Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

A waiting game

July 18, 2013

Picture 38Holy heck it’s hot!  First a cool damps spring, then an overnight switch into hot & humid have marked our summer here at Henbogle.  The very wet June has led to a bumper crop if mosquitoes and biting flies, here, IMG_3296and those, combined with the  heat and humidity during the day, are making gardening exceptionally unpleasant.

The garden grows, though a lot of things got off to a very slow start.  Still, the shallots look good, the potatoes are blossoming, there are green tomatoes on the vine, and the spring broccoli and cauliflower was good.  The broccoli, though, even my beloved Piracicaba, has been slow to give me side shoots.

The snap peas came and went in a flash, and I’ve had some destructive nibbling of my lettuce crop, so garden eating hasn’t been super to date.  It is a IMG_3301good thing I’ve got fabulous nearby farms and farm markets.  Late blight has been confirmed in Western Massachusetts, sigh, meaning it is more than likely we’ll have it here sooner than later. I’ll hope I can get some new IMG_3297potatoes and fried green tomatoes if nothing else.

Of course the weeds are flourishing with the early plentiful rain and hit weather/absent weeder.  Sigh.  Dan Man and I watered and weeded a bit last night, until the biting flies drove me inside.  The watering brought on a nice thundershower, so the other gardens we did not water got some needed rain, and we got a lovely light show.  No such luck that the storm would usher in cooler air, we have more of the same until Sunday.

At least inside we have air conditioning on the first floor, so we’ve been IMG_3305keeping busy with painting and house projects.  I’ve got some dear old friends coming to visit next week, so Henbogle is being buffed and waxed to a glow.  More on that next.

A big gardening day

June 10, 2013

IMG_3122The blue tarps worked.  Although the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea dumped about 3 inches of rain on us Friday night, the soil below the taps was dry enough to work today.  We had a mix of sun and clouds throughout the day, with just enough of a breeze to keep the black flies and mosquitoes at bay.

We started the day with a bike ride, then breakfast with friends at a local restaurant.  Then we rode home (uphill, I might add) to do some gardening.  First I finished planting annual flowers in containers for the deck.  We are going with white and pink this year, with some silver accents.  Once all the containers were planted, I mulched the pots with grass clippings IMG_3124to minimize soil splashing and help keep the soil moist.  Once that was done,

I fertilized the beds lightly with to give the seedlings some readily accessible nutrients, then Dan and I laid down the plastic mulch.  While Dan weeded the shallots (he is a weeding fiend!) I sowed cucumber and squash seeds, then planted lettuce in front of the tomatoes.  I peeked under the tomato row cover and discovered some of the tomatoes were flowering, so I removed the row cover to let the bees do their thing.  I also cut some chive blossoms for chive blossom vinegar, mmm.

I have more younger lettuce starts to go in the garden, but they will have to await another day.  All in all, the garden is looking better, although there is still a LOT to do.


Snap peas are beginning to flower
Tomatoes thriving and uncovered
Peppers planted and coveredIMG_3125
90% of the beds are ready for planting (not including the hoop house)
Plastic down
Checked on broccoli, beginning to head up  some weeding and recovered
Cucumbers and winter squash sowed50% of the lettuce starts sowedShallots weeded and mulched


Sow bush and pole beans
Purchase and sow “Flying Saucers” Patty Pan squash seed
Sow cabbage and more bok choi, tatsoi, kale (for baby kale) and other Asian greens
Plant leek starts
Sow cilantro
Plant parsley starts
Plant cutting flower starts
Sow sunflowers
Prep remaining beds


And oh joy, heavy rain is forecast for Monday overnight and Tuesday, with up to 2 inches, and more showers and overcast skies through Thursday.  I feel bad for commercial growers, with strawberry season just beginning. Sigh.


All tucked in

June 6, 2013

Tonight, I covered the peppers with floating row cover to protect them as best I can from the weather, which looks like this:Picture 27

Originally the forecast was calling for up to three inches of rain in my area, but has dropped the amount to just 1 inch.  Here’s hoping for clear skies for the rest of next week.

May showers bring May flowers

May 10, 2013

IMG_2962We finally had some rain yesterday, showers mostly, but enough that the leaves popped overnight.  Our IMG_2965rain gauge shows nearly 3/4 of an inch, but we had some locally heavy showers late in the day.  Dan quickly sprinkled about some grass seed in some bare areas, and mulched with straw from the hendome.  I hope we get enough showers over the next few days so we can skip the sprinkler.

He also got the hummingbird feeders out so I made some sugar syrup, filled and hung them.  I hope we see some hummies soon.  A few more photos of the flower beds follow — the veggie garden is too weedy to pose for photos after the rain!IMG_2970

Too many tomatoes

April 28, 2013

IMG_2926It was a gorgeous day in Maine today.  We started the day with a bike ride to a local restaurant to have breakfast with friends.  It was a little cool, but the ride was fun, although unfortunately it was uphill on the way home –or maybe that was a good thing?

Once home, I got to work transplanting tomato seedlings.  I decided to use some old tomato seeds rather than order new, so I planted several seeds in each pot in case of poor germination.  Germination was good, and I just hate thinning them, so I decided to transplant them all into individual pots and give them away or trade them.  I now have 41 tomatoes after giving 4 away earlier in the day.  I did the same with my peppers, although fortunately I don’t have as many peppers.

I planted 9 varieties of tomato, a mix of slicing and paste tomatoes, and one cherry tomato, my old standby Sungold.  I also purchased some Jet Star tomatoes after hearing rave reviews from one of the Extension staffers.

Martha Washington (slicer)
Rose (slicer)
Cherokee Purple (slicer)
Jet Star (slicer)
Orange Banana (paste)
Pompeii (paste)
Sungold (cherry)
German Johnson (slicer)
Pineapple (heirloom slicer)
Speckled Roman (paste)

For peppers I planted Ancho (Tiburon), Anaheim (Joe E. Parker), Sweet Italian Frying (Carmen), and Early Jalapeno.

I also started some more lettuce, and some zinnias and bachelor buttons.  For the smaller plants I’ve been using un-coated paper Dixie cups, which I find very convenient, but I may give my soil blocker another try this spring with more flowers.  Labeling is always a problem for me with the soil blocker, but it won’t matter so much with flowers.

It was a gorgeous day to be outside in Maine.  The worst of the busy spring semester is behind me now, so with luck I’ll be able to enjoy the spring a bit more now, and in 7 weeks I’ll be off finishing up at work for the summer, whoo hoo!

Spring Peepers!

April 5, 2013

Tonight we heard the peepers** for the first time this year.  Winter is coming to an end at last.

Spring peepers are small coppery brown frogs, Pseudacris crucifer, and their high-pitched peeps are actually the males calling to attract a mate. They hibernate in cold Maine winters, and in mid-spring, awaken when warm rain falls, and the ice is out on a nearby pond where they will breed. Check out the link to Wikipedia to hear a recording.

**Thanks Lou for pointing that typo out!

Welcome Spring!

March 20, 2013


I know it could be worse.  It could be over a foot of snow in April.  Oh, wait, that could still happen!

Happy Spring!

It was nice while it lasted

March 18, 2013

IMG_2808I was enjoying the lack of snow in the backyard.  Guess that’s over for a bit.


Hoophouse gardening

March 18, 2013

IMG_2799March is being fickle here at Henbogle.  The big snows of February are mostly gone, and there are tulips peeking above ground near the foundation of the house on the sunny and IMG_2800protected southwestern side.  It’s good sap running weather, with cold nights and clear sunny days, but Sunday was windy and chilly from the wind, and (sob) there is 3-7 inches of snow in the forecast for Tuesday.   What’s a gardener to do?  Head for the hoophouse, of course!

Even with large holes in the plastic cover, the hoophouse was pleasantly warm, and the soil inside unfrozen and workable.  It needed some a lot of weeding and the large culinary sage in there needed cutting way, way back.  I didn’t think to take before pictures, but at the end of an hour or so, it looked much better, and more IMG_2804importantly, is ready for seeding with some cold-hardy plants.  Next weekend I’ll plant IMG_2806_2some brassicas, lettuce, spinach and other greens, and maybe even a few carrots and see what happens.  With luck, we’ll be eating home-grown salad by May 1.

Snowy weekend

February 25, 2013

The forecast initially called for 1-3 inches, then 4-6, then 6-8.  By the time the last snowflake fell, we had over a foot of snow.  It was very pretty this morning.  Twenty five days until spring!  I’m hearing the spring bird calls, it is coming.IMG_2727