2013 Garden Journal Spring

Summer Journal 2013

Fall Journal 2013

Winter Journal

Spring Photos

Summer Photos

Fall Photos

My first step this year to garden was in mid Feb.. . I bought two sky light windows from Habit for Humanity for 50 dollars a piece . I choose this type because I can put them in a south facing wall of my garage without doing two much because they fit between the studs and only had to frame between the studs. I installed shelf holders and used salvaged wood for the shelf's. Because skylight windows are stronger glass they are more secure . Because they are long and tall you layer the shelves and you can also use hanging baskets to start your seeds. The garage is not heated but on sunny day it can warm up the cold weather seeds like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, etc. They started to grow a week after I put them in mid March


March 29th

I buy my wife the tray of Purple Pansy's and plant them in all the planters as saying Spring is here and even if it snows again they will poke through and defy the snow. It is the ritual we have from day one. I put half the goldfish we over winter in the house back in the pond. We could have kept them all winter this year in the pond because it did not freeze solid but doesn't happen often.

April 3rd Nice Day .

I put the other half of the goldfish in the pond. I dug up a couple spade full's of dirt from my garden and decided it was dry enough to rotertill and till any leaves from winter in the yard into the garden. They will degrade fast and add to the soil. Last fall I tilled in all leaves that my trees produced and any neighbors and also tilled in tomatoes I saved because I liked them and are heirloom that often will sprout in the spring with tomatoes plants coming up to add to the harvest. I tilled the garden with the leaves across the garden but only once only to break up the surface. If you till too much you break up the fragile relationship of microorganism in the dirt that help your plants feed and take in water and nutrients. Many of the seeds in the garage are now sprouted and growing. In the Garden I planted Onions, Potatoes, Parsnips, Turnips, Carrots, Rutabaga, and Beets. I did plant a variety of saved tomatoes seeds in the garage but won't sprout till the garage warms up a little more during the day. The garlic is poking through the soil.

If you are bird lover, a garden will attract birds, in spring a pair Robins will set up shop to grab any worms you turn up while gardening and will be very close observer and will show up year after year and their children.

April 7th

tomato supports

I put out the tomato racks made of salvaged lumber a way my father taught me and it works for me but if you have other ways do it because the idea is to keep the tomatoes and plants off the ground . I put them out early so have the enough space for the amount of tomatoes we need to have for my Italian wife. Photo to follow

Also Planted the roots of flowers my neighbor gave to us that can't over winter in the ground.

April 8th

Good rain, the fruit trees are showing signs of life, buds swelling. The strawberry plants are waking up they are greening and growing. pine trees candles are starting to elongate. Planted spinach and mescaline seeds. They get a good start being sprinkled on the wet ground they stick to the surface.

April 9th

Today it rains again and I take the opportunity to see if the big box home stores have the salad green start plants that are more of value to us to get the variety we like than seeds. I choose to purchase six types Romaine, Butter crisp, Iceberg, Red leaf, Green Leaf and Romanesque because it is more efficient to get the variety we like than buying packets of seeds. Seeds have many more plants potential but also space is finite and veggies like tomatoes growing them from seed they are a better investment in space and time starting your own because there is no company growing the heirlooms that I grow from seed . I did plant mescaline seeds because you can get the needed variety. This will keep us in greens until July when the heat makes them bolt and turn bitter. The rain stops long enough so I can plant the Lettuce varieties. I plant them at arms length from the edge of the garden , two reasons first not to compact the soil as the soil is wet and I plant arms length not to compact the soil as we harvest . I also bought a 4pac cauliflower, green cabbage, broccoli and green brussel sprouts as I am growing from seed their heirloom counterparts, purple and cheddar cauliflower and purple brussel sprouts and purple broccoli.

The seeds started in garage they are doing well, The tomatoes seeds have not sprouted because the garage does not get quite warm enough but there is plenty of time for them.

We feed the birds sunflower seeds as for if they come for the seeds in winter and spring for their babies they will stay for the bugs in the summer and they eat allot of them.

April 10

It rained again but we need every bit of it. By the house the daffodils are up along with the lone tulip a squirrel planted with them ten years ago. A little emerging of the buds of the ornamental plum trees. The goldfish pond got a good flushing with this rain. We have the down spouts of the house go into the pond so we never have to fill the pond. When the pond overflows it brings the nutrients to the peach and plum trees. While running errands I stopped at the nursery to see what is new this year. Its Great they are doing more organic seeds, heirlooms and local plants. I purchased the purple flower seeds my wife likes and found Trillion good for the shady forest corner that I am creating.

April 11th

Rain again today but we still need it. My dry steam bed has become wet and the rain garden at the end of it is now a small pond. The onion starts are poking through, no sign of the onion bulbs poking through yet. The Redbud blossoms are appearing.The grass is green again ,a goal this year is have more plants less grass. Just about all the cold weather seed starts in the garage are about an inch tall.

April 14th

The sun has come out finally the temp still around 50 . Little change in the trees which is O. K. because the later they blossom less likely a frost will kill them off. The other daffodils in the yard are now poking through. Rabbits have nibbled on some of the cabbage and broccoli plants but they should grow back if the didn't eat the base of the plant. The Blue Spruce we planted on Christmas day seems to be not worse for the wear as it was our Christmas tree. As a green family we buy a Evergreen tree every late fall from a nursery usually potted and bring in the house a week before Christmas and decorate it and plant it Christmas day. We have landscaped our yard by doing this. We have used Norway, White and Blue Spruce. The first tree we did this is 30 plus feet tall ,not all have survived but very few have died. We have photos of them in the house and love to watch them thrive outside.

