MOSQUITOES!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Just found this thread. The mosquitoes have been unbelievable. If I am outdoors more than 15 seconds they descend. I've never gotten so many bites. If if I wear full length pants, a long sleeved shirt and a hat and spray bug stuff on my face, they wedge between my hat and bite under my hairline.

As for weeds, as vigilant as I have been, they are everywhere. Weeds that were a minor nuisance in past years are going to seed faster because it will be dry, and then it becomes rainy and they throw the seed around. I'm like Karly's Mom. I never had a weedy yard - till now.

Donna

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Sherri, I've had it for going on 2 years in September. But that's not enough time to eliminate this problem. And I have to admit, I get so frustrated that I do let the weeds get out of hand...and, of course, that only compounds the problem. The reality of it is that it's too much for me to do alone...and no one else in my household gardens or cares about the yard at all. I do everything, from mowing to creating new beds (well, okay, I got my husband to help with prepping part of one bed this year, but after 20 minutes he was done) to planting to weeding...it's all me. *sigh*

And Donna, although I feel your pain...I am at least comforted to know I'm not alone.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Kayly, believe me, it will get better. 19 years ago, when we bought this place, it was a jungle. I was so naive, I thought I could pull for one season and it would be fine. Then, I got in the same place as you - so frustrated, I gave up and weeds sort of took over.

Then, 10 years ago, I got the gardening itch and went at the weeds, dug beds and over time it got manageable. I KNOW how frustrating it is, but you have some gorgeous plants and beds! Don't give up hope, Kayly - enjoy those beauties, even among the weeds, because nature is not perfect and we, being part of nature, are not perfect either. But, we are imperfectly WONDERFUL!! : )

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

Just had a thought..does happen you know!! After the nice weather break..how about cutting off the top seed head of the weeds..at least a start for next season and no new seeds. Then pull when time and energy appear. I have tried to catch up...not a lot of change seen..so will try that myself.
Mosquitoes are vicious..I need to make some effort to keep them away (I do have that mosquito shirt..just so warm.

For JB....very few this year. A few years ago (and for about 3 seasons) I trapped probably hundred of thousands. They were eating everything and started across the street on favorite plants (theirs) that the city wasn't controlling,. Unless you have time to keep the traps empty (I had 4 going) wouldn't recommend it. I also applied nematodes to the salad bar across the road..haven't had such a major problem since, I certainly hope that that continues!!
But, I have to stress..I was fed up..I had the time..and I found a safe way to dispatch )empty the traps into bags and put in large coffee can to set on blacktop in the sun. To use hot water to drown them would be high risk of burning myself (klutz).
Lots of water and mud at the sorting/bagging/tagging at daylily tent..fun..they also had snacks (chocolate!!!!!!!)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Karly, you are not alone. And you are fighting the noble gardener fight. My problem is being encouraged, no asked to plant more and more by a spouse who then says why did you did this and doesn't chip in. No weeding, pruning, and very little digging. I have 23 roses because of spousal intervention. I love them, but wow!

On the other hand, I looked out my window this morning to watch a hummingbird move from nikkis to roses to sweet peas to glads to verbena to garden balsam to nasturtiums, sipping away. I have a trio of them. That's when it's all worthwhile.

Hundreds of thousands Marcia - wow. For me thousands, and in my second milky spore year, it's down to hundreds.

I hope that all of you don't mind my popping in here. I forget that upper Midwest does mean me. I had thought it was further north into Michigan. But I do recognize some very nice people from other threads.

Donna

Hobart, IN

I had some JB this year but they were less than other years. Plus they came late to the party. While I do have 6 roses in my one half-sun bed, they now tend to gravitate to the porcelain berry vine (which has never given my berries btw). They're not active until the afternoon when the sun shines on that bed so I think my shade is somewhat of a deterrent. I don't have large open fields or spaces around me - mostly wooded.
Donna - I got confused at first as to how the regions were divided up here since I thought I'd be more with the OH area.
You have sweet peas this time of year?
Kayly - I agree with Sherri - the longer an area is gardened, the fewer the weeds. Again, I'm not as exposed to open fields of floating seed but I usually don't have to spend tons of time pulling weeds. I'm the only gardener here as well and then I'm helping out DS and DD with their gardens as well. Since I'm not currently working, I'm also in charge of the fall leaf removal as well. Now that's my biggest pain. At least DH does the mowing. I only mow with a reel mower and he's never happy with the result so that prompts him to get out the gas mower.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi Cindy,

Yes, I have sweet peas. I start them by soaking them overnight and putting them into the ground at the end of March. I actually mark my calendar so I don't forget. I put them at the base of my allegheny serviceberry, and later add morning glories. I tend to forget about them until I pass the tree and POP! there they are! I grow sweet pea mammoth mix - they are more heat tolerant, but have larger flowers than the heirloom types.

