Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Praying Mantis

While I was working in one of my veggie boxes, I saw a tiny praying mantis scamper away! And, then another! They are so cute, and so tiny! This picture shows just how tiny they are--about 1/4" in length. Because I garden organically (no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.), I have an abundance of good bugs. The praying mantises keep laying more egg cases each year during the fall. These little critters will have plenty to eat as they grow up, keeping my garden in balance naturally.
I finally got my netting up for my cucumbers to climb on. There is a plastic pole across the top of the netting, which will hold the netting tight while the weight of the climbing cucumbers increases.

My pickling cucumbers have sprouted and are doing well. We had a thunderstorm blow through here yesterday, but there was no damage in my yard--except that my arbor was blown into the deep end of our pool! If there had been anything growing on it, the arbor might have stayed put, but that was not the case. My tomatoes are either caged or tied to stakes, so they made it through the high wind; and all of my fruit trees are OK. A couple of days ago I topped my apricot and plum trees, so I think that helped.

I will be gone for the next two weeks. We are driving up to northern Idaho to visit family, and I won't be blogging during that time. I hope you have a beautiful May! Happy growing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shade In The Garden

I was working in the garden this morning, and after a little bit, I was sweating. I was nearly finished, but was getting too warm. Then, I remembered that I bought an umbrella with a stand at Rite Aid a while back. I figured that I bought it, so I need to use it. I got it out and found that you have to screw the base into the ground--it wasn't too hard--and then you just slip the umbrella post into the stand--easy! The shade felt good and I was able to finish my work without getting too overheated! With our temperatures getting up to 90' this week, shade is a great way to go when gardening!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Here's how my tomatoes look! My husband picked out the big one--he wanted big, hamburger-sized tomatoes, and it is one big bush! The tomatoes next to it, and behind it, are Roma tomatoes. I don't recall the name of the big tomato, just that it did have the word "big" in the name--it is at 3' now; the Roma's are at 2'. I have a cherry tomato that is growing right along--I can't wait!

Friday, May 6, 2011


My chives are blooming! I think the purple flowers with the blue-green leaves of the chives is really pretty. I planted these a year ago last early-spring. They die down in the winter, but come back without a problem. Once it finishes blooming, you need to cut the flowers off, unless you want more seeds. It will very easily self-sow if you don't watch out! I love cooking with fresh chives.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garden Soil

I wanted to share with you one garden product that I really like. I found it at Lowe's (load it yourself) and Orchard (they load it for you), and the price difference is just 7 or 8 cents, if I remember right. I have use it for a couple of years, and today I was especially impressed with it. This "garden soil" is more like a mulch or compost. I have an old wooden garden cart (no rubber on the wheels) that is just sitting in my back yard. I usually have one of these bags of compost sitting on the cart, with one flat side open. I use this all around the garden, especially when I am planting my veggies (great around fruit trees, too). One of these bags has been open for a couple of weeks, and the sprinklers have watered it a bit. I lifted the flap of plastic that covered the opening, and there was a mushroom! This is good stuff as it has mycorrhizae, which the mushroom indicated it does. Mycorrhizae is a fungus that promotes all plant growth. It connects plants and trees, and helps each one share what the other needs in the way of nutrition--it is a symbiotic relationship, where it mutually benefits both plants/trees.

I used up the one bag of compost and opened another. I found a nice, big earthworm! That really surprised me! This is another indication that this is some good garden soil! I don't have any ties with this company, it's just that I really like this product.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mosquito Fish

These are mosquito fish, so named because they really go after the mosquito larvae! I was looking at my pond and wondered what all of the little, tiny "sticks" were in my pond. They looked like part of my compost, but I don't have compost around the pond at this time. I went to pick up a couple of the "sticks" to see what they were, and they wiggled away. Suddenly, it dawned on me that they were mosquito larvae, and there were a lot of them! My husband called the city(mosquito abatement), who very willingly will supply us with these fish. It is part of the city's plan to keep the mosquito population down. It seems that this year, at least in my neighborhood, we have very big mosquitoes, something we haven't seen before. They aren't from my pond, as this started before I got it, but I don't want to contribute to the population.
This was a cute picture of mosquito fish eating mosquito larvae--don't the larvae look like sticks? It's said that one adult fish can eat 100 larvae each day! If you run out of larvae, then you can feed the fish regular tropical fish food, just don't use too much or you will create a problem of too much organic matter in your pond. I am suppose to get my fish today--I don't even have to be home!--and there will be just enough fish for my size pond. Mosquito larvae problem gone!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bed of Summer Vegetables

Here's the garden bed that I started working on a few days ago (it has the cucumber seeds). Today I put the soaker hose in position, keeping it in line with the sticks; and then I planted other seeds. I continued along the back with my pickling cucumber seeds, along the left end of the box is dill, and the rest of the bed is in Blue Lake green beans. There are three 8' rows of green beans, a lot of beans for fresh eating, but these are mainly for canning. I will be thinking they are a lot of beans when it comes time to pick them!

Here's the bed all set to grow! I did see that one of my regular cucumber seeds has sprouted, so they are on their way! I watered the newly planted seeds in, but the ground was really dry to start with, so I have the soaker hose going--I want the soil to be perfect for sprouting all of the seeds.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pond Addition

My husband is an avid (or is it rabid?) duck hunter. He joked that ducks would land in my little pond; and then he brought home one of his decoys! He surprised me when I looked out my kitchen window and I saw the duck! He says it's a male Green Wing Teal. I am waiting for some frogs and toads to show up--that's my kind of "yard art"!