Saturday, June 25, 2016

Planting Day #13 - Finished!

After spending the morning at Green Island, I made it down to the Big Garden in the late afternoon. It  was fairly warm - for me at least - working in the sunshine. But I did manage to get the first 4 Mignon Single dahlias planted. Then we returned after dinner. Everything got a good watering and then I went back to planting. I got the other 8 Mignon Single dahlias settled in. I think these guys will form a pretty little hedge against the fence. I am also anxious to compare their tuber production. In past years I have always grown them in pots, so it will be interesting to compare their tuber production from past years with them planted in the ground this year.

I have  2 "FV Dainty" pink and yellow

And I have 6 "Stillwater Plum" in purple.

Between the Mignon dahlias and the quinoa, I set in the 5 "Lemon" cucumber plants that I stared from seed. These guys were more than ready to get in the ground. I am sure, now that they are planted, they will green up a bit and take off in their growth.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Planting Day #12

After I fairly sunny day, it was "safe" to go back down to the garden and finish up the dahlia planting this evening. All garden had dried out from yesterday's rain and we didn't need to worry about making tracks to clogging up the wheelbarrow. I brought down from the house 6 more potted dahlias. These 6 are struggling a bit, but I decided they deserved a chance to get planted. So that gave us 17 to plant tonight for a grand total of 219 in the ground or 96.4% completed.  All I have left are 8 little Mignon Singles that I am going to plant in a row against the rabbit fence. Here's the "after" picture with all 219 done.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

First Bud

After a day filled with grey skies and rain showers, I decided to take a night off from Dahlia planting. It was a hard decision, as we only have one more night's worth of planting to finish up the whole project. But my back could use the rest after 7 continuous days down there and I didn't want to compact any damp soil, as well. As I was spending a chilly evening on the back patio with Parvati, I discovered that the first of my 4 volunteer "Bright Lights" cosmos has formed a bud. It won't bee too long before all 4 plants begin blooming for the Summer.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice - Planting Day #9

Happy Summer Solstice and New Moon! It's hard to properly celebrate the Soltice on a work-night as staying up to last light isn't really an option for me. But at least I did get to spend the evening in the garden, honoring Mother Earth a bit. It was cloudy off and on today,but warm, which led to a humid evening in which to plant. We sweated a bit getting another 12 dahlias planted before calling it a night. We now have 170 dahlias planted or 74.8%. Blessed Litha.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Planting Day #8

"Lexa", a B sized incurved cactus form in a dark blend of dark pink and yellow

It was another busy day in the garden. We started by planting 16 dahlia right after breakfast. Then in the early afternoon we got out the lawn mowers and mowed the whole garden. It really needed it and looks so much better now. Then after dinner we returned and planted another 16. I now have 158 dahlia planted or 69.6 %. Doing a rough guesstimate, I think we can finish up the planting this week. That's an exciting thought as I am ready to spend a weekend doing something other than planting dahlias!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Planting Day #7 - Washed Out!

"Newaukum Honey" BB ID Orange/Pink

Today started out innocently enough. I got up early and was outside by 8:00 AM. Dad came home with a truckload of Nature's Best and we were off to the Big Garden. We began by off-loading all of the Nature's Best. After we finished up with that project, Dad reattached the rabbit fencing while I labeled a few more rows of dahlias. Then we got to work planting, getting another 16 in the ground. We now have 126/227 planted or 55.5%. Since we had the empty truck down in the garden, we decided it would be a good idea to bring up all of the empty pots. Right as we started loading up the pots I felt the first raindrop hit my head. Then another and another. Within a minute it was raining and within 5 minutes it was pouring! Talk about good timing! It rained hard for the next hour, which included a period of hail and one loud clap of thunder. Then it was all over and we had blue, sunny skies for the rest of the day. After dinner we decided to venture down to the garden to see if it was dry enough to plant. We ended up getting 8 more holes dug but then abandon planting for the night. The ground was way to sticky and the wheelbarrow was getting clogged up with clay. Oh well. We still got a lot accomplished today.

So very glad that we took the time to put up the rabbit fence this year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rained Out

Verbena Bonariensis in the evening sunshine

There's sunshine on the flowerbeds late this evening but we were rained out of our dahlia planting. I thought we were going to get lucky. It seemed that all of the rain cells that moved through the area today missed our part of the world. Right after dinner I went upstairs to change into gardening clothes when I heard the first drops on the roof. They quickly escalated and within minutes it was pouring! Rained out at the last minute. The good news is it didn't start right after we got down to the garden. So tonight is a night of rest, maybe just what the gardener needed.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dahlia Planting - Day #3

After a very busy Saturday, it was nice to have all of Sunday to work down in the Big Garden. And as an added bonus, the weather was perfect; sunny and 77 degrees. I started the day by planting 16 of the potted dahlias. Then I returned in the early afternoon to work some more on the annual flower rows. I began by setting in the 22 "Xanthos" cosmos plants I had started from seed.

