Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carnations and Salad

I wish you could smell these! I enjoy these perennial carnations. Why? They come back every year and thrive in the hottest, driest spot in my garden. I just cut them back in the fall when they are all done blooming. Well, once in a while during the summer I do pluck the spent blooms and pick some for a vase. I do wish I'd planned the spot better. There is a big Rosemary bush in front of them! I didn't know the Rosemary would get that big. It was so tiny when I put it in.
An aerial view of the vegetable garden. You can see the lettuce patch has filled in pretty well. We are having salad every night. This week, I was able to add green onions from the garden to our salad. The peas in the cages are blossoming. The first set of carrots are just about ready. The beans and cucumbers are getting closer to grabbing onto their trellis at the far right. The broccoli is at the far left. I'm not sure what will happen with those, but I will keep watering them and see what they do.
In those empty looking patches are small zucchini plants and several rows of carrots and green onions whose seedlings are just starting to emerge.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who says you have to dig up tubers?

Who says you have to dig up dahlia tubers for the winter?
You know, I think that a lot of these specialty gardening rules keep people from trying to grow new plants. If I have to dig up the bulb or the tuber every single fall, and then put it back in the ground for the next spring, well, it's just not going to happen. Also, who says you can't grow dahlias from seed? I grew dwarf dahlias from seed last spring. They bloomed through the summer and fall. I didn't dig up the tubers. We had a very cold winter for around here, so I didn't know if they would come back. They are all back and thriving. So don't let some of these gardening rules keep you from trying something. Try it your way. If it works, you'll be happy. If it doesn't, oh well. Try something else.
OK so the true dahlia experts might be irritated with my attitude, but I simply don't have time to devote all my energy to my garden. I do, however, like to try growing a variety of things. I don't garden for any sort of competition; just my own happiness when I look at the pretty flowers in the yard.
I'm saying all this because the fear of imperfection can keep me from trying new things, but I'm realizing that I can just garden my way. There is no test at the end of the summer, and I am the boss so the only one I could disappoint would be myself, but I'm not going to let that happen.
Here is a rose growing in the back. It's along the sunny south wall, so it blooms pretty early and keeps blooming straight through to November. I'm torn between putting some insecticide on it or letting things be. I'm hoping to get a population of ladybugs, so I don't want to spray it. But at the same time, it's leaves are being eaten up by some sort of small green worm-like creature, and there are aphids. I'll try to spray it off with water for now. These are some tough rose bushes I have. No matter how little attention or water I give them, they keep putting out lots of roses every year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tomato Row

The peas are really getting going now. It sure took a while for the seeds to germinate. Hope it's not getting too hot for them. If I keep some laundry drying out on the line, it could help to shade them a bit.

Lettuce from legging seedlings! They look fine and we've been eating them on sandwiches and burgers. Tonight we'll have a salad of mixed greens and maybe a few shavings of radish if we're lucky. With the hot weather this week, maybe I should throw a salad party before these decide to bolt (which I now know means: "go to seed").

What a shocker yesterday! Could this be a TOMATO BLOSSOM??!! Look for that little yellow spot.

Last weekend, we had some family visit and they helped me to fill my Lowe's 5-gallon buckets with potting soil. Now all the tomatoes are lining the south wall of the house, getting plenty of sun. The house walls should keep them warmer at night too. Husband drilled holes in the bottom of the buckets and lined them with landscape fabric. Then I dumped some rocks in the bottom for better drainage before we put the soil in. I tried to bury the plants with at least 1/3 of their height in the soil.
OK, so tomatoes in 5-gallon paint buckets doesn't really go with the idea of cottage gardening in any sense, but it's a cheap solution. I got them for $2.97 a bucket. The soil near the house is awful so I'd rather them be in store-bought soil anyway.
After the whole radish problem, I'm thinking container gardening with potting soil sounds great. In fact, I think I might just go try to grow some radishes in a pot. Any ideas on how to get rid of the little white wormy thing in my garden soil that was eating into them?
Other big news: We have two blueberry bushes! We sacrificed an old rhododendron for space.
I've put out some cosmos seeds and already see some popping up. They sound like a great flower. Tolerate poor soil and drought conditions! Once they grow I'll post a picture. They get pretty tall so they should help fill in some gaps in late summer and fall.
Things to do:
1. Pot the five miniature sweet red pepper plants and put outside.
2. Plant the basil in with the tomatoes.
3. Plant the alpine strawberry seedlings in the trough outside.
4. Pull out the dried up forget-me-nots and seed with asters and sunflowers.