Garden Catch Up, Storms and Stuff

If you want photos of the storm damage, go look on news sites in this area. There are enough of those out there already. The gardens made it through the storms with little or no damage, somehow, so I can still take photos like this.

Northeast Wisconsin got absolutely hammered by severe storms, some of the strongest we’ve ever seen around here. The training I’ve had for SkyWarn taught me how to estimate wind speed fairly accurately, and I guessed we had wind gusts of up to 75 MPH here, and the NWS reports later confirmed that. It was scary here for a while. We were lucky, though. The worst of it seems to have skipped around this area. Other areas, especially just to the north and west of us got hit hard. There were three tornadoes. NWS reported winds of up to 120 MPH in Wrightstown, about 10 miles north of here. Outagame, Brown and Winnebago counties all are reporting very serious damage. Thousands of people are still without power around us, and the utilities are saying conditions in those areas are so bad from downed trees, broken power poles, etc. that it could be days before everyone has their power restored.

The only good thing about it is that the cold front that triggered the storms has finally brought relief from the extended streak of heat and humidity we were going through. My thermometer here recorded high temps well up into the 90s, with humidity of 95% or higher. The highest temp we hit was 97 according to the recorder. The heat index was well up in the 100s. I’m going to hate to see what our electric bill looks like. Our air conditioner was running full blast for days struggling to keep the temperatures in the house down to a reasonable level. I’m very surprised it’s managed to keep going at all.

While the extreme temperatures haven’t been good for people, the plants around here seem to have been loving it. Everything is lush and green and growing like crazy. Unfortunately we also seem to have a bumper crop of mosquitoes this year as well because of all the rain we’ve gotten. So here are some pictures of what’s growing around here.

The sunflowers are just barely starting to come into bloom. This is the first one that’s popped out.
this is a new one for us. MrsGF put this climbing rose in at the start of the season and it’s decided that it really likes it here. It’s tripled in size and and has been flowering almost continuously for the last three weeks.

Ah, our poor pear tree. It looks more lush and wild than it really is because you’re seeing the canopy of the tree immediately behind it as well. It’s reasonably healthy, but almost no pears at all this year. I’ve counted less than a dozen young pears on the entire tree, and I’m surprised we have those. When it was in flower it was extremely cold and wet, and there were no bees around at all, so it didn’t get pollinated.

MrsGF and I are both enormously fond of mountain ash trees (they’re actually not an ash, they’re part of the rose family, so the emerald ash borer doesn’t attack them). We have one in the backyard and we see seedlings popping up all the time, so we transplanted one into a corner of the hosta bed where it seemed to fit in, and it likes it there. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s really been thriving there. It’s more than doubled in size in the last month or so.
We tucked onions into the edges of the raised beds around the tomatoes this year as an experiment and it’s worked way better than we ever hoped. They’re absolutely beautiful. It’s a mixed variety of red, yellow and white onions, and they’re all doing well. Bulbs are about 2 inches thick and they taste amazing.
This is one of two jalapeno plants we have in pots on the front porch. They’re an experiment. It’s a new variety I found that claimed it had all the flavor of a jalapeno but without the heat. Now I love jalapeno peppers, but sometimes the heat gets a bit much for me. I’ve had mixed results growing them in the past, with a wide variation in the amount of heat they produce, even in fruit from the same plant. These have lived up to their billing. All the bright, crisp flavor but with very little heat. Just enough to remind me it’s a jalapeno. I dice ’em up and throw them in omelets, mac and cheese, anywhere I want to turn something bland into something a bit more interesting. I’ve been picking these little guys on a regular basis for the last, oh, two or three weeks. Even MrsGF has been using them. Definitely a success. I’ll probably be putting about 4 of these plants in next year. That should be enough to freeze to supply us through the winter.

