Saturday, June 29, 2013

MInnow races at Ortonville's Creekfest

At Ortonville's Creekfest, the minnow races were one of the creek appreciation events. They took pvc pipe, sliced it in half lengthwise to make two racing tubes. Then they filled them with water and placed one minnow in each to race to the other end. Of course, the minnows didn't always race to the other end, a couple went back to the beginning. It was cool though. The Creekfest celebration continues through Sunday, with a carnival and ferris wheel by M-15 and South St. and activity booths and food downtown.

 Kearsley Creek was full
and moving fast after all the rain.

Rain helps the garden grow, unless it floods

Flowers alright after the flood except for delphiniums.
After the flash flooding Thursday night, I went out to assess the damage and was relieved to find only broken delphiniums. The creek had risen over our driveway and the pond was flooded but today everything is back in its place.
There is a chance of rain every day for the next week.
Today and tonight calls for isolated thunderstorms.
Tomorrow is predicted to be partly cloudy with 20 percent chance of rain, then isolated and scattered thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday. It is so wet this year.

The broccoli is ready, the peas will be soon.

If it doesn't rain too much, I may be able to weed tomorrow. It's pretty muddy out there now. (excuses, excuses, I should wear boots and get it done. The weeds are starting to overtake the plants.)
Celery is ready to pick and peas are really close.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Garden weeding can be Zen

I actually like to weed, but it can do my back in rather quickly, eliminating the joy of gardening. Here are some ways to reduce weeding and how to maximize and ease the weeding experience.
1. Mulch to prevent weeding. You can use a number of items. I am heading out to the garden this morning to rake water weeds from the pond for mulch. Other materials you can use, to avoid buying expensive bags of mulch include wet newspapers, straw, grass clippings, leaves, aged manure and aged compost. Manure should not be fresh.
Organic Gardening magazine on mulch
2. Take cover. Place cover down where you aren't growing anything, like in walkways and borders around the garden. We laid strips of old carpet one year. Black plastic with mulch on top, is good for the walkways. Rototilling between the rows is efficient for keeping the weeds under control, but it needs to be done every three weeks. If you use want to use weed block or landscaping cloth, don't bother buying the cheap woven kind, the roots of the weeds get stuck, creating more work. There's a bonded type, if you want to spend the money.
3. Hoe hum. Hoe the little weeds, that are less than once inch and pull the larger weeds. Hoe 3 to 4 inches deep. I really don't like to hoe, so I usually wait until the weeds are big enough to pull.
4. Weeding is Zen.  Weed when the soil is moist or water beforehand and wait a few hours. Remember to water after you weed. I take a tool and loosen the soil before pulling weeds. A tool like the hula hoe which looks like a hoop on a stick or the mini rake or a pronged tool can help loosen the soil. You can use a hand trowel to dig up the big weeds. I do my best thinking while weeding.
 5. Garden yoga. My friend Mickey told me her trick to weeding includes the three yoga  poses of weeding, (no kidding). Bend over and pull. If you do that too many times, you'll feel it for a week. Squat down on your haunches. I can only do this for a few minutes. Kneeling. This works great until you need to move.
You can add various yoga poses, like crossing your legs while stretching over to pull weeds, maybe meditate a bit too while you're down there. You can spread your legs and do a leg stretch in between weed pulling as well. The main thing is to change positions to prevent continuous repetitive motions.
Back exercise. Here's a quick back exercise that is like the reverse of bending over. Lean back against a flat wall, press the small of the back against it with feet flat on the ground and hold for a minute or two. Repeat a few times everyday. For more on protecting your back, gardeners-dr-wang-says-start-out-slow.html

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Farmers markets sprout up with fresh produce

 Oakland County has two dozen farmers markets and most of them are now open for the season. Farmers markets have become more than a place to buy fresh produce and plants. Many offer meals, new products, music and entertainment. In Oakland County, there is a farmers market on every day of the week except Monday. Here is a link to The Oakland Press with a list of  Oakland County farmers markets

Monday, June 10, 2013

Picking flowers for the garden

My husband and I decided Sunday morning that we needed a tree or shrub for the rock garden. Well, $230 later, we came home with flowers and a Wisteria tree... and that was holding back. Landscaping is expensive. I had looked at the rock garden, thought about the facts: direct sunlight, well-drained mostly and deer pass through freely.
For deer resistant flowers,
That limited the choices, but not enough, it was still hard to decide. I had also measured the garden by walking its 30 foot crescent span.
We started this rock garden 5 years ago, then ran out of funds and energy. This is the first year that we have seriously planted in it. Initially, we planted the purple irises which come up every year. We planted Tiger Lilies and Hostas, (which the deer enjoyed). There are still a few lilies in there. We had planned on making it a waterfall... maybe next year.
The flowers we bought at Bordines and Wojos and planted Sunday are: (from left) Delphinium, Echinacea, Shasta Daisy, Lavendar, Red Salvia and Evening Primrose in the foreground.
I planted, then moved the flowers around, grouped them together, then dug a few up and moved them again. It is precarious standing on edge of the front of the garden and I couldn't seem to get the plants spaced very well, trying to watch my step.
There's still a lot of empty space that needs to get filled before the weeds reclaim it.
Years ago, we had put gray weed block material down. By the way, that stuff doesn't work very well.
Now I remember why we let this project go to the wayside. It is a constant source of work that is never finished. But it is still pretty, even when incomplete. I need to pull the weeds from the pool, although they are kind of pretty in there. Yeh, that's part of the uh, landscaping.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Compost is available at SOCRRA in Rochester Hills

Oakland County residents have a source for screened and cured garden compost. SOCRRA Community Partners in Recycling & Waste offers residents of South Oakland County member communities free compost — if they shovel their own. It is $5 for residents of other communities. The compost is made from grass, leaves, woodchips and other yard waste and food scraps collected from SOCRRA communities. For larger quantities loaded by SOCRRA bucket loader, a charge of $5 per cubic yard with a $15 minimum applies. It is available, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday in June at SOCRRA’s Yard Waste Compost Site is at 1741 School Road in Rochester Hills.
Some communities have compost available for residents at their Department of Public Works yard.
For more information visit, find SOCRRA on Facebook or call 248-288-5150.