Monday, November 3, 2014


A year and a half ago when we moved in, it was hard to find a single worm in the garden. After a lot of compost, this year, I have tons of worms! Every spot I dug into to harvest my sweet potatoes were worms! And not just worms, but big fat worms! I am so excited to see this happening and so quick!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Giving Back to the Earth

Most of us live a pretty comfortable life, although some of us won't think so, but do! Most do not understand what it is like to be poor today. Recently, my father-in-law gave me a book to read, When A Billion Chinese Jump. I didn't think I would like the book so I let it sit on my bookshelf for awhile until I felt like tackling it. I haven't finished it, but it has been a great read! It is so well written and has made me realize that the comfortable life I live in now is detrimental to the earth in others as well as other human beings. What do I mean by that? We don't think about our day to day consumption much, but every piece of item we buy comes with packaging. That packaging was manufactured somewhere. Heck, even the item you purchased is manufactured somewhere! Ok, so you recycle that packaging....where does it go? Apparently it gets shipped somewhere to be processed, not always in the safest manner either. It's a bit depressing to read of a book really, but it is reality. It has really made me more conscious about what I buy, what it is packaged in, and also whether or not I need a bag when I purchase that said item(s)! Honestly, I am surprised my father-in-law would read such a book, however, I am glad he did and passed it onto me to read. I will be passing this book onto others also in hopes that it enlightens others as it did me.

Another amazing thing I encountered recently....surprisingly posted to my dog group, an article by one of the top holistic vets about the importance of soil! Included in her post was this really well done movie called the Symphony of the Soil. It's another eye opener as a gardener to why we need to take care of our soil. It's not only to the benefit of the earth, but to ourselves even! I highly recommend watching it. Heck, I'd like to watch it a few times even!

Tonight we are supposed to hit the low 30s so the tomatoes, squash and peppers have been cut down and either composted or thrown away due to disease (mildew on the squash). All fruit has been harvested ripe or not. Mushroom compost and Bumper Crop were put on top of most of the garlic I planted. The rest will have to fend for themselves. I hate fall clean just means winter is that much closer! Hopefully I get some awesome garlic next year as most of them were planted where the tomatoes were this year. That area is the most amended so they should be happy there. The tomatoes next year will go where the squash are this year and the squash where the garlic was this year.

Now it's time to dream up of what hot peppers I ought to grow next year!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Garlic, Fall Deals, & Fleas

This year I am doing some crop rotation now that I have the space to do so now! Yesterday, I planted my garlic in my tomato patch this fall. Unfortunately the tomato plants are still growing so it was a bit hard to reach all the way in, but I tried my best! They should have plenty of space to grow and the area is already heavily amended so hopefully they really like it! I will add more compost later so they stay nice and snug throughout the winter. Because I didn't get as many bulbs (or as big) as I had hoped this year, I really don't have much garlic to use so I planted a lot. At least it's what I think is a lot! I didn't plant them all as much as I would like to! In order to plant as much garlic as I would like, I would have to not plant sweet potatoes and squash. I did exhaust the tomato patch so I had to plant a few more back into where I had them last year. 

The potatoes I threw out into my compost heap is really happy out there! 

Lowes has their perennials on sale! I picked up 4 variegated hostas for $1.50 each! :D I planted them by the side fence. When they grow in, they're going to be so pretty! 

Not only did Lowes  had perennials on sale, they also had those mini kales on sale that I was eyeing up earlier! The pansies were only 30¢ each! I got six! AND....pumpkins were on sale! Granted most of them did not have any stems left, but you can't beat half price! I wished that they had another one of the crooked necked gourds though. Oh well! The one I got had a huge crack in it, but who cares?

So for the first time in a long time, I have a flea issue! The last time was nine years ago! I'm thinking it's the neighborhood cats that have brought them into my yard. Today I treated the backyard with a product called Wondercide. It's totally organic (99% cedar oil) and is supposed to kill fleas and leave beneficial insects! So we'll see how it does! I used 2 oz in 2 gallons of water. It smells pretty good too! :D

There is also another product called Cedarcide, but I found it to be more expensive. 

