Friday, April 24, 2015

The First Salad Thinnings of 2015

I think I didn't do many posts on the vegetable garden last year, and don't know how many I'll get done this year, but I need to at least post on my first salad from the garden!  (I did add some things from the store, though.) The garden is on the north side of our garage, so part of it gets shaded some of the day.

This is looking south from the driveway.

Looking west from the garden entrance, I didn't show the rabbit barricade I have to lift my legs over to get into the garden from.  We need to come up with a better way to keep them out, and get me in.  Plus, they have managed to squeeze in a few times when I didn't get the wire back up high enough.

The strawberries escaped from a tub, and I decided to let them stay.  Our neighbors have a locust tree on the north side of the garden, which sends up more and more little trees I need to cut back from all over the garden.  I suppose that means there are tree roots taking moisture and nutrients away from the garden, and if the strawberries do well, I'll let them roam around some more.

I have lots coming up!  I started planting in January, and can't remember when I planted these, but it was probably March.  There is some asparagus in here that came up from the plants across the garden.  I decided to keep them there and see how they do.  I have random flowers on the side of the garage, goldenrod, brown eyed susans, and sometimes the white blooming obedient plants escape my pulling.

I like to have an assortment of lettuces, spinach, kale, radishes, and such.  I am thinning out the volunteer dill plants that come up so thickly.

This is such a pretty sight to me!

I hope to get lots of soup made with the spinach, kale and carrots this year.

I've mentioned this is the hardneck garlic that my mother-in-law had growing here.  I didn't know how to take care of it, so it got quite thick before I learned that you harvest it when it dies back, and replant it in the fall.  I hope to get the rhubarb harvested this year and used for something.  It is always picking time when I have the most other gardening jobs to get done.

I hope the resident garter snakes are enjoying their digs.  Soon, I will be turning part of the compost over to get it cooking.

Looking back to the east:

I have been pulling hollyhocks out of the garden for a few years, but it looks like I may be letting a clump grow this year.  Peas are one of the favorites of rabbits.

I see they found this row.

 I just have a small patch of asparagus, and we end up buying a lot of it from the farmer's market, but still, I am hoping for each year to have more.  I didn't get it fertilized this year, other than putting compost on it in the fall, but did use something organic last year.  What organic fertilizers have you found to work well with asparagus?

Walking further east:

Are you tired of lettuce close ups?  ;-)

It doesn't look like the rabbits got to these peas.  I planted them so closely because the seeds were a few years old, but it looks like they all came up.  I thinned them once, and put the tops in with some mushrooms, asparagus, and violet leaves and blooms.  I should probably thin them a little more  One of the seed packages said to plant them pretty close together, though.

I may decide to take out this volunteer spiderwort.  I will also take out some of the smaller violet clumps that have popped up.  I'll keep these, though.

I am not sure what the shiny green plant is.  Do you know?  It must have come in one of my mixes.

The lacy plants are annual larkspurs, and the longer leaved ones are bachelor buttons.  They and verbena bonariensis come up in the veggie garden every year, and I need to thin them out.

Today was the first day I made it out to start the thinning.  It's one of my favorite things to do, and one only a gardener would have the patience for.  I pull out clumps or individual plants, pull off the roots, and place them in a bowl.  I was hoping this was going to be enough to share with the neighbor whose yard I am also gardening in, so I did not pick any violets until I went in, and kept them separate.  I wasn't sure if she'd like them. 

I took this photo after the thinning.  There is still plenty to grow and thin again in a couple days.

I ended up not gardening much today, because I made some whole wheat sour dough with 1/3 cup rice flour in each loaf.  I enjoyed my lunch, and only had a bit of the thinnings I didn't use.  I want to pick some from her yard tomorrow if it works out, and will get some to her then.

I have not gotten to those who have visited here for my last couple of posts.  I hope to get those visits returned soon.  Happy gardening, or looking forward to gardening!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday

I have had a busy day, but did remember to go out this morning to take some photos for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday.  I like the way she focuses on one or a few plants at a time and provides good information about them.  I tend to try to show what all native plants I have blooming on the day, but one of these times, I just may do it her way.  I did provide links for those who want to find more information on the plants, though. I am so happy that spring is here, and there are a number of plants blooming!

I think I've posted the lovely blooms of the ground plum milkvetch that I just planted last year.  There are 3 of them in the curb area, and each is a different size.  This is the largest one, and I am tickled at all of the blooms, and that they are lasting longer than many of the spring blooms.

I am posting the Fremont's clematis again, because it's, another of my favorites.  I am so happy that the mature clump I divided into 2 survived the move.

I just looked up merrybells and see they are not native here.  I just have a couple, and they are quite small, but are a welcome bit of color.

Someone in the Facebook group, Gardening with Nature in Mind recently identified this for me, and I think he said it was an anemone of some kind, but I am not remembering the common name he said.  There are a number of kinds, and the ones I found have similar blooms, but differently shaped leaves.

The pasque flowers are finishing up already, but the seedheads will look good for awhile.  (I have different kinds of these, and as it turns out, some are not the native ones.  I think these are, but I am not sure which are which for some of them.)