They were the perfect size to settle in. The roots were just beginning to fill in the whole cell area. I got them planted and watered in well; they shouldn't miss a beat. Then I planted another row with the 23 "Rubenza" cosmos plants I had begun. Once that was finished I planted one row of "Mixed Colors" bachelor buttons. I got my seed from Seed Savers Exchange and it look me about 1 1/2 packets to seed the whole row. Then I seeded two close rows of "Persian Carpet" zinnias from Renee's Garden Seed. It took me a full 3 packets of that seed to sow both of those rows. I was really pleased to get all of the young cosmos set in and all of the other seeds planted. It is suppose to rain Tuesday and I wanted everything planted so that they could take advantage of Mother Nature's watering. Freshly planted seed, watered in by a good rainfall, always germinates the best I have found.

I also stopped in a Down to Earth today and ended up with this at check-out; Quinoa "Oro De Valle". While I could certainly grown this to harvest the seed to eat, I am really most interested in its flower heads. They are suppose to grow 4' tall and in late Summer bloom a lovely orange-sherbet color. I also learned from the tag in the 6-pack that you can harvest the leaves for use like spinach. They are packed with calcium and iron. So another fun, new plant to try this year.

 I finished my gardening day by returning after dinner to plant another 16 dahlias. We now have 62 planted, or 27.3%. Now it really feels like the dahlia garden is underway.

"Willo Borealis" a lavender Pom

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Dahlia Planting - Day #2

It was an all-around busy day today with family gatherings and a track meet. But I did mange to make it down to the garden twice and actually got quite bit done in my two sessions. The first time I went to the Big Garden I brought down two of my flats. These two held young plants of "Titus" cannellini bean and also both "Xanthos" and "Rubenza" cosmos that I had started earlier from seed.

We also brought down another truck load of dahlia plants. I noticed the first rabbit damage up at the house yesterday and there is no reason to let that happen with our great rabbit fence down here. So we shuttled this load down and will cobble together a fence to protect the rest still back up at the house.

After Dad headed back up to the house I planted the "Titus" beans. The seed packet said they should be 6" apart but I only had 20 plants and lots of room. So mine are more like 8" apart.

All of the beans look great Their young root systems were just starting to fill up the cell they were living in so it was the perfect time to transplant them. After I got them all planted I watered them in well.

I then was able to return to the garden after dinner. We got another 16 dahlia planted tonight for a total of 30 in the ground. I now have 30/227 in or 13.2 % planted.

"Irish Glow" a red pom

Friday, June 10, 2016

Garlic Scapes

And suddenly, the garlic plants are producing their wonderful scapes. So far both the "Russian Red' plants and the "Chesnook Red" plants have sent up their scapes. I haven't seen anything quite yet on the "Music" plants but I imagine that they aren't far behind. Last year my harvested scapes went into a garlic pesto. This year I am hoping to try a garlic scape salad dressing recipe. It will be time to harvest the first batch in the next week while they are still fairly thin and tender but have fully emerged.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

It's Poppy Time Here

As the oriental poppies finish up for the year, our other poppies in the flower beds are just beginning to bloom. Right now the "Lauren Springer Grape" volunteer poppy plants are just beautiful. They have happily seeded all over the west end flower beds.

The are such a lovely shade of grape-purple with each petal having a black eye.

While each bloom only lasts 2-3 days, the plants are covered with buds. And even after the petals drop the seed pods are visually interesting as well.

A first-time bloomer for us this year are our two yellow horned poppy plants. We purchased them last year but got them planted very late. Thankfully one of them survived and was actually two plants in one pot. It has grown happily this Spring and is now treating us to one bold yellow bloom almost every day. 

Also just beginning to bloom are the volunteer red poppies. We are no longer sure of the variety name but I do know this is one loud poppy! Each scarlet bloom is packed with fringed petals except for the outermost petals which are smooth and rounded. We will soon have a large section of the sunset flowerbed a-blaze with these beauties.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Melon Update


After 5 days of extremely warm weather, including 3 straight days over 90 degrees, we settled back down to a reasonable 71 today. While the hot weather was a bit hard on some of the more delicate plants - and some people too! - my six "Magnificenza" melons loved it. Since getting transplanted into their black plastic bed over Memorial Day weekend, they have quickly settled in and doubled in size. So far, so good with this new variety.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

First Dahlias In the Ground - Day #1

"AC Golden Nickles" yellow stellar form

After a few delays, we made it down to the Big Garden last night around 7:15. We brought down the first 14 dahlias and got them planted in the ground. It feels so good to be started. Last year I didn't get the first dahlias settled in until July 14th and the year before it was June 15th. So I am literally off to my best start in years. It was another hot day and humid night and truthfully I was glad we hadn't brought down any more to plant then the 14. This heat wave is suppose to break by Wednesday and we will have much more pleasant planting weather ahead.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Greens Harvest - Week #9

Welcome to the 9th and final harvest report for my Spring Greens. Yesterday I harvested and then pulled out my 3rd and final raised bed. The lettuce and spinach were beginning to bolt and the leaves were showing some heavy bug damage. The three beds will now transition into winter squash beds but it is my hope that this Fall I will reseed them with salad greens for a long Fall harvest. For the final Spring harvest I was able to harvest two varieties:
  • "Heirloom Cutting Mix" lettuce - 12.0 oz.
  • "Charger" spinach -  7.2 oz.
  • Total week #9 harvest - 17.2 oz.

