Category Archives: Compost

SHOVEL SEASON

It’s been a glorious weekend here.

70 degree days

Lots of sunshine.

We are told tomorrow

Will be another story.

This on again off again weather

Has given me the chance to do

Some important fall chores.

So let’s just call this

The weekend of shoveling.

On Saturday I purchased

15 – 40 pound bags of manure

That’s 600 pounds!

I’ve developed a great system

Have it loaded into the back of my SUV

At the store.

When I get home

I just wheel the wheelbarrow

Up to the back of the car.

Split the bag open

And slip it into the wheelbarrow.

I never have to lift one of those big bags.

Then I just shovel 4 – 5 shovels full

Onto each Rose, Hydrangea and Hosta

In my garden.

It does two things.

Provides winter protection.

Serves as a slow fertilizer

Come Spring.

It also makes you a little tired

And sore.

You also may find

A few more Easter Eggs.

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But by Sunday afternoon

I’d recovered enough

To attack the compost pile.

All those leaves, garden clippings and food scraps

Turn into a rich garden amendment

By fall.

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So I got out my handy little shovel

And scooped it into my wheelbarrow

Spreading it onto the garden.

I got about 1/4th of it done today.

There is still more shovel time

In my future.

Having the right equipment

Makes chores like this

A lot easier.

Years ago John gave me this little shovel.

For Mother’s Day.

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Last summer he snapped the handle

On the original.

He quickly replaced it.

A small shovel is a real help

For a gardener’s back.

I did have a friend to help me

With all the shoveling.

This giant praying mantis reappeared.

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I first met it a few weeks ago

When it landed on my dahlias.

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Now it seems to be scurrying around

Looking for a place to hide out

For the winter.

This is not the glamorous side of gardening.

It doesn’t make for lots of

Pretty pictures.

But digging in the earth

Playing in the dirt

Is the beginning of any garden

And perhaps a new gardener.

Photo credit Kristina WynnePhoto credit Kristina Wynne

Gail

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who has kindly mentioned the Oklahoma Gardening video of my garden house.  My favorite comment was from my friend Kay…”I’ve never seen it so clean.”  How true that is!

 

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Filed under Children in the Garden, Compost, Dahlias, End of Season Rituals, Fall, Garden Tools, Grandchildren, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oklahoma Gardening, Praying Mantis, roses, Shovel, Uncategorized

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

It’s happened again.

A bumper crop of Cockscomb.

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If I looked back

I imagine I have written

A similar blog

Most every year

About this time.

But this year

Cockscomb is crazier

Than most.

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Perhaps it is the cumulative effect

Of years of Cockscomb

In my garden.

Whatever the cause

It’s carpeting the front of my garden.

Which means I have to pick

Lots of it

To prevent it from going to seed.

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I can’t compost the blooms

That would only mean more

Next year.

I can’t bring myself

To put it in the trash.

That goes against the composting code.

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So…the last few weeks

I’ve taken to cutting big bunches

And just dropping them by

Local florists shops.

It’s kind of a reverse thing

Flowers going in

Rather than flowers going out.

Luckily I live in a small town

And know these florists well.

Sometimes the answer to the problem

Is counter intuitive

Reverse logic

Or just plain simple.

Share what you are given.

Gail

 

 

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Uncategorized

IT’S BUGGY OUT THERE

There’s a wonderful benefit

When the heat of summer hits.

And last week

The heat hit crazy hard.

Fortunately so did the bugs.

I love watching bugs in my garden

But I think of that as a late summer

Or fall activity.

This year

They seem to have come early.

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Starting a few weeks back

I’ve been seeing

Baby Orb spiders.

Caterpillars

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And baby praying mantis

Everywhere.

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I don’t know

If their early arrival

Is a good thing

Or a bad thing.

I do know it’s

It fun.

It also means

As I continue to weed and deadhead

That I have to make sure

I’m not composting

Any baby bugs.

Yikes!

Wouldn’t want to do that.

So I’ve been careful to relocate

Anything I might displace.

This morning I was treated

To “nectar harvest”

Among the Phlox.

I grabbed my nifty

Iphone telephoto add-on lens

And stood patiently

On the edge of a patch of Phlox.

