Friday, May 21, 2010

Plants & Pipes: Things Are Growing

These pictures are from May 19. The garden has received regular rain.

This basil self seeded from last year's plants. It's healthier and bigger than the seeds I planted myself.

The sage is lush and the purple blooms are evident. When the flowers dry, you can collect the round, black seeds and plant new sage plants.

This is a sunflower plant that also self seeded, probably thanks to a bird visiting a birdfeeder. It's over 3' tall now.

This is a bloom on the snap pea plant. They're climbing as they can. The longest is close to 3' tall.

This jalepeno plant looks good so far. Last year I didn't get much of a crop, so I hope this year is better. I like to put a few slices on sandwiches and nachos. The wife has a delicate palate and does not want added heat.

Our lettuce looks better. This variety is supposed to be more heat resistent. The temperature is supposed to reach the low 90s this weekend, so we'll see. One of the wife's co-workers gave us a large head of romaine-type lettuce from his garden. Once we finish that, we'll move to our own.

This is a transplanted okra seedling. I bought a few plants to get a jump on the harvest.
And this is a seedling from seeds I planted the week before. We'll see if the plants I started can catch up with the ones I bought and transplanted.

This shows the net fencing I installed to keep the dogs out of the garden. So far it's worked. No Alys-abducted asparagus, no deep holes dug, no uprooted transplants, and no unauthorized "fertilizing" from my canine helpers.

Alys is thwarted by the fence. She's not happy. She wants to help father with the garden.

So she takes her frustrations out on the pipe. Alys and Zoe attack each end of this section of drain pipe. Occasionally, chipmunks will run through the pipe going from one hole to another. I think the dogs smell them and really go after the pipe. Zoe just bites the pipe and barks; Alys bites it and shakes it vigorously left and right. They wear themselves out doing this.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Garden Report

Some things are happing in the garden. I didn't do a traditional spring garden this year, but some fruits of previous years' labors are evident.
Rosemary is a perenial herb and usually survives our winters. We use it a lot with roasted or mashed potatoes, chicken, and lamb.

The sage survived and is now blooming. The purple flowers are a favorite with bees.

The oregano came back with a vengeance. It will take over a garden area like mint does.
Speaking of mint.... I've cut several sprigs to make mint tea.

Our dill self seeded and is lush with growth. I've cut several sprigs to put in salads at night. If only the cucumbers were ready now.

Our cilantro also self seeded. We've enjoyed that with some sauteed fresh corn the wife fixed and in salads.

I planted some sugar snap pea seeds this spring, but I may have started them too late. They don't like hot weather. We'll see.

We also planted lettuce. It's nice to pick your salad fresh that day.

The big hit so far is asparagus. We've enjoyed fresh asparagus for the past several weeks. Two years ago when we started the garden, I planted some asparagus roots. Last year I planted some more. The older ones are producing well.

I cut the spears when they're 9-10" tall. The spears need to be thicker than a pencil. We would have enjoyed more, were it not for our newfound imp...

named Alys. She looks innocent enough. You wouldn't think she'd pester her sister, dig in the garden, hop in the compost bin to enjoy vegetable scraps, and eat asparagus, but I've caught her doing all of that. The other day I caught her in the asparagus bed munching on a fresh spear. She didn't even ask for butter or lemon. Earlier I saw a partial spear in the lawn and didn't make the connection. And I had several cut spears in a cup of water by the back door. She helped herself to one of those, too. Her latest transgression was digging up a just-transplanted tomato plant. I'm having to fence the garden to keep her out. On the positive side, she does deter squirrels and chipmunks. She left one chipmunk carcass by the back door and delivered another to us in the kitchen. No, I didn't prepare sauteed chipmunk!
I've transplanted tomato, squash, cucumber, and okra plants. I need to sow more okra and green bean seeds. We'll see how they do.