Monday, May 29

29 May - Memorial Day weekend

Onions (left) and root crops (right) are growing very well with all the rain we've had. The radishes are closest to the grassy path, should be ready to pick in another week or two. The turnips will be picked twice, a small crop at golfball size to give room for the rest, then the remainder of full-sized roots. The last couple days have been 90-degrees plus, so the sprinkler saved these guys from some wilt. Thankfully, the next week should stay below 80.

Beans have sprouted!
And Tomatoes have been planted (this is one of 18 plants!). If all goes well, a friend and I will attempt to can tomatoes this year. The home-made tomato sauce is well worth the trouble of making it, and doesn't taste anything close to that coming from a grocery store can.

The pole bean teepee. This is for short beans, 4 ft tall only, and is very simple to make.
Materials - misc. end of 2" x 4" or other board (I used a 2x6), and four 1"x2"x8'.
Cut the 1x2's in half, and drill a hole in the end of each, about 1" from the edge. Use nails to attach the 1x2's to the scrap of board, leaving enough room for them to rotate. The poles can pivot and collapse for storage. I sunk the teepee about 2" into the ground to help support it in the heavy winds we have here.

A close-up of the top of the teepee, showing how the posts are staggered around the board .

Here is the start of the new front bed, you can see the various grasses as well as daisies, coneflower, and black-eyed susan. Not much to look at now, but eventually the plants will grow into their bed and have a little more to show off. The hydrangea is front and center, and the peach tree is just out of the photo to the right.

Here's the electrical box bed that I've nearly completed planting. The daylilies are along the outer edge of the bed, as well as a pompom daisy (a gift), and some rock cress. Along the inner (left) edge are columbine of several varieties. I expect this bed to take a few years to have a real show. Now, if I can just kill off the rest of the weeds...

The eyesore - some thistles that have survived the first roundup treatment.

The herb garden in the rock wall is doing very well. Clockwise, from the top, center are Chives, Mint (in a pot set into the ground), creeping Thyme, Oregano, Horehound, and Sage. The Basil and misc. varieties of mints are still too small to be transplanted.

The whole wall is doing well, and I expect to put some of the creeping thyme in other spots, such as the weed patch above!

So these are the little twerps waking me up with the sunrise! A nest of robins just below my bedroom window.

Sunday, May 21

21 May - what a month it's been!

Two weeks of rain, followed by three gorgeous sunny days (Friday, Saturday, Today). Now that it's dried up a bit, I can resume prepping the garden beds. My garden is divided into halves with a strip of grass between the two for the garden tractor to drive upon. Each half is then divided into about 6 beds, each 4' wide, with a 1' walkway between. This arrangement seems to work well, with enough space for plants, but not so much that I cannot reach across for weeding or harvesting. When I plant corn, I tend to do a double-wide bed, or just plant two next to each other, to get the blocking effect.

The entire East half of the garden has been prepped (tilled, double-dug, beds & paths formed, and paths covered in grass clippings) The onions, roots, spinach and beans are planted. As is one section of peas (Oregon Sugar pod, they grow well, and I end up with peas all summer). The West half of the garden has been tilled and sprayed with a herbicide, to reduce the weeds before I dig. This week I'll be starting on the bed for the corn.

The potato bin (I'll post a photo if it sometime soon) is a box with one removable side, similar to a compost bin. I added 4 inches of soil, and planted the potato runts I've saved from the grocery store bag 'o taters, they're Yukon Gold variety. One of the books I read suggested adding more soil to the potatoes so they grow 'up' instead of down, making it easier to harvest. That, and the removable side to the potato bin, should help - I hope to not have to dig potatoes out of the hard clay!

The front area by the electrical box has been partially planted. Besides the lilies, I've added Columbine, Blazing Star, Soapwort, Rock Cress, and Carnations. My Coleus all perished in a cold snap when I left them out while I went away for the weekend. (bad gardener!)

The other front area, with the peach tree, has been started. I have three big rocks, a hydrangea, a couple hostas, and a flagpole. I recently planted daises, Black-eyed Susans, Echinacea, Maltese Cross, Pampas grass, Blue Fescue, and Woodrush. It's going to be a bit busy, but the idea was an unstructured garden with multi-season attraction.

The rock garden is recovering nicely, with several herbs well established. The strawberries are looking prolific, and I might have to add netting to keep the ground squirrels from them. We'll see what I can get. Amazingly, most of the plants are adapting well to the morning/evening sun, with deep shade during the heat of the day. I hadn't expected everything to be so hardy.