Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taking Time to Smell the Rain

Well, we have another rainy weekend ahead of us. Mother Nature must feel I really need the time to think & plan out my veggie gardens for this year!!

I've been doing a lot of Internet reading of other gardening sites, re-reading a lot of my magazines & catalogues & as you can see...I did some updates on the blog site. I will see how I like the new colours, fonts & background - it just might change again!

What I should do is head outside today with my camera to take some photos.  I actually just ran out with the camera as there was a break in the rain & I've got lots of photos to post!

I've done a whole lot of bramble (blackberry cane) clearing along the whole one side of the property & I've planted 4 gunnera already, plus some cuttings of red elderberry & white butterfly bush. In the photo - looks dreadful - but eventually there will be a proper line of elderberry shrubs. The husband still needs to figure out what to do with the truck topper & I've got a bit more hacking to do (on the right by the truck topper).

I've also mostly filled 2 new raised beds in the front yard & am trying the lasagna style of gardening. Well, actually, I'm filling it up this year with any clippings I gather from the yard including grass clippings (that I don't use as mulch on the rest of the beds) & a whole whack of leaf mold & layers of newspaper in between it all. I might not put any soil on it this year as all that matter is going to compost & break down & shrink... ~cringe~

You spend all that time filling in a box with matter & by the next year, it's only half full!! But that's one of the things I'm learning out here - we need to grow our own soil as there isn't much around to be had.

But the big thing that I did yesterday was to draw out a map of the veggie beds & start to figure out what can go where. I'll have to sit back & mull on it a while, but things are going to be much more simple! Really - they will be!! I've got a lot of room to play around with - 6 raised beds!!

But for now, the rains are cleaning the windows, creating soggy puddles in the yard & encouraging things to grow. Where's my camera....I think I'll head out for a bit!! I'm back & here's what's popping up:

 I planted garlic some time ago - like, 2010?? And just never knew when to harvest it. Plus I planted it at the wrong time of year - in the spring instead of in the fall. I am quite pleased to see they came back up this spring & I will definite harvest it this year!

The gooseberries are simply astonishing me! They are so much happier in their new homes, even though they've only been there for a month. It certainly helps that the soil is more fertile (black instead of red) & I've fed them a couple times already. The mulch should last at least til the middle of the summer before I need to reapply more. Now...are they red or white gooseberries?? I've not seen the parent shrub in fruit, so don't really know what I should be expecting!

Does anyone else grow lovage? Or use Maggi Seasoning in their cooking? It's a staple in my house - something I grew up with (Dutch heritage) & I can't wait to be able to harvest some fresh leaves to add to my spring salads. A great sharp flavour that is reminiscent of celery or even certain soup flavours (especially if you grew up with turkey meatball soup!)

Now my plants grow very differently than my mother's. Her's lives at the corner of the house in a very dry spot & reaches 6 to 8 feet in height in some years! The seed heads resemble dill & the stalks become very bamboo-like & hollow. Mine has never grown taller than a foot & a half & nary a sign of a seed head either. But then again, it's grown in a super-soggy spot...

I put my rhubarb under cover (the one on the left is under a blue tote & the one on the right is under a black bucket) on February 21st. As you can see, they are very close to being cramped in their quarters. I just might have to do a very small harvest of the tallest stalks in the next few days... Usually I'm harvesting later on in March, but a spring tonic made with fresh rhubarb at this time of year could be in the stars!

This heather has been blooming for a few months now & was the place where I saw my first wild bee back in February. I should really get a few more of them around the property as their hit of colour at this time of year is great & I'm sure the bees find them necessary feeding spots.

My peonies are starting to sprout too.

Now, if I can only figure out how to get them to flower. They are still relatively new & it might take another year or 2 before they decide to flower, but what if they are too deep? Then I have to dig them all back up (there are 11 plants) & wait another 3 or 4 years...

I got some perennial bachelor button plants from a neighbour a couple years ago. They are the flowers that look like blue spiders...I should think about dividing the plants up & moving them around to more moist areas.

Pickwick crocus are one of my favourites. I think it's pretty interesting that of the crocus I have, the yellow bloom first (February 1st every year for at least 4 years on this site), then come the giant purples, then the Pickwick & finally the whites.

 Fortunately the deer have been leaving the crocus alone - but I have noticed a few bulbs have been pulled out of the ground & the leaves neatly clipped off. I have the feeling these might be grape hyacinths as the bulbs are considerably larger than crocus bulbs...

I am going to have to start mapping out my flower beds instead of putting things in willy-nilly. One such plant that I put all over the place are the tiger lilies. They put out black seeds in the crooks of their leaves & when I do my late summer walk-abouts, I end up with handfuls of these seeds which I then start to stab in all over the place. It usually takes a couple years for them to bloom, but they come up quite reliably everywhere I've put them! I need to start making more sense of my random beds - at least even out the clumps of plants!

 The Hens & Chicks survived the winter weather & are starting to show off their colours. I've got lots of different kinds in small nooks & crannies & I think this year I might start spreading them out to use as fillers.

There's where the map would come in handy...

So, that was my quick 5 minute rain-break outside today.

Right now, I'm back to making 2 double batches of marmalade... I hope I have enough jars!

1 comment:

Vancouver Isle Doug said...

Just stumbled on your blog and will have to dive into it later tonight. It is sunny down here in East Sooke, although Mark Madriga was calling for a rainy weekend.