Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rose Garden Recovery?

I was hoping I could get things together and end the Rose Garden Apocalypse.  Maybe write a new poem about how I have cleaned up and the rose garden and the rose garden is flourishing!  It has not happened and I have really just settled in and started cleaning out the weeds and vines from the garden this week. In the years that I managed to keep up with the garden the next year's blooms have been so much better. There are many factors that have hurt me this year and every year.  Here are the 3 largest problems I have faced.

1.  Where are the Roses?

My garden is comprised of mostly old roses that only bloom 1 time per year.  These roses are 30+ years old.  They have been removed and transplanted a few times.  You can read some about there history here, Rose Garden History.  I really need to start adding some roses that bloom year round around the outside of the garden.  I used to psych myself  up by pumping up this image of big lush green rose bushes blowing in the wind at the end of the summer.  I really have not gotten that far for a few years.  Just a big pile of vines hanging on the roses, sometimes giving this illusion.

2.  City Rats!  Yeah that's right, I said Rats!

Nothing says stay away from the garden like a bunch of big rats running in and out.  Adding the bird feeders has turned into a bad idea.  Looks like I will need to discontinue feeding the birds in this location.  For 20 years of working in my rose garden I never saw 1 rat.  Then in 2007 the Dunkin Donuts near my home burned down!  You can see a picture of burned down dunkin donuts.

Dunkin's Donuts Belair Road Fire

You see the back of that car on the right of the picture?  That's my car, the same one on the blog title photo.  The fire department actually tied yellow tape to my car and across the street.  The next day in the rose garden were 10+ dead rats and the neighborhood has not been the same since.  Used to only see rats around dumpsters.  Where I used to see rabbits or chipmunks, I see rats.  They run around like stray cats and hop through the grass like rabbits.  I hate to do it, but there is so many we have to constantly poison and place traps.  I just need to get over it.  Not getting in the garden and working only makes it worse.

3.  Time and Lazy  

In the old days I would come home from school and collage classes in the afternoon and head right to the garden.  Later I would still do this after work and listen to the O's on the radio. The O's is for Orioles!  Even with the rats I found more time for the garden up until this year.  It might have something to do with the O's actually playing good this season.  I have been more likely to head in and catch the game.  Other factor is that I have been working longer and when I do rush home early its not to work in the rose garden, normally some unwanted BS.  All happens so fast! After the bulk of my garden has it's 1 and only bloom, I have holidays, vacations, vegetable gardens, and other things going on.  I go from my birthday to the 4th to trip number 1 to ocean city to trip number 2 to ocean city and then it all seems over that fast and where did the time go?  Really if I love the garden and want to put in the work, I need to find the time!  Need to get it together!

The Recovery Coming?

I just got started today.  Wish I would have dragged my ass out of bed early because my work got stopped by some serious ran weather.  Vines had gotten a hold of the old white roses in the corner of the garden.  This particular bush blooms all year long, but have not seen much.  Last week I cleared the vines and was rewarded with the bush beginning to bloom again.  This gave me hope that I can give them one last boost before the fall.  Over the next week I plan on clearing things up and ending the Rose Garden Apocalypse.   Maybe there is another poem here somewhere?  I really like the first one, but not what inspired it!

The roses are very old.
How long will they Hold?
New zombie rose buds scattered red.
Why does the little Sparrow Lay dead?
Fresh dug holes are home to new pest.
Has the catbird left it's nest?
Angels, Saints, Mary, and Jesus uncovered.
Why do so many insects hover?
Dead rose blooms wither.
Where do the snakes slither?
Disease hampers revitalization.
Will there be new fertilization?
Weeds grow like crazy.
How can the gardener be so Lazy!
Transit of Venus observed like an eclipse.
Rose garden Apocalypse?

-Charles Reinhardt

Tomato Explosions! Vegetable Garden Update

Tomato's did not explode, but I had so many I considered exploding a few.  The vegetable garden worked out better than ever this year.  I have been growing tomatoes, peppers, and corn for a few years now and this year was the best crop I have ever had.

I contribute the success to a number of factors which I will list below.

After Ocean City Mega Harvest
1.  I got the plants earlier this year.

