Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Sun's Evil Grin

The Sun's smile has turned into an evil grin.  Yesterday the temp's climbed into the high 90's and decided to stay.  Add to that blazing sun, with no clouds and you get a mix that is NOT fun.  Despite the extreme heat, the PSP actually looks good!
Above, 'Blizzard' snow peas are almost ready to be picked.
Above, the first tomatoes of the season are forming, the variety is 'Victor'.
Above, 'Gonzales' cabbages are starting to head.
Above, 'Samantha' Cabbages are starting to form heads.  This was advertised as a compact variety, but the plants are double the size of 'Gonzales',
Above, the first bloom on a 'Snow Queen' petunia.

On Sunday I began planting the driveway bed.  Last year the peppers I put in did so well I decided to try a few other vegetables there.  I put in one each of bush tomatoes- 'Golden Dwarf Champion', 'New Big Dwarf' and 'Rosalinda'. Peppers- 2 'Kaleidoscope Mixed' and 2 'Northstar' as well as 4 'Rotundo Bianca Sfumata di rosa' egg plant.  The only flowers put in at this point were 2 each of 'White Seashells' and 'Psyche White Picotee' cosmos.  In a week or two when the foliage from the 'Tete a Tete' ribbon dies I'll edge the bed with more flowers.  I practically melted while putting these in, each one planted with a drop, actually several, of sweat.

I also began to plant the pots around the pool.  It was too hot to put in some of the seedlings, so this will be continued over the weekend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sun Finally Smiles

I couldn't resist this picture.  The peony posed for this picture on it's own with no help from the photographer.  Today the sun was smiling!  Clear skies, temps near 90F and bearable humidity.  Lot's of activity in the garden which I'll share later.  Hope the Sun was Smiling on all of you today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Picture Imperfect

The title of this post was inspired by a comment from Annie's Granny.  Yesterday she stated in the comments section my garden always looks "picture perfect".  Well, it just ain't so.  If it wasn't for the delete button on my camera my secret would have been out long ago.  I think we are all guilty of only showing our best side.  Time to turn the other cheek..

Above, this is the former checker board of spinach and arugula.  They were so riddled with holes and starting to bolt- out they came.  I chopped them up and they gave a light forking to incorporate them a bit.  Next weekend, what remains will be forked under, blood meal added and the area replanted.  Haven't decided yet what to put in, I'm leaning towards tomatoes.
Above, what the paths look like before picture taking.  I've been pulling out volunteer morning glories for weeks.  I never new that they reseeeded like this!
Above, the lettuce and cabbage had their worst leaves removed and were given a shot of fertilizer.  Next week they should look a lot better.
Above, my yellowing 'Victor' tomatoes, beets and carrots you can barely see, and yes... those are daylily seedlings.  I didn't have the heart to weed them out, you never know what you may get...
Above, now you can see from the over view shot that area looks much better from a distance.  Another one of my secrets.

What was I thinking?  Sometime in 2004 or earlier I ordered a packet of 'Yellow Sugar Lump' watermelons from Baker Creek.  I was living in a rented town house and had no room for vegetables.  I have no idea why I would buy these seeds.  Flash forward to 2011 and I decided to add a few seeds to the zinnias I was pre-sprouting.  When I went to check those seeds today, three had sent out a root.  Of course, I had to pot them up.  Now where on earth am I going to have the room to grow them?  What was
I thinking?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

Tribulations- A cause of great trouble or suffering.

Right now that about sums things up. 
Rain- the passed week we had rain every day, from light mists to torrential downpours.  This has caused great troubles in the garden.  I've seen slugs that remind me of Jabba the Hut.  My gorgeous heads of 'Lingue de Canarino' lettuce are ruined, most other lettuce has damaged outer leaves, even the cabbage has damage to the outer leaves.
The torrential rains combined with wind have snapped the supports for the peas causing them to flop all over.  The snow peas being shorter are still standing upright. 
Then there are the bearded iris.  I have two clumps of an ancient blue bi-tone that I rescued a few years ago from 20+ years in the dense shade under a lilac.  They have grown into huge clumps with amazing branching.  As soon as the torrential rains started they started to flop all over. 
Then there are all the seedlings that should have been in the ground weeks ago, but it has been too soggy.  The tomato seedlings on the deck have what looks to be early blight, the peppers are loosing their leaves and the petunias are getting very root bound.
Even with all the above, I feel very lucky.  I think of all of those who lost everything to the flooding in the mid-west and south and think that theses aren't really tribulations at all.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Harvest Monday- 05/16/2011

The first harvests of the year.
Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions.
Finally I was able to start eating real salads. Being of Sicilian descent, I grew up eating sharp and bitter salads. Long before it was trendy My grandmother and mother were growing arugula, endive, dandelion chicory and escarole to use in salads. In fact lettuce was the green that was used the most sparingly.
Above, over wintered lettuce 'Bronze Beauty' and 'Lingue de Canarino'.
Above, baby 'Tyee' Spinach, 'Ice Bred'arugula and chicory.
Above, 'Ruby', 'Australian Yellow' and 'Flashy Green Butter Oak' lettuce.