I had to wait a few days to do so because of rain and my old sprayer was broken. I had ordered new parts, but one of them did not fit even though I had checked with Hudson on the right part number. Fed up, I got a new sprayer, a D.B. Smith Professional sprayer. I wasn't crazy about the all plastic parts compared to my brass wand with the Hudson sprayer, but I was pleasantly surprised when I went to use it. It comes with a few different nozzles, for which it is quite hard to understand how to put together if you are looking in the instruction booklet. The diagram is small and hard to figure out. It also has a lifetime guarantee on the parts! I could've bought a cheaper sprayer, but because of that guarantee, I chose to pay $10 more for this one instead. I'm hoping it lasts! Although really, I had my Hudson sprayer for a long time so I guess I should not be surprised that it has failed finally. I never did do any maintenance on it and probably did all I shouldn't with it like cleaning it out after I was done since I always liked to keep something in it for a quick fix! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Living Soil

It's pretty amazing that a year and a half ago when I got my new garden, all I had was clay! It was a bit disheartening to start all over again, but it hasn't taken long to see life in the soil again! It took a truckload and a few bags of compost and mulch and now when I dig into the dirt, I see.....WORMS! Not only do I see worms, but I see underground fungi growing and breaking things down so my plants can consume the nutrients that are released! The soil isn't quite as soft as it was at the old house, but it won't take long....just a few more truckloads of compost! :D Recently, a video, called Symphony of the Soil, was made available online about soil biology. It is only available for a few days until the 11th, two days from now, but it is worth watching! The cinematographer did a beautiful job on the movie, however, it really explains why we should be aware of what we do on this earth and how we go about consuming things. Why is soil so important? It's just dirt, right? This is something worth digging into ;)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall Happenings

This is my largest tomato! I'm pretty sure I got the tags mixed up somehow and this Pineapple! It's got a great taste! Definitely will be growing this again! It's so pretty too!

The bottom of the tomato.

The inside! See how pretty it is?

I think this is my Japanese Kobacha squash....not sure? Will have to look at my seed packets, but it is getting big! 

My little watermelon! It's gotten big, but it isn't ripe yet still! *sigh*

Found a baby pumpkin growing! 

Another small pumpkin growing on the tomato cage! This one is bigger than the last. 

My beautiful kale! <3 p="">

Dahlia 'Potluck'. Not very impressed by this strain...less colorful than I expected! 

My milkweed finally bloomed! 

Seven spikes!!! This is the second time this Pleurothallis convallium 'D&M' has bloomed for me and I only got it this past May! 

This little Masdavallia Peachie must be happy with me as it threw out a spike!

Papillio in full bloom

Garlic 'Music' all squeaky clean and ready to be eaten/planted! Most of it will be planted as I did not get nearly enough to get much to be eaten this year unfortunately! :( 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Globes, Pineapple, Spiranthes, Fungus & Tomatoes

Target had the smaller globes in their $1 section a few years ago. They were $3 each. I showed some restraint and only purchased two. I knew I'd regret it! Granted my hooks don't look the best, but I have to say I am really pleased with the look! The airplants not only look good, but they seem happier to does the winter in one too! 

I think this was Pineapple. What a beautiful and tasty tomato! Big too!

Spiranthes odorata blessed me with two spikes this year!

Some kind of weird fungus on my mushroom manure...?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Oddest Thing

Summer left us pretty quickly this year and the oddest thing has happened. All summer long my bird feeder had been going crazy and I think I went through a whole 40 lb bag of bird seed very quickly, however, in the last week or two, my bird feeder has been sitting completely full! The water feeder is completely devoid of bird poop so therefore, it is not green with algae like normal! Where are all the birds?!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready for Winter!

Plants are ready for winter! All have been sunken into the ground. It'll be interesting to see if I remember where things are next year as I did not take inventory!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today's Harvest

More Time

Summer is winding to an end. The nights are cooler now and by Saturday we will have dipped below 50F. As much as I love fall, I hate for my growing season to end already!

