Aphid Attack

June 9, 2020

Most of the English Broad Beans are doing well, but a couple of them are getting covered up top with a lot of black aphids.

Black aphids galore!

Fun fact. Most aphids are born pregnant! That is how they become so prolific so quickly.

After I saw this problem starting last week, I ordered 1,000 Green Lacewing eggs, and wrote to my fellow Master Gardeners, letting them know I ordered the Green Lacewings, and asked about what I should do. They said to wash the aphids off as best I could with a strong spray of water, and go ahead and release the Green Lacewings.

Last year I had ordered Ladybugs, and didn’t get them to stay around much, even though I released them at night after I watered. I had heard they would come thirsty, and would try to fly to far off places if not released at night with wetness around. So much for the theory. I am hoping that the Green Lacewings will stick around. Although it seems that it is recommended to release a couple more batches bi-weekly, I’ll see how this batch goes. If they stick around enough to help, I will order more.

Here they are aphid attackers on their way!
HANGING IN THE HOOD

The instructions said to hang them up near the troublesome spot for up to 11 days.

The strawberries are starting to come up ripe, and I am pretty excited about that. We have eaten a couple, but hope to have a lot more this year as the plants are much healthier, because I put some rabbit manure on early in the season.

YUM!

I have had to thin the carrot patch several times, and it has been a great addition to the lettuce from the garden for a nice salad. Also, I have found a few small slugs, and saved myself some future grief by getting rid of them early.

Small, but still tastes just like carrot.

The other side of the story here is that we are cleaning up the house to get it ready for sale. I have been helping our granddaughter clean and pack her room this week, and it has been going pretty well. She has appreciated very much the help, and it has been good to spend some extra time with her.

That’s is for this week!

Goodbye, and God be with you, Grandma.

Tea Time

June 2, 2020,

In years past I would wait for my peppermint plants to be just about flowering to harvest them. This would have their essential oils in the flowers be at their fullest for the best flavor. I decided that I might not get that opportunity what with getting ready to sell and move to out future home. Also, if we end up not moving until a few months have gone, it will have grown up again, and I can get in a second harvest. This year also, I have another variety of mint, a chocolate mint.

To harvest them, I cut them with scissors leaving some stem. Then I wrap a rubber band around the stem, hanging the leaves upside down attached to the hanger, and put it up in the laundry room to dry. After they are dry, I have some glass jars that seal that I will store them in.

You can see in the picture the difference in the size between the Chocolate Mint, and the Peppermint. I am sure looking forward to a warm cup of tea this coming winter in my new home.

I worked yesterday in the garden hilling soil up around the potatoes, hoeing weeds, and replanting beans where they didn’t come up.

The Yukon Gold potatoes are on the left, and the red potatoes are on the right.

I dug trenches about eight inches deep to plant the potatoes in. Covered them over with about two inches of soil above the potatoes. Now that the potatoes have grown and gotten large stems above ground, I pulled soil up covering the lower stems of the plants. This way they will grow more potatoes.

Next year I plan on trying the no dig method where you place the potatoes on top of the soil and cover they with straw, putting more straw around the stems as they grow. That will save a lot of effort digging trenches.

The Fava beans have gotten much taller, a little over two feet. Unfortunately, the aphids seem to love them, but I found a few ladybugs on some of the leaves. Not nearly enough to take care of them. So I ordered one thousand Green Lacewing eggs which will be arriving next week. Last year we ordered three thousand lady bugs, which seem to have dispersed, and we don’t see many. Hopefully the Lacewings will stick around. They like aphids to eat, and there is plenty for them. One other thing about the Fava beans, They are flowering! So we will have beans soon!

Flowers starting, soon to be beans!
LADY BUG EGGS ON THE CHOCOLATE MINT

The black stem is actually aphids.
LADYBUG ON THE FAVA BEANS.

The bush beans have been coming up, but some of them didn’t sprout, so I put some of the seeds to soak yesterday in water, and have planted them today where the empty spaces are that they didn’t sprout in.

Filling in the empty spaces where the seeds didn’t sprout among the ones that did.

The bees, butterfly, and humming bird garden is filling up with the plants getting larger. It sure is exciting to see the birds at their feeder, and I am looking forward to when the flowers have opened up, as well as see the pollinating insects flying around.

Bees and butterfly garden.

