Second Potato Harvest ~ Container Gardening…

This second potato harvest on August 30th 2016 was going to produce a smaller yield than the first harvest where I had planted potatoes in a much larger container. But, since this was a trial with the different sizes of containers used for planting and not using the compost tea like I did last year. So, without further adieu… Drum roll, please…

1391895986_boy_playing_snaredrum_hc

This time I used an empty plastic tote to dump the soil into and then my hunt began for spuds

celebrate

August 29th 2016 - 003

The thing is when your hunting for those tasty, glorious rounds of potatoes you’re going to run across the parent potato in there too. If, you’re lucky it would have already began to decompose and will have flattened as if a balloon was poked with a pin.. But,……

Oh no this container had other plans for me, which is why on this day I was ever so happy with my latex gloves.. I found one of the parent potatoes all slimy and I wanted to run off screaming to the hills.

snow white scared running away

But, since I gave up running ~ unless in case of a fire…I said a big old Southern ~ Yuck!  And continued on looking for my spuds..

August 30th 2016 - 003

This is a stunt box, not the box the spuds were in.. sadly to say..

Plus I felt the need to play around in photo shop …

August 30th 2016 - 002

Not as many potatoes in this second container but nice looking spuds just the same and also a handful of fingerling potatoes too.. Next year I’m going for larger yields now that I’ve played around with growing in containers. There’s going to be some woodworking involved for this next years project in the garden growing potatoes.

I’m already sketching out the design I want to use, because it might as well be pretty along with functional…

Any ideas out there? On what I should build for growing my spuds next year…..

If, I use your ideas or incorporate some of your ideas into my design I’ll give you a big heads up on my post with your blog address too.

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

Standing Guard

I had to wonder if this bird was watching other birds, or perhaps me sitting in the garden watching it. I raised the camera slowly not actually thinking I’d get a good enough picture to see it properly, but after taking the picture into photo shop to lighten up the picture I could see it more clearly.

I bet this pretty little bird had no problem at all seeing me…

August 29th 2016 - 015

line break image - 030

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

The Beauty & Magic in a Sunrise

Just when you begin to complain about never waking up early enough to catch each mornings sunrise, you begin to rise an hour earlier just in time.

August 27th 2016 - 001

I ponder…Did my brain listen to my thoughts and complaints about always missing the sweetness of the mornings pinkish skyline? Or, did I say I wished I’d wake earlier and somehow program my brain to wake up at 5 in the morning, instead of 6?

This has been going on for a month now and by the time the dinner dishes are cleaned and put away in the evening I’m ready to crash into bed for a little television watching ~ or should I say snoozing though the show merely to wake and shut off the noise with the remote.

Perhaps, I’m beginning to already miss the summertime, while the Fall quickly approaches like a speeding freight train every year. I do love the Fall when the leaves here begin to turn and after a week or two they are all ablaze with colors, fire engine reds, lemon yellows, pumpkin orange with shades of green that’s hanging on until the leaves begin to dance in the breeze falling lightly to the ground like a ballerina floating in mid air making the noiseless landing on her tippy toes…

Ballerina

There is a kind of magic in the cool air of the mornings, even though I know the day will warm back up and become humid again. The magic does however continue after the dinner dishes are done and I sit outside for the final time each evening. I do treasure greeting each morning and tucking in each evening with my presence.

I suppose it’s comforting to know each new season as it approaches us here in northern Canada, because it’s like a dear friend who never fails to visit us offering up a change of pace ~ With the coolness in the air and the display of Autumn leaves soon to follow.

It’s when we dig out our jackets, and search for the mate to our favorite gloves, which have seen better days, but we’ve just begun to break in the stiff leather and it feels like a second skin when we slip them on with ease. No longer needing to press between the fingers to get the gloves to fit properly. They have become one with us and fits perfectly on each finger passing over the knuckles with such grace.

So, I’ll greet each new morning and validate its beauty, until the first snowfall touches my nose and I bring indoors my crafted wooden bench for the winter. I’ll take it down to the basement for a fresh coat of stain and check the screws just to see if all is well. Perhaps, a dab of carpenters glue may be needed here and there just to make sure that I’m taking care of the bench that has served me so well in the Spring, Summer & Fall.

