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Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 1st, 2016, 10:37 am
by Serpent
And did we mention, their cocoons are decorated with gold? These are some of the most beautiful creatures in the world. BTW Read Barbara Kingsolver's novel 'Flight Behavior'.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 7:39 am
by tantric
Serpent » March 1st, 2016, 10:37 am wrote:And did we mention, their cocoons are decorated with gold? These are some of the most beautiful creatures in the world. BTW Read Barbara Kingsolver's novel 'Flight Behavior'.


I spent 5 years working in a wildlife epidemiology lab where the PI's choice subjects where monarchs. Monarchs have this odd parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, with interesting transmission dynamics. Also, it's more or less impossible to study migratory bird diseases in a lab - butterflies are much easier. We had a chiller filled with them, shoeboxes full of glassine envelopes with a butterfly in them.When you opened the door, you could hear them scritching - a sound that lives in my nightmares. Not saying that Dr. Altizer was less than brilliant - she's pure genius.

I know how to breed them and check them for parasites, even on a fairly large scale. PM if you have questions.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 10:23 am
by vivian maxine
What am I growing right now? Saucer magnolias, Bradford Pears, Crab apple blossoms, forsythia, and several that I can't name. Whatever I can grow by just standing back and watching Mother Nature at work is growing. Grass is totally green. Leaves are out.. Spring has sprung.

I was growing lovely roses but discovered this morning that the new property owners apparently do not care for roses. Those are gone, being replaced with something else I do not recognize.

Another thing that - on this property - brings big smiles. The robins are back, along with starlings, grackles and morning doves. The squirrels are re-establishing themselves and keeping the confined house cats at the windows watching squirrel antics.

Why is all that so amazing? Because last year, the new owners had to do a lot of digging and cutting down to correct problems. This apparently ran nature's creatures away - including, I might say, a lot of homo sapiens . Our "garden" is returning to normal. The rabbits are not yet back but we can hope.

By the way, about those saucer magnolias, according to our conservation department's tree book, saucer magnolias do not grow in Missouri. No one told the trees. :-) But then, no one told the trees about late freezes in Missouri. Often the magnolias are doomed.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 4:48 pm
by Serpent
Plants and insects are not on the newsletter mailing list; they just die when it gets too hot, too dry, too cold, and when the big water come. Wild geese, evidently, are: they seem to know what weather to expect.

Our Canada geese are back; grackles have been here for a week; robin showed up two days ago and had a long altercation with his reflection in the rear-view mirror of our car. I haven't seen a redwing yet.

I hope there will be some butterflies and ladybugs this year. Last fall's swarm was a pathetic trickle.

What we have in the greenhouse is aphids. Just finished repotting all the tomato seedlings after manually delousing each one. No peppers survived and we have plant again. Young kale and beets doing okay. It's still two months before anything except snap peas, spinach and lettuce can go outside. I don't think I'll put any effort into flowers this year - just throw some leftover seeds at the planters on the deck.


tantric -
Not saying that Dr. Altizer was less than brilliant - she's pure genius.

Doesn't look one little bit like a monster. It's all in the pov, isn't it?

I know how to breed them and check them for parasites. PM if you have questions.

If there is a for-dummies trick to helping them along, please share. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 4:58 pm
by vivian maxine
Serpent » March 19th, 2016, 3:48 pm wrote:Plants and insects are not on the newsletter mailing list; they just die when it gets too hot, too dry, too cold, and when the big water come. Wild geese, evidently, are: they seem to know what weather to expect.

Our Canada geese are back; grackles have been here for a week; robin showed up two days ago and had a long altercation with his reflection in the rear-view mirror of our car. I haven't seen a redwing yet.

I hope there will be some butterflies and ladybugs this year. Last fall's swarm was a pathetic trickle.

What we have in the greenhouse is aphids. Just finished repotting all the tomato seedlings after manually delousing each one. No peppers survived and we have plant again. Young kale and beets doing okay. It's still two months before anything except snap peas, spinach and lettuce can go outside. I don't think I'll put any effort into flowers this year - just throw some leftover seeds at the planters on the deck.


