Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is It Evolution?

While you were distracted watching cats tackle babies on YouTube, Jer's GardenBlog wrapped itself up in a cocoon. The minutes flew by and a stirring began within the imaginary white shroud. Now, though Jer's Gardenblog is no more, if you like butterflies, you're certain to like Garden Nirvana.

What I mean to say by all this is, update your links.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Some Food

As I'm on my way out the door, here are a few extra pictures I thought I would post today. This salad was almost entirely home grown, including lettuce, green onions, carrots, cucumbers, and nasturtium flowers.

I found one tiny beet that I had missed in my previous beet harvest. Dwight was probably distracting me. I found the little chopped up beet bits pleasing.

And I'm off!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Edibles: Nasturtium (with Guest)

The Nasturtium's leaves and flowers are both edible, imparting a peppery taste to salads or other dishes. Recently, Lindsay and I decorated some burritos with flowers from these plants. We didn't eat the Japanese Beetle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Garden Log - Fruiting Vegetables

We've had a lot of sun and rain over the past few weeks, which has been great for the garden. It's been exciting seeing everything grow for the first time, and I'm particularly enjoying watching the fruit form on some of the plants.

Shortly before this picture was taken, I purged my beds of most of my brassicas. Cabbage moths were just eating them up. The mostly empty area seen in Raised Bed #1, here, formerly contained broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi. Of all my brassicas, the only kind I left was red cabbage. I haven't seen any caterpillars on these cabbages, probably because the more regular, green brassicas provide camouflage for the caterpillars, while the red cabbage does not. In the future, I intent to plant my brassicas together under netting to prevent the moths from getting to them.

This tiny King of the North pepper plant was the first to start producing peppers. A larger plant I have of the same variety has now surpassed this little guy in production.

Have I mentioned yet that I really like these Peruvian Purple Chile plants from Seeds of Change? They have purplish leaves to go with their purple flowers and the deep purple fruits. The peppers supposedly turn red when ripe. I'll be saving at least one of these plants as a houseplant for the winter.

Near the peppers in Raised Bed #2 is my lone Purple Tomatillo plant. It's huge and has been flowering for awhile, and is now producing some very cool fruit that look like little lanterns.

Of the three varieties of cucumber that I planted, these pickling cukes are the farthest along. The many yellow flowers growing on them hold the future promise of many delicious, homemade pickles.

My tomato plants in this bed are just starting to fruit, and the corn is beginning to form as well. Much of this bed, however, belongs to the zucchini plants.

I was shocked when I saw the zucchini in the second of these pictures. How did it get so big without my seeing it? Then I looked at some of the younger ones. It's really interesting how these form right out of the stalk at the base of the flower. I should plant more squash. Here's a full shot of the plant, crowding out my poor corn.

I have one more picture to share. This one shows one of the three mini red bell pepper plants that I have in pots. I'm a huge pepper fan, so I'm looking forward to these.

There has been a lot of growth so far during the summer months. I've been harvesting lettuce for some time now. I've had an abundance, and have therefor been able to share with friends and family, and also to bring some to Food Gatherers. I've been harvesting bunching onions, snap beans, and nasturtium flowers and leaves as well. Now I'm really looking forward to the maturation of all these fruit-vegetables that I've shown in this post, and also to this same time next year, when I expect to be noticably farther along.

This past week, I've planted some of the root crops that I've been a bit remiss with. Carrots, radishes, and bunching onions went into the spaces vacated by brassicas and lettuce, and I put in some garden cress and corn salad as well.

That's it for today. I've got a back-log of pretty pictures, which I'd like to post a steady stream of, one per day. I've also installed a new, small garden where some dieing bushes had been. The rain garden is still almost-but-not-quite complete, and I hope to put a post up about that in the near future as well.

