May 16, 2012

Before and After

Planning and planting, and planning and planting!  Things are popping up all over.  This old-school map of the garden is my choice for tracking what's up, and what's a bust. Sometimes the weather and circumstances dictate a quick and dirty planting of seeds and plants,  and we have little or no time to be organized about it.  But this year we've had amazingly warm and mild weather, and really perfect planting conditions.

We've used the square foot gardening method for a number of years now.  I used the grid that came with one of our kits to plant a square that has beets, radish, chard and a number of other things.  I wanted to make sure there were clear boundaries.  Can you make out the little holes I poked into the middle square?  It's easy to divide these sections and get the right spacing between plants with this method too.  I made 9 holes for the beet seeds. So nice and tidy!

Here's the after - pretty good germination rate!  Soon I'll have to start thinning to make stronger plants.  I always have a hard time with pulling out perfectly good plants!

We decided to experiment again this year - which we have decided is kind of our style - and we're using black plastic under not only our vine plants, but also with our corn.  You can see a little slit cut in the plastic in the bottom left corner.  My husband pushed in the corn seeds and a little pile of enriched soil into each spot.  A little weird, but we'll see!

Here's the after - very promising!  Go away racoons, we're not kidding around - we are determined to have our corn this year!

We planted our peas the same way as the corn.  The green post you see is one of the three legs of the tepee that will support the vines once they grow up.  We planted De Grace peas, which will be snap peas when young or pod peas if left on the vine a little longer, Alaska Sweet Peas, and Russian Sugar peas, which are a snow pea and a Canadian heirloom brought to Saskatchewan by the Mennonites.  The history of many heirloom seeds is so fascinating.

My last post showed our seed potatoes curing on our dining room table.  Here's the after photo of happy little potato bushes, which are hopefully producing happy little spuds under the dirt.

These shots show our berries after we protected them with bird netting. For the strawberries, my husband made hoops from flexible PVC piping and then we stretched bird netting over the top.  Our blackberries are growing along a wire fence and the bird netting is stretched down both sides with similar hoops to make enough space for the berries to do their thing.  We're hopeful that these measures will decrease the number of berries we feed to the birds.  We do have feeders out for them and that should be enough!

Now for the best before and after!  Remember the prolific climbing rose from the last post, with it's little surprise nest inside the canes? Here's it is in full force with a ridiculous number of blooms, and this is only the top section! And, the little surprise has grown...

Don't you love it's fuzzy little dandelion head?!!  I can't tell exactly how many are in the nest, but this one must surely be close to launch.  I need to prune this rose, so hurry along birdie!

May 3, 2012

May Flowers and Other Nice Things

My favorite rose, Tahitian Sunset,  is blooming!  I can safely say that I have never had roses on May 3rd!  What a strange and amazing spring it has been.

As I've mentioned, we did not cut down existing rose canes this past fall, and instead tied them securely and piled compost and soil around the base. It worked well, but we also had a very mild winter. Our red climber rose has never thrived as it has this spring, and has more blooms than I can even count.  It has something else too...

How sweet are these little babies?!  The climbing rose is so thick and lush that some enterprising bird built a nest on it, supported by the trellis and the side of the house.  It looks like some birdies have hatched and some not just yet.  The mama flies away so suddenly each time we are out there, that we haven't had a chance to figure out what kind of bird it is.  The nesting material is mostly from our ornamental grass plants - so cool!  And by the way, I stuck my camera through the thorns and pointed it down at the nest, rather than disturbing or contaminating anything.  I was surprised that such a chancy method yielded exactly what I wanted to see!

The Iris are in full force too. I was happy that they were not too far along when we had our Spring freeze.  It's clear this year that they need dividing very badly.  NOT a fun task.  It will go on the long list of jobs waiting!

Onions are coming up in the garden. So far, no sign of the critter that was rooting around in this particular box last fall.  We're not convinced just yet though!

Our seed potatoes lived on our dining room table long enough to grow eyes, be cut into sections, and scab over. Now they're planted out back in two of our double depth square foot beds.  We're optimistic about having both French Fingerling and Yellow Finn potatoes later this summer!

 Thank you Lord for this peaceful, spring day, and all the promise that it holds! 

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
     Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Psalm 34:8