Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Garden Update 2011

Most importantly, we are eating from the garden again!

The spinach is tapering off, but the swiss chard, peas and beans are really starting to produce.

I gave most of my garden a thick layer of old hay mulch (the hay was my curbside treasure from this winter).

The mint is going crazy... what is that hiding behind the mint?

A full sized wheelbarrow. I love how green and pretty it is, but the mint is starting to take over the yard.

My Purple Hyacinth bean is starting its yearly climb of the trellis. These seeds are the fourth or fifth generation of saved seeds I have planted. Too bad I have not been so diligent to save edible seeds to replant each year (usually because I eat the vegetables before they can become viable seeds).

I found a nice surprise on my front porch the other day, a big trash bag full of baby plants from a local family member. Hooray. Inside the sack were about 30 small Purple Cone flower plants and some woody perennials which I am guessing are tarragon.

I am really excited about the Purple Cone flower, which is the common name for Echinecia, the herbal remedy that we buy in capsules from the store. Echinicia is used as an immunity booster and both hubby and I take it when we feel a cold coming on. Our family member has this growing like a weed in her yard and gardens and was more than happy to share. I hope it is as happy in my yard as it is in hers. I will have to do some research to see just which parts of the plant are medicine, but it is neat to be able to grow something so useful.

My tomatoes have finally reached the top of the cages. They all basically regrew from the roots up after the hail storm, so they seem a bit stunted to me this year. I see blooms on most of the plants, but have not noticed any fruit starting yet.

The squash is thick and healthy (and needs to be thinned (which I did on May 23, after this photo). I have harvested a few small yellow squash and a few zucchini, but they don't seem to be putting on as much fruit as I had hoped. Lots of blooms though.

Our trio of mulch loving hens is always trying to get into my garden to make a mess of things.

Luckily, they understand that me yelling, stomping my feet and waving my arms means 'SCRAM'.

As a new experiment this year, I am growing sweet potatoes from slips that I started in my kitchen window. There are about 9 plants in the garden now, and 2-3 more are ready each week. I have photos of how I started the plants, and I'll post more on that another time. I have had great success with my sweet potato slips, only one has died so far, and that was one that I damaged before planting it (I broke about 3/4 of the roots off--oops).

My eggplant looks awful, it is still alive, but looks about the same as it did a month ago after the hail storm.

Side note... notice how there are piles of poop all through my garden? No, we did not get a heard of miniature horses, but I did carry home four big buckets full of 'processed hay fertilizer' from my in-laws horses. My wonderful husband did not even question why there were four stinky buckets ready to be loaded into the van the last time we left their house. As long as I can keep the dog out of it, this little addition of manure seems to give the garden a bit of a boost. If the dog gets into it... yuck.

The regular potatoes are doing well, they are done flowering and now I am just waiting until the tops start to die off and we can harvest our potatoes.

My bush beans are doing great, and so far, are the star producers of the last spring garden. We are able to eat about a meals worth of beans each night with a few extra bunches to share.

This looks like an acorn squash to me, it has two small fruit on it, but I did not plant acorn squash this year... a volunteer!

The red amaranth is still growing slowly. It is supposed to get five feet tall and the new growth and seeds are edible.

Outside of the main veggie garden, I have been sneaking in edibles where ever I can. This little grouping is a strawberry, a squash plant and a bunch of chamomile. I have no idea why they are all clustered so close together.

My day lilies are all blooming and look great. This is the first year they have bloomed (I planted them in 2010). I hope they spread as the years progress, they are such a pretty and tall flower.

Here is the side garden, also called the bee garden. The tall plants in the back are Jerusalem artichokes, they are doing great this year. There is also a fig tree in there somewhere, it is just limping along. Plus some day lilies and WEEDS. Our lawn guy (our biggest luxury EVER) knows he does not have to go into this area because of hte bees, so the grass gets tall back here and makes us so thankful that the whole yard does not look like this.

Two kinds of oregano, about to bloom. The one on the right is Hilltop Oregano and it has a better smell and flavor than the one on the left (that one just said "oregano" on the tag).

One tiny little dill plant.

Parsley from seed! Hooray, parsley is hard to get to germinate, but it does so much better when grown from seed. The plants are biennial, so they will live for two years. My previous parsley plant was about 2 years old and it does not appear to be coming back this year so the timing of this is perfect. This is flat leaf parsley, before I had curled leaf parsley.

More lovely echinecia and more fertilizer.

I don't have a picture of the plant, but the blackberries have been producing as much as we can eat.

The berries are huge and delicous.

Last but not least, the paprika yarrow keeps on blooming and the color is improving as the season progresses.

Ahh May in the garden. We have had good rains about once per week (May 2nd, 12, 20, 22, I think...) but I have also had to water some to keep my plants happy.

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