Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10 Minute Vegetable Garden

How would you like a nice vegetable garden in only 10 minutes a day? You can!

Day 1: Take 10 minutes and decide what you want to eat from your garden.
Day 2: Decide where you want your garden to go and pull weeds for 10 minutes.
Day 3: Take 10 minutes on errand day and buy your seeds and transplants.
Day 4: Pull weeds for 10 minutes.
Day 5: Take 10 minutes and plant a wide row or section of garden with one kind of your new seeds or transplants.
Day 6: Pull weeds for 10 minutes.
Day 7: Take 10 minutes and plant another row or section of garden with another kind of your seeds or transplants.
Day 8: Pull weeds for 10 minutes.
Day 9: Take 10 minutes and repeat planting your seeds and transplants each day until all has been planted.
Day 10: Pull weeds for 10 minutes.
Day 11: Take 10 minutes and lay down a thick layer of mulch (grass clippings work well, even bermuda grass clippings---I have use them for years and never had any grow in my garden), so you will have far less new weeds to pull!

In two weeks or so you will have a nice garden, taking only 10 minutes a day! Pulling weeds every-other-day will get it done without much fuss, and maintaining your weedless garden will take less and less time. It won't be long before you will be using your 10 minutes a day to harvest your vegetables!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My To-Do List . . .

--fertilize my fruit trees
--keep dropped fruit picked up
--try to keep everything watered!


Planting by the moon:

Monday-Tuesday---Virgo: no planting or transplanting, this is a barren time
[I will post more when I find my Farmer's Almanac!]

Sunday, June 28, 2009


On the web-site---http://www.towards-sustainability.com/--Julie (in Australia) has a post about growing Arrowroot, a type of Canna. The tubers are eaten and are said to be similar to potatoes. For those that are interested in growing food that will keep in the soil (food storage), and multiplies well, Arrowroot might be the answer.

The Jerusalem Artichoke (sunflower family) is another such plant. Both plants are easy to grow here in the valley. This is a picture of my Jerusalem Artichoke. My husband, Dave, has tried a couple of times over the years to pull it out, but it will re-grow from pieces that are left in the ground. It could be eradicated by sifting through the soil and tossing out the remnant pieces found. I started this with one piece that I bought from the market.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garden Tips

Don't transplant now. Transplanting plants and trees stress them. When the heat is turned up, like it is now, stresses established plants and trees. Transplanting now will be a double-whammy and could cause problems with the health of trees, and could cause plants to die. If possible, don't transplant anything now through July (except irises). If you really don't have a choice, be sure to provide some shade for the new transplant, at least for a few days. Direct seeding does work well now, as long as the soil is kept moist. The seeds will germinate quickly in the summer heat.

Make sure that you keep dropped fruit picked up to keep your fruit trees healthy.


I'm late posting--I was canning my peaches all day! My two dwarf peach trees have produced quite a crop this year. About half of the peaches were ripe, really dead-ripe, so they were perfect for canning. I bought some peaches earlier this week and canned them, but they were still too green. My peaches were so ripe that the skins peeled off without scalding them! I got 30 pints canned (132 peaches), that's why it took me so long!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Everything is Blooming

"Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking
into the heart of the night."

Rainer Marie Rilke

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garden Checklist

From The Fresno Bee, June 25 (edited)

"Creative Use of Groundcovers Can Save Water"--Elinor Teague

Forty percent of household water use is concentrated on the landscape, with the lawn being the major user. To help reduce some of our water use, we can replace of part of our lawns by increasing our walkways and patios. This can be done by using flagstones or water-permeable pavers that can be laid around plantings, instead of just pouring concrete. Planting beds can be increased, also, and can be planted with more shrubs and plants. Groundcovers help fill in the open spaces, especially between pavers.

Woolly thyme is a good groundcover where there is heavy foot-traffic. It is low growing and drought-tolerant. It needs to be sheared to be kept neat, and it will get woody in a year or two.

