Monday, June 22, 2009

The Desperate Gardener

In the last few days I have mowed around the garden, trimmed around the garden, and pulled weeds in the garden. So why does it still look awful? Everything has grown so big with the abundance of rain. The potatoes vastly outgrew my ability to hill them and now sprawl for a couple feet either side of the potato bed. The tomatoes have shot up. I need to buy more stakes to tie up the rest of them. I need to harvest lettuce and chard. And the garlic... I just can't decide what to do there. I may have to harvest one or two to decide if I think they're really ready.

The compost bin back behind the shed is full, and I'm sick of hiking out there every time I have a handful of weeds. So I have started a mobile compost pile in a trash can. I have read pros and cons for this sort of thing. But so far, I am really liking it! The trash can I used is a plastic one with wheels. So I can pull it around behind me as I travel from bed to bed! After the equivalent of one day of use, it is full. The weeds have been my best crop so far this year. If I run out of other things to do, I may chop up the stuff already in the can with a string trimmer. Although I filled it to the top, so I'd probably have to take some out to do that. But it would probably be worth it. I could fit more in the can and it would break down much faster. I'll keep you posted. (You'll note in the picture that I haven't punched air holes in the can. I'll get to that...)
Here's another bit of desperation... I had planned to build at least one more garden bed, but just haven't had time. Meanwhile I've had several homeless plants sitting in a flower bed, being devoured by slugs. So, I threw down a couple bags of soil in the garden and planted right into the bags. It's ugly, and I'll have to be sure to water and fertilize those plants (unless, you know, they keel over). But I figure come fall, I'll just dump that soil into the new bed. Here is a terrible photo of my embarrassing gardening.
Yeah, wow... I can't believe I just posted that picture. I may have to change the blog name to The Garden Confessional...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Goats In The Garden?

Please meet Cinnamon and Sugar (no, we didn't name them). They are our mini goats. They are year old sisters, a mix of pygmy, nigerian dwarf, and nubian. We bought them last spring, but they had been living with their breeder. Today we drove two hours into Pennsylvania to pick them up. We live in suburbia, so they didn't come here. They moved in with our friends Sarah and Rick who have more animals than anyone I've met, including about eight other goats, mostly pygmy.

Cinnamon is the more gregarious sister. She is also the mouthy one. After an uneventful drive into Pennsylvania, we got to listen to a lot of lip from Cin on the way home. Apparently, she did not want us to speak, especially me. And she did not want us to stop. You know, for red lights and such. We compromised. No talking, but we stop for lights.
Sugar is more shy than her sister. She also has a delicate "maa" compared to her sister's "MAAAAA." She is also clever. While Cin was getting to know (read: distracting) the other goats at the new place, Sugar was snarffing the food at the new place.
You'll probably hear more about Cin and Sugar from time to time. Especially if they get out and eat Sarah's flowers. But that's not going to happen. Right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seeking: Chard Recipes

Okay, so... this is the first year I have grown chard. I decided to grow it for purely superficial reasons- every year I have drooled over other people's lovely photos of swiss chard, lit from behind. Swiss chard: stained glass of the veggie bed. The thing is, I'd never eaten it. Now that ours is getting into the swing of things, I need advice on how to use it! So far I have only sauteed it with garlic and olive oil (not a hit with the kids) and in a stir fry (nobody complained). So, how do you use it?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garden Surprise

When we moved into this house, just over a year ago, I brought along a couple clippings of creeping jenny. They sat in water on the counter and eventually rooted. I stuck them in one of the flower beds and the little suckers too off. Then they overwintered and started up again this spring. And now, I have chanced upon them in flower! I have never seen creeping jenny in flower before. The flowers strike me as quite large compared to the average leaf size. How exciting!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day- June 2009

I've been feeling like there's not a lot happening in the garden right now. There are a few new blooms, and several things just on the cusp of blooming. So there's a lot of anticipation on my part. Have a look around...

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is kindly hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Thanks Carol!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SOS: Save Our Spuds!

I noticed this in the potato bed the other day. I've been trying, since then, to figure out what it is. Is this Late Blight? I'm not sure. The way I would describe this is different from the descriptions I've read. I'm growing three varieties. This showed up in the red variety (Red Norland? I forget...) first, but now I see one of the German Butterball plants is affected as well. The potatoes have grown robustly all season and are currently up to my waist and flowering. If this is something that will destroy the crop I may cry. But the sooner I know, the bestter. So I'm hoping that someone more experienced/knowledgeable than I can give me a yea or nay on this. What say you?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adolescent Onions

Is it wrong to admit that when I saw that my Walla Walla onions had advanced to this stage of development, my feelings were reminiscent of those I experience when I notice that my children have reached new milestones? I hope not.

I failed to record when I planted these onions. (But I can tell you the weather was terrible when I, literally, jabbed them in the ground. I thought I would lose them all. But happily, no!) And I don't recall when I'm supposed to harvest them. They're not ready yet, but things are certainly looking good. buzz.