kitchen garden are almost dead now.
Lots of flowers are dead. I am just watering now and then.

The front ditch needs trimming but DH will have to do that because of my hands so that means it might get done before frost...........and maybe not!

Still no blooms on my corkscrew vine that I so diligently planted early inside. It has reached the roof of the house but no buds that I can see at all.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 3:43PM
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With the slight drop in temps, I'm trying to catch up a little in the garden. I can't wait much longer to get my fall veggies set out but it's been way too hot for them. I went ahead and set out some bulb fennel and head lettuce in my little shade bed. I'll hold off on the broccoli and brussels sprouts as long as I can. I can't stand to look at another cucumber so I pulled all of them except for a couple producing seed cucs. The Little Leaf is by far the best variety I've ever planted! But... how many pickles can two people eat?

I broke down and sprayed my runner beans from Greece with Neem. The mites are destroying them. I don't know if I'll ever get beans from them but want them to survive until Fall to see if they'll produce in the cooler weather. So far the flowers all just fall off with no bean produced.

I'm trying a late planting of Emerite Pole Filet Bean and Trombetta Italian Summer Squash. It may be too late... all depends on how October treats us this year. I'm trying Trombetta instead of Zucchini to see if it foils the Squash Bugs and Borers. I read that these nasties aren't attracted to the solid stem varieties. Trombetta is supposed to be an excellent Zucchini type when young. Have any of you tried these two veggies?

I've having a ridiculously hard time trying to figure out when my garden needs water. This sounds like a no brainer but our soil is tricky. I just had it tested hoping it would shed some light. I did learn a bunch (mainly that I need more phosphorous and don't need any lime... good to know). Apparently the soil is 'silt loam' in new areas I haven't yet amended. The report shows the 'better' areas as 'silt loam'-'clay loam'. Is this better? :-) The soil can appear moist but the plants will need water. The water isn't always available to the plants. I use drip tape for watering. I keep adding organic stuff like bonemeal and soybean meal, plus compost. Things are generally healthy. I just can't figure out the water situation! I wish I'd planted sunflowers at the end of each bed so they could droop and tell me "it's time". How many years is it going to take for me to figure this out? :-) It seems so simple yet I'm still completely baffled!

Any idea what I could plant in the shade under the oak tree to tell me when to water? I stuck in some Impatiens yesterday. Lowes is practically giving them away right now. I don't know if my Hostas are getting too little or too much water. Maybe the Impatiens will tell me.

My KO roses are getting too big! They're about 7 feet tall. Do any of you prune your KO's back? Do I just chop off the tops in the Fall, or do I need to use some special Roses skill (which I don't have)?

BTW, it's raining right now! Last week we had a short blast of rain. My water gauge showed 1.5 inches in less than an hour. The ground was still dry 1 inch down. I hope the brief rain today will do more good.

I guess that's it for an update on the first week of August.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Here is a good web site for KO Roses, see below
You can trim them down to 18" above ground but do it in February or March before the new growth. I believe this is the website where I got that information. Of course you can do a google search for Knock Out Roses and get lots of additional information too.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Grow Knock Out Roses

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I have 9 Knock Out Roses. All but 2 or about 5 yrs old. I have never cut them back as high as 18". They have always been cut about 6". I think if I cut them 18" they would be 5 ft high or more by mid summer. I clip spent roses on them almost daily.

We have two young white ones that are very fragrant. I do not like them not being double however. Three of my other ones are the pink singles and I want to replace them with Red doubles.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 1:48PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Are the white fragrant ones Knock Outs? I am interested in fragrant plants. I got some nice big pieces of cardboard at Sam's for weed smothering. Sam't has big flat pieces between their milk jugs and also between other items like paper plates. I also shoveled some decayed mulch from the Joplin City piles of leaves and grass clippings. It has plastic in it but I will probably use it on ornamentals. I will pick out the plastic as I notice it. It is funny after our 102 degree day last week that I thought 90 was cool enough to shovel compost. My truck is low and I scraped on the drive way at my friends house so I got a load for my little pickup.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 3:47PM
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Tavy, I know it is hard with drip irrigation, but the general rule is all plants need l inch of water a week. I would dig down 6 inches (about the root depth of most plants)and if it is dry, I would water.

I think in this weather impatiens would need water almost twice a day. I don't grow them because of that.

Helen, I am impressed...digging and loading compost in 90 degree weather! I have just about shut down working in this heat.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 5:24PM
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I am too negligent to grow impatiens. I tried a couple times and didn't keep them watered enough. I watch my Canadian Ginger in my shade garden to tell me when to water. It wilts badly when it's hot and dry like this. It's forgiving though and will perk back up again after a good drink of water. Some plants just go ahead and die if you let them wilt. When it's this hot, my shade garden needs water a couple times a week and most of my plants are fairly drought tolerant. I've killed a few that couldn't take the abuse.

Welcome Fishingardner and Lacledemg! - I got a Double Red Knockout for Mother's Day and glad to see the care information. Thank you.

