Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Busy Busy Busy

No pics this week, because I — and, I assume, all the other BJ gardeners who actually take good pictures — was too busy transplanting & staking & pruning & watering & spraying & weeding. We don’t get many perfect weekends here in New England, but this is one of the rarities that make up for all the nasty days, sunny and mid-70s and not humid.

I do have a personal best to share: We got our first ripe (cherry) tomatoes, two gorgeous fat Black Cherries and a handful of Sun Golds. Normally that wouldn’t happen for another couple of weeks, at best. I’d call it a “brag”, but I can’t claim much credit, since both were plants that arrived from Los Angeles with bead-sized green fruit I didn’t have the heart to pinch off. This year all my Laurel’s Heirloom tomatoes were even taller and bushier than usual, and several were setting fruit. I suspect the unusually warm weather in California had a lot of mail-order growers in a tizzy between “plants getting too well-grown to ship” and “too early to ship to the colder states”

What’s going on in your gardens this week? (And remember, you can always send me jpegs at annelaurie (at) verizon (dot) net — or just click on my name in the right-hand column.)

48 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Strange choice of tag, eh wot?

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Surveying the storm damage. Got hit by some bad storms last night. Mosquitoes were drowning. High winds (gusts to 70?) and some hail. That was the 2 I was awake for. We lost power off and on all night

    I expect most to be OK but there is no telling for sure before daylight. We’ll see.

  3. 3
    Anne Laurie says:

    @NotMax: Thanks, fixed. FYWP will have its way!

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    Today’s agenda includes hedging, weeding and spreading mulch. I have enjoyed beans and sno peas from my garden. The peppers and tomatoes don’t appear to like their new location and the sweet potatoes won’t be ready to eat for months.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hopefully daylight doesn’t bring with it, bad news. We are suppose to have storms next week. Towns north of me are experiencing nightly storms but I haven’t received measurable rain in a week.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: Hopefully. The storms have been dodging us all spring, bad ones to the north, south, east. and west. Hail the size of baseballs, straightline winds in excess of 80mph, mini tornadoes, torrential rains, (I got caught in one in Sullivan for about an hour that left 185 under about a foot of water for almost a mile)(strange situation there) Anyway, all spring long I been watching the skies as the storms skidded by just to the north or just to the south and those that did hit the homestead? Where as gentle as a lamb by the time they got here. Not last night.


  6. 6
    raven says:

    Now that the roses are gone the girl has a bunch of other stuff blooming. She worried because she leaves for a week at art camp this afternoon and, if it doesn’t rain, she’ll have to leave the watering so some dolt.

  7. 7
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I actually have a garden for the first time since I started reading this blog. Yay. Right now I have somebeautiful pepper plants on my balcony, cherry and jalapeno. Half of the fruit come out tasteless, the other half delicious. I may not be watering sufficiently. My neighbor below complains whenwater runs off from watering. But she can’t say boo about a good thunderstorm.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Talentless Hack says:

    Well, my circadian rhythm is all out of whack, what with the sun coming up at 4:30 and all. It’s almost like that detective movie with Al Pacino when he’s in Alaska and can’t sleep for days because it never gets dark.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    Pretty quiet week in the garden. All is weeded and everything is in. We’re just waiting for harvest at this point. All our plants are loving this weather: regular rain with warm (but not horribly hot) temps and bright sunshine between bouts of rain. So far, summer has been just about perfect.

    Gearing up for the first summer freshman orientation this week. Bright shiny faces with anxious parents in tow. Love the kids, dread the parents. However, it will make the week go by quickly and then I’m off for a week of staycation. Yay!

  11. 11
    Raven says:

    A nice lady in the NYT no happy about sports talk:

    Yes, it’s just jargon, and it’s not meant to be taken literally. But let’s not drop the ball here: As we swing for the fences at work, let’s try to level the playing field by at least being sensitive to the hidden meanings of some of the sports metaphors we use. Maybe we can search our playbooks to find a different kind of workplace analogy, for the win.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    @Raven: who wrote that?

  13. 13
    HRA says:

    I have my plants on the deck for the last several years where I once had a huge garden for decades. Two of my tomato plants have small tomatoes at the very bottom of the plants. I have never seen that happen before.

    I bought a flat of parsley. Then I went searching for basil plants. I ended up with 2 small plants.

    Last time I asked about my Mulberry tree. This time I have a question about another tree that I did not plant and has been tall next to my garages for several years now. It has wooden thorns that come out of the branches. The berries are black and are not eaten by the birds. I noticed another one has taken form in one of my flower islands.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HRA: What are the leaves like?

  15. 15
    Baud says:


    She shoots, she scores.

  16. 16

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yikes, that’s some scary nature.

