Friday, April 23, 2010

The Edible Garden- and flowers

If you haven't yet decided to participate in Good Life {Eats} 'GrowCookEat' then you should head on over to the blog to see all the wonderful gardening posts :) And maybe participate in her Mother's Day Giveaways!

But on to my garden, and how it is fairing :) It was a good week for eating the garden- the kids got their first strawberries :) I am fairly sure this is the first time they have picked strawberries and eaten them straight from our garden :)

I decided that this was a fairly momentous occasion, so I managed to get the kids to post with their strawberries just before they picked them!

The verdict? "Delicious!", "Sweet!", "Juicy!".

Is it usual for us to get such early strawberries? Well usually not quite this early- but remember these ones came from the garden centre with some flowers already! However, the next strawberries will be ones that grew here. From the already started plants. Oh well, maybe I can't say they are all ours this year, but next...

You can also see some of my herbs in the pictures. Next to my son you can just spot the chives- I used those a couple of times this week as a garnish... once for a baked potato and another time for soup. Cheddar Potato soup to be precise... it is absolutely delicious!

There are some more chives next to my daughter- those are garlic chives. I have yet to do anything with those this year- I want them to recover after their being transplanted! You can also see the basil I am growing- I LOVE basil in the summer. Especially with tomatoes and mozarella cheese... mmmmm!

Speaking of tomatoes...

I always buy my tomatoes as plants- I just do not have the spot to grow them as seeds.
Plus I need at most, two plants. Only my daughter and I eat them anyway... and I have no space for storage of canned tomatoes. Although that is something to consider...
I digress. These are my sungold tomatoes- they are the best tasting cherry tomato EVER! I had to buy the hugest tomato plant because the small ones were already sold out! But that is OK. I got them- and they are already blooming!
I'll tell you a secret though- I have babies cropping up all over the garden from last year's plants ;) I planted one in the herb garden just to see if it would grow.

The tomatoes are blooming before the peas!! But the peas are doing well- since the weather cooled down. I added some extra string to my trellis so the peas could grow- and you can see the Swiss Chard coming up next to them too :)

This will eventually be given over to a later summer crop- perhaps of squash, (winter) or something that grows fast!

Maybe cucumbers!
The rain we had earlier this week has done some good though- look, Limas!
I planted these especially for my husband, who is a huge fan of them. They really don't produce much though- like peas you have to plant a lot to get a decent crop. I never seem to plant enough (and in case you wonder, I pretty much empty the pea packet!).

They are not the only beans sprouting in the garden though... you can also see blue lake green beans...

Yes, they look very much alike at this stage. However they are in totally different square foot gardens and I marked them so as to not forget which I planted where ;)

These ones are in the same garden I planted my carrots in- which are also doing well :)

As you can see. They are baby carrots, so I am hoping it wont get too hot for them too soon. I am always so happy to see them. Unfortunately, so are the swallowtails!

The bed next door is now sprouting corn. They are tiny yet, but there they are.
I need to thin them out this weekend...

The rainbow beets are taking off...

 are the lettuces and spinaches. For some reason I forgot to photograph the spinach. I think I'll be able to harvest some lettuce leaves soon though ;)

You can just about see two spinach plants growing in the second square from the back on the left. Those grassy things are my shallots. A couple did not come up, and I am considering planting my garlic in those spots if I still see no signs of life...
The garlic is stuff from the fridge that sprouted. I put it in some water and it took off!

Raspberry season is just around the corner- and you can see my raspberries are ready to go :) Look closer and you can see the berry part. I think they bloomed when I wasn't looking! These plants were given to me by a dear friend, and they produce twice a year- isn't that a great gift? :)

They sit next to this lady, who was also a gift :) This is an Elderberry- and look she is getting ready to flower. I am thinking of moving her over some so she can have a bit more room.
The raspberries have gotten quite thick, and I think they could use a trellis :)

Lest you think the garden is ALL food, I wanted to share some of the other wonders in it- like the flowering comfrey. I know, I know, I really shouldn't let the herbs flower... but I love the flowers on comfrey, and I love the bumblebees guarding it!!

