Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Wild Camas

Right now it is peak Camas time in our part of the world. The wild Camas are found primarily in areas with wet soil. Some of the best patches are found growing near roadside ditches like this group across from our mailbox.

The pretty, light purple flowers open first from the bottom of bloom stalk. They have a star shaped blossom with six evenly spaced petals. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Poof..and They were gone!

So, it was just Sunday when I transplanted my 4 "Bright Bandolier" sunflower starts that I had grown from seed. And I am here to report that when I went to check on them Monday night, there was only one to be found! Yes, three of my four plants are completely gone! I am pretty sure that a few quail came into the bed and nibbled on them. Whatever small parts of the sunflowers that they didn't eat probably got swept away from their constant scratching in the dirt. My lone survivor was planted on the other side of the bigger volunteer plants and managed to survive. It does have some bird damage. I am just hoping that its growing tip is o.k.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Rainbow Of Radish

When I removed the remay cover from my raised bed of radish yesterday, I discovered that they were ready to harvest. I planted them on April 21st, so they have been in the ground a month.

The first group I pulled, "Red Planet".

Three nice "Plum Purple". I have noticed that this variety has very fine side roots on the radish which most other varieties do not. Maybe it has a little diakon radish in its genetic makeup. It also has much bigger leaves than the other varieties.

Some hot pink "Pink Punch". All in all, my initial rainbow of radish harvest was 4.4 oz. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Busy Sunday

I began my day in the west-end flowerbed. I gave the whole bed a thorough weeding and watering. Then I went to work transplanting a few sunflowers. I had 4 volunteers come up this year. Two are just fine where they sprouted but two others appeared in the "Tzan" garlic bed. I moved those two and watered them in well. Sunflowers have very shallow roots and hate to be disturbed. Currently, the two plants that I moved look very unhappy but I am hoping that they will perk up in a few days.

After I got all of the volunteer sunflowers settled, I planted the four starts that I grew of "Bright Bandolier". They look good but I am a bit worried about the birds getting to them. There isn't an easy way for me to protect them, so fingers crossed!

Next I moved my attention to the kitchen garden. It was finally time to pull my two kale plants. They have pretty much finished blooming and are busy setting seed.

The seed pods are long and thin. They remind me of miniature green bean pods. I opened a pod and each one has a single row of seed. I can only imagine how much seed would be produced on a plant the size of mine.

Next I got out my flat of Winter Squash starts. As you can see, not all of the seed germinated. But I always plant more then I need so that I will have enough plants to meet my needs, plus a few to give away.

Here's my 4 "Butternut" plants.

And I have four good looking "Delicata" too.

The five "Guatemalan Blue Banana" plants are really big. I think this might foreshadow some really large plants in the garden. I am having flashback to the summer of 2011 and my "Marinia di Chiogia" squash!

I built two new raised beds and first planted two "Guatemalan Blue Banana" in one.

The seedlings are just getting ready to produce their first true leaf. It is the perfect time to transplant them out into the garden.

Then I planted the other raised bed with two "Butternut" plants. After I was done I covered both raised beds with a protective tunnel of remay fabric. 

After I finished planting the two Winter Squash varieties, I took the remay tunnel off of the radish. As you can see, the radish are now ready to harvest. As soon as I have finished harvesting all of the radish from this raised bed, I will add some fresh Nature's Best compost to the bed. Then it will become the home for two "Delicata" squash plants.

Next I took the protective remay tunnel off of the onion row. It has served its purpose. As you can see, the onions are now nice, strong plants. They are big enough that the birds will leave them alone.

Here's a close-up of the "Candy" onions.

And here is the section that is planted with "Frontier" onions.

So here is the latest "look" of the kitchen garden. The white tunnels keep moving around and the garden is slowly filling up for the Summer.

After dinner I decided I had enough time that I could pot up some more dahlia tubers. When I headed over to the planted pots I discovered that my first three dahlias are up! All three are varieties I purchased this year from Blossom Gulch Dahlias; "Asia", "Chubasco", and "Carmella". Below, "Carmella ". And so begins my dahlia year.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Potatoes are Up!

When I was walking by the kitchen garden today, I noticed a big crack in the soil inside the grow bag that I could see. I walked around and went into the kitchen garden so that I could get a better look. I was really happy to discover that the potatoes have started to come up in all four bags! Above, shoots of "Nicola" and below "Dark Red Norland".

Friday, May 17, 2013

Grey Days and Potting Up Tubers

It was a mixed bag of weather today. We had a nice period with some sunshine in the early afternoon. But by the time I made it home after work, some dark clouds were rolling in. The rains let up after dinner and I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather and pot up some more dahlia tubers. 