When I turned around to see what my pup was doing early this morning I noticed something I would have missed if I’d slept in …

August 27th 2016 - 002

Waning Crescent Moon

25% visible

I sat on my wooden bench by my patio door and watched as the sky became brighter and the crescent moon began to fade into the morning sky. This moon looked so bright and if I were taller it felt like I could almost touch the tip. The hummingbirds fluttered in to take a sip from my blooming zinnias and all was going to be well for the entire day.

There are so many little treasures that are free for the taking to fully enjoy and bring happiness into your day, so get yourself out of bed and catch a sunrise ~ Because it’s there every morning just waiting to see you….

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

 

 

Fact or Fiction? ~ Citrosa, Mosquito Plants

When strolling the isles of my outdoor gardening center around the end of June I noticed something I didn’t know existed…

Citrosa ~ The Mosquito Fighting Plant

Bug fighting plant on background

After laughing out loud all by myself I looked around to see if anyone was near by. I do that a lot I’m afraid to say, but if I find something hilarious I don’t care and I laugh…

The closer I came to this plant after squinting to read the label I grabbed two of the sad looking plants that were starving for water. Actually, by mid-June most of the plants are marked down and rarely given any water. Probably, in hopes they would all just die so they could close that section of the center.

The plants smelled just like citronella candles minus the smoke from the wick burning. I was sad to learn that these plants were annuals and not perennials because I thought it might be nice to have these come back each year.

I won’t be bringing these indoors when the frost arrives, because the aroma is very strong and they would have me choking like I do when following someone in the grocery store who sprayed half of their bottle of perfume all over their bodies.

So, I thought I would research these plants to see if the claims were any where near true. Given my detective nature I was off on yet another journey over the inter-webs…

I found out that you must crush the leaves to release the essential oils from the plant and rub this over a small section of your arm for the first time just in case you get a reaction you don’t want from the oils. They said there was a short-term mosquito repelling qualities 30 to 40 percent that of DEET.

But, there are plants with better numbers compared to DEET out there such as:

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme - 002

Crushed Lemon Thyme will give you 62 percent the protection of DEET.

Lemon Balm

lemon balm - 002

Crushed Lemon Balm offers a much greater quantity of citronella, 400 times as much as the Citrosa plant.

These two plants are less expensive and easier to grow it also stated.

Here are a number of other plants that can be beneficial for you as bug repellent and good also for your garden plants as a deterrent to those nasty bugs and slugs that eat away our growing vegetables..

Alliums

Take that you cabbage worms, carrot flies, aphids, and the dreaded slugs… I will be planting these flowers next year and they are really tall and beautiful in the garden…

Dill

Run for your life you nasty Tomato hornworms, squash bugs,cabbage loopers, spider mites, and aphids…

Basil

Get outta here! You mosquitoes and house flies!

Chives

Move on out! You Japanese beetles, aphids, and carrot flies…

Fennel

Slugs you better slime away, along with the aphids and snails…

mint

Mosquitoes don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, run for the hills!

Rosemary

Be gone! Vegetable plant bugs, mosquitoes and flies…

Petunia

This beautiful flower packs a big punch! Wham.. you asparagus beetle, tomato hornworms,squash bugs, leafhoppers, and aphids…

Parsley

oregano

Last but not least is the Oregano …

There are many more if you want to research it, but this has been a good start for me and I’ve made a nice list of new plants and old ones to grow next year and the proper placement for them in my garden to try and have a bigger harvest, instead of the bounty I’ve been feeding to the slugs, and other bugs… I want harmony in my garden and food for my belly… wink 🙂

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time,

~Laura~

 

What’s all the fuss about ~ Fingerling Potatoes

I am beginning to love my attempts at growing my own potatoes from the sprouting spuds in the bag bought from the store. When I harvested my first container of spuds this year, along the roots were tiny spuds, actually they are called Fingerling Potatoes.

If you’re in the grocery store looking in the potato section and notice this little bag pictured below and read the name, Fingerling potatoes these are merely the same potatoes that will if you’re lucky grow huge such as baking potato size.

Fingerlings potatoesAugust 22 2016 - 017

I had around a half dozen of the tiny spuds called fingerling potatoes after my first harvest. I don’t know why this realization never happened before. I noticed that the small bag of fingerling potatoes in my grocery store cost 3 or 4 times the cost of a 10 pound bag of regular spuds.

Fingerling Potatoes on Wooden Sign

These fingerlings potatoes are finding themselves on dinner plates at fancy restaurants and I’m sure they come to you at a dear cost to your wallet. Same as buying these small bags of fingerling potatoes in your own grocery stores.