April 15th

This day the rain came back and it is bringing the buds of the plum and peach trees swelling and increasing in size , no doubt the the warmer sunny day before helped.All my evergreens are greening up to that deep color. I have Evergreens from Europe to Japan to China To north to Canada. Diversity in planting to stave off the mass die offs like Elm and Ash Trees. I also Grow Giant Sequoias the trees that drew me into loving trees and growing beyond a food garden and orchard. The Giant Sequoias are doing well I have 10 of them.The Chicago Botanical Garden and Morton Arboretum have not done as well. They have experts for midwest growing so that would be expected for them not be able to be more successful.

April 16th

The day started rain and mist and ended a beautiful day. I planted sugar snap pea starts in the flower containers around the house I got at the nursery. They grow up and take up little space. I don't grow peas because I don't enjoy them enough to put in the effort, but sugar snap peas you eat the whole pod and more. My wife came home with a welcome surprise a nice lady at her work who has greenhouse and grows many plants gave my wife tomato plants(10) .She has given us many plants over the past 10 years and we give her a few quarts of canned tomatoes often from her tomatoes plants. She is like me she grows allot of the heirloom tomatoes because they taste better and are more disease resistant. I put the tomatoes plants in the garage on the shelves in front of my windows

April 17th.

The day starts with rain and allot of it and lasts till evening about 2 inches. The grass is really the dark green only spring can produce. The Cardinals and Robins are now feeding separately suggesting they have eggs and one is always sitting on the eggs. The veggie garden got flooded but it will be ok. The dry stream bed which flows into the rain garden is now a pond or what my wife refers as the mote.

April 18th

The day starts again with overnight rain and most of the morning more rain. We got 4.5 plus inches of rain in less than 24 hrs. The rain garden is a full fledge pond and the garden is flooded again but soaked in by afternoon. That is why compost is also so important it can take in and hold much moisture. This will really jump start my garden. If I thought that everything was really green yesterday, today, yesterday it looked like Oregon but today it looked like Washington State, fog and all. Great for the trees. Mid 60's and buds on the peaches and plums are are really swollen.

April 19th

Cold day with flurries and sprinkles not a day to do allot outside.

April 20th

The day is warmer but it is still a cold spring, The cold veggie starts still doing well in the garage.

April 21st

A warmer day, I raked the rest off the leaves and rotor tilled them in the part of the garden not planted yet . Redbud blooms starting to show. Because of the cold everything is in slow motion but also the later the fruit trees flower the less likely to be killed by frost.

April 22nd

Today was a nice day 60s and trees responded to it too, much more signs of buds and leaves. Started the lawn mower, put in new spark plug, checked oil, cleaned filter and put new gas because last fall I ran it out for storage. Lawn mowers pollute more than cars so it is essential to run at their best.

April 23rd

Today it is raining again , the starts in the garden (lettuces) have taken and are growing now. This weekend 70s so the plum and peach trees should really begin a faster progression to blooming.

April 24th

Turns into a beautiful day things are drying out a little now. The pond in the rain garden has disappeared and is a rock garden again. Brought the Lemon trees outside. The goldfish in the pond are more active now the sun is warming the water.

April 25th

A beautiful day, daffodils by the house are blooming finally. The whole yard is just at the edge breaking out , the next five days in the 70s will put it over the edge and may be one big show of blossoms all at once by the end of next week. The birds are emptying the bird feeder daily feeding their young. The robins are big and fat they don't have to work so hard to feed their young. The daily visitors include cardinals, red wing black birds, sparrows, chickadees, morning doves, black birds, grackles and woodpeckers. No sign of the evergreen trees growth yet but still a little early.

April 26th

Another nice spring day. No signs of any evergreen budding but all the fruit trees except apple are ready to burst into bloom. The starts of cabbage broccoli etc. are starting to take hold in the garden and starting to grow. The seeds I planted should be up any day now.

April 27th

Great day little cooler but nice day. It's a race to see who blooms first with this great spring weather . The redbud is not as far along because of the cold spring. I planted the seeds of a giant pumpkin we bought for halloween last fall all over the yard just to have some fun. If it is hot wet year we could have allot of pumpkins like the first year we where here we had 45 plus pumpkins for halloween. It was fun with whole front yard of pumpkins. A neighbor came over to see the garden . She did not know you could plant cold weather veggies so early so I inspired her to get going earlier

April 28th

70's this will kick in the blossoms ,the raspberries have come alive and also the blueberries. The pond water is warmer the goldfish are responding to my wife tossing in the food, by mid May they will know her and start begging when they see her. The daffodils in the back yard are blooming. Blossoms are showing their color a day or two before the first set of tree blossoms.The goose berries are flowering but that is normal since they come out of the Scandinavian countries. We have a robins nest in the yard and a sparrow nest in the boxes. That is at first sighting probably a few more. We had as many as 8 nests in a year.

April 29th

70's again blossoms for sure next days, 80's next two days, mason bees are buzzing around. The mescaline seeds are up. Parsnips are coming up, some from last year but that is good they will go to seed so I can plant more next year. Onions are all up 2 to 3 inches high. Lettuce starts are doing very well. Strawberry plants really looking good. Sunflower seeds are sprouting from the bird feeder good sigh spring has really arrived. Pine tree is dropping last years cones as the new ones are forming.

April 30th

The day is hot 85 and putting all the plants in high gear. The first trees to blossom as usual the Apricot trees (2) white blossoms. The evergreens still no sign but it is still little early .The grass is high gear no dandelions yet. Raspberries are are over nite bursting life from their canes. Goose berries full in flower.

May 1st

Another hot day, the peach trees are now blooming (6) purplish pink blossoms. The garden is really responding to the heat, maybe next week I can plant the warm weather crops like corm, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes. The temp of the soil should be at least 60 degrees to plant warm weather plants or you may actually set them back or rot the seeds. Redbud is showing signs of being ready.

May 2nd

Cold day today, but that did not stop the plum trees (3) to start blooming. Red bud is about to bloom. The garage stays warmer on cold days now and keeps the starts growing. Sunflowers below the feeder are sprouting, these will attract the goldfinches later in the year.The rock-rain garden is really showing signs of life. The irises, peonies, ferns, hostas and coneflowers are appearing.

May 3rd

Cold day with rain , the cottonwood tree (Male) is dropping the catkins after sending off its pollen. The female Cottonwoods are banned in most towns and cities because of their huge release of seed in their cotton transport system. The lettuce starts are doing well. The red maple is sending out its leaves. In the butterfly garden which includes lambs ear, dill, milkweed and joe pye weed, the plants only needed those two warm days to start growing included the starts from the fancy sticker (purple) it sent volunteers.

May 4th

The Bing Cherry tree is blooming the other two cherry trees are still getting ready to bloom. I mowed the front yard first time this year more to mulch (shred) the catkins from the cottonwood tree than cut the grass. Beautiful spring day. I planted pumpkin seeds in the rain garden . The candles on the pine trees are starting to grow.

May 5th

I went to Ace Hardware to take advantage of their plant sale. I picked up 8 different peppers, I love peppers and they are hard to grow in a garage setting. I pick the plants I can grow in the garage without using too much energy. Also picked up corn starts and two tomatoes Yellow and rutgers. Today was a good day to plant, I planted corn, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, kohlrabi, celery and cauliflower.

May 6th

Another beautiful spring day The chip monk dug up some the fancy pumpkin and squash seeds, I have to go buy some more, he has expensive taste in seeds. The other two cherry trees are about to bloom also redbud.

May 7th

70's another great day, I will wait for it to rain to replant the pumpkin and squash seeds . Sometimes it will give a better chance of the local chip monks etc. from digging them up for breakfast. The corn starts seem to be unfazed by transplanting them. If they work out I will seek them out more, it seems better than feeding the locals (crows etc.) with some of the planted seed corn.

May 8th

Truly a beautiful day 80s .I am putting cedar siding on the garage it will last for fifty years. The tomatoes plants are responding well to the heat they will get a good start.

May 9th

The rain is coming we need it after the warm days we had. Went to the nursery and bought some more fancy pumpkin and squash seeds. Also bought some local perennials for our butterfly garden Bee Balm and Joe Pye Weed. Choosing local plants bring in local beneficial bugs and are hardy to the local weather and seasons. The also bring in local birds that may not ever be around until you do this . Migrations are diverted by suburbs because no longer plant local native plants even though they grow better with little or no help. Huge amounts of money are spent to keep flower and plants alive and well that are not native. Planted the Fancy seeds witch are heirloom seeds.

May 10th

The Evergreens have burst into growth with this rain. Cold day but Evergreens are loving it The fruit trees are blooming all at once It is just a great site. All the cabbage broccoli cauliflower and brussel sprouts that the rabbit had trimmed earlier have come back with a vengeance.

May 11th

Today is cool day but sunny most of the time. The Fruit trees are in full bloom it is truly spectacular.The Redbud is at its peak today just beautiful. The crabapples are the only not blooming but very soon. I planted cantaloupe seeds from last year. The ground is warm enough and it just rained so the ground is wet. Aloft the evergreen trees are showing growth except the Norway and blue spruce. My Giant Sequoias are all starting to grow. I cleaned the goldfish pond filters first time this year signaling the start algae and goldfish eating allot more as the pond water warms up. I use all the water from cleaning filters to water the Giant Sequoias, allot of nutrients. The tomatoes are already growing ,too cool for the peppers or corn to respond, but probably this coming week 80s. The 40 year old rose bush we got from the neighbor is really growing allot now, the other two are just showing signs of life. The Fig tree or bush is still dormant but that is expected.

For more Spring Photos trees.htm

May 12th

Cool but beautiful day.The fruit trees are spectacular .Norway spruce and Blue Spruce still no breaking growth yet. Had to mow the lawn again When the crabapple trees bloom I post more photos.The rock garden is bursting into growth.The veggie garden is also breaking ground most off the root veggies, no sign of the potatoes yet. The young are big enough to use already in salads the leah lettuce in about 10 days. The temp is going down to 32 tonite . The supports I use for the tomatoes also is good when the temperature goes down. I will put a plastic tarp on tonite on the tomatoes peppers and corn.

May 13th

A nice day The plants survived the nite .There was some frost in the area but because our property is surround by trees it creates a microclimate, a bit warmer. Great day the two cherry trees are just beautiful. The walnut trees are blooming they have little show at all.