"Chamomile, Corsican mint, several varieties of sedum are not as hardy as woolly thyme but can be used to fill in less-traveled areas in full sun."

Blue star creeper, and baby's tears, are not drought-tolerant, but grow well in shady areas. Elinor likes periwinkle (vinca minor), although it is considered invasive. Periwinkle grows well under trees, unless the trees drop a lot of twigs and leaves, smothering the plants.

Verbena is another plant that likes the sun, and it has intensely colored flowers which bloom nine months of the year. Be aware that some types are "'self-pegging,' meaning that they spread as the stems develop roots where they touch the ground."

"Most groundcovers are pest- and disease-resistant, and most can tolerate a little chlorine, making them good choices for edging the pool deck."


Garden Checklist:
Gather everything red, white and blue in the garden to decorate for Independence Day.

Tasks: Avoid overwatering lawns to help prevent warm-weather diseases.

Pruning: Cut spent canes to the ground after harvesting berries. Attach new canes to the trellis for next year's crop.

Fertilizing: Apply fertilizer regularly for bloom and fruit production.

Planting: In foothill area, continue planting warm-weather season flowers and vegetables. Others plant: autumn crocus; from seed: basil, beans, cabbage.

Things to ponder: Adjust lawn mower setting to cut lawn higher. Set mower to 2 1/2 to 3 inches for tall fescue, 3/4 inches to 1 inch for common bermuda, and 1/2 to 3/4 inches for hybrid bermuda.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beauty in the Garden

"There is beauty all around . . . "

New Master Gardener's Website

The California Master Gardener's website is now up and running---and everyone is welcome to visit this site. There is a lot of gardening information there and it is easy to navigate. To find the Fresno Master Gardeners, there is a selection list on the left (on the home page), click on "Find Your Local Master Gardeners" and there you are! The posts in this section are from Master Gardeners in our area.

go to--http://www.cagardenweb.ucdavis.edu

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fertilizer Numbers

Q—What do the numbers on fertilizer bags mean?

A—the numbers on your bag represent the percentage, by weight, of the three major nutrients required for healthy plant growth and are always in the same order—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K). Nitrogen provides plants with the ability to produce chlorophyll which allows plants to grow quickly. Phosphorous aids in root development and increases flowering and bloom size. Potassium guards against diseases and improves roots development. When selecting fertilizer, consider what your plants need and match their needs to the numbers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My To-Do List . . .

I see that no one but Jill stepped up to the plate and answered my little garden quiz--so Jill gets the award for being right! Harvesting vegetables as early in the morning as possible will give you the best, freshest tasting produce possible. The more the day heats up, the more the plants will stress, which affects the taste and quality of the produce. Great Job, Jill!!


My To-Do list:

--fertilize my fruit trees
--transplant my peppers into the new, big raised garden box (done)
--plant Golden Bantam corn seeds (done)
--cut back my apricot trees by half of the new growth (see picture) (done)


Planting by the Moon:

Monday---Taurus: #1 to plant root crops, transplant all; 2nd best for planting above ground plants
Tuesday-Wednesday---Gemini: 2nd best for planting and transplanting all
Thursday---Cancer: #1 for planting and transplanting all
Friday-Sunday---Leo: no planting or transplanting (a good time to weed, prune)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

National Eat Your Vegetables Day

This morning in the newspaper I read some quotes that were from comedians. One in particular caught my eye: "It's 'National Eat Your Vegetables Day.' It's the day America puts aside foods they like and eat vegetables."--Craig Ferguson

I said to myself--Not me, I like vegetables! Then I found a great recipe that I wanted to try: Sugar-Crusted French Toast! Oh, gosh, there are no vegetables in that--I guess I'm guilty of liking the goodies, too!


Today is the official first day of summer---now it will get hot! This is also the longest day of the year, and from here the days will get shorter until we get to December 21, which is the shortest day of the year. That means less daylight for working in the garden. Now I'm depressed.

