Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whiplash weather

No joke - I had the furnace on last week, the low Wednesday was 47. Today the high is pushing 90, and I know the broccoli is going "what the heck???" outside. The cicadas are finally warm enough to drone now; it's loud today but will probably be close to deafening tomorrow.

The second raised bed is finally done, a month later than it should have been. Now it's hot, and the only things I can think to put in it are peppers and the cauliflower seedlings I've had for 3 weeks. Bought 11 pepper plants today - 2 orange, 1 chocolate, 4 red, and 4 green. Meant to start some dwarf bells from seed earlier, but haven't done it yet. I also bought more perennials at Westlake's 3/$10 sale - 2 echinacea, 2 coreopsis, 1 evening primrose, and 1 gaillardia (which will hopefully be a good example for the 6 tiny ones Mom got me on QVC - same price as the Westlake's plants, but tiny plugs instead of the gallon pots from W.)

Also, the lilac I got on Mother's Day? Still sitting on the porch, along with a couple dozen bedding plants. Ditto for a bag of oxalis, 2 bags of freesia, and 2 bags of dahlias.

And with the forecast being over 80 for the foreseeable future, I may wait a while to order the fuchsia plants I've been lusting after. They would probably like more time to acclimate before the freaking hot weather kicks in.

Harvest update: we had salad at lunch, with lettuce, spinach, and tiny radishes that I grew. And the broccolis all have tiny heads growing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


The garden has produced something! Okay, it's only 4 radishes, and I forgot to put the first ones in the fridge, so they went wrinkly, but it's still progress. We also have baby broccoli heads, and I've snacked on some spinach. There's enough lettuce for a salad now, too.

I dug up the sod for the second raised bed last night. Soooo glad it's a one-time thing. My sod-busting technique needs work. Or maybe I just need more muscle.

Flower-wise, the dahlias are the only new plants that look really happy. Everything else still seems "stalled out" for lack of a better term. I had one echinacea seedling that looked worth planting out, and it's still looking the same as it did two weeks ago. The dirt here must be worse than I thought. Hopefully the compost will be a success and I can use it in the flowerbeds, because buying topsoil and garden dirt isn't cheap. But, short of waiting a year for the compost to mature, it seems to be the only/easiest route.

Weather: cool and rainy for weeks. That's changing - highs for the next week are in the 80s. Whiplash weather. Ugh.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Quick notes for today: planted the watermelon (Sugar Baby) seedlings from Hyvee, 4 pumpkin seeds, half a packet each of coneflower and rudbeckia, plus the sole surviving coneflower seedling. Also put together the large raised bed. And made a trellis for the scarlet runner beans near the sidewalk (five plants)

Seed starting has been a huge failure. So far, the runner beans are the only thing large enough to plant outside that look like they may live. Pumpkins are alive but haven't grown. Dahlias and rosemary went an hour too long without water and croaked. Ditto to the zinnia and cosmos. Shasta daisies may be worth planting out. Not sure why it's all gone pear-shaped. Very frustrating.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gardening notes

Despite the hideous heat, I did some gardening / yardwork today.

The irises that I transplanted from under the hedge are amazingly blooming (they're purple and white), as are two of the roses (yellow, my favorite). I was afraid I'd done the roses in by pruning before the last freeze, but they are tough.

The mailbox bed has gotten some zinnia, cosmos, and marigold seed, plus a couple of cosmos seedlings and one or two of something I don't remember.

The driveway bed has another (very pathetic looking) bare-root coneflower (half price at Westlake's today), and a couple of the bedding plants I got for mother's day - I think marguerite daisies, the other two whats-its, and a cosmos. It will get coneflower and rudbeckia seed, as soon as I find them.

Planted two purple semi-cactus dahlias next to the two yellow ones. Also from Westlake's half price roots.

Next up, adding the rest of the Mother's Day plants to the garage bed or wherever they will maybe live. Impatiens, snapdragons, petunias, pansies, and something else.

Also, I cleared a narrow path through a daylily (I assume) patch, so we can get to the water faucet, and took the 100+ lilies that resulted from that out to my mother-in-law for her yard. They filled a five-gallon bucket. And there's more where that came from - digging those up didn't even make a dent in the lily population. I love daylilies, but I'm betting these are all the same, and I like a little variety. None of them show signs of blooming yet, probably too crowded.

And, the unidentified flowering tree out back is a cherry of some kind. It bloomed in spite of the late frosts, and is setting fruit.

Bizarre weather

It was 86 degrees here today(10 or 15 degrees above average). We turned the A/C on tonight so we could sleep.

May break the heat record on Tuesday. Oy. I hope this isn't a sign of how the summer will be.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gardening again

It finally stopped raining, so I got some more plants in the ground today. The garage flowerbed has been de-plasticked (not sure why they put plastic in all the beds, it's a pain) and I added in 40 pounds of topsoil before I did my best at mixing it all together with the mulch. It now has 4 astilbe roots, a handful of violets from Mom's flowerbed, and a white violet I found. Unfortunately, it's serious clay, so I don't know what will grow. I left the hostas and the unidentified purple-leaved plant with purple flower spikes. It's probably a weed, but it's pretty. And I tossed some older viola seed in, too.

The dahlia tubers are in the front yard, hopefully they'll grow. More zinnia seed in the mailbox bed. Two of the gaillardia look dead, and I forgot to water the other plants that are still in pots inside - the second batch of marguerite daisies may be deceased.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've been working on a scarf, a pattern I've used once before. It's been a while, though, and current-scarf is rolling up like crazy. Just figured out, I've been doing the long-single crochet stitch all wrong, and it's pulling the scarf into a curl. And, since it's a stripe scarf with the yarn cut after each row (for fringe), it's going to be an absolute beast to fix. I don't have enough yarn to scrap it, I'll have to re-use.