I got the plants and planted all by Preakness.  I heard some people talking about not planting until Preakness and I said okay.  Other years I planted closer to June.  This also allowed me to get the smaller and cheaper 4 packs of tomatoes and peppers that are normally not available by June.  These surprisingly  grew much better.  Not sure why?  Maybe it was easier for these to adapt and adjust to my yard not growing at the store in a pot for a month.  

2.  Better Boys are Better Big Boys
I always got the Big Boy tomatoes because my mom insisted that they were dads favorites.  I was finally able to convince her that the Better Boy is the same just better.  Boy were they better.  Never have I had so many tomatoes at 1 time.  The after O.C. harvest was kinda over whelming.  There are still big batch of tomatoes growing now.  

Overwhelming Huge box of tomatoes 
3.  New Location and Correct Spacing

For years I have tried different places and ways to plant more plants.  Always ended up sacrificing some of the desired spacing.  One year I used those Topsy Turvy, they were good for the space, but did not produce the amount of fruit I expected.  This year I just said what the hell, I'll just plant everything right here in the middle of the yard.  I had been reserving this area for Wiffle ball and Kick ball tournaments, but with no kids and the nephews not around and getting older, I have now open this area to the garden.   You can check out my big Wiffleball story here Wiffle Char.  One of the big benefits is I didn't have to mow a big stretch of the yard all summer.  The greatest benefit is that this stretch gets the most sun and I was able to correctly space out all of the plants.

Reinhardt Rose Field
4.  Using adequate fertilizer

For years I had not used or used very little of those time release pellets.  My big concern was for my dog getting into that crap and getting sick.  Unfortunately, my dog passed away at the age of somewhere between 12 -13 years old.  She is now planted underneath a peach tree that will produce Emma peaches.  With no worry for Emma, I was able to use the time release fertilizer and it appears to have worked out well. 

Emma Peaches
Other plants,

Hellena's Silver Queen Corn 

I don't like growing corn.  Never have much luck.  Pulling the corn too early too late.  Corn getting infested with bugs and water logged.  Corn getting knocked over in large storms!  No really something I want to grow, but I do it for Hellena.  I let Hellena decide when to pick, so she waited a week after I wanted and the corn was kinda of dry.  I gave all to her to enjoy, but surprisingly did not hear about much enjoyment?  I wonder why?  

Mom's Cabbage
Another plant I was reluctant to try.  Mom grabbed these early in the spring and I did not want anything to do with it.  She planted them late not realizing that the cabbages could be planted before the last frost.  She was so worried about the frost.  Anyway, these I did not mind because they turned out great and we used them for Corn Beef and cabbage!

The Peppers!

Green peppers are still growing.  Have eaten many peppers just with salt and pepper and a couple of times had them as stuffed peppers.  The Chili,  Jalapeno, and Habanero, have been blended together and used in a couple of Chicken and rice dishes that Hellena makes.  Still hoping to take a bunch and make some Chili for a Ravens game soon.  

Other Pictures From the Harvesting!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Vegetables Flourish while Roses Struggle

This week I began getting and eating vegetables from the garden! I have had some cherry tomatoes every day this week. Today I went around and took some pictures.

First we have the Roma Tomatoes. Girlfriend likes them because she red they were really good for sauce, paste, and here older and wiser neighbor likes them. I think she is right! The are growing good and they taste great! You can see they are smaller and are shaped more like an egg. The smaller they are the easier it it is for me to grab and stick in my mouth. The make me think of Cowboy's QB Tony Romo.
Roma Tomatoes

We have many green peppers! Yesterday I found out why it was a good idea to place the peppers in tomato cages last year for support. I always just did it to keep out Emma Dog, but I should have continued the practice as one of the pepper plants had so many big peppers it fell over and nearly came out of the ground. I took the peppers off and gave them to my mother and asked her to cut them up. I like to just eat them with some salt sometimes. She gave them back to me in a bag and I ate them like chips during the MLB All-star game! What an awful game, but the birds were well represented. Go O's! Good to see more than 1 Oriole.
Green Bell Peppers
Next we have the better boy. Which is better than big boy. My father always grew big boy tomatoes. Mom always insists that I get them, but this year I got the better boys. I think dad would do the same. The name just sounds better and why buy big boys if these are better? They are better and not just because they no longer remind me of the old restaurant or my brother in law calling me big boy, they really do look like they are growing and producing a lot more fruit than the previous years big boy. They appear to be stronger, more disease resistant, and just better like the name.