It is hard to photograph native coral bells, heuchera richardsonii.  I sure enjoy them, and the foliage looks good  even in the winter, turning a reddish, if I'm remembering correctly.

I am pretty sure this is purple prairie verbena.   It is a native that a friend of mine dug up at her acreage.  It is a good plant for the edges of a flower bed or if one would need a ground cover.

Woodland phlox is another of my favorites, and also one of the rabbits' to eat.  We seem to have a bumper crop of rabbits this year, so I am protecting this clump, and put a basket over another clump that had been eaten down, so hopefully, it will bloom still.

The clump of Virginia bluebells is getting a little larger each year.

Some of the native columbines mixed with non-natives that used to be in the area, and some of them have larger blooms.  I see more of them this year are back to having the smaller ones.

Amsonia hubrichtii is another of my favorites, with their many about half inch star shaped blooms, but by next month, they will probably be finished blooming, so I'll show them in bud.  The plants will grow more, too.  I am sad, because in finding the link to provide, I saw that these are not native here or to areas close by.  At least they are native somewhere, though, and do grow well here.

I took this photo of violets in the vegetable garden with my zoom, and the blurry images are a tomato cage.  We have eaten a few leaves and blooms.  I let Larry know that after we had them in some mushrooms with a bit of asparagus from our garden, and some spinach from the store.

Happy spring, garden blogging friends!  We got down to 26 this morning, but warmed back into the lower 60s.  I think we are expecting some cooler days, but nothing that should hurt the plants.  I know some of you still have snow on the ground, but soon you will be joining the rest of us.  Hang in there!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

East Curb Area

I am so tickled that spring is here!  I am having so much fun going out each day to see what is up, and what is growing.  It's time to start posting about what's going on in the different parts of the yard like I've done in the past.  I am going to start with the curb area by the fire hydrant.  The first three photos are from a few days ago, after one of the two city workers who were cleaning out the water area of the fire hydrant walked into the planting area, stepping on a couple plants.

When I went out to see what the guys were doing, only the one who was stepping on plants talked to me.  When I politely pointed to some plants I didn't want stepped on, the guy told me that it is the city's right of way, and if there is an emergency, people won't care what they step on.  I told him I realized that, then he also said that some people plant right around hydrants, and that is illegal.  I told him I realized that as well, and that I knew what I had planted was not illegal.  I told him the guy who inspected the paint on the hydrant had told me the plants were fine.  They were about done when I got out there, so left after we talked.  I think the quiet guy was not pleased with the other one, but I'm not sure.

The cover for the water is between the fire hydrant and the flower bed.  I decided to take out the irises and perennial geraniums to make a path for the workers.  There are a couple or three butterfly milkweed plants in the bare looking spots that have not come up yet.  Milkweeds are always one of the last plants to come up in the spring, but once up, grow pretty quickly.

Here is one of the two clumps of Fremont's clematis that I had divided from an old clump that had to be moved from the bed it was in at church I go to last summer.  I am thankful that he just broke part of it off, and the rest of the plant is OK.

After putting in the little path, taking the slabs from another flower bed, I decided to add some deterrents to walking on the plants in the form of little stakes and things.

I was thinking about removing the perennial geranium from the end, but haven't so far.  This area used to have day lilies and irises, but I wanted to put native plants in here.  I am glad I did, because they are doing quite well.

I like how early the sedges green up.  The 3 ground plum milkvetch plants I just planted last year are each a different size.  I am pleased to see them blooming. 

Moving to the west, I still have some of the irises.  Rabbits have been munching on some of the purple poppy mallows, but have not eaten them all down so far.  I should probably get more cages made.

The liatrises are coming up.  This may be aspera.

It seems like most of the spring blooms in the yard are not native.  I don't remember what these are.  The other Fremont's clematis clump is in the upper left in the photo.

I may change some of the "decorations" if I find some things I like better.

I hope this works to keep any future workers off of the flowers.  Really, we have not had problems in the past, so hopefully we won't in the future.  The clump on the left is catmint.  The small clump near the flower stake is heuchera richardsonii, native coral bells.  I am pleased to see the several small plants I added last year have grown some.  I have larger clumps in other parts of the yard getting ready to bloom. 

Looking back toward the east, there is a clump of a native coneflower of some kind growing right next to one of the clumps of daffodils.  I may remove that clump after they bloom.  It takes so long for the foliage to die back, and I think I have too many daffodils.

I am thinking this is the verbena stricta plant a local friend gave me last year, coming up in the bare looking area in the previous photo.

I wonder if I should put more stakes and things in this part of the bed for consistency.  LOL

I think I'll risk being a bit tacky in order to hopefully keep the plants from being stepped on, and I do realize this all will be stepped on if there is a fire emergency.

I thought it fitting to bring this over from another bed, hoping anyone wanting to work on the fire hydrant would use the path.  :-)

I hope all is well with you, wherever you garden.  I know some of you are in full garden mode, and others are still waiting for spring to arrive.  Take heart, it is on the way!  (I've said this before, but I hope to start spending a bit less time on FaceBook, so I can get back to more blog reading.)