Not saying that Dr. Altizer was less than brilliant - she's pure genius.

Doesn't look one little bit like a monster. It's all in the pov, isn't it?

If there is a for-dummies trick to helping them along, please share. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested.


Serpent, is your "redwing" what we call a "cardinal"? The male is totally brilliant red with a crest on its head. They female is a bit lighter red - a more dull red. Is that your redwing? Just wondering.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 9:25 pm
by Watson
Spring was here and all was looking good, but I went away for a week, snow and cold weather came back and froze my pump. When will I learn. Seem like a new pump every two years. With lesser problems in between. I should just move to a warmer place like a normal person.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 19th, 2016, 9:57 pm
by Serpent
vivian maxine » March 19th, 2016, 3:58 pm wrote:Serpent, is your "redwing" what we call a "cardinal"? The male is totally brilliant red with a crest on its head. They female is a bit lighter red - a more dull red. Is that your redwing? Just wondering.

No, I meant red-winged blackbird, cousin to grackles and cowbirds; territorial, fearless; sounds like a cat.

I have a pair of cardinals all winter long. The female is just as lovely, in more subtle hues. They usually come to the feeder in early evening, take turns feeding and keeping watch. Very polite and quiet. I'd call them my favourite visitors, if it weren't for the downy woodpecker and rose-breasted grosbeak.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 5:12 am
by tantric
If there is a for-dummies trick to helping them along, please share. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested.


Monarchs, of course, are dependent on milkweed. Native varieties grow pretty slow, so plant Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed, as an annual - this is the plant we grew in a greenhouse to feed the hungry larvae. This is more for the spring return migration, which goes in stages - fly a bit north, lay eggs, eggs hatch ->monarchs, fly a bit more north.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 8:22 am
by vivian maxine
Serpent » March 19th, 2016, 8:57 pm wrote:
vivian maxine » March 19th, 2016, 3:58 pm wrote:Serpent, is your "redwing" what we call a "cardinal"? The male is totally brilliant red with a crest on its head. They female is a bit lighter red - a more dull red. Is that your redwing? Just wondering.

No, I meant red-winged blackbird, cousin to grackles and cowbirds; territorial, fearless; sounds like a cat.

I have a pair of cardinals all winter long. The female is just as lovely, in more subtle hues. They usually come to the feeder in early evening, take turns feeding and keeping watch. Very polite and quiet. I'd call them my favourite visitors, if it weren't for the downy woodpecker and rose-breasted grosbeak.


Ah! All right. Those redwings are quite handsome also. A quiet cardinal? Must be the male. We once had a cardinal nesting on the roof of our apartment building. Only a two-story building which may have been part of the problem. Every time anyone came out of the building and walked down the sidewalk, the female on her nest screached to high heaven. I guess she thought we were after her babies.

I have read that North America is the only place where cardinals exist. Friends from Australia visited Canada one time and spotted a cardinal figurine. They didn't know what bird it was but had to have that figurine. Now they know.

Enjoy. Our robins are back. We missed them last year.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 8:29 am
by vivian maxine
Watson » March 19th, 2016, 8:25 pm wrote:Spring was here and all was looking good, but I went away for a week, snow and cold weather came back and froze my pump. When will I learn. Seem like a new pump every two years. With lesser problems in between. I should just move to a warmer place like a normal person.



Normal? I just looked out my window. It is snowing! Watson, please don't send us your weather!

Seriously, it is pretty even if we were welcoming spring. But heaven help the saucer magnolia. Typical story.

Happy winter, Watson!

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 11:52 am
by Serpent
March is supposed to be up-and-down. If it were all warm and sunny, I'd panic. Even as it's been the last couple of years, too mild too soon, I worry: the fruit trees get conned into flowering, and then the freeze comes.

I will plant more milkweed, probably today, though our wild crop has been quite healthy of late. Thanks, Tantric.

