Saturday, April 16, 2011

Summer's Coming

Some say summer's already arrived.  And yes, the temps have crested 90 here already, but I'd still have to say its been a pleasant spring and continues to be such. 

But we did bust out the kiddie pool.  Actually bought a new one.  A small little plastic one that I feel safer with farmer boy 2 playing around.  He's not likely to venture in the water himself, but the big deep one (that has to be filled almost full to keep its form) is just not ok by me, even if I am just 100 feet away in the garden.

Given some unfortunate circumstances that have kept me inside and on the phone or flitting to various offices, the gardens have been looking quite rough.  The last of my spring seedlings were bursting from their pots.  Weeds were overtaking my canteloups.  I finally took a couple days this week to spend outside.  It was as refreshing for my emotions as it was for the plants.

A couple weeks ago, Farmer Girl and I ventured to the ag extension's Master Gardener Plant Sale.  I was in search of a loquat tree from a grower who is known for the monstrous fruit... and came away with much more. 
  • a bunching muscadine grape vine
  • a pair of kiwi vines (a male and female)
  • another pomegranate tree
  • a smattering of herbs
and of course the loquat.  Aside from the kiwi (who needs a properly built trellis), they are all in the ground and doing well.

I also managed to overhaul all the herb beds in a single day, thanks to that wonderful kiddie pool that kept all 3 gloriously entertained for 5 straight hours!  I saved some dill seed, and ripped out the rest.  Added oregano, cosmos, morning glory, creeping rosemary, basil, watercrest and peppermint in the full sun beds.  In the new shade bed I put thyme, spearmint, peppermint, oregano, watercrest, and horehound.  Obviously, some are experiments as to where they'll do best.  I'm also trying to add some color and "pretties" to fill in the bare spots in the beds near the house.  The "pretty patch" is where I grow smiles so I must confess to losing some of my utilitarian edge.  Ornamentals are certainly proving their worth 'round here.

On the food front, I got the sweet potato bed pretty well filled already.  Had way too much basil for the herb garden alone so filled a bed in the big garden too.  Got genovese, lettuce leaf and cinnamon basil varieties.  Should yield some good pesto this year.  Also got the cherry tomatoes, some okra and a few more beans in.

Then I refilled my seed planters with:
  • watermelon (blacktail mountain)- not pleased with germination before and really hoping for good fruits this year so going for a last round with seeds.
  • lima beans (christmas)
  • okra (eagle pass)*
  • eggplant (pandora striped rose)*- only 3 eggplants germinated and survived transplanting.  I'm not sure what variety I have left.  This is a new one that looks really good.
  • cantaloup (EPS)*- some seeds I got in a seed swap.  Again, I'm pretty late, but the last round of seeds wasn't impressive.  May not get anything before the pickle worm comes in, but I have the space to try.
  • amaranth (joseph's coat)*- I actually can't remember if this variety was cultivated for its looks or its greens.  I want the greens mostly, but I'm not opposed to the pretties.
  • peanuts (Virginia jumbo)*
  • zinnia (giant violet queen)
  • morning glory (kikyozaki)
  • dwarf coffee plant- 3rd time's a charm... something will HAVE to germinate at some point.
  • marigold (harlequin)
  • sunflower (teddy bear)
More "firsts" this week were picking the first wonderberries, tiny little dark barries that are tastey, but not spectacular.  Will be fun for the kids; once I point them out I won't get to harvest another.  Also cooked out first zucchini and yellow squash of the year a few days ago.  Added zucchini to tonight's pizza (topped with homemade goat cheese!)  Guessing another week or so out on our first tomatoes.

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