Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Garden Update 2011

It is hard to be excited about the garden after it was smashed by hail on April 14th, but ~2 weeks later, it is nice to see how well it has recovered.

The purple heart is blooming, but the leaves are all beaten up. This used to fill the garden near the Cottonwood tree, but the chickens love to scratch in this area so most of the purple heart has been killed off. It still hangs on in the area right around the tree and I know it will refill the garden over the course of the season.

My 'Paprika Yarrow" is growing and blooming nicely. It has spread some, and I hope it will fill the whole area of the flower bed.

My Swiss Chard survived!

It is battered and beaten, but it lives on... phew. Of all of the plants, this one seemed to take the worst beating from the hail.

I planted four varieties of chard this year. The red is "Rhubarb Chard", it is the most scraggly of the bunch and has the poorest performance.

The large yellow is... umm the strongest variety... bu I will need to check my garden journal for the actual name.

The pale white stems were Fordhook Giant. It has the second best performance and seemed to withstand the hail better than the others (could be location too, it is near the mint and may have gotten some protection from that).

The small yellow stems at the front are Fantasia Chard. It is doing fairly well, probably ranks third out of four varieties.

Scattered through the gardens are German Camomile

(the ferny light green plants near the hose). I bought this as a single 4" pot from Northhaven Gardens and there were hundreds of seedlings in the pot. I was able to carefully break the cluster of seedlings apart and planted them all over the place. They seem to be doing great this year. Camomile is a medicinal herb and the flowers are harvested for a calming tea, it can also be used to lighten hair color.

This awful picture is the red amaranth I planted. Amaranth is a grain and ornamental and will grow to five feet tall according to the seed packet. I planted to varieties, but only the red seems to have germinated (no sign of the Golden Amaranth)

The amaranth is over seeded in my asparagus bed. The poor asparagus just limps along.

I saw a few spears, less than 10 and definitely did not harvest any. This is New Jersey Giant (?) planted last year from ugly dried out roots. I need to get a real start of asparagus from my mom. Her patch of asparagus is about 15 years old, and completely untended it has produced more asparagus than she could eat this spring.

The snow peas are starting to produce, it has been too hot for them to really do well. These peas are from my spring planting. The winter peas I planted all froze out in one of our ice storms this winter.

My spinach did not freeze this winter and it has been a great producer. This short little three foot row has kept us in spinach since about February. Unfortunately, due to the heat it has started to bolt. I keep pinching off the tops, but it keeps sending up new ones.

My poor tomatoes. Most of the main plants were damaged by the hail, but most have grown back from the roots.

The squash looks great. Strongest by far is the zucchini (black beauty)

Weird angle on this photo, but the first hill of squash along the fence is zucchini, then yellow crookneck squash (poorest performance), then a hill of the mixed squash (same mix I grew the last two years with excellent results).
The squash mix has already bloomed.

Last is the dead out hill of cucumbers. The four plants I had were completely obliterated by the hail and did not grow back.

Brussel sprouts... I have no idea. Is this what they are supposed to look like? When do they produce sprouts? I suspect that they already made the sprouts and they are now just getting leggy. A few weeks ago, I noticed very loose leaf clusters forming along the main stem of the plant, but they never resembled brussel sprouts to me. It may just be too hot to grow these here. Too bad.

My lovely Red Lasoda potatoes are growing great and I spotted the first few blooms a few days ago.

I only bought 2.5lbs of seed potatoes this year, I wish I had bought more to fill the whole section of garden. I waiver between wanting to try lots of varieties and also wanting to grow huge quantities of what I know will do well.

The beans are blooming. I planted three varities: Jade Bush, Black Valentine, and Blue Lake. It seems that my three bean mix from previous years did better, but it could also just be the weird weather this year that is causing them to grow so slowly.

Jerusalem Artichokes are coming up everywhere. I have replanted from this patch, taken a 5 gallon bucket full of plants to my MIL, and still they keep sprouting. Silly me for moving these spreading weeds to three different areas of my veggie garden over the years. Oh well, if I have to deal with an noxious spreading plant, I'm at least happy this is an edible noxious spreading plant... and it blooms very prettily in the fall, like little sunflowers. I kind of have a love hate relationship with this veggie, mostly I love it, but boy can it be a pain.

Speaking of noxious spreading plants, yikes my mint is going nuts. This little 4" pot purchased in 2009 now covers a huge swath of my garden. I find little mint plants popping up 10 feet away from the parent plant... all connected by a pencil thick root system. I'm happy to weed it, it smells pretty and I have been replanting it in tricky areas of the yard where nothing else seems to grow. The kids like to pick handfuls of leaves to sniff.

New to me this year is corn. I have never planted corn before, claiming I did not have the space, but hubby got me a huge variety pack of heirloom seeds this year and I did want to try something new.

Plus pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins... we had about 10 pumpkins to decorate this Halloween and after the holiday, they were carried around the yard by the kids, dog and squirrels. This spring, pumpkin seeds are popping up everywhere. In the garden,

on the path

by the garage door (where we walk all the time)

in the lawn... I'm going to try and let most of them grown (apart from where they will get mowed or stomped) in the wild areas of the garden. It would be fun to have lots of pumpkins, but I'm not counting on them to do great. Last year, I allowed a volunteer pumpkin to take over a huge area of my garden and it only produced one small pumpkin.

Overall, the spring garden is doing well, despite the cold to hot to cold weather and hail. My tendency this year was to plant lots of varieties of plants, but not huge quantities of any one kind (except tomatoes, I have a full section: 9 plants of tomatoes). I will see how it works out for me. Right now, I'm wishing I had planted more potatoes and less winter stuff (beets, broccoli, radishes, carrots--all doing poorly and taking up room). It is hard not to be distracted by all the pretty seed packet descriptions. It is all a learning experience. Like every year, late April and May are the glory days of the garden. Plenty of rain, not too hot, not too cold, everything growing great, it is hard not to be excited.

No comments:

Post a Comment