Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Vegetable Garden is off to a Good Start!

The hard work is done…and it was a particularly arduous spring in the garden. After producing several years of amazing harvests, the soil was worn out. Try as I did to amend it, my small compost heap could not keep up and the soil was basically sand. Last year our yields were down and I knew it was due to lack of organic material. It was time to bring in a pile of new garden soil. 

There were no pictures taken of the pile of soil, but it was a thing of beauty! Oh, the smell of that fresh, rich soil invigorated me. I needed any boost I could get because the job of removing 8 inches of soil from each bed was draining. Wheel barrel after wheel barrel of old soil was spread around the property, and then loads of the new soil filled the beds. 

The soil was amended and then the fun part could begin. I just love transplanting the seedling I've grown indoors. It's such a satisfying feeling. Last fall I sowed sweet peas seeds in various areas and they have been beautiful.
This view shows the four raised beds. The eggplants are in the bed to the right which is not raised.
Walking through this gate you enter the tomato arch. 
Nine tomato plants are planted in the two raised beds on the left side.

Hopefully this summer the tomatoes will cover the wire and wooden arches which extend 25 ft. The thought of that gives me a little thrill. This year's selection includes Black Krim, Aunt Ginny's Purple, Pineapple Hawaiian, San Marzano, Jaunne Flamme, Ponderosa Pink, Chocolate Stripes, Amana Orange, and Super Sioux.

This is the first bed on the left. It is our herb bed, and there are four tomatoes with some basil planted between.
The next bed on the left has five tomatoes, basil and a rainbow of bell peppers; purple, green, yellow, red, and orange. The peppers have struggled. I may have been a little early in transplanting them, they like warmer soil. This past week they have started to grow, so there is hope for the bell peppers. The hot peppers didn't make it. I'll start new seeds this weekend and I'll try to remember next year to hold off on putting them in the ground until it is warmer.
Opposite that is the bed with the cucumbers (Boothby's Blonde and Ashley), carrots (Little Finger, Kuroda, and St. Valery), bush beans mix and Scarlet Runner pole beans.
The last raised bed is the strawberry patch. I cleared some of the older plants to make room for Minnesota Midget melons which will grow vertically. They are just getting started but look good so far.
This is my first time growing these melons. They are supposedly very sweet and small, large enough for one serving.
The strawberries are going strong. We've been eating them for a few weeks, and they are delicious.
There are five little eggplants in this bed (Ponderosa, Casper, Round Mauve, Apple Green, and Pintung Long). The Ponderosa was my favorite last year but this year it doesn't look promising. The first attempt didn't germinate at all, and the second round germinated but has been sitting there for weeks without its first true leaves. The struggle is real for Ponderosa.
Volunteer flowers are always welcome in moderation.
Blueberries are bountiful this year! Mine grow in pots along the back fence. It is a daily pleasure to go out to the garden and pick a handful of blueberries, strawberries, and spinach leaves to make a quick smoothie with nut milk. YUM!
What a pretty time of year in my little garden. May the garden fairies be good to us all this year!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Garden Today

My garden today is a place of pretty spring blossoms and hopes for a bountiful summer harvest. The garden has been a busy place. Now that the summer garden has been planted, I am hoping to find the time to get back into blogging. To my friend Kitty, thank you for the email push I needed to write a post! It means the world to me to know you missed my little blog. For now, here is an update on the garden.
This is the view from our deck and our den. To the left is the vegetable garden and straight ahead through the black arbor is my new little resting garden. I call it a resting garden because my vision for it includes an overgrown tangle of plants creating a private sitting area where I can escape in the shade. 
The little garden is coming along nicely. This area was cleared, and I started planting in October 2015. 
Oct. 2015, when the fences were placed. Those potted papaya plants in the photo are where the bird bath currently sits.
It has been an ongoing project since that time.You can read about the process of rejuvenating the area here.
Stepping stones lead to an iron bench which is tucked under the duranta and pink rose.  Finally I have place to sit and rest in the shade while working in the garden! I just love the birdbath that my son gave to me. The birds love it too, and if I sit still they will bathe with me sitting a few feet away. 
The fragrance from this pink rose is divine; classic old rose at it's best. Unfortunately I don't know the name. The duranta has a rich chocolate aroma which I also love, so sitting there tucked under the two plants is delightful.

Choosing a rose for the black arbor was not easy but I finally chose this bright beauty called Joseph's Coat. As the name implies, this is a rose of many colors. Red buds open to bright orange roses with yellow centers. 
Did I say they were bright? Let me show you.
Here is a more yellow rose from the same plant. 
The Romanesco zucchini is planted in this part of the garden because it has room here to spread.
Our little guava tree is growing well. I noticed small blossoms starting to form on it. See it growing to the left of the arbor?
Along the front fence, the purple alstroemeria and pansies look so pretty with the yellow flowers.
Toward the back are the fruit trees. They were planted as bare root trees in Feb. 2015. The dwarf nectarine reminds me of Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. Under all those leaves are three nectarines. Woo Hoo! I will cherish those little guys and hope for more as the tree matures.
The semi-dwarf Santa Rosa plum put on lots of growth last summer and was loaded with fruit until a bad wind storm knocked them to the ground. It looks like we will still have a few. 
I spy Bessie May, my sidekick.
One exciting idea I have for the space will have to wait until I have some strong manpower around to help. We have a claw foot tub in storage that the previous owners painted pink. As crazy as that sounds, the color will be perfect! It has a special place waiting for it in the garden where it will be a fountain and soaking tub.
Disgusting picture, I realize....but it will clean up nicely.
This post is getting long, so an update of the vegetable garden will have to wait. I can't leave you with that ugly picture in your head, so here are some pretty photos I took of the resting garden.
The view from my bench. Breathe in....breathe out....repeat.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dewdrops on Pansies

There is something fascinating to me about dewdrops. They magically appear overnight like little acrobats, clinging in gravity-defying poses.
 Some are perfect orbs.
 Others are twinkling cabochon jewels.
I encourage you to click on the photos to view them full-screen for a closer look at nature's beauty. 

For those of you who noticed, I took a break from my blog over the winter. I decided not to put in a winter garden this year, so I turned my attention to other things. Now that spring has sprung, I have been working in the garden preparing the vegetable beds for planting. The bulbs and spring flowers are in bloom and these dewdrops beckoned me today. They inspired me to get out my camera and post some pictures on the blog. I've missed the garden, my camera and the blogging. Yay for spring!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bright and Cheerful Winter Window Boxes

This is not a subtle color palate, that's for sure. Bright and cheerful was the plan, and if this isn't cheerful, I don't know what is. Cyclamen are always the star of my winter window boxes, and everything else is planned around them. They bloom with a solid display of color until March when I redo the boxes. Some years I have done a red and white color theme for Christmas window boxes. This year I chose bright pink and deep magenta cyclamen. 
I just love how window boxes bring the garden into the house. Sitting at our little telephone desk, the flowers are so close you can really appreciate all of the details. Right outside our kitchen window, the flowers make doing dishes much more enjoyable!

When planting the window boxes, I follow the "Thriller, Filler, Spiller" idea. Choose something with some height and impact as the triller. Shorter plants are the filler, and the trailing plants are the spiller. The cyclamen are the "thriller" in the box, along with the dark pink stock which will grow taller. Yellow pansies and mixed linaria are fillers. 
Stock and pansy
Snapdragons in shades of yellow and magenta are also fillers.

The spillers are white sweet alyssum for the scent, and lobelia. 
 Cheerful, they are!