May 14

A hot day 90 in Chicago, here About 80 Everything is responding well . My Giant Sequoias have started growing fast in this warmth.


Mowed the lawn .One of the crabapples is starting to bloom, just gorgeous tree. The Dawn Redwoods are coming to life The Strawberries are flowering . The Red Bud is is the show until the crabapples bloom completely.

May 16th

The potatoes are breaking ground it looks like we got a good set of potatoes starts 4 types planted . The second cranberry is starting to bloom .The photos of the complete sprang blooming of all the fruit trees will be posted late next week.

May 27th

A busy week and great growth in the garden, a tomato has appeared on a plant my wife's friend gave us. Salad fixings lettuce, onions and sugar snap peas great spring. The weather was good until the weekend but we needed the rain and more on the way. All the blossoms are turning into fruit except apricots, the trees are still too young and they drop them to put into growth for maturity. The potatoes plants are a foot high for some already. The evergreens are growing, the Weeping Norway Spruce that is growing in the shape of a moose is spotted because the new growth is lighter and gives the moose spots. Asparagus survived the drought but only sent up ferns. Beans are growing well and the rabbits have not found them yet. I scattered them around at tomatoes sticks so they can grow up them, climbing type. It is going to be 80 degrees for five days we need it ..Beets, turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga are growing no sign of carrots too cool yet, ground needs to get warmer. Lost about half the raspberries from the drought last year. Huge amount of pie cherries on the two trees. Iris in the rock garden are blooming.The grape vine is leafing out nicely. The bumble bees that live in the wooden swing are thriving they love the yard all the fruit trees and in turn pollinate the veggie garden. Allot of little peaches forming. Plum tree is resting this year, last year huge amount of plums. Garlic and horseradish are doing great. Pear (Bartlett)has allot of pears . The third pear just few flowers on top too young to produce much yet.

June 5th

The day is cool for June but sunny. The garden is doing well except the pumpkins and squash. The keifer pear tree is off year for pears but the apricot has a couple of apricots, good sigh for a young tree. Tomato volunteers popping up in lot of places, always fun to see what tomatoes come up. The Giant Sequoias are doing well they are all growing well except the weeping one. Another good year for peaches . We planted new this year eggplant,cardoon, and okra.

June 9th

Another great Spring day 70 degrees and sunny . The tomatoes plants are doing well considering the cool spring and the potatoes have taken off. Corn starts seem to be rooted and now growing. The salad greens are doing well because the cool spring. The cardoon is growing, the okra not so much. Planting and transplanting the tomatoes volunteers where ever possible. About 30 so far, the fun part to see what tomatoes it is or something new. Cukes are up and the cantaloupe, no sign of watermelon still too cool. Beets Parsnips and Onions are doing well. The celery I put in the rain garden is doing well , they do well in an area where a good source of moisture. Any of the pumpkin and squash seeds that the chipmunk didn't eat should come up shortly as the ground warms up . Raspberries are forming, goose berries are big already and rhubarb is ready for pie. There are nuts on the Carpathian Walnut Trees. The apple tree did not bloom this year maybe next year. Lots of fruit this year again.

June 21st Summer

The spring has been wet but warm enough grow most things except Pumpkins squash watermelon etc. just not hot enough long enough also peppers but they kick in in July. The tomatoes are doing well . The lettuces are all ready and green onions are make a great salad . The sugar snap peas never make the salad . The strawberries are being eaten by my wife and the chip monks. Grazing is one of my favorite things to do. The evergreens are doing well. The fig tree did not make it, maybe too cold or I didn't mulch it enough. Beans made it this year because I planted them all over the garden so the rabbits had to look for them as opposed as one spot for them to eat all at once. The rose (wild) is in full boom. The rain and warmth is keeping most of the garden on track. The rain garden is doing well and also the butterfly garden also milkweed came up from last year seeds. The goldfish are loving the fact their water gets changed so regular with the spring rains. My wife is eating the strawberries as they ripen. Potatoes are doing well, all root vegees doing great not too hot, regular rain. Cherry trees are slow this year about three weeks behind. The Giant Sequoias are doing great. Rhubarb is ready, time to make pie. The horseradish is huge, this fall I will harvest some. We have Lots of Firecracker crabapples they are great to eat right off the tree.

June 26th

It rained last nite and the garden is exploding the peppers are the only thing not in high gear just not hot enough long enough, the peaches are weighing down the branches. The cherries and big now but not turning yet. I am planting the tomotillas seedlings i am growing and I am transplanting them all over just like all the tomatoes volunteers, including the front yard flower garden and on the side of the garage. The wild rose lost its petals but what a show it grows half way up the Bing cherry tree so the tree blooms cherry blossoms and then the rose blossoms. The 40 year old rose bush is still going strong. The evergreens are just loving this . My Giant sequoias are doing great. The corn is knee high so that is good but seedlings are just starting. We have mulberry tree courtesy of one of the birds, it produced fruit this year so this will be good . The last few days of 80 degree weather and all this rain has kicked Pumpkins watermelons cukes and squash. I am tying up the tomatoes already.