Garden Quiz

Don't know the answer to the garden quiz? Or, is it that you don't want to embarrass yourself by a wrong answer?? Have a little fun and give it a shot---you can do it anonymously! I'll post the right answer/s tomorrow.


In last Thursday's posting of the Garden Checklist, it mentioned to watch for, and cut away, fireblight. I saw this pear tree, plus an apple tree that was close by, that are infected with fireblight. It is a bacterial infection that attacks apple trees, including crab apples; and pear trees, including fruitless pears. It can also infect pyracantha and roses. It will completely kill a tree if not contained.

The symptoms start usually with the blossoms or flowers, and moves up the twigs and then the branches. The flowers turn brown and wilt; twigs shrivel and blacken, with the ends often curling. The affected portions of the tree look like they have been burned by fire, hence the name fireblight. If not pruned out, the infection will create cankers, discolored oozing patches, which form on branches. The ooze contains masses of bacteria. Insects, birds, squirrels, splashing rain/sprinklers, and gardeners can spread the bacteria even before there area cankers.

There is no prevention, cure or spray for fireblight, but there are things that can be done to eradicate it. First and foremost--in the spring and fall cut out infected twigs and branches at least 12 inches below any evidence of the disease. If there aren't 12 inches between the tree trunk and the infection, cut the branch off just above the branch collar (this is at the base of all branches and is an area of wrinkled wood). Discard cuttings, do not compost. Make sure to use clean pruners after cutting out each branch by dipping in an alcohol solution (three parts denatured alcohol to one part water), or in diluted bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water). With the diluted bleach, pruners need to be wiped dry to prevent corrosion. When pruning is completed and pruners dried, wiping with an oily rag will help protect the metal.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


"I looked out my window and what did I see?" Well, it wasn't popcorn poppin' on the apricot tree! [This is in reference to a children's church song]. I saw a peach on one of my new peach trees! I didn't know it had any peaches--I remove all fruit after the trees bloom the first year--I guess I missed one! What a wonderful surprise!

Garden Quiz #1

Here is a little quiz, let me know what you think by posting a comment!

The best time to harvest vegetables is

1. When fixing dinner, so that they are the freshest
2. Later in the morning after the sun has dried the dew
3. After the sun goes down and the plants aren't so stressed
4. As early in the morning as possible
5. Whenever I feel like it!

(answer/s tomorrow)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Logan's Garden

This is my friend Logan's garden. He is a new gardener and has jumped into gardening with both feet---and obviously two green thumbs!
He took two corners of his back yard and turned them into quite amazing vegetable gardens! Besides that, there are no weeds! That's dedication! He still has plenty of grass for his kids to play on, plus a pool, in his back yard.

Tomatoes and Basil

This week P. Allen Smith has a recipe that sounds so good, and I though I would share it with you! I can't wait to try it!

Chopped Tomato and Basil Sauce

4 medium, ripe tomatoes (core and coarsely chop)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes or to taste

Mix all together, stir well. Cover and let set for a few hours for the flavors to combine. This sauce will keep one week in the refrigerator.

The picture looks so good--

My New Garden

This is how it all began! One month ago my husband, Dave, and I placed the boxes. They are lined up together, although not exactly east and west (they fit the space better this way).

I thought I would start with the smallest box first, because I really wasn't sure what I was going to do. I dug out a bit under the wood, wet the soil, and placed soaked cardboard under the frame. This is to discourage the bermuda and nutsedge, which can be pretty persistent, especially along the edges.

I overlapped the cardboard to make sure there were no spaces where the weeds could get through, and I wet the cardboard, again. I added some organic compost, mixed it a little with the soil underneath and watered it.

Next, I put down large "flakes" of straw to cover the cardboard. Straw naturally flakes off of the bale. The thick layers are pretty compact. I watered the straw well to help start the decomposition, which will make it even harder for the weeds to see daylight = no food for the roots = death to the weeds!

This is the first box, the small one, all finished and planted. I did this one Tuesday evening and it took about 2 hours.