I put them at the base of my trellis too but competing against the rose is tough for them. Scarlet runner beans, on the other hand, can go in later and are much better competitors. Those are blooming too.

Hobart, IN

Donna - I'm impressed - sweet peas after all of the heat we've had? I tried them once in early spring but I think I put them out too early and in too much shade. I haven't tried again because I thought they were cool season only. Do your's get full sun?

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I'll share my JB's with whoever would like some:) Its fighting a losing battle for no matter what I do the adjoining yards don't do anything and soooooo, needless to say they hatch over there then eat over hear. :(

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Donna, you saw a hummer? THREE of them?? Oh, you're so lucky! And, you're not too far north of me. I thought they just didn't come up this far north. I've put out all sorts of red flowers (that's what they're supposed to like) and have never seen one! : (

You're right, though - when you see a new bird or a bit of wildlife, it makes it all worth it!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Sherriseden, yes, they actually visit almost every day. They are the blueish green ones, and they are loud enough so that you can hear the HUMMMMMM. Once they recognize your yard as a place to dine they tend to come more than once a day. In previous years I would see one or perhaps two but now it's a trio, and they sometimes hover together.
I used to see only the tiny ruby throated ones, but these are really cool because you can easily see them from 20 feet away.

They like red and purple (for the ultraviolet light spectrum) but they also like funnel shaped flowers and visit nicotiana alata.

And Cindy, the sweet peas are actually on the south side of my yard. It's a hot spot. I really think the trick is to start them very early (Iliterally start them the last day of March each year) and try to keep them from drying out too much.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

boy lots going on here ,Now Iam confused am i upper midwest ??? If not I hope I dont get thrown out !!! I pulled my sweet peas ,got tired of waiting for them to bloom,i started them in march.put some in part shade,no blooms and I do water.I ve got CRAB GRASS FROM HELL !!!!! It is bad and everywhere, ,not so much in my beds,but Ive got these other weeds that keep popping up,It looks like grape vine ,hard to pull,and another NID,But I dont till my beds anymore that does help and mulching,but the crabgrass,need to get that under control.Iam too, alone ,when it comes to weeding,and fertilizing the yard,I think thats why I got CG,Ididnt fertilize this spring,this [email protected]# hill !!! DH mows and will help with building or handyman projects ,OOHHH he plants the garden ,OH what a mess it is !!! I end up taking care of that too arrgg. Kayley would you use weed b gone ??? i hate to admit it ,I do use it when I have to,i just used a bit of round up a few days ago.I use a piece of cardboard to sheild plants not intended to be sprayed by either product.I know you have dogs,can you block off a section at a time ,I would think it would be safe for the dogs after a few days and a rain or hosing.and let to dry agin.

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Tamara re crab grass You and me both gf. You should see the sizes of clumps I've pulled out only to take the soil from all around it up with them...grrrrrrrrrrr

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I HATE crab grass! I take a dandelion digger and try to get it out. If you don't, it spreads and spreads and spreads and takes everything around it out!

Hugger, were the sweet peas the heat tolerant kind? The big frilled English sweet peas do NOTHING! The kind you get from Thompson & Morgan? Tried and tries and tried and got almost nothing.

Mammoth Mix is the ticket. Carried by Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Quote from sherriseden :
Kayly, believe me, it will get better. 19 years ago, when we bought this place, it was a jungle. I was so naive, I thought I could pull for one season and it would be fine. Then, I got in the same place as you - so frustrated, I gave up and weeds sort of took over.