    I’m soaking the roots of the dendrobium for a while so they get a good drink. Everything else in the yard is doing its summer thing: hibiscus hosting the occasional hummingbird (the peaceful kind, John) and the local ducks and ibises are feeding on the bugs in the lawn.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    @HRA: Sounds like it could be a blackthorne

  18. 18
    satby says:

    The constant rain and wet so far have had two casualties that I assume were weakened by the icy winter: I lost a hawthorne sapling to the last storm, and about 1/2 of one of my Joseph’s Coat roses (not sure how). They both broke off at the base though seeming otherwise very healthy. There were suckers where the Hawthorne was, so I’m leaving them for now to see if one can grow into another decent sapling. One of my redbuds needs to be pruned down to only one (stem? trunk?) too, it leafed out and then 1/2 the tree died, but since it’s one of those trees that grows multi stems I have a healthy replacement next to the parts I’m cutting off. And then since I’m playing lumberjack today, I’ll cut down some of the multiple sugar maple saplings growing in other shrubs, and the mulberry trees that keep coming back.

  19. 19
    jeffreyw says:

    We pulled the first ripe bunch of cherry tomatoes the other day. They went into a nice salad.
    Thread needs moar Bitsy!

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    @jeffreyw: Love that face. We have one with the same air of determination.

    Olwyn (left) watching over Tristan

    She’s currently getting our new kitten shipshape.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    WaterGirl says:


    if it doesn’t rain, she’ll have to leave the watering so some dolt.

    Too funny.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    I am watering for a friend who is away for a few weeks. There are tons of blueberries on the blueberry bushes, but the berries are all white on the outside and hard and green on the inside.

    I’m in zone 5 – how long before those berries ripen? days? weeks?

  24. 24
    Tommy says:

    My garden this year is smaller then in previous years. On purpose. But I got to take some pics of the gardens in my town. They are epic. I have garden envy. I have my darn phone with me when I walk, so I can MapMyWalk. I should just take a few pics and post them this time next week.

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @satby: Interesting site. I’m going to bookmark it and explore it later.

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @raven: LOL. I am a huge sports guy. Every four years I try to get into the World Cup but can’t.

  27. 27
    Xboxershorts says:

    I’ve been holding onto about 200 linear feet of old gutter for about a year now. Last week my wife found some pics on the interwebbytubeythingy and got this harebrained idea to using them for gardening.

    So, behind our small greenhouse, with full southern exposure, we built a 9 foot tall frame that leans north and added 4 10 foot gutter pieces in tiers about 2 feet apart which should give the plants room to grow taller without interference from the garden tier above it.

    I was skeptical, my wife has some interesting ideas, to say the least. But when I saw the frame, I knew, if we chose the right plants, this would be cool. She hit an auction the previous week and picked up determinate peppers and tomatoes bred for plant size and fruit production. These won’t grow into the huge bushes I’ve seen before and I think we can add supports using strong twine mounted across the frame the length of the gutter.

    If this takes off and works, we’re going to have a monster harvest, enough to be able to sell at market.

    I’m psyched.

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    Found this amusing story on the BBC site: a man had to be rescued after he hurt his ankle climbing a mountain — while wearing flip-flops. Best paragraph:

    One of the injured man’s companions was bare-foot when the rescue team reached them, and the other was wearing trainers [sneakers].

  29. 29
    SectionH says:

    Not much news from our balcony container garden. We were in Seattle mid-week for a fannish wedding: Stu’s and Andi’s. Some here (AL, Purple Girl, ???) may know them; ??? could have even been there – there was quite a crowd and we certainly didn’t know or get to meet everyone.

    Most of the plants are doing ok. The tarragon and the gardenia aren’t happy. I repotted the gardenia recently so it could go on the balcony for more sun. It has new growth, but also a lot of brown leaves. I guess I’ll feed it and hope. The tarragon isn’t dying, just sort of not flourishing. Sigh. Well, it’s Mr S’s thing. He loves to cook with it. It’s basically in the Arugula camp to me: doesn’t taste of much at all; isn’t actively nasty.

  30. 30
    Tommy says:

    @Amir Khalid: OK that is sad. I am an avid hiker/camper/walker. I have like a $200 pair of Keen sandals. Pretty sure I’ve hiked tens of thousands of miles in them. They are sandals, but meant to be used in this manner. What person thinks to themselves, I want to walk up a mountain. Flip flops will be my shoe of choice?

  31. 31
    Marvel says:

    We harvested the last of the shelling peas yesterday and pulled up the bolting lettuce. The corn (started in our greenhouse) is taking off — mibbe a foot tall now. Summer squash (just three plants this year and I know they’ll have us up to our elbows in no time) has set fruit and I’ll use the first of the yellow ones for dinner tonight. Two kinds of kale (planted last March) are still doing well and ending up in the darnedest dishes come suppertime. Tomatoes (all slicers & canners) are tall and bushy and in need of a serious pruning and the potatoes are all a-flower. Pix next week, fersure.

