Senior Gardening

One of the Joys of Maturity


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July 4, 2022

One of the joys of getting a bit older is having the time to putter around in the garden. Below is my garden blog. This site also contains sections of recipes, feature stories, and how-tos about specific, and often obscure, gardening lore.


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Monday, July 4, 2022 - Independence Day (U.S.)

JLP seeds covered with sterile potting mixA row of rosemary, vinca, dwarf basil and a geraniumFive of the eighteen Japanese Long Pickling cucumber plants I put in on June 29 died. So this morning, I soaked ten JLP seeds in water for an hour before heading out to plant them in our narrow raised bed with the surviving cucumber plants.

I pulled back the grass clipping mulch where the plants had died, watered the soil, and dropped in two seeds at each site. Instead of burying the seeds in the native soil, I brought our kettle of sterilized soil up and used handfuls of sterile soil to cover the seeds. That soil got watered. Using sterile soil over the top of the seeds may prevent weeds from germinating around the cucumber plants and competing with them.

Direct seeding in a bed already filled with transplants may prove to be a mistake. But Japanese Long Pickling cucumber seed germinates quickly and is only sixty days from seeding to maturity, so we may get some late cucumbers from today's seeding.

I then turned my attention to putting in some transplants I hadn't used as yet and wanted to get out of the way. I had a single geranium, some dwarf basil, a bunch of vinca, and a rosemary. They went in the narrow area beside the double trellis where our spinach had grown previously. Since I'd saved the mulch around our garlic when I dug them, I used that mulch to hold in soil moisture and hold back weeds around the new plantings.

I also picked some green beans today, but it wasn't a very satisfying gardening activity. Many of the beans appeared to be washed out in color. Our lack of rainfall has really hurt that crop.

David's Cookies

 
 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Kidney beans upBarbados lettuce plant beginning to bloomAfter grumbling a bit here yesterday about the weather, we got an unexpected but welcome tenth or so of an inch of rain overnight. There was lots of thunder and lightening, but just a little rain. But it was enough that I didn't feel compelled to get out early this morning and water.

As it turned out, the kidney beans I direct seeded on Monday were up today. The peas transplanted on the same day looked for the first time like they might make it. And most of the cucumber plants are looking good, although I got out the Japanese Long Pickling seed to fill in a few bare spots.

The Barbados lettuce plant that bolted is beginning to bloom. I'm hoping it can self pollinate, as there's only the one plant of that variety. Our current Barbados seed in the freezer is from 2009. Our green beans are ready for a second picking and our Eclipse peas are now putting on lots of pods we'll use for seed saving.

There were lots of little jobs today that didn't require getting on my very sore knees. One of them was spraying our six Earlirouge tomato plants with a mix of Serenade biofungicide and Neem Oil. I'd seen a stink bug on one of our tomatoes. Those and some other bugs are the ones whose bite leaves white material under the skin of the tomato.

And as I finish writing this posting at around four o'clock, there are rain clouds showing on radar to the west of us. We might get lucky and catch another rain tonight!

Rollbacks & Clearance

Friday, July 1, 2022

Our Senior Garden - July 1, 2022Weather Underground ten day forecastTemperatures are back into the nineties with little to no rain in sight. That's pretty typical for our area this time of year. I often refer to the time after the Fourth of July as the beginning of our annual mini-drought.

A local TV weatherperson referred to the U.S. Drought Monitor on last night's local news, noting that our region was in the "abnormally dry" to "moderate drought" classifications.

The dry conditions have made my first and often only gardening job of the day watering. I have kidney beans germinating, some really sick looking Encore pea transplants battling for survival, and our recently transplanted Japanese Long Pickling cucumbers. Three of the eighteen JLPs I transplanted on Wednesday appear to have died already. I got out our saved JLP seed from last year, as the variety is just 60 days-to-maturity, to reseed here and there in the row.

Drought Information
U.S. Drought Monitor
United States Weekly Drought Monitor
U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook
United States Monthly Drought Outlook
U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook
United States Seasonal Drought Outlook
Click on the title or the graphic (above) to access the
U.S. Weekly Drought Monitor
Click on the title or the graphic (above) to access the
U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook
Click on the title or the graphic (above) to access the
U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

Here's hoping your outlook is better than ours. Our deep well is holding up pretty well with our increased demands for watering. I still haven't gotten our shallow well back online this year, as the pump needs new leathers. And we're fortunate to have a fairly large farm pond we could scoop up buckets of water from for watering if things get really desperate.

Looking ahead, we should harvest peppers, tomatoes, more green beans, onions, carrots, and another celery. (I cut the first one yesterday.) We also have a couple of lettuce plants in the process of blooming and creating seed along with our short peas that I've let go to seed for seed saving. And it won't be long before it's time to start fall crops of kale, carrots, and who knows what else as space opens up in our raised beds.

Burpee Herb Seeds & Plants

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