Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

The season for growing #gardening #minnesota


Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for this. And I had to battle devilish swarms of gnats just to get these pictures. Ever see a black cloud of teeny tiny flying annoyances?

Okay, the pic is from last year, courtesy of KARE11 news station here in MN, but still….

And once they find you, they stick to you like, well, a swarm of gnats. Ugh. Needless to say, even though I need to weed the garden, I’m not going to brave those suckers. Honestly, I’d rather battle mosquitoes. They’re slower, and there aren’t as many all around your head wherever you go. We even had a breeze, and the gnats still found me. They are bad enough the news is covering them this year, too. The worst part is we lost 4 chickens (juvenile chickens) this week, either due to the nasty storm (chickens can literally–yes, literally–be scared to death by a bad storm, courtesy of thunder and lightening) or the gnats. According to the experts, they should dissipate in the next week or two.

Just in time for the mosquitoes to show up. Yay. Not.

Any-hoo, here it is, the garden before anything is really going. Except the weeds, those are doing well.

The garden, 2019

I’m keeping an eye on the sprouts. So far, the plants are doing well, the peppers and tomatoes. The kale and brussels sprouts are hanging in there. The onion sets are coming up. I’m worried about the potatoes, though. We have had enough rain the past few weeks that I’m afraid they may have rotted. I’ll have to dig one or two up to check.

Seed-wise, the radishes are coming up, but as for anything else, I’m on the lookout. It’d be pretty easy to replant, but then we run into a season timeframe. Crossing my fingers!

The rabbits did a number on our lilac bush last year, so I missed out on flowers last year and this year. On the bright side, the dame’s rocket is blooming in the grove. They look like phlox, but the flowers are a little different. And they smell great, a delicate floral that reminds me a little of lilacs.

Dame’s rocket (along with giant ragweed before it reaches the “giant” stage)

This week has been hot, and after the severe storms this past week (hail too, but the tomatoes and peppers survived). Once I gather up enough courage (and some DEET-powered bug repellent), I’ll have to do another round of weeding.

Short post today–gotta get back to my homework 😀 Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and keep writing!

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

28 thoughts on “The season for growing #gardening #minnesota

  1. Ugh, those bugs must be so annoying! Yikes! But I’ll bet your garden is going to look great when everything starts to come up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes they are! I ventured out last night, armed with a headnet and DEET-reinforced bug repellent, to do some weeding and check the progress. Ugh! So far, only two potatoes have surfaced, a third of the beans survived, and I had to replant the zucchini and cukes. Still waiting to see how the rest is doing (spinach, beets, and kale). Now the question is: do I replant the potatoes? Part of me says yes, the other part says don’t bother. Hmm.

      Enjoy your week, Margot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gnats are awful. As are weeds. Having both is just unfair. (My parents are dealing with cicadas now. UGH!)

    I finally took my lilac bush out last summer. Several years in a row it was a snack for something rather than a showpiece. Now it’s gone.

    We’ve been pummeled with rain. It’s ridiculous. Every day we have rain and flood warnings, and we’ve had several tornado scares, too. Just that time of year, I guess.

    I hope we both get better weather (and fewer pests) soon.

    Good luck with your garden. And your homework!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cicadas? I don’t know that I’ve ever had trouble with them. I usually hear them, and see their shells/skins. And those weeds! Wouldn’t be so bad if I could get out to the garden without fear of thousands of tiny flying vampires swarming around my face. (the bug repellent is pretty good at keeping them at bay, but pretty tough to spread it on my face).

      My writing teacher is running a week-long writing retreat this week, so I won’t turn in my homework until next week, but I’m going to push on into the next unit.

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes! Julie, the gnats look horrendous and no wonder you can’t be out gardening. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve just a couple of times experienced a wall of mosquitoes! Crikey, the weather sounds dreadful – I hope you’re safe. We’ve seen images of terrifying tornados and the look fearsome. Happy Gardening and Writing! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the gnats–I can’t wait until they subside. I ventured out to the garden last night, and only managed to weed half the garden before the gnats drove me in. I will say that bug repellent works well for arms and the neck. Not so much for the face. I did, however, have a head-net. Still, a person can tolerate a cloud of gnats only so long…

      Have a wonderful week, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My sister has a huge backyard (like yours) and told me when she walks through it, she has to keep her mouth shut because of all the bugs. Yuck! I will visit in the off-bug-season.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can relate! And yes, definitely wait to visit. I’m hoping the gnats will finish their “time in the spotlight” sooner rather than later, before it’s harder to do the weeding (right now I use a shuffle hoe (aka stirrup hoe) to weed).

      Have a great week, Jacqui!