The Amaryllis that my late brother gave to my mother for Christmas, and she passed on to me, is blooming again. This time there are five blossoms opening up. I took the stamen from some of them, and cross pollinated the flowers. When the seed pods dry up, I will store the seeds in the refrigerator for three months, then plant them. It will be fun to grow more of them. Perhaps I will have a green house at the new place to grow them in.

This is a picture of me in front of the Korean Dogwood tree in my back yard. This was the first tree we planted here. I got the tree in a two gallon pot from a nursery my horticulture class helped out at.

The apron I am wearing my grandmother had before me. I didn’t have any pockets in my pants, so I found it convenient to have my keys, and cell phone in the apron pockets. It was too warm for the sweater I have that has pockets. This apron was perfect, and I will use it more often.

Bye for now, and may God be with you.

Grandma.

Memorial Plant

May 26, 2020. Today, I transplanted two Jade houseplants from way undersized pots, to one big pot. The Jade is from a plant that my grandfather gave me. Unfortunately, the original plant was killed by some malicious neighbor boys several years ago. But we kept some cuttings, and rooted them in some small pots. Now I’ve finally gotten to potting them up into this bigger pot. Good memories of a Grandfather well loved by many.

Next, I planned to plant the marigolds, and zinnias I had started from last years plants seeds. So I got everything together. Some lime, some fertilizer, fish fertilizer, and some bone meal for the Daffodils that I was planting them over. One really important thing was the kneeling pad, so I don’t ruin my knees!

By the time I cleaned out the weeds, and fertilized the area with the bone meal, and lime, I decided it was a much bigger job than I wanted to do myself. I reluctantly put away my things until my husband has time to plant the marigolds, and zinnias with me. I kept the fish fertilizer, and sprayed my blueberries, strawberries, grape vines, and vegetable garden with it.

This is what it looked like last year wit the marigolds and zinnias.
Adding four Tablespoons of fish fertilizer to two gallons of water in my sprayer.
The nasturtiums I started from seed have some beautiful jewels on them left over from the rain.

Every time I have passed by the carrot raised bed, I have pulled weeds, and even thrown out a slug or two! Now the carrots are looking great, and soon I shall be able to take off the screen we put on top to keep out the creature that had been digging in it. I think it was a squirrel that had been sequestering away some peanuts, or sunflower seeds we had been giving it.

Last year we had Jerusalem Artichokes growing in this same raised bed, because they can become invasive. We harvested them, and some we roasted (they were delicious), and others we made seven jars of pickles Jerusalem Artichokes (very good too). We decided we wanted to grow the carrots in the raised bed instead, as the carrots we grew last year in the garden didn’t do very well. So far all is well!

See you again soon!

Grandma

Harvest Time

May 19, 2020

I was watching a vlog, and the author described that the spinach was about to go to seed when the bottom lobes of the spinach become pointed. I looked at the spinach in my garden, and sure enough, the lobes were pointed, so it was time to harvest.

I filled up my largest bowl with spinach, washed it, and spun it in my salad spinner. My granddaughter enjoyed helping spin it.

Your children or grandchildren will love helping to spin it

I got two bags of spinach from each bowlful I collected. Altogether, I was able to freeze 8 one gallon freezer Ziploc bags of spinach from the garden.

One reminder, is to preserve only the best from your garden. If it was not a full leaf with a stem, I did not freeze it, but saved it in a separate bag to be used fresh.

You can use frozen spinach crumbled in eggs for omelets, add to soups and stews for an extra boost of vitamins. My husband, who loves to bake, has a recipe for bagels that uses spinach. I can’t wait to try it!

After I preserved the spinach, I replanted the area with bush bean seeds, and fertilized with an organic fertilizer, one cup of fertilizer for every 10 feet of row. I had two rows, so I used two cups of organic fertilizer. I used seeds from a company that is in our pacific northwest area, so that the seed would be acclimated for our region. I watered in the fertilizer after spreading it.

The Flower Garden

Our flower garden is picking up. The Western Wallflower is blooming orange blossoms, and the native plant Foxglove is starting to bloom as well.

We also have invited the squirrels and birds to our yard. You can see the bird feeders hanging in the picture. We are seeing more different kinds of birds than I have seen here before. Evening Grosbeaks, Western Scrub-jays, and the Housefinch. So much fun! The Western Scrub-jays have been taking bits from my coconut coir basket my Nasturtiums are in that are on our patio just outside our back door. So they are making a nest. Hopefully, we will be able to see the little ones later.

You can see the fence in the background. We have a squirrel corn feeder on the fence post. We put a new corn cob out every other day. We also put peanuts, and sunflower seed in the ceramic ornament that is in the far right corner you can see of the flower garden, for the squirrels. The squirrels use the fence as a super highway to travel the whole neighborhood. One day we saw a Stellars jay, and a squirrel chasing each other in the flower garden over a peanut!

Getting Ready for Spinning

I have a bag of wool that I am working through washing. This is the first time I have used the washing machine to clean the wool, as our last washing machine was too automatic. It also would act up a lot, and it would take forever to get a load of laundry through.

First it is necessary to use a scouring soap and hot water to clean the lanolin from the raw wool. Lanolin is the grease that coats the wool. It is important to not let the wool agitate in the washer, as that would make it felt, and be unusable for making yarn. I put the hot water, wool, and the scouring soap in the washer and let it soak for fifteen minutes.

This is a vegetable based soap that will not hurt the environment.
The wool is in mesh bags for cleaning in the washer.

While it is soaking in the scouring wash, I gently squeeze it a few times to release more of the dirt and lanolin. After fifteen minutes, I drain the dirty soap water, and fill the tub again with hot water, and soak the wool for fifteen minutes to rinse the wool. Drain again, and put on spin to get out the excess water. Spinning does not felt the wool. Then I put it out on the picnic table to dry outside.

This wool has been extra dirty at the tips, and hasn’t been able to be fully cleaned, but it is very long, so I have been cutting off the stained tips, and still had plenty of length to use it.

Tonight is spinning guild night. Because of the Covid virus, our meetings are conducted over Zoom. This is the first time I will Zoom with the guild. I have started on a Mobius cowl that I will share my progress tonight with my guild. After it is finished, I will upload a picture to my next blog. I am making this cowl from my own handspun yarn made from bought roving. It was spun bulky.

I am having trouble with my cable from my phone, and wasn’t able to upload the picture of my start on the Mobius cowl. I will get a new cable today.

Good day to you, and may God richly bless you.

Grandma

What’s in the garden now?

Today, I took the soaker hoses out of the shed that we got from Harbor Freight last year, and wound them through the garden to be able to water the garden without over head sprinkling, and getting the leaves wet. This will allow us to water the garden without wasting a lot to evaporation. Watering early in the morning, or later in the evening will also prevent wasted water from too much evaporation.

This is the soaker hose, with landscape fabric stakes to keep in place.
It is now placed among the plants, including the salad garden pictured here.

Another thing my husband helped me to do, since last writing, was to transplant some tomato seedlings. I had five pots of Roma tomato’s that I had planted some seeds in. I thought I only put two seeds in each pot, and I was going to cut out one of them if they both sprouted, but this pot had eight seeds sprout, and I just didn’t have the heart to cut out seven, to only leave one. How the pot got so many seeds planted in it I don’t know. I thought I was being careful, but I guess being surprised with extra children happens, even to the best of us! This happened with more than one pot too, as you can see here.

These are Roma tomato seedlings.

I had three pots I started with Roma seeds to use for canning, and two I started with Sweetie for a red cherry type. We will see how many I really get when I am done transplanting. I also have four others I bought as one gallon transplants. Two Early Girl for slicing, one Sweet 100, and one Yellow Gold. They are much bigger. I wonder if the ones I started from seed will get big enough by the end of the season to have a crop, or if I started them too late.

This one is the Sun Gold. You can see the soaker hose.

I decided to set a trap in the salad garden for the slugs, which love to eat holes in my spinach, and lettuce. I put a board in the garden among them, and in the morning I looked under it, and have found a few slugs that way.

The Doublefile Viburnum is in full bloom right now, and my granddaughter just loves getting her picture with it. I planted it in honor of my mother’s mother who loved gardening.

I am also listening to the “Thriving Farmer Summit” which has a lot of information that will be helpful when I can get started with making a market garden. I am so looking forward to when we are moved to our property, and I can get started. I know I will miss this place too, as we have been here 25 years this month, and have made a lot of memories.

Bye for now,

Grandma

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.