On the other side of this silly issue I’m having with fingerling potatoes, I suppose little kids who may not want to eat potatoes ~ They might have a fascination for the tiny spuds on their tiny dinner plates using their tiny hands to hold these small spuds.  I try to see both sides of many things that catch my eye, but why on earth would they charge you so much more for so much less of the simple tasty potato?

Just pondering over here…. So, if you garden and want to grow your own potatoes please do so, because it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wind up with  a handful of those pricey fingerling potatoes in the mix…

What did I do with my home grown fingerling potatoes from container #1? You might be wondering…

I peeled, sliced, boiled them. Drained them in my handy dandy tiny colander, below…

Handy dandy green collander on green background

Isn’t that just the cutest colander you’ve ever seen. Now, I know I didn’t need yet another colander for straining things, but if you think about it it’s just right for strawberries, blueberries, and now my newly grown Fingerling Potatoes. Just small enough and not too big.. This reminds me of the childhood story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears on brown background

I don’t know why this reminded me of that childhood favorite story of mine, except for thinking about the stack of colanders I have in my kitchen or talking with you about children and their tiny hands, but on with what I made with the itty bitty potatoes…

I browned them in olive oil, adding chopped white onions. Letting them brown a little. Then walked out on the patio deck and cut a few Green onions and chives from my homemade garden trug. Broke a few eggs into the pan and cooked these all together, calling my daughter in for a nice brunch served with hot creamy buttered toast and a huge slice of tomato on the side. Yum.. Is all that I can say.. except for get growing next season and add potatoes to your garden…

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time…

~Laura~

Story

My friends ~ good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you all. This is just to lovely for me not to share with all of my delightful friends, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to get to know well.. Enjoy as this post is a thumbs up with ease.. Thanking you all kindly and think about following this lovely blogger as well.. Hug to all from Laura 🙂

spanishwoods

wood post photo by Wolfgang Stearns

there are times,
when one small part of a story
is all that really needs to be told

View original post

A beautiful Gift from Nature

I’ve noticed that the Zinnias will begin to form a flower bud, then the day before the flower opens it will bow half way and stay there, until it opens. I’ve yet to catch it rising back upright and opening since I’d need a time lapse camera. But, what a beautiful gift nature gave me yesterday morning.

August 24th 2016 - Mixed Zinnias - 001

August 24th 2016 - Mixed Zinnias - 002

Have a beautiful day

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

Growing Milkweed is a Good Thing for Butterflies…

I was watering a few plants from my deck barrel that I’ve filled with dish rinse water every evening. Lugging up and down the deck stairs, buckets of water is just not for me anymore. My shoulders and back tend to protest quite loudly by the end of the day.

So, I removed the screen off the top( used to keep bugs out) of the garbage can that was stored in the yard when I bought my home over 16 years ago. It stayed underneath my new deck for years, until a few years back.

It was one of those old aluminum trash cans I could remember my grandparents owning many, many moons ago. I painted it and began using it with a grin as this always brings back memories of watching my grandmother line the trash can with newspaper, remember back then there were no plastic garbage cans or plastic garbage bags..

Garbage day was always a lot louder than today, since all of the aluminum trash cans were banged against the garbage trucks with an extra bang to remove all of the newspaper that lined the can and all of the cans up and down the street were dented in the middle too.

And, to my surprise after watering the Garden Trug box I found this bug below circling the rim of the can over and over.

August 22 2016 - Beetle -001

This summer I realized that I sort of like finding bugs for the first time, and then trying to find out what they are and what attracts them. I also want to learn if they are beneficial to my garden or if they are not. So, I ran inside ~ (walked) to retrieve my camera in hopes it didn’t fly away like the birds always do when I want a picture of them.

DSCF3589

In my excitement to hurry and get back these pictures are not of the best quality, but I have a link and will show you a clearer picture of these bugs, which I thought was a beetle of some sort.

Researching this bug I learned it’s not a beetle but rather a True Bug… I had no idea there was such a thing as a True Bug. Hum…learning is great…even at my age… wink

These bugs are attracted to the Milkweed plant, which also attracts the butterflies.

Milk weed drawing in butterflies

Courtesy of:

http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/2011/01/milkweeds-and-their-associated-insects.html

The link above is very interesting if you want to help out the beautiful butterflies in your garden or just want to bring them into the garden as well.