Then, 10 years ago, I got the gardening itch and went at the weeds, dug beds and over time it got manageable. I KNOW how frustrating it is, but you have some gorgeous plants and beds! Don't give up hope, Kayly - enjoy those beauties, even among the weeds, because nature is not perfect and we, being part of nature, are not perfect either. But, we are imperfectly WONDERFUL!! : )


Sherri, that was really inspirational. Thanks. You made my night. *wipes a tear*

It's been a long day for me. We were planning to go to the Venetian night (lighted boat parade) at the lake near my mom's place, and my tire decided to go flat just as we were heading out the door. Of course, we'd had dinner at my mom's, so I was 10 miles from home in the middle of nowhere with this flat tire. My husband was back home. Suffice it to say, I did get the tire situation worked out (although it would appear our Toyota is one of the few Siennas recalled for a spare tire that falls out of the bottom and--guess what?--no spare! Thank the car gods for my can of Fix-a-Flat)...but the kids and I missed the boat parade and the fireworks we always look forward to.

Then I came home, already bummed, and promptly stepped in fresh dog poop that one of my sweet fur-kids left right on the backyard walk. And, of course, I tracked it into the house unwittingly.

So, after having had One of Those Days...it was nice to hear some kind, encouraging words.

Hopefully, I'll go tackle that jungle a bit tomorrow afternoon. The weather is SO much nicer right now than it has been in weeks.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

oh Kayley ,I hate it when it rains it pours ,oh girl you deserve a break.Hey just a thought black plastic to smother some weeds ???? or news paper ???? or spray with weed b gone and then cover with newspaper,so the dogs dont touch the area ???

Hobart, IN

Awww - Kayly - sorry you had such a bummer of a day.
What a welcome relief in the weather. Could actually sit out on the back patio yesterday and not be carried off by the mosquitoes. Will definitely spend some time outside this week. Bought a new Hosta last weekend but it hasn't even made it into the ground yet.
Sorry to hear of all the crabgrass woes. I don't get much of it here - maybe the shade? DD has just about thrown in the towel on her vegetable garden in TN this year due to the excessive heat and the never-ending battle with Bermuda grass. Rain has been scarce and they're on a well so watering has to be kept to a minimum.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

I couldnt believe how the humidity and heat left soo abruptly yesterday afternoon,TG and this am soo beautiful outside ,but Iam off to work !!! Ive lost tomatoes to sunburn here,big ones mortgage lifters they were huge,I bet I lost 10 pounds of them.Ive never had my tomatoes suffer sun burn before.Hope this weather holds for a few days ..

Thumbnail by huggergirl
Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Kayly, you are welcome! If you tackle a small area of your garden and get all the weeds in that area today, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment.

Hugger, I've never had my tomatoes sun burn before! That one on the left is what happens to mine . . . squirrel waits 'till it gets nice and ripe, pulls it off (are these guys farmers? How do they know about ripeness?), Takes a big chomp of it, then leaves the rest for ants and whatnot. I've actually witnessed them doing this!

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Speaking of mosquitoes . . . check this one out. It's blurry, but maybe you can see it a bit. Never saw one like it! He was on my front window this morning - big, about an inch and a quarter, with a hind end that he sort of curled up at one point like a scorpion. He's facing to lower right and stinger is pointing to upper left. Very attractively patterned, though - sort of a gold and brown! I'm going to put this on the bug ID forum to see if anyone knows what it is!

Thumbnail by sherriseden
Hobart, IN

sherri - I have heard of squirrels raiding the tomatoes. I keep waiting for it to happen here. Granted, I only have 3 tomato plants (about all I can sustain in half-day sun) but we have so many squirrels and chipmunks (as well as 9 raccoons feasting on bread and cereal next door) that I almost anticipate the taste test. What a bummer after watching them ripen.
hugger - Sun-burned tomatoes? I'm no veggie gardener but that's a first. Do you think it's the variety?
No babysitting of GD today so I get to go outside. There's even a breeze today so hopefully that will keep the mosquitoes away as well. Will finally get new Hosta in the ground as well as moving around some plants. Always this time of year when I think I "need" to move something.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Cindy, that's me when it comes to moving! I finally realized I move too much - some plants 4 or 5 times over a couple years - never letting the plant reach its potential. So, this year I decided I would actually let things grow! (I do have one or two though, that I'm compelled to move . . .)

