Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not quite a desert yet!

We are having one of the driest, hottest summers on record. The dug well in our barn has pretty much run dry, so we've run a food-safe hose down from our house's outdoor tap to the barn. We have a drilled well for our house, which is considerably less likely to run dry.

The lawn is getting fried, but I'm watering the flowers and vegetable garden so they don't all die!

The forest fire risk in eastern Ontario is now rated extreme. The only place with a higher fire risk in Canada right now is the Northwest Territories. I can't remember it ever being so hot and dry anywhere I've lived in Canada.

None of this troubles Emily...

I took a pic of her and Gordon as he was carrying her in from the outdoor kitty cage today. We have just ordered some additional components for it, and are going to move it up near the house, with an entrance from the basement window so the cats can come and go as they please. We don't let our cats to free-range outside. I know people have differing opinions on this issue, but we just prefer to keep them contained. They can't kill songbirds this way,  they won't get run over, and no predators can get at them (we have many  around here that will snack on cats). The four kitties seem quite happy with their set-up!

Actually, the grass doesn't look all that bad in this photo. I think it got some water when I had the sprinkler on the flower bed. I have lots of bee balm, one of my favourite flowers. Our friend Tammy looks after all my flower beds now! This farm came with a ridiculous number of flower beds (16) and while I love them, I can't keep up with them. Not only does Tammy do a better job on my garden than I ever did, it leaves me more time to mess around in my vegetable garden, which is what I really enjoy.

All my flowers look healthier since Tammy took over.

Above is Tammy's favourite flower bed! (Hi Tammy!)

Love the bee balm (monarda.) I have several varieties.

Meanwhile, down behind the barn...

The grass is crispier here. Gordon and our friend Bruce have just about finished fencing my vegetable garden. I need a fence not because of deer, but because of my dogs, who steal my tomatoes and raspberries and whatever else tickles their fancy!

Here is the current bane of my existence...

...Colorado potato beetle larva, eating my potato plant leaf (and pooping copiously!) In the five years I've lived here, I have never had a problem with potato beetles. Until now! I have hand-picked (and drowned in soapy water) about 300 of them so far. I generally like bugs but these things disgust me! The war continues. Go back to Colorado, you little bastards!

Here are some happier photos from the veggie garden...

Green peppers!


Red Russian kale. I think. I have a couple of varieties of kale on the go.

A ridiculous number of tomato plants for two people (16 or so) but I do love planting heirloom tomatoes. It will be nice to have a fence this year so that the dogs aren't eating them contantly and messing up the plants.

Although I planted many sunflowers this spring, this one self-seeded from last year.

Royal Burgundy beans. They are just starting to flower. The beans are purple but turn green when you cook them.

Some variety of red lettuce.

And hooray, raspberries! I planted raspberry canes two years ago and this year I'm getting the payoff. The canes only fruit in their second year.

Black currants.

Scarlet runner beans. Thanks for the seeds, Ronna!

I think this is one of my Lumina pumpkin plants. White pumpkins!

Horseradish on the left, and the stuff in bloom is lemon catnip. The cats don't like the lemon variety, but the bees sure do!


...my sunflower forest, not blooming yet! I planted several rows and about six different types. I can't wait until they are all in bloom.

Hope your garden is happy too!


  1. So a great gardener tries a wide variety of plants. Nicely done.
    Dry hot weather can really sap the energy out of everything.

  2. Ooo,,,I love this post. Amazing veggie garden, Natalie. I'm green :) with envy. I have 2 tomato plants and I am excited about them. They are loaded down with green tomatoes. Your flowers look beautiful and I like the idea of a sunflower section...nice. Your cats will love the additions to the cat den. I wish everyone would do that. I sure do see love in them there eyes. Hugs

  3. Nice gardens, cute Emily, poor little ugly bugs!

  4. Very nice garden and Emily is so cute. Here in Sweden we don't have any real summer, it's cold and rainy all the time this year. Have a nice day.


  5. Great garden pix. The seeds I got from your heritage place are going great guns! The red romaine has been great for the past 2-3 weeks and still going. The huge squash plants have now officially outrun the garden and are over the fence and on the ground. Your beets are twice the size of mine! And the bean seeds that I planted from last year's old beans already have beans. Things are humming along!

  6. I'm moving in to your veggy patch...just to be helpful of course...I'll help to eat everything in there!
    Jane x (my cats are all indoor cats too...safer for them, safer for wee critters)

  7. Those potato beetle larva are hideous and so destructive, and so yucky to pick off. Hope you get a decent potato harvest to make up for it. Your veggies look happy. Should make for lots of delicious eating. I found my raspberries had more flavour this year because of all the sun and drier weather. Last year they were pretty watery.

  8. Wonderful shots of the garden. All those veggies will make for a great feast!
    I am sure lovely Emily is happy to be out, and safe, to look at all the incredible life outdoors!
    The flowers beds must be a bonus for your bees, no?

  9. Your garden looks great. From one gardener to another, congrats on healthy plants. It's challenging to keep a larger garden watered during a dry season, but you're doing it well.

    As for Colorado potato beetles, I find that smushing them en masse is very satisfying. Be on the lookout for their eggs -- which look like orange caviar on the underside of potato leaves -- and smush accordingly.

    1. Thanks Ahab! I have been on a rampage but it's hard to keep ahead of them this year. Yuck!

  10. Wow, that's what I call a super-garden! It must be a crazy amount of work to keep up with it!

    1. It'snot too bad. Mulch, mulch, mulch to keep down the weeds!

  11. Lovely place, lovely photos!

  12. Why is it after looking at all your photos I am now hungry???
    Hmmmm I will ponder this while looking for something to eat!
    Natalie - you take such awesome photos!!!
    (I might have mentioned that before LOL)
    That potato bug dude is gross!!
    Hope it doesn't destroy the actual potatoes!!!
    Say Hi to the G-Man for me!

  13. I love it all....Except the BUG!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!