Better Boys

I have been eating Husky Cherry tomatoes all week.  These are really my favorite because I like just grabbing them and eating them.  The husky plant grows string and has a nice smell.  The tomatoes have been really good.  I believe this to grow better than the other cherry tomatoes I have grown over the years, regular cherry and tomato 1000 or something like that. I don't have a freezer so cherry tomatoes are perfect for me.  If it was just me that's all I would grow, cause I'm not gonna be cooking anything!  Except maybe some chili! 

Cherry!  No Red because I ate them all
There is the Red Cherry!
Huge Chili Peppers!
This brings me to the hot peppers! We have Chili Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Gypsy Peppers (These are actually sweet), and I think they are Habaneros, but they don't look right and they probably sold me 3 of the wrong plant? Got the Gypsy because girlfriend wanted one that was different. Not hot, but its still going in the chili! I like the Chili peppers and the Jalapeno and the girlfriend likes the habneros. So, its kinds disappointing that the habaneros don't look right, but what ever they are I hope they are super hot so she is happy. They each have a longer than expected shriveled pepper? Every year around September, I usually grab a bunch of peppers and take an electric burner and make chili right in front of the TV while I watch Football. I normally wait until the Ravens have a late game or night game so I'm done and super drunk for the game. One year I even pepper sprayed myself with the pepper juice on my hands and had to run to the shower! It was awesome! The chili is so hot it feels like it is eating away the inside of your mouth and gums!
Gypsy Pepper
Habanero Mystery Plant?

Last we have some corn that is girlfriend's absolute favorite. I don't like it because I have had no luck. Storms knocking them over and bugs and birds eating them have affected both years so far. This year the storms got them, but not as bad as last year. They are bent, but not flattened. I really need to take the extra time to place support for the corn. This year we are growing 8 Silver Queen Corn. We had some last year, but they got soaked in a large rain storm and than birds and bugs ate them up. Also, in the garden is 4 cabbage plants that my mom planted and did not realize you can plant them in the fall. She is going to pull them this week.

Silver Queen Corn
Silver Queen Corn

More Corn
The Rose Garden!  It pains me to tell you that the Rose Garden needs some care.  It has been under much neglect with Memorial Day, Birthday, Independence Day, and all summer activities.  It still sits in apocalyptic zombie mode.  I hope to get things done this weekend.  I'm going to create a post and give a checklist of what needs to be done.  I will take pictures and hope the Rose garden will flourish as well.

The Rose Garden!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

Maybe you have been trying to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder but you haven't had great success in keeping them away. Even if you buy the bird feeders that are categorized as squirrel proof many find that they are not squirrel proof. When it comes to keeping squirrels out of unwanted areas it may be hard due to the determination of the squirrel. When the squirrel sees his favorite seed the sunflower seed, he or she may go after it no holds barred no matter what the case may be. Sometimes it depends on where the bird feeders are placed, if they are placed conveniently next to a tree it is less likely that you will keep squirrels away. Finding tips that will help keep down the squirrel population on your bird feeder may not be enough. You may have to find products that will help you keep the squirrels away. There are a few things you can try before you make the decision to go buy a product. Moving your bird feeder away from trees or other objects squirrels can use to jump off of may help. Another suggestion is to not paint the metal pole of the bird feeder. When you do paint the metal it makes it easier for the squirrels to climb up. Choosing a feed that the squirrels are not especially fond of may be hard to do but keeping away from their favorites may help.

When all else fails there are actually safe products on the market that will allow you to keep the birds happy by keeping the squirrels away. There are actually products that you can place directly on the bird feeder and the birdseed that will not harm the birds but will deter the squirrels from coming around. Some of these products are also used to keep squirrels out of attics. When you use these products correctly they are effective and safe in deterring those squirrels from the birdfeeders.