Last night I installed the second box, and it also took 2 hours. This box is 4' x8'. The black trays are to discourage kitties from using my "box" for their own purposes! Once it is planted, they tend to stay away (I have 3 cats, plus one that thinks this is a great place to live).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Garden Checklist

From The Fresno Bee: June 18 (edited)

"Flowers Endure in a Gentle Spring"--Elinor Teague

This is "the longest, mildest spring" Elinor can remember since she moved to Fresno 35 years ago. Usually, by this time the spring flowers are gone and the summer flowers are stressed by the heat. She comments that both the spring and summer flowers have been blooming together beautifully.

Many flowers we plant are perennials (they come back year after year), although some don't make it through our intense summers and are treated as annuals (plants that live one season only). Queen Anne's Lace is one such flower. It "is a major host plant for lady beetles and a significant pollen source for honeybees." Other beneficial insects, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to it, too.

Columbine and Queen Anne's Lace are fairly drought-tolerant. These flowers reseed themselves readily. Columbine flowers stop producing flowers and seeds when temperatures reach 90', and will die back. They sprout again in the fall, overwinter, and start blooming in the spring. Queen Anne's Lace produces so much seed that it can become invasive. These "volunteer" plants can be transplanted when they are several inches high, or they can easily be pulled out.

The alstroemeria go semi-dormant in summer and winter,
therefore requiring little water. This flower has underground tubers that are very hardy, and resists the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The fading flowers are not cut off, but the entire stock is gently pulled from the base. This stimulates the tuberous roots to produce more flowers after it reemerges from dormancy.


Garden Checklist:

"Enjoy the balmy June evenings with a poolside barbecue, an ice cream social or outdoor dining."

Tasks: water in the early morning to prevent leaf diseases on plants and lawns.

Pruning: Watch for and cut away fire blight in apple and ornamental pear trees.

Fertilizing: Almonds, apples, peaches, nectarine and plums.

Planting: fortnight lily (Dietes); geranium (Pelargonium), sage (salvia), pincushion flower (Sacbiosa); Plumbago auriculata, dwarf pomegranate (Punica nana); from seeds--pumpkins, squash.

Ponder: "A walk around the garden just before dark can be a good opportunity to hunt for snails as they emerge to feed at night."

Pruning Hedges

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac: "During a waxing moon, pruning encourages growth; during a waning moon, it discourages growth." Usually, hedges are pruned to keep them nice and tidy. Sometimes, hedges are pruned to encourage them to grow taller or bushier. Now we have a choice! Our moon is in it's waning faze until June 22.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Purple Carrots

I picked a few of my carrots and then saw that there was an article about purple carrots in the newspaper. These carrots taste just like regular carrots, although they are purple on the outside. I knew these carrots were considered heirloom, I just didn't realize how long their history is!

The Fresno Bee, June 13, 2009: "Valley's Purple Carrots Stand to Benefit From Laws" (edited)

The article said that "the ancient purple carrot is returning to its roots, this time to dye processed foods rather than the robes of Afghan royals." Foods that have synthetic dyes that are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will soon be required to have a warning label if they are imported by the European Union. Various fruits and vegetables are being tested for their dye potential, with the purple carrot becoming an important option.

One of the best sources for purple carrots is from the Grimmway Farms in Kern County, where they grow vegetables organically for the gourmet market. They are also sending juice for experiments at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Purple carrots grew thousands of years before orange carrots came about, and "are especially high in the antioxidant anthocyanin, a free-radical-fighting plant pigment that also colors blueberries and red wine grapes."

Researchers at the Southampton University in England have found a connection between some synthetic dyes and hyperactivity in children. In Europe the warning label will read: "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children."

California will have the opportunity to be a major supplier of purple carrots, opening a new market that will benefit the Central Valley. Who knew?!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perry's Garden

This is my friend, Perry's, yard! It has a lot going on and is quite pretty. Around his house he has 23 fruit trees, and they aren't dwarfs! He has grapes and vegetables in the back yard, too.