I'm impressed too Helen. You're making me look bad. It's hot! All I've been doing is watering and walking around the yard with my camera.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Is anyone else getting tired of August? It's been so hot this summer. The ground is dry again here and I don't see any rain in the forecast. We've had a lot of hot and windy days this summer and it really dries it out in a hurry.
I made the rounds watering flowers this morning, then mowed my crabgrass for awhile but didn't finish.

I picked a few melons this week and have just a couple left that aren't done yet. Still have lots of cherry tomatoes but I'm burned out on those. I let my ground cherries dry out. They're not as drought tolerant as tomatoes.

A trader sent me a couple kinds of radish seeds that I want to try. One packet says 28 days to maturity so I should still have plenty of time I hope. I haven't grown them before and welcome any wisdom.

My dogs gained some wisdom this week. They had their first encounter with a skunk. I knew they got sprayed before I even opened the door. It was so strong. It was late so I crated them in the garage for the night then paid my kids to give them multiple baths the next day. We used peroxide, baking soda, and dawn and also bought some Tecnu which I'd read was good. They're still a bit stinky but it's faint. Thank goodness for the internet. Tomato juice was the only remedy I'd ever heard of but most people reported that it wouldn't work. The Tecnu was pricey but I can use it to wash off poison ivy too and I'd been wanting to get some anyway for that.

I have no grasshoppers this year and I can't imagine why not. I think it's strange. Is anyone else not seeing any?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:04PM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Yes, I'm tired of August. And heat. And watering. I'm going to cut the poor phlox down to the ground and see what happens. No grasshoppers here, either. I have seen lots of locusts all summer, though. I had a tree frog on the shady patio earlier in the season but don't hear him anymore. He may have gone to the deep woods. That's where I would be --

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 3:32PM
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ME TOO!! What a summer. I agree it's been really weird. It always gets hot like this but I don't remember such a dry summer. Where are all the thunderstorms?

Sunny, I saw 1 grasshopper yesterday... not that I'm complaining. He was the first I've seen all year. Where are all the Harlequin bugs? I hate them and usually have to pick them off daily. I've only had a few this year. Except for tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons, the garden has been miserable. I got so tired of the cherry tomatoes I pulled them out. I put some shade cloth over my hoop house so I could get my fall stuff out of the house. I've been having to keep everything dusted with BT. I've never had this many loopers! There were a dozen on every single little baby lettuce leaf. In one night half the seedlings were stripped bare. I think all is OK now. I'll just dust them constantly.

After seeing Helen's wonderful pond pictures I've been thinking of little else. I'd love to hear more about your pond(s). I'm not sure if I should use old tubs or dig out a bit and put in a liner. I really want some baby frogs too! :-)

Thank you for all the beautiful butterfly pictures. I look and then am too lazy to leave notes of appreciation. I'll blame it on the heat.

Oh... I planted some heirloom carrots for fall. They're just getting their true leaves but look better than any I've done in the past. The seeds are different. They're ragged burr type seeds, much larger than any carrot seed I've seen. Apparently this carrot is one of the earliest cultivated.. 1600s Dutch, I think. It's called Scarlet Horn. Have any of you grown it?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 6:30PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I am sick of August too. I am not even looking for bargains which is something I usually do at the end of summer. This weekend I let some melampodium in a pot by my front door get too dry. I thought I watered it but by its looks it got skipped. That is what is dangerous this time of year, I do not want to lose my dogwoods or the big orange fragrant azalea. My tomatoes are mostly sad looking. They would make salsa, but I am ashamed to give them to people all but the very best. I am still keeping four people/families in tomatoes but apologizing for the way they look. tavy my pond is not done according to any plan. I had a truck load of so called top soil delivered years ago that turned out to be sticky gummy clay not good soil at all. That is what I dug a hole in to place my first attempt which was a discarded water bed mattress. That was ugly, ugly but I loved to feed the goldfish and see the dragonflies and frogs. Then someone threw away a fiberglass form with a slow leak. I put up with that a while but pulled it up, dug out a bit more and put down a rubber liner over old tarps and pieces of carpet. There is no electricity there except I do have an extension cord across the yard which I always take up before I mow and don't plug back in until I am completely done. I may dig a little trench someday and get a man to make me a safe outlet ground fault or whatever they are. I am too cheap to hire it all done. The stock tanks with frogs were my rain barrels. Those 50 gallon rain barrels they sell for a big price would not go far here. I did not count on the frogs invading, but I do like them.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:06AM
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Not much happening here. Very hot and dry and I haven't been outside much. Around the last of July I developed some problems with my hands, wrists and shoulders. I will be seeing a specialist this Thursday. Been doing some canning on my better days and reading a lot.

I am ready for the hot and especially dry to be gone!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 7:06AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

We have a 20% chance of rain the clouds are passing now and not a drop so far. It doesn't look good. I may do a rain dance of some sort. Glenda it is good to see a specialist and find out what is wrong. I hope he helps you.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 8:16PM
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