Archive for ‘garden’

May 29, 2012

transitions

we’re moving from the cooler spring weather into the heat of summer.  i just harvested the last of our kale, chard, and beets and i’m still trying to coax along some lettuce seedlings under the shade of our back porch.  normally at this time, the beets from this bed would be replaced with the warmer weather crops like tomatoes or zucchini.  instead we’ve yanked out the chicken wire (serving as a barrier for curious doggies) and put in bedding plants (which i don’t much care for) in order to  make the yard pretty for a prospective buyer.

it’s the end of an era.

and while we’re on to bigger and better things, it still makes me feel a little sad.

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May 22, 2012

just in case you were wondering….

this is what happens when the bees cross pollinate a wedding white zinnia with a red one:

isn’t it pretty?

May 3, 2012

we like peas

due to our being “in transition mode” i only planted one 4′ row of bush peas this year.  i thought we’d at least get enough for one or two meals.  i still have some yet to harvest, but yesterday this was all we got:

just enough to garnish some penne pasta with shallots, pancetta, and alfredo sauce.

after i picked them, i set the bucket down on the porch to tend to something else in the garden.

i guess we aren’t the only ones who love fresh peas.

April 26, 2012

portable property

even though we are tentatively planning on moving late this summer, i couldn’t bear the thought of a summer without tomatoes, which, if all goes as planned, would be  coming on just as we’re getting ready to leave.

i’ve heard through the grapevine that this could potentially be the summer for tomatoes.  the last two years in a row the weather here has been so hot, and the spider mites so bad, that few tomatoes were to be had. but this year, this year, could be… The Year.  and i don’t want to miss out.  i decided to plant them all in plastic buckets, so that, come time to move, we can bring them along.

i purchased a series of plastic five gallon buckets at lowe’s and husby drilled holes in the bottom  to allow for drainage.

           

i then loaded them up with soil, dug a little hole and added some egg shells for a calcium boost.  this was a little trick i learned  that helps eliminate blossom end rot.  it really does work.

           

i put in the plants,  labeled them….

           

set the cage around the plant, and placed them in the back of the yard where they should receive the needed 6-8 hours of sun a day.

in addition to one ancho pepper plant, i have two roma tomatoes, and four cherokee purples.  we decided to add some grape tomatoes, and i wanted to give something new and funky (for us at least) a try: a cream sausage tomato.

the buckets, along with all the other things i have in pots in preparation for the move, really make the yard look junkie, but, they are happily growing and i’m keeping my fingers crossed for homemade spaghetti sauce (the romas), and roasted tomato pie (the cherokee purples) prepared in our new kitchen late this summer.

April 24, 2012

my kale has started going to seed.  we usually eat it up rather quickly.  but this spring i just haven’t been harvesting it as often.

who knew that red russian kale produced such pretty little blossoms?

who knew that this kale,

this cole crop, whose cooked “aroma”  hangs in the kitchen for days afterward,

when combined with blue batchelor’s buttons that have self seeded,

could be

so

pretty?

 

April 16, 2012

moving the maple

when we signed on with our builder the original plan was to start around the first of this month.  we’ve had some nasty weather however, and for that reason, things have been delayed by a few weeks.

meh.

i’m so excited about our new place, but decluttering, getting rid of things, putting everything else in a box, and moving it all from here to there – not so much.  in order to make the process easier i’m starting early and just doing a little bit at a time; sorting through and packing up the things we don’t use on a daily basis.

this includes some of my plants.

yes, i plan to take with me a few things growing in my yard.  one is a japanese maple given to me by my parents.  the other is a rose bush given to me by a dear friend.

i know it seems really crazy to try to bring these along when they are both pretty happy right now where they are, but they mean a great deal to me.  they have very great sentimental value and the thought of leaving them behind in the care of someone who doesn’t know what they are and why they are there is unbearable to me.  so they are coming along,  even though they may not like it.

we started last weekend with the japanese maple.

we located the largest plastic pot we could find, about 20″ and drilled holes in the bottom:

i put stones in the bottom for drainage:

we filled it with a small amount of potting soil:

and then we set to work digging her out.  well, my husband did that.  i took pictures.  here she is:

we worked, and worked around the base; digging and lifting in order to get a good sized root ball.