Perry said that this is his "Obama" garden, as the curbing around the tree creates an "O". And, because Michelle Obama planted a vegetable garden, then he would, too! Only he planted it in the FRONT yard! The vegetables encircle the ring around the tree.

Here are squash and pepper plants. Tomatoes are across the back, in front of the flowers.

Looking to the other side of the tree, there are more squash and tomato plants. When I first walked up to his front door, I didn't even see the vegetables--they are not so obvious! No room in the back yard for a vegetable garden? Plant it in the front yard!

Another place to see how a front yard can be converted to edibles is at http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/

Bad Bugs

Whiteflies can be a real problem. They live 5-8 days and lay eggs, which hatch in only a day or two. The eggs and nymphs are nearly invisible to the eye and live on the underside of leaves. The nymphs and adults flies suck the juice from the leaves and can do considerable damage if left unchecked. When an infestation of the tiny whiteflies is disturbed, they fly out like a cloud.

The remedy is fairly simple, and can be used as a prevention, too. Take one teaspoon of dish soap or a gentle soap like Woollite and add it to a pint of water. Spray this soapy water on the underside of the leaves. Repeat this once or twice a week to kill newly hatched nymphs. Before you spray the whole garden with this mixture, be sure to try it on a leaf first, to make sure it won't be too strong and kill your plants. Perhaps half of a teaspoon of dish soap to a pint of water would do the trick as sometimes it can be fairly strong. Give it a try and let me know!

One year I had whiteflies and tried using a yellow sticky card placed next to the infected plant (another common remedy). I caught the whiteflies all right, and I caught the beneficial wasps, too (which were there to eat the whiteflies---remember, nature has a little lag-time when there are problem bugs). I'd go with the soapy water spray!

NOTE: This would work on aphids, too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My To-Do List . . .

Being that I didn't get much gardening done last week, I still have the same things to do! Except, I did harvest squash (and tomatoes and peppers!), which will be on-going through the rest of the summer.

---put in a new garden box (done)
---plant my new Meyer lemon tree

Planting by the moon signs:

Monday-Thursday:Pisces---2nd best for planting root crops; #1 for planting above ground crops, flowers, and transplants.

Friday-Saturday: Aries---very good to plant root crops, onions, beets; not good for planting above ground crops, flowers or transplanting.

Chickens in Your Backyard

How would you like to have some chickens in your backyard? Lots of good, really good, eggs, and bug-eaters to boot! My husband, Dave, just found the law for Clovis, CA, that states what we can and cannot have---and we can have chickens! But, first you need to research it out. Keeping chickens is not like having a cat or dog, they need a little more care. Don't get me wrong, chickens don't take much time, but they cannot be neglected. I had chickens years ago when we lived on 2 acres, and they were so fun! I had the room and I had a converted play-house (I had boys that didn't need a play-house) where the chickens slept. I had opossums get into the hen house and kill chickens; I have a opossum that visits my backyard nightly here in urban Clovis, so I know my little hen house will have to be sturdy to protect the "girls". Soon, after I have picked the spot in my backyard where the hens will live, and I have built their house, then I will bring in some hens. I will probably go with banty hens, 2 or 3, because I really don't need big hens right now. If you raise your hens, you can tame them to like sitting in your lap and being petted like a cat. They can be trained to swing on a dowel swing, just like a parakeet! Hens are fun to watch as they scratch and hunt for bugs and weed seeds. NOTICE: I said, "scratch"--- they scratch to find the bugs and weed seeds. This means if they get into your garden, they will scratch the heck out of it! You can build a small movable pen for the hens, so that they can be moved to different places in your yard where you want the bugs and weed seeds cleaned out. They will be happier and healthier for it, too! And, the eggs will taste better!

