The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Daily Challenge - Pumpkins as Climbers?

I planted some pumpkin seeds in the compost,
to give them rich soil.
The soaker hose drips above them.



One reader has daily questions and comments about gardening. Yesterday, while the rain was still falling, I planted pumpkins along the fence, to serve as climbers and a green screen.

One of my horticultural promises to Mrs. I is, "I will block the view in the back section." We have a grass no-man's land between us and the houses on Joye Street -  and the back of their outbuildings to look at. The more we pruned the trees, the more we saw. The dogs like to look through the fences and bark at each other.

The first plan was to have very tall Butterfly Bushes create a 10 foot fence, but they are just starting to grow. Another feature of this Maginot Line is sunflowers. My early planting froze in the return of winter snow, and only some of those are growing now. I planted more.

Pumpkins love the sun, rain, and rich soil.
We should have a good crop for the local children and our grandchildren.

I noticed an odd assortment of plants growing near or on the fence and resisted the urge to cut them down. Several are very healthy Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot), a great plant for insects and bees. At least one is red root pigweed, which grows green and fragile-looking while sowing its seeds generously. Pigweed is an amaranth and nutritious. The amaranth family is known for seed production. So - why do I not get out the flame thrower, the RoundUp, and the weeding fork? I can let a few grow in the back and contribute to the compost. Big field weeds are easy to control with cutting. Their hogging of sunlight is their downfall. They do not like being cut to grass height.

The daily reader wonders, "How can pumpkins grow on a fence? Are they not too heavy?"

I had a great experience with pumpkins, gourds, and the Jackson Aqueduct last summer, with all kinds of plants growing along the fence on Mrs. Wright's side. One of the vines lined itself up on the top of the fence and raised its umbrella leaves to capture as much sun as possible. That was probably the bottle gourd vine. Pumpkins got a late start and mixed in there, contributing plenty of greens for the compost.

I am figuring that the vines will fill up the fence, like green inserts, as they look for ways to grow up into the light. They can also spread out on the ground as cover, without bothering the vertical plants.

The main pumpkin patch is the corn area. I see regular little holes in the corn area now, so the squirrel may be digging the corn out that I planted. If that happens, only pumpkins will be planted there soon. Another possibility is the squirrel digging in new food. The little critters personify ingratitude, but I will withhold judgment for the time being.

Columbus gardening fooled me with nutgrass coming up where I planted corn. Once I realized I did not have a corn crop, the nutgrass was well established. I had to pull each plant out like I was doing dead weight lifts - grab stem, plant feet, straighten back, heave.

Hanging birdfeeder


Inexpensive Platform Feeder
I found a great platform feeder on Amazon. I wanted something that let the rain through, visible from our bedroom window.

When we walk into the room, the platform feeder is eye level. Instead of shunning the new item, the birds and squirrels used it after only one day or so. Mockingbirds eat from it in pairs. A small squirrel came over in the rain and ate there. Starlings and finches stop by too.

The platform hangs from a  wooden beam, and the bottom has small holes to let rain through. The feeder is under the eaves and stays relatively dry.

The finches and chickadees continue to use the big feeder, without much competition. The big feeder contains finch food only, and suet for the other birds hangs from it. Starlings are often hanging on the bag of suet, pecking away at the kidney fat.

Falling in Love Rose - only $8 on sale last year.
Our newlywed friend enjoys the fragrance and the color.


Hybrid Tea Roses Blooming
Steady rain will make sure last year's hybrid tea roses bloom. The new roses will probably bloom soon, too.