Friday, June 29, 2012

Easy Onions

Space is at a premium around here, so I don't grow onions for drying, but scallions are indispensable. They require little more than ample moisture, and they are happy to be crowded. I just pull a few when I need them, whether skinny or fat.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sick of Sharing

It looks like a crazy person lives here. Not too far from the truth, but this is what happens when the birds refuse to leave any blackberries un-pecked. I'm not sure this contraption--bird netting in back, row cover in front, clothespins, and reflective tape--will work, but I had to try something.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Trials and Tribulations

Pests and pestilence, that's a big part of gardening. But heartbreaking nonetheless, or should I say heart-busting, as the first victim I spotted yesterday was my Euonymus americanus (hearts-a-bustin').
I did not think much of the two broken branches as the squirrels often run around like they are insane. Then I came to the scene of a much worse crime--wholesale plant murder!
The sweet shrub that I had tended for a year, chopped off just as it began to thrive. And the culprit did not even eat anything! Though both stems lack the angles cut I see on other rabbit favorites, I am guessing this is the work of rabbits. I am hoping it is not the mice that I have always ignored. I see no bark gnawing or other tell-tale mouse signs. Disgust is the only appropriate feeling, and then I feel stupid. It's not like my livelihood or life depends on this, but I still lay awake fuming this morning.

Plus, in addition to all of other things I usually need to worry about tomatoes, the heat is causing my tomato blosoms to drop:

The cucumber beetles have arrived. (This guy was smooshed right after this photo was taken.)
And worst of all, my service berry has cedar-hawthorne rust, so neither bird nor human is enjoying the fruit this year.
I think I saw a squash bug the other day (it got away), but for now at least the delicata squash is doing great!
As gratifying as gardening is, it is not without its challenges, and it never ends. Even a gardenranter is sharing her troubles today--after 20 years of gardening!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bloom Day

This is only a snippet of what's blooming...but the cone flowers are obviously the stars of the show!
 coconut lime
 white swan


Last but not least, good ol' purple cone flower, fronted by Agastache (I think raspberry summer).
Okay, I obviously like bright pink--there is even more in the form of Monarda, Achillea, and Veronica. I had more orange Agastache (Apache Sunset), but those did not survive the a late winter freeze in my poorly drained soil. Butterfly weed is providing the pops of orange for now, but some whites, purples, and blues round out the pink.
Head over to May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month to see what's in bloom.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

State of the Garden

The state of the garden is ... relatively static. I finally pulled the peas, fava beans, and various spring things, leaving some to set seed. I've filled in gaps where things did not germinate or were eaten. Now I just wait.

The lemon and bush buttercup squash and okra (first bed at left) and cucumbers (first bed at right) are off to a slow start. I was having so much success with the spring garden (finally, kale!), I let things linger longer than I should have, and it probably had a detrimental effect on my summer seedlings. I'm sure they will bounce back the rest of the long hot summer.
The cages keep marauding bunnies away from my okra seedlings. The strange stool is to block the large holes in the bike baskets, as a robin ventured inside and freaked out the other day. The rabbits have plenty of clover and plantain to eat, plus I let them have my asters.

Next, we have black eyed peas and a string trellis ready for their vines. (In the center are flowering cilantro and parsley plus spinach setting seed).
The two-tiered square bed has tomatoes surrounded by out-of-control herbs. I really should have cut them back, but the thyme flowers attract so many beneficial insects, and I'd like to see the oregano flower before I cut them all back and probably transplant them to various spots throughout the garden. This space is just too valuable, and two people only use so much herb.
In the top tier are basil and borage.
I let my tat soi flower, and the insects attracted seemed to help guard the delicata squash from squash vine borers (fingers crossed). I'm hoping it will start climbing the trellis I made soon.
More okra (more cages) fills out this bed to the left.
The rear bed is a pain--being the only 4 foot wide one, it is difficult to reach the middle even with my long monkey arms. I put drying beans in the center since I'll be leaving them alone until it's time to yank them and harvest the small red beans. In the front (left side) are eggplants, and hot and sweet peppers fill out the sides and back. Like everywhere else, there is a smattering of flowers from parsley, spinach, and radish.
I had never heard of pinching flowers off pepper plants before, but I'm trying it with my small sweet pepper plants, since I've never had success with those. The idea is to make the plant grow large and strong before it begins setting fruit.
The two newest beds are full of lettuce, beets, leeks, and scallions. The one that gets full sun (at right) contains three tomatillo plants. There are a couple of mammoth dill plants also. In the rear of the photo at left you can see my mega-parsley and cilantro patch. I've been using the cilantro (coriander) seeds green, and they have a really unique flavor.
There's a nice little chive and sorrel patch back there, too.

That's the state of things as summer gets into swing. Before I know it, I'll be knee deep in tomatoes, squash, and okra, so I'll try to enjoy the lull. It will be time to sow fall seeds before I know it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Raspberry Bouquet

When my lax trellising and hungry birds resulted in broken raspberry branches, I placed them in a vase. I figured they would be pretty even if they did not ripen, but it worked! The bonus is these won't be devoured by the birds. The variety, "royalty," is delicious. It is spreading rapidly this year, so I should get many more berries next summer, but I'll have to figure out a support system that keeps out the birds.


Friday, June 1, 2012