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applestar
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Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I've been thinking it's awfully dark in the SE-facing kitchen lately, but assumed it was because of the overcast and rainy weather.

Today, -- clear skies and still kinda dark in the kitchen at 8:30am ....finally occurred to me that it's because all the trees in the woods beyond the fence have fully leafed out, but the sun is still lower in the sky at this time of the year. Later on, we will have the benefit of the shade from those trees in the morning hours until the sun angles high enough to clear the treetops.
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JONA
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Had the same problem applestar.
I planted a lovely acer twenty odd years ago to give my patio a little shade.
Had to remove two large branches last week as it was blotting out virtualy all the sunshine completely.
It was supposed to only grow to ten feet or so...it's at fifteen now and still going strong.!
John

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digitS'
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

My big garden is about 3 miles from a foothill off a mountain range. The prevailing winds are from that direction.

It must be just the right distance for the wind to lift over that hill and then drop back to sweep over my garden. There are garden walls, windbreaks, and livestock windshelters that use some metrics for determining how areas are protected from wind. The garden probably is just beyond where that hill would do some good and it may even intensify the wind speed in the garden.

I had a garden about a half mile away for several years. It was on land a little closer to the hill and was not nearly so windy!

There is also the neighbor's 4 car garage out in the open and just a few yards from one part of the garden. If the wind is from a more westerly direction than usual, it just whips around that building and slams into a part of the garden ...

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

SQWIB
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I have a similar issue, my hugel beds run the length of my yard, one section is between the houses and is receiving less sun due to the shading from the next door neighbors house, each day the sun is a tad higher giving more light to the hugel bed between the houses.

imafan26
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I am experiencing the opposite problem. I have more sun now because I got rid of a lot of the tall weeds and I just cut my hibiscus tree back. Some of my orchids are burning because they are in more sun.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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digitS'
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

The bindweed is blooming everywhere here now. Fortunately, I have beaten it back fairly well in the gardens. The tractor guy did quite the job spreading the roots around this spring.

Of the annual weeds, groundsel has begun to bloom. Whenever I see a plant with those yellow flowers, I've stopped and pulled it. That doesn't mean that I have it out totally or anywhere close to that. Just that it hasn't been able to go through its entire life process for seed to seed - so far!

More common (than common groundsel ;)) is the the purslane. I have only been able to go thru most of the beds where it occurs and need to do that again, there. Elsewhere, it will bloom soon outside the paths between beds and rows where the rototiller hasn't reached it.

The neighbor has done so-so with the "Italian" thistle (Carduus nutans)... so far. It hasn't had a chance to bloom in his garden but it's everywhere around it. Disappointing but I can't be responsible for that. Soon the seeds will begin to drift with the breeze ...

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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digitS'
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Oxalis has begun to bloom. The purslane from seeds in the ground which had been tilled began to bloom. I have tilled paths and where buried, the purslane won't be back. Where it isn't, the process may amount to little more than transplanting.

Only the path on the leeward side of the peas still has undisturbed purslane but the pea vines are being pulled and will soon smother those weeds which they have protected in recent weeks by draping over them and not allowing free passage of the rototiller.

The smartweed has attempted to invade my big veggie garden as usual. It is fairly well beaten back. Quack grass, as well ... pig weed still hides beneath plants like sunflowers and some will bloom at about 1"! Where it gets much taller, I have pretty much found it and been able to keep it pulled.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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ID jit
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Was really happy to find half a dozen golfball sized toads in my garden. They seemed to have taken up residence and I could kind of predict where to find them when I was watching out for them. Tried to dig out little hollows and soften up the soil in the corners and edges so the would have a place to sort of burrow down.

Last week I walked out and found a 3' milk snake sunning itself. Haven't seen a toad since.
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applestar
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Oh no! I hope they didn't all get eaten but are hiding....
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Only saw the snake that one time. Haven't seen a toad since. Sort of looking at it as a "full circle round" sort of thing. Makes me think I have a pretty good eco micro system going on in my garden. I feed the soil and plant the plants.... the bugs come to the plants, the toads come to the bugs and the snake comes to the toads..... just missed having the snake for dinner, I guess.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

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digitS'
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Oxalis is now blooming again where it had supposedly been tilled out. It isn't too bad in the big veggie garden perhaps because of the full sun exposure. Oxalis seems to prosper in shadier locations and what a root on the little plants!

