Gardening Diary

Gardening... the object of my summer affection. Hard work, yet relaxing at the same time. The satisfaction from working the earth is elemental and delightful. Dining is a pleasure, eating fruit and veggies straight from the garden. The flavor of store bought veggies just cannot compare to what you can do in your own backyard!

Summer of 2001

I grew all the same veggies as in previous years. Added a new Rose Garden near our pool house, hoping these do better than the roses in the back yard. It's warmer up near our house, I am hoping that's the big difference. Every year I loose roses in the way back, I will not replace them as they die. I bought 22 roses from Home Depot, they were having a big sale of some off brand roses, they were only $2.97 each. Wouldn't that just figure that the cheapie rose thrive, while my Jackson and Perkins roses die off one by one? All the climbing roses I ordered last year from J&H died except for two. Geeesh.

The highlight of 2001 was that I broke down and bought some "real" equipment. I ordered a Rototiller and the Double Barrel Composter from Mantis. Guess what? They REALLY work! Woo Hoo! Every year I get a late start planting my vegetables, waiting for my landscaper, Mike, to show up with his rototiller.

My daughter Stephanie was so entranced with the rototiller that she was cutting S's all over the back yard. <G>

FROM MANTIS.... ORDER YOURS NOW! (and no, I don't get a commission)

Weighs 20 lbs, and it's all Muscle!

Lightweight, but powerful enough to till through sod and compacted soil. Turns soil into a fine texture, ready for planting. At 20 pounds it's easy to carry - to the shed, to the car, or to your neighbor who can't wait to try it! Great for senior gardeners. Fold-down handlebars now make it even easier to transport in your car or store in your shed.

Easy to handle. The convenient 9-inch tine width makes it easy to maneuver among perennials, into corners, between shrubs, and around trees. Perfect for raised beds, and gardens of all sizes.

Fun to use. Weeding is a snap! Just reverse the tilling tines.A 30' x 40' garden can be completely weeded in 20 minutes. Optional attachments & accessories will improve your gardening, lawn, & landscaping. </end commercial>

The Composter solved a big problem for me. We have so much garden junk, tree trimming, leaves, rotted vegetables, clippings from plants, pine needles, shrubs that get trimmed... I usually pay Mike to haul the crap away twice a summer. A few times I stuffed the garbage cans full, and then got a call from my trash company telling me not to do that.

Well, let me tell you, the composter has broken down everything I've put in there in a matter of weeks. The compost is beautiful, rich and dark, it can be used as mulch or rototilled into the soil. It's really, really good for the soil, totally enriches it. I placed a big bucket outside the back of the kitchen and I throw egg shells, coffee grinds, fruit and vegetable scraps in there and throw that in the composter. Just don't throw meat in there. It's amazing how fast it works!

Summer of 2000

First of all, I got a great new digicam, a Sony Mavica, looking forward to taking some great pics this summer. The old cam was horrible as you can tell by all the other pics in this section.

I have just completed putting the whole back yard (1 1/2acres) on a drip irrigation system. Tonight I ordered from the auto timer and auto fertilizer mechanism. If all goes as planned, I will water and fertilize all plants, trees, roses, veggies, berries, perennials and annuals at 4:00am, while I am sleeping.

New additions this year:

  • Stella D' Oro daylilies

  • 3 ornamental cherry trees

  • Dozens of gladiolus bulbs

  • Narcissus

  • 4 more tea roses

  • 9 climbing roses

  • 2 more grape vines

  • 1 blueberry bush

  • Added an arbor in the veggie garden and have cucumbers growing on it.

  • Added a cement bench underneath arbor, looks pretty. See photo enlarged.

What's growing on the veggie garden:

  • lots of tomatoes, all varieties, Roma, Big Boy, Cherry

  • hot peppers (purchased by accident, thought they were regular green

  • garlic

  • cucumbers

  • green peppers

  • yellow crookneck squash

  • zucchini

  • cantaloupe

  • water melon

  • planted asparagus seeds, will take 3 years to harvest

What's growing in my herb garden:

  • Basil, two varieties (for pesto!)

  • Cilantro (for salsa!)

  • Parsley, curled leaf and Italian

  • Sage

  • Rosemary

  • Tyme.... (hear a song coming on?)

  • Lemon Verbena (for tea)

  • Peppermint

  • Garlic Chives

  • Strawberries in a pot in the middle of this small garden.

Problems this year:

  • bought 2 fruit cherry trees from Home Depot, they died

  • japanese beetles a big problem again

  • the grapes look horrid, some bug is killing them.


Random notes:
I use hay as the mulch for my veggies. I use pine bark for the roses and shredded hardwood mulch for all the other gardens.

See photos of garden, summer of 2000.

Summer of 1999 Gardening Diary

Let's talk about my roses. If we do that then we have to talk about beetles. Japanese beetles. Chewing, gnawing, obnoxious little maroon colored beetles.
It was time to declare war!

I took a an old gatorade bottle and filled it with some water and a quarter cup of bleach. The I went on Beetle Patrol twice a day if I had the time or just once in the afternoon, knocking the little buggers right into the bottle. It was quite disgusting and I was quite pleased with myself.

Do not set out Japanese Beetle traps, (like the kind you buy at a gardening center) unless you want your yard to be the host for the annual beetle convention for your region. Trust me, I learned the hard way.

The beetles were so in love w/ my roses that they didn't even bother my vegetables a mere 50 feet away. The problem in the veggie garden this year was that all of the squash and pumpkins got some kind of weird disease and died, so no more of those types of plants will be planted there.

--->I found a Solution for Jap Beetles!

New Additions:
We also planted five fruit trees near the rose garden close to the back fence. Two apples; red and green, a pear, a nectarine and a peach.

The raspberries went crazy this year and my kids just stood at the back fence and feasted daily. I plan to plant more, so that I'll be able to make some desserts. The grape I planted in 97' is slow, not sure what the problem is. The Blueberry plant from 97 didn't survive, I will try again in another place.

Also, I installed a drip irrigation system from on the web. Since we had two years of drought in Maryland, that's what it had come down to. Great investment!

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