Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cool Season Veggies

With excessive heat this season in my Zone 5B garden, I almost let the time pass when I can plant late season vegetables. 

Three important needs to successful late season planting is 1) planting at the right time, 2) know the number of days till harvest, and 3) the average frost date in your area.  Here in my SW Ohio garden, that date is October 16.  You can check out your date at

I picked out some lettuce, mustard greens, and spinach seed that have a harvest time of 42-45 days.

Since this is late July already, the options for late season plantings may be limited, depending on your Zone.  If you can find vegetable plants, you can get by planting a little later than starting from seeds.

I can plant carrots as late as August 1.  Produce will be small but still a treat.  


Cabbage and Broccoli like the cooler temperature too.  They need 6-8 weeks to mature, so I may be too late for these.

Arugula can do well in cooler temperatures, and although radishes germinate quickly, they need 60+ days to harvest.

We gardeners can benefit from the cooler fall gardening too.  Just think - no sweating in the hot, humid days like we've had this year.  No mosquitoes, and no watering cans from the rain barrel to the garden. 

Seems like a win-win for us and the plants.

Some vegetables can even withstand cold and frosty temperatures.  Kale, spinach, endive and lettuce are just a few.  Plants will grow more slowly in the cooler weather as the days get shorter.  That is one reason I have planted in containers.

The lettuce I chose this year is a Burpee Gourmet Blend.  It has five varieties of lettuce including  Prizeleaf, Royal Oak Leaf, Salad Bowl, Red Salad Bowl and Ashley.  Harvest this colorful crop in about 45 days.

Young spinach leaves are quite tasty and can be great in salad, soups, sauteed or stir-fried.
The variety I planted is Burpee Spinach Melody Hybrid.  It is ready to eat in 42 days.

Containers can be moved under cover if a cold night is expected.  This can give your fall garden an extra week or more to mature. Containers can be just about anything.  I've used 5 gal. buckets from the home improvement store, and unused containers from the shed.  Doing the containers offers me a chance to grow more sun-loving crops than my shady yard allows.  I can move the pots as the sun angle changes and get a few more hours of sun during the day.


The Mustard Greens I planted are from The Cook's Garden.  The various colors of the seeds is a preview of the colorful mixture of "Cook's Custom Mix'.  It has Mizuna, Osaka Purple, Florida Broadleaf, and Red Giant Indian. I always associate mustard greens with a big pot of beans and cornbread .

I am really looking forward to a great 'comfort food' dinner on a cool fall evening. 

What are some of the fall season gardening you do?
I'd love to see what you have.  Thanks for stopping by today. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Japanese Beetles

I don't know about you, but I'm really inundated with Japanese Beetles this season. According to Ohio State Extension publications, Japanese Beetles usually appear in late June.  I've had then since June 9 and I have not had a rose since.


I got some tips for controlling Japanese Beetles from the Ohio State Bulletin. But I must say, I'm not encouraged.  Here is why:   The adult female eats, mates, and drops to the ground to lay 1 - 5 eggs in the soil.  Then she reemerges to (guess what!) she eats and mates and drops to the soil to do it all again!  The little lady can deposit 40 - 60 eggs during this time. 

All of this eating can skeletonize leaves and devour complete buds as on this Rose-Of-Sharon.

Japanese Beetle love to eat roses, Linden and Hawthorne trees, and - get this - 300 other plants are on their menu.

To control Japanese Beetles, we need to understand the life cycle of this abundant and important landscape pest.  The adult female deposits her eggs in the soil. The eggs hatch and molt within 8 -14 days.  This is the first instar of the larval state.  The second instar molts in another 7-25 days, and matures within the next 45 days.  The third instar matures in late September.  And by October, the larvae goes deep into the soil to overwinter.

During the second and third instar is when the 'white grub' feeds.  The roots of plants and organic material in the soil are food of choice.  Turf grass roots are particularly susceptible to this guys.

So, how do we protect out gardens, trees, and lawns from this costly damage?

Suggestion 1 - Hand pick off adult beetles when they first appear.  This will discourage them from emitting a pheromone to attract others.  Without partners, there is no mating; no mating no eggs;, no eggs, no larvae to eat your lawn, and no larvae to overwinter for the spring emergence of new adult Japanese Beetles.

Suggestion 2 - Plant Non-Attractive Plants

Suggestion 3 - Use Traps - The bags will lure Japanese Beetles to them.  The bugs get in but can not get out.  The down side to me is 'they lure Japanese Beetles'.  This method can only be effective if the whole neighborhood participates. 

Safer Brand 70102 Japanese Beetle Trap

Suggestion 4 - And for those of you who know me this is a tough one for me to promote - Chemical spraying.  Products like Sevin or Orthene will kill.  Repeat spray every 7 - 10 days. (Remember, the females may be reemerging from laying eggs in the soil and missed the initial application!).

