Garden update July

Where has the time gone?  Already July and I am just getting to a garden update.  June was super busy with the end of the school year and kids activities.  After all of that a bit of R&R was in order.  This past Independence Day weekend was the first time I felt like I had a moment.


So here is my garden update.  I have never had a garden look this good.  Not. Ever.  The extreme heat, coupled with measured irrigation has allowed everything to grow so well.  It has been wonderful for the tomatoes and peppers.


The tomatoes are loaded with blossoms.

Blossoming_tomatoesthe leaves on the okra are huge!

Okra_Huge_leavesThe Zucchini plants look amazing and have 4″ long fruits on them.  the eggplant, tomatillos and ground cherries also look extremely healthy.

Growing_ZuchinnisI harvested the last of my snap peas and took a cutting of broccoli.  when the broccoli is all done we will till in the foliage and prep our fall crops in that area.  We have to be careful because we have at least a dozen “volunteer” tomatoes that are looking beautiful.

Everything looks a bit short this year.  Like the plants can’t afford to get too tall. The only problem that I can report are some unwanted visitors.


That being said, I feel for the farmers though.  As I drive around town, I see them irrigating their fields, something they don’t normally need to do.  Irrigating is not, to my knowledge, even a standard practice for most Western New York farms.

How about you, how does your garden grow?


Building a stone pathway

stone_pathway_with_gravelRemember a few weeks back when I said I tackled some heavy lifting projects? Outside of our garage door to the yard there is a stone pathway landing.  It was installed over landscape fabric, but without any sort of gravel base.  Over the years it has sunk. A lot.  As is my typical M.O., I didn’t take a good before picture.  Actually, as is HIS typical M.O., Mr. Midwood got straight to work and started ripping the path out.  In the picture below, you can see what it looked like on the left hand side.

assembling_stone_candidatesOh, do you only see grass?  That is how sunken and overgrown the path was.  We are in and out through this door all day long and by the middle of the summer the grass is worn away and a mud pit develops.  many of the existing stones were too small so we swapped out some larger pieces of stone from our wall and other areas of the property.   After we laid out enough stone loosely on the grass, we dug down about six inches, sloping away from the garage.

Laying_gravel_baseWe had plenty of pea gravel in the landscaping to reclaim and use for a base.

Testing_stone_depthNext we started dry fitting the stone for depth and adjusted the gravel accordingly.

layout_first_attemptWe wanted to lay them as tight as possible for weed control.  I also wanted to get them tight against the mowing strip on the right and the garden bed on the left. A curved edge gives a nice radius for Mr. Midwood to run the mower right over the edge to eliminate the need for weed whacking.  I also chose a mix of stone colors and tried to distribute them somewhat evenly.  Each stone is different with a lot of natural clefting that has to be considered for safe footing.

final_layout_natural_edgeAfter a bit of tweaking and rearranging, I found  a nice layout for the stone pathway.  We still needed to adjust the gravel for the different stone thicknesses and dig out the the edge a bit  to accommodate the irregular stone shapes.  I tried to lay them the same way on the lawn to keep the pattern together.  Thankfully, I took a picture, which helped so much when I was ready to lay them in the final time.

Topped_with_gravelMore gravel…

masonry_supervisor…and close scrutiny.

next_day_pathway_stoneFinally, Mr. Midwood built up the wall around the garden with some of the smaller stones that we had to take out of the path. The above shot is from the next morning.  It looks sooo much better and is a lot more functional now.

By the way, if you are looking for and awesome workout, build yourself a stone pathway or patio.  Full. body. workout.




Garden center mark downs and a May day cold

We spent all day Saturday in the yard.  It was a beautiful day and we got a lot of work done.  I ran out of mulch and needed a few more bags.  Sunday was rainy and dreary, why not go buy mulch?  As soon as we got in the car I could feel something happening, at first I thought it was allergies.  On to the garden center.  I always check out the garden center mark down area at Lowes, because I have found some good things in the past.

perennial_bargain_haulThey had a ton of spring perennials marked down, largely because the blooms were spent.  I got two ruby red wigelias, two erysiums and two pink creeping phlox, a quarter flat of violas and a boxwood for half price.  Yay!  I have a lot of spaces to fill in the garden so I can use all the bargain that I can find.  The foliage on them is pretty good.  I will get them into the ground today and give them a chance to spread their roots.  I am especially happy about the boxwood, more on that later.

By the time we got back from running our errands, I had realized what that funny feeling I had mention earlier was, a head cold.  A May day cold, the humanity.  I took it easy the rest of the day, but it really hit Monday on the way home from work.  All I could think about was crawling into my warm bed after a nice, hot shower.


I am sharing this cold treatment today.  It is certainly not a cure, but offers a nice comfort.  I have always drank hot honey and lemon for a cold.  I recently came up with an addition that makes it even better.  No, it is not whiskey, but that is good just before bed. Wink.  I couple of moths ago tried adding coconut oil to the concoction.  Now it is my go to.  Just a bit will do, a quarter to half a teaspoon is all you need.  It floats on top, which is fine.  As you drink the soothing honey and lemon concoction, the coconut oil lightly coats your lips, mouth and throat.  This is especially soothing if you have a sore throat or a heavy cough. I find that the coconut oil softens the delivery of the sometimes harsh lemon.  Since coconut oil also is said to help with immunity, digestion, healing and infections it has additional benefits.

Stay healthy