Edibles: NuMex Twilight

This plant is a trooper. It lived inside this past winter and was beset by mealybugs. They were there for quite awhile before I finally managed to get rid of them. Then the poor plant was infested with aphids. They had eaten most of the leaves before it warmed up enough to bring the plant outside. Now it's my leading chile producer. This picture was taken a couple weeks back and some of the peppers are beginning to turn to their next shade, which appears to be white.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Edibles: My First Tomato

This little tomato did most of its growing while the tiny plant was still inside of a pop-bottle container. It's beating out all my other tomato plants. The fruit of the Furry Yellow Hog Tomato is supposed to be striped with white and yellow or green (as well as ping-pong ball sized and covered in peach fuzz), so I don't know where these reddish hues are coming from. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pollen and Petals: Lemon Tree Buds

I don't know what this guy is doing. This dwarf meyer lemon tree was a birthday gift to me last January. It was shipped to me, and I was told it may lose many of its leaves due to shipment/transport shock. It did. It hasn't gotten them back. When the Spring began, it grew flower buds all over the branches that dropped their leaves. The flowers came but the leaves didn't follow. It's been outside since late May, and now it's flowering again. Leaves? Who needs'em.

(Well, technically this plant ought to need'em. We'll see where this goes.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Little of What's New

I was glancing back over some of my old posts and, seeing some pictures from my last garden log update, it hit me how much has changed. Of course, I already knew that from the feeling of hauling all those compost bags around, but it was nice to actually see in the pictures.

I really enjoy going out every day and watching my garden, seeing how things have changed from one day to the next. I expect a lot from it, always looking for consistent new growth. Sometimes it feels like things are going too slowly. That's why it's nice to have this garden log. So that I can look back and see just how much has happened in a short time, at what hasn't happened since I last stopped to watch.

The last garden log update had a photo with one completed but empty raised bed. There are now three such beds built and planted. In Raised Bed #2, I have some greens I bought as starts, as well as a number of seed-grown plants. There are two kinds of hot peppers, two kinds of sweet peppers, basil, sunflowers, cucumbers, and beans. There is also a purple tomatillo plant. It's the only tomatillo seedling I had that made it, but it's also my largest plant right now. Here's a shot of the half of that bed without the mature greens, followed by a close-up of the greens.

In the other new bed, Raised Bed #3 (I'm kind of looking forward to naming the gardens), There are two kinds of tomatoes, basil, peas, beans, sweet peppers, nasturtiums, two kinds of corn, and zucchini plants growing. Here's a nice, if relatively unrevealing shot of that bed. The many tiny seedlings are courtesy of my cottonwood trees that were kind enough to seed my entire back yard.

Another big change can be seen in the herb garden. In my last post with pictures, it was just starting to come back in. Now it is overgrown and in need of serious harvesting. I want to tackle the winter savory, bottom middle, first. I would like to put cuttings in the food processor with water, and then freeze the solution into mini ice cube trays. I could then pop them into a plastic bag and have frozen herb nuggets ready whenever I need them.

I've also been working on a container garden. I like the flexibility of such a garden, and the possibility of splitting it up and putting certain plants where they are needed. This may be to act as a companion plant, as my carefully potted mint is now supposedly discouraging cabbage moths from some of my cabbage. Pots from the container garden can also just fill an empty space, as they do here...

The pot by itself on the left has some transplanted bronze fennel seedlings from last year's fennel that re-seeded. Of the three on the right, the green one has two bush beans and two cowpeas, the white one has a mini red bell pepper plant, and the large one has two different cherry tomatoes, some lemon basil, and one more bush bean plant. Here's another shot of them, cause I wanna...

And that's it for now!

Pollen and Petals (Back!)