To keep the hen house and hen yard from smelling, just keep a thick layer (12" give or take) of hay (it has seeds that the hens love) or straw (cheaper, not so many seeds) over the floor of the house and the ground. At night sprinkle some cracked corn ("chicken scratch") in the hen house and the hens will scratch for it, mixing in their manure and such, eliminating the odor. I used to do this and cleaned it out once a year---great for the garden! Never had an odor. In the hen yard the hens will create a spot for their dust baths. You can throw weeds into their pen, which they will eat with delight, and oh, how they love tomato worms!

The Clovis, CA, regulations, #6.1.306, for keeping birds: "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary to this chapter, the noncommercial keeping of chickens (not including roosters), ducks, pigeons, squabs, keel, or small game birds as a hobby or pet may be allowed upon the obtainment of an annual permit from the Senior Animal Control Officer. A permit may be obtained only if the following criteria are satisfied: (a) The adjoining neighbors have given their signed approval. If approval is withdrawn by a neighbor, the permit shall terminate within thirty (30) days; (b) The birds are maintained in a clean, sanitary condition, free from obnoxious smells and substances; and (c) The maximum number of birds shall be ten (10) in number for parcels sixteen thousand (16,000) square feet or less and twenty (20) in number for parcels over sixteen thousand ( 16,000) square feet."

Sunday, June 14, 2009


My basil was getting ready to bloom, so I pinched off the buds that are at the tips of the stems. The main point, from the plants' point of view, is to produce seeds and then die. So, if you prevent it from blooming, you prevent it from going to seed and dying, and you can use it longer. This can be an on-going process, sort of a tug-of-war between what the plant wants to do and what you want it to do!

Basil has a tendency to grow tall, but pruning it back every 2-3 weeks will make it health, bushy and give you maximum production of leaves---which is what we want! Fertilize it sparingly or you will decrease the fragrant oils.

To preserve basil for future use, there are several methods, depending on how you want to use it. Drying is a common method and is easy to do--just hang it up to dry out of the sunlight. Basil can be frozen, with freezing in ice cubes producing the freshest taste possible, next to fresh-picked. Putting just-picked basil in vinegar preserves the basil and produces a flavored vinegar that can be used in many recipes. Basil packed in oil creates a flavored oil that can be used in cooking, and is especially tasty in salad dressings. Oftentimes, basil is grown to be made into pesto. Pesto can be eaten right away or it can be frozen up to 6 months if it is sealed with a layer of olive oil.

Besides basil's use in the kitchen, it is also useful in the garden. The scent of herbs, especially strong scented herbs like basil, mixed in and around vegetables can confuse bad bugs that are looking for certain plants. So, if the bugs are trying to find all of the bean plants, and the beans are all mixed up with basil and other herbs, the bugs won't be able to tell where the beans are---a win-win for us!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Bugs . . .

Do your rose leaves look like this? If so, you have been chosen by a leaf-cutter bee to help line her nest! The bees nest in soft, rotted wood or in the stems of large, pithy plants, such as roses (but are non-damaging). These bees are native to the U.S. and are important pollinators. They are non-aggressive and have a mild sting that is used only when they are handled.

Leaf-cutter bees are solitary bees, unlike regular honey bees that live in a hive with many other bees. The females dig out their nesting areas, creating nest cells, and provide their young with food. She may live two months and lay 35 to 40 eggs during this time. The bee cuts a circle or oval out of certain leaves, often times roses, and will line the cells of her nest with these leaf pieces. She adds a mixture of nectar and pollen, and then lays an egg in each cell. The young bees will develop in these cells, and will eat the nectar and pollen that was deposited with the egg. The new young bees will emerge the next season.

Each year, for many years, I have been visited by leaf-cutter bees. I never saw them, but they left their signature holes in a few of the leaves of my Mr. Lincoln rose. I loved it, and I felt honored somehow. I now realize it might not happen again, because Mr. Lincoln was taken out last winter so a fruit tree could be put in it's place. I may have to buy another Mr. Lincoln!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bryce's Garden

Here's a picture of my son, Bryce's, garden--it has exploded, too! He has been harvesting for some time now and will continue to do so for quite a while. His garden is small (way smaller than what he would like!), but he does well with what he has. He likes to pack in the plants!