I was rewarded with a visit

From this butterfly

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Flitting around the Phlox

And then it’s friend

The Hummingbird Moth

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Joined in the feast.

I was reminded of the many things

I’ve learned from my garden

And not just about gardening.

Patience

The power of observation.

The value of diversity.

It’s all there

Just waiting to be

Discovered.

Gail

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Filed under Bugs, Bumble Bee, Butterflies, Compost, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Hummingbird Moth, late summer garden, Nature, Praying Mantis, Tall Garden Phlox, Uncategorized

THE GARDENERS

 

One of the thing that intrigued me

About Monet’s garden

Was how you keep it looking so good

For 500,000 visitors a season.

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A challenge to say the least.

So I was curious about the gardeners.

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Normally in this situation I would simply

Sic Debra on them.

After all she is a most curious person

And has a way of interrogation that is

Gentle and charming.

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But we had a couple of problems,

One, the gardeners were at work.

And we were there during their busy hours.

So we were asked not to bother them.

Then there was the fact

That they spoke French

And I don’t.

But you can learn a lot

By observing from afar.

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One question was about poppies.

They pulled them up

By the root

Just as the last bloom wilted

Before the seeds had matured.

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Yet they look like

They have self-seeded.

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So the unanswered questions was

How?

Do they dry the green pods

And save the seeds

To sprinkle in the snow?

My suspicion is that they return

To the garden

Via compost.

I never got the answer.

But sometimes mystery

And unanswered questions

Are just as much fun!

So since I wasn’t sure

Of the fate of these green pods

Packed with seeds of a color of poppy

I had never seen before.

A few seemed to find their way

Into my pocket.

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Couldn’t wait to get them home

And dried

And sprinkled

Into my own garden.

But….the last night

Someone commented about how fast customs moves

With the use of drug dogs.

And since these are the very variety

Of poppies that the USDA has banned in quantity.

We decided to leave them behind.

Kristina really wanted to see her children again.

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And not get caught up

In a gardening tour

Drug bust!

You would think that pulling all these poppies.

Would leave giant gaps in the color.

But as soon as one plant was pulled

Someone else came along

With a plant just as tall in hand

And planted them in the empty space.

While we were there

They replaced the poppies

 

With Cosmos.

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Three foot tall cosmos.

Which took me to

Wander through shall we say

The “guts” of the place.

The greenhouses.

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And cold frames

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Where they are grown.

They were filled with plants

Ready for the big show.

I found the  yellow wheelbarrows

I had noticed throughout the garden

Brimming with plants

Headed to the compost pile.

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They were stacked against the fence

Just like mine at home.

For me

Seeing the process

Was just as interesting

As the finished product.

I think it was there

That I found

My gardening Monet muse.

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Gail

“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way.  So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”

Claude Monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Compost, Cosmos, Garden Photography, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Nature, Poppy, Seeds, self seeding annuals, Uncategorized

GARDENING FOR GOOD

This summer I’ve been dividing my gardening days

Between two gardens.

It’s the first summer that Faith Farm

Has been an all volunteer effort.

It was a leap of faith.

What a fun

And rewarding leap.

We started the season with a plan

Put together by my fellow gardeners

Jim & Michael.

It’s an ambitious three season plan

Since we have a 9 month growing season.

We started harvesting lettuce

In March.

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And we haven’t stopped.

200 lbs of lettuce

120 lbs of gorgeous carrots

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More basil than all of Italy

and almost 900 lbs of cucumbers.

Wow what a year.

We have literally grown well over a ton of vegetables.

All of this done by a dedicated group

Of volunteers.

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Including a few Master Gardeners.

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Twice a week they harvest this bounty

And take it to Loaves & Fishes

Where it is then given

To our hungry neighbors.

Several times a year

Jim offers  gardening classes

To the L & F clients.

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And every so often

We have a Saturday work day

To catch up on the big jobs.

Yesterday was one of those work days.

We had an ambitious list

OK…we had an impossible list.

Thanks to a few new volunteers

We got most of the big jobs done.

Morning glories pulled off the fence

Before they set seed.

