Category Archives: gardening

The Right Amount of Stress

It is hard to know in a drought how much supplemental water for the vegetable garden is too much, and how much is too  little.  We err on the side of overindulgence. Our recent water bill is testimony to our generosity.  I worry that our pole beans, full and tall on their poles, have yet to produce flowers due to our over watering and not allowing them to feel stress.  I worry our peppers are responding the same way, with very few fruits as yet. Here is a photo of the pole beans with potato plants in the foreground.

Babies born to diabetic mothers often have underdeveloped lungs due to  the  glucose-rich uterine environment  which lacks the normal “stress” of less sweet amniotic fluid. Children who have few expectations don’t fare as well as their peers who have expectations.

It has been stressful at my work due to difficulty hiring staff. I can’t believe that the stress is doing me any good.

I think that a  little bit of stress is necessary for all good development, be it for plants or people.  The trick is discerning the right balance.  Oh that we could thrive without stress!

What do you consider the good stress in your life? The not so good stress? How do you find a balance?

National Zucchini Day

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

Last week after our t’ai chi class, one intrepid soul brought out her garden bag, to see if anyone would like some… what else?… ZUCCHINI. She was able to shed a couple of them, and proceeded to tell us that August 8 is “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” day.  I thought perhaps she’d made that up, but a little research shows that, indeed, Tuesday August 8 is National Zucchini Day, known in some circles as Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch DayThis site states that “Desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s time to sneak over, under the cover of darkness, to your neighbor’s porch, and unload some zucchini…”

Those of you with veggie gardens know what I’m talking about. This year I have given zukes to half a dozen people so far; I think I’m caught up with our four plants at the moment, but more are on the way. I thought I was doing well when I discovered, on the ground back by the fence, a real “baseball bat”. I decided to leave it on the neighbor’s back stoop, with a note saying “Just kidding, I’ll come back for it”, because they have their own plants, and I want to keep them as friends.

Here are some fun facts about zucchini for the curious, found at

  • Zucchinis are 95 percent water, with just 33 calories in a medium-size squash.
  • One zucchini has more potassium than a banana, supplying more than 10 percent of your daily need.
  • Summer squash is rich in carotenoids, powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants that are mostly found in its skin. So be sure not to peel your squash. And buy organic to avoid pesticide residues.

I just checked the garden, and found a good sized green torpedo hiding on the ground… next year I’m campaigning for yellow squash – tastes the same in my book, and you can actually see them!

When have you sneaked around after dark, for any reason?

The Arboretum

On Nonny’s last full day in Minneapolis, we went out to The Arboretum. I have always thought I absorbed my love of gardening from her. She never asked me to participate, but I remember the work she put into her roses, her flowering trees and her vegetable plot.

It was a perfect day for it – not too hot and not too sunny. We took some advice from Lou and did the tram tour before we did anything else. We took the tour driver’s advice and sat in the very back row for the best view and the best sound quality. Nonny loved all the different trees, especially ones with “character” and I marveled at how much of the arboretum there really is!

One of the special exhibits this summer is Gardens of Kaleidoscopes – 15 fabulous sculptures that combine lovely floral arrangements in movable containers within structures that also hold kaleidoscopes. You look through the kaleidoscopes and then slowly spin the flowers (well, you don’t have to do it slowly a little boy of seven showed us). It was amazing and as always when confronted by art, I wonder how the artist thought of the idea in the first place.

View Through Kaleidoscope

What would YOU like to see through a kaleidoscope?

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

 I love cherries.  A bowl of cherries just sends me over the edge of contentment into pure joy.    However, seldom in life have I found life to be consistently as good as the dear old axiomatic bowl of cherries.  It is especially not as good as the cherry pie made from cherries ala Door County, Wisconsin (sour pie cherries).

Now I am the pleased owner of a sour pie cherry tree.  For many years on holidays like Mother’s Day or birthdays, I have been getting trees and plants for the garden or yard.  There are not many physical belongings I want or need.  So I ask for trees and plants.  They contribute oxygen to the atmosphere and produce for my table.  And every time we plant one of those it is less grass to mow and tend.

The cherry tree was a Mother’s Day gift two years ago.   This year it produced a bowl of cherries, after producing nary a cherry last summer.  And then I produced a cherry pie. It is delicious.  There are two pieces left as of the writing of this post.  By the time you read this, it will be gone.

Recently, when I passed a major professional certification process, my colleague brought me a red Wiegala bush as a congratulations gesture.    The “therapy certification bush” now stands proudly in the front lawn, reminding me that I did this thing.  It makes me smile.

What do you like to get as a gift?

Waiting for Rain

We are in a severe drought here. All fireworks are banned, no one can grill using charcoal, and all open fires are prohibited. The city fire works display has been cancelled.  Our town usually resounds with the sound of  fireworks the week before and just after July 4. It is always illegal to shoot off fireworks in town, but the police rarely enforce it.  This year we were told the local constabulary would be “heavy handed” in enforcing the fireworks ban.  No one wants their house or neighborhood to go up in flames, and people are being very careful.

Ranchers are selling their cattle, CPR land has been opened up for emergency grazing, and farmers are pretty depressed. It is really too late for anything but the pastures to recover if we would get some rain.  It isn’t promising.  The high temperatures are predicted to be around 100 this week.  We have sufficient water to keep the gardens going, thanks to an upgraded city water system and the Missouri River.  I scowl, though, when I see people watering lawns, especially when they are watering in high winds and more water goes in the air than on the lawn.

The governor has declared our county and several others to be disaster areas.  This is a slow, painful disaster that will take a long time to see a recovery.  We need a good long stretch of several days of rain, and that never happens out here.

How have you coped with disasters?

Garden Updates

Jacque, VS, LJB,  submitted garden photos.  I added some, as well.  All I can say is that I have garden envy.  There is a lot to be said for warmth and rain.

From Jacque, we have:


















Here are VS’s bales:


While LJB sends these beauties:

 Black Currents
















 The herb garden



Twin Two’s Marigolds




It has been cold and dry here In ND, and the garden is behind.  Some things are coming along, though.  The roses in the feature photo at the top are some Morden roses in our front yard. It has been a good year for roses.

 The peas


 Red Currents


Iris (Beverly Sills)


The beans and their extraterrestrial poles


How is your summer shaping up?