Home of Stella's Gardens

We are now living full time in Northeast Iowa, and working on the new gardens. It will keep us busy for quite a while...

As an avid gardener since I was about 7 years old, that gives me over 45 years of experience gardening in this part of the world. And every year teaches me a bit more.

Also, working on a new website at stellasgardens - dot - com. Feel free to check it out and comment!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finally tomatoes!

Sooo it is August AFTER my boy's birthday and I have my First Tomatoes.  Wow.  I have some very nice peppers and onions and garlic.  Granted that the tomatoes went in late - between the weather and invalided :-) foot....


Friday, August 5, 2011

Through the heatwave

Obviously my last post was before the heat hit the fan...

As with many others, the garden is green and lush but still waiting for the first red tomato.  Quite a few cukes have been turned into pickles or traded with my friend for zucchini (mine were started late and are just starting to show female flowers.)  The garlic was dug up and is fabulous.  Onions are looking good and my late-planted watermelon and gourds up north are starting to set fruit.

But the cukes have wilt, the tomatoes have the worst case of whitefly I have ever gotten in my garden, and the heat put me behind on weeding and feeding down here.  The northern garden is done, anyway...

And everything is late!

And I'm at work so I really should be working...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It Is Summer No Doubt

It is Summer, you bet.
But it is Summer of Temps in the mid-upper 80s and DP in the 70s, smurky but the garden is loving it all.

It could be mid-upper 90s and DP in the 80s where even the garden in miserable so I am happy.  Out early to weed and feed and pamper them, then an evening of culinary delights. 

Actually the weekend was awesome - smoked three racks of baby backs in the brand new smoker, and next night spatchcocked chicken grill, with pasta and the last of last year's frozen Annie's tomato sauce (this year's herbs for freshness.)   And for the dessert (and a breakfast!!) strawberry shortcake yumm! There are some leftover biscuits so with leftover chicken, there will be awesome chicken ala king.

As usual the house is marginal but the gardens are in pretty awesome form!   Summer goodness.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Midsummer...Ok well after that

So it's well after midsummer, what can I say?
It was a late onset with the cool temps and damp conditions and as usual we've transitioned step-wise to warmer and drier.  The veggies are loving it.  The wildflowers transplanted one day before the hot hot hot three days were not happy.  Some have survived the ordeal but this just might be an awesome year for the mates and peppas (no jinx!!)
Home garden has awesome progress - cuke flowers, several salsa hybrid peppers well grown and one fine sweet pepper started.  Baby mates and herbs looking good.  Tomatoes are setting and the plants will outgrow their supports before its all done...
I love gardening, I just don't get to do it all the time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

So it's Spring. Is it?

So the eagle babies are a growing - the two bigger ones show their pin feathers but the baby is still a fluffball.
I'm gimping around on crutches after our glorious holiday in Florida - it was glorious but I could not be In The Water which is my main reason to be anywhere near the water...So I will be satisfied with knowing that if you want to be in the water, Marco Island sucks - there are nice people there but if You Don't Have The Bux don't bother.  Anna Maria Island is more for the common folks, free parking for the beach.  But sadly even where there are public beaches, some places (Sanibel and Captiva) they will charge for parking.  A nice drive there in the JN Darling Area; a few $ to drive through, but the traffic sucks on the island when you go at spring break.  We found some of the groovy fossilized sharks teeth at Casey Key south (free beach parking), the high light in some ways.

And my girl's heading for UI for the CS degree (argh, an ISU family) and the boy has his Airman's First Class (A1C) - such a proud time to be a mom!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Overpriced bird feeders and homes

So I get all of the catalogs, for gardening and birding.  I see overpriced gardening items, and the bird feeders and houses are sometimes a bit over the top too.  I keep many birdfeeders here and when we head to our eventual home in Northeast Iowa, the tradition will continue.  But some of this pricing is...wow.  You can buy expensive plant supports from whomever with nice green coating.  Or buy the $.99 (or maybe a bit more) tomato cages and hack them up for 2-3 flower rings, not quite as elegant but with all the foliage who can see?  I like the website of Renegade Gardener (http://www.renegadegardener.com) in Minneapolis - who is low-bullshit gardening - but his "revelation" about some of this is "no kidding?  Been doing that for a while."  Some day I gotta meet this guy.

For instance, we bought locally from one of our local garden shops a squirrel corn feeder for a few bucks, made of cedar. But if you go buy a board from the local yard, chop it up and nail it together you get it for way less than half the price.  The son and I made a comparable one for a few dollars (and I got to engage my son in a joint project, first and last one so it's special to me!)  I have seen bluebird houses, or nice feeders that if you want, you could have it for a quarter the price if you do the work yourself....

So maybe we will be starting a line of bird/wildlife feeders, at less than you would pay retail.  Things I want in my yard, with some design element and style, for birds or for wildlife.  We have a lot of native birds that would love some help - bluebirds, wrens.  I understand that there are some nice designs for owl boxes too, to keep the rodentia in check...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The new season begins

So this is an interesting thing that I should just start posting in some stream of consciousness way about my life.  OK my garden at least.
The first seed order from Burpees is on the way.  They claim a new Brandywine derivative called Brandy Boy, and given my love of Brandywine and long-past successes with BetterBoy et al, I am giving it a try.  Also the new dianthus Diana Blueberry hybrid which is an annual.  I have lots of spaces to fill with the new gardens up north, as well as under the eaves here at home.
Of course it is MUCH too early to start anything here in Iowa...sigh.