Showing posts from August, 2007

Time for Fall Gardening

Next week's garden column will focus on fall gardening so I called Sue Gray, Extension Educator, Horticulture, Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.

Gray wrote a fact sheet for Tulsa Master Gardener's website and contributed to the OSU Fact Sheet number HLA 6009 on fall gardening.

Gray said to clean up the bed and mulch it ten days to two weeks before planting so the soil can be cooled by the mulch. In the meantime, if you are dying to start seeds, start them in pots.

It is still too hot to start lettuce outside so Gray is starting hers inside where the lettuce's preferred 70-degree temperature for soil and air can be met.

P. Allen Smith's newsletter says he is planting spinach this week in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he lives. Smith prefers Bloomsdale Longstanding.

Garden Guides says it is also time to put out flower seeds that need a cold stratification to come up and bloom next spring. Pansy, alyssum, calendula, bachelor buttons, love-in-a-mist and many other seeds shou…

Buy Fresh Buy Local and the Living Kitchen

Buy Fresh Buy Local is the name of project sponsored by
the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Oklahoma
Sustainability Network. The program is starting in the Tulsa
area and hopes to widen its reach over time.

Last night in Bristow at the Living Kitchen farm table dinner
two of Tulsa's farmer's market managers sat with us.

Rita Scott manages the Thursday night market at 6Th and Peoria and is working with Doug Walton of the Kerr Center on the Buy Fresh Buy Local roll out. Another key player, Leslie Moyer, manages the Wednesday farmer's market at 41st and Peoria in Tulsa.

Garden Rant, one of the most popular gardening blogs on the Internet, sent out a piece on sustainability yesterday, called "Carbon Calculations in the Garden"that discusses some of the issues surrounding the eat local movement that is stirring up conversation and controversy around the world and across world markets.
The Living Kitchen Farm and Garden grows much of the food they serve. The …

Late August Garden: Fritallary Butterflies, Canteloupe and more

After an extensive search of whatsthatbug, I concluded that we have a swarm of Fritillary Butterflies in the yard. They are as calm as two-year-olds after cake and ice cream but freely lay their individual eggs in front of us on the Passion Vine at the front gate.

The caterpillar stage involves the eating of Passion Vine leaves, of course, and there are dozens of the caterpillars munching away.

Or, is this an Oleander Moth caterpillar? No they have long fuzzy hair where these caterpillars have black spines.

Then, I found Bob Moul's photography site with nearly 4,000 nature photos including a time lapsed slide show of a caterpillar morphing into a Swallowtail Butterfly.Tak time to watch the show - it's fascinating.
Photos: The adult butterfliesthat are swarming and eating and laying eggs in several flower beds.

A tall trellis that was constructed to hold tomato vines was taken over by a cantaloupe vine when the 105-degree days forced the tomatoes to shrivel.Last night's 2.5 in…

Powder Puff


John Deere Regional Gardening newsletter, Calliandra Seeds, Driftwood Gardens

Photo: Variegated dogwood

Sometimes the Blogger software is cranky and today is one of those days so this will be a short entry with only one photograph.

I rescued some seeds of a Powder Puff shrub at a public garden and was looking for propagation advice on the Internet. One of the sites that came up was a John Deere Regional Gardening newsletter from 2001.

A really good piece of advice on the newsletter is one I had forgotten about. Here is the short version: Sterilize the soil when the last crop has come out of a bed.

"Cover the vegetable garden with clear plastic anchored down with stones to heat up and sterilize the soil once spring crops are finished producing. The soil temperatures can reach 135-F under the plastic, high enough to kill insects, weed seeds, and many diseases. June to October is the best time to do this technique in Florida. "

The link to Muskogee's Upper South Regional garden newsletters is…

Fall Vegetable Gardening, Wordsworth in the Daffodils

Hey! It is time to get ready to plant fall greens - lettuce, spinach, beets, chard, broccoli raab and all those wonderful, nutritious goodies. HLA 6032 is the fact sheet number for vegetable varieties for Oklahoma at Oklahoma State University. Follow this link to find out which ones work best.