July 8th

The first tomatoes July 3rd Cherokee purple and the weather is all over from 90 to 68 in the last two weeks. July 7th picked two big bowls of pie cherries and probably five or six more to pick this week. My wife pitted them and froze them. The corn is tasseling already. Today close to 90. The beans are climbing up the poles.All the pumpkin cukecumber etc. have taken off. The root veggies all doing well no extremes hot or dry for long time. Tomatoes plants are doing real well. We are getting a few raspberries they are starting to come back from last years drought. Blackberries are flowering now. Peppers are now growing have a few already. Goose berries are getting big. PEACHES ARE GOLF BALL SIZE . Firecracker Crabapples are doing well. Lettuce are still doing well no extremes. We have a few plums but they will be bigger. Bartlett pear tree has allot but the keifer pear is taking the year off just a few it produced huge last year.Rhub bard is at its peak, we will pick and freeze. It is a good year for our evergreens they got a good wet spring and cool . My Giant Sequoias are just beautiful they are doing great. The goldfish are growing and love the fact the their pond water is getting changed so regularly with all the rain. Celery in the rain garden is doing well so far. Purple coneflowers are just staring to bloom. Still some strawberries yet. The apricot trees are growing well so in a couple years we will have fruit. There are walnuts on all the trees but still not allot. Once these trees start producing at peak even the squirrels can't haul enough away. The butterfly garden is stating to bloom first as always the yarrow. The new veggies this year are doing well Okra, tomotillas and purple brussel spouts.

July 17

Hot day 92 degrees. The garden is doing great, corn, tomatoes, beans, all vines plants okra and cardoon. The potatoes are at the edge where little rain is slowing the growth, we need some rain soon or all the cool weather plants will shut down. The peaches are thriving in this weather. We picked five bags of pie cherries and froze them. We will harvest some rhubarb and freeze them. We picked the first beans they are doing well. A few plums are ripening its ok we still have some plums from last years bumper crop. The celery in the rain garden is doing well you can smell it standing next to it. My Giant Sequoias are doing well they love this weather. The rock (rain garden) is in bloom the purple cone flowers are loving this weather. Sunflowers are in bloom, they come up every year as the birds eat the seeds some get planted ,others from the bird feeders. Gooseberries are starting to change to purple. The lettuces are bolting. Nuts are falling from the trees but most by squirrel testing them out.The bartlett pears are doing well, very few keifer but it is resting this year since last year was huge. The raspberries are coming back new shoots the drought was tough on them. The black berries are forming the drought had no effect on them. The onions are fading but they did well.

July 21st

Summer Photos

Nice warm day and then we got the rain we so badly needed. I dug up the onions today that had faded with the heat some good golf ball size onions for the winter. Also dug up some potatoes of the plants that dried up. There is nothing better than fresh dug potatoes, we had roasted chicken and potatoes and green beans directly picked. Four PM the rain hit and will carry the garden for another week at least, down pours a couple of inches of rain and hot tomorrow so everything will have a growth burst Picked a couple more plums very good. The tomato, tomatilla and pepper plants in the front of the house are growing fast, like being in a green house. The pond got some new fresh water with the rain, the goldfish love it. Cherries are all but gone. A good year for cherries. Huge amount of tomatoes on the vines.The squash etc. will get a good boost with the rain. The Giant Sequoias are still growing well. Going to have Blt's tomorrow. Tying up the tomatoes every other day.

July 28th

70 today, we picked corn on the cob and gooseberries, plums and some beans. The rain friday helped the garden keep going. Had a BLT today, just perfect ..Celery is doing well in the rain garden where the moisture is better. The tomatoes are doing well but we need some hot weather again. Two squash are spotted and peppers jalapeno and cherry bomb. The peaches again this year going to be great. We had roasted potatoes from the garden nothing better. The cardoon is huge, the okra needs hot weather. The evergreens are doing much better this year consistent moisture.The grapes are growing fast. The crabapples(firecracker) are best ever they are tangy with some sweet just the perfect snack in the garden. The bluejays got the rest of the cherries but we got our share.We have three bags of onions so far and dug up some more garlic cloves.

Aug 11th

The corn is all eaten, my wife loves it, there are few plants left but I pulled the stalks of the ones I picked corn off, we use the stalks for Halloween Display. We love Halloween! We have pumpkins 6 or 7 so far but they are hard to spot yet. The peach's are doing great The Elberto peach tree should be first to have ripe peaches. In a couple of days the really big ones should ripen. We are picking one a day to see where they are at. The Alberta peach tree has at least 130 peaches on it. We have ripe tomatoes everyday for eating. I put them on my pizzas, what a great taste. Green beans are producing some but too cool, we need more hot days. The tomatoes are not producing enough to start canning yet. The brussel sprouts are doing very well in this cool summer. Still having BLT's we still have lettuce. The beets, parsnips,and turnips are still growing due to the cool summer The tomitillo plants are flowering so we should get some they need hot weather something we are not getting. Over the years I have learned to not plant all hot summer plants or all cool weather plants because of the constant change of weather from year to year. I have done this close planting which seems to be good, I plant alternate rows of hot and cool weather plants so as like we got last year and this year the best plant for the weather excels and takes over and thrives.On the rare occasion we get the perfect summer we get allot of everything but not boat lodes. The celery is still doing well in the rain garden. Plums have all been picked we still have some in frig and also canned from our last year bumper crop. Blackberries should be ready this week to start picking. Gooseberries have been all picked. Rhubarb is going that is how cool of a summer it has been. The rain/rock garden is at its peak another sign of a cool summer , some the flowers would start to wain a little be stressed a little but all is beautiful. The pears are doing well, we will being canning the Bartlett probably not enough of the kieffer. All the evergreen trees are doing well in this cool summer. My Giant Sequoias are doing well, not stressed at all this summer. We have a boat lode of Firecracker crabapples they are great eating right off the trees, sour and sweet. Great pie makers. The tomatoes and peppers in the front yard flower garden are doing great this will become the norm maybe with some fancy kale and cabbage next year. The sweet potatoes vines are also growing well here. we will see how good in the fall. The rose of sharon trees are all blooming now .


