Sunday, May 31, 2015

Front vegetable beds

I didn't expect to have sugar snap peas coming in at the end of May, delaying the planting of beans, but the cool mild spring has kept them growing.

With a forecast of mild days and afternoon thundershowers ahead, I went ahead and sowed climbing squash seeds on the front trellises, with some trepidation. 

They're mildew-resistent varieties, so I'm hoping they'll look decent (unlike a few years ago, when I had huge squash leaves to "edit" constantly in the front, as they were so unsightly....)  They're also unusual varieties -- an Indian C. moschata cultivar called Tinda and another C. moschata cultivar from Mexico called 'Tatume'--hopefully both will resist the squash vine borers!

I'm also going to plant tromboncino squash later on-- it's another good alternative for traditional summer squash (which ALWAYS succumbs to borers here, at least without exceptional coddling and row covers, in my experience).   

Here's a selection of tromboncino (and other) squash musings from previous posts.  It's always revealing to look back on what happened in previous years.  Hmm, it was the tromboncino that I had to keep editing the old ratty mildewed leaves, and vowed never again....

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Battening down the vegetable garden

This is NOT a good time to be leaving my vegetable beds for a couple of weeks, even if it'll be a glorious time to be visiting gardens in Toronto during the Garden Blogger's Fling.

The sugar snap peas have just started to produce (amazing for late May).  I've underplanted them with beans, which have emerged quite nicely, but they'll really need the gardener's hands to be trained up the trellises.  I've harvested all of the young perennial leeks of any size, leaving more than enough to spread around when I get back.

I'd like to sow squash seeds now, too, but am worried about enough moisture supporting them while we're I'm going to wait.  It's been so cool this spring, it hasn't really been good planting weather before now.  The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are in place and growing well, so that's good.

The tiny basil seedlings in flats that have just emerged... hmm, what was I thinking?  Time enough to sow another round when we return. They're on their own.

Yes, we have folks keeping tabs on the house and indoor plants, and a friend will water, too, when she's in town on market day,  but the swapping of cool season to warm season is not so easy.

I harvested all of the "outside" lettuce and kale leaves today, and all of the turnip greens, along with the sugar snap peas that have matured so far. The greens and peas were a lovely addition to our dinner this evening, eaten at home after a number of days eating out, with guests, programs, etc. and before a couple of weeks of the same ahead.
Welsh onions from a couple of years ago

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Remembering the mountains

I was thinking about the mountains in South America today - we were describing our trip last winter to our visiting relatives (my dad and his wife).
They were spared the digital version of our "slideshow" from the trip, which actually would have been quite nice; I would have enjoyed it!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

A robust hemlock and flame azalea in full flower

Adding plants...

This Eastern hemlock and Rhododenron calendulaceum (in flower) have flourished in the side garden between our house and the neighbors.

We're flanked by a rental house on one side and a probably century-old brick apartment building on the other; we've been cleaning up and gardening on both sides (with the owners' blessings), with lots of native plants and others, since we first bought this house over 7 years ago.

It's amazing now to reflect on what a transformation that it's been so far.

That's the magic of gardening!


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A lovely white rose

When the Garden Blogger's Fling was in Asheville a few years ago, I was lucky enough to win a gift certificate from a rose grower as a raffle gift.  She was a Florida rose grower who grew all sorts of heirloom roses, etc.

I'm not a rose person who's willing to coddle them, so I picked the hardiest white climbing rose that she had in her catalog.

It's done just fine.  It drops all of its leaves early due to some sort of leaf spot, but flowers quite nicely.  This spring is the best ever!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Bird communication

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and eggplant

I finally managed to snag warm-season transplants last week, and they're now in the ground (with the usual dance around spinach, lettuce, garlic, and the peas that are finally growing rapidly -- probably just to be zapped by hot dry weather).

Soon to follow are the direct-seeded warm season veggies, although not that many. 

I sorted through my seeds today, matching up space to seed and will need to be careful.  I'm mindful of climbing squash in the front garden looking AWFUL in mid-season, because of powderly mildew!

I think I'll sow pole beans of various sorts tomorrow, set up additional trellises, and do a woodchuck barrier in the lower bed, so it might actually be productive, too.

My gardening companion disturbed the woodchuck burrow this afternoon, but I know that s/he will have multiple tunnels.  S/he ate our neighbor's tomato plants a couple of days ago.  I wouldn't have thought that tomato foliage would be high on a woodchuck food preference list, but perhaps they're hungry...

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Chives and vegetables

The chives that I brought last year (from dividing long-established plants) are huge, witness to the power of organic fertilizer, I suppose. 

They were never this big in my Piedmont beds, which were amended, but obviously not as well as I thought!

chives in flower
I've already planted the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant (as well as herbs) that I snagged at the Mountain Herb Festival this last weekend at the WNC Farmer's Market. 

I tried to be moderate and select an appropriate variety for the space that I have, and what we really like to eat- cherry (Sweet Million and Black Cherry), slicing tomatoes (a variety) as well as paste tomatoes (an improved San Marzano) for roasting and freezing.  The peppers included an ancho and a Romano pepper which sounded like my favorite pizza peppers (which I would have grown from seed if I'd time).  I may still do some peppers from seed (there's usually plenty of warm season growing time, even here in the mountains).

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