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Daily Paul Gardens: The jrd Edition

My friend’s parents have somewhere between 10 and 15 (I always forget exactly how much, but it is in that general range) acres of property. Her Mom is a master gardener and every summer since high school I have spent a lot of time on that property helping with gardening and various landscaping tasks. String-trimming, rototilling, mowing, branch cutting…the whole works. Her parents are getting older and doing a lot less on the land and the past 3 summers they have given me a lot more responsibility and land to work with. This is what I have going on this summer.

First; the flowers.
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This picture below is one of my favorites. Two summers ago I began referring to this basket as the basket of death. It had shriveled and died and it was what was thought to be a lost cause. My friend’s Mom was about to throw it to the field and get rid of it, but I argued its case and told her I would bring it back to life. And after much picking of the dead leaves, watering, and rotating; it lives!

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And the roses….

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Moving on to the trees. Their property over runneth with trees. Mostly pine trees, a lot of Jack pines. A few elm trees, a black oak or two, a few willow trees down by the pond and these two trees. I helped put the top tree in the ground quite a few years back and I love watching it grow and the bottom one is just cool.

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And the actual garden plots. This year we only have two going on, in the past there have been up to 4, but all I can handle is 2 this summer.
The back garden is going to need a lot of tender love and care over the next couple weeks. It got off to a late start and it is in rough shape. However, there is pumpkin, squash, and rhubarb planted back here. I’ll update the pics in the fall if everything grows as planned.

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And the front garden has tomatoes, carrots, green peppers, corn, and potatoes.

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Last summer my friend’s mom had heard through the grapevine that putting down straw works as mulch and helps preserve moisture. It worked well last summer, and that is what is all over the gardens. Admittedly we got a really late start this summer, so we will see how it goes.

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Michael Nystrom's picture

You and Mike are blessed with so much space!

You both would probably go crazy in the conditions I live in. One bedroom apartment in the middle of the second densest city in America, after NYC. Somerville Mass, aka Slummerville.

My garden is a potted basil plant on a table on the back staircase. LOL!

He's the man.

Can anyone give me some ideas for bushes/shrubs

- has to be native to Florida and tolerate wet soil. Thanks!

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know Peace." - Jimi Hendrix

Wow, that looks awesome! Like

Wow, that looks awesome! Like a ton of work--but very awesome. LOL I have a hard time just keeping my backyard alive. Dh says I have a brown thumb. :/ In my defense, though... keeping grass and plants alive in the hellish heat of Vegas is a chore. I did successfully grow herbs and jalapenos on my balcony in Japan before. AND, I have successfully managed to grow 3 children. ;) I would love to have a vegetable garden one of these days. 10 or 15 acres would be nice, too!

jrd3820's picture

Picture Update

The biggest zuchinni ever?
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The green peppers are doing well

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And the corn is doing surprisingly well considering the weird weather MI has had this summer

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“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Check out this one

14" long and 3.5" across

Michael Nystrom's picture



He's the man.

Zucchini cake?

ever made one? delicious.

jrd3820's picture

Can we put it in a quiche?

I was thinking zucchini bread, but I'll look at some cake recipes also.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Wow, what a beauty!

I had a zucchini like that once given to me from a friend's garden. I didn't want to cut into it but get out the roaster and cook it like a turkey. Well, once I have a cleaver at hand [which I always have] things get kinda... needless to say it didn't get roasted whole.

jrd3820's picture

What did you do with it?

Did you grill it or make zucchini bread? I can't decide and I should probably decide soon.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Sliced thin, battered and fried

The slices were big enough that I was inspired to melt cheese directly onto some of the fried slices, just like cheeseburgers. That was delightful. It was large in diameter, and before I did the deep frying I tried a few slices in pancake batter and fried them up [and ate them] normally as pancakes. That was fine but nothing special, and I've never been inspired to do it like that again. If I ever did it in pancakes again I would probably grate it and dump/mix it into the batter much like making bread. I've never actually made zucchini bread, so I'm guessing there. I'll deep fry anything though, and zucchini is among the easiest to work with. I really like deep fried pickles, but pickles are slimy which forces me to endlessly tweak the batter to get it just right.

Bread is always great though if you have people to give it to. I really enjoy receiving bread from people. I've also known people who've made the dough and thrown it in the freezer to be baked at a later date.

Soup or stir fry too, it's all good. Oh and cake, yum. I'm no help now, am I? :D

bigmikedude's picture


For Jen. Looks great, and peaceful J.

Mine is producing but is fading fast again this year. Way too much rain and humidity. Leaves are literally falling off plants with bacterial leaf spot because of the conditions. Tomatoes, peppers, etc..

An entire row of about 300 red potatoes are laying left on the ground out there to rot after I plowed them up today. The bug damage was so bad they are useless for long term storage, and about half of the whites were the same or rotted. Only some of the yellows are worthy of storage, but I don't even have enough pristine potatoes this year to bother with the potato pit again this year. Just too wet, humid, hot, and buggy. Basically out of 160 feet of potatoes, I may have scored two five gallon buckets worth of pristine undamaged potatoes. The rest were either too damaged to store, or total waste, rotted, and some of what was left, plow damaged at harvest.