This blue beauty was the first of the irises to bloom. It used to be in my Mother-in-Law's garden, but my husband took it after she died. It sits in the bed with some other irises we rescued :) I also have one from a friend in there, but I am not sure which it is or what colour it is, so theoretically this might be it anyway :)

These yellow ones were also rescued from my Mother-in-Law's garden. They stand in front of some peonies (we also have some of those from MIL's garden, but not these ones) and an heirloom rose. Far in the background you can see the wonderful robin-egg blue pot that my tomato is in :) It sits under the pawpaw for now :)

I have no idea what this iris is. We planted it ages ago and forgot about it- it has a stunning triple bloom- very pretty!

It sits amongst the creeping phlox in the fountain garden- where the spiderwort is now blooming :)

The roses are starting to bloom. This is Rosa damascena versicolor- otherwise known as the Tudor Rose. It has the most wonderful fragrance, and is supposed to get about 5 foot tall. At MOST. This one is about 12 feet tall- and I could not reach this rose to smell it, I had to reach my arms up to get the photo- and the rose is not at the top of the plant!

The periwinkle or Vinca major is also in bloom- a carpet of green leaves studded with blue flowers. They were originally supposed to grow around the mailbox, but they no longer do, because we moved the mailbox. They have spread so far though, that I am sure they'll get back to it soon :) These were gifts from my Mother-in-Law's garden :)

With all the flowers, it is to be expected that there will be a visitor or two to them.
I saw the first hummingbird at our feeder in the last week. He was pitifully thin from his long trip, but there he was.
I had had my feeder up for a good week or so already, so I was prepared- unlike last year when he kept hovering around the window trying to tell us to supply his food ;)

They are not alone in the garden either. In fact, the garden has been harbouring a thief!
The other day, I came out to find one of my square foot garden grids all messed up... and I blamed the kids or a dog, not thinking too much about it. The grids are made of string this year, and before I bought my skewers to use as stakes, I had used some plant tags...
The following day, my daughter asked me "what is that in the tree?".
There was a robin, trying to get some string- and not just any string, but some from my garden!! She had managed to get it stuck in the tree- and if you look in the lower half of the photo- dead centre, you can see the plant tag hanging from the barely visible string. Sorry about the photo quality, but it was a rainy day! She kept attacking the string and trying to take it up to her nest- but to no avail.
I suspect she was a first timer, because about 30 minutes later, her nest fell out of the tree!
Here you can see it on the ground- complete with pieces of string and pine needles. She had not finished it yet, so at least there were no eggs!
There is also a piece of wool from my spinning stash. I still wonder how that got outside...

Well that's the garden so far :) Happy Gardening everyone!


amandablair said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you suggested checking out your garden for ideas. I absolutely love this journal of your garden and will enjoy going through the archives.

I really like all of your pathways running through the gardens. This morning I am watering our lawn and finding that I have to be very careful not to drench the gardens, avoiding the spray of the sprinkler. I wonder how our grass in the area will do with less water. Stone or pebble paths may be an idea.

Spinneretta said...

Glad to help Mary :) I'll be posting an update later too- I am 'trying' to document it all this year for my own sake as well as other local gardeners (and not so local gardeners LOL).

My paths are varied- the white stones are moulded concrete- we have a mould for them.

The gravel is nice and I have considered mulch too. A good cheap option is also 'stone dust'- it is like very fine gravel and easy to maintain.

Jennifer Gregory Miller said...

Such lovely gardens, Rachel! I do the SFG method, too. Is your trellis for your peas your own design, or from SFG? I need to do that this year.

I keep putting my zucchini and squash flat on the ground but they do go crazy. Going up would be smarter.

Spinneretta said...

Jennifer: the pea trellis came from the garden centre. This year everywhere has such wonderful colours for garden stuff- I want some colourful tomato cages too ;) The design of it is based on the SFG method- they advocate a netting- so I took the really cool tomato tower, set it out straight instead of in it's rectangular shape, and added a couple of extra rows of strings so the peas could grow up it!

Most of the zucchini and squash plants I get are a sprawling bush form- I really think the vertical aspect is much nicer ;)