Today was another rainy day.  The soil was just to wet for any outdoor planting.  The day was spent cleaning the light stands and starting the last of the flower seeds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can get some planting done by the weekend.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14 in the Garden

Another gloomy day, and the long range forecast shows ten more.  The only upside is that this is perfect weather for peas and the greens.  I'm determined to get my petunia seedlings in the ground tomorrow and hopefully my early tomatoes.  Night temps are supposed to be above 50 degrees, so I'm going to risk it.  I'm holding off on sowing any beans as I'm afraid that they will rot with this cool damp weather.
Above, a view of the PSP.  The peas are growing fast as is the lettuce and cabbage.
Above, The lettuce have had the outer leaves picked after this pic was taken, but they still look attractive.  Notice how red the 'Galactic' lettuce is compared to 'Ruby', if the texture and taste are good this will be added to the my ever growing list of standards.
Above, the green cabbages are really taking off.  I hope the red cabbage catches up soon.  The 'Australian Yellow' lettuce is also growing fast, this was picked after the pic was taken.  'Loolo di Vino' lettuce on the far right is making a great edging.  The spinach and arugula to the left are growing very slowly.  In fact the arugula is starting to bolt without sizing up much at all.
Above, this section should be filled with carrots and beets that were sowed over a month ago.  The carrots are slowly starting to grow, but the beets are a bust.  The 'Broadway' rose in the center is doing well and should make an interesting focal point to this bed.
Above, a close up of 'Galactic', 'Lingue de Canarino' and 'Ruby' lettuce.  The 'Lingue de Canarino' are looking awesome, these are actually to attractive to pick!

The longer I garden, the less I think I know.  I've been having problem with things I've been growing for years.  Three varieties of cosmos started the same way I have for years are a leggy mess, despite being less than a 1/4" from the lights.  Carrots, beets, arugula and spinach are a major disappointment.  Nothing has changed with their culture.

On the bright side, last fall I never got around to lifting the seed grown dahlias.  I noticed loads of sprouts from one of them.  I need to keep my eye on this one.  It survived a very cold winter with no protection!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Foliage Color- 'Woodside' Columbines

This spring, I've also been keeping an eye on color and texture outside of the PSP.
'Woodside Purple' columbines have become one of my favorites.  The color has been remarkably stable through several generations, they are exceptionally hardy and long lived.  Above all, the spring foliage is amazing.  I would call it a glowing chartreuse.  The color lasts until summer, slowly turning a darker green.  Some plants even have foliage that is gold spotted green.

Above, self seeded among a patch of daylilies.  In the background is a variegated weigelia.
Above, closer of the foliage,
Above, close up the flowers.  The color is actually more purple than blue. 

Right now I have seedlings coming up everywhere.  The plants can be moved with no ill effect and they make seed like crazy.  I'm hoping to collect enough seed to share later this summer.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Dry Weekend- Finally

The first dry weekend in recent memory!  I wish I could say that I got a lot done outside, but the soil is still too wet for the projects I have planned.  I had wanted to get the area in front of the PSP emptied by now.  There are three huge bearded iris clumps and numerous dayliles.  Not to forget loads of Canada thistle, bermuda grass, crown vetch and catnip that are taking over.  The iris' are now blooming and the daylilies should be sending up scapes soon.  Looks like this will have to wait until mid-summer.  It's a good thing I'm way behind on my flower seed starting, my dwarf tomatoes and peppers are going to have to double duty in the flower beds.  I will get the PSP expanded at some point this year.

Above, an overview of the PSP.  'Immortality' bearded iris beginning to bloom in the foreground.
Above, cabbage and lettuce are starting to grow rapidly.

Above, the peas are growing fast and the lettuce is filling in.
Above, 'Lingue de Canarino' lettuce.  These make the most gorgeous rosettes.
Above, a new to me lettuce for this year 'Flashy Green Butter Oak' with 'Ruby' trying to sneak in the picture.
Above, one of my pride and joy's.  This is a dappled willow that was an 8" plant when I planted it in the fall of 2005.  I believe it was from the Proven Winner line and it came in 4" pot and was about $3.00.  It retains the white tipped pink coloration for well over a month.
Above, a close up of the new growth on the dappled willow.

Above, a close up of 'Lollo di Vino' lettuce which edges on of the beds.

Now that I have become more observant of the coloration of the spring vegetables I have some good ideas for fall or next years combinations.

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!