If only I could see the cardinals nesting! The male had been alone for two winters; only this year has he brought along the little hen. I'd love to see babies. If young blue jays are anything to go by, they should be quite comical.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 12:39 pm
by vivian maxine
You are right. Typical March and typical Missouri. The snow carried on for several hours. It is now totally gone. Not snowing and none lying around anywhere. And two forsythia bushes are a bright yellow.

Two years running, we had pair of mourning doves nest on the window ledge - about three to four inches wide. Two chicks each time. Right from the start, those babies walked along that ledge like pros.

Funny how the parents built the nest. The female just sat there while the male brought the twigs, etc. He'd lay them close to her and she'd tuck them around herself.

By the third year, that ledge had gotten quite soiled. I watched that pair stand facing each other, looking as if they were discussing the situation. Evidently they decided the location would not do and they went elsewhere leaving the ledge to be washed down by rains.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 1:17 pm
by Serpent
I'd hate to live in a world without birds!
In Ontario, we expect the nesting season to get started a bit later, but everyone is in great voice already and getting their best plumage on.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: March 20th, 2016, 1:23 pm
by vivian maxine
Serpent » March 20th, 2016, 12:17 pm wrote:I'd hate to live in a world without birds!
In Ontario, we expect the nesting season to get started a bit later, but everyone is in great voice already and getting their best plumage on.


Even our crows are musical. At least to me and especially this year as they return to our skies.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 16th, 2016, 7:36 pm
by mtbturtle
Snow Drops are long gone,crocuses are almost done but still popping up all over the beds. mini daffodils and standard daffodils are starting to open this week also along with the snow glories. Crabapple trees and lilacs are budding. Service berry is budding, and the Forsysthia looks to be loaded this year. First year of real blooms, rabbits have gotten in previously. And the quince is putting on a lot of buds - I had one lone orange bloom last year. Parade of daffodils should start get going full steam soon.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 19th, 2016, 10:05 pm
by Watson
The grass is starting to appear from the cold wet slumber, @#$!gh#@
It'll be a few weeks yet before any buds and other spring sprouts appear, although I did see a robin (in a toque) the other day.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 22nd, 2016, 6:53 pm
by mtbturtle
Watson » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:05 pm wrote:The grass is starting to appear from the cold wet slumber, @#$!gh#@
It'll be a few weeks yet before any buds and other spring sprouts appear, although I did see a robin (in a toque) the other day.


Hi Watson,

What growing zone are you in up there...3? 1?

plant some early bulbs like crocus, snow drops, or even grape hyacinths right in the lawn to get an early spring bloom fix :)

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 22nd, 2016, 10:58 pm
by Watson
Hi,
It is growing zone 2, but zone -1 over night. It has bean cooler so all the my sprouts are starting inside. I do keep thinking of planting tulips, but the next thing I know it is this time next year and again to early to think about it. I have been trying to grow corn for the last few season, but it never comes up. This year a have a cob that dried since last summer and I put a few kernel in soil to test, and 3 days later I have sprouts. This morning, nothing but tonight I have corn sprout. So this is the year I'll have corn.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2016, 9:05 am
by mtbturtle
Watson » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:58 pm wrote:Hi,
It is growing zone 2, but zone -1 over night. It has bean cooler so all the my sprouts are starting inside. I do keep thinking of planting tulips, but the next thing I know it is this time next year and again to early to think about it. I have been trying to grow corn for the last few season, but it never comes up. This year a have a cob that dried since last summer and I put a few kernel in soil to test, and 3 days later I have sprouts. This morning, nothing but tonight I have corn sprout. So this is the year I'll have corn.



