Monday, 28 May 2012

Late May Ramblings

Holy Moly, this month has just flown by...

We have had quite the lovely spring this year, thankfully! and all has grown well and prospered.


It's looking a little bit empty in here....

At the greenhouse, Nitty Gritty Greenhouse, of course ;)
I continue to sell heirloom veggies, lovely roses, and hardy, deer resistant perennials.
Much of the stock has been moved outdoors to harden off, while I slowly prepare the greenhouse and hoop house for the summer growing season.


Soon, they will house these 5 gallon pots of tomatoes and cukes plus 3 gallon pots of pepper plants.

Not sure what Little 'Lilah is thinking about these squashes?
Probably that they look fabulous!
Thye are ready to be planted out now that the garden bed soil has warmed up to the perfect planting temp...

Once again this year, I have a great selection of heirloom pumpkins...
Cinderella's Carriage, Sweet Sugar Pie, Blue crown Prince, Howden, Wyatt's Wonder, etc...
as well as Butternut, Tromboncino and Spaghetti squashes.


The tomatoes that were transferred outside to the pergola area are fully hardened off now and really thriving!

The pergola also seconds as shade for the fuchsia baskets as there are little to no shady spots in the whole yard, let alone the greenhouse area.. eep, poor fuchsias!

What a great boon this lovely pergola has been... thank you to the hubby :)


The Azaleas are all abloom and smell heavenly... these ones flank both sides of the front stairs so that we can really enjoy the sweet fragrance!



The Lavender is budding out...




Every one of my Japanese Maples began life at the potager as 'The Thriller' in a container garden, going with the Thriller, Filler, Spiller method of container gardening.
In fall, they were then transplanted to the back garden, where they grow and thrive, and I then get to begin afresh with new container ideas the following spring!

And in the potager...



The Red Mammoth heirloom cabbage has just exploded with growth. Yum!
I think that I have mentioned before that I like to grow all my veggies closer together than recommended?
This way, as they begin to size up, I can start by picking every 2nd plant throughout the season, thus allowing some of them to get to full size, yet allowing me to harvest and enjoy fresh veggies all summer long.
I see some great slaw coming on!


The hummers are enjoying the red and white Verbena basket paired with this stunningly beautiful new feeder. When I pulled my old feeders out of storage, one was fine and good to go while the other was cracked all the way thru and would no longer hold the sugar water. In desperation I ran to the local feed store and happened to find this lovely feeder! I am thrilled with it as I love pretty and flashy garden accoutrement once in a while, lol, and so am grateful and happy that the hummers also love it ;)


Happiness is... volunteer plants!
This is Borage, a lovely herb with gorgeous blue flowers, a real draw for the pollinators. It has self seeded throughout the garlic bed!
Borage is great in drinks and salads with a lovely light, mild cucumber flavour, but I love it most for it's colouring and the fact that the bees absolutely adore it!


This is how beautiful the Borage will soon be! Is that not the loveliest blue hue you ever did see?


This Kale has quadrupled in size in just a few weeks!


Love the tranquillity of my 'Birch Corner'. I have a bit of a 'thing' for birches... the white of their trunks, the peeling bark, such gorgeous trees!


I'm thinking there's going to some strawberry and rhubarb pie very soon!
You all remember that I have 3 strawberry beds, eh? They all look like this right now!
Yikes! Looks like a few pies plus some jam, too!


Despite a couple of cool nights, for the most part our weather has been lovely this spring, and the tomatoes in the garden beds are thriving and flowering!


The 'Minnestoa Sweet' Peas are flowering and so we will soon all be enjoying fresh, spring, shelling peas... the pups love peas!


I finally!!! remembered to stagger the pea plantings this year, so will have this second batch coming up after the first one is  finished! Yay me!


Lol, pretty self explanatory... fresh lovely radishes for supper tonight!


The herb bed is lush with fresh new growth!
Chives, marjoram, thyme, parsley,tarragon and sage....
Mint is grown in a pot, as it can be very invasive in the garden!