Back to this True Bug, called : Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii. They are immune to the toxins in milkweed, and are consequently toxic to predatory insects.

The funny thing was this Milkweed Bug was happy as can be circling round and round the top of the can, until I placed the bug on the railing because I needed to replace the screen on the water can and move on to other things in the garden. This bug didn’t even mind me bringing the camera very close ( too close) to get a picture that I thought at the time was a clear one..

Below is a better picture for you from: Lynette Schimming
from BugGuide.net

SmallMilkweedBug

I just was amazed at this tiny creature with its markings so bright and beautiful. When I read how it can survive the toxic milkweed and be toxic to other bugs, I found it interesting the marking on the top were of a heart… Like this creature saying,

“I know I’m toxic, but love me just the same.”

Got-Milkweed_blog-thumb-480xauto-5602

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

 

 

Decapitation in the Garden

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the sunflowers that grew on the front edge of my permaculture bed number one. The seeds from last year must have over wintered in the ground and gave me a lovely beautiful surprise this past spring.

August 6th 2016 - 001

I enjoy many  mornings sitting on my iron chair watching these beautiful flowers and sipping my first coffee listening to all of the birds chirping their morning songs. All was good with my days for weeks and weeks, until this strange particular day …

I sat out there as usual with my clippers in my right hand as I was going to cut off the biggest flower head since all of the yellow was gone leaving just the seeds ripening on the stem. I examined the head carefully, and then something horrible happened…

I managed to become sidetracked by the other permaculture bed and the little gifts scattered in the yard from my pup. I cleaned up the yard and took a look at my first years asparagus growing nicely in its spot. Went inside to refill my coffee cup and remembered today was the day to make a quick trip to the bookstore as I had a coupon worth $10.00 to use on a few new books.

I replaced the clippers in their spot indoors, looking back at the sunflower head that needed to be taken inside for the winter months. Thinking I’d be back within thirty minutes to cut the flower head off and inspect the other two that were merely days away from the same outcome.

To my joy there were two books on the clearance bin in the book store, each for five dollars. I noticed a pair of ear plugs I needed as well. All in all it was a glorious morning so far and back home with me I drove…

I grabbed the clippers and a little wicker basket I use for collecting my beans and the like and went down the stairs on this bright sunny day. I placed the basket on the little green plastic table I have on the lower landing of my deck, sat and turned around to clip off the head.

But, there was a disastrous void where my beauties had grown. “What in the world!” I almost yelled out. Well, I did kind of yell that out… I must not lie to you my dear friends. All of my happy zen of the morning came crashing to an abrupt halt as if I’d been harmed in a strange sort of way.

I should have listened to my gut early this morning when I first had those clippers in my right hand and not become distracted by permaculture garden bed number four…I must admit I’m usually quite good at listening to what my gut is trying to tell me and the outcome is pretty good most times, but not today….

Within one hour something had made a 11 to 12 noon visit to my garden and chopped off the three heads of the biggest sunflowers. To add insult to injury they stayed there with my pup inside of the house and ate all three of the heads. The evidence was clear upon closer inspection of the ground just below the sunflowers. Tiny pieces of the back side of each head lay in the dirt. The only evidence that beautiful flowers were once there.

The culprit did however leave me with about 10 seeds that were still intact, which I brought inside of the house for next year. I cut the remaining stems back to about 3 inches from ground level because it was so disheartening to see this damage.

Early this morning before I went outside the weather channel said it was very chilly, I needed my jacket and socks on my feet for my morning stroll through the garden. Perhaps, that is why my gut was telling me to cut off the head of the sunflower. When the weather changes like that from hot and humid to really cold morning the critters get a jump start on preparing for winter.

I find myself watching their behavior each August as this tells me just how many more warm days we will have until the weather takes a dive into our beautiful Fall. The leaves are beginning to change for the past two weeks, slight at best but changing just the same. Yet, another clue my gut this morning was trying to tell me.

So, if you want to know just when the cooler temps will arrive to your place on this earth, just watch how the animals behave and believe me there are clues there.

I put the tall potato wire cage around my deck tomatoes as they are getting big, but not turning yellow to red yet. I may have to begin covering them at night in a few weeks with this weather beginning to change ever so slightly, or else risk loosing them all together. Did you know you can also pick the green tomatoes and place on a kitchen counter to ripen if your weather at night turns from just right to down right cold….