I tried Tulips, the critters ate most of them so I switched to Daffodils. Plant in the fall before the first snow for you around Sept? You might look into straw bail gardening. It will provide warmer "soil" temperature for you to get things going and a slightly longer growing season. You probably have to start most things indoors, except things like spinach and greens. I've never grown corn, one of the things I let the farmers market grow for me. :)

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2016, 10:52 am
by vivian maxine
(quote="mtbturtle") I tried Tulips, the critters ate most of them so I switched to Daffodils. (/quote)

mtbturtle, I hope your critters were the four-legged kind. Management planted several beds of already-in-full-bloom tulips here. Some critter cut off all the blooms at one bed for his/her living room. And, no, it wasn't a dog or cat or deer. And I doubt our squirrels like tulips. Fortunately, he/she left the other beds for us to enjoy. Just trimmed the one above the wall where he/she could hide if anyone came by.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2016, 3:34 pm
by Serpent
We have daffodils blooming like crazy and the grape hyacinths and crocuses are starting to show. I seem to lose a lot of bulbs and tubers - flower one year, nothing the next - so I don't bother with things like lilies and dahlias anymore. Late in the fall, I buy some 10- or 12- packs of little bulbs on sale for a dollar or two and plunk them in whenever the soil gets soft enough. Whatever comes up next year will be welcome.
This time, I might try try putting some in the containers out front, along with runner beans. There is an ugly propane tank I'd like to disguise with climbing anything. Clematis wimped out; morning glory doesn't get going much before July, sweet peas just bunched up on the first rung of the fence and didn't bother climbing. So - maybe tall flowers....
Oh. Sunflowers! The birds scatter enough seed around the place for a forest of volunteer sunflowers every spring, in all the wrong places. Maybe I'll try some in the bins, then leave them ripen in place for next fall.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2016, 4:11 pm
by vivian maxine
When you said "tall", that's where my mind went. I've seen sunflowers six feet tall. Of course, that was in Kansas. Depends on where you are. But they grow thin and straight. Lots of see-through space. How much can you crowd them? How about wild rose bushes? They bloom all summer. The owner of a filling station and his neighbor, a car-wash business have a row of those along the very busy street here. That might be a bit much for a propane tank, though. Oh, what about sage grass?

Bulbs? Have you tried irises? Those critters can take over a yard in no time and they don't quit. I once saw a picture of a huge field full of purple irises. Don't remember how large the field was. Just that the owner liked irises and started them there. They filled the field. Beautiful.

Clematis are lovely, too, if they do right and bloom heavily. Hard to have, it seems.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 23rd, 2016, 4:29 pm
by Serpent
The sunflower seed I have right now is the small oily kind sold for bird food. They grow 18-24" tall and have a nice little head that doesn't droop and looks good in vases. But I can get some of the big striped seed at the farmers' co-op. Not sure how they would do in a plastic bin with less than 2' of soil. I've tried to grow those as a garden crop one time, but so few matured that I ended up leaving them in the field for the birds and chipmunks.

I do have irises that seem to have been here forever. They certainly don't require much care, would probably be quite happy in containers. But I think I'll go with the small sunflowers, mix in some milkweed (I love the smell of milkweed bloom!) and a handful of buckwheat. Flowers all summer for us; a feast for my little aerial friends in the fall.

The new plan doesn't accommodate beans very well. I think I'll put them in tall buckets in between the bins. That way, I can give them a head-start indoors.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 24th, 2016, 8:21 am
by vivian maxine
Serpent, wouldn't the bulbs and rhizomes of your irises get cramped and maybe killed in a container? Since it is through spread of the rhizomes and bulbs that the irises increase, can they survive in a container? Maybe. I don't know. Just wondered.

And I misspoke when I said sage grass - a wild, troublesome (to some people) weed. I cannot think what it is called now - a tall, willowy sage-colored grass that is being used as decoration in yards and parks around the country now. It has become quite popular. Maybe someone here will recognize it.

By the way, what is a weed? A plant that man has not yet found a use for. Wouldn't a field of dandelions be beautiful? But so short-lived.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 24th, 2016, 10:13 am
by Serpent
A field of dandelions is beautiful. We don't mow the back yard until the end of June. Ten years ago, I was out there, picking off their heads for wine - work-intensive, but very good! The small leaves are okay in salad; older ones make a spinach-like cooked vegetable. So, whether something has a use depends on which man is thinking about it. I also gathered pollen from bulrushes and the tiny seeds from yellow madder - Whew! Even without the hunting, gathering is a time-consuming occupation.... But that time doubles as scientific observation, spatial orientation, gentle physical exercise, introspection, finding flow, if you like. Can we say the same for any factory job?

