- Author: Cheryl A Potts
Those of us of a certain, vague age know--really know--time speeds up as we mature. Another birthday, already!? Christmas shopping, already!? I just put my fall/Halloween decorations away, and it is time to plan my family Easter dinner, dye eggs, and place those cute bunnies in appropriate places throughout the garden, already!?
So we arrive home after a week of summer RV camping and the garden is overflowing with zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and chard; but what is in my mailbox? Seed catalogs telling me it is time to start my fall/winter garden. Already!?
My bell peppers are just coming in, but I am being told it is time to plant broccoli. A ton of chard is available in my garden, but I am being told to get those kale seeds in the ground, not to mention twelve varieties of lettuce. Apparently, I need to get beets in the ground where my egg plant is just getting ready to hatch.
When does a veggie gardener rest? When can I just take a break from planting, picking, watering, mulching, composting, planning, pruning?
At the beginning of every spring, looking forward I say, "no winter garden this year. Let's take a break". Every fall, still looking forward, I say, "no summer garden this year. Let's take a break". My husband just looks at me, smiles, and says, "Give me a break."
So which garlic should I plant this winter?
- Author: Cheryl A Potts
"Quickly pick", I said to Rick
So we can have some more.
"Quit the pick", I said to Rick
The pile is very great.
A thousand zucchini.
A million zucchini.
"This makes me sick", I said to Rick
Next year, cantaloupe.
- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
I tend to forget what colors to expect in my backyard when summer blooms come along. By the time summer arrives, I have forgotten what we planted the previous autumn. This year’s blooms have arrived, and they are overwhelmingly … orange.
Orange is one of those colors: either you love it or hate it. I know one Master Gardener who shuns orange-colored blossoms altogether. Some green thumbs may seek out nothing but orange (or rust or peach or tangerine) blooms or even foliage (New Zealand flax, coral bells, for instance) for their yards. I’ve managed to gather a crazy quilt of orange bloomers, and, you know what? I like ‘em!
I put in a lion’s tail mainly because I love the type of flowers it puts on, aptly named (they look like a lion’s tail!) whacky whorls of true orange. Bees and hummingbirds LOVE this plant, and the bright orange blooms light up the area around the tall perennial.
Two daylilies I’ve put in have turned out to be stunningly orange. One is a darker, almost rust colored single bloomer; the other is a ruffled double bloom, in true, bright orange.
Our agastache that draws hordes of hummingbirds is commonly known as sunset hyssop. It is a sherbet-toned bloomer that glows orangish-pink. And the California fuchsia, which will continue to bloom deep into the heat of summer, is a fire-engine reddish-orange, and, boy, do the hummingbirds love it, too.
Perhaps the most orange of all is the Calibrachoa ‘Dreamsicle’. This one I planted just a month ago, solely because of its color. It shares a pot with a stately purple bloomer (Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serena’), and the color combination draws my eye every time I step outside.
Maybe I should map out my plantings by color. But I have to say the surprises summer brings are much more fun.
- Author: Marime Burton
After a couple of lackluster years in my vegetable garden I have high hopes for this summer’s effort. For the first time in far too long, bees are working busily in my garden.
The combination of cooler than usual summers the past two years, along with a dwindling bee population has made its mark in my back yard. Tomatoes, zucchini, cantaloupe and beans that grew effortlessly have required hand pollination which has been only marginally successful. Even with that extra effort, the relatively cool temperatures of the past two summers have not spurred the tomatoes into their usual fruiting frenzy.
The bees made themselves known in March when the ceanothus began to bloom. We could hear the frenetic buzzing from inside the house. By the time the ceanothus quieted down, bees were busy in the potato vine and beginning to visit the bright yellow blooms on the tomato plants. I’m hopeful pollination will proceed accordingly
As for the hot summer, it’s more of a double-edged sword. Those cooler summers may not have encouraged vegetables but they sure made the season easier to enjoy. I know we can’t have both, and now while it’s cool, tomatoes have the edge over 100 degree days. You have to be careful what you wish for though, and the outcome probably depends on whether I begin to delight in the vegetables before the heat hits us.