Saturday, April 28, 2007

That Would Be Google Garden....

...thank you very much!

My husband had Google Earth on the computer the other night. I checked out our garden (photo from very early last spring before we'd added new beds though).

Hey, if I can see my garden, I wonder if I can find other vegetable gardens in the area. Yes! I can! I found some amazing gardens not too far away. Now how to meet these people.

Knock, knock...
Errr... Hello - I saw your garden on Google Earth. Do you want to be friends?
Slam!

But, then, we gardeners might actually not think twice about a stranger at the door wanting to talk gardening! What do you think?

I think you have to do the free download before you can Google Garden. DH had already done it some time ago so I'm not sure how it works exactly. Here is the link: Google Earth. If you have questions about it for DH, I'll get answers.

(I'm still involved in my special work event so still a little light on blog visits/comments and gardening until later next week.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

April Salad!

I love grabbing the basket and heading to the garden! No better shopping could there be. A break in the cool spring rain for a garden stroll, so much the better. The aromas & bird songs just explode following a light rain. And fennel trimmings! The seedling is big enough to contribute a tasty treat, but I better get some more growing soon.
I have one more just sprouted in the house, and perhaps a few more seeds will come through. Once I get this guy in the ground, I'll seed some others around him. We had a meal in York, UK that left quite the memory. Guess I'll be figuring out how to cook them now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Surprise!

This is about as delightful as spying that first Easter egg! Guess their Easter Egg name comes not only from the colors but also their surprise factor. Now for some lettuce, parsley, chives, & spinach...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Giants Among Us

For Ruth and family on this day of April 25th, 2007 as they honor the life of their hero. Getting to know you and Mick has been a blessing to me and to many around the world. Peace to you in this time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Winter sowing results

Here's an update on the "winter sowing" experiment shown here. I now have lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach and nasturtium seedlings. Popped their top tonight so they can get a little further adjusted before the move to the ground. This was quite an easy way to go. They received plenty of light outside yet were a little more protected than if they were sown in the ground. Very portable too! They've been sitting next to the house on the deck until recently. I don't see slug/mystery bug damage like I see on the peas in the garden. Thanks for the idea, Angie!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sweet Beets

Last week, I noticed cute little clusters of beet seedlings sprouting up along their rows. I can hardy wait for them. (See this post for DH & Nikko's thoughts about beets.)

I had read that beet seeds are actually little seedballs with two to six individual seeds. When I planted them, I looked and thought perhaps these were already broken apart as I couldn't tell that they were clusters. The proof is in the sprouts though! The dreaded thinning will be needed soon.
We've had rather nice weekend weather. A little more of an outside project than I had time for, but the weather called for it! I will be aching tomorrow and will post about it later in the week.

Then, tonight, I locked myself out of the house while DH was running an errand. ... but it gave me a chance to hear the owls hooting because, otherwise, I wouldn't have been wondering around outside at dark-thirty!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Leaves go in and rocks come out

I wasn't around while Dear Husband rototilled the herb garden expansion last weekend. Later, I asked him how the soil tilled. Not bad, but a little rocky, he said. I asked what he did with the rocks. Don't worry, he said. You won't miss them.....

The bottom rock has been in the herb bed, but the top rock I just saw tonight.
Last fall, loads of leaves were dumped in the area to be tilled. I hope the worms enjoy the leaf salad mulch now tilled under. They should make a better meal than the rocks.
PS for my records, we had quite the frost last night. I'm encouraged by finally hearing another hummingbird, other than the one that camped out in the barn some weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Young Salad

Young Flashy Trout's Back lettuce (it's an Austrian heirloom aka Forellenschluss romaine). I loved it last year (though it was difficult to photograph then too.) Colorful and great tasting also. This is some started from seed and transplanted to the garden about 2 weeks ago.

Beets planted 4/7 are sprouting and there are a few volunteer sunflowers sprouting! We're probably not past the last frost yet, but I wonder if I could plant some other sunflowers too.
The broccoli also started from seed and planted out a couple weeks ago seems to be quite happy. I remember the seedlings I bought last year took forever to show some growth.

These next two weeks are going to be more time tight than usual, but I do still hope to make some blog rounds as this provides a nice sanity break. Please be patient if you don't hear from me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

April 15th Garden

Here is a different view of the garden (from SE corner rather than my usual SW corner). It's finally looking a little different than the prior months. See March 15 here, and then there are links there to the January & February. Here is April 2006 and Jan-May 2005 summary post! Our neighbors had a sighting of Petunia's cousin yesterday! I do hope Petunia finds her way home.
Above, from the north end looking south. The light tan/green areas are 4 beds from prior years. This end of tilled space will be 2 or 2.5 new beds. The tilled area in front of the chairs will be the expanded herb, etc. area. I don't mind the grass around the outside, but I don't want it between the beds.

