Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Tonight on our walk I noticed the wildflowers looked particularly spectacular, so I made a quick dash home for my camera. When I look at scenes like these, I wish I could paint.
This field looks like it is predominately Indian Paintbrush until you look closer and see the Wine Cup, Pink Evening Primrose, and Spiderwort.
At home, I'm forever pulling out Wild Onions. The white flowers are pretty, but the plants pop up everywhere driving me crazy. Here in this curbside setting, they work with these Bluebonnets and Spiderwort.
Here's an interesting tidbit about Bluebonnets that you may not know. Bluebonnets that have not been pollinated have a white center. After pollination the center turns red signally bees to move on to a different flower. See if you can pick out the red and white centers in the closeups below.
There are so many beautiful wildflowers, but here's one of my top 10. I've always known it by the common name, False Indigo, Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea. I've also heard it called Ground Wisteria, which is probably due to the clusters of flowers which hang on the plant pulling it downward. Most of these plants have finished blooming, but I found a few stragglers to share with you.
Cream False Indigo is a member of the pea family. The plants are well-rounded and bushy, measuring about 1-2 feet tall. The bumble bees love them and I do too.
Friday, March 16, 2012
I need space for the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and green beans that I want to plant, so I need to take a hard look at the best candidates for removal. While I find some space and prepare the garden beds, tomato, pepper and basil transplants wait in 1 gallon pots in the greenhouse.
Some removal decisions are easy. The broccoli, which started flowering when temperatures warmed up, was bee food and then chicken food. I cut down the plants one by one and fed them to the girls who really seemed to enjoy them.
I have 4 heads of cabbage left, 2 red and 2 green. I grew extra cabbage for the chickens, because they love it so much. When one of the green cabbage heads split, it was easy to decide, which one was going to the girls. The remaining head of green cabbage and the 2 red will go into the fridge assuming I can find space.
These English peas will stay, but some surprise 'wormy' visitors have taken over my lettuce. I could treat for caterpillars with BT, but in this heat, it won't be long before the lettuce bolts and gets bitter. It's probably best to give it to the chickens. Wow, I'm sensing a trend here. Those chickens are going to be eating good.
I can definitely harvest the last of the spinach, beets and radishes. The beets will make a nice side dish and the spinach and radishes will go into salads.
The artichokes are definitely staying. I planted these back in November and there are already 4 baby artichokes and hopefully lots more to come.
|Photo from November 2011|
|Photo from March 2012|
|Baby Artichoke Developing|
On the left half of the garden, working from the front of the photo below, the freshly dirted potatoes will stay, but the bed containing the Brussels Sprouts will get cleared out. The next bed containing the broccoli has already been cleaned out. Behind the broccoli is the garlic, which will stay, followed by the cabbage, which will get cleared out. Finally, way in the back, the peas will stay, but the lettuce will get cleared out.
On the right half of the garden, another bed of potatoes, is not quite visible at the front of the photo. I planted one bed with white potatoes and the other with red. The primary rutabaga bed at the front of the photo is looking pretty picked over. Just 6 more rutabaga left and I can clear this bed out. Behind the rutabaga, a bed containing a mix of beets, spinach and radishes will go. The next bed contains onions, followed by a bed containing my beautiful kale and more rutabaga. I'll try to keep these in place for as long as possible. The final bed in the back contains the artichokes, which will stay.
In August, when the garden is fairly empty, filling the beds with tasty cabbages and rutabagas is a no brainer. But, in March, when many of the winter plants are still producing, it's tough to decide what goes and what stays. Of course, the ultimate solution is to expand, and you can bet, I'm already trying to figure that one out.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Chinese Wisteria is an aggressive vine that should be grown with care. My best advice is to keep it pruned and provide a strong support. I'll have more pictures of this plant in the next couple of weeks as it fills my arbor with massive quantities of flowers. The picture below is of a smaller plant that I'm growing in a pot as I attempt to train it into a topiary form.
This Blue Ajuga was just planted last summer, but it's already putting out plenty of those great sapphire blue flowers that I love.
Rainbow Ajuga doesn't have fancy flowers, but it's attractive foliage provides interest all year long.