Saturday, April 17, 2010

Do I need to justify hostas and bleeding hearts?

No, they're not food. But I do love them. They make me smile.


Ben and I headed out today to clean up the beds in front of our house. They are fairly overgrown and have been well-neglected. Ben started with the raspberry bushes that have overtaken our flowers in the north bed. It seems like a shame to be pulling up raspberry bushes, but last year the berries they produced appeared to be diseased. In addition, they are simply not in an ideal location. We may later add raspberries here, but I would like them to be in a place where they can be well-trained. Next on the list was to remove the last of the myrtle planted in the bed in front of my kitchen.

As I was getting ready to go outside, Molly brought in the mail. In it was a box of perennials from Jung! I had initially planned on putting these plants in the the bed on the other side, but since this one was ready, and it is likely the shadiest of the two, I decided to put the plants there. So, in place of the myrtle and in addition to a bleeding heart plant and the few lipstick strawberry plants that survived the winter, we have two more bleeding hearts, two hostas, and some Astible Spinell. I also sprinkled some kale and rainbow chard to fill in some spaces. We'll see if they survive up front. They might just end up rabbit food.

Also in the box were Jerusalem Artichoke tubers. I planted some in the north bed and a couple in the back yard in the bed along the house.

We dumped some new soil here a week or so ago, so it probably looks better than it did originally. The big patch there is myrtle. And there's a big green fuzzy thing growing on the corner of the porch that looks like it belongs there, but it does not!

There are tulips and and some other flower that I have not yet identified that has basically naturalized here. After they are done blooming, I will move them and dig up the last of that sneaky myrtle. See the plant growing out of the bricks? Mint. Another very sneaky plant. I need to contend with it in the bed on the other side, but that will be another day...

OK, so it's not a spectacular "after." Give it a few months. The straw is where I planted half a dozen lipstick strawberries last fall. I think about three survived. Hopefully they'll be prolific. ;)

New seedlings started

It's about time for the next round of seedlings. Ben has become the resident seed-starter this year (at least indoors). This time, because we were starting some things that are harder to transplant, we started with some handy peat pots. He found a flat of them for $5 at (shhh) Walmart.

So, more seeds started. He also smartly reminded me that I want to record where the seed was from in addition to the variety name for later reference, so I added company names to my garden journal. Yeah, I didn't put it down because I could remember it right now, but, of course, that's rather silly, because I may forget by lunch.

New starts (in addition to previous listed under What We're Growing):
Burpee Organic Cucumber (Lemon)
Jung Yellow Doll Watermelon
PineTree Minnesota Midget Melon
Basil--Sweet (I think that was Bountiful Gardens/have to double check)
Basil--Purple Ruffles Territorial
Territorial Mexican Sour Gherkins
Mixed Evening Sunflower (random grocery store seeds, LOL)
Jung Belstar Broccoli
Pinetree Muncher Cukes
Pinetree Alibi Cukes
Gourney Miss Pickler Pioneer Cukes
Gourney Burpless II Cukes
Territorial Starburst Sunflower
Territorial Golden Cheer Sunflower
Gourney Terracotta Sunflower
Chinese Forget-Me-Nots (seed packet given to Liam by his 2nd grade teacher last year)
Pinetree Red Cosmos
Territorial Cosmos Mix
Select Seeds Sweet William Catchfly (freebee)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring AT LAST!

Well, the weather has been great for awhile now, but I've been distracted with dealing with the chaos that ensues when one leaves eggs to boil on the stove for slightly over an hour while she drops off recycling and goes grocery shopping, remembering that she did so while reaching for a carton of eggs. The house was filled with eggy smoke, fortunately no fire, but a cleaning crew came in and cleaned (and moved around) all of our belongings, all of the clothing and other fabric items were removed from the house, cleaned, and delivered back to us in dry cleaning bags on hangers and in boxes, and, ultimately, our kitchen was repainted completely while much of its usual contents sat in boxes on our living room floor. That said, it could have been much, much worse, and our kitchen looks awesome.

Anyway, so not much gardening has taken place, even on beautiful sunny days, I did not find (or make) time to venture out. It's rather unfortunate, really, because it probably would have done me good.

So, today, on one of the colder, cloudier days in recent memory, we had 4 yards of garden soil mix delivered. With it, we re-filled the raised bed that housed tomatoes last summer, topped off the second raised bed we built late last summer, and expanded our "original" garden bed (in-ground). We also added lots of fresh soil to the small, long beds I put in at the top of our hill along the fence and to our "flower" beds in the front of the house.

The expansion portion of the bed was not dug out. I laid out cardboard, and we mounded soil on top of that. We will see how that works out.

Little baby seedlings are growing in a flat inside. We have a variety of tomatoes and peppers. Ben took the job of seed-starter, and I took notes on how much of what varieties we started and where they were planted. We will start another bunch of seeds in another week or two (melons and a couple of others that are to be started a little later)We wound up germinating seeds twice because of the crazy that settled on our household. We just did not get the first bunch moved into the flats quickly enough. Hopefully, we didn't lose too much time. We hope to avoid buying tomatoes retail this year the interest of trying to avoid the blight that plagued
us (well, our tomatoes, actually) last year.

There were a few things that overwintered in the bed along the house, which doesn't get as much sun as the main garden beds. We have several kale plants, rainbow chard, two broccoli plants and one cabbage. The broccoli and cabbage were eaten up by some seemingly invisible pests last summer, so, perhaps we'll actually have more luck with them while the weather is still cool. I assume we had cabbage worms. All I found were holes and little wet green piles of masticated (and, I assume, digested) leaves.