Beautiful day but no rain, two weeks of sunny days. Had to water the garden yesterday it was getting real dry. The 17th we started to can some tomatoes and peaches, four and half quarts of tomatoes and 20 half pints of peaches, a serving for my wife at work. Just the beginning of the canning season for us. The peaches are free food since the first harvest of peaches 8 years ago paid for the tree 25 dollars. The tomatoes volunteers pay for any other tomatoes seeds or plants I want to try, thus more free food. We are using the last of the organic honey this year we have , our source lost its bee queens this year so he has to start with new. The tomatoes are producing but no huge amounts because the cool summer but it will be hot this week great for tomatoes but kick in the peaches which is easier to can as they slowly ripen in cooler weather. The peppers are kicking into gear the sunny days are helping even though it has been cool for summer. Blackberries are small with no rain. All the cold weather veggies are doing good with the cool weather. The butterfly garden is in bloom now a couple weeks late, too cool. the rain garden is doing well yet because it has been cool. The celery in the rain garden is being watered by the air conditioner condensation that is sent to the rain garden. The pears are slowly getting bigger but that is good, the peaches and pears over lap in ripening but not this year easier canning then. We have already a great variety of tomatoes size and colors. The cardoon is thriving it is 4ft wide and almost 4ft. tall. The pumpkin and squash vines are growing all over with the two wk's of sun and we some good variety starting. There is nothing like eating a peach off the tree and I have been for a week and should for at least another two wk's. as I five different types of peaches and ripen at different times which is conscious decision to have different ripening times. Still having BLT's they are just great and to have such a variety of tomatoes and tastes makes even better. The Giant Sequoias are doing good, they needed some water for the last two weeks. The green beans are still slow too cool.

Aug 25th

This is been a good week we canned 3 quarts of tomatoes and 9qts and 18 half pints of peaches. The grapes are starting to ripen and so are the Bartlett pears so we will can fruit cocktail containing peaches pears grapes goose berries and cherries. Picked some blackberries and froze them, I save them for cereal during the winter. The next week is going to be the hottest week this summer and no rain so I watered the garden and the Giant Sequoias .I cauliflower is starting to put on some size. We did another couple of video of the garden to post soon. Also going to post summer flowers. The tomato plants are taking off especially the ones with tomato plants in the front yard close to the house. The other two peach trees are still not ready yet. We are getting allot a different colors and sizes of tomatoes. The cactus is doing well with this increase of temps. The rain garden is showing some sign of stress with no rain. The butterfly garden is in full bloom and is doing its job. The peppers are doing excellent picked one of the cherry bomb peppers. I let the peppers all go and pick them in the fall and can them they are great on pizzas. I Spotted a couple more pumpkins, the vines are going all over but it is ok because they shade the root veggies in this heat. I love to eat sliced tomatoes with a little salt, never boring with different color and shape. We will get some blackberries but some the plants did not survive the drought last year. We are giving peaches to some of my wife's coworkers and I brought some to the dentist. The cardoon is like an artichoke, it is grown in southern Italy so my will get experiment on some of her heritage recipes. We brought in some more garlic. The beans have started to grow again now the temp is higher. Looks like another 2 weeks of peaches off the the tree after work and pears then. We got enough grapes to wet our taste from the peaches. This coming week is going to be hot but it will make the tomatoes and tomatillos really put on a show. I see the frog every once in a while by the pond in the evening . He sits by the solar accent lights to catch bugs at night. The lighting bugs have been in the evening all summer, a good year . The best way to have allot is to block out the surrounding light with wind breaks of evergreens it is just a great sight to see these bugs rise as the sun sets a great flash back to childhood.

Aug 31st

The week was hot but tomatoes are growing well. We canned 5 quarts of tomatoes and 5 and a half quarts of fruit cocktail. We are well on our way to have enough tomatoes for the whole year and my wife being Italian it has to be allot to do spaghetti, lasagna and pizza. The fruit cocktail is made up of peaches, pears, grapes, plums, gooseberries, and cherries. No reel rain at all the ground is dry I will have to water the garden again. Picked some more blackberries not allot. I did get some more organic honey from my source, 2 quarts, he has lost his queens so he has start new in the spring. I pulled the rest of the corn stalks to tie them up for the Halloween display we do every year, we love Halloween even at our age. The kalarobi is starting to gain some size. The bartlett pears and the last two peach trees are getting close to ripen. The rain garden is still ok showing a little stress with no rain. Picked the biggest tomato this year plus some pink and yellow cherry tomatoes. It is away's fun to see what the volunteers tomatoes produce. Everyday I have tomatoes and fruit right from yard . That is part of the fun grazing through the garden after work. We picked grapes and little tomatoes for my wife to take for lunch, the grapes last about a week. The cardoon is still getting bigger and I have spotted two good size pumpkins and the rest smaller ones. We picked three pie pumpkins for Thanksgiving. We just put them in the house for decoration until its pie time. I checked the beets, they are coming along very well. The cold weather veggies are doing well. The butterfly garden is attracting hummingbirds as migrate south. The rose of Sharon is blooming longer because the cool summer. The tomotillas are big plants but no sign of fruit, they are cross pollination from another plant to produce. I may have to use a Q Tip to get some fruit. The frog is still around by the pond because of the lack of rain, things are real dry and the solar accent lites attract bugs and the frog sits under the light and picks them off.

