Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Wishing you all treats and no tricks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zinnias Hanging On

Nice to discover this shot of color. Most of the zinnias are freeze-dried.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Extra Cat

Athena, on a backyard field trip. She's normally indoors-only, so climbing the tomato cages over the weekend was a fun treat. Athena is our foster cat.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Still. Alive.

Barely. But nice to see during a yard clean-up weekend.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time for the Weekly Compost Stirring

Mulched leaves, grass clippings, fallen pears, coffee grounds and kitchen scraps are in the recipe so far. I'm stirring and keeping it moist. I'll add more leaves and "greens" before sprinkling with nitrogen and monitoring the "cooking." The mixture needs to get close to the 140 degree ranges. Will that happen even in winter? We'll see.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Droopy Rose

Last-of-the-season rose that drooped against a shepherd's hook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hollyhock Assignment

 These seeds look like snails. One of my assignments for my Master Gardener internship is to grow hollyhocks from seed, and keep a journal. I did some research that indicated planting them in the fall is best for our climate, in hopes that they'll germinate and grow a little before next year - in order to ensure flowers the first year.
 Below is one of the seed pods I was given for the assignment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kenilworth Ivy

This is a "polite" ground cover. It creeps without being too pushy and it's easy to remove if it shows up where it's not wanted.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Evergreen Thyme

Most plants are dying or going dormant for the winter, but thyme stays green year-round.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seed-saving: Green Beans

I left some pods on the vines, so I could keep some seeds for the Blue Lake Pole Beans. A few pods weren't dry enough, so those are waiting in the garage until they're crisp.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pretty Dead Stuff

Shaggy zinnias after a few hard frosts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Last Pumpkin

It didn't quite finish rounding up before the frost hit. It's a Cinderella pumpkin, so had it been "ripe" it would have become flatter while rounder, and turned orange-y red.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn Grape Vines

The recent frost has sent these leaves quickly into the red zone.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning to Compost

The composting experimentation begins. I'm taking the University of Idaho Master Gardener class, and the instructor said, "If you aren't composting, you should be." Autumn is an excellent time to start because there are a lot of ingredients available.

I purchased two rolls of hardware cloth (rabbit fence would work, too) - 36 inches by 10 feet. They were shaped into two "bins," secured at the seam with wire, and secured to the ground with landscape staples.

I'm dumping in frozen tomatoes and mint clippings in the photo. I'll also add kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and mulched leaves - when the trees shed a bit later. The "greens" and the "browns" need to be about 50-50. Stir well and moisten, and add nitrogen. That can be done with manure, but I happen to have some nitrogen fertilizer in the garage. Regular stirring and moisture and, hopefully, the compost will be done by spring planting time.

Last year, my lawn guy dumped mulched leaves directly into my garden beds. He thought that would be excellent for soil health. Well....yes and no. The leaves didn't decompose enough, so they "stole" nitrogen (used by bacteria during composting) from my plants during the growing season. It was most noticeable in my tomatoes. Even though I fertilized, I couldn't overcome the demand of the decaying leaves.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cool new bird feeder with junkyard birds. Found this at the Capital City Public Market.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prepared for Frost

The first hard frost is expected tonight or Thursday night. Let me say for the record: This was not a good summer for tomatoes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Potato Harvest

Sixteen pounds so far. One more plant to go, as soon as the vines have withered. Boy, some STRANGE looking specimens this year. I'll feature a potato fashion show later this week.