I never did get any squash to grow, summer or winter! They just did not set fruit! Those that survived anyhow...but my sweet potato vines are doing GREAT! I'm thinking I need to fertilize more as I do not have the abundant tomato harvest as I should. Of course, this was only my second summer growing in this location and the soil is not amended very well.

The only things that did well this year was my collard greens that came back from last year, the kale after my rabbit was killed, the jalapenos and ground cherry! Even the sweet peppers aren't ripe yet. The pear tree looks like it is now just setting pears on it! It is LATE!

A really weird thing has the last week, my bird feeder has been devoid of any birds. Not one single one has been by! Before I was refilling it like crazy! I wonder if something tried to eat the birds and scared them away? Or is it the temps?

I need to rotate the crops next year...I'm thinking garlic in the area where the sweet potatoes are, sweet potatoes will go into where the tomatoes are and the tomatoes will go to where the garlic was this year. Squash will go further down near the gate where there is more room for them to spread.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's Growing Finally!

I FINALLY have a sweet pepper growing! YAY!

Look how nice my kale is now that the rabbit is gone!

Ground cherries are growing like crazy! 

Holy crap! I finally got a female squash flower! WOOHOO!!!! I can't wait! There were male flowers blooming today also thank god! Now let's hope nobody eats it before it can grow!

Belamcanda flava 'Hello Yellow". Finally caught it in bloom! I kept missing its blooms only to find shriveled up flowers daily!

Gotta love scrub pants! Built in scissor holders for tieing up my tomatoes! :D 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Underwatering Peppers & Neem Tree Seedlings

I walked out the other day and saw my whole tray of hot pepper seedlings looking like these two! I immediately let them soak in the dog pool and promptly forgot about them! O_O I rescued them this morning only for it to rain all day! The stalks seem ok, but I did this to another seedling earlier this year and it still has not leafed out yet. I'm hoping these guys will survive as they are the only ones I have left since I was stupid enough to not label the others and now have them all mixed up! I gave two to my BIL b/c I had no idea what they were anymore. I just promised him that they would be hot :)

My baby Neem trees are getting bigger! Some have gotten their first leaves! One of them is a twin! I am having pretty good germination rate so far. I got 25 seeds! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Journaling, Squash, Kale, Tomatoes, Springtime Nursery

I was looking back at my blog last night as I saw a new tomato had ripened up to see what it was that I had planted (Pineapple). I have been really bad at documenting this stuff on here! Luckily I did write a few notes to myself on my phone! I need to do better. Better labeling and better journaling!

So yesterday, I went outside to check on the squash....looks like both my acorn squash withered away. Guess I won't have any acorn squash this year! My baby watermelon has now disappeared also. It was about the size of a pea. There is absolutely no signs of any squash whatsoever! My kale is doing well now that the rabbit is dead. If I didn't mention how the rabbit died....apparently a neighborhood cat dismantled it while I was at work. I came home to the dog going nuts around the yard sniffing its tracks out. When I went to investigate, I found a baby still in its sac, a large intestine, small intestine, liver and a scalped and gutted rabbit all in separate areas!

So it turns out my volunteer tomatoes (at least one of them) is Red Currant! Gotta love those heirloom tomatoes!

The other thing I need to do is space out my plantings some more. It is so deceiving in the spring when your plants are little to judge how big they are going to get. Next year, I also have to rotate things around now that I have the space to do so! They always say to not plant tomatoes in the same spot each year. I haven't had an issue, but why chance it when I can rotate?