Neem oil sprays have good results too.  They, again, need to be repeated every 7 - 10  days.

Green Light Organic Neem Concentrate - Pint 17016The Neem oil also will benefit your plants by controlling fungus disease, like black spot.

Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub is a systemic product which means it works in the plant, up through the roots and into the limbs and leaves.  To be effective, Bayer Advanced needs to be applied at least 20 days prior to the expected arrival of the Japanese Beetles.

Bayer 701600A 12-Month Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed Granules, 3-Pound

Lawn products that have shown good results on white grubs have the ingrediant ' Merit'.  These can be applied as early as June and July for the residual in the soil will last.  Bayer Season Long Grub Control - 12 lb. 700710S

Two other controls I'm familiar with are organic options.  One is St. Gabriel Labs, Milky Spore.Milky Spore - 10 Oz.  I applied this product in 4' grid to lawns and flower beds.  The product is eaten by the grubs and as they die this natural bacteria is spread into the soil.  Subsequent years the effectiveness is spread throughout the yard for even better control.

The other organic solution is to apply beneficial nematodes.  These microscopic organisms invade the white grubs and kill them.  This needs to be applied when the grubs are active - August - to be effective.  With an easy hose-end sprayer, this is the easiest for me.

Skeletonized Linden Tree leaves on my driveway.

So, I've had enough of these creatures.  Bring out the arsenal!  And Hope!  Next year has got to be better.
Check out fellow blogger, Carol Cichorski's article of July 5, 2012, on Japanese Beetles at her site Oh What a Beautiful Garden - Chicagoland.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gardening - Nature, Nurture, or Just Crazy

My passion for gardening has evoked a lot of folks to look at me with wonder - wondering why I do this thing called gardening.  I guess I had some soul searching to do as others went on vacations or to a upscale restaurant occasionally and I spent my time and money in the garden.

I presented this at a an Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Region 3 Meeting
What I came up with are these four reasons.

The Wonder 

The Soil - the smell, the feel, the texture, the unseen life within

The first spring shoots emerging after a long winter

The Beauty - of the leaves, the blossoms, the forms, the textures, the aroma, the colors, the growing, and the changing day after day

The rewards - the vegetables, the blossoms

The Knowledge

I love to learn.  The life cycles of plants, the life of the soil, the conditions that support that life - all intrigue me. I read books about plants,organic fertilizers, pesticides, climate - any aspect that may affect my hobby.

The Hope

I come to appreciate Patience.  Wait for it! 
Optimism.  I hold to the idea that each will grow and become mature each season - and if not - wait till next year.

I learned that disappointment comes with gardening, too: When the weather, either wind, heat, cold or rain damage the garden;  When the rabbits or squirrels, or dogs, or kids, or hoses or bugs wipe out a section.

The Commitment

Gardening is not always fun or convenient.  We need to water, feed and care for our space even when we don't feel like it. 

 In spite of the UV damage, the wrinkles, the broken fingernails, the sore shoulders, the bruises, the bee stings and sunburn we continue to be faithful to this quest.  No amount of watering or 'take out' dinners because we are too busy or too tired to cook can discourage us.

So why do I garden?  Because it is beautiful. Because I nurture. Because life is a wonder and wonderful. Because I realize I am not the source or the center; and because life is treasured - even for a season.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Garden Today - Blooms and Bugs!

As you know, the garden evolves.  Seasons provide changes in the garden. And perennials offer a different show every few weeks. The Daylily, however, changes the garden every 16 hours or so. 

These are some of my beauties today.

The Daylilys are out in force. July 4th, seems to be a 'peak' for my daylilys.  Some are finished blooming, and some will (hopefully) still be around for another month.  I'll let you know how that works!!

I really like the 'spider'.

This is a rebloomer called 'Pardon Me'.  I have it in with 'StellaD'oro'.  The 'Stella' are past their first flush when the 'Pardon Me' comes on.  Makes a nice transition.

The bee balm, Monarda, is over four feet high this year. 


The is "Casablanca'.  If the size of the bloom doesn't catch your eye, the magnificent fragrance will.

The is 'Double Decker' coneflower.  It grows a bloom on bloom. 

Ruby Spider

White Temptation

True white daylilys are hard to find.  But this one comes close.

The Japanese Beetles are awful this year!  Besides arriving three weeks earlier than normal, there are hundreds, if not thousands, this year.  The roses are particularly popular, but the perennial, St John's Wort is a close second. 

Sedums love the dry heat we are having.  And they add nice color.

This sempervivum, will die off after this blooms. 

This campanula is still doing well.  I've had blooms on this since early June, 4 - 5 weeks.

These buds are toad lily.  They are coming on really early this year.  I usually do not have blooms until late August and September. 

Enjoy each day in your garden, or join me again, in mine.  Love having your visit.