Thursday, May 29, 2014

End of May 2014

Out and about this morning perusing the garden to see what has popped up so far.

Karl has found a spot of shade by the lettuce planters.  (I sure hope the neighbour fixes that fence this summer.)

The south garden, if all goes well  -  dry & snap beans, broccoli, cauliflower, a few peas, dwarf sunflowers, Peppermint Stick zinnias, kale, chard, and a few green onions that survived the winter.  The square planters lining one side all contain dahlia tubers.

Our apple tree's second or third year.  I love apple blossoms!

Karl follows me around the yard, finding shady places to rest before I move on to the next thing.  These rather, uhm, rustic planters will have Sweet Meat winter squash (fingers are crossed for an extra long growing season...), Snowcap pole beans, and a Russian Giant sunflower.

A planter at the back of the house (where the compost bins were last year).  On the left side, I have planted snap bush beans.  On the right, what we initially thought was a rogue potato plant we are now almost certain is a dahlia!

The thinned-out and cleaned-up flower bed.  Creeping Thyme, Wooley Thyme, and Silver Mound (perennials) are visible.  I have planted Scarlet Flax, pink and white gomphrena, Swiss Giant pansies, and calendula.

My first year growing turnips.

Molasses Face dry bush beans emerging beside the turnips.  I think I planted the beans too close together by mistake. :(   We'll see what happens.

Raised bed containing red and white onions.

Detroit Red Beets (and lots of annoying little weeds).

A few onions, a row of Bloomsdale spinach, and (eventually) some Fordhook Swiss Chard.

Karl and Butters (neighbours' kitties) in a rare display of outdoor mutual tolerance.

The strawberry plants have flowered.

We need some rain.  All the rain barrels are empty.  While out Tuesday watering some of the garden I began to wonder what the heck I was thinking, having a garden this size.  Lugging the watering cans around is good exercise, that's for sure!

About a week and a half ago, R bought a package of hybrid short-season cucumber seeds and planted THE WHOLE PACKAGE in one of the round raised beds behind the house.  I'm not sure why the whole package, but he seemed eager and happy to be planting, so what the heck.  When we went to the nursery this past weekend to buy transplants, he thought we should get some cucumber transplants because the seeds he planted were "probably not going to come up".   He bought 4 cuke transplants and put them in the same bed he'd planted the seeds in.   

He left for Vancouver on Monday and sure enough, I discovered the next day that the cucumber seeds are germinating and at least 10 have popped up... around the transplants. Ha ha!  I hope we can find people to give the little seedlings to, though I am not holding my breath.  It seems a shame to have to pull them out and compost them.   

Can't wait for Mom to read about this.  And she thinks I am impatient...!

(Okay, I am impatient.  I have done the same thing with squash and pumpkin seeds.)

The peas are coming up nicely.  Two of the three zucchini have sprouted as well as both of the Russian Giant sunflowers.  The golden beets and Starlight Rose zinnias haven't shown their faces yet, though they were among the first things I planted.  It will be neat to see how things are doing a month from now.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cat Nap

I started hardening off the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers a few days ago.  When I popped my head out the door to check how they were doing in the morning sun today, I discovered Karl snoozing contentedly beside the "sun diffusers" (a.k.a. laundry baskets).

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Flower Bed Overhaul

A busy day today.  Mild and partly cloudy, threatening rain but never quite coming through. 

This morning, R. tackled the rock wall flower bed as it had been taken over by grass and weeds to the point where nothing new could be planted and the existing perennials (Creeping Thyme, Silver Mound, and Wooley Thyme) were being choked out.  He dug out the perennials and I removed weeds and grass that were growing through them.  Then he deconstructed the flower bed, sifted out the weeds, grass, and the poplar tree seedlings (arhg!) from the soil, and finally put everything back together.  A big job, most of it done while I was at a client's home doing a house call!  

When I arrived home, we hopped in the car and went to the Hillside nursery 5 minutes away to buy green cabbage (6), cauliflower (12), broccoli (22), catnip, chocolate mint, marigolds (12), corn (20), cucumber (4), and parsley.  Once home, we replanted a few of the perennials in the flower bed and R. left to run an errand while I started planting the things we picked up at the nursery.  The extra flower bed clippings (mostly Creeping Thyme) will be given to whoever wants them.

