Friday, August 18, 2017

Giant Primrose Sunflower

The five "Giant Primrose" sunflowers that I started from seed this past Spring are just beginning to bloom. Each bloom of this variety has soft yellow petals that surround a chocolate colored center.

None of my plants have reached the 8-12' described on the seed packet, but that could easily be because I transplanted them, instead of direct sowing them. Sunflowers dislike disturbance,
but I was afraid the chipmunks or rabbits would eat my freshly germinated sunflowers if I planted them directly in the flowerbed. Three of my plants have grown 6-7' tall and that pleases me, as I do love tall sunflowers. This is a vigorous, branching variety and would make a great screen. I am excited for the next few weeks, when my plants hit peak bloom and are covered with pretty yellow discs.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Second Flush for the Birthday Girl Rose

Our new "Birthday Girl" floribunda rose is just starting its second flush of blooms. Since its inaugural flush during the first week of July, it has put out 4 new canes as well as lots of new buds on its original canes. In the catalog, its final size is described as one foot wider than it is taller. And that is the growth pattern for this rose in its first year in our garden too. It is off to a terrific start.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

French Emerite Pole Filet Beans

The "French Emerite" pole beans that I started - late - from seed are really beginning to take off. Even with the heatwave, they continue to climb up the bean tower, slowly wrapping in a counter-clockwise fashion. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have lovely purple blooms. Even though they got off to a bit of a late start, I think there is enough time left in the growing season for them to produce a mature flush of beans. It will be nice to have a "new" crop just coming in as September nears its end.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Melon Update

There was a lot of growth in the "Pride of Wisconsin" melon patch while I was away. The melon have definitely increased in size. I am hopeful that the heat wave we had helped them mature and sweeten. I am worried though, that it seems like they are mostly done growing. They aren't anywhere near the 4-8 pound size range described in multiple catalogs. I weighted one last night and it was only 2.5 pounds. But the outside skin is developing a netting and the coloring is changing. So at this point the outward appearance seems to be telling me that they are getting close to maturity. I guess I will weigh my test melon in another week and see if it continues to gain weight. If not it might be time to begin to harvest the oldest melons.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The First Tomato, Potato and Blackberry Harvest

There is nothing that makes you see that incredible late Summer growth in your garden more than leaving for 9 days on vacation! After a wonderful week in Michigan I returned home to find there was a lot of change in the Kitchen Garden. We had a heat wave while I was gone. Two days hit 102 and three more were 95 or warmer. My poor Nephew earned his keep watering my garden! But all of that heat meant that I was greeted by a garden with things ready to harvest!

This weekend I dug the first of my potatoes. They were planted back on May 7th in four grow bags and have done really well. I have had problems storing red potatoes in past years, so this year my game plan is to only dig what I am gong to use in the next few days. I think this will work much better for me, as the potatoes seem to do fine being "stored" in the grow bags, in the soil, until I need them. My first harvest was ;

  • " Dark Red Norland" ; 3 lbs. 10.2 oz.

I was also excited to find color in the tomato plants when I returned .Not all of them have ripe fruit yet, but I was able to harvest from 4 different varieties yesterday. I was also pleased to only find blossom end rot on fruit in one variety so far. It plagued almost all of my tomato plants last year, so I can happily deal with one bad plant. Yesterday's harvest;

  • "Ukrainian Purple" ; (10) 1 lbs. 5.1 oz
  • ""Galina" ; (7) 1.4 oz
  • "Wapsipinicon Peach" ; (6) 9.2 oz
  • "Blush" ; (2) 1.1 oz

Thanks to Mother Nature, I was also able to harvest the first wild blackberries of the year. I knew from driving up and down the road that there were ripe berries to be had. But I was very surprised when I came hope with a completely full bucket. The final tally for this first picking was 4 lbs. 4.1 oz. A great start to the season!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The First Precipitation of Summer

Rose "Birthday Girl"

We awoke to cloudy skies and by 7:00 AM there was the softest sound of rainfall on the roof. It never really rained this morning, but we did get what I would call heavy showers at times. It ended by 9:00  AM but it was enough that the ground was damp and the air smelled clean. We need a lot more rain to help put out the fires and really renew the earth but even the 10th of an inch we got this morning was certainly a welcome gift.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Blush Tomatoes

One of my "new-to-me" tomato varieties is getting close to having its first ripe fruit. I purchased my "Blush" plant this Spring down at the Territorial Seed store. The signage mentioned that it had come in 2nd in a taste testing contest that they had held and I was also intrigued by its bullet shape. So home it came with me! The plant is now nicely covered with tresses of fruit. The immature tomatoes are a pretty soft green with dark green streaks. As they ripen they turn a strong yellow color with red streaks. A really pretty tomato in both stages. "Blush" appears to be growing well for me. It will be fun to see what my total harvest is from this plant and also to hear what my taste-testers at work think of its flavor.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The First 100 Degree Day

Rudbeckia Fulgida "Goldstrum"

It took until August, but Summer has officially arrived with full force! Today it hit 102, out first 100+ degree day of the year. Sadly, it is also suppose to be that warm tomorrow as well. I guess the good news is, this heat wave waited until August and didn't arrive months earlier like it has in the past few years.