Of course, the purslane is back and blooming! It's my garden's most persistent weed. Perhaps there are worse weeds out there but it is really hard to keep the quick-growing thing down and one plant going to seed must reproduce by the hundreds if not thousands!

The crabgrass will be setting seed soon. Honestly, I don't really know where the plants come from since, I believe, that I stop them from seeding. Lawn grass seed (Kentucky Bluegrass) is probably coming in on my shoes over the years. The dwarf plants must make seed in my lawn despite weekly mowing - it sure looks that way. One can actually see a trail as I leave a lawn area and enter a garden path. The further in I go, the less KBG plants. They are easy to dispatch but it's kind of a silly and unwanted garden companion.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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ID jit
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Have a couple dozen fox glove volunteers to figure out what to do with.

Dawned on me when I was looking at them and shaking my head.... stuff growing too well is an easier problem then stuff dying off.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

imafan26
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

It seems it is getting hotter. It isn't even August yet, and we are already close to 90 degrees in the day. Even though it is not an El Nino year, we seem to be having El Nino storms with summer rain and a relatively dry winter.

I don't have any orchids blooming now. I usually have something in bloom all year.

The ants and roaches are driving me crazy, even my cat has stopped chasing them. The snails are back in the garden. For a while I saw 0-3 in the mornings, but I am back to the normal 7 without really looking for them.

More fruit fly issues this year. However, I usually have a fruit fly trap set all year. I can no longer get the methyl eugenol lure anymore and the new lures don't seem to work as well.

I am seeing more butterflies. They are probably coming for the budleia

I had tomato yellow leaf curl virus on a tomato this year, so I don't have any tomatoes now. I do have white flies. I just cut the hibiscus down again.

Nutsedge, bindweed, and California grass are pretty hard to kill. They come up like gangbusters after it rains. The fukien tea is getting taller than the plumeria.

It is already time for me to head off the bilimbi.

I don't know about you, but it is hard to work very long outside, I just tire out faster in the heat.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Yes, my hours in the garden are much more limited once temps are over 90. I try to get out early in the morning and in the late afternoon and evening. Our yard has a row of trees along the back (west) fence, so by 3 or 4 it is pretty shady.
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ID jit
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Found a toad today, a big one, and black. Made me happy.... I like toads. Haven't seen any of the golf ball sized brown ones since that one day milk snake visit. For some reason I thought snakes left toads alone. Guess I was wrong.
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applestar
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Cool! I have yet to see a toad in my garden, though I make "toad houses" from broken terra-cotta pots and leave them under shrubs and stuff. Three little frogs and one big one in my pond. Tree frogs calling from everywhere....


Something has happened to the local firefly population -- I used to see the entire backyard filled with them and used to joke that they are prettier than the fourth of July fireworks. I would send the kids out with a butterfly net to run around once and see who caught how many.

This year, Number I see can be counted on fingers of one hand. All last week I only see one at a time almost every time, I cheer if a 2nd one flashes back from somewhere else in the garden.
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imafan26
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I can hear the toads chirping at night even though I don't see them. I did find an orchid blooming and another one in bud today. It would be nice to spend some time outside in the late afternoon, but I rarely go outside after dark. Today I got home at 6:15 p.m. and already the days are getting shorter. It was already starting to get dark.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ID jit
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

Toad houses.... that is a cool idea!

Firefly decline.... "Nobody really knows why".... collateral damage from the humans making the world more comfortable for themselves: Habitat removal /destruction, spray for mosquitoes & co. probably isn't helping, less water and more and more people using more and more.... Fireflies are a rare occurrence around here these days. Where I grew out (100 miles away) they were almost psychedelic - used to watch them in these huge fields with binoculars.