Earlier this week, I found a tiny, speckled sparrow's egg in one of the large planters on the south side of the house - beneath the eaves, where the sparrows have their condos established. 


Saturday, May 17, 2014

All About The Beans

It was a day spent in the garden.  I planted several kinds of dry and snap beans today (Beka Brown, Royal Burgundy, Vermont Cranberry, and Beurre de Rocquencourt), bringing the total up to 10 varieties.  Hee hee!  One more variety - Snowcap, a dry pole bean - is planned.  I want to experiment with growing Snowcap beans up large sunflowers.  I have never grown pole beans before.

I also planted my leeks and Swiss Giant pansies outdoors, as well as some Early Russian sunflower seeds.  Next weekend, we'll head to the nursery to pick up some transplants - cabbage (my seedlings didn't amount to much), cauliflower, broccoli, and likely some mint and parsley as well.

A few of our solar garden lights bit the dust, so yesterday R. bought a set of sturdier, fancier lights for the garden.

North/pea garden Sage and Rosemary in the terracotta pots.

South/mostly beans-and-greens gardenKarl lounging.

Eggplants and some of my tomatoes.  All nightshades are still luxuriating in the plant room, away from the elements!

Along with growing pole beans up sunflowers, my experiments/new crops this summer are borage and turnips.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tempting Fate

Yesterday, R planted potatoes and I raked out the other two garden plots.  Today, we planted peas.  Saj and Karl assisted.

The weather has been beautiful and warm for the last while, and the forecast for the next two weeks looks good.  We have gone ahead and have tempted fate by also planting Earliest Mincu cucumber (hybrid), golden beets, lemon balm, opal basil, Tay Belle acorn squash (hybrid), zucchini (unknown variety obtained in a seed trade), Peppermint Stick zinnias, Red Swiss Chard, "Bob Marley" kale, Red Russian kale, and Lacinato Kale.  Fingers crossed that temperatures remain above zero from here on out. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Good Mail Day

I love a "good mail" day!  

When I checked our mailbox this afternoon, I was delighted and surprised to find a package from my internet friend, Mike.  Mike is an avid gardener from Arkansas and is the fellow who generously sent me the Anasazi beans I wrote about HERE.  He has also sent a variety of heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers over the last few years.  It is always fun to receive the seeds he sends, and he somehow never fails to include varieties I have never seen before.

Included in today's package was:

Passion Fruit seeds
Amish Country red popcorn
Passion fruit - I have never seen these seeds before!
Yarrow - a great addition to my herbal toolkit.
Black Cherry tomato - these were on my wish list for next summer!
Big Mama tomato
Helda Pole green bean
Suyo cucumber
Black Cumin
Cranberry dry bush bean - was on my wish list!
Red Swiss Chard
Bob Marley kale - the description he enclosed with these seeds says, "I call this Bob Marley - It is a kale that has been growing for me on its 3rd year now.  When it grows the leaves look like dread locks."  I am intrigued.  Can't wait to see this kale come up.

Off to write a thank-you card and look up some of these seeds!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Plant Room and Feline Helpers

I spent the morning potting some more pepper and tomato seedlings.  We are finally having sunny, mild weather again.  All the kitties are as relieved as we are by this and have been assisting in our garden projects in their own ways...

Saj, our senior supervisor (16 years old). She doesn't see much any more, but likes to follow us around while we work outside.   Her nose and ears still work quite well.

Karl snoozing in a dahlia pot.

Karl guardin' the garden.

Butters took a major detour on her way to check out the plant room.

Most of the seedlings in the plant room.  The cats don't get much use of their "tree" during the month of May!

Butters sniffing the herbs. Squished a few.

Heading for the corner, I think...

Spots a bird out the window...

The rest of my seedlings, including newly potted tomatoes on the floor. 

A tranquil Butters resting behind the French lavender.  I am tempted to email this picture to her owner.