When finding a product that will keep the squirrels out of your bird feeder it is important you pay attention to exactly what a product does. Products that are on the market to deter squirrels away from your property have different uses. Some products deter the squirrels from bothering plants and vegetation, while others stop them from entering indoor areas. When you need a product to do a specific thing it is important to know what product does what. When you are trying to keep squirrels from your bird feeder you must find a product that is designed specifically to do that.

Some may find that if they create a perimeter wall with a squirrel deterrent it may help but it may not keep them completely out of the bird feeders. Again, depending on where the feeders are and how determined a squirrel is may determine how well a repellent will work. The best way to keep the squirrels away from the bird food is a repellent that's only purpose is protecting bird feeders from squirrels. When you know what each product does you will choose the right one to get the job done.


Michael Brown


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Love a Hoe to my Finger!

I spent the weekend with my favorite gardener. Our first gardening encounter was probably rolling in the dirt and a hoe to my finger.   Later we would have several gardening encounters.    The battle of the cucumber patch. The planting of the trees.  Don't dare trim my willow tree standoff.  And I'm sure we had many more.  Maybe she will remember better.

Me,  I stick mostly to roses, birding, and some vegetables.  I'm good with roses and birds, but when we talk about all of the different, plants, flowers, butterflies, I really need to take notes.  I think I fill up all that mind space up with sports and beer.  She plants so many cool looking flowers.  There is a group of trees that someday will be a mighty orchard with Oriole birds flying around and featuring great Emma Peaches, had one this weekend it was totally awesome.  It made me bark and say Roll roll ROLL(I Love you in Emma Dog) ?  The Late Great Emma Dog is Buried under a peach tree.  Millions of grapes and other vines will one day rule the vineyard. The Owl in the clown pants on the pergola will be proud. Humming birds and Butterflies (and probably some bees) galore will enjoy the vast variety of plants just for them.  All the different planters, garden statues, and garden stakes will one day make this a fine art gardening museum.  All the bird houses will hove no vacancy and the martin houses will scrape the sky.  The bird camera will one day capture rare never before seen pictures of butterflies, birds, and the back of her head.  While she herself is an awesome photographer.  The fountains will explode like old faithful.  It will be filled with birds drinking. bathing, and unfortunately, pooping.

I hate that sometimes I get carried away in drinking, eating, and joking.  Like that time in Assateague where I saw the busted up road and all the sand and could not shut up about Mad Max and the Apocalyptic wasteland we were traveling through.  I swear I thought we were going to Bartertown and the Thunderdome.  I really got carried away.

If I thought of something about gardening or birds that I could not accomplish here in the city it would telepathically travel to her.  No astral projection and the insidious old lady man crap.

Of course I'm talking about my sister.  I think she should create a blog or other page about all of the gardening she does.  I run dry on this blog, but she would kick my ass in cool stuff to write.  She is the greatest gardener, she will not stop learning and trying and doing awesome stuff.  She is very intelligent and I hope she does not feel like she is wasting her life.  We should have just went away somewhere and became farmers or something.  Maybe we should have grown up on a farm or been Amish.  I guess we were meant to see the Tawn (Daughter) and The Boy Val (Son).  Sometimes I think we should have just been the Batman and Robin of birding, gardening, photography, astronomy, or whatever the hell we want.  We probably will be one day.  Even cats if you must, as long as one has a Natty Bo mustache.

Thanks to all who fought, served, died, and stood up for and continue to stand for and live for Independence for us all.   Happy 4th of July!

Hey Val, I think we should take a few million pictures and add them to this blog post!

Love Char


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hydrangeas Strike Back for Father's Day!

For many years we had a bunch of  Hydrangeas across the side of the house.  I never called them  Hydrangeas , I called them  Snowballs .  Mom tells me that my mom mom had called them that.  Apparently, there is some other similar all white flower called Snowballs?