Photo: Eggplant flowering in our garden

Mississippi State University has a page of advice about fall veggie gardeningthat reminds readers to fertilize and water before planting seeds or transplants.

Bishop's Hat at the Dallas Arboretum

Two hundred years ago, Wordsworth wrote "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud". Wordsworth for the Youtube Generation is yours if you click here.

From the website: "It is a poem about the mind's growing awareness over time of the deepening value of an experience, in this case observing the dancing daffodils. Two hundred years after it was published, the poem is still reaching new audiences and inspiring …

Dallas Arboretum photos

The Dallas Arboretum is perfectly located next to a lake. In this photo a waterfall greets visitors at the entrance. As you walk into the gardens there are wonderful architectural and artistic views. Paths wind throughout the various gardens This little structure is in the shade garden which not only has a creek running through it and irrigation everywhere but also a misting system which puts moisture into the entire shade garden and the plants that coat the outside of the children's play house

Plant photos will be uploaded later.

Texas Nursery and Landscape Assn Expo, Dallas Arboretum, Blackberry varieties

Photo: This is the moth parent of that huge caterpillar
- at least it looks big enough to be the parent.

Texas Nursery and Landscape expo was held this week in Dallas and we were treated to plenty of eye candy for plant lovers. We took a lot of photos of new plant introductions.

After the show, we walked a few hours at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden where we saw how many perennials and annuals can withstand Dallas heat if they are watered daily. A click on a map of the Arboretum will give you a sense of the size of their collections.

Later this week, I'll post photos from both.

BLACKBERRIES - In answer to a question about blackberries: Select varieties specific to your climate. For western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, look for the ones with names such as Arapaho, Navajo, Choctaw, Comanche - you get the drift. These thornless varieties were bred at Arkansas State University to hold up to our climate and adapt to our soils.
Photo: We picked two of these full of be…

New Words in the Dictionary 2007

Along with crunk (music), DVR (digital recorder), ginormous (really big) and nocebo (a sugar pill that actually causes a negative reaction in a patient), a few of the new words to be added to the dictionary later this year are terms familiar to garden geeks and foodies.

From their site
"Here's a sample of the nearly 100 new words and senses now deemed ginormous enough to be included in the 2007 copyright version of the best-selling Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition—available this fall in bookstores everywhere. How many of these words are already a part of your vocabulary? "

Main Entry: hard·scape

Pronunciation: \ˈhärd-ˌskāp\
Function: noun
Date: 1984
: structures (as fountains, benches, or gazebos) that are incorporated into a landscape

Main Entry: mi·cro·green

Pronunciation: \ˈmī-krō-ˌgrēn\
Function: noun
Date: 1998
: a shoot of a standard salad plant (as celery or arugula)


Jan 2007 Ice Storm, Canning Outside, History of Agriculture Online

Remember January 2007's ice storm?
Here are two photos to remind you of what our yard
looked like and maybe to help cool off your
forehead from the 103-degrees we are suffering today.

The photo below is the same shed as in the photo above -
but this week displaying Mother Nature's incredible ability
to regenerate herself no matter what the weather.

Gardening at our house is limited to watering morning and night
and maybe a little flower deadheading and vegetable picking.

I have to confess that I am still canning even in this heat.
We bought one of those turkey fryers with a propane tank attachment.
We use the pot for boiling water, sterilizing jars and water bath sealing
- all done outside on the patio in the shade.

While you are stuck indoors escaping heat stroke, take a look at
this website

It is a link to Cornell University's core historical literature of agriculture.
There are 1900 books online available for browsing and rea…

Caterpillars, Chicory and 106-degree August Days

Now this is a caterpillar! These are roaming around the yard and emerge when we water. We think it is the offspring of the giant moths that live here. Marillyn Stewart of Wild Things Nursery and Sharon Owen of Moonshadow Herb Farm have both identified the mystery plant as chicory, so we will go with that. I just did not know chicory could grow to six-feet tall, but here it is.