Sept. 8th

No canning this weekend but the last peach tree with a couple hundred peaches will start ripping and will start canning w/e 9/14. There are some ripe tomatoes but once again this coming week it will be in the 90's and start the tomatoes to ripen. No sign of rain, have to water to just keep the garden alive. The peppers on the plants and looks a good variety. Also we will have tomotillas, the paper sac around the fruit is forming with the fruit inside. Found some broccoli not my wife's favorite. The tomatoes we are getting are always surprising . We were successful so far on the White tomatoes the new one we bought seeds for this year. One is grape size and one is cherry size, my wife likes the cherry size better, I like all tomatoes. Everything is so dry, this is why you grow native flowers, they are used to this dry periods for the midwest. The heat just dried up the blackberries. I transplanted all the raspberries that survived the drought last year to the side of the garage where next year they will get more sun than where they were, the walnut tree was starting to shade them out. Bartlett pears are ripening, it just perfect to pick one off the tree each day plus a couple of crabapples and that one serving of fruit already. A lambs ear just started to grow by the house , transplant in the fall to the butterfly garden. The rain garden is getting some water from the condensation hose from the air conditioner that is deposited into the sump and then when the level is high enough goes to the rain garden by sump pump. The celery is still growing in rain garden. The sweet potatoes vines are growing good but won't find out if we get any till frost kills the vines. The purple rose I transplanted because walnut tree started to shade it out, took to the transplant and started to flower again, good sign.

Sept. 15th

The peaches where not ready but we did can 4 quarts of tomatoes. It has been dry and hopefully it will rain sunday. Picked some beans and the crabapples are great tasting, they will get better every day until I have eaten them all, sometime in the next mounth..It is cool and you can feel fall in the air. I truly like the the changing of the seasons. Tomatillos are growing well now 3 ft plants lots of flowers and seem to grow easy where ever I planted them including a container with the tomatoes I grow by the house south facing to extend the season by a couple of weeks. I spotted a eggplant in all the pumpkin vines and the peppers seemed to be doing good.


Sept. 21st

We picked most of the peaches and canned 12 quarts of peaches. Left some on to eat the rest of the week and took off the tree kept the perfect picked ones for the frig to be enjoyed for the two following weeks. We also canned two quarts of tomatoes and picked some beans. The tomatillos are doing well, it is too cool for any squash or pumpkins to form big enough so time use the blossoms for cooking. The Bartlett pears are almost done, just enough to eat. The keifer will be ready after a couple of frosts which makes them sweeter. The coneflowers are all but spent I will distribute the seeds when they are ready . We bought only one cone flower and now we have them in all flower gardens. We have two good size cauliflowers forming three kalirabi and the brussel sprouts are forming well. The beets we will pickle when the first frost hits and also dig up all the potatoes we couldn't dig up because the vine plants took over. Nothing like fresh dug potatoes. The parsnips we let go until late because they get sweeter as the ground gets colder. The rutabaga we won't know until we dig them up how well we did. The celery in the rain garden is still growing and sweet potatoes vines are still growing in the front yard flower garden with the tomatoes but we will not know until we dig them up after the first frost. I trimmed some of the fruit trees so we can walk under them as they have lower some from the branches with the large number of fruit. The city pickles up tree branches and mulches them to use on their own landscape. We also found some cucumbers as they have vined in different directions, not allot but enough to satisfy a craving. We will have some peppers to pickle. I just pickle them all together. The cardoon is huge but no flower yet. We have much veggies yet as cool weather increase their growth in the cool weather plants.

Sept. 30th

This was an easy weekend, not allot of red tomatoes to can, enough to eat, too cool this week but we will be warm again so we should have enough to can. We are doing Halloween, so we picked pumpkins. We also had bought a couple of big pumpkins. The tomatillas are doing well they seem to only need sun, the temp doesn't seem to effect them to much. The cardoon is still growing, little effects it at all. Picked the last peach off the tree and we still have 3 bowls of peaches in the frig. We do Halloween and next weekend we will put up lites. We do a fall scene that morphs into Halloween. Crabapples are at their best, love the sweet-sour taste. We have 4 cauliflower and will pick a couple this weekend. Found some more beans, enough for a meal. We dug up a couple of beets and they are ready to make picked beets. just great. The missed onions are starting to pop up so we will have green onions for the fall and to put in the pickled beets. We got some rain, but no where near to help the drought. The kalirabi is doing well too. The raspberries I transplanted look like they survived. We bought our Christmas Tree this weekend because Home Depot had discounted their trees to plant, we got Blue Spruce again. The tree has a big root ball in a plastic container. We put the tree in a rubbermaid tub out side so we can water it until we bring in the house a week before Christmas and decorate it. On Christmas Day we plant it outside in a hole we dug in November, before the ground freezes. We do this to landscape the yard and Be Green by planting the tree we use for Christmas. Most of the trees we have done this survived and the first one we planted is now thirty feet tall.