I am really happy with my total Spring harvest. My February seeding was an experiment that paid off and allowed me easily an extra month of harvest. That extra harvest time was needed since I lost a fair amount of expected harvesting due to early bolting. The Arugula and Mustard were especially sensitive to the April heat and shut down almost immediately as we hit 80 degree weather. My Spring 2016 Greens total harvest:
  • "Heirloom Cutting Mix" lettuce - 29.1 oz
  • ""Charger" spinach - 18.2 oz.
  • "Sweet Greens and Reds" lettuce -12.3 oz.
  • "Catalina" spinach - 8.3 oz.
  • "Wasabi" arugula - .2 oz.
  • "Renee's Baby Leaf Blend" lettuce - 2.9 oz.
  • "Mild Mustard Mix" mustard - 2.7 oz.
  • Total Spring Harvest - 4 lbs. 9.7 oz.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More Hot Weather and Bean Germination

Another day of record heat. We hit a high of 94 degrees and the heat once again made gardening in the afternoon impossible.The few times I went outside to complete a short task, I was miserable. At least it wasn't quite as humid today as it was yesterday. On the bright side, the beans that I planted last Monday exploded out of the soil today. They seem to love the heat.

As of tonight, I have 20/24 of the "Titus" cannellini beans up and I have 2/16 "Poletschka" beans up. With the hot weather expected to stick around for the next two days, I would hope that most of the rest of the beans will germinate during that time.

Below, 1 of the 2 "Poletschka" pole beans that appeared today.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

First 90 Degree Day of the Year

It was a productive, but very HOT gardening day today. The official high was 95 degrees at 5:00 PM. I started the day by heading down to the garden to finish setting up the stakes. I completed the last 4 rows, for a total of 17 rows laid out. Then I headed back up to  the house. I took my master dahlia list and started comparing the "planted" list to the actual tubers that had come up. I ended up knocking the dirt out of quite a few pots, to see what was happening beneath the soil. After that task was completed, I went back inside and worked on my master map. I ended up with a considerably "smaller" dahlia garden than I started with. At this point I think I will have around 234 dahlias in the garden, compared with the 274 dahlias that I potted up.While there are many factors that I can't control, like vole damage and heat waves, with a little work I can stop the bunny damage. So tonight Dad and I spent two very steamy hours putting up the rabbit fence. It isn't a super hard task, but it's just a pain to step over and work around for the next two months. But hopefully by early August the dahlias will be tall enough that I can remove the rabbit fence. Now all I need to do is adjust my rows,  and attached the dahlia name tags to the poles. Then I can start planting!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Back to Garden Set-up

After dinner, I headed back down to the Big Garden to resume laying out the dahlia rows. I last worked on this project last weekend but took a break from it due to a very sore lower back and other gardening tasks that became a priority. I managed to complete another 5 rows tonight, for a total of 13 rows completed. The end is in sight!

As I was leaving the garden, I notices that the hairy vetch that climbs up Dorothy's rose had begun to bloom. I think the hot pink rose and the purple vetch are such a pretty color combination.

As I headed homeward, I pasted this little guy on the road. Another reminder, as if I needed one, on why I really should put up the rabbit fence in the Big Garden this year. It is so inconvenient to have up, but it would be much worse to loose a bunch of dahlias to the rabbits like I did last year.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Blackberry Blooms

The blackberries on our property have burst into bloom the past few days. All along the driveway, the canes are covered in soft pink blooms. If you take the time to stop and listen, you can hear a steady buzzing sound coming from all of the blackberry bushes. It's good to hear the bees at work and know that they are doing their part to assure us a good crop of berries come July.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Setting in the Winter Squash

This evening it was time to work in the Kitchen Garden. I began by pulling out the greens in two of the three raised beds. These greens, planted way back on February 13th, had run their course. The arugula and mustard mix had long since bolted and the lettuce blends were also beginning to set seed heads. So, out with the old and in with the new!

In the first bed, I set in 2 of the "Crown Pumpkin" winter squash that I started. These two little plants are doing great and it was definitively time to get them settled into their permanent home.

Here is a picture of the "Sweet Greens and Reds" lettuce mix in bed #2 before I pulled it out. This was a nice blend and I particularly liked the ruffled green lettuce in the mix. But as you can see in the above picture, the bugs were getting the better of the greens and it was time for them to go.

Into that bed I set in 2 of the "Waltam Butternut" winter squash that I started from seed. They too are both looking great but will benefit from getting settled into a nice, fertile raised bed. I have one more raised bed of greens to pull and replace with "Delicata" winter squash. But those greens still have one more good harvest left in them, so I will put off that task until the weekend.