Monday, May 25, 2015

Garden Journal: Now we’re growing!

Through late April and most of May, I was disappointed in how my garden looked.

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Oh, it was growing, and mostly weedless, but it sure didn’t look lush. My peas in particular weren’t making the progress I wished for.

Well, maybe it’s time, or that great downpour we had last week, but finally things are starting to pop out there.

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Three weeks’ difference has made me happy. I had one rogue radish pop up, and let it bloom there in the front. I was happy to see tiny little native bees on it last week. I recently read that those overlooked species do more pollinating that all the honeybees who get all the press. So I’ve been looking with pride at the clover in my unmowed lawn and thrilling at the constant swarm of miniature visitors to the parsley flowers growing wildly between our patio pavers.

And I doubt that’s the only reason, but surely it helps explain the great luck I’ve had with pollination this year?

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Last year at this time, only one tomato plant had put on two tiny green fruits, but this year all 3 of my plants have bunches of fast-plumping tomatoes hanging on them. I’m only hoping they don’t all come ripe when we’re in San Francisco!

The peas, while behind last year’s schedule by about a week, are finally looking plentiful.

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And while last year’s beans were already flowering by this point, these guys look pretty happy…besides, they’re a different variety.

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Usually I grow bush beans because I don’t want to be bothered with poles. This year I wanted to try a pseudo-three sisters approach, with poles instead of corn (modern varieties take lots of space & water). Sadly, my squash plant didn’t germinate here, so it’s just beans and poles.  Oh well.

Luckily, my other two squash plants did germinate, finally.

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They are in our fabulous raised bed built last year—the hoops and covering were supposed to help me get a jump-start on spring gardening this year, but I dithered so much about what I wanted to put in here that it’s now a total summer bed. There’s a lonely onion and a cilantro plant in the back. I took this photo right after Miss Chef harvested about 1/3 of the cilantro, so it’s doing better than it looks from here. In fact, I think it’s planning on bolting (flowering) soon. Fortunately, I’ve got a few other cilantro seedlings scattered around other beds, so we’ll be able to enjoy it a bit longer. The seeds are coriander, which is an easy spice to harvest, and fun to use. I should plant cilantro more often.

Part of the reason my garden doesn’t look quite so jungly as last year was my surrender on the broccoli front. I had about seven plants come up from seeds, half a dozen that survived transplanting into the bed, but only 3 that made it through a last, brutal freeze in March (or was it April?) I could have bought plants, but they take up a lot of space, so I thought I’d be reasonable and just grow what I have.

And now it’s time for examples of “right plant, right place”…and its opposite.

This is my biggest one.

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Handsome fella, isn’t he? Now here’s the one on the opposite corner:

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I’m not sure what the difference is here, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the garlic, either the shading or anti-companion status. Lots of things don’t like to grow near garlic. Also notice it’s more bug-eaten than the other, which I think is more effect than cause here. Healthy plants can resist pests and disease better, which is one of the benefits of using natural methods like companion planting, feeding the soil through compost, and mulching for water retention. Part of the end result is less need for pesticides.

That’s enough Gardening 101. There are more interesting things to look at. Like flowers!

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Well, this looked more impressive a few days ago, when there were fewer dead ones and more new ones. But I’ve got a nice self-propogating mix of galliardia, coreopsis and brown-eyed susans established in my front bed now. I should dead-head the spent blooms to encourage more flowering, but it’s hot out here in the afternoons!

At the bottom of the driveway, Miss Chef’s asiatic lilies are giving their annual show right now, too.

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And walking back to the house, I noticed one of our Mystery Trees has started bearing fruit. Wish I knew what it was!

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Also, this oddball popped up next to our neglected herb bed.

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I think I’ll keep this one.

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1 comment:

  1. Hah! I love the pictures of McKenna, especially the one where you can just see her eyes :)


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