Same gig as the harlequin frogs in central America, red efts & co. in New England, amphibians throughout the world.... We're not headed into a repeat of the life abundant Cretaceous or Jurassic periods.

Toad houses are a great idea and I think I am going to go move some more downed logs into the edge of the stream that is not too far away.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I could finally get out into the garden for a bit of work today after some torrential rainfall last week that had it looking more like a swamp than a garden plot. I had just put in some pole bean and cucumber seeds several days before the deluge came and the seeds that have emerged are fairly sparse so I put in more seeds to fill in the blanks.

I've had a bigger than normal influx of birds in the garden as of late since I've been tossing multiple bags of grass clippings in there to till under. Seems the birds are loving the easy pickings of bugs and nest building material I've supplied. I've seen Blue Jays, Doves, Grackles, Sparrows, Mocking Birds and the occasional Cardinal. It is nice to sit out on the back porch in the evening and look down into the garden with all that activity going on.

There's even a flock of parrots that have been around for well over 15 years now that love to invade the fruit trees in the evenings. Before Katrina when I had a large Japanese Plum tree, they would come in the early morning and late afternoon to help themselves. They were fun to watch and ever colorful, but they sure raised a fuss with all their noise.

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ID jit
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I just googled "Toad House"..... what the heck.... I don't know if I need to web surf more or surf less.... Has me second guessing what I did earlier.

Gather up some stones, bricks and broken slate pavers.... dug trenches in shaded parts of the garden...... installed a floor of really mulchy compost..... propped up the broke slates to put a roof over the cave with the really mulchy compost floor.... covered the slate with a inch or so of soil and then covered with some light colored mulch to try to keep the sun off and keep it cool.... basically made little underpasses (open on both ends) for the overhead foot traffic.

All proud of my ingenuity and resourcefulness and then I came in a google "toad house". WHAT!? What kind of toad is going to move into my little dirt-n-rock cave when there are so many whimsical and pretty ceramic creations to pick from on goggle ?!?!?

Did a little reading..... I need to add a water dish? Would that be sparkling water or is well water okay? Are lemon wedges optional of mandatory?
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

At one point I had several clay saucers setting on the ground around my garden and in the little wooded area behind it. Toads would set in the saucers when the weather was dry. The water attracted a lot of snakes too. Snakes do eat toads so nature took it's due course I'm sure.

Toads don't look for houses by how pretty the structure is. They look for sheltered locations, cool and close to a food source. A solar garden light might attract some insects for them but I have heard they prefer slugs. Lots of loose mulch that is soft and easy to dig into brings in toads. I've found them under piles of weeds I have pulled and piled in the garden.

We used to have loads of fireflies until the county started spraying for mosquitoes. Severe drought takes a toll too. I find lots of firefly larvae in the mulch and loose soil in the yard so I leave as many places as I can for them. Unfortunately spiders and other predators eat them. There are even fireflies that eat other fireflies!

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digitS'
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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

imafan26 wrote:... Today I got home at 6:15 p.m. and already the days are getting shorter. It was already starting to get dark.
You are a very observant person, Imafan'! We have all come to realize that from discussions on gardening subjects.

You recognize a lose of daylight at about 21° North latitude.

Sprayed ornamentals this evening. I think that the most common insect in my garden at the moment is the Plant Bug. Isn't that the darndest name??

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miridae

Steve :D
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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Re: Random comments and reports related to our gardens

I'm noticing the day length difference too. When doing basically the same routine every day, you can't help but notice!

But my random comment is "if you plant it they will come". Posted this image in another thread. Was surprised this year to see this new pest show up. For the first time ever I decided to try tomatillos, and suddenly here they are! How do they get here? Pretty far out from town, no one else has a garden around here, natural environment is sand, rocks, juniper and pinon pine. They only bother the tomatillo plant.
Clipboard.jpg
Good news is, I think they've run their course, but they were feasting on tomatillo leaves for a while. Tomatillos are thriving now, and finally setting some fruit! Just planted a little seed from some tomatillos I got from the store. Kind of exciting.



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