These are my favourite tools, aside from the garden fork, and here they hang, in the shed, seeing very little action this spring!

I fully believe that the more you turn, rake, hoe, and disturb your soil, the more weed seeds you bring forth.
So, just top dress your beds with compost or manure and let the earth worms do the work...you will have a whole lot less weeds to deal with. It truly works!

However, if you do need to use these tools, they are both Winged Weeders, and, I think!! the best 'hoes' on the market. They slice the weeds off at the roots with an easy back and forth movement and so the weeds just drop and wither away, easy peasey!


These potatoes have been topped once with garden soil so there is no longer a trench, the entire bed is now level. However, it will soon be ready for the next 'topping' and so, will no longer be level....
You'll remember that I use the trench method with the potatoes, meaning that I dig a trench about 6 to 8 inches deep, plant the potatoes about 1 to1.5 feet apart, and cover them with 4 to 6 inches of soil.
As the tops poke through the ground about 6 to 8 inches, cover them with soil till just the tips of green are showing.
Repeat this process one or two more times, till the potato trench has become a large mounded hill and the trenches are now between the rows of spuds instead.
Then we wait for flowers....


You'll notice that I have not yet chic-ified the very shabby and no longer chic, table and chairs ...

Truly, I am not dragging my heels! Alas, I have been unable to decide exactly how far I want to go with this whole re-chic-ifyng process. Do I go the whole hog with a thorough sand and new paint job from scratch, or just clean up the bigger flakes and remove the icky black mould?
Sigh,  .... and so, they also wait :)

I have recently planted the pole beans, corn, and some summer squashes from seed.
The cucumber, pumpkin and winter squash plants will wait another week or so, till I am sure of the night time temps.
Is best if the night temps are, for sure, 10 C or more.
The corn may need to be re-seeded, time will tell, as it also likes warm soil to germinate well. However, I like to push the envelope a bit ;)
I used to work at a large greenhouse/garden centre in central Alberta, owned by Lois Hole, the guru of gardening. Mrs Hole was known for saying 'Go For It'. Take a chance, worst case scenario, you replant, best case scenario, earlier fruiting! Me, I always 'go for it'!   


... and Little 'Lilah reminds you all to enjoy life and ..breathe :)





















Sunday, 20 May 2012

Greenhouse Ramblings in May

So, once again change is afoot in the greenhouse.

Tomatoes are being hardened off under the nursery pergola 


My tomatoes are planted up in 5 gallon poly pots, ready to be strung up in the greenhouse
 as it gets emptied out and goes into the summertime growth phase.

Though my greenhouse is large by many home owners standards, it has to play many roles, and thus it changes looks and function every few weeks.

During the late winter and early spring, the greenhouse is in production phase, that is seedling, transplanting, the growing of roses and perennials.

Here, seedlings in background, mother plants for cuttings, rose standards rooting in...
In spring, it then changes around again, as roses and perennials are moved out to the cold frame (hoop house) in order to make room for the heirloom tomatoes, peppers, heat loving veggies, and annuals.

In the greenhouse, cucumbers start to emerge...

The hoop house is full of roses, transferred from the greenhouse to make room for veggies.  
Retail phase prep...most all evidence of the growing phase is moved to the outside back areas, and inside the greenhouse is set up all pretty. I love this phase :)
The roses and perennials are moved out of the hoop house into the nursery area/courtyard in order to make room for herbs and annuals in the hoop house. 

Retail and veggie growing stage
I am now starting to move the tomatoes outside, slowly, to acclimatize them or to harden them off. This gets them slowly used to being outdoors, so that they do not get sun burnt leaves. As all the plants move outside, the greenhouse will become the growing area. Will house the tomatoes and cucumbers in 5 gallon pots, with them all being indeterminate so they will be strung up to the greenhouse roof.

The nursery/courtyard houses perennials, shrubs and roses, and then accommodates the annuals and hardens off the vegetables, as well. The area is fenced off to keep deer out of the tender new plants.
Peppers growing in two gallon fibre pots in the greenhouse, along the south wall.


