Let's Get Dirty

A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.

Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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Bloomin’ berries

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I have raspberry plants that are thriving, spreading and flowering like crazy. They’ve been doing that for years. What they have not been doing EVER is producing raspberries. Last year, I realized it was probably because I wasn’t fertilizing them enough. OK, make that at all, so I started fertilizing them. I used bone meal, and then I switched to a garden fertilizer.
As you can see by the pics, they’re blooming like crazy again this year. It’s too early to tell if the fertilizer made any difference and they will actually produce raspberries. I hope so, because next to peaches, raspberries are my favorite fruit. 


I also have two honeyberry bushes that bloomed like crazy in the early spring, and I was so excited about them. As far as I can tell, one bush didn’t produce any berries at all, while the other one produced exactly two. Woo-hoo… or should that be boo-hoo?
Honeyberries bloom way early, but have a great cold tolerance, so I don’t think it was a late frost that killed the berries. They grow them in Japan, Russia and Canada. I should be picking buckets right now. Instead, I’m just crying buckets.
You would have thought that while I was out fertilizing the raspberries last year, I would have just spread a little on the honeyberries, too, but I forgot, so I started fertilizing them this year. The two tiny berries I had were pretty good, although they were so small, and two wasn’t really enough to get a good idea of the flavor. Oh well, there’s always next year.
Gosh, it’s only mid-May, and I’m already promising myself that next year will be better. This doesn’t bode well for the raspberries.  


Happy transplants

By Penny Stine
Monday, May 16, 2016

I bought flowers in flats a week or so ago, but got busy and didn’t plant them. They were starting to look ridiculous in their little four and six-packs. They’re much happier in my pots on the deck, and I’m much happier having flowers in my pots rather than dry dirt.
I also scattered marigold seeds and zinnia seeds in the pots, since the hummingbirds seem to love both of those. So do it, and because they grow so well from seed, I didn’t want to buy flats of marigolds.

I’ve been keeping an eye on all the tomatoes and peppers I planted a week ago. 

So far, I’ve lost at least three pepper plants but only one or two tomatoes. A couple of my hot peppers don’t look happy to be out in the yard. They really love hot weather, which they aren’t experiencing right now.
My tomatoes, on the other hand, are doing really well. Most of them have brightened up and gotten that nice, dark green color and have decided they want to grow.
Perhaps I won’t have to wait until August for tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes I bought this year are 75 to 90 days, although I did plant one early variety that said 58 days, which would put them getting ripe on July 4th. We’ll see about that… I won’t hold my breath, but it certainly would be lovely to have tomatoes in July.  


Happy spinach

By Penny Stine
Friday, May 13, 2016

The spinach in my garden is doing really well this year, although once the temperatures consistently hit 80, I know it will be gone. In the meantime, we're eating a lot of spinach salad. And spinach and scrambled eggs on weekend mornings, and spinach in my morning smoothies and spinach in pasta, rice and anything else. Good thing we love spinach. 

There's a specific bug that preys on spinach and sucks the green out of the leaves. I could spray to get rid of it, since I can see the affects, but I'd rather not spray if the plant is still holding its own and producing well. 

I also set up my cucumber trellises and planted cukes last night. I'm trying a new variety called suyo long here. It's supposed to produce cukes that are up to two feet long, and if grown on a trellis, they're supposed to simple dangle down, long and straight for easy picking. We'll see if that actually happens. 


Perfect time to plant

By Penny Stine
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Although the weather was lousy for doing anything recreational outside last weekend, it was pretty perfect for transplanting my ridiculously small tomatoes and peppers that I started from seed. The cool, wet weather gave them all a chance to keep their roots wet and only a couple of them went into immediate transplant shock.

I put a lot of hot pepper plants in this little bed. It’s in the front yard, which is the south side of my house, so it gets a lot of sunshine. Because it’s carved out of the lawn, it only gets watered when the lawn does, and it doesn’t get as much water as the beds where I’ve put in a drip system. I’ve noticed that hot pepper plants will do fine with less frequent watering, which seems to help the peppers actually be hot.

I’ve got guajillo, Trinidad perfume, lemon drop and flaming flare peppers in this box. I also put in five tomato plants, but I’m not sure what type they are. I didn’t bother marking them, because I’m not growing any tomatoes that look alike. I’m guessing there’s at least one cherry tomato called indigo cream, one early pink and one costoluto genovese tomato in here.

My husband helped me assemble my tomato trellises, too. He had to reinforce them because they’re getting a bit wobbly. I think they’re about 7 years old. I was able to plant 20 tomato plants on these two trellises. I’ve got mostly large, heirloom type tomatoes on the trellises. I’m growing black pineapple (which is actually a green & purple tomato), black from Tula, Virginia Sweet, Hughes and a red tomato called Kosovo on these trellises.
I know, why in the world does any sane person need more than 25 tomato plants in any given year?
I took a quick look at the plants this morning after my walk with Howie the dog and they all seemed to be hanging in there!  


If only I knew what I was doing

By Penny Stine
Friday, May 6, 2016

I've got a bumper crop of mushrooms in the yard after all the rain. If only I knew if they were edible or not.

My husband kicked these ones before he mowed earlier in the week, scattering spores across the yard. I'm sure we'll have an even bigger crop after this weekend's rain. 

Page 5 of 147


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