Really I think both are right that the white plant is a type of  Hydrangea.  You might say that  Snowballs are white, but not the ones I thought about when looking at the  Hydrangea.  It always reminds me of the snowballs you eat from cup from the snowball stand or you make your own.  We had our own snowball setup for awhile in the kitchen.  Long ago there were large weeds  with thorns growing in the  Hydrangeas and mom paid a neighbor to pull them all out.  What happened expectantly was the man pulled out all of the weeds and the  Hydrangeas and they never grow back.  Well the weeds did, but not the Hydrangeas!  Well the Hydrangeas are back, well at least the Hydrangea.  My sister bought my mother a Hydrangea and we planted it last week.  Its a Father's Day Hydrangea!  We did not plant in the same place, but found a nice place where there is some shade in the morning and evening and a big space we would like it to cover.  Also, it is right in the front of the house for all to see.

Click Here! Landscaping Ideas!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rose Garden Apocalypse?

The roses are very old.
How long will they Hold?
New zombie rose buds scattered red.
Why does the little Sparrow Lay dead?
Fresh dug holes are home to new pest.
Has the catbird left it's nest?
Angels, Saints, Mary, and Jesus uncovered.
Why do so many insects hover?
Dead rose blooms wither.
Where do the snakes slither?
Disease hampers revitalization.
Will there be new fertilization?
Weeds grow like crazy.
How can the gardener be so Lazy!
Transit of Venus observed like an eclipse.
Rose garden Apocalypse?


I have no idea why I expressed the state of the rose garden in a poem?  I think its a poem.  I don't think I have written one before.  I strictly intended this to be about the rose garden, but it may also have some hidden meaning in reference to the world 2012 Apocalypse and other things in human life.

The roses are old.  The bulk of my rose garden are red roses that were here before I was born.  Lets say anywhere between 20 - 100 years old.  Some of them have just died before I started taking better care of the roses.  I hope they will hold as long as I hold them.

Zombie Rose Buds?  I like zombies and zombie apocalypse was in the news?  You know those week smaller buds and blooms that occur after the big lively blooms have gone?  They are Zombie Rose Buds.  Sometimes occurring on weaker not properly attended plants.

I found a small sparrow dead in at the base of a bird feeder in the garden.  It appeared to be a young sparrow visiting the feeder.  Did not look to be too injured not sure what happened.  Buried the sparrow in the garden.

Not a very pleasant pests are found in Baltimore City.  Years ago all I would find is chipmunks and rabbits, but now circumstances have brought nastier pests.  If I insist on feeding the birds, there will be some difficulty removing them from the garden.  The garden is better than the house.

My friend the catbird did not like the traffic.  I feel bad because they left one blue egg in the nest, but they decided they needed a better location for a family.  They moved out front of my house in a bigger tree.  Looks like we still leave on the same property.  They needed their privacy.  They gave up the city life in the small apartment with the bath and all you can eat insects and berries for a big nice home where they can raise a family.

Garden Statues are in the open with no foliage covering them.  I want the garden to grow so big, that the statues are not visible.

Insects all over with no insect care being applied in weeks.

I have seen snakes in the rose garden.  Mostly, when I let too many weeds grow around the base of the rose bushes.  A few will scare the hell out of me this week.

I will need to spray with some disease control.

Fertilization, Yes, need to get some miracle-grow on them roses.

Weeds! Weeds!  Years ago my mother planted vines in selected places and they spread all over!  Poison Ivy grows all over the back of the garden.  There is a small tree growing like its part of the chain link fence.  I need a saw and a new weed eater.

Lazy Gardner?  Well this happens every year.  When I was in college I would come home early in the afternoon and work on the garden, but now I come home later.  The red roses only bloom until about late May and early June.  They are the main part of the garden.  It's hard to keep it up when they are done.  When it gets to this part of the year I like to care for vegetable garden and do some traveling and get out more.  And of course I'm lazy.

The transit of Venus was cool.  I stood and saw it by the garden until my eyes burned out and then had a few transit beers.

Rose garden Apocalypse?  Not yet, just need to keep working on the garden.  Just keep working at it and trying to find the time.  I would start each day by working in the garden each day if I could or may be I should jog each morning?

Zombie Task Force | CDC Foundation

Cool shirt

Zombie Task Force | CDC Foundation

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus 2012 and Surprise Photos!