  5. There’s nothing I enjoy more than writing outside on our patio, listening to the birds and enjoying the warm weather. Of course the bugs always spoil my muse. Gnats, wasps and mosquitoes seem to seek me out, especially the mosquitoes. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love writing outside, too, but those pesky bugs! I have contemplated building a gazebo (with screens, of course!), or using a mosquito net of some sort. It’s easier to just stay inside 🙂

      Have a great week!


  6. I had no idea chickens were so fragile, poor things.

    The gnats are bad here too, but nowhere near as what you have. I can’t believe your news affiliates are actually reporting on them (and that photo makes me shudder!).

    Glad you survived the hail and the storms. Stay safe, happy gardening and happy writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Zoe’s so snug and not bothered by gnats. Speaking of, they can kill chickens? Eep! The straw on the mounds–does that help keep out weeds, I’m guessing? Oh, Paul finally did what he’d been saying to do for a couple years–dug up our gardens and put metal netting down under the dirt. It has definitely worked keeping the gophers away. Excellent crop of lettuce this year. Last year a plant would disappear into a hole about every day. Happy gardening and writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Since we have soooo much grass (well, weeds: sawgrass, rye grass, etc) and mow it only when it gets intolerably tall (like, 8 inches–tractors are great for mowing that), I use the cut grass as mulch (which reminds me, the grass needs to be cut again, so more mulch!)

      Wow, that sounds like a ton of work, but goo to keep the gophers at bay. We don’t have problems with gophers, but I have heard other people talk about them. The chicken wire around the garden is doing its job so far, haven’t even noticed any chipmunks trespasssing.

      Have a wonderful week, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your garden is coming along nicely. Mine survived the hail and storms last week. Nothing seems to bother the kale or strawberries. Those knats look horrible to deal with. I had no idea about the chickens being scaried to death. I would love to have them again if every preditor in the forest didn’t find ways to get them. Have a great weekend Julie:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh man. We had three chickens until about two months ago, when we caught one of the dogs with a feathered chew toy, and a hole dug under the fence around the pen (we don’t think the dog bothered to dig under the fence; we suspect coyotes, and the dog just found a body). We blocked the hole, then the next day the last chicken vanished. That one we think might have been taken by the bald eagle that’s been hanging around our place. Sigh. I’m beginning to think maybe the universe is telling us we should forget about chickens for a while …

      Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We call them black flies in Maine, Julie, but it’s the same idea as gnats. They are so annoying and make being outside difficult. I don’t garden but I did manage to spend the better part of yesterday outside drinking in the warmth and sunshine that has finally arrived here in Maine (along with the black flies, of course!) We have a string of nice days predicted so I suppose I’ll start hearing complaints about the heat. Not from me, though! I hope your potatoes are okay – fingers crossed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oops, sorry, I drifted when I read “drinking”, then I saw it was warmth and sunshine *puts beer back in fridge*. This week was nice–except for those damn gnats. I did manage some time in the garden last night (bug repellent and a head-net were the only reasons I was able to stay out for any length of time). Of all the potatoes, only two have surfaced. Now the question: replant the potatoes or call it a loss. Not sure yet. I’ll have to see if the local greenhouse still has seed potatoes.

      Enjoy your week, Molly!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I hate the way gnats gravitate toward the eyes and ears. I distinctly remember swallowing a few in Vermont. Ugh! I’m glad you’re almost done with gnat season, Julie. Your garden looks great. Have fun out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Diana! I do have a head-net, which keeps me from inhaling or swallowing them, but I replanted the potatoes today–most of them rotted from all the rain we got right after we planted, and boy, I didn’t think there could be any more gnats, but kneeling and digging holes is just where they want you. Ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Julie,

    Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I’ve never had a garden but I’ve attempted to grow tomatoes in pots on our porch but not very successful. My late in-laws had a big garden most of their lives and it was a privilege to each the fresh veggies from their harvest. Besides missing them, I miss their garden, too. Happy writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Cathy,

      I love the garden when I get to pick fresh veggies and bring them straight to the table. I hate the garden when I have to weed and the gnats are swarming. Or mosquitoes. I debated about not doing a garden this year, but the taste of fresh veggies won out. Tomatoes are the minimum, in my book 😀

      Have a great writing weekend!


  12. I miss gardening and hope to live through you as the plants sprout and thrive. There is something so healing about digging in the soil and helping things grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! There is a pride that goes with watching the plants grow and finally produce. And the tasty veggies are always a treat (until you’ve eaten them every day for, like, three weeks (hello, zucchini 🙂 )) Feel free to stop by any time! I try to post about the garden every few weeks, because a lot of people like to garden vicariously 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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