Saturday, July 14, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

   We had a hot, dry and windy holiday - so windy that the city had to postpone their fireworks display. That's okay - better to be safe!


   With this heat, and with having treated my lawn to deter crabgrass, I have been spending quite a bit of time trying to save my lawn, since the beginning of summer. We finally had a nice gentle rain last night, and my lawn and plants seem visibly relieved. I still need to dig up quite a bit of dead crabgrass, but I just keep after it.  I'm not going to try to over-seed until fall, anyway, because of the heat.  Also, I need to wait because I just applied some leftover fertilizer to the bluegrass, since it seemed so dry and stressed.  Just in time for that rain, too. Believe it or not, it seems to have already "greened up."

   My zucchini plants have so many blossoms, but I had to move the planter over by the flowers, in order to access the bees for pollination.  . 

   
Zucchini Blossom with Bee

   I'm still waiting for some zucchinis, though, and fear that I should have thinned them out to begin with.  I added some fertilizer yesterday, though, so let's wait and see.


Trumpet Lilies

  Here's an older bed of trumpet lily bulbs.  I'll be thinning these out this year.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

More pruning and some mulch . . .

   
Front Shrub Needs a Haircut

   This is a deciduous evergreen shrub It stayed green all winter (although we had a mild winter, for Colorado). It seems to have grown about 15 inches this year.  I almost didn't want to trim it, but it was over-lapping the edges and corners of the sidewalk, and I couldn't see over it, which was a security issue.  Also, I had to really trim the corner branches, because I kept scratching my arms against the protruding branches. and I didn't want anyone else to hurt themselves.  I also needed to freshen up the mulch, because it has been so hot (110 -112 degrees) here, and the mulch helps keep the ground from drying out.

   Again, I kept my spritzer bottle full of water nearby to spray myself with, and this time I hydrated with a can of Orange Crush. Both were very refreshing!

This did say "112," but it changed 
before I could capture it on-camera.
(The time is incorrect.)


This got me through!

Trimmed and mulched with red mulch.

Brown mulch protects and "dresses up" this area.

   The deciduous evergreen is on the right, in the corner.  Those black panels are trombe wall enclosures.  They worked well last winter, but in the summer, I depend on the sun to migrate so far north in the sky that the house soffits shade them from direct sunlight. 

   I found the two bags (one red and one brown) of Scotts Hyponex mulch at Walmart's garden center for only $2.97 per bag. 



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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Transplanting, Trimming and Clean up

   I transplanted a few of my flower seedlings, which is always a risk.  I thought I had planted "Envy" zinnias in both of my front entrance planters. One of them was doing fine, and the other one was being eaten by a bug (I'm not sure what kind of bug yet, though). When I realized that the successful flowers were the "Giant Lavender Gem" zinnias that had failed in my spring sprouting cubicles, instead of just plant a seed or two in the other planter and have a nice bouquet, I decided to go ahead and transplant one of the two from the successful planter.  Big mistake - now they both look kind of stressed, especially the one I transplanted.  It has been in the "100's" temperature-wise here, so that's a factor, and I should have left well-enough alone.  Also, it looks like I have several of the Giant Lavender Gem plants growing in my front flower beds. All this time, I thought I was going to get some green Envy zinnias but I think they were devoured, too.  Also, one zinnia bloomed, and instead of being "dahlia-like", it seems more like a single daisy. It might be because I planted them in containers. I'll see what the ground-grown blooms look like pretty soon. Note:  When I realized some of the flowers were susceptible to a parasite, and some not as much, I sprinkled some diatomaceous earth around them.  It does seem to have helped, but I think I'll have to treat with something a little stronger - not sure what, though.)
Zinnia-not transplanted yet


My Zinnia

Package - not exactly a match


Transplanted Zinnia


    I had better luck with this daisy transplant. I've always had good luck with daisies, so we'll see.  

Pansies and Daisies


   My only vegetable that's made it so far is the zucchini. It is growing so well, I'm afraid to thin it or transplant it.  It has lots of buds, too. I've never tried growing a bush-style zucchini before, so I'll wait to see what kind of support I'll need. It needs to be watered twice a day, though, so I'll see if I'm going to break it up. The drainage holes are working great, I'm happy to say.

Zucchini plants
Zucchini Buds (at the base).

Here Are the Zucchini Seeds I Used
I Bought them Off the Shelf at Walmart

   All of my shrubs are overgrown already, so this morning, I went ahead and trimmed the front-most one, since it had become the biggest eyesore to me because the roses at the base were all faded, and everything looked out-of-shape.  I used an old Black and Decker trimmer that I had found at Walmart about 12 years ago. Even though the temperature on my patio reached 111 degrees, I just made sure I spritzed myself with water and took frequent fluid breaks.  All I had on hand was Wild Cherry Pepsi - no, sorry, water wasn't gonna' cut it- and believe me, it hit the spot. It took me about two hours. 
Trusty Old Trimmer

Untrimmed
More Untrimmed


Trimmed (Big Improvement)
Trimmed, plus New Daisies
Trimmed - South View

   I guess my excuse for not planting more veggies yet is because I really haven't had the time, due to trying to dig up half of my lawn that turned out to be crabgrass, so I can re-seed by fall. (Hopefully sooner if it ever cools down outside.)  I also need to wait to re-seed the grass, because I read that it is best to wait 60 days after applying the crabgrass deterrent.  Even though I applied it last February, it didn't really get "watered in" until May-June, since we had so little snow, and it didn't warm up enough to risk turning on the sprinklers until late.  My neighbors seem to be having similar issues.  