Squash and Zuchs are long dead from molds and squash bugs.

Grapes all have blossom end rot and japanese beetles devastated 50% of the leaves. It was pointless to powder because of the constant daily rains.

At least I have some good looking spaghetti squashes, but then those grow in about any condition and are too tough for most bugs, so it isn't saying much. And how many spaghetti squashes can someone actually eat... Lol One plant makes about 10 and I had 6 plants.

The weather here can suck bad for gardening on humid wet years.

I still get quantities I can't even use all of but some things I can lose most of like the potatoes this year, potentially the hot peppers, and a few other things. If it dries up a bit, the peppers should outgrow the leaf spot, but only time will tell. The green peppers are handling it better than the hots though.

Another tough year here because of incooperative weather conditions.

Glad yours looks good though.

jrd3820's picture

Thanks BigMike...Yeah, it's all about the weather

This is in MI. We are known for some brutally humid summers, and that has done quite a number on the gardens in the past. This year has not been bad with the humidity, but the reason we had to start so late; there was still frost on the ground into June....

Also we have had some crazy thunderstorms, and we have already gone through one round of drowned tomatoes.

Not too much with any bug problems this summer though....yet at least.

Your posts did inspire me to keep working this summer though. My friend's parents as I said are getting older and doing a lot less around the yard. Originally her Mom wanted one tiny little garden plot (probably just tomatoes) and a few flower plots. I convinced her if she helped minimally I would take care of all of it, and like I said; I was very much inspired to keep them going this summer by your posts.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Just exactly what the hell is that

flower on top? It looks like it's on fire. It's nice though, in fact I'll go so far as to say I like it.

What variety of tomatoes?

Are we not astilbe?


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

jrd3820's picture

Shhh...just testing something


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss


May want Cyril to check this equation to make sure it's right.

(🐅 + ☁)+⛈+⏲= ✾ ❀

Eva Cassidy ~ Fields of Gold

I tried something that didn't work. Now I'm stuck with having to put *something* in this space. Didn't want to just write a "." and have you wondering if it was something cryptic. So... looking at Jen's lovely garden - oh, how odd! - I thought of a song! By the way, you asked me a question a while ago. I'll let you know the answer once I figure it out myself. :)


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

my math [I'm still deciphering yours]

Opera + Chrome = :(
FireFox + IE = :)

jrd3820's picture

hey thats great has!

It's beautiful!


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

I'm half blind to has math. Must.post.simple.universal...

, __ \/ __
/\^/`\ /o \{}/ o\ If I had a flower for each time
| \/ | \ () / I thought of you, my garden
| | | `> /\ <` ,,, would be full...
\ \ / @@@@ (o/\/\o) {{{}} _ _
'\\//' @@()@@ _ ) ( ~Y~ @@@@ _{ ' }_
|| @@@@ _(_)_ wWWWw .oOOo. @@()@@ { `.!.` }
|| ,/ (_)@(_) (___) OO()OO @@@@ _ ',_/Y\_,'
|| ,\ | /) (_)\ Y 'OOOO',,,(\|/ _(_)_ {_,_}
|\ || |\\|// vVVVv`|/@@@@ _ \/{{}}}\| (_)@(_) | ,,,
| | || | |;,,,(___) |@@()@@ _(_)_| ~Y~ wWWWw(_)\ (\| {{{}}
| | || / / {{}}} Y \| @@@@ (_)#(_) \| (___) | \| /~Y~
\ \||/ /\\|~Y~ \|/ | \ \/ /(_) |/ |/ Y \|/ |//\|/
\ `\\//`,.\|/|//.|/\\|/\\|,\|/ //\|/\|.\\\| // \|\\ |/,\|/

jrd3820's picture

You are so sweet....You're good @ what you do.

What do you do? You make me weak in my knees.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss


(stem for your blossom)


I forgot to hoe!

Someone called me on the phone

and distracted me long enough to screw up my equation, then I had to look up all those codes again.

(bull+shit)+rain+time=purty flowers 〠

jrd3820's picture

I wonder if ppl like Robot Jon & John Robb

just have all those codes memorized and are ready to use them at any given moment.

They are like mad code scientists or something.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

The Robot is on the ball. 🏡

Joɥη is a complete hack.

jrd3820's picture

That would be a selosia

I know we have two different types of tomatoes going on this summer, one is called an Amish rose, we had good luck with those last summer. I can't remember the other kind we put in this summer. We did cherry tomatoes one summer, but not many grew, but those are my favorite to eat.

I've just about maybe 3 or 4 summers ago really gotten into the vegetables. I mean, I was always commissioned to help weed and whatnot but I'd get more excited about planting and caring for the flowers.

I'm just getting used to the other gardening.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss