It was a bit nippy this morning inside our house as we slept with the windows open and it got down to 57 degrees. I slept great! The high today was only 70 and it was delightful in the garden. I started off getting rid of some of the summer vegetables. I pulled all but 1 eggplant, all but three tomatoes and all but three peppers. I harvested everything off the plants I pulled and I had a basket full.
I decided I needed more soil, so I ran some errands and my last stop was Cantrell Gardens for more super soil and compost. I was delighted to see so many edible varieties of greens being sold along with the ornamental ones.
I was also amazed that the topiary rosemary plants have already hit the market as well. Remember, they are not good houseplants, preferring to be outdoors. But in these small pots, they may need some protection if it gets well below freezing.
I got home and had help unloading. My husbands comment was “When does this gardening season end? You must have bought 80 bags already this year!” I think he tends to exaggerate, or get mixed up with mulch. But I needed to amend some of the beds and had some pots that needed filling. I have been on a fall plant buying jag the past couple of weeks and I needed to plant. I got everything in the ground or in large pots, and I didn’t even buy any new plants today, although I was tempted. The lettuce I bought 2 weeks ago, really needed to get planted–I could pick some since it has grown so much in the six-pack!
The bok choy I planted several weeks ago is looking fantastic, and I am 99% certain that the “broccoli” transplants are really cabbage. We eat way more broccoli than we do cabbage, but I guess we will be looking for some new cabbage uses.
As I was potting up some plant for the bed near the driveway I noticed that something has been feasting on my Hubbard squash. I am suspecting chipmunks. I sprayed it with off, but will try vinegar and hot peppers next.
My pineapple sage is finally blooming. I think it is getting too shady where it is growing so I may need to move it next spring. and I have one bloom on the strawberry vanilla hydrangea that is the pinkest I have ever had. I also have flower buds coming on the mahonia Soft Caress and the toad lilies are absolutely covered with blooms.
Would it be nice to bottle up this weather and keep it? If we could just add a bit of rain it would be perfect. I did water and do some planting yesterday and had a great meal at friends Ann and Greg’s house last night.
We thought we had a good crowd when I started, but more and more people kept coming in. It was a really nice event. I spoke on raised beds and vertical gardens, and they had container gardens and succulents after me. Well done Monroe County!
They have a wonderful flavor. These grapes are one in a line of interesting shaped or flavored grapes that are hitting the market from the producer Grapery. Grapery begain in 1996, and their goal was to chang the perception of the way grapes taste, (which has been clear with their Cotton Candy grapes), but they also are changing the perception of the way grapes should look. We think of grapes as being round or oval. Thanks to Grapery, we can now add rectangle to the mix. Moon Drops are here. A black, seedless sweet grape, that has an elongated shape and is so sweet. Another interesting one is Witch Fingers If you can find them, try them, they are oh so tasty! So far it has been a full weekend. Tomorrow I hope to find some time to work in the garden.
Was it not a glorious day today?! Not a cloud in the sky and mild temperatures. We slept with the windows open and it was heavenly. It would have been a perfect day to spend outside in the garden, but work called.
Every fall, the St. Francis County Master Gardners have hosted an all day gardening seminar for the public. Each year, it just gets better and better with more and more people. They had a full house today, and I told them they may need a bigger venue if this trend continues.
They made these wonderful labels which adorned the goody bags and the information inside. They had great snacks and lunch as well as a great educational program. It was a great way to showcase the MG program.
Speaking of the MG program, we are promoting the week of October 11 -17 as Arkansas MG Week. Several counties are planning events and look what Craighead County has made to pass out at their farmers market and other venues. These magnets will keep the program in the spotlight. So help us celebrate MG week and recruit some new volunteers.
I got home and had to water again. My water garden loses water frequently, and the raised bed vegetables in full sun often wilt too. I also added to the fall display. Each day it just gets a little bit better!
The harlequin flower clereodendron is opening up its seed pods. It starts out with flowers = , then the fragrant flowers close up and turn pink. Their final stage is to pop open with hot pink “petals” with a deep blue seed. Stunning! Now if they just didn’t multiply so quickly, they would be even better.
And finally I have some caterpillars in the garden. I still haven’t seen any monarch caterpillars on the milkweed plants which blanket my side yard, but I have seen adults. Today I found several swallowtail caterpillars on the parsley. Hurrah!
If you haven’t been outside in the past couple of hours–go! The temperature is dropping nicely, along with the humidity and it is wonderful. Now if we could just get some rain! I did get .10 inches yesterday in a spot shower, but not nearly long enough. They said tonight on the weather that September 2015 is the driest September on record–since they have been recording since the 1890’s! It is hard to believe when we were in the monsoon season in Iowa just last week, where they had flash flooding. Feast to famine!
We had our first committee meeting today to discuss the candidates applying for two new horticulture specialist positions. We hope to have a new specialty crop (fruits and vegetables) and horticulture IPM specialist on board close to the new year. I can’t wait! We sure do miss Craig. Then I worked on Powerpoints for many upcoming events. Tomorrow I will be in St. Francis county for their all day horticulture seminar at the community health facility. Then Saturday I will be in Brinkley in the morning for their Brinkley-fest at the convention center. I also worked on a Powerpoint for the Senior Expo October 17 and my money management presentations for PNG Leadership. We seem to stay so busy, but it does make the time pass quickly.