Behind the chairs is another fenced area (former small pasture) where the sunflowers and pumpkins grew last year (& this year). Yesterday, I planted sweet peas along the fence line in that area.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bloom Day April

Here are some of my April Bloomers. See the comments in the Bloom Day post at May Garden Dreams for other Bloom Day posters. Above, the Queen of April Bloomers! Even with all the blooms about, after seeing the hummingbird that overnighted in the barn, I haven't seen another. I wonder if this a sign of more cool weather to come.
Above, I haven't looked up this name yet. Do you know what it is? A number of shrubs & perennials came with the house so I haven't sorted out all of the names yet.
Have a sniff of a fragrant Viburnum. There are several of these cheerful shrubs around the house.
This hard to photograph little blue sweetie is blooming in the shade bed next to the Lungwort and Viburnum. They're similar to Forget-me-nots, but I think they are something else. Do you know?
Apple trees are just starting to bloom, along with the pear trees. The fruit cherry trees have been blooming. The ornamental cherry trees are mostly finished now. Grape hyacinths around the pond. Not easy to get this perspective of a grape hyacinth!
And the honeysuckle bush blooms are just starting to open. They aren't as fragrant as the vines which aren't blooming yet.
The white azalea with green freckles is finishing up.And the red/magenta azalea is getting started. Before long, there will be no green to be seen on this one.

Other blooms: The white bleeding hearts, photographed with the rabbit earlier this week, pansies, violets, vinca minor, some yellow with a flower similar to phlox but without the fragrance, variegated dead nettle that is taking over places where I don't want it (it may have another name).

Lots of bud shooting up in the garden and forming on other shrubs.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Seedling Update - Inside & Outside

Here are the March 24 planted tomatoes, anise hyssop, and spicy globe basil. As cute as they are, today is the day the baby tomatoes were potted up and moved out to the garage. What low temperature do you think they'll tolerate? They lean too much in the window and I'd rather they stay under the lights in the garage.
Big brother tomatoes here, were started March 3. They've been in the house ever since their purple screams, but I hope they'll now get comfortable in the garage under the light. As a side note, see the stone semi-circle and pipe out the window? The pipe is 4 feet, same as my beds. The stones are currently somewhere I don't want them so I'm considering using them as end caps for the garden beds. As they are, it has been a struggle keeping a clear line between the end of the bed and the grass. Straight ends would be more practical for grass trimming, but I think I'd like the curves.
The outside winter sowing experiment has had some good results. (I do take the caps off on the sunnier days.) They do get more light being outside. They are also should be better adjusted to the temperature patterns outside.
Lettuce seedlings and my first Swiss chard (Bright Lights). All my other lettuce seedlings were planted out in the garden last weekend, so these will be the next wave.
Spinach and broccoli here. My earlier seeding (inside) of spinach didn't sprout so I'm glad to have some here. Earlier seedlings of broccoli were also planted out in the garden last weekend.

The other seedlings now up in the milk jugs are nasturtiums. So far, the older seeds of catnip, chamomile and columbine haven't sprouted.

Inside today, I did plant some more seeds to go in the "oven." Hyssop, spicy globe basil, fennel and more nasturtiums.

So now I'm going to go curl up with a blanket. I've been cold all day. Hopefully, tomorrow won't have such a cold wind blowing and I can play a little in the newly rototilled space.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Expansion!

Finally, I'm back online! Here's Dear Husband (in MY boots, Yolanda & Libby) tilling up the 2 and a halfish new beds in the garden. Our nice neighbors let us borrow their tiller if we promise to go easy on the number of zucchini left on their doorstep. If it stops raining, maybe by Sunday I can lay out the beds and paths and add some compost.
This is adds to the other 4 beds + herb bed in the main garden. Last fall, I spread grass cuttings in this area and then put down burlap green coffee bags (see above). I thought I would go back later and also put sheets of newspapers under the bags to kill out the grass, but I never did. The dirt pile above is where I did a little digging to see if the soil was dry enough to till.
Above, as I removed the bags for tilling, I pulled back this bag on a pathway. I had put newspaper down first in the paths. It is now deteriorating and the worms seem to like this environment. It really did help discourage growth in the paths.
In the photo above, I've removed the bags before tilling. They did discourage grass, but not dandelions! That's ok, I'll take whatever help I can get. After I form the new beds, I'll put the coffee bags down again to prevent weeds before I'm ready to plant beans and other warmer weather vegetables. As I dig in the compost, I'll remove some of those dandelion roots.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Garden Depth

All of the bunnies hopping around the blogs lately made me think of this one. She greets you by our front door and is currently in the company of bleeding hearts. This bunny was given to my parents by a neighbor when I was born. The neighbor sold garden statuary items. No, she's not an antique yet! She is one of the things I remember always being around in my childhood room. My garden is like my house. Many of the things & plants in it are more than what they might first appear to be. I'll bet your garden is like this too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Eastershine

Here's a little Eastershine for those you with Eastersnow. Just keep in mind that the sun was gone by 3pm, and we'll soon be back in the 30's at night. Above, you see the cold frames (with their end windows laying against the sides due to the warm temps).