The tomatoes have been going crazy. We planted way too many of them last year so we still have shelves full of canned tomatoes in the basement, so we only put in half as many plants as last year, and now that seems it may have been too many. They’re in full flower right now, and if they produce as prolifically as it seems right now, I don’t know what we’ll do with all of them. But that’s a good thing. I’d rather have too many. We can always give them away to friends and family if we can’t deal with all of them. We’ve managed to avoid blossom end rot once we switched to using the raised beds, but there were some signs last year we might be heading for a problem, so we’ve been using a calcium supplement to try to fend that off.
Wax beans and bell peppers in the background. The wax beans are amazing. We’ve been picking those for about a week now. They’re young and tender and delicious. We aren’t sure what happened to the green beans we planted. Something ate them off, leaving only the stems, almost as soon as they emerged, but left the wax beans alone. This area is fenced to keep the rabbits out so it wasn’t them. We aren’t sure what got them, and why they left the wax beans alone. Well, at least they left us those.

The raspberries are behind the garage where they get shade all morning and part sun all afternoon, and they really seem to like that. They’ve taken over that entire end of the garden and they’re loaded with fruit. I’m not supposed to eat raspberries or anything with small seeds, but I have to admit that I watch those plants like a hawk when they’re starting to fruit and it’s very rare that a berry escapes me and makes it into the house.

Author: grouchyfarmer

Yes, I'm a former farmer. Sort of. I'm also an amateur radio operator, amateur astronomer, gardener, maker of furniture, photographer.

10 thoughts on “Garden Catch Up, Storms and Stuff”

    1. I am taking a risk with the raspberries. There’s always a chance the diverticulosis will flare up, but holy cow they’re good!

      The only fruit tree we have is the pear. I’d like to have more but we just don’t have the space. We already have too much shade from the existing trees that makes it hard to grow stuff that requires full sun.

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      1. That’s too bad. Still pear would be my choice if I could only choose one.
        Have you considered planting currants in your shady spots. I believe they thrive in those places. Although do currants also cause the flare ups?

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        1. I really love pears. Apples, meh. I never cared for them. Pears, though. A ripe pear is a little bit of heaven on earth 🙂

          Currants are fantastic. I love ’em! A friend of ours out in the country has a lot of them and we can get as many as we want. Makes amazing jam! It’s been ages since I had a flare up and I think I’ve been getting careless because of that. I really need to be more careful

          Oh, our 2nd crop of radishes are getting to the edible size! We put in standard red radishes early in the spring and they were pretty good when they were young, but they quickly turned woody and bolted into flower. So we dug those out and my wife put in daikon radishes. The biggest are about 2 inches long and not quite a half inch thick and still tender enough to eat raw with a bit of salt. Ooo, they’re good!

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          1. Sounds yummy. I’ve heard good things about the Breakfast Radish. Possibly it’s English Breakfast Radish. It’s supposed to be milder than average, which is more to my taste. But honestly I don’t think I’ve had a garden fresh radish, so I can’t really judge.

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            1. Fresh, young radishes right out of the garden are absolutely amazing. They’re usually much more tender than what you can get in the store, and much more flavorful. I prefer a spicer radish myself but the breakfast variety are great in salads. If you have a farmer’s market close by it’s worth stopping and taking a look. This time of year they’re generally packed with produce that beats the heck out of anything you can find in the grocery stores.

              I love this time of year! We’re getting fresh wax beans almost every day out of the garden now. Any time I need an onion I can just pop outside and pull one. The mild jalapenos never have a chance to fully mature because we eat them as soon as they get about 2 1/2 or 3 inches long. The bell peppers will be a while yet, as will the tomatoes, but they’re worth waiting for. Cherry season is coming up here pretty soon so we’ll be taking a trip up to Door County one of these days to get 10 or or so lbs of cherries for jam or just freezing for use later.

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                1. It doesn’t have a specific name. The tag just says “Mild Jalapeno” with no specific variety. They seem to do well in pots. Mine are planted in a couple of fairly large plastic pots we had in the garage and are in MiracleGro potting soil and doing really well. Had to stake them up, though. The potting soil is too light weight for the roots to get much support and they started to tip over.

                  The “hot salsa peppers” also don’t have a specific variety name, but they sure as heck live up to the “hot” part. Holy cow they’re potent! Very pretty pepper, too. Brilliant yellow, sort of a pyramid shape, about the size of a plum.

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