Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crowing Abatement Measures A Success

well mostly..
Queenie, the culprit.
Since the crowing was triggered by sunrise I finally figured out that if I could just keep the sun below the horizon until I was ready to get out of bed the problem would be mitigated.

So while I schemed how to delay daybreak I decided to try locking the birds in the dark coop at night. And letting them out when I got up.

It seems to work. They wake up later and once I let them out into the run there doesn't seem to be a need to crow.

I still hear muffled squawking some days if I wake up too late. And I will admit there has been the occasional cock a doodle screech. But overall the very aggressive, noisy crowing has stopped.

And outsmarting a chicken is a thrill beyond compare.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ick, What Is It?

This was oozing out between the boards of one of the raised beds the other day. Kind of gooey, with little bubbles or beads. When it first appeared it looked like scrambled eggs. As it dried it turned reddish brown. The crack research team here at Backyard Farm, aka my dear husband, found it immediately online.

It's called Slime Mold, although it's not actually a mold, it's a fungus.
Here's a link with lots of info
Fun Facts About Fungi

Turns out it's harmless, and should disappear once the weather warms and dries up. It is usually caused by shredded wood products common in compost.

Besides seeping out between the boards, it has also oozed up through the burlap that covers many of my raised beds. That little puddle of cream at the edge of the bed is the slime.

The burlap started out as an attempt to keep cats from digging in the raised beds. But I am thinking it will also act as a mulch preserving moisture and protecting the soil from caking over.

And as I watch a passing spring shower pummel the plants I am happy that the burlap is preventing the plants from being splattered with mud, which can cause mildew problems.

Sad News

One of my little sweeties, Dinah, was hit by a car on Saturday morning and was too badly injured to make it, so we had to have her put down. We didn't have her long, but she will be sorely missed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I admit I write infrequently during the winter months when there is not much going on in the garden. I've got no such excuse lately. And I think I am even worse in the springtime when there is so much excitement and something new everyday.

We've had a few nice, warm days and the plants are really starting to take off. So I've been outside as much as possible. And I was fairly preoccupied with building, placing and filling the boxes at the front of the yard.

Now I feel like I am playing catch up. I just planted sweet peas today. And I haven't even started zinnias and marigolds.

Sunflower volunteers are coming up in the back and front yard, along with lots of Calendulas.
And the currant bush has formed tiny fruits.

One of the apple trees in the back yard is loaded with miniature apples. And this from a tree that didn't even blossom last year.

I transplanted the Yuzu tree into the ground. It's leaves were yellowing and I thing it may have been suffering from wet feet in the pot. I also planted the hardy kiwi in the ground, and it too is full of promising blossoms. If it fruits this year it will be a first.

Kale is in full swing, great for juicing and kale chips, as well as more conventional treatments like with sausage and pasta.

And as if I need more distractions, our local Moreland Farmer's Market kicked off the summer season last Wednesday.

Best Day of the Year

It has become one of my favorite traditions. My sister in law Rhonda and I make our lists, drain our bank accounts and head south to Canby for the Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair. It's held on the first Saturday in May and it really makes the beginning of the summer garden season official.

We stock up on tomato and pepper starts, along with anything else that catches our fancy. We eat sausages and pulled pork and sometimes sneak into the volunteer area for a cookie.

But the most fun is observing the assorted conveyances that people use to haul their botanical finds. This year a new pinnacle of ingenuity was achieved. And here's your winner.
No it doesn't belong to Rhonda, but she sure wishes it did. We don't know if that upper bucket was actually able to carry any weight. Seems doubtful. And yes, those are recycling bins.

And here are a we felt deserved honorable mention. Note the creative use of toolbox and coffee holder on the Radio Flyer.

We also like to see what THE Hot plant of the year is. This year it was a Salvia called "Hot Lips", which had sprays of garish red and white flowers. The vendor couldn't haul them out fast enough. And folks weren't just buying 1 or 2, they were filling carts with this curious plant.

Best of all, this year we added a new tradition; taking advantage of the MG parking lot. We flashed our badges and in we went. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2nd Annual Garden Exchange

It official. It has become a tradition and one of the best days of the gardening year. Eagerly anticipated by attendees. Some folks plan weeks and months in advance what they will bring to share. This year we had a huge variety of vegetable starts and ornamental plants.

I scored French and Spanish Lavender, a large Nandina, lots of flowering ground covers for my new raised bed fence.

There were lots of Day Lillies, Raspberries, Strawberries, and Rhubarb. Also on offer were seeds and gardening books. We sustained ourselves with homemade cookies, plenty of coffee and mimosas. You gotta keep your strength up.

It's a great chance to catch up with gardening friends, meet new ones and chat about the summer gardening season we have been looking forward to all winter.