Tomatoes and cucumbers grow in 5 to 10 gallon black poly pots...

Peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes were trialed in the greenhouse last year and did super well

Hoop house will also be put to work this summer, in the same manner, to house either those cukes or perhaps some peppers,

As the water for the greenhouse is all collected into a cistern, and Vancouver Island gets little to no rain all summer, once the rains stop, the greenhouse is closed for business. All remaining perennial plants, shrubs, etc... are either donated to a community garden, planted, or housed out back till fall sales or next spring. The greenhouse water can only support the veggies, no extras. The nursery garden plants have to be of the do or die kind, so I choose hardy, drought tolerant specimens for out there.





Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Few Days Difference...

Wow, see what happens after a few days of sunshine...

The Spring Wash Tub...


The Herb Bed..


The Rhubarb...


The Garlic and heirloom Flat Leaf Parsley Bed...



One of the Pear Tree's is Blossoming :)



Carrots, beets, cabbage... and strawberries in 2nd bed


Cute Little 'Lilah... watching for deer, birds or squirrels... anything that might need scaring away...

and... my darling daughter got me a lovely manicure and pedicure for Mother's Day :)
Nothing better for a gardener this time of year... even tho it will not last more than a few days.



Pole beans went in a few weeks back... just starting to poke through...
Potatoes are coming up now and will need some hilling up in a week or two.
Tomatoes, peppers and cukes, hmmm, maybe this week-end ( Mother's Day )
 or if it feels 'cool' to me... then I will wait till May Long...
Last year was nasty till July and I have not forgotten how my veg just sat there waiting for heat!
This year... better safe than sorry!















Friday, 4 May 2012

Early May Ramblings

Decided to do two ramblings this month as so much changes, so very quickly in spring... One now, today being the first day of May, and one in mid to late May....

The beds have all been topped with a dressing of manure and all cool weather crops are planted and coming up nicely... onions, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, radishes, spinach, lettuces, peas...


17 of the 23 beds are fully planted up.... 2 are waiting for tomatoes, 1 is for cukes, and 1 will be a 'Three Sisters" bed (corn, beans and squash).
The last two are long beds that already contain some perennials, roses, rhubarb, etc... so I just fill them to the brim with a mix of cutting flowers, usually Zinnias, Sunflowers, Dahlias, Glads, and whatever else catches my eye.   

The Herb Bed


The Herb Bed is really coming to life now...


Carrots and beets have been thinned out and look lovely... waiting till the weather rises just a wee bit to start adding the marigolds and nasturtiums to the beds.


Loving the Bellis aka English Daisies


More Bellis :)


In the 'pond', the Skunk Cabbages are blooming away, gorgeous yellow blooms that look a bit like Calla Lilies...
They have not yet begun to stink up the yard, but let me tell you, it will not be long till the begin to live up to their name!
  I often find myself looking for traces of skunk if the wind blows right (or should that be ...blows wrong?)



Muscari... love the deep blue, happy, little wave of colour naturalising in the Birch Corner.



The Birch Corner...
a great place to sit and comtemplate...

Spinach and peas...

Raspberries are leafing out nicely (front of pic) and two of the cherries, all abloom. Looks like lots of fruit this year :) 
These fruit trees and shrubs were planted in spring 2010
are going into their 3rd summer now, so am well pleased with their progress.
The brown, dead foliage stuff out back, behind the fence, are the native ferns..
by July they will be 6 feet tall once again, creating a lush green backdrop!
  

One of the cabbage and onion beds...

Fuchsia's can just stay warm in the greenhouse for a wee bit longer...

Though we are now safely past our 'official' last frost date for the year
 and the nights seem to be plus 6 C at a minmum...
I'm still going to wait a week or two longer before putting out the flowers...
Just in case ;)

Buds on the Purple Tomatillo

and... warm weather crops require plus 10C night and day
so tomatoes, cukes, squashes, basil, corn, etc...  
will go in the ground in or around the May Long week-end.
Not long now!