We had 2 inches of rain last night so everything is just taking it all in. We had 3 months of very little rain and for some plants it was the first real drink of water in a long time. We canned 3 quarts of tomatoes and made 4 quarts of pickled beets. I picked the big beets and left the ones of marble size to grow more we have another mouth of growing. We picked two heads of cauliflower and found another cukecumber. The keifer pears are not in big amounts but they are huge pears and the squirrels have no way to carry these off to their nest unless they have five squirrels to do it. Dug up some potatoes, still have more to dig once the first frost and I can dig where all the pumpkin vines die off and I can get to more of the garden and dig. Did some more pruning of the trees. The raspberries have survived the transplanting to the side of the garage. My wife made a big pot of spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from the garden and onions and garlic. She makes great sauce. The celery is still growing in the rain garden. It will be a cooler week but the cold weather veggies will do well. We still have a bowl of peaches yet in the frig and a bowl of grapes. We have allot of tomatillas and they are filling their their pod . The evergreens just turned so much greener with this rain. The cedar trees have their berries and also the hollies.

Oct. 13th

The weather has been good for October and the tomatoes continue to grow. We canned three quarts of tomatoes this weekend. We picked two more heads of cauliflower. We put up the Halloween decorations a great lot of fun. The kiefer pears are huge but still not very sweet, they get sweet with a few frosty nights. All the cold weather veggies are doing very well. The cardoon is still growing. The crabapples are getting sweeter and they are great to snack on while doing the yard work. I am dispersing any of the flower seeds that are ready. I just spread in the area and as normal and a few will find the perfect conditions to grow, real easy. It rained a little saturday. Any of the not perfect tomatoes are put back in the garden to be tilled back in the ground this fall and I will have volunteer tomatoes plants next year and is always fun to see if I get a new size shape or color tomatoes. Did a little more tree trimming. I found some more green beans I missed and are dry but they become next years seed for growing beans. The tomatillas are doing very well. The cedar trees are producing berries and the birds have found them. A great fall treat for the birds when considering picking trees to grow that useful as for north wind protection and a food source for birds. The fancy weeping crabapple tree is for its beauty and for its little berries that are pea size, just right food size for birds in the fall as a food source.

Oct. 20th

This last week has been really cool it has rained on Monday and Tuesday ,Wednesday was cloudy. The cauliflower is growing very well also the Brussel sprouts. The tomatoes are still ripening and we will probably can more tomatoes. The crabapples are very good right now. The Keifer pears are very big but not sweet yet. They need a couple more frosts to make them sweet. The beets are growing very well. The tomatillos are also still growing very well. Our evergreens trees have started to grow again with this cold weather. I still have a couple pumpkin vines starting to grow small pumpkins. There is Frost predicted for the week . This will be the end of growing for the tomatoes but we will pick all the tomatoes after the frost and bring them in and ripen in the house.The leaves haven't changed yet. The fire Bush has not started to turn red yet. We are carving the pumpkins this coming week and putting in lights. I found a couple of cucumbers and picked some ripe tomatoes and a head of cauliflower Still have crabapples and they just get better tasting. The cardoon just keeps growing and the are doing real well. Picked some peppers and cut them up to make pickled peppers.

Oct. 22nd

This morning there was a frost and killed the tomato plants and the pumpkin vines. We picked all the tomatoes still on the vines and brought them in the house to ripen. In past years they will ripen all the way up to Christmas. The tomatoes plants by the house survived and if they can make through this week, next week is not as cold. The cold weather plants were not effected at all. The tomatillos are still alive as well as the cardoon. The pepper plants also survived and they are surprisingly tuff plants. The frost will start the keifer pears to sweeten. Picked the peppers that are big . The leaves are just starting to turn and start dropping. We had a few flurries today.

Oct. 23rd

Today I pulled out all the tomatoes plants and pumpkin vines that where killed by the frost.We had picked six big bowls of tomatoes mostly green with some partially ripe. This will give us tomatoes till christmas. They will ripen in bigger quantities than we can eat fresh daily so we will make salsa with most of them and can some too. I found another cucumber in the vines and a small pumpkin. I picked all the peppers I could see now all the vines of pumpkin and tomatoes have been pulled out. Also picked three eggplant, small but my wife fried fresh potatoes, eggplant, bacon, onion and garlic, great combo.The celery is still alive and all the tomatoes , pepper, and tomatilla plants by the house still doing good. The cold weather has started the sweetening process on the kiefer pears and they are starting to get a yellow tinge too. The cardoon has not been affected by the cold weather at all. I found a Raspberry plant in the garden so I will transplant it after it sheds its leaves.

Oct. 27th

We canned three quarts of tomatoes and 11 quarts of pears this weekend . The wind storm we had knocked down about 75 huge pears and they were sweet enough from the four nights of below freezing which makes the kiefer pear sweeter . The coming cold days will add even more sweetness to the pears. I picked another cauliflower and wife made another stir fry potatoes, parsnips, onions I dug up with garlic and cardoon and bacon. Crabapples are still good cold and tart .Raked the leaves that the wind storm brought down and mulched them in the garden where I pulled up the tomatoes and peppers. I will rotatill the mulched leaves into the garden when all the leaves have fallen and tilled in the garden. The cold weather veggies are still doing well. The cardoon is still growing and we tried it and it tastes little bitter to my wife but not so much for me. The tomatoes on the west side of the house took a hit but tomatillos are still ok. The tomatoes and the tomatilles on the south side are still alive and well. The celery is still growing.


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