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

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24 Friday Farming

I think one of my favorite things, thus far, about farming/ growing flowers, is that you're never done. I'm always looking ahead to what will bloom next, or the produce which will be edible next. I like that something changes every day. 

I think we've made huge strides in the garden this year. Obviously taking the time to till in 3 yards of compost and 2 of peat moss has set our garden up to be more successful. I'm also really pleased with the lawn-cliping much system. It was in the 80's on Wednesday, and the ground under the mulch, near the tomato plants, was still damp. Tomatoes love heat, but they still need moisture. I think we're doing a good job of not wasing our water resources.

And hey, I finally beat the gophers to the lettuce. First (and maybe only) home-grown salad of the year: a mix of spinach, bibb and buttercrunch lettuce.

My friend Shannon gave me a bunch of iris splits last July. The majority of them are taking the first year to get established before blooming, but some are showing off flowers. Pretty!

The darker purple irises are splits from my mom, from our lake place.

I like having flowers by the front steps. It's cheery and welcoming.

The allium, behind the irises, are dying out. It's the weirdest thing; about half of the allium shot up blooms. The other half (sometimes the same plant) shot up these werid almost-bloom things.

I'm giving it one more shot at seed-starting. It's warm enough now that I don't have to drag them in and out each night. I threw one last round of basil, larkspur, zinnia and snapdragon seeds in there on Wednesday night.

 Some are already spouting! Goes to show you, I definitely don't have sufficient sunlight to start seeds indoors in the spring without help of a grow light.

Check out these larkspur! I'll transplant them this weekend.

To the right of the steps.

To the left of the steps. I'm going to have a couple of vacant spaces once the irises die back. We're discussing putting evergreens in around the steps.

The front-yard spinach has already gone to seed. I'm not sure how I feel about this experiment. They grew well, but not well enough to provide twice weekly salads. By the time they were big enough to give good leaves, it was too hot in their south-facing, black containers and they bolted. The bell pepper is loving the heat though.

Powerbox bed. Three different groups of irises are getting started in this bed, so in the future there will be great flowers in here.

The ornamental grasses are taking off too. Hopefully next year the Russian sage between the boxes will be huge. How much do you love the autumn joy sedum in the front?!

Check out the blossom on my "cherry bomb" pepper!

Along the driveway, you can see that the cilantro has also gone to seed. I'll let this plant fully seed out, as cilantro produces coriander seeds, which are useful in cooking.

I'm loving the progress my bee balm is making!

This is another flower garden which will be improved next year, when these irises flower. I really want to plant the big orange poppies in here too.

The lupine is blooming!

I'm intrigued by the delphinium.

I can never tell if this bunched up area in the center is a blossom, or another spurt of leaves?

My salvia isn't exactly showing off, but still, blooming.

Speaking of blooming, raspberry blossoms!

The endless summer twist and shout hydrangea has blooms on it. I'd like another hydrangea next to this, but the mophead variety.

Fern gully looks nice right now.

The new plants on the kitchen porch bed are coming in nicely.

The gladiolus I planted in the containers are shooting spikes up. I'm curious to see how these arrangements come together.

In the garage bed, the clematis is growing by leaps and bounds. Look ma! I didn't kill it! I also have a bunch of irises back here, none of which have bloomed this year. Next year!

Now on to the farm. Although things aren't blossoming like this time last year, that's because I didn't start corn, squash or peas inside this year. And overall, I think the garden looks miles ahead of where it did a year ago. Heck, the whole house does!

Oh, did you notice something funny on the burlap? Looks like gopher blood, doesn't it? Well, it's not (sadly). The GD gophers chewed through the burlap to break into the garden yesterday. The got to the lettuce and broccoli, again, just as they were recovering from two weeks ago. FUCKERS. So DJ re-layered the burlap, and dashed a bunch of hot-sauce on it. Apparently the vermin have a keen sense of smell, and they dislike Mexican food?

Time will tell how effective that is.

The in-ground spinach is puttering along. Not really thriving, and close to bolting.

Carrots are doing well.

Check it out! The Juliet tomato has blossoms!

The remains of the bibb lettuce.

And remains of the buttercrunch lettuce.

And remains of the broccoli. This little plant, which I started inside from seed, has been munched back so many times this spring that I don't expect it to produce actual broccoli. All of it's energy has gone into just reproducing it's leaves!

From the above photos, you can infer something I learned this spring. The lettuce above was started indoors and then transplanted. The stuff below was in-ground seeded. Clearly the stuff started inside thrived (despite the GD gophers), while the stuff started outside didn't. I won't bother to seed lettuce into the ground next year.


Summer squash, crookneck.

Marigolds, started in the ground at the same time that I planted the squash seeds. We'll see if the marigolds mature fast enough to attract bees to pollinate the squash and tomatoes in the garden.

Winter squash!

I'll call this plot Roma tomato, Roma tomato, Roma tomato, Roma tomato, Roma tomato. I love those suckers, and they're the best for making pasta sauce, bruschetta, and salsa. Also in this photo, to the right, are a few jalepeno pepper plants.

Spaghetti squash!

Dudes. I was seriously despairing about the asparagus. I thought maybe we'd killed it somehow? Or by piling more compost and peat moss on top of it last fall, we'd buried it too deep. I hadn't seen a single asparagus spear all spring. I was sure asparagus season was over, and planned on re-planting it this fall. Then yesterday, I found this amongst the peas. Shut the front door!

Yesssss! I've grown a single asparagus stalk. In my sugar snap peas, to boot. The peas are doing well, at least.

I'm curious about the giant sunflowers I've planted along the back of the garden. I hope they do grow giant!

The potatoes are growing really quickly! I originally thought I'd have to hill them after the Fourth of July, but now I think I'll need to as soon as this weekend. I haven't decided if I want to hill them with dirt/ compost, or with straw...


And finally, the lilac bush.

Almost there!

This weekend's to-do list? Mow the lawn and mulch accordingly. Pull out bolted spinach and compost. Consider what I'll plant where the spinach and lettuce was in the front of the farming area. Enjoy the scenery! 

Happy Friday!

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