 More Dead Crabgrass
Crabgrass and Spur Patch
Pulled crabgrass and Weeds
There were so many ants, I treated the area with diatomaceous earth, and it helped a lot, but I have to keep an eye on it. I also sprinkled it on my shrubs, because I was finding little spider webs on them.  It helped, but today I finally decided to spray them with a little "MiteX, after I finished trimming.  I've used it in the past, and it works pretty well.  We'll see.



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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

OK, I Guess it Was Crabgrass (and not Winter-Kill)  
  
   As mentioned previously, I applied some Scott's Fertilizer with Crabgrass Deterrent,
to my dormant lawn in February. The weather reports predicted snow and rain, and I didn't want the crabgrass in my lawn to "wake up," because the deterrent isn't effective if that happens, according to the instructions on the package. We got very little moisture, and we didn't turn the sprinkler system on until after all danger of frost was past.  When the grass finally did start to "green up," it was very "patchy."  I thought I had killed the lawn due to not watering it.  However, it is greening up nicely after all, in spots.  I finally realized that the dead patches were dead patches of crabgrass!

The patches are dead crabgrass.

   The best thing to do is to remove all of the dead crabgrass patches, and then to re-seed the bare patches. It's a big job, but not really that difficult - just time-consuming.  I've considered re-sodding, but that's not really practical right now, on several levels.
Here's a section that was just de-thatched of the dead crabgrass.

Crabgrass pulled and ready for re-seeding

Zucchini Seedlings


   The zucchini seedlings are almost ready to thin. I think I'll transplant one of them in the other planter, since the yellow squash hasn't germinated. I checked, and the seeds are still not sprouted.  I'll try a different package of yellow squash seeds, in a different planter, in the next few days.

   My new pink zinnias seedlings have been eaten by bugs, unfortunately. So, I went ahead and treated the flower bed with diatomaceous earth, and then re-seeded with some of the green Envy zinnia seeds, since they seem to be more bug-resistant. I left the pink zinnias, in case they survive. None of the outdated blue Forget-Me-Not seeds have germinated, so I went ahead and bought some pink and purple petunia flats at Walmart, to fill in along the borders.

Bug-eaten pink Zinnias

"Envy" Zinnias   

   These zinnia seeds are packed for 2018 by Parks Seeds. It looks like the plant in the back is deflecting the bug(s) from eating the front plant.  I'll wait to thin it out. I went ahead and planted two Envy zinnia seeds in the matching planter. I also treated the planters with diatomaceous earth. 
  
     👀  What happened to my carrot seedlings?  it looks like I'm going to need a garden cage.  I do have a couple of neighborhood cats that visit my yard once in awhile (even though there is a leash law for cats here). Or, I did see a bunny rabbit the other day that looked like it could easily scale my six-foot fence, before I chased it away.

.  Where have the carrot seedlings gone?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

After Memorial Day

Hope everyone's Memorial Day weekend was a good one!


   There were lots of "firsts" going on gardening-wise this holiday weekend.  That's what makes Spring so much fun, I think!  

First Zucchini Sprouts

First Carrot Seedlings

First Yellow Rosebuds

"Wild" roses in bloom

These roses only bloom once per season, now that they're older and weren't properly over-wintered one winter.  Roses are supposed to be mulched in the fall before first-frost, and I didn't realize what would happen if they weren't - until the following summer, when they only bloomed once, and continue to do so since then. 

Pretty hedge in bloom

   We planted this fragrant hedge with two cuttings from our neighbor's hedge, about twenty-five years ago.  It needs to be trimmed in about mid-June, after blooming, or it will grow to about nine feet high, which is too high to be managed easily.

   
Two Zinnias in the Center are Coming Along

   The zinnia packet says to thin them to six inches, and I really just want a tall center plant in place of last year's spiky dracaena, because of the grasshoppers' fondness for the plant.  So, I'm going to try to transplant one of them into the matching planter on the other side of the front door, soon.  If it doesn't survive, I'll plant another seed.  

Mushrooms in my lawn

   I have been watering a little bit too much - trying to get the lawn to "green up."  I was going to apply a fungus-deterrent, but after researching the subject on the Internet, I decided to just remove them and reduce the watering.  After waiting a day to water, there were no new mushrooms, and they didn't even return after a nice rain.  

It appears that the bare spots on the lawn are probably partly crabgrass, so that means that the Scotts with crabgrass deterrent did work.  However, now I will need to rake, dig out more crabgrass roots, aerate, and over-seed in the bare spots.  Then I'll have to water about twice a day for two weeks or so.  I'm trying to wait for a "cool spell" to do that - which hasn't really happened yet this spring.  I tested some left-over grass seed to make sure it will germinate, and it did sprout in a cup, so all's ready there.  

Sprouted Grass Seed


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Kids Crocs on sale at Walmart!