I rushed home and ignored the cloud cover and I was rewarded.

At the last minute I decieded I wanted to see the transit.  I went to 3 stores looking for the proper glasses with no luck.  Finally, I looked up if it was okay to view through your camera LCD screen.  It was okay for your eyes but could damage the camera's image sensor.  I deceided I would give it a try.  While at work it did not look good with lots of cloud cover and several work requests that keep me at work longer than expected.  I was mad and thought I might not make it home.  I got there just in time but the clouds were still there.  I was about to give up when my mother yelled, THE SUN ther it is!  I ran out side got my camera and I could not see a thing through the LCD screen, it was too bright.  Then the clouds came back and I was able to see the Sun through a nature filter.  I tool a couple of pictures not sure if Venus was in the shot or not.  Below are the pictures I was able to get.  No glasses, filter, or special lense! 
Thanks to some cloud cover I was able to see the Transit of Venus!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Catbird Rose Garden and my friends Mocking Bird and Earwigs?

Nesting in the Garden!
Weeds and Vines Going
On the Lookout!
Don't you bring the Mower
up in here!
I have not been keeping up with the Rose Gardening.  There are yellow leaves. black spots, insects, and weeds all over the place.  When the old red roses in the garden bloom,  they only bloom 1 time a year and I do not mess with them much while they are in bloom.  I'm not one for cutting and making rose bouquets.  The red roses in the garden don't have much of a scent, anyway.  It becomes real hard to take care of the roses when they are done blooming.  While I was away during Memorial Day Weekend another complication occurred.  It appears that my relationship with the catbird has gone much further than I expected.  The catbird has moved in!  First the strawberries, than the birdbath, and know the increased number of insects in the garden have made the rose garden the perfect home, until I returned.  I don't know if they will stay.  They are only about 5 feet off the ground, they will have to put up with my lawn mower in the back of the garden and me pulling some of their weed cover down!  I am trying to be careful and would like my new friends to stay.  I certainty do not want to kill them with any chemicals and maybe I want to leave all the bugs for them to eat and some weeds and vines to cover them.  So, what about the rose garden?  Not sure what I will do.  I have all this left over chemical based insect and disease control that spays all over, but I will not use that.  I will probably look to buy more of the Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care.  This product can be mixed and poured at the base of each rose bush and should not disturb my friends.  It takes more time, but I am willing to make some compromise for my new roommate.  I wish my new catbird friends good luck there new home.  Last year they lived down the center of an evergreen tree, but I believe this was already fully loaded with sparrows.  I have discovered that these catbirds will eat the berry based bird suets and I'm thinking about grabbing them some meal worms.  They ate a lot the meal worms last year.

Tasty Earwigs
Now, when I came back from Memorial Day I had to mow the lawn.  We been here a long time and the yard is full of crap.  I got to move things all over the place while mowing the lawn.  This is where me and my new friend the Mocking Bird made first eye contact.  We would have a stare down for about 5 minutes and then the Mocking Bird would just swoop in and ear all the earwigs it could find under the crap I just moved out of my way.  The mocking bird would stand all over just behind my shoulder waiting for all you can eat earwigs.  I would take a break and stand and wait while my new friend the mocking bird enjoyed some all you can eat at Charlie's Earwig Farm.  Man there sure are a lot of earwigs around
More Earwigs!
 this year!  I found one crawling around in a medicine cabinet, tough it was in  the basement.  Writing this I went ahead and looked up the earwig and what I read gives me some new feeling for this ugly insect.  I included a link for this reason.  1.  Myth about them going in your ear, (although I once had something my ear the nurse would not show me when cleaning my ear, she got rid of it immediately, earwig?) 2.  The pincers will not hurt you, and the thing that really made me feel bad about smashing and spaying my new friend the earwig is...3.  Many earwig species display maternal care, which is uncommon among insects. Female earwigs may care for their eggs, and even after they have hatched as nymphs will continue to watch over offspring until their second molt.  Although, I'm sure they make a good meal for the Mocking bird.  It reminded me of eating Crabs!

Oh, and let me not forget my Love Bird Cardinals!