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Bolted basil pulled, dried and ground into mulch.

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Ground pecan hulls put on the paths.

And soil added to beds.

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Then there was the shed.

Michael spent the morning organizing it.

Thank goodness.

These are not glamorous gardening jobs

But they are essential.

And feel good to have done.

Along the way we made a few new friends

Loaves & Fishes board member Randi

Brought her family.

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Including her son

Who got to meet Charlotte

Our resident Orb Spinner Spider

She’s been “hanging” around

Since July.

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He also found caterpillars and praying mantis.

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It’s always a good day when you can introduce

A child to the wonders of nature.

And do a little

Gardening for Good.

Gail

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basil, Bugs, Carrots, Children in the Garden, Community Garden, Compost, Cucumbers, Fall Vegetables, Garden Planning, Gardening Friends, Herbs, late summer garden, Lettuce, Morning Glories, Nature, Orb Spider, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Marry a Carpenter

I think I’ve written before

About the great match of

A carpenter married to a gardener.

Over the years John has built

Fences and gates and arbors and potting benches

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And much more

Basically he’s handy – very handy.

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A few years back he built this screen

To help hide the back of the garden.

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You know

That place where you store things

Old broken pots

Millions of flats and plastic pots

That you haven’t gotten around to recycling.

Old hoses

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And whatever else you haven’t found a permanent home for.

This “hidey hole” has another side.

It’s where I park my double bin compost tumbler.

I literally wore one out last fall.

It’s taken us this long to get it replaced.

And John decided this time it needed a screen

So he built it.

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Nothing much has ever grown in the space

Opposite the compost tumbler.

So we talked about repeating

The plants that have done well

In the shade of the cedar tree

On the other side of the garden

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John planted Yews that will spread to create a backdrop

More Oak Leaf Hydrangea

And a passalong Hosta.

The largest I’ve ever seen

Which John divided into four large Hosta.

Who knows how big they will get.

 

I’ve also added two “Incrediball Hydrangea”.

They are pretty sad right now,

But since they are related to

Those wonderful Annabelle hydrangea

I’m hoping they’ll thrive like their cousins.

 

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All of this joined existing Hellebores and Ferns.

This fall

I’ll extend the brick path

And sprinkle in a few spring flowering perennials

To complete the space.

Thank you John for hours of hard work

In this hotter than usual summer.

This all started with the death of the old compost tumbler.

I was sad to lose my rusted out old friend.

You just never know what will grow

Out of loss.

Enjoy the week,

Gail

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Filed under Compost, Garden Planning, Gardening, Hellebores, Hosta, Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Uncategorized

WINDING DOWN

You may recall that spring was a bit late this year.

With four freezes continuing through the end of April.

We had a late start to the season.

That’s why I have reveled in this glorious fall.

Endless days of crisp air

And sunshine

And all this color.

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I knew it would eventually freeze.

But I am grateful for the “catch up” time

Mother Nature has given us.

Last week it did finally freeze.

Not a light frosting

But what we gardeners call

A “killing freeze”.

I did pick

Green tomatoes.

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The last batch of produce for Loaves & Fishes.

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The last roses of summer.

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And cosmos.

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And hydrangea.

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But a hard freeze is inevitable.

Necessary really.

We need things to die

So that we can clean up

And put our child to bed.

Mounding it all up to compost

So that we can return it to the earth.

But before I can even begin to think about all of that

I have to finish planting

ALL THESE BULBS!!!

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What was I thinking?

So on Saturday

I began.

Digging trenches

One section at a time

Along the path

Leading to the garden house.

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Then over planting

With Pansies.

Now I won’t bore you with the details

Since it’s the same process

We walked through

In the front

A few weeks ago.

But I will tell you

I’m glad to have it done.

It’s a big job

That needs a chunk of time.

Pulling up

Cockscomb, cosmos, tomatoes and peppers

Can be done in small snippets of time.

As is the case in most years

I was ready for the freeze.

To rest.

Gail

The last rose of summer.

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Filed under cockscomb, Compost, Cosmos, Fall, Fall Vegetables, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Green Tomatoes, Hydrangea, Peppers, roses, Uncategorized