: )

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Well Iam thinking sunburn because we let the tomtoes ramble,and what a mistake its a jungle. soo Iam thinking ,to pick the ripe ones you are lifting and moving the plants because the tomatoes are buried ,soo after being shaded the whole time they were growing then being exposed to the sun.My Bad...should have covered them back up with the plant..ARRGGG they were huge.And they are heirloom so they are more subceptible to anything !!!!! OOHH sherri,I think of how many plants I djust pull up because they were not fast enough !!!Now I dont do that and it is quite amazing how fast they will grow when left alone !!!!

Hobart, IN

Oh - my body is feeling the over-exuberance of yesterday's gardening. Battled the freaking mosquitoes (and no, the breeze was not strong enough to penetrate the back of the property so had to don the Off) to sift some compost. I dreaded it but it was there, calling my name, reminding me that I really need to amend soil as I move things around. Tidied up the lower garden and then moved on to the "fun" stuff. Got the new Hosta planted but in the process, had to move and divide a fern (4 pieces). Then the challenge. Cleared a 4' x 4' section of 20-year old winter creeper and lily of the valley (which always looks dreadful by late summer) which has bugged me for several years. Tough-going try to pry all of those root systems out of the ground but managed to get most of it. I'm sure I'll get little "surprises" when root bits start growing again. Divided a huge Hosta 'Yellow Splash Rim' from another area and plopped a big chunk into the newly-cleared space. Moved the remaining chunk of Hosta which meant moving 4 Astilbes, 4 Tradescantia and 2 columbine. Pretty satisfied (at least for now) with the results. Poor Astilbe - I just divided them last year. Hopefully I can keep my hands off of them for a couple of years now. Today, some minor work in the side garden but of course it involves moving things around.
hugger - Are all of the tomatoes bad or are there some salvageable ones?

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

We are getting good ones too but we have pitched Id bet 15 pounds now,Dang rot on the bottom too ,this heat and humidity is the big culprit too.Iam sad ,I love mortgage lifters. boy you worked your butt off,Iam saving all that for september !!!!

This message was edited Aug 18, 2010 7:29 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I am finding that the only way to keep my tomatoes healthy (they are all in pots by the way) is to water them DAILY. I used blossum end rot spray, but it didn't work this year. So I read about uneven watering and just made sure that I could see moisture at the bottom of the pot. I'm now getting healthy tomatoes on plants that had only produced rotted one.

I also noticed that cherry tomatoes seem immune. Other than that all of mine are heirlooms. Hugger, I didn't know they were more susceptible. I should add that a friend of mine is growing all the same tomatoes in the ground, and his are 50% bigger than mine in pots.

Also, I pinched mine back a while back to make them branch and not get too tall, and then supported floppy stems with the legs of peony stakes connected to tomato tape, in addition to tomato cages, to control them. So they aren't too wild.

Hobart, IN

Donna - Now that you mention cherry tomatoes not getting blossom end rot, I noticed here that I've never seen a cherry tomato with that condition. Also agree about pots vs ground planting. I have one 'Big Beef' in a pot, producing puny tomatoes and a 'Better Boy' in the ground producing tomatoes bigger than 'Big Beef'. And I did have blossom end rot on the 'Better Boy' and 'Amish Paste' (which is in a pot as well) but that seems to have gone away. I did plant all of them with ground egg shells, they get adequate water and I also supplemented the minerals with epsom salts and ground up Tums a couple of weeks ago along with some worm poop based fertilizer (granular) and some sea kelp. Since my tomatoes only get half day sun at best, it's hard to compare. I am doing a trial in my little hobby greenhouse, growing some cherry tomato 'Sweet Million' in big buckets. Although I am having a real problem in there with spider mites, the pick-me-up that I gave all of the tomatoes seemed to help a bit there as well. I'm debating about when to cut off the tops of all of the tomato plants. DD says I should do it now since it takes roughly 30 days for a tomato to grow and ripen.
More rearranging yesterday but didn't venture down to the mulch pile since the mosquitoes are back now that the breezes have died down. Have one more bout of rearranging to do and then done for now. Wanted to get it done now since Sept is going to be busy for me.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Cindy, you are really working!! I'm with hugger - I'm saving the work till September. Plus, the first day it was nice in weeks was Sunday and I came down with a cold that STILL has me tired! Maybe it's the flu. Yuck!!

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

By the way, speaking of freaking mosquitoes, does anyone know why the name of this thread lost the "FREAKING" in front of the word "mosquitoes"? I thought it adequately described all of our feelings about the evil little buggers!!

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I was wondering the same thing when I saw that. Now we have words that fade in and out?