If, the sudden decapitation of my sunflowers was not enough to completely ruin my day I moved on to the 1st planting of my potatoes in containers. I have two planters with potatoes planted and the third planter with sweet potatoes not due until the end of August and the end of September. So, to distract my sadness about the flowers I might as well see if any potatoes grew from the two store bought tiny spuds that had sprouted in the bag. I really wasn’t too concerned with how many because it’s a medium size planter. Plus I was running another test on growing potatoes.

Last year I took one store bought potato and plopped it into the dirt with compost. Watered it when dry with Compost Tea. You take a big container, fill with water, and take a few handfuls of compost from your bin and mix together ~ wait a few days and water with this instead of plain water. So, last year one potato went into the dirt and a dozen came out..

This year I planted three different types of potatoes, spaced the time I planted them and didn’t use the compost tea this year ~ just the rain water from the barrels. The results tell me the compost tea worked like a charm..

September 22nd Potato Harvest

82 days from planting to harvest

August 22 2016 - 001

Since I wanted to empty the container while on the deck I needed a well used tarp… complete with deck stain that didn’t work very well on the deck boards… The very first rain the stain bubbled and began to peel..

August 22 2016 - 002

Once I removed the wire cage that worked wonders protecting the vines from the winds, and the critters wanting to take bites out of the potatoes. Also, not one slug in the container either… win….

August 22 2016 - 004

I cut off the vines before flipping over the planter. At this point I was going to be happy with just a few potatoes. Anything to lighten up my day after the sunflower episode….

August 22 2016 - 005

It’s time to get in there and see what I can find.. I just love this part no matter the results.. For me any good reason to get into the dirt is a good one.. But, just in case there are creepy crawlers in there I grabbed some gloves…

August 22 2016 - 006

Join me why don’t you …..

August 22 2016 - 007

I’m happy I let the soil dry out, before attempting this maneuver…

August 22 2016 - 008

Hum…I remember putting much more dirt and compost in here…..

August 22 2016 - 009

Aw…what a cute little mound of dirt complete with impressions of the drainage holes… do you think there are spuds in that there dirt…..?

August 22 2016 - 010

Are  you excited yet? I know I was….

August 22 2016 - 011

I sure hope these potatoes are bigger than the first one here…

August 22 2016 - 012

I hope that the others are at least bigger than this one.. But, a cute little potato just the same..

August 22 2016 - 014

Ready, set, go .. Let’s get serious with this mound of dirt.. Where are you baking potatoes?

August 22 2016 - 017

Alright then … now we are harvesting and making this gardener happy…..

August 22 2016 - 016

Another one, now I’m smiling….

August 22 2016 - 020

Pretty fine looking roots these spuds had….

August 22 2016 - 021 copy

I wonder how many potatoes went into this small box? Remember I didn’t use the compost tea this year, hint… I should have…

August 22 2016 - 019

The sad fact was they didn’t even cover the bottom of the small box. I could say big old Fat Fail, but I won’t… These potatoes were sprouting in the bag from the grocery store in early spring and I didn’t put them in a place where they could really get going. Next year I’ll be building a structure where you keep adding boards as the vines grow. I’ll just add another 4 boards and fill with more compost… and repeat… Since, I have lots of spare wood in the garage left over from woodworking projects.

I still have container number 2 to harvest soon and then container number 3 the end of September. Soon, it will be time to put the garden to rest for the changing seasons coming soon… But the beets, and carrots, Swiss Chard are still going strong and should be great as we move closer to Fall…. Oh and the tomatoes.. next year I’ll plant the cherry tomatoes again as they grow faster than the larger versions.. and yield all summer long.. I’m still waiting on the trial tomatoes to finish growing.. The rest of this week is suppose to be hot again, so that should help…

August 22nd 2016 - Tomatoes

If, you made it to the end of this post I hope you had a coffee, or tea near by and perhaps a sandwich and a piece of fruit.. This day for me has had its ups and downs, so I’m heading to bed now and close this day ~August 22nd 2016 with a book by Stephen King ~ Revival… I’m almost finished with this and will begin my new book that I got free with my 10 dollar coupon ~ Season of the Dragonflies by: Sarah Creech

Night, ya’ll

or Good Morning since this is posting at 7 a.m.

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~