I think I forgot to mention Springtime...the nursery. Back in May, I had ordered $100+ worth of Hakone grass. It took them a month and half to inform me that they were out of stock! Seriously? I really needed them my project is at a stand still! Humph! I've been keeping my eye out at garden centers and nurseries and no one seem to carry any either? Guess I will have to look for it again next year with the same vendor. I'm not usually a fan of mass plantings, although it does have a dramatic effect, I just like too many different types of plants to do such a thing. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Garden Writers’ Association

Waking up at 6am on a Sunday morning is not my idea of fun. However, when I was asked by Phipps to volunteer from 8-11am when the Garden Writers' Association came to visit I jumped at the chance. Did I regret it this morning when my alarm went off? HELL YEAH! But it was so nice to meet all different people from all over! I got to meet the owners of Brent and Becky's Bulbs and Terra Nova Nurseries from Oregon who gave me an amazing catalog that I had to give to someone at Phipps, but before that happened, I had to ogle the eye candy within those pages! Can we say drool worthy??? I also had a nice chat with a man named Mort from Rhode Island. He does garden videos!

So the point of this post....Someone asked whether I was also a garden writer. The answer was no, I was not. However, then I was asked if I blogged. Why yes I do! But...not really! Why? Because this blog has always been my journal. I am inept at keeping a hard copy journal in today's world. I want to write in it when I want to and usually I am on the run. Also, this way, I don't have to find space for a journal and all the clippings I might put into it! Take a pic, BLOG! I never did think of this as "garden writing", but I guess it is in a way!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

No Squash + No Heat = Odd, But Beautiful Summer

It's been a very odd summer. Not that I am complaining since it hasn't been very humid! I have even seen blue skies more often this summer!

Although I still have yet to see a winter squash grow in my squash patch. I see lots of blooms, but no female flowers to be pollinated with. I have, however, harvested a bunch of hot peppers and continue to do so, but I am getting close to the end of my harvest as it has been so cool that the plants aren't flowering much.

The tomatoes are doing well with the exception of the fact that even though my soil tested high for calcium, I am getting blossom end rot! So I have had to pick those off to give the others a better chance. I've added some generic Tums to the soil. That has always worked for me so I guess I should never be with out! I even added ground up egg shells, but I guess that isn't in a usable form yet unlike the generic Tums. I've learned my lesson and will never be without that with my tomatoes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Best Thing About Gardening...

Neem tree seeds sprouting!

Dyakia in bloom! Opened up yesterday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tomato Harvest

'Pineapple' picked today!

'Black Krim' picked two days ago

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garlic Harvest

Finally harvested my garlic and it is PUNGENT! :D Broke the two biggest bulbs of course! Digging in this first year clay soil is tough before I managed to perfect my technique! They aren't as big as I had hoped, but not bad! Soon as I can amend the soil enough it should grow some HUGE garlic! :D That's what I am aiming for anyhow ;) 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weeds, Mealybugs & Patience

I have to admit, I was doing really well with the whole organic thing until recently. My new yard is very big and I was unable to weed it all myself, hubby has no patience for stuff like that either so for the last year, he has been using *cringe* weed and feed on the front lawn. I still won't let him put it in the backyard even with all the clover taking over.

I have also had it with the mealybugs on my orchids. No matter what I do, they keep killing my orchids. They have even tried to eat my succulents! So I have broken down there too and bought a systemic pesticide. I wish it was a smaller bottle though! The size that I got will last me a whole lifetime! I bought the Bayer All-In-One stuff. It doesn't smell, looks like brown snot coming out of the bottle and it has two different systemics in it. I've done two applications in the last two weeks. Hopefully it'll just kill them all this one time and I can quit using it again until someone else brings a mealybug infested show plant to the show and passes it onto me again. :\

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cranberry Glades in the Monongahalea National Forest of Elkins, WV

This past Saturday I got up bright and early (well maybe not so bright!) at 3:30am! I had to be in Morgantown, WV by 6am so the five of us from the orchid society could carpool together to the Cranberry Glades to view some wild orchids up close and personal! It was worth having to wake up when I usually wanted to go to bed instead as we saw TONS of orchids! 

Platanthera grandiflora found on the side of the road!

Platanthera grandiflora alba, the only one in the whole forest!

Calapogon tuberosus growing in the bog.

There are more pictures that can be seen on the OSWP's Facebook page. Can't wait to go on another hike to find more orchids! It's quite exciting!