Beewatching’s Blog

Hazelnut farm underway (sort of)
May 6, 2014, 9:52 am
Filed under: Growing things | Tags:

Our trees are effectively in their foster home (our New Jersey backyard), while a tenant uses our Pennsylvania field this summer. In the fall, the first batch of baby hazelnut trees (who look hardly more than sticks in pots right now) will move to their permanent locations. Before that happens, a well and deer fence must be waiting. We will learn how to use gas-powered augers. Fall should be quite interesting this year. We shall either begin to grow nuts or go nuts in the next few years.

One thing we didn’t know about these little trees before we ordered them is the horizontal extent of some roots. Try fitting something into a round pot that looks as if it would better fit into a planter the shape of a school locker lying prone. Yet the visible part of the tree is a slender twig only four feet high. These are clearly among the many things in life which one can not judge from the surface.

Our babies

Our babies


A shade gardening slide show (with animation removed)
February 1, 2014, 11:35 am
Filed under: Garden, Growing things | Tags:

shade garden first pageThis is just an experiment. I wanted to try posting a PowerPoint that I made to go with a presentation I gave earlier this week at a local garden organization. The animations I removed are not vital to the presentation, so I opted to eliminate them to keep the file smaller. One caption box is slightly out of alignment, but the rest looks as I expected. The full file is over 40MB, with higher res photos. The Mac to Windows format posed slight problems, especially when I tried a file that doesn’t embed fonts.

The plant lists are not exhaustive, and the final links page the same. Just a good starting point, I think. Take a look, please and tell me what you think.


Welcome to the land of puny veggies
May 29, 2009, 6:05 am
Filed under: 1, environment, Garden, Growing things, weather

P1020611Wow. What a disparity in sizes among the brussels sprout plants I started simultaneously indoors this past winter. Ranging in size from two and a half inches to about ten inches, some are in pots, and some are in the ground. The biggest ones are in the large containers, yet the ones in the ground were fed an ample helping of compost. This experiment will tell me a lot about growing strategy, and I may change my approach next year. The tomatoes are very close in size to one another. None are planted directly in the ground. One hangs upside down, but is working against gravity to right itself — apparently a muscular vegetable? fruit? The strawberries are starting to show pale fruit of a promising size. Squirrel food in the making if I don’t cover them soon. Onions? Well, all I see are the green tops, and they are healthy looking. So many allium of various size pop up in the yard, it seemed almost redundant to plant them, but who knows whether the wild ones will taste decent? My fingers are crossed over the netted blueberry bushes. Will the netting actually help me harvest some berries before the animals figure out how to get to them?

The plant sale continues
May 16, 2009, 7:57 pm
Filed under: 1, Garden, Growing things, Master Gardeners

tiarellaWe had a few plants left, so we held a mini-sale at the mall. Seeing how few brussels sprout plants had sold on the first sale day, I left the rest of them home. I remarked on this to the other volunteers, and immediately, a customer spoke up, saying she would certainly have bought them. Since I live five minutes from the mall (this is not necessarily a good thing — depends where you live), I hurried home and gathered up a trayful. True to her word, she bought them all. I still don’t know whether to try growing them again next year. They would be for me and the one or two other brussels sprout growers in the area. The original motivation for planting them in the first place was how exotic I thought the plants looked at the supermarket a few holiday seasons ago. Expect to see photos of them growing their nubby little sprouts this summer.

Now that I am back to gardening for my own purposes, I added “Raspberry Wine” bee balm, a little more lovage, and a little more lady’s mantle. My most urgent chore right now is netting the blueberries and strawberries against squirrel and bird assaults.

Spring on overdrive
May 12, 2009, 5:47 pm
Filed under: 1, environment, Garden, Growing things, weather

azalea allee

Now that we’ve had days of drenching rain, everything green is growing at warp speed. Wait for me! I have a lot of brussels sprout plants still to transplant. They are far from my favorite vegetable, but I love the way the plants look when they are close to harvest time. Interesting looks are apparently not enough to get adopted at a plant sale, however; there were a lot of my sprouties left on the table, like wallflowers at a dance. In bloom: azaleas, irises, native columbine, tiarella, sweet woodruff, strawberries, pink forget-me-not (just finishing up), white bleeding heart, and a few tenacious violets. This year, I am in the mood to try a new (to me) groundcover — a couple varieties of dentaria.

Squirrel update: the torpedo shaped baffle seems to be a true barrier to the raiding parties. Not a squirrel in sight for several days now. I suspect they are in their command post, engineering a new assault. Or, they just don’t need to work that hard, and have gone away for easier pickings. Whatever the reason for their absence, I’ll take it.

Almost tomato time
April 4, 2009, 5:29 am
Filed under: 1, Garden, Growing things

Rutgers University has been working on bringing back some old favorites. Get more info here:

Ornamental AND edible
March 13, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: 1, Garden, Growing things, herbs

Last year, I had an ample crop of opal basil. Some went to the Master Gardeners plant sale. The rest was placed among the flower beds, where its purple magnificence set off the greens and flower colors very nicely. Although I like to change some things around from year to year, not counting the perennials which are happy in place, I think I will do this again. Another flower garden surprise (for anyone besides me) will be the brussels sprouts that will grow behind the zinnias. Fennel is another striking plant, whether it backs up other herbs or sets off flowers and hostas. This year, I look forward to seeing the scarlet runner beans, which will add the same kind of punch as the purple basil leaves. Festive food.