Tonight the water garden was sucking air, so I cleaned the filter and started adding water. While it was filling back up, I went to inspect the garden–which I try to do daily. I am not the most patient gardener and have been checking to see if my garlic and shallots had started growing. Today I see the first sprout! Sorry for the bad picture, but the light was going! I also think the broccoli transplants I bought were mislabeled–these sure look like cabbage to me. I planted them closer together thinking they were broccoli, but maybe I am wrong.
I know many folks have pulled their tomato plants because they looked so bad, but I hated to do so since I had so many green tomatoes. I am getting up to 20 or more every day or two and I still have many left on the vines, so I will suffer through for a bit longer. The two that are doing the best are the Juliet–the longer one, which I think has a tough outer skin, and the one we gave away during the state conference–not sure the variety, but it is small, round and quite tasty. Wish I had more than one plant of those. Last night I made roasted tomato sauce with some of the older ones, along with garlic and some peppers. It was quite tasty. I even have some late cucumbers on the one plant I put it late.
I also have my first open bloom on the tea camellia –the tea you drink comes from this plant. I am just not sure how. It is loaded with buds, so I can’t wait. My sasanqua camellia also has a ton of buds, so it should be a pretty fall.
All the pumpkins and gourds–and so many in ORANGE, I just love it. You may know that Randy Forst is not an orange fan, and we kid about it a lot. Today his Master Gardeners all dressed in orange for the last day of MG training to get him! I haven’t seen the picture yet, but I am sure it was stunning.
Yesterday we had a great planning session in Pulaski County for the 2017 State MG Conference. They are highly organized and moving forward in their planning.
This morning started early for many MGs and me who were driving up to Heber Springs for the Advanced MG class on succulents and papercrete. This class filled up almost overnight and they had a full house.
Papercrete is a bit like the hypertufa pots people are making, but they end up being more lightweight and still durable. It is a mixture of water and shredded newspaper that soaks at least overnight or longer, then mixed into a pulp.
then mix all that together. Every MG got a bucket full of premixed material to use and a pair of gloves. Some were planning on being messier than others. The floors were covered as well. The completed projects were left in their greased bowls until they have time to set for at least 24 hours. The finished product will look something like this:
They also had sessions on propagation, advanced ideas on what you can make and then this afternoon they were doing a shell advanced papercrete project. Look at some ideas that the Cleburne County MGs put together that they had made:
Driving home I had to stop and pick up a few more fall plants and pumpkins. They are everywhere. I was pleased that the nursery in Heber Springs was selling several varieties of edible kale to use as an ornamental edible. I bought three different kinds.
leading up to tonight’s super moon. But what was predicted as a showstopper tonight we can’t see because of cloud cover. Here is all I got. When a full or new moon makes its closest approach to Earth, that’s a supermoon. Although still about 220,000 miles away, this full moon should have looked bigger and brighter than usual. Maybe the clouds will clear up, but I probably won’t be awake to see it.
Here are the answers to the mystery challenge from last week, and the new challenge.
Mystery plant A – is commonly called Maltese Cross – Silene chalcedonica (sy-LEE-nee kalk-ee-DON-ee-kuh) or Lychnis chalcedonica is another Latin name used interchangeably. Bees, butterflies and birds like this relatively short-lived perennial for full sun.
Mystery plant B- is commonly called Painters Palette – is a perennial plant that can spread if it is in a rich, moist site. It has several Latin names including: Persicaria virginiana, Polygonum virginianum and Tovara virginiana. Plantsmen can’t agree which genus it should have.
Mystery plant C – stumped you all and I took the picture at the Knight’s garden in Berryville. This plant is actually a type of kalanchoe – Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (kal-un-KOH-ee gas-TON bon-nee-ER-ee) commonly called donkeys ears. The new growth is quite white, resembling lamb’s ears which someone guessed. As the foliage ages, the spots appear. Native to Madagasgar, it is grown as a tropical–it is not winter hardy. It can produce a lovely peach colored flower, but it grown more for its foliage.
We had an early morning in Kansas City and watched the sun rise over the city. You know what they say, the early bird gets the worm, well in this case we got the great parking space, right next to City Market. They were just beginning to get visitors when we arrived, so we popped into the Opera House next door for a quick breakfast
, chestnuts and squash blossoms. There were loads of Asian stalls with all types of unusual vegetables, as well as the usual suspects with vegetables galore, plants and lots of pumpkins, gourds and mums.
Our car was pretty well loaded to the gills with four people and their stuff already. I would have loved to get some mums–especially one of the tri-color ones, but there was no room. I had to settle for a swan gourd. Our last stop before we left the market area was an old-fashioned seed store which had everything under the sun inside.
What a great location!
We loaded up and headed for home. We made one more quick stop to get gas and stuff at Pecans and more. They have a large Amish community and we saw someone out doing their shopping in their horse and buggy.
Next stop was Fayetteville to drop off Beverly and Gloria. We were happy to see the Arkansas sign, and from that point onwards it was wall to wall motorcycles. We saw over 400 from the state line until we hit Fayetteville city limits! This is the weekend of Bikes, Blues and Barbeque and they supposedly have over 400,000 motorcyclists in town. It was amazing to see them everywhere.
We were happy to unload and get back on the road and out of town! We pulled into Little Rock around 5 p.m., tired and happy to be home. Clay was happy to see us too, as were the dogs. We got unloaded, and I made a quick run through the garden, fed the fish, watered a bit and picked some vegetables. I have tons of peppers still waiting to be picked. Clay did a great job on the yard and things are looking good, but boy is it dry in Little Rock. Yards all over are turning brown again–but not mine!
As much as I enjoy an adventure, it is good to be home!