Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rachel, Rachel, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Well, it grows and grows and grows. In some places it grows almost wild!

If you click on the individual pictures, you'll be able to see a larger version with a bit more detail.

Below is our pepper patch. There are about 30 plants here. We have habaneros, California Wonder, Mini Bells, hot banana, mild banana, hot hungarian, pimiento, carmen, jalepeno, ring of fire, and a couple more, too! Yes, we like peppers. I like the mild ones fresh in our salads or as crudite. We love pickled hot pepper rings, so we'll be canning a good bit of those. We also like the hot ones in stir fries, Mexican dishes, eggs, etc. I'll freeze a good many, can the hot rings, and the rest will be eaten fresh. Yum Yum!

Oh, do you like the path we installed in the garden this year? It was much needed. The garden is too wide to reach the centers from outside and we were trampling the soil something awful last year. So we dug out the center and poured rock to a foot deep running the whole center from one end to the other.

Now look how much bigger the peppers pictured below are than the ones in the first picture. Would you like to venture a guess why they're so much bigger than the others?
Okay, they were planted a little bit earlier than the others but only a week or so. Early on, the squirrels came by and topped each of these pepper plants. That's right, took the whole top of the plant! I don't know why they do this, but they do this every spring! They'll do it to tomatoes, too. Which is why we built this little surround for the peppers so that they wouldn't take any more of the plants than they already had. Many of the plants were down to two leaves. We didn't think they'd make it. Do you think those squirrels are doing us a favor? It does bear some consideration. In order to have bigger plants that set more fruit, you're supposed to pluck the first blossoms. (This does work, too. The plants in the first picture were deflowered after I took that photo and they're already bushing out.) So perhaps having the squirrels top off our peppers every year is the squirrel's way of giving back. I don't know.

Below is the boys' bean tee-pee. The beans are much bigger now. Today was just too busy to take another picture. I can hardly wait until they're all the way up the tee pee! Notice how richly green the grass is that immediately surrounds the growing beans. Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil ... seems to be working.
Now I've got to talk about soil. Below is our newest vegetable bed. Isn't it a pathetic thing? I am extraordinarily disappointed in the soil we bought for this box. I am also disappointed in the seeds for my bush beans as only 1 out of 10 germinated. Even after replanting we had the same results. Those are no good. Yet they're from the same company that packaged our vining beans and those did just fine and germinated at about 100%. More about the soil after this picture.

I would recommend the quad mix from Trail's End (that's what's in my other bed, where the peppers are) but they're no longer carrying it. I went with their triple mix this year and I am sorely disappointed in it. Whereas the quad mix drains very well, yet has a high humus content to conserve moisture during the dry spells, this triple mix is lacking. It drains too well. It is dry most of the time. I have ammended it with two different composts and I will be covering it with mulch next week. My plants have been stunted in this material. Things I started from seed barely germinated (most likely because the soil dries out so quickly.) I can completely saturate the soil at night and by mid morning it is extremely dry. This is awful. I think they should take it back next year and tell me where to go for the quad mix!

How about a few flowers:

Calendula: self seeds like mad, but it's good for bug bites and summer-long colour so I like it. (But I am removing the seed heads!)

This is a gorgeous Brown-Eyed Susan. The photo does it no justice. I can't tell you the variety right now because I can't get to the plant tag, it's buried in all the greenery behind it somewhere. It is a type of Rudbeckia, just not sure which one.

And I have these lovely "Summer Sun" Oxeye Daisies. I just love these. They're a bright yellow, with a yellow center and so cheerful -- covered in flowers all summer long. I'm so pleased with it I'll be splitting it up and moving it into the new beds I'm creating out front next year.

There are a few things in the picture below. I'll try to point them out to you without much confusion. Do you see the yellow-green leaves growing along the ground? That is creeping Jenny. I love the stuff. It's just so lovely. The purple and white clouds of flowers are annual Alyssum, one of my