Category Archives: odds&ends

Bug Spray


It’s about to be Japanese Beetle season. I found this on FaceBook.

An addition from John Snippe: Add a tablespoon of soap to that (even use it to replace the oil, actually)… and it will work better with crushed fresh garlic. Oh, and add a teaspoon of cheyenne pepper… anti- snails/slugs and nibblers.


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Front bed

The largest part of this year’s yard project is done. Grass is out; mulch is in. Tea bushes are transplanted.  I hope moving hasn’t killed them. I need to get the cover weeds out of the older part of the bed so we can mulch there, too. We used a thick layer of mulch to kill the grass there and it was effective. But, that mulch has turned into dirt and needs refreshing.

I moved the Euonymus that I had planted in that bed to the back yard where the deer can’t get to it. It’s supposed to be a bush but, right now, it’s a stick because it was snacked on heavily last summer. But, it’s not dead as evidenced by the leaves popping out. So, I have hope.

Our Japanese maple was accidentally mutilated by some yard guys who were taking down dead chunks of the maple on the corner of our lot.  After some consideration, I got a new tree.  The mutilated one was in too much sun and looked like crap for most of the summer. So, we finished the job the yard guys started and put a new tree in the front Partial Shade bed.

I found parts of a man’s shoe and a patch of nails while I was digging the grass out.  And I’m constantly amazed at the amount of quartz that grows in our ground.

 This is our most prolific crop.

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Hamby pole beans!!

My Nanny (paternal grandmother) was a constant gardener. She canned or preserved anything she had enough of to put in a jar. When my uncle was situated with a yard big enough to plant in, he followed her example. His uncle, her brother, used to get bean seeds from a local general store to send to his nephew in Nashville, TN.

When Nanny died, we pulled out all the things she had put by and everybody got an equal portion. Except, she had taught me how to make pickles. So, I traded my pickles for quarts of beans. And had no more for 2 decades.

Four years ago, I called that general store to see if they still carried Hamby bean seeds. My uncle’s garden was gone as his dementia progressed and his uncle had been gone almost as long as his sister. And they do. They don’t usually sell the little hobby garden size package, but they sold me a quarter pound of seeds. They weren’t (maybe still aren’t) set up to take a credit card. So, they sent the seeds to me with a bill enclosed, trusting me to send a check back to them.

(Of course I did. Shut up.)

My dad, never a gardener, has been delighted with the flavor of his past, when I share.

Hambys are pole beans and have a fairly short production period. But, they put out like crazy for for the 3 or 4 weeks they do put out. They are a great, meaty bean and the seeds turn lavender when you cook them.

We have 4 tepees this year and this is our first harvest.


Yes. I’m bragging. Whatever.

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Winter 2014

This has been the most severe winter here since we started the garden and raised beds. We have had two periods over the last three weeks when it reached single digit temps, the most recent this week when it got down to 2 degrees one morning. Even with the cold frame covers, we lost most everything, kale, chard, lettuce, etc. Looks like the garlic and carrots made it, but it will be a wait and see situation.

Today it is partly sunny and 65 degrees. Welcome to winter in North Carolina. I pulled all the dead stuff and replanted kale and chard and arugula and spinach and crossing fingers that it will be more “normal” until Spring.

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Made me laugh

In part because Chuck and I are both such novices at vegetable gardening and we have started doing it at or after the half century mark.  I have loved messing with flowers ever since I  first put grocery store geraniums in a pot and they didn’t die, but had only had some herbs before this experiment began.

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Over the last two weeks the weeds and grass have been coming back through the mulch around the Hazels. I knew I needed a thicker layer of mulch, but wanted to address the weeds with something first. Kitty found a recipe for weed killer consisting of a gallon of vinegar mixed with a cup of table salt and a tablespoon of liquid soap to help it cling to the weeds. So I sprayed the weeds today before adding more mulch and was amazed at how quickly it started to work. There was significant wilting just after thirty minutes. Here are some before and after photos demonstrating that.

It clearly worked faster on the broad leaf weeds and clover. It seemed to be working slower on the grass. I expect that I will have to continue to treat the mulched areas over the Summer, but I am pleased with how this concoction is working so far.


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We joke about farming quartz on this property because we have only dug 2 holes that didn’t have some obnoxious rocks in all the digging we’ve done here.

Today, Chuck pulled out the mother of all of them.  (We hope there won’t be another one that size.)

I set it by the bench in the labyrinth to hold a cup or glass in case someone needs a place to rest such a thing when they have reached the center.


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