Fleeting Summer

There are now only two weeks until Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer.  Yes, the weather forecasters on the local news have said that the warm weather will continue into the fall, here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  And because of that I expect the tomato plants will produce a little longer into the season.  (I hope not too long, or trick or treaters might be getting tomatoes instead of apples!)IMG_20160729_110514576

It’s always sad to say goodbye to the plants I tended so carefully for months. I’m sure the squirrels who had their way with our corn stalks will also be sorry to say farewell to that source of food.  (And the tomatoes, as well.) It’s been a hot and dry summer so far and the little furry friends need sustenance, too!

This was a year of planting firsts.  We opted to go with some interesting melon plants, although I have never had any great luck with them.  But I had some seeds that were given to me and wanted to try them.

The first type were the Minnesota Midget Muskmelon/Cantaloupe.  We put these into a large pot and they started off great.  But then the intense heat hit and they stopped producing.  We were able to get a few to eat and they  were pretty tasty. They are small melons, only about 4 inches across. Although the Botanical Interests seed packet says they are perfect for containers, I think they would do better in the ground.  IMG_20160801_145412979_HDR

There are two other melons that I’ll write about but their stories can wait until another day.  One is the Charentais, an Heirloom, and the other is the Canary Tweety Melon.  Stay tuned.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

This is why I’m a gardener

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A warm summer day and a few hours in the garden.  This is the prize.  Two fresh and tasty radishes straight from the soil, ready to become an afternoon snack.

This is why I am a gardener.

Where did the time go?

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I can’t believe that is has been well over a year since I last posted.  Suffice it to say, I was busy.

I took a part-time job in a large garden center and spent many months helping customers pick out plants – both for their gardens and their homes.  If I took away only one thing, it would be that too many people think they don’t have a “green thumb” and will kill all the plants they bring home, when they really just give their little green and flowery friends too much water.

I also was caregiver for my elderly mother and that meant time and emotions for a job that so many of the women my age are tackling as I write this.  Yes, I know that there are men who care for senior parents but statistics show that the majority are the women of the family.  It’s a tough job, I tell you.  I’d rather dig a new garden bed from a lawn, change out the soil, plant or seed, and then weed for the season — that’s easier! But it’s really apples and oranges, because the responsibility – and rewards – of caring for an elderly parent are so much more complex.

So here we are.  June 2.  This year’s garden is in, albeit a little late because the temps were so cold for so long, and it took the ground awhile to warm up.  This year’s garden is tomatoes (of course), peppers, melons, corn, cucumbers, radishes, edamame and assorted beans.  And containers of spices.  I’ll share some photos as we go along.  I’ll share some suggestions and thoughts and recommendations, and I’ll be looking for the same.

BTW, my mother is doing well in a nursing home, making the nurses and aides laugh and waiting for me to bring her ice cream cones!

And that tree in the photo? A beautiful welcome every morning when Miss Lily Rose, my ghost-hunting Cockapoo, and I take our morning walk. I love that it seems to want to shake my hand!

Thanks. I’ll see you soon.

 

YES!

Can’t help but share — found on the late afternoon Pup Lily Rose walk — the first spring flowers have appeared and Lily and I couldn’t be happier.  Mother Nature, we thank you!

The first spring flowers are appearing!

The first spring flowers are appearing!

Welcome March?

Yes, it is March and yes, this is what it looks like in the park across the road from my house.  Usually, by this time, the temperatures are in the high 40’s and 50’s, and our snow storms are a thing of the past, but this year Mother Nature is playing a few tricks on us.  I hope this is the last snow of the season because I am itching to get into the garden.  Hurry Spring!

Put on the hot chocolate, it's a snow day!

Put on the hot chocolate, it’s a snow day!

Sweet, Sweet Pea

sweet sweet pea

One of my Sweet Pea seedlings, just waiting for warm weather and garden.

Fun fact: this seed is from a pack of seeds designated for growing season 2013.  I picked it up, on sale, at our local hardware, for a mere 10 cents.  The clerk told me that the seeds wouldn’t grow.  Knowing full well that, most likely some of the seeds would germinate, I handed him my dime.

I can’t wait for these and her sister seedlings to bloom, these sweet sweet peas.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

But inside, it’s warm.  Well not really, because I live in an old house that is very drafty and the winter winds find their way in.  Yesterday was one of the worst days in local winter history that I can recall.  Not only was the temperature close to 0 degrees (F) but the winds were whipping all day, with gusts over the 50 MPH mark.  How the large trees in my yard didn’t drop some of their larger branches, I’ll never know.  But I’ll be eternally grateful because the roof is still over my head.

It’s cold today — I walked my dog this morning in 2 degree air, with a -14 wind chill.  She’s crazy, is my pup, all wrapped in her pink scarf and coat, strolling along like it’s a warm summer day.  She – Lily Rose – has wanted to play in the yard all day and now that the temperature has reached 20 degrees (make that a balmy 20 …) I just might take her out for a bit.

What’s keeping me warm though is what’s happening with my recently planted seeds — the seedlings are making their first appearances!  I had to scramble a bit yesterday to make sure the windows that give them the light they need were not also adding cold air to the mix.  A bit of leftover, scrap plastic for extra coverage helped.  I even grabbed some of the extra clear plastic bowls that I keep on hand (picked up at the local party supply store for about $1.00 each) and turned them over onto the pots as little “greenhouses.” (Pots also re-purposed: former yogurt cups now serve as seed starting vessels!)

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Not so bad, so far.  It’s always so exciting when the first hint of green breaks the surface of the starting mix.  So I planted some more seeds today: German Queen heirloom tomato, Aunt Gertie’s Gold heirloom tomato and Satin Moon Hybrid eggplant.  I’m on a roll, now, and I can’t stop!

32 days, 3 hours, 30 minutes to Spring.