This is a side view of the chicory flower.
With the temperatures soaring to 106-degrees this week, watering twice a day will have to be the norm. The other tough part about the heat is having to decide what to let go. Some of the annuals are struggling to stay alive so they get a free ride to the compost. Half of the spaghetti squash and all of the potimarron squash are fading fast and will be put out of their misery this week, too.
On the upside the eggplant, basil, cucumbers, peppers, passion flowers, ornamental millet, zinnias, cherry tomatoes, arum, plectranthus, and other plants are thriving. The blackberries a…

Themed Gardens

Themed gardens can vary from all blue flowers, all roses, all succulents, or all grasses.

Flowers are wonderful for a few weeks. Developing a passion for a particular type or color flower is fine but can limit the number of weeks your garden looks its best.

One of the challenges is to identify plants that are attractive spring, summer and fall. For this reason, experienced gardeners form a background of herbaceous perennials. These plants create a reliable background and live for years.

Oklahoma State University Horticulture and Landscape Extension Fact Sheet HLA-6410 has everything you need to know to select suitable ones for your yard. Categories include: Cut Flowers, Large Background plants, plants that Prefer Shade, Vines, Showy Foliage, Edging, Borders and Ground covers, Dried Flowers or Showy Fruit.

Large plants provide the backbones of a landscape.

Sit in your favorite chair and notice what you see out the window. Consider putting a large shrub with winter interest or a specimen t…

Wild Things, Milkweed Caterpillars and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

One of the native plants I bought from Wild ThingsNursery this year has grown over six-feet tall and blooms these beautiful blue flowers every morning. They close up in the afternoon.

Maybe Marilyn Stewart from Wild Things will see the photo and let us know what the name of this plant. A friend picked up my plants for me this year and I didn't get a list of what I bought.

After my great butterfly caterpillar give away in Muskogee on Earth Day, I bought butterfly weed or Asclepsis or milk weed seeds and planted the small plants in several places in the hope of attracting butterfly caterpillars. This photo isn't of the best quality but you can see that the mama butterflies found the plants, laid eggs and the eggs hatched. The day after this photo, the caterpillar had attached itself to a black plastic flower pot. That's what the spicebush butterfly caterpillar did, too. I would have chosen something more elegant but they seem to prefer those pots I have littered around the flo…

Eggplant and Flowers in August

Horticulture Magazine has an email newsletter that has an article on eggplant this week. It's probably too late to decide to plant it but I can tell you that we started Renee's Asian Trio from seed and it is doing pretty well other than relentless insect damage. What a beautiful plant with the purplish stems, lavender flowers and tipped new leaves. There are a couple of small eggplants forming.

In the Horticulture Magazine article, author Tovah Martin suggests planting eggplant to be part of an upcoming trend in gardening: Purple.

Martin has color coordinated the vegetable garden with 'Royalty Purple Pod' bush beans, 'Rouge d'Hiver' romaine and Black Beauty eggplant.
Not quite satisfied with the colors on the grill, 'Applegreen', 'Red Ruffled', 'Listada de Gandia', and 'Casper' were added.
Renee's has eggplant seeds packed with 3-kinds of Italian or 3-kinds of Asian in the same envelope. The seeds are color coated wit…

Rock Gardening, Edamame, Cleome

DOES IT ROCK? Here is another photo from the display gardens at Laporte Av Nursery in Colorado. I can't get over how many beautiful plants they were able to cram into nooks and crannies.
Our yard will have to have a new rock garden by next summer.

EDAMAME We harvested all the edamame this week - that's the advice of Johnny's Selected Seeds - harvest it all at once. You can cook it and freeze it or freeze it in the pod uncooked. I'll probably cook it first. Edamame is a wonderful snack food with lots of vegetable protein and good to have around.
The photo illustrates how they looked on the stem of the plant when it was time to harvest.

CLEOME This old fashioned flower is doing a great job of cheering up the yard everyplace it is growing. Once you get it established, it will come back year after year. These plants are the offspring of a pack of seeds I planted at least 5-years ago. When the plants look tired, I pull them and lay the dry stems (with seed heads in tact) …