Friday, September 28, 2007

How are my tomatoes doing?

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. For those of you following along, you will remember that I built a raised bed this past spring, mainly to grow tomatoes so that I can make my favorite summer time treat – bacon, lettuce and fresh from the garden tomato sandwiches. How did the tomatoes fare? The results have been mixed. The plants grew like crazy during the hot days of July. I watered them a lot and there was an excellent crop in late July and up until the middle of August. My neighbors picked tomatoes as fast as they ripened while I was in Europe in August. Once I got back at the end of August the non-stop rains hit. Since then, the tomatoes while still growing and producing have not been so good. There are lots of black spots on them caused by all the rain. So, I have eaten a few and my neighbors ate a lot. All in all I guess it was not so bad.

If the rain lets up this weekend, it is time to give the lawn its fall fertilization. Remember to set your fertilizer spreader to one half the recommended amount and then apply it twice. The first time going north/south and the second time east/west. This will guarantee even and complete coverage.

Make your weekend a good one.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is it too early to plant tulips and daffodils?

All of the fall decorating plants and produce are finally arriving. I love to put the corn shocks in my yard, plant some mums and get the pumpkins in place. This weekend I’ll be doing some yard cleanup and get some fall plants into place.

I’ve had some people ask about planting tulips, daffodils and all the rest of the spring blooming bulbs. I would wait for another couple of weeks to get them planted. I usually do this around October 15…give or take. This weekend, I’m going to get my game plan organized as to what I’m going to plant and where.

Make your day a good one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Lovely Zinnia

I’ve mentioned here in the blog, that I really don’t have a favorite flower or plant. Whatever is in season or in bloom is often my favorite. Right now, it is the profusion zinnia. This is the second year that I have planted them. Last year it was the white variety when I did all my planters in white. This year I planted the orange variety since I was going for shades of tangerine in my planters. This plant is unbelievably reliable and grows like crazy. I have seen it in gardens and planters all over the place and they always look good. I know some people think zinnias are old fashioned and passé. To that I say whatever. I want color and I want reliability – the profusion zinnia delivers on that. Here is a picture of one of the plants in my moss lined planters.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dealing With Weeds This Fall

This is the time of year that it becomes really easy to forget about the yard – especially when it comes to weeds. It’s always important to keep the weeds under control, but it is even more important right now before those weeds go to seed. As fall sets in, those pesky weeds are going to get those seeds produced so they can return next year. One weed allowed to go to seed now, will produce countless plants next year. So get out there and get rid of those weeds now. You will be saving yourself some work next year. You can guess what I’ll be doing during the next few days.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Yard...

I was trying to come up with a word that described how my yard looked going into the weekend. The first word that came to mind was neglect, but that didn’t sound right. Neglect implied that it was not cared for. I was traveling a lot this summer, but the yard was never neglected. Everything was fertilized on time, watering was done by my neighbor’s son who I hired to water and mow while I was gone. The best word would be overgrown almost jungle like – especially in the backyard.
My weekend task was to reclaim my backyard deck which as the before pictures show was taken over by potato vine. I love this plant….it is excellent in planters and hanging baskets and as you can tell it grows like crazy. Here are some before and after pictures of my deck.

Make your day a good one.

Seeding the Yard

Last nights rain was great. My yard actually needed some. The grass in the back was getting that gray color when it needs rain. Speaking of grass, we are now in the very best time of year to put down grass seed. The soil is warm and the air temperatures are cooler. Yes, it is better then spring. Remember to pick out the right grass seed. Shade = 6 or less hours of sun. Sun = 6 or more hours of sun. Those blends that say boulevard mix, high traffic mix, salt tolerant mix, etc are almost always blends met for sun.

Shade blends have more fescue in them and sun blends have more bluegrass. I’ll be out along the street doing some over seeding of my lawn this weekend. The summer heat took its toll in certain areas, even with all the watering that was done. I’ll get it done now and it will look good next spring.

Make your weekend a good one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The day after the party...

Today feels like the day after a big party. You look forward to it for weeks, it happens and the day after is well… A few random thoughts on this day after the State Fair. Thanks to everyone who came out during the Newscasts. It was great fun to meet many of you and even autograph some water bottles. I also want to extend a BIG thanks to Becky and Amanda the State Fair Producers - the two of you were great to work with. Thanks Becky for letting me in all the fun once again this year.

Also a big thanks to all of the crew working the fair – you folks are truly the best. Cyndy - anytime you need security keep me in mind. Rachel – I’m still wondering about the 18 seconds. That was three more then I needed. Here are a couple of pictures that sum up my last two weeks as I went from the Coliseum in Rome to the Coliseum of the State Fair. Make your day a good one.

Monday, September 3, 2007

4-H'ers at the Fair

Another early morning at the Fair. I interviewed a few 4-H’ers who had their projects at the State Fair and had yet to be judged. Judging at the Fair goes right up to the end. I’m not sure if the three of them were more nervous about being judged or having to be interviewed by me. My part was a cakewalk. I hope the judging went as well for them.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Spicy? You bet!

I ended my KSTP time at the Fair with a fiery bang so to speak. Meteorologist Rob Koch wanted to do an interview with the food vender “Sausage by Cynthia”.The catch was that Rob does not like spicy food. In fact, he thinks that store bought mild salsa is way to spicy.So, he turned to me to see if I would try some of their sausage including the “viper jerky”. Being the team player that I am, I agreed to do it.

You can see the video online at KSTP. The video speaks for itself. What I didn’t realize is that it gets hotter and hotter as time goes on. It peaked about 20 minutes after we went off the air and yes; it was the spiciest food I have ever eaten.

Make your day a good one.

Bright and early at the Fair

I was at the Fair bright and early yesterday morning. During the 6:00a.m. Newscast, I was in the Miracle of Birth Center – which included interviews with one of the veterinarians there and a group of 3 FFA’ers.I was in the FFA back in high school and college. It is always a great throw back to the past when I’m out here visiting with them. During the 8:00a.m. Newscast, we moved to another location where I showed and talked about great fall perennials. Once we get past Labor Day, I constantly get asked if you can still plant. The short answer is yes.

Trees and shrubs can be planted almost until the ground freezes. Evergreens should be in the ground by late September. Perennials should be in the ground be late September too – if they are planted in the fall, they should be covered with some straw or hay to help protect the plants during the winter months. The hay or straw should be put over them once the ground is just slightly frozen. Don’t put it down to early or you will suffocate the plants. They key to planting anything in the fall is that it is kept well watered during the fall up until the ground freezes.

Make your day a good one.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What a beautiful night to be at the Fair.

It was great fun to interview Professor Jim Luby from the University of Minnesota. Jim was starting at the U of M when I was a student there – just a few years ago. OK, I know it was more then a few years ago, but time does fly by. He works on the fruit-breeding program that includes apples. Apple season is now starting here in Minnesota. There is nothing better then a fall day at an Apple Orchard. Here is a link to the Minnesota Apple Growers Association. It lists Minnesota Apple Orchards, plus varieties of apples that were introduced from the University of Minnesota.

Take some time this fall to get out and enjoy the locally grown apples and some of those varieties that were bred right here in MN.

Make your day a good one.