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: April 24th, 2016, 10:57 am
by vivian maxine
Serpent » April 24th, 2016, 9:13 am wrote:A field of dandelions is beautiful. We don't mow the back yard until the end of June. Ten years ago, I was out there, picking off their heads for wine - work-intensive, but very good! The small leaves are okay in salad; older ones make a spinach-like cooked vegetable. So, whether something has a use depends on which man is thinking about it. I also gathered pollen from bulrushes and the tiny seeds from yellow madder - Whew! Even without the hunting, gathering is a time-consuming occupation.... But that time doubles as scientific observation, spatial orientation, gentle physical exercise, introspection, finding flow, if you like. Can we say the same for any factory job?


We used to fix dandelion greens with our dinners also. Mostly braised them in bacon grease, same way we did spinach. Don't do that any more because cities spray and we never know whether or not. They say dandelion wine is good. I've never had any. The only good home-made wine I've ever had was made by my brother's in-laws who came from Italy. Now, those people knew how to make wine! A tad sweet for my tastes now but was delicious back then. I have fond memories of that family. Wonderful people.

Yes, reaping and gathering from Mother Nature beats mechanically-boring factory jobs any day. Blackberries and raspberries are both much tastier than what we buy in the market (hot house type).

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: May 9th, 2016, 6:38 pm
by mtbturtle
Daffodils are blooming Imagedaffodil bouquet 2016 by mtb turtle

Lilacs and crabapples are also smelling up the yard

Need to get some hostas split and transplanted

won't be putting any veggis in for another 2 weeks or so.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: May 10th, 2016, 6:44 am
by vivian maxine
Lovely, mtb, Can anything smell up a yard like lilacs?

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: May 10th, 2016, 11:31 am
by Watson
My vegies are in?? A few weeks early, I know but I have tarps to cover if needed.

Mostly I kept the seeds from peppers and several of them came up, but I have no idea what color, or variety they are. And three of them appear to be tomato. Three rows of corn, and a smaller few rows of Char were planted a week or so ago.
A friend with a greenhouse gave me several more peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and water melon and a few others, all labelled and dated. And now planted. It is discouraging to see mtb waiting a few weeks. Make me feel I should be expecting snow.
And it is going down to 2-0 in the next few nights. I'll go 'dig out' the tarps, and maybe a space heater to hide under there.
Since I am committed, I'll plant some potatoes as well.

Re: Gardening: What are you growing ?

PostPosted: May 10th, 2016, 3:19 pm
by Serpent
We've been having up-and-down weather: summer heat alternating with frost.
Tomatoes are in the big containers (That's how we do now; don't plant them out in beds.), flowering and tall, still in the greenhouse, impatient to get outside. At least we can leave the doors open during the day and let some insects at them. We lost some seedlings to aphids, as usual.

I started cucumbers and squash in the greenhouse, this year - too soon: they're really getting out of hand. Lots of blossoms; I'm tempted to fry a batch, but they're mostly small: too fiddly to batter.

PS Dandelion wine was one of my most popular. Carrot and sour cherry were good; parsnip was very good (and easy!); the best was elderberry. I used to go out at first light on October mornings, but the Mennonite ladies beat me to best fruit for their pies and jellies. Joke's on them: I'd already made a batch of wine from the flowers in July.
The highways department in its infinitesimal wisdom mowed down hundreds of productive elderberry bushes along our side-road.
Home-made wine is usually too sweet. I guess the fermentation doesn't finish: once we stop seeing bubbles, we rack and bottle the stuff, skipping the barrel aging. Whatever I managed to save for 5 years, even in bottles, was better than the very young wine we usually drank.