pause here for a brief look at the east side garden:

the majority (if not all) of these plants will stay here.  i’m still undecided about the siberian iris….

back to the tree.  we then lifted her out, and placed her in the pot.

we then added some more soil, some mulch, and with the help of a wheel barrow moved her to the back porch.  we have no pictures to document this little journey because i had to put down the camera and hang on to her to keep her from toppling out of the wheel barrow.

she made it though just fine, where we positioned her and watered her in.

i was pleased that she showed very little signs of stress and seems to have transitioned quite well.  so well in fact, i’m thinking we may keep her in a container permanently and use her for the outdoor seating area of the master bedroom we have planned for our future place.

isn’t she lovely?

 

 

 

April 7, 2012

lovely lettuces all in a row…

from back to front: red velvet, yugoslavian butterhead, and amish deer tongue.  i’ve worked on these since february.  we’ll probably consume them in about a week.   i definitely need more space….

March 7, 2012

pea sprout on a windy wednesday morning

Image

green arrow pea

March 5, 2012

land shopping part 2

this is a continuation of land shopping part 1

this particular spot wasn’t what one thinks of when one thinks of a farm.  the only real place to put a small home and a garden was on a flat, narrow “ridge” situated between two “vallies” each containing a pond.  it didn’t fit the image we’d had of a flat grassy plain, but it was beautiful. and standing on the ridge that fall afternoon, looking at the trees just starting to turn, i was swept off my feet.  within a few weeks we had a contract on the place.

and then, almost as soon as we’d signed on the dotted line, a very uneasy feeling began to settle in.  something felt wrong.  we couldn’t articulate or figure out what it might be.  there was a deed restriction on the land.  i had never seen one before and in my opinion, the wording was very harsh.  while we made our intention of a hobby farm clear and put  in writing, i still feared that our ducks, goats and chickens, and our “temporary” home (even though it wasn’t a mobile) might get us into trouble.  we kept asking questions hoping to stumble across whatever it might be that was causing our apprehension.   when all of our questions were answered satisfactorily we chocked it all up to “prenuptial jitters” of sorts and moved to closing.

then, within just days of sealing the deal we were given the final survey of the land.

it soon became clear that our apprehension was there for a reason.  the survey showed a significant number easements on the place.  the easements could not be lifted, and the  majority of them centered around  and on the one and only spot to build: the ridge. as far as building a farmette,  the land was pretty much worthless.   the deal bottomed out the day before we were to close.

as soon as we were released from the contract we both knew where we wanted to be.  we wanted to go back to to our original plan.  if we had gleaned anything from our previous experience it was this: go with your gut.  learning that the ten acres with a pond was still on the market, we took another sunday afternoon drive, and this time we managed to drive right to it.  when we got out of the car and stood in the middle of a grassy field we both knew without even saying to each other that this. was. IT.

within six weeks it was ours.

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March 2, 2012

the curse of the land (well my land at least)

when God told adam the ground was cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles i often wonder if this little plant was one of those thorns/thistles.

when i work the county extension office hotline about this time every year, i invariably get at least one call from a home owner wanting to know what all the green stuff is with little purple flowers invading the lawn.

i used to like those little purple flowers.  as a child, i gathered bouquets of them by the fistful regarding them as the loveliest of wildflowers.

but this is not a wildflower.

this ladies and gentlemen, this….is henbit.

i’m told it is called so because the hens love it for breakfast.  at the moment however, i have no hens to eat it so removing it is my responsibility.

it prefers cooler weather so it is always  the first to appear in masses in the spring, making a second unwanted appearance again in the fall.  because it grows before it is usually too warm for round-up it can be difficult to control, especially if one doesn’t treat one’s lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide.

the only way to get rid of it really, is to pull it out by hand.

honestly, i don’t mind so much.  i spent a lovely afternoon one recent sunday working hard to get one vegetable bed looking like this:

to looking like this.

it was unseasonably warm, the soil was moist, making for easy pulling and i love the smell of it as it is just starting to warm up.

in the end i had a wonderful pile ready for the compost bin.

and the chicken wire around the beds? that keeps this one out:

he, unfortunately loves beet greens and tomatoes.

if only he would acquire a taste for henbit.