I lost a few windows during the December wind storms. So, rather than use my original set-up from last year (see this link and this one), I decided to set them up directly in the garden. This way, some plants can actually go in the ground rather than hanging out longer in pots while they benefit from some protection. Some of these windows won't last much longer so next year, I'll move on to some sort of tunnel/hoop cloche for 1 or 2 beds.

Left, front A-frame above has volunteer chives and a few lettuce seedlings planted Saturday. Next right has large pea seedlings hardening off before being planted. Next right has just seeded beets and 2 broccoli seedlings just planted out. Far right A-frame has many lettuce seedlings and 2 more broccoli seedlings planted out on Saturday. I'll have some of the lettuce cleared out and the A-frame gone before the broccoli plants need all of the space.
My new (used) Easter (garden) basket. I don't know if the dividers are to separate wine bottles or something else, but they really work to keep tools in place, hold seed packets and to separate the camera from the tools. I've not been a big glove wearer, but now I wear these most of the time. Before the sun moved on, it was just a beautiful time for puttering around in the herb bed, pulling some young grass and dandelions and checking everything out. And these are the little "Easter eggs" I found digging around in the herb bed. I'm also happy to see the bee balm / Monarda sending up shoots. The wonderful rosemary, sorry to say, did not make it though the snow and ice this winter. It was the trailing type and I've found it to be more sensitive to cold winters than the upright rosemary.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Blossoms

Happy Easter!
Evening shot of the Rainier cherry tree.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Romancing Ms. Frog

Tonight might be Frog's lucky night. See how he's filled the pond with romantic flower petals? The water should be warm and cozy under the clear, starry night. He's singing his best song and has a lovely bug breakfast planned for the morning. Now the frog you see above is the ceramic floating frog used as singing Frog's lily pad before the real ones have sprouted. In this link you can see him sitting on it. He is the little (with a big voice) brown Pacific Tree Frog, vs. the bright green ones also around.
Tonight a little after 7pm. But I don't think it will stick around for long.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How warm?

Just a quick note tonight. If you stop by on Friday, note the temperature (to the right) and post it in a comment. It's going to be an usually warm one, and I'll be inside, so you can help me re-live it later. Saturday should be a nice gardening day too.

In the winter sowing experiment on March 24, I'm seeing little lettuce, spinach and broccoli when I peek in through the top. The inside seedlings in that same post have sprouted tomatoes, basil, spicy globe basil, and anise hyssop.

In the garage, the lettuce and peas are growing roots out the bottom of the pots so they can walk themselves to the garden.

In the garden, I'm seeing volunteer borage seedlings throughout. There may be also some bachelor button seedlings.

Oh, yes. After a few cold and quiet nights, frog and friends are singing again.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Birds be Warned: Sunflower Seed Plans

Sorry, birds. You cannot have these jumbo sunflower seeds! And you might not get to harvest all you can eat from the garden either. A Chinese friend from work has been sharing these around the office and they've been quite a hit. When she first showed them to me, I was amazed by the size (they are large, but note that they're on a quite small saucer above). We couldn't decide what flavor they had so she brought the bag in to show us.
The ingredients?: Sunflower seeds, salt (but light), LICORICE and FENNEL, artificial sweetener. The seeds are soaked and boiled with the ingredients and then dried. They aren't messy in the hand and what a nice flavor!

Do you think I can make them from my sunflowers? I have fennel seedlings and anise hyssop seedlings which are supposed to have nice licorice-flavored leaves. I can feel an experiment coming this summer! Thanks for sharing, L!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Need Spring Chicks?

What will I do with all these chicks? The flock has been very happy in this old wheel barrow, but some must now find new homes or everyone will be too crowded. Let me know if you have room for a few. They really are some of the happiest plants in the garden and always make me smile. After all, no early morning crowing or feedings. No passports either, but they should survive interstate mailings.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pinked Peas

The new and exotic pinked snow peas are growing! The decorative pea pods with scalloped edges will just be a delight in salads, I'm sure. I'll save seeds, so let me know if you want some. And welcome to April (April 1st, that is)!

...So the real question is who do you think has been eating these peas? A slug would have finished the whole leaf. Who would only be eating in such a decorative manner?