I worked for about two hours and got another 40 tubers planted. So I am now up to an even 90 tubers planted in the one-gallon pots. I am still not 1/2 way complete with the project but I am getting close to that point. Hopefully this coming weekend I can get a lot more done.

The beautiful pink poppy in the west flowerbed is really starting to bloom now. I bet it has 10 open buds and has another 15+ that haven't yet opened. Even with the rains showers that we have received the last three days the plant is still looking really nice.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wild Roses

As I mowed around the big garden yesterday, I noticed some pink in the hedgerows. When I looked closer I discovered that our wild roses are already blooming! I think of the wild roses as early June bloomers, so like everything else, they are running ahead of schedule.

Depending upon the age of the bloom and how much direct sunlight it receives, the bloom color can vary from hot pink to an almost mauve purple. A welcome pop of color in a sea of green.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Radish

The radish that I planted on April 21st have really grown. They are just about big enough that I think it is safe for me to remove the remay tunnel. Pictured above, a perfect "Red Planet".

The other two varieties appear to be just a few days behind in growth. Above, the hot pink colored "Pink Punch" and below "Plum Purple".

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mowing & Lots of Planting

We finally fell out of the 80's today. The high hit "only" 76. We did have clouds roll in and out all day and it felt very muggy outside if you were doing any kind of physical labor. I started the day down in the big garden. We mowed all around the garden, inside and out. Then I planted both 4" pots of "Grandpa Ott" and "Scarlet O'Hara" morning glories. Each pot had 3 plants so I ended up with 6 nice starts of each. The ground was very hard right next tot he trellis. It took a lot of digging and water before I was able to get all six plants settled into place. After I returned home I got to work in the kitchen garden. I planted my two 4" pots of "Heavenly Blue" morning glories next to the leaf trellis.

Then I planted all four tomatoes that I purchased yesterday. I am feeling quite smug to have planted everything that purchased yesterday in only one day!

It is hard to believe that this "Black Krim" tomato, by the end of the growing season, will be taller than me and will have produced dozens of large fruit.

You can clearly see where the graft was made on this tomato. It is important, just like with roses, to keep the graft line above the soil level.

And here is my grafted "Chocolate Stripes" tomato.

After all of the tomatoes were in, I switched my attention to the other morning glory tower. This tower was covered in "Mixed Colors" Pink and "Feringa" morning glory plants last year. While I collected a lot of seed at the end of the season, even more fell to the ground. Now I have seedlings popping up all over the area. I dug up quite a few and spaced them around the tower. Now, with some more water and sunshine, I should have another great display again this year.

A close up of a volunteer morning glory. I won't know what variety it is until it blooms later in the Summer.

The winter squash seeds that I planted a week ago really came barreling up today. By the end of the day I had 4 of these "Delicata" germinated.

I also had four "Guatemalan Blue Banana" by the evening. I only have space for two plants in my kitchen garden, so I need to find a good home for the extras.

My final gardening project of the day was to continue working on the dahlias. I potted up 29 more tubers today so I now have an even 50 completed. While I still have a long way to go, it feels good to have made some headway this weekend. Now, we will just have to see if we finally get some rainfall tomorrow, as forecast.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Plant Purchases & Potting Up the Dahlias

Another beautiful, warm day. We hit a high of 86 - that's just crazy for early May. I started the day off working the Avid Gardener's Sale at Alton Baker Park. After I finished my two hour shift, I did a little shopping. I purchased three grafted Tomatoes from Log House Plants. I bought (1) "Black Krim", (1) "Sweet Million" & (1) "Chocolate Stripes". After I left the plant sale I then drove to Down to Earth. There I picked up one more tomato, a plant of "Early Cascade". 

On a whim I decided to see if they had any morning glory plants for sale. I knew from past years that they didn't start selling them until June, after the weather had warmed. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice selection already for sale.I guess because of our warm weather the last two weeks, Log House decided to release them to the retailer outlets earlier than normal. I picked up six plants; two each of "Heavenly Blue", "Grandpa Ott", & "Scarlet O'Hara".

After I got home I started potting up my dahlia tubers. I started with my new tubers; those varieties that I  purchased from commercial growers or from our society tuber sales. I didn't make too much progress but I now have my first 21 in pots.

When I checked on my seedling in the green house tonight I found that all six "Bright Bandolier" sunflowers had pushed off their seed  caps and fully opened today. Nothing like growing some sunflowers for instant satisfaction!