Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring bringing change to the gardens

 The winter garden this year was amazingly productive but as I pull out the cauliflower and broccoli plants I have all kinds of spring summer plants ready to slip into the ground. Using the window grow box and the greenhouse to grow my transplants has helped me to provide plants for the garden that I know were grown the way I want them grown. I kind of jumped the season a bit by planting tomatoes on Christmas day but when they were transplanted in the  last couple of weeks they
were ready. Some had buds on them and many now are blooming. A few even have tomatoes on them already. We refinished a bench glider and put it on a platform against the house looking out on the gardens. We can sit morning and late afternoon and have a drink and rest looking out at our bounty. More than that, people who are walking by stop and ask questions about the garden and the plants and are amazed that the plants are largely vegetables with a smattering of flowers here and there.
I thought by now I would be taking the sides off the greenhouse and replacing the plastic with row cover cloth but the extra humidity has the peppers going crazy and setting lots of fruit so I am holding off a few more weeks. I found a variety of cucumbers that do not need pollinators to grow in the greenhouse and have a nice showing already.
Off to do more planting as there are still a few feet of unplanted soil that I can drop seeds into.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking forward to the Garden Guild meeting Saturday

Attracting the Birds and Bees and Butterflies, too.
Mar. 17, 2012, 11:00 AM at the Community Center at 2104  Klattenhoff – Yvette Shelton has arranged for Lynn Hill, an expert in plants that attract and help Birds, Bees and Butterflies, to teach us about the right plants to use in our landscapes. To have sustainable yards and gardens we need birds and bees and butterflies. This will be a great opportunity to get good info and your questions answered just in time for the Spring plantings.

A very bountiful winter

I have to admit that I planted a few too many seeds in my little starters. Never in my wildest imaginings was I prepared for all of them to germinate and thrive. The winter crops have been incredibly bountiful enabling me to share with friends and put some bags of cauliflower and broccoli in the freezer for later in the year. Now the kohl rabi is starting to head up and the cabbage is heading nicely. Should hold us for another 6-8 weeks, maybe more. We even made our first batch of sauerkraut and several batches of slaw--from the cauliflower leaves and bok choi. Fabulous tasting and better than just composting the leaves. My husband says we are on a cabbage diet and maybe we are as we are focusing on eating what I am growing.
The Malabar spinach and new Zealand spinach that did not do well last year both have seeded themselves and are thriving.  Even the regular spinach which we can only grow over the winter and early spring here is much more productive this year than it ever has been. I am also having a bumper crop of peas that I planted last October and suddenly took off with the rains this winter. Chard, of course is thriving and so pretty.

I wound up with 4 different kinds of cherry tomatoes/small tomatoes so they are going to stay in large pots and sit next to the greenhouse. I tried to find tomatoes that would thrive in the heat of our summer and am trying a couple of Porters and Porters Pride, Creole, Heatwave, super Sioux, and Arkansas traveler. I may have a couple of Romas or not. They did so poorly last year that I am about given up on them. I have both Black beauty and oriental eggplant, one that wintered over is blooming to beat the band--now will it set fruit? I haven't figured out where to put the green beans but they are so good fresh that we have to put some in. I am going to put more cucumbers in the greenhouse with row cover to try and avoid the bugs.
If I can find room for most of the plants I will be lucky. Maybe I'll have to share a few of the little guys with friends to turn them on to gardening too.