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Perhaps some trigger-happy moderator thought "freakin'" was too close to the eff-bomb and would offend the delicate sensibilities of some DG denizens? They should know that we Upper Midwesterners are made of sterner stuff. lol

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

I guess it was too close to a potty word,LOL We all know what we are thinking about the mosquitoes anyway !!!! it stayed quite awhile tho.... I dont know anyone that has ever had luck with a potted Tomato plant,I dont think you can keep them watered enough,and I would think the heat would be a culprit in producing small fruit,being in a pot it gets warmer than the ground would ???? I know this year Ive had an awfull time keeping my very large flower pots watered,actually dh pulled all my flower pots yesterday Iam done!!!! I could not keep them watered,and I watered heavy everyday ,soaked and resoaked ,having the same trouble in oak 1/2 barrels too,those are in front of a brick building soo they really cook .

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Guess that is why my tomatoes are doing so badly. They are being pot grown and yes, my containers have been watered 3 sometimes 4 times a day..............With all the humidity one would think it would evaporate that fast, how much moisture can the air hold but it sure does................

Hobart, IN

sherri - Sorry to hear about the cold/flu. If you have the stuffy head thing, I'd guess that the outdoor humidity would keep kleenex constantly at your side.
Sounds like my shady yard is a blessing when there's not much rain (and there hasn't been here). I'm going to water this morning since now it looks like Saturday before we get any rain.
September will have my (well, my brother) digging up the back foundation wall to fix a wall leak so I'll have plants to move out of the way. Thankfully the lower level is only about 3 ft below grade so the digging should go quickly. Then we have to move stuff out of the garage to have spray foam insulation applied to the underside of the roof. The walls have been insulated for years and we even have a natural gas heater out there but were putting off the roof until the miracle of foam insulation came along. We don't have a true basement in our tri-level so we use the garage a lot in the winter for projects. Also have a section of my "deer" fencing (actually green snow fencing) to replace as well. I've seen where a small deer has wandered in through the hole in the fence and nibbled on a few things.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Cindy, you're ahead of me - I don't really have my fall projects outlined yet. But, they will be! The cold turned into a bronchial infection, so the doc gave me an inhaler, ZPak, and a lecture on smoking. I'm starting to listen to lecture, actually. But, anyway, I'm in for the next couple of days and will itemize, prioritize, and ponder what I want to do when it cools!

I'm trying to stay on the "No Plant Moving" wagon, so there won't be a lot of that, but I have about 10 shrubs to prune and I'm a first time pruner. All 10 went in last year, and I wanted to leave them alone, but now want to eliminate the crossed branches and some are even really dense in the middle and could use more air. After just a year!

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Sherri, I manage to get the antibiotic, inhaler and the lecture about once a year. Right now I'm on Chantix(when I remember to take it) you have to eat with it or you get sooooo sick to the tummy. So far it has done no good but has slowed me down smoking a bit.

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Yeah, it's slowed my smoking down, too. My hubby is really pushing for both of us to quit, but oh, so hard!

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

My hubby doesn't smoke so he's really pushing for me to quit. And your right It IS very hard............... Realistically, I don't think it will ever happen.

Hobart, IN

Chantix, huh? I went that route late last fall. I did manage to quit for 2+ months and it was pretty easy. BUT the Chantix caught up with me, had to go to half doses and ended up so depressed that I wanted to smoke even more, especially late at night. The good news is that it does affect people differently and I really hope it works for you. DD also did the Chantix a couple of years ago and she's been smoke-free ever since. Good for her! But she ended up on anti-depressants and I refuse to go that route. I am smoking 25% of what I used to so that's good. I'll try again at some point with a different method. I did set up rules about when/where/quantity I do smoke. I'll just keep making the rules a little stricter over time. I am currently "not allowed" to have a cigarette and a cup of coffee at the same time and I miss that. DH quit years ago and he's been very good about not nagging. Sometimes I think he sits next to me for the second-hand smoke. :)

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

Sherri, feel better soon!

My mom smokes, even though she shouldn't. She's on heart medication to prevent blockage. I know she's cut down a lot, but she's been smoking since she was a teenager (she's in her early 60s now) and it's just sooo tough to quit. I sympathize with her. Even though I've never smoked, I know how tough habits are to break.

Good luck! *hugs*

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