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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25 Friday Farming

I keep promising Friday Farming posts, and then not following through. Sorry, I have a lot on my plate. But I'm doing them so that I have a record of what worked, what didn't, and what to do next year. To that end, I'll break this up by what's working, and what's not.

Front yard containers of tomatoes and companion starts.  So far, the gophers are ignoring them, and the potting soil is helping them grow well.

The tomatoes are starting to blossom.

And companion plants of chives, basil, cilantro and spinach are doing okay.

In the back garden, in the clay-soil, despite the gopher invasion, all of the squash plants still have their flowers.

The sweet corn, initially tasty to the gophers, seems to be holding it's own against them: 
And, despite having only one leaf, the pepper plant seems to be blossoming okay! I'm doubtful it will set fruit, and actually purchased a few more pepper plants to add to this container tonight.

The onions continue to be gopher-proof.

And, the asparagus is coming through. I need to fill the trench in a little bit this weekend.

In terms of flowers, as usual, the petunias in pots on the back deck are rocking, where they're not being munched on by the GDgophers.

The lilac bush that DJ's mom gave us last fall is juuuuusssttt starting to blossom. I cut a few branches of it and brought them inside for indoor flowers.

The hydrangea bush is doing okay. I finally figured out that the blossoms on the plant when we planted it aren't going to actually blossom out, but the plant is growing new branches and those branches will blossom. So, like the lilacs, I cut the old ones last night and brough them inside, in order to let these blossoms take off:

The iris bulbs mom gave me from the lake are surprising. Some of them, on the left side of the front porch, are growing well.

And I'd given the bulbs on the right side of the stoop up for dead. I thought they, like most of the other bulbs, were to waterlogged from before we had gutters last fall and hadn't made it through the winter. I actually pulled most of the other bulbs out and threw them away. I left these in because I thought I saw a single shoot coming up. A month later, I guess the bulbs did survive! Which means, there is probably a nice iris bulb patch starting somewhere in the landfill...

The first one to bloom will likely be the one along the east deck.

And, the raspberry sticks aren't totally dead! Well... at least two of the four seem to have made it, shooting new growth up from the bottom.

Now for what's not working:
Direct seeding into the ground. This is like the third round of chives, shallots, cilantro, and basil I've tried to plant into the ground. Big, fat FAIL. I'm uncertain as to if it's our clay-ey ground, or the GDgophers.
Also kind of a fail? Me for not understanding our drip sytstem as I planted the garden. The drip system runs east to west. I planted in north south rows, which means that watering is, um, not exactly hitting the mark. Brillant Courtney, brilliant.

The east facing bed along the driveway. I had big plans for this bed. a riod of colors. Climbing sweet peas. maybe a clematis. Instead, it's currently got the remnants of the muscari bulbs that need to be cleaned up, some zinnias that don't seem to be growing, and larkspur that is also, not really growing. The sweet peas I planted are being eaten by the gophers, and this bed is generally a big diassapointment. 

So what have I learned at this point? Well, clearly direct seeding into the ground isn't working for me. Starts are the way to go, which is why I've got one more round of sugar snap peas, zinnias and some groundcover going.

Clearly container gardening is a more successful endeavour for me. And, bulbs, shrubs and other perennials seem to be more gopher resistant that annual plants. I'm already thinking about changes I want to make this fall to the bulb beds; specifically, adding summer-blooming bulbs like irises, dahlias, and peonies to the east-facing and corner beds. Hopefully I can con more irises from my mom, or from other friends who need to divide theirs.

The learning curve is steep this summer!

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