Sunday, June 25, 2017

What A Little Rain Can Do

 We had a few cool days with some rain & then the temperatures warmed up again, which means that the gardens are fairly exploding right now!

I'm trying my hand at broccoli & we'll see if they grow heads that we can harvest. I would like to try sprouting broccoli next year & I'm tempted to start nibbling on the leaves right now to add different flavours to our meals.

The kale mix are also producing nicely too. I still prefer winter kale over the summer grown plants - slightly sweeter & far fewer insects. With the summer season upon us, I am already starting to think of what I can have in the gardens to help us through the autumn & winter. I'm going to be seeding more kale for sure!

 The potatoes are growing daily & I'm rather impressed that they are doing so buried under the wood shavings. I've run out of shavings & I'm not sure I can pile much more up on top the of the plants - I should look for some extra wood to place in front so that I can fill in that space.

I've planted dill seeds in that space in front, so will wait to see if they sprout before expanding the potatoes too much more.

The lettuce plants are growing almost faster than we can harvest & eat them! I make wonderful huge leafy salads for lunches & dinners & underneath these plants I have some zesty salad seeds starting to grow, which I hope will feed us later into the summer. But I'm forgetting that the summers on this side of the island are hotter & sunnier than the ones I had back on the west side of the island. I might not be able to grow salads for too much longer unless they are under other plants in slightly shadier & cooler conditions.

We are still enjoying the spinach & it is growing in a good spot in the veggie bed where it is sheltered by the peas on one side & the tall potatoes on the other. I will be sowing more spinach when the cooler weather returns as I am so amazed at the incredible flavour of fresh-from-the-garden spinach over what you can get at the grocery store.

The veggie bed is constantly changing with harvests & fresh seeding or plantings. It is a growing, living thing that I am enjoying so much once again.

I also rather appreciate the California poppies growing in between the flagstones in the middle.

And a random squash has sprouted there too. I'm not sure if it is pumpkin or another variety, but now that I'm remembering what used to be in the spot last year, I do recall that I had composted 2 pumpkins here last winter before we cleared the area in preparation of building the bed.

Will be interesting to see if I get a pumpkin!

Wonder what else will get growing...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I can Almost Taste the Sweetness

 I've never grown strawberries on purpose before.

They were always accidental finds tucked away from the main growing space.

This year, I dug them up & planted them specifically to see if I could indeed grow them mindfully.

They are slightly behind in the growing season - pretty much like everything in my yard - but I enjoy watching the process.

 I put down a thin layer of wood shavings to assist in keeping the weeds down & the moisture in.

So far, the dog has ignored the plants & I have no intention of sharing our crop with her. If I'm able to encourage more plants to grow in the wild corners of the yard, I might be more inclined to let her have one or two.

We have some hot weather coming this week, so hopefully the berries will pop & we'll be able to enjoy them soon!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thinning the Apples

 Yesterday I came across several articles about thinning out apples on backyard apple trees & I knew this was something I had to do this year in a more serious manner than what I did last year.

I think I had to do an emergency thinning last year in mid-July as the tree was almost uprooting itself due to such a heavy load of fruit!

But learning how to let go of a potential fruit is a tough thing to do! Making that decision of which one to remove & which one to keep...

~ sigh ~

 So I carefully removed the smallest fruits, the ones with blemishes or insect damage & I checked the whole tree for general health & removed some of the new growth in order to keep it compact for the space in which it is growing.

I do think this year we might have to find some support system for the tree as it just doesn't seem to be rooted very strong & the winds really do blow it around. Will do yet more research on this & hopefully a couple of lines attached to the fence will assist in keeping the tree from tipping over later in the year.

As you can see, there are some sizeable apples I removed & it looks like a lot. *it is a lot!!!*

I'm looking forward to eating some fresh crunchy apples later on this year & hopefully, we'll come up with a better idea of what variety they are!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Eating Green Things

 Am finally eating green things from the garden again!

How I missed it over the last 2 years!

Since I don't yet have the room to start my own seeds earlier in the season indoors, I purchased quite a few veggie starts to get things going until the seeds I planted directly in the gardens could grow & start providing food for us.

The lettuce leaves are so tender & delicious that it is hard to not eat them before bringing them inside to share in a meal!

I tried growing Swiss chard last fall as a winter veggie, but the winter was rather harsh and we didn't have much of an opportunity to eat it before it all died.
Right now, they are doing very well & I'm making more of an effort to eat it in different ways in order to enjoy it fresh. I'd rather not harvest it to put in the freezer right now, unless it starts to grow crazy fast & we are unable to keep up with it.

Fresh is best!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Growing Peas on a Bamboo Trellis

 The veggie garden is starting to fill out & I'm always learning new things about how to grow things.

Last year we grew sweet peas in front of the lattice panels we installed but I had to tie them up. I guess the little tendrils of the peas didn't like the larger size of the lattice slats.

This year, I'm growing sugar peas, shelling peas & the sweet peas again, but have decided to try using a bamboo trellis to get the peas to twine up & around something a little smaller.

I pushed the bamboo stakes (which around about 7 or 8 feet long) into the garden soil at an angle & made a weave fence that supports itself & should be strong enough to hold all the peas (& now pickling cucumbers I just seeded).

I'm curious to see which of the vertical growing supports the peas will choose this year.

Things are still slow to take off with the peas and I'm sure once they do, we'll be eating peas almost non-stop for a few weeks.

The dog will be so happy to have peas again!

I can't wait to see what this area will look like in a month.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Start of the Apples

The apple tree survived the winter & had a large spring bloom. It looks like it was successfully pollinated too, so after the June Drop, I still might have to go in and remove a few apples from each spur. 

Last year we were concerned that the poor tree was going to tip over & uproot itself due to the large amount of quite large apples, so this year we are going to remove more & see what happens. We might have to anchor the tree towards the time when the apples become large & start to ripen. 

Right now I can see that the tree is putting on a new growth of branches, so I'll have to do some more research to find out how & when to prune the tree to keep it manageable. 

But we are looking forward to home-grown apples & maybe this year we will figure out what variety they are!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Garden Blooms

Just a few shots of what else is blooming in the yard.

~ California poppy in the sandy stones of the veggie bed  ~

~ cranesbill geranium  out in the front garden ~

~ annual poppy grows where it wants - this one is in a potted maple ~

~ Sweet Williams - such fragrance! Hope to grow many more ~