Thursday, July 19, 2018

Oops... Missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for July!

I completely forgot Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the 15th! 

 I won't link it from the site, which is 

It's a monthly thing, and I missed it...  😟 

So, here's what was blooming in my garden, less the vegetables.  

one gladiola (I did not plant it in the fruit tree bed!)
lemon beebalm
lemon beebalm
lance-leaf coreopsis and Shasta daisies
four o'clocks
morning glories

American Revolution daylily

bachelor buttons
Foxley thyme (this one always flowersmonths after the English, or garden, thyme)
 ...and lots of different mints, which will be in a post of their own within the next few days since their flowers vary so much I thought it was interesting. 

Below left - banana mint, to the right is strawberry mint.  

Above is pineapple mint, on the right woolly apple mint...  and the last photo shows lemony catnip (winter sown from minuscule seeds!)

So, not a whole lot of fabulous flowers in July.  Too hot. It sure looks a miserable bunch!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Where'd This Growth Come From? Mid-July Updates, Some Pretties and Doggie Business

WOW!  Something turned the garden growth up several notches (I think I know what, see further on) and there are some incredible things happening!  What with the earwig invasion, the poor soil, the "dog vomit" slime mold, etc., etc., I'm so incredibly thrilled!

I was so disgruntled (why don't we use "gruntled" anymore, it's a great word!) with the earlier damage, I just took the rest of my seeds and planted them, anywhere, with no map.  So, while I thought it was where I sowed the ornamental gourds, it must be the warty French pumpkins.  It couldn't be the mini-pumpkins... or the Sweetmeat squash... I don't think. It's too big! 

The for-sure warty French pumpkins are doing nicely too, with blossoms, although so far only male blossoms.  That's normal, the female ones come later.  The leaves aren't quite the same as the Humongo squash (whether it be pumpkin, squash or gourd), and quite a bit smaller.

I have to start looking where I step.

The Serendipity corn has tassels and what will become the ears!  I am giddy with delight!  I have never, in my entire life, grown corn!  I was advised not to by Master Gardeners, as each plant only produces one ear, two at most, and corn is cheap to buy.  But, I just wanted to try it, even if just once.  The plants aren't the labeled 6' yet, but are over 5'.  

What do I credit for this amazing turnaround? Gardner & Bloome Organic High Growth Fertilizer!
You can tell by the higher nitrogen content (the first number), it's meant to be used during active growth, before flower and fruit production.  It's brown and sticky (molasses) and smelly (fish)!  I was given it by an ex-coworker last year, and it is unbelievable stuff! 

How else can you explain growth like this in under one month?  Here's the same bed on June 23.  Those monster leaf plants are the teeny ones in the upper right corner!  Plus, look at the beans!

These are the beans today...

On a side note, the weather has been hot, hot, hot.  Very.  Over 100° for days and days.  There was one thunderstorm on Sunday, but then it was just hot and humid! Loud thunder and gorgeous lightening though.  I've noticed how nice the garden looks after a thunderstorm, nature's nitrogen fix!  Our atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, and lightening break up the nitrogen molecules, some mix with oxygen and come down with the rain!  So, even a little rain was beneficial.  I was going to add that as of now the valley was clear of wildfire smoke, but then I got an email about a nearby "fast moving wildfire" just a few miles from here!  It's not moving our way, so we're fine. 

The heat is not beneficial to Edward the Goldendoodle.  I've mentioned how he suffers from allergies, but I don't think the word sufficiently describes Edward's issue.  I bathed him this morning in Boo's Pool® with E3 Antibacterial/Antifungal shampoo. It's great stuff for itches, gets rid of yeast and even handles ringworm!  It's sold in feed stores, usually in the horse area, but it's safe for dogs too. My vet read the label and said it looked good for Edward.  Here's how he looked after his bath:

Now, that's what Edward's allergies do it him!  Not always, sometimes he gets hot spots he licks bloody, but so far this year he's been good there.  If he gets an underlying bacterial infection his skin turns grey on his belly and his back has red spots.  Some of these welts are from his frantic trashing around to ease the itch.  He also tries to outrun the itch, racing around the house.  It's horrible for him, and horrible for us to see it.  His Doodle curls have been shaved quite short, as you can see, because Doodles don't shed and this helps him stay cooler in the summer.  He just needs to stay out of the sun!  So, while we can all say, "Poor Edward," let's not say I'm a "Bad Doodle Mama."  He takes daily prescription allergy meds, and today I added two OTC store brand Benedryl.  It's okay to mix them with this prescriptions.  It's settled him down, and most of the redness and swelling are gone.  He's also inside (he and Boo usually are, but now it's more important than ever due to the heat) in the AC.  He doesn't have food allergies, he has seasonal allergies, with something each season!  He used to be fine after a hard frost, but now he stays on his meds all year long.  He wouldn't like the photo, it shows his "rolls of skin!"  Under the adorable curls a Goldendoodle is just another dog!

Boo had a late night ER trip last night.  He may have had a foxtail up his nose.  He was sneezing blood all over the place.  Since he had a fever (surprise!) they did a blood test before probing up his nose to rule out anything else.  They did end up anesthetizing him, flushing his nose (from the back- how would that work?  No, I don't want to know.), seeing some discharge they tested (bacteria in it).  No foreign object.  But, then, at 2:45am, when they were bringing him up front for us, he sneezed, expelling something.  He's been sneezing a lot today, but no blood or discharge, so it's probably from the irritation of having his nose probed!  We try to rid the far back yard of foxtails, but it's not easy.  Boo had one in his foot before.  Coincidentally, the ER vet was evacuated due to the fire I mentioned above!  Boo needs to stay in too, he's suppose to keep "calm and quiet" for a while so his heart rate doesn't increase, that can cause more bleeding!  You cannot keep Boo "calm and quiet!"  He is "quiet," but never "calm."  He's a constant nervous wreck.  At least it's too hot for Boo Ball® play!  

