Saturday, March 21, 2009

WEEKLY GARDEN UPDATES


Click on this link to read my editor's blog at Hobby Farms magazine:
Jessica's Blog
It's replacing this blog and will be updated weekly so you'll have regular news from my garden.
Thanks!
Jessica

Saturday, July 5, 2008

summer sun brings garden fun...


I've been picking some absolutely gorgeous broccoli these past few weeks. It's really delicious. I have always had such trouble with cabbage worms on them, but this year I haven't found a single one, despite seeing tons of the butterflies. Well, the other evening I found out why. I went out to harvest a head when I saw a large paper wasp sitting on top of it. I tried to shush him away but then I noticed that he was wrestling with a green cabbage worm! The wasp was eating the green worm and after a few minutes flew off with half of it. I saw it again yesterday....just amazing to watch.

The peas have been delicious, though none of them have made it indoors. I always seem to manage to polish them off right in the garden! Most of my lettuce has petered out, but the butterhead rocks on. I'm still harvesting it daily and there is not a single trace of bitterness in it. I bought a tomato at the farmer's market today and had a tomato/lettuce/cheese sandwich for lunch. Certainly not a homegrown tomato, but the next best thing. I think it will be another month until I can harvest tomatoes of my own.

My 'Cherry Bomb' peppers are loaded with green fruit. They were planted for my fire-eating husband and I think he's going to have his hands full this year. No fruits on the 'Thai Dragon' though. Hopefully they are to come.

The front perennial garden is really coming into it's season right now. I consider it an early spring and/or late summer garden since there isn't much exciting there in early to mid-summer. My 'Paprika' yarrow, monarda, gloriosa daisies, sunflowers, cosmos, alliums, gomphrena and coneflowers are just looking great this year. How nice that I haven't had to water the garden at all this season! If I had to pick a favorite part of my garden, the front beds would be it. I love the veggie garden, but there is something about pulling into your driveway and seeing your garden that just feels special.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taters


I'm hoping my experimental tater station works well this year. The home-made bins might look a bit odd, but I have a feeling that in a few months, when I open the boxwire, I'm going to have some tumbling spuds. The wire cylinders are lined with just a few sheets of newspaper to help hold everything in and then they were filled with alternating layers of very well-aged horse manure and last year's potting soil (when I empty my containers every fall, I put the used soil in garbage bags in the shed. I usually use it to pot up perennial divisions for friends, but here is another good use!). Each bin was filled 1/4 of the way, then 6-8 seed potatoes were spread on top and covered with a few more inches of old horse manure. When the taters were a few inches high, I added several more inches of manure or potting soil. I just kept adding layers as the plants grew. The 'soil' now reaches about 3/4 of the way to the top and that's as full as I'll make them. There are now potato plants sprouting out the sides too. I'm excited to see what happens as the season progresses.

Saw my first baby praying mantis of the season yesterday. Just a little guy, maybe only a quarter of an inch long. He was hanging out on the potato plants. I tried to get a picture, but my camera wasn't cooperating.

The strawberries are just about finished. With the heavy rains of the past week or so, some of the berries got moldy, but really, it was quite a good harvest. Made some delicious homemade strawberry ice cream over the weekend.

My broccoli will soon be ready to harvest as will the sugar snap peas and the snow peas. The lettuce continues to roll in and I've been tying the tomatoes to their hardwood stakes on almost a daily basis. They have begun to flower...it won't be long now!

Friday, June 6, 2008

yum yum!!


These are the most beautiful strawberries I've ever grown! I have no idea what variety they are since they came from plants that were relocated from elsewhere on the property last spring. Not only are they lovely to look at, but they are truly delicious. Big, sweet, juicy berries! I think my son ate a good pound of them yesterday and we will soon be up to our elbows in them since they are ripening so quickly in this warm weather (90+ degrees today!). We plan on heading outside after dinner this evening to fill up on this wonderful seasonal dessert. There are few treats as divine as sun-warmed strawberries in June. I almost feel guilty for not sharing them with any friends....almost.


Here is the container I mentioned in an earlier post. It's filled with assorted succulents 'imported' from my trip to Missouri. The center plant is from the Phipp's booth at May Mart. The pot itself was purchased at IKEA a few weeks ago and it sits on top of an antique metal wash stand base that belonged to my Nana. I just love it and I can't wait for it to fill in over the course of the growing season.

The veggie garden is looking great. My beans, cukes, and zukes have all sprouted and seem to be growing quite well. The tomatoes are a foot high already, the sugar snap peas are just about 4 feet tall (yikes!), the lettuce and radish continue to be harvested nightly. My broccoli appears as if it's on steroids this year. Happy, happy, happy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First harvest of the season!

Well, I picked my first garden goodies last night! I made a salad of fresh, beautiful lettuce (including 'Lolla Rossa' and 'Merlot'), some very mild 'Easter Egg' radishes, and a small bit of chopped spring onions. Delicious! It never fails to amaze me how truly wonderful homegrown food is - especially the first bite of the season. I can't wait for my asparagus patch to mature enough to begin harvesting it. I'm hoping I'll get a few spears next spring.
I also made a rhubarb crisp that was really sweet with a crunchy, crisp top. Thanks to Jill Wolff for the fabulous recipe. This weekend I'm going to try another recipe for rhubarb muffins.
The strawberries are busy being pollinated and setting their little green fruits. Unless we get some severe weather, I think we are in for a treat by mid-June. There are literally thousands of little berries out there.
My pots are filled with a blend of compost and organic potting soil and are just waiting to be planted this weekend. I was in Missouri two weeks ago at Baker Creek Seeds for their spring planting festival, and there was a fellow there selling succulents. I came home with 12 little pots of them (the TSA officer 'reading' the xray got a kick out of the contents of my carry-on). I'm going to put them in a shallow terracotta pot that sits on top of an old iron wash basin stand on the back patio. I'll photograph it after it's planted and post the shot so you can have a look-see.
I'm planning on picking up all my heirloom tomato babies from Mindy Schwartz at My Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery early next week. I purchased from her last year and had great success with the plants. Of course I can't remember what I ordered, so it will be a pleasant surprise. Thank goodness everything is always well labeled!
I'll be spending Saturday shopping at my favorite local nurseries for my annuals and some more seeds. With toddler in tow, it should be an interesting experience.
Lots in bloom right now in the perennial beds - and my special dandelion collection is particularly stunning these days.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Update...

The garden seems to have 'popped' over the course of the past week. The daffodils are lovely, the tulips my dog dug up last fall are blooming their heads off (though some of them are not where they are supposed to be), the radish are already 1/2 inch high, the lettuce has germinated and the asparagus has finally arrived (though it's too young to pick). All 8 fruit trees have been planted, as have the 15 new raspberry canes. Yesterday I planted 8 cabbages, 8 leeks, 12 lettuce plants and 4 parsley starts. Today I planted 25 new strawberries (a day-neutral variety called Trident)and cleaned up the last of the perennial beds.

I was visiting my folks in Eastern PA last week and divided a bunch of ornamental grasses for my Mom - sounds like I did a good deed, but I did it so I could have the divisions! Now I've got 22 Maiden grasses to plant around the bottom of the tree fort to enclose the space beneath and make a nice little hiding place for my son. That's the next project. Then there are the 25 potted perennials sitting on the driveway....