Due to an unfortunate hard drive failure, I don't have any trip pictures to share. Nevertheless, a lot has happened in the last month and a half. To kick things off, here's a shot of the rose bush I inherited when I moved in here, freshly weeded and trellised.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

See You Soon

Once again, I've been working so much that there hasn't been time to update. A lot has gotten done (thanks so much to Andrew, Kristy, and Lindsay for their help today), but I'll have to wait to talk about that. After a brief night's rest I'm heading to Chiapas, Mexico, for a little over two weeks. I'm sure I'll have lots to write about when I get back. Until then...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pollen and Petals

These rapini flowers are relentless. You cut them off (and eat them) and the next day they've got a bunch more. I haven't had time to keep up with them lately, so I've just been enjoying their little yellow blooms.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Raise It Up

Here's my first raised bed. It's not perfect, but it's the first thing I've ever built and I'm pretty happy with how it came out. The side boards are cedar and the posts and supports are treated pine (once again courtesy of my friend, Dan.) Hopefully I'll have three more of these 4'x8' beds built and planted in by the time I leave for Mexico.

I'm going to run fencing, the same kind I used for the trellis, from the high posts down to somewhere around the mid-point of the beds. I'll grow cucumbers and the like up the fencing, and plant lettuce and other shade-lovers in the space beneath.

The hose is pointing to one of my Little Giant blueberries, planted in front of the bed. It's much more towards the 'little' than it is the 'giant' side at the moment, but I'm looking forward to the 15 pounds of berries it's supposed to ultimately produce each season!

Pollen and Petals

These are some of the first flower buds of the season from a geranium that's one of my favorite houseplants. I rescued it from rather unfavorable circumstances last year and it still gave me loads of beautiful pink flowers. It's done very well over the winter and I'm expecting it to really produce this spring and summer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Garden Log - April 20, 2008

I feel lucky for my relative lack of soreness, because I've been putting in some heavy hours (and heavy compost, and heavy mulch) these past few days. It's just been so nice out. The buds on just about everything have swelled up and opened. In fact, this little lemon tree that Lindsay got me for my birthday has begun to flower. Shortly after the shipping and transplant it dropped 80% of its leaves. Just recently it grew buds all over and now it's flowering. I'm glad to see it's not doing as badly as its looked like these past few months.

Here's another plant in a pot. I've been thinking about getting a bay tree for awhile, so I nabbed this guy when I saw him at the farmer's market. Thanks Renaissance Acres!

Now I've been all over the yard, but let's kick it off with that south wall garden. Today, with help from Kristy, I got my trellis set up and planted some White Niagra Grapes from Downtown. Grapes, trellis and all cost me about $20-25, with the posts courtesy of my friend Dan. Kristy also planted some of my rapini in this bed for me.

And here's a close-up of the grapes and their trellis. This shot was taken in the evening, so the lighting isn't ideal.

Switching poles, here is a shot of an impromptu garden I put in on the north side of my house. This was grass and dirt and debris up until yesterday. Now it's home to some woodland strawberries, a wintergreen plant, and one red, one purple, and one white trillium. I got the trillium from another vendor at the farmer's market who cultivates it. I'm hoping it will spread heartily and I can transplant some into the woods behind my house. I'm also expecting the wintergreen and strawberries to fill out. Again, I managed this garden pretty cheaply with $24 of edging and quite a bit of mulch.

Here are my new fruit trees. I planted three Gumi trees (more on these in a future post) on the west side of the house, and two Ussuri plums on the north side, near the road.

Moving back to gardens, I've saved the best for last. This is my new deck garden, also a bit impromptu. I rescued the logs that I edged it with from across the street after a tree service came to tidy things up over there. Here's an early shot of it, after installing the edging.

And here it is today. I've moved some of its original contents around and added some new things as well. For reference, here are some photos from last year.

The rocks wedged beneath the log are mostly from my lawn, under the sod. The yarrow was moved over from the side and the rapini went in today. In the middle of the rapini is an American Black currant. The frame has a little clematis I put in last year. Also, you can't quite see it in this photo, but I got the log to kind of ride out of the soil. I'm really happy with how this edging turned out.

And on this side I've put in a cup plant and a "rattlesnake master." I plan to fill in the empty space soon.

So that's it for now. I plan to build my raised beds early this week.