  32. 32

    Anne Laurie@top
    My own garden is fairly humble, just tomatoes and herbs. On the other hand my friend’s garden in India was tiny but impressive.
    In a postage stamp sized area she has managed to plant a mango tree, a pomegranate tree, curry tree, jaam tree and many different varieties of hibiscus. I could send you those for a gardening thread, what do you think?
    This mango tree is from her garden.

  33. 33
    nellcote says:


    we built a 9 foot tall frame that leans north and added 4 10 foot gutter pieces in tiers about 2 feet apart

    consider adding a drip watering system so you don’t have to hand water every day.

  34. 34
    currants says:

    @satby: If it’s blackthorne, WOW! Even if it isn’t, TELL ME WHERE TO GET SOME!

    I’ve been trying to track down a few dozen (ok maybe just a score) as a hedge because they’re excellent for that purpose (hedge as fence, I mean), with BONUS fruit: the drupes are sloes. You prick them and let them sit in gin for a bit of time and get this truly fabulous … ummm … not really liquer, but delicious for sipping or for mixing with lemon juice a bit of sugar and club soda.

    NOT your 70s sloe-gin fizz, let me tell you.

    Seriously, if anybody here knows how/where to buy them (with shipping to New England) I would be delighted.

  35. 35
    satby says:

    @Xboxershorts: Sounds intriguing, but are the gutters deep enough for the plants to actually develop enough of a root system? My gutters are barely 4 inches deep.

  36. 36
    satby says:

    @currants: I know, right? I just googled the description and there it was, and now I want one too!

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Xboxershorts says:


    consider adding a drip watering system so you don’t have to hand water every day.

    It’s in the works. Just finished the rain water collection unit…..

  39. 39
    currants says:

    @satby: WOOOT! Thank you! My google-fu is weak. Then again I was looking last November, but still. Here are the places I found–one nursery has it listed but doesn’t have it, another one has seeds, but OMG I’ll be dead before they bear fruit.

  40. 40
    currants says:

    @currants: Also THIS, which would have been so much easier than planting (if all I wanted was the gin)–hey, almost-instant gratification!– but she no longer ships to the US. BOOO. She said she might get in touch about shipping plants, but no, not that either.

  41. 41
    currants says:

    (My nephew gave me “Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard” and it’s one of the last recipes listed. That started my search.)

  42. 42
    Older says:

    @Tommy: No, what he thought (if “thought” is the right word), was “I’d like to climb that mountain. Should I maybe go home and change shoes? Nahhh, that would take too long.”

    We live in a student neighborhood. Plenty of those folks around here. In fact, we have some in our own family. One of them jumped off a bridge and as he reported later, had plenty of time on the way down to think “I wonder if that was a good idea?”

    Act first, think later. I was actually kinda that way myself, long long ago.

  43. 43
    opiejeanne says:

    Sorry, Anne Laurie. I took pictures on Monday and Tuesday, and my internet promptly died on Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t get it fixed until yesterday. I hate Comcast, but the repairman they sent was really cute (ok, stop that Jeanne. You are too old to be a cougar). Make that: very nice. He fixed everything that was their problem and then went beyond the call of duty and showed me a trick to make a better connection to the internet with my tv.

    Then he went outside and fixed a problem with the line that he worried might cause a problem later.

    Then he took the old modem (the one that had the problem was about a month old) and made sure I got credit for returning it, even though the twit on the telephone told us we didn’t need to return it.

    I’ll take some more photos this week and send them to you, I promise.

  44. 44
    satby says:

    @currants: a majority of the sites I found were in the UK, but that one I linked is in the U.S. and has them in stock!

    I got one thing on my list done before I stopped until way later today, the temp right now is 78 but the heat index is 90!! I don’t cope well with heat and humidity like this.

  45. 45
    opiejeanne says:

    We have been eating strawberries and spinach and sugar snap peas from our garden for a coue of weeks now. Tomatoes are setting fruit but will take a long time to ripen because we are just outside Seattle, unless there is a heat wave.

    Oh, and cherries! They are ripe right now.

  46. 46
    Anne Laurie says:

    @WaterGirl: One thing I can guarantee — if you don’t put a net over those blueberries, the local birds & squirrels will get every last ripe berry before you can! :}

  47. 47
    HRA says:


    Sorry for this late reply -had to get my desserts over to a party.

    I know this thread has to be gone now and will try to answer just in case…

    They are dark green oval shaped leaves.

  48. 48
    qkslvrwolf says:

    In my Mom’s garden:

    “Wheel bugs have only one generation per year so, as with most predators, it takes them longer than plant-eating insects to ramp up their numbers after a population crash. This is why, when you spray insecticides (which indiscriminately kill ALL insects), predator populations take so long to catch up that the plant-eaters/prey insects end up having huge population explosions in the meantime. This is great for insecticide companies, but not so good if you’re trying to use fewer chemicals in your yard or garden.”

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