My Piece of Dirt

Zone 8 Gardening

Oh my….I have been gone a long time….Terribly dismayed…..Everything has changed on WP…….Do I have time to learn the new “system” every time I log on….? Well, I’ll see how this goes……..and ponder the merits……

It’s official……my garden is a zoo……I’ve even got turtles now…..didn’t go get them, they just appeared……One was a river turtle……and had gotten pretty big….Took him to a nice pond….The other is a youngish box turtle……Plenty of worms for him to eat….loves tomatoes that aren’t good enough for canning or sandwiches…..If I haven’t lost my mind….. my slug and snail problem disappeared around the same time the turtles showed up…….. I appreciated it so much…..I made him a bath….It’s a flee market sink with a plug that’s easy to drain…..

My attitude about many things ‘garden’ has changed…..don’t see most weeds as my mortal enemy anymore……Naked ground is the only thing unexceptionable….

Also I don’t gnash my teeth over the water bill anymore….Yes, it does double in the summertime……but so what……in return I get fresh, organic fruits & vegetables….and IT IS MY THING…. plus…..I’m supporting a zoo now……


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Be Like a Bee and Pollinate your Cucurbits

Laidback Gardener

20150701A The female flower has an ovary at its base.

You’ve probably noticed have noticed that squash (zucchinis, pumpkins, gourds, etc.), cucumbers, melons and other cucurbits have both female flowers and male flowers. Female flowers are few in number, but easy to see as they already bear an ovary at the base which looks like a miniature version the fruit that will form. So on a pumpkin, it will be rounded, on a cucumber, long and thin, on a pattypan squash, scallop-shaped, etc. In the center of the female flower, there’ll be a crown-shaped stigma.

20150701B No ovary on the male flower.

Male flowers have no ovary at their base. They are numerous and far outnumber the females. If you look inside, you’ll see they have a “ball” of yellow pollen on a central stamen, absent, of course, in the female. To produce a fruit, the male pollen must somehow be transferred to the stigma of a female flower.

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Beet stuff

Youtube: Save beet seeds 3.5 minutes video   (I love the lady in this video. She’s so casual. Yet confident. Now, that’s the kind of person that I will listen to.)

How to make beet syrup   article

How to make sugar from beets  article

How to make lipstick from beets  article – might make a unique gift for relatives or lady friends. wink-wink

Never gave it much thought before, but the people in these articles are using white beets for sugar production, and red for lipstick, of course.

And a bunch of folks are up in arms over the GMO beets…..I can’t argue with them.




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Late, late

Wow, 2015 was the winter that did not want to go away. Even down here in the Deep South. My garden is about one month behind schedule. Nothing much to brag about yet, except raspberries, strawberries and turnips.

Might get some potatoes this year. Although I can’t let them stay in the ground much longer. At least that makes me feel better. Haven’t had any success with white potatoes before….Oooo, planted some sweet potatoes slips the other day. Looks like they are going to take.

How many potatoes can you get from a slip?

Tomatoes, peppers and cukes just peeking. Beans just beginning to flower. I am afraid the garden is so late this year that stuff is going to come in around the same time that the bad bugs get here: JUNE. It’s going to be a real battle.

Speaking of bugs: There is a surprising lack of insects this year–good and bad–with the exception of hover flies and a few aphids. Always aphids. I guess the hover flies are here to eat the aphids.. Hardly ever see a bee.  IT’S SPOOKY. As I write this, I hope I’ll wake up tomorrow and they will be here.

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What’s Wrong with your Boss?

The Peter Principle holds that an employee will be promoted until they reach a level of incompetence.

Employees will continue to accept promotions until they fail, by making both the people above and below them dissatisfied with their performance.

Once promoted it is extremely difficult for the employer to demote, and the employee to accept demotion.

That’s a riot.  But think about that the next time you get an offer.  Gardening is more fun than work.  And time with your family is more important than money.

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Last night on the news they announce that a soldier at Ft. Benning, who just got back from Africa, had developed a temperature and they were testing him for Ebola.

After the announcement the commissary on post was swamped with people buying food.

That’s kind of crazy.  You hear about Ebola so you run toward the infection, just so you can save a few bucks.   coo-coo-ka-do!!!!

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Is this IT?

Whew!  I have been busy.  Stocking the pantry, buying more seeds, perfecting a water filtration system, and opening a new plot.  I’ve got a feeling this Fall’s garden could be very important.  I need more potatoes.  (Yeah, right.  Don’t tell me you ain’t stocking the pantry too.)

I don’t know if Ebola is the big one.  But if ain’t so what.  I got a full pantry.  Is that bad? I am a retired CMA and my son, who is living with me, is a medic, almost an RN. And neither of us would have a huge problem with isolation; so, no problem there, but my hubby stubbornly refuses to learn any preventative measures against disease transmission. Isolation would drive him nuts.  So I don’t know if we would survive.  If he survives, I’d have to drag him kicking and screaming into the light. Anyway, here’s how to practice removing PPE (personal protective gear.)

1.  Put PPE on.  Cover every inch of skin.

2. Douse yourself with red paint.  Plenty on the gloves, face mask and shoes.

3.  Spritz yourself with bleach from a spray bottle.

4.  Remove PPE without getting one microscopic drop of paint on your skin.

It’s easy, right?  Anyway, you get what I’m saying.


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Love the Night

Pop-Quiz:  What’s more important, daytime temperatures or nighttime temperatures?   Nighttime temp, of course.  Nighttime temps below 75F gives the plants time to cool off and reset.  Animals and people need to cool down at night. too.

It is super hot today, but really this summer – over-all – has been fabulous, speaking in Zone 8 lingo.  Tonight’s temp expected to be 77F.  One of the hottest so far.  I can tell, too.  The plants are feeling it coming.

But Monday is suppose to bring cool air.  Hang on, baby.  Hang on.

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August 19, 2014

Earth Overshoot Day

Does this mean that we’ve pasted the point of no-return?

The more people that there are, the less important the individual…C.M. Marcum

Smarter people will not be necessary, until there are fewer….C.M. Marcum

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life at MPOD

lightening bug

lightening bug

Well, the last of my cukes have pickleworms, and the beans are loaded with aphids.

 On the flip-side, the hummingbirds are constantly at the big yellow flowers on the cukes.  And the beans have ladybugs.

What are the hummingbirds so interested in?  Are the simply collecting pollen, or are they eating pickleworm larva and collecting pollen.  They don’t seem to be very interested in the hummingbird feeder this year.

Now that I have killed most–not all–of the ants, the bean vines are loaded with ladybugs.  Those bright red ones.  Beautiful.

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