Stacey Mollus is a humor columnist who believes laughter is the best form of exercise. She is a gardening diva who hates worms, but loves to get her fingers in the dirt. Besides gardening, she loves her family, chocolate and clothes that are stretchy. You can find her personal blog site at "queenofchocolates.com ", and tweets at “queenchocolates”.
 

Recent Blog Posts

Aug 25
The Arch Enemy of the Green Bean  

Jul 11
Time to Hit the Sales  

Jun 05
Mother Nature Needs Prozac  

Apr 30
Please Don’t Eat the Tulips!  

Apr 03
Berries are bursting!  

Mar 17
Overcoming a Gardening Challenge- living with a spunky golden retriever!   (2 comments)

Jun 22
Teeny Tomato Plants, But Lots of Fruit!  

Jun 01
Mowing Rookie  

 

 

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Teeny Tomato Plants, But Lots of Fruit!
by Stacey Mollus - posted 06/22/12

Living here in a desert climate...oh, wait! This is not the desert, it is the Midwest. So why is everything so dry and crunchy then?

Not sure who ticked off Mother Nature, but this is the third season that we are short on moisture. If it wasn't for my incredible watering skills, I am sure my lawn and garden would be looking like the Sahara.

I turn on the sprinkler, then pull out a good book and my lawn chair, and watch the droplets of water spray back and forth. This type of yard work is grueling, but hey, someone has got to do it. 

With the help of our local water company, my lawn is still green and my garden is still growing. Despite my "marvelous-moisture-maintaining-moves",  I am having a problem and so are many of the local gardeners in our area. Our tomato plants are green and putting on tons of blooms and fruit, but the plants are not filling in very well.

I called the conservation department, and asked him if I should be concerned that my plants are too weak to maintain the fruit they are putting on.

Here is some of the info he shared-

The heat and lack of rainfall in our area is causing obvious problems, but it can also cause a deficiency in nutrients as the dry soil does not release what the plants need. He stated that mulching is vital to the plants during this time to maintain an even moisture level in the soil to help prevent this. He also said, when we water and get the plants wet, then the sun comes out and dry's them out, this variation of soil moisture causes a lot of stress on the plants. These stressors are leading to an increase in blossom end rot, and catfacing. (catfacing is scarring in the blossom end of tomatoes. This scaring causes the tomato to be considered unfit.) 

He also explained the foliage that the plants are not putting on, typically offers shade to the fruit, thus preventing sunscald and if there is not a lot of greenery, your tomatoes would get a bad suntan! He suggested hanging old bed sheets up to help shade the plants from the strong afternoon rays, but being careful to not block all the sun as tomatoes like a good sunbeam.

He said to make sure and fertilize, as that will help add plant growth, but do not pick off fruit or blooms to encourage bushiness. Let the fruit ripen and hope for the best.

I am sure looking forward to a BLT soon, so I am going to take his advise. I sure hope this info helps you enjoy your own ripe red 'maters, real soon!

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Mowing Rookie
by Stacey Mollus - posted 06/01/12

Just got off the mower. This is a new thing for me because traditionally, my hubby did yard work and car repairs, while I cleaned the bathrooms and did dishes. But after years of athletics, his back problems forced him to ask for help. From me.

He informed me that I should probably start with the easy stuff, so he pointed me towards the riding lawn mower. I climbed aboard, as he began giving me a detailed description of each lever and button, and their purposes. I wasn't really listening, because I was thinking, "I wonder if this thing will go as fast as the go carts did, when I rode them in Branson last year?"

Once he finished the lesson, he gave me the wave that told me I could proceed. I hit the pedal, and before I could say, "Yee haw", the mower lunged forward and it took all I had to hold on! I felt like bull rider, trying to hang on for 6 seconds!

After I righted myself and the hubby stopped laughing, I took a few spins around the yard. I soon began feeling a bit cocky, and decided to go through the gate of the fence without assistance. 

I crept up to the opening and when I stood up to unlatch the gate, the mower let out a huge BANG! I thought there had been a drive-by. I sat there, making sure we were all OK, when my hubby came up and said, "You have to put the brake on when you stand up or the mower will backfire. Just don't stand up."
Fheww! Glad we were all safe.

I was really beginning to enjoy mowing, when the husband decided I was ready to graduate to another piece of equipment. The leaf blower.

Once again, he gave me a tutorial on the buttons and the levers, then fired it up. He handed it to me and mimed to me, "wave it back and forth".

I smile and did exactly like I was coached. He felt confident in my ability, and went off to weed eat.

I waved it over the grass clippings, and blew them away. I waved it at the old leaves I found behind the air conditioning unit, and blew them away. I waved it at the dogs, and they got up, gave me a dirty look and moved away. I was pretty proud of myself, waving it like I was a baton twirler in a parade, when suddenly the motor stopped.

I lifted the blower to see what happened, and my shirt rose up with it. I looked a little closer and noticed, the string on the bottom of my shirt had been sucked into he motor and locked it up.

I had no choice but to humble myself, and ask my teacher to free me. After several tugs and pulls, the string broke off and I was able to keep my shirt on, but I was banned from the leaf blower. He wouldn't even let me near the trimmer!

Despite the obstacles I have met, I am still mowing. I love taking my leisurely stroll around the yard looking like I am taking a Sunday drive,  waving at the neighbors, and enjoying the smell of the freshly cut grass. It is hard work, but I guess someone has to do it. 

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Sure Feels Like Summer!
by Stacey Mollus - posted 05/22/12

I already have a tan and its only May 22nd! Not only that, but my daylillies have never looked better. They are all bloomed out, and so are the clematis. Sheez, I already have blooms on my tomato plants!


I love spring, and for a gardener, it is a great time of year. You get to plant, and because it is so cool ,you don't have to do much but a little watering and weeding. Well, not this year. I have weeded, TONS, and I am having to water my garden regularly.

Now, I am not complaining. Ordinarily I enjoy the tranquility of standing there, a hose in my hand, watching puddles form on top of the soil. But this year, since we are training a new puppy, my tranquility is always interrupted by her jumping over the chicken wire fence we have around the plants, and diving in to bite the water coming from the hose.She already demolished 3/4ths of my peas, tromped a tomato plant, and 3 times we had to corral her as she ran across the yard carrying a pepper plant she plucked from the garden. Which by the way, we still don't know what she did with the eggplant!

Yep, this is going to be a fun summer. I am expecting a big harvest. Well, if Lucy the wonderdog, doesn't eat all the plants!
 

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