Something really pretty, morning glories!  I don't recall planting morning glories, and it looks like just one plant.  I thought it was a four o'clock when it came up, but it climbed a trellis.  I was up early yesterday (before 7:00am) and was pleasantly surprised by the blue blooms!

The flowers were so incredible, the white in the middle was as bright as in the photo. It was as though they were lit from inside with a bright white light bulb!  

Then, of course, there's how they look the next day, just a striking, but in a different way.  They curl in on themselves, forming stripes of white on lilac.  I suppose a bird might have dropped a seed. 

I did plant four o'clocks, and was able to enjoy their beauty early as well. My mother considered them weeds, but I always loved them. 

So, here's hoping for the fire to be out, cooler weather, and healthy dogs!  
The heat makes us all crabby! 

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Last year I ordered a Dittany of Crete oregano as part of my Birthday gift certificate (if you didn't see what my son made, check it out here... ) order from Mountain Valley Growers

It was a wee thing, but hale and hearty.  I loved the unusual bracks that form, rather than the traditional flowers on my other oreganos.  Plus, what a wonderful name it has!  Actually, it sounds more wonderful than what it actually means, since dittany is merely a type of aromatic herb.  So, it's really just the plainest name possible, "herb of Crete." 

Anyway, it's grown nicely, and has formed baby bracks.  Hopefully as the plant gets older they will become longer, sort of like rattles on a rattlesnake!  This is not one of the culinary oreganos. 

The culinary oreganos are blooming, and bees love it!  Oregano in bloom does not make for an attractive plant, but I never cut it back until the blooms are done.  There are two types of culinary oregano in the Herb Garden.  Only in early spring can you see a difference in color.  One is Greek Mountain oregano, the other received in trade and just called "oregano!" 

A recipe recently called (why do we say a recipe "calls" for things, why not just "lists?") for dried oregano, which I didn't have.  No problem with an herb garden!

Just pick some leaves (I cut off an entire stem, then stripped it by pinching it and running my fingers downward).  Place them on a paper towel and microwave.  I did it by 1 minute, then 1 minute, and then the leaves were dry and crumbly.  This is the resulting "dried" oregano before cooking in a rice dish...

Here's the rice dish...
1 TBS oil
1 TBS onion powder (I like the taste of onion, hate the feel of the pieces, so use onion powder in most my recipes - the original called for 1/4 cup of chopped onion)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup rice (I use basmati, costs more, but so much better.)
1 tsp. crushed dried oregano (there's probably more than that in the above photo)
1/2 tsp. paprika (my family likes it with a bit more!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp turmeric (my family likes a bit more, more like 1/4 tsp.)

Heat oil and brown onion and garlic slightly.  Add in rest of ingredients.  Boil, then reduce to simmer, covered for about 15 minutes.  

This makes a nice base for things like paella (you can use saffron in place of the turmeric, but it costs so much more).  Add red bell pepper slices, peas, and can can of crushed tomatoes to the rice about 5 minutes before the rice is tender.  I don't like the rice nearly so much with the tomatoes added, it seems to gum it up a bit.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


Happy Independence Day to those of you in the U.S.A. and expats!
Have fun and be safe today!

Just a few "pretties." 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Morning Vegetable Garden Tour - July 2018

The vegetable garden is starting to look like something.  Something good!  Knock on wood, there are still lots of weeks before harvest! 

On my planting map I gave each bed a number or name, which is how I still refer to them.

I took some photos this morning.

Bed 1:
Tomatoes (Yellow Brandywine, Hoskins-Barger, Golden Jubilee, a volunteer Sungold), two mini pumpkins,  a few bush and pole beans (holey), calendulas, 4 o'clocks, knautia (which is not getting any bigger, but not looking poorly either), a sunflower. 

The Hoskins-Barger tomato has a lot of fruit on it. 

Bed 2:
Bush beans (green and purple pod), newly sprouted corn, ornamental gourds, nasturtiums (holey).

Bed 3: 
Corn (both older and newly sprouted), mini pumpkins (either Baby Boo or Jack be Little, or both).

Bed 4:
Corn, Galeux d'Eysines (warty French pumpkin/squash with huge leaves!), ornamental gourds, 4 o'clock. 

side view of gourds
Pool Bed:
Pole and bush beans (green and purple pod), tomatoes (Hoskins-Barger, transplanted volunteer Sungold), parsley (holey), calendula, sweet peas (gone to seed, pods drying), climbing nasturtium (not climbing). 

"back" view where beans are best

Then there are the two big containers with the Yellow Brandywine tomato and a lemon cucumber, both with climbing nasturtiums (not climbing). 


I've been snipping off the suckers from the tomatoes (except the Ditmarsher and Sungolds), and don't like how the Yellow Brandywines look.  They are such huge, lush plants if you leave them alone.  Now they look leafless and ill!  Yellow Brandywine is not a good choice for a container either, even a large one such as I used. 

While I don't have nearly the variety of vegetables I had planned for, at least these survived the late May earwig massacre.  I think that infestation, at least in those numbers, is now limited to the Butterfly Garden, which is a near total loss for the year.