[I have posted an edited form of Elinor Teague's article from yesterday--see Garden Checklist.]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bill's Garden

I took these pictures of my friend, Bill's, garden last week. This is a very new garden, similar to the garden he had down in Los Angeles. There are 4 of these boxes in a row. He likes the Square-Foot Garden technique and enjoys plenty of vegetables for his efforts! He will be expanding this garden to include several more raised beds (using wood instead of blocks), and a nice seating area.

Garden Checklist

Today there is no "Garden Checklist" in the Fresno Bee.

"Lawn Burweed Spells Trouble for Pets"--by Elinor Teague (edited)

This picture shows how a burweed grows. It has insignificant flowers and each flower developes into a burr. These burs are quite sharp and stickery, and easily entangle themselves into pet fur. It is painful to walk on, even for the animals. This weed is fairly new to our area. The seeds sprout in the fall, late September and early October. The weeds stay fairly small and are semi-dormant through the winter. In February and March they start to grow rapidly. "The mature plants form a low-growing mat of small, finely-textured leaves, 3 to 4 inches high, that can spread to a foot or more in width." When temperatures go above 90', the weeds will die. The burrs themselves take a long time to decompose.

Treatment to prevent lawn burweed begins in the fall by applying pre-emergent. Burweed goes by many names, "spurweed, stickerweed, sandbur and sandspur", so check labels for these names or the botanical name, Soliva pterosperma. "Successful control for lawn burweed in turfgrasses may require several applications of a 'two-way or three-way' herbicide in the winter months. The herbicide should be formulated with a mixture of 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. These products will provide more effective control than 2,4-D alone."

ALWAYS, ALWAYS read the labels before using---know if children and pets need to keep their distance from any chemical applications.

Peach Tree

I was looking out my back window a couple of days ago and saw that the peach tree side branches were beginning to open up, which meant that I needed to support them. The peaches are nowhere near ripening, but they are getting heavy enough to break branches---as they did---see below. Luckily, there was only one small branch that broke.

You can see in the top picture that I have put supports in place---plastic chairs! I generally use what is laying around. My peach trees didn't get pruned last winter and are in need of a good cutting-back (which they will get this winter, even though there will be less fruit). Their branches generally need support when the fruit gets heavy. (These are genetically miniature peach trees--rootstock only has been genetically changed).

Beauty in the Garden

Beauty among the nutsedge!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Painted Lady Pole Beans

These are pictures of my Painted Lady Pole Beans. I am growing them out to increase the number of seeds for future plantings. The flower stems are getting longer and the earlier blossoms are dropping off. I wondered why they weren't being pollinated, so I took a closer look. I saw that bees were going for the nectar at the base of the flower (the pink part), on the outside. They get the nectar, but don't touch the pollen. I will try pollinating them with a small paint brush and see what happens.
The Painted Lady bean is 12" long and is very flavorful. It is excellent for canning and freezing. It is an heirloom bean, and grows 10' tall (I didn't know that when I planted it! I read that it got to 6"!). It is said to attract hummingbirds, and I suppose, that is who would be the pollinator. My hummingbird feeder developed a hole and kept draining a couple of weeks ago--I just bought another feeder yesterday. I'd better get that new feeder up so the hummers will hang around!

[update: The hummingbird feeder is up and the hummers are enjoying it. I took apart one of the Painted Lady bean flowers and could not see any pollen. Hopefully, the hummers will be able to help].

My Garden

In just the past couple of weeks my garden box has exploded with growth. The top picture is looking from west to east, and the other picture is the opposite. The tall trellis holds my Painted Lady Pole Beans. I planted 5, but only 2 came up. It has an interesting flower, which I will show in the next post. I have a lot of Roma Tomatoes in this raised bed, with beans across the front, and my squash in the middle.