Welcome to A Garden Variety Blog!

Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups on my table.
--Tang Dynasty

I hope you, whomever you are,
will sit down "with" me for tea,
or flavored coffee or spiced cider,
and have a garden variety chat.
Now and then.
I am not so consistant about blogging
as I ought to be.
I *am* consistant about
drinking hot beverage
and the coffee/tea is always on the hob.

Come on in!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My 2008 Garden; The Year That Wasn't

"Wasn't" is about the nicest word I can use to describe the mess I face in my fall garden. The Bee Balm and Joe Pye Weed started lush and thick but ended up tall and thin with scrubby little blooms, that have already withered away. I won't even have to dry the leaves for tea, they are already dry and ugly. It is the same with the various mints, and none of them bloomed.
I let the Blue Day Flower grow this year, even though I knew it was invasive, and it hardly bloomed!

All my pictures on the earlier blog post would be horrible if I posted pictures of the same plants today. The Helleborine withered away without bloom, the wintergreen is just gone, the potato plants sort of melted and I found 4 tiny grape sized potatoes, even the invasive tansy and wormwood did poorly and didn't invade.
Sweet Annie, which took over the garden and grew almost as tall as me last year, is maybe knee high and sparse.
The Spice Bush is failing.

Oregno, Tarragon, Hops and Hyssop did well. The Apothecary Rose did well but looks bad now with scraggly rose hips.

Lovage and Angelica are completely dead and will have to be replaced.

I am almost ready to till it all under...would in fact except for the beautiful Mediteranean stuff that loved the dry heat.

Yes, I know why this happened.
My sprinkler wouldn't put out enough water to cover even a foot of ground this year. I tried several sprinklers, I removed the screens from the hose fittings, I even tried hand watering with the hose. But there was such a slow output that it would have taken too long, and I was also worried that our well was going dry. There were signs of problems in the house too, especially the dishwasher's performance; brand new, and yet the dishes were coming out with gritty stuff on them.

Don't know why we didn't get someone to check it out earlier, maybe we were afraid they'd tell us our well was drying up. Now that it's too late for the garden, I have the answer.

The plumber came to repair the sink yesterday, and I asked him about the water situation. I was thinking by now that it had to be a drying up well, or gunked up pipes. He went down to "bleed" the pressure tank and found that the pressure valve had been set wayyyy too low, so he reset it.

Voila! He had me test the sprinkler and it worked perfectly, covering the whole garden!

Larry hadn't reset it. He didn't even know there was a pressure valve!
We sort of brainstormed together, and remembered that the dish washer was installed last fall sometime. So, it must have been the installer that changed the pressure.

At any rate, that's all water under the bridge............. not enough water under the bridge, I guess.

I've learned from it. Next year I will (if I can)....
_ Get a light meter to find the sunniest area of our property, and put a container veggie garden there. (To keep the good soil up and the bad sand down.)
_ remove the high moisture needing plants (Bee Balm, Joe Pye, Mints, etc) to the back of the house where the ground is nearly always moist.
_ Fill the present herb garden with only high sun, low water type herbs, including lots of lavendar which I got very little of this year.
_ Remember the successes - my weed/wild garden area and the hops vines, and be sure to remove the undesireable stuff. (ragweed, grasses, etc.)
_ write down somewhere the proper pressure on that tank, and instructions on how to reset it. Who knows? A random plumber type person MAY sneak in to the basement someday and reset it again. LOL!