Category: Growing

Oct 19

Cait loves gourds as seen by this year’s backyard harvest.

guords.jpgMarty admits to not understanding the whole gourd thing, viewing them as impractical because you can’t eat them and most are too small to make good bird nests.

But around here gardens are a shared venture so the Gimpy Girls raised a variety of gourds, which grew abundantly among the vines of the tomatoes, the cucumbers and the peas.

Oct 15

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Cait photographed this House Finches descended for a Fall feast.

It’s been soul-satisfying watching the birds gorge themselves on the many sunflowers we planted near the kitchen windows this year.

Sep 25

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This early morning photo shows our raised bed of asparagus grown tall and surrounded by sunflowers, garbage cans planted with tomatoes and the pumpkin bed peeking from the back.

The asparagus bed is only two years old so we harvested sparingly this past Spring to let the fronds grow tall and the roots set deeper. Soon we’ll cut down the stalks, top dress the bed with well-rotted manure and then mulch the bed with the stalks and a thick mat of straw for winter.

Eds. Note: And that little critter in the back with his paw raised is one of two cement lions Cait bought at an estate sale for $5 each and hauled home.

Sep 17

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Our sunflowers are coming on strong as the rest of the Gimpy Garden fades. We got the seeds in so late this year — nearly the end of June — that we didn’t think much would come of them. And in our haste, we didn’t keep track of what was where so we can’t tell you the name of this beauty or where to buy it. If any of you know, please let us know.

Eds. Note: After looking at some of our old seed packets, we’re guessing this is a variation of Autumn Beauty.

Sep 3

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Cait swears the sky really was this spectacular color when she photographed this sunflower. The photo is so beautiful we’ll take her word for it and just assume she was channeling her inner van Gogh.

Marty can vouch that the Jackmanii clematis below really is that color. It’s all that fine llama poop we added

But there’s also something about the end of summer that makes the blossoms ultra fabulous as we head into Autumn and then … well … never mind. We need to be in denial right now about what comes after Autumn.

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Aug 27

sky.jpgCait took some liberties with the color of the sky when she shot the flowers of these hyacinth beans, but her version was so pretty we decided to keep it - artistic license.

The pods and seeds of the hyacinth bean are poisonous so we plant them in containers high enough to be kept out of reach of our dogs - who are pigs and will eat most anything.

The vines are fairly slow growing until warm weather hits and then they blast off. Cait shot these over her head where they’ve grown to a height of more than 10 feet this summer.

The striking fragrant flowers give way to long dark beans, which we pick and save for the next season.

They’re a lovely plant to pot up in the Spring and then give to a friend - who definitely will remember you with they start to bloom and perfume the air.

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Aug 25

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Our candy stripe zinnias thrived with little attention this summer in The Gimpy Garden. They are beautiful alongside almost any plant and so easy to grow that we’re planning to plant many more next year.

It’s been an exceptionally buggy summer, prompted by monsoon Spring rains which spurred waves of flying, crawling, digging and munching insects. Japanese beetles decimated our containers of kale and basil while the cucumbers and melons we planted in metal buckets and old livestock feeders spent much of the summer under floating row cloth to protect them from moth larvae that burrow into the young stems.

Then, despite a good crop, there was the widespread tomato blight and cucumber wilt that turned the foliage into ugly brown crinkled leaves.

We must garden differently next season. Well, more efficiently. We got behind the ball in late June and never recovered. So we spent the summer chasing garden problems rather than anticipating them.

When fall turns to winter and everything outside is put to bed, we’ll ease our garden grief by planning a low-cost easy-to-use drip or absorption system for containers and an elevated system for compost tea to replenish the nutrients lost to watering our container gardens.

Aug 25

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Insects ravaged many of our flowers this year, but passed by these lovely Green Zinnias which stand about 30 inches tall and send up more buds as you cut them throughout late summer.

These reach their deepest lime color in partial shade and turn more yellow chartreuse in full sun. They are incredibly easy to grow and have attracted many hummingbirds and butterflies to our garden this summer.

Aug 22

Cait & Marty, who frown on lawns in general, think suburbia should be covered with grass that benefits the environment and requires little attention.

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The Prairie Nursery has come up with lawns that form a dense mat, thrive in sun or partial shade, require little - if any - watering or fertilizer and need to be mowed once or twice a year, if that.

Their no-mow lawns also look very dog and kid friendly.

Click here to check out more pictures.

Aug 10

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Our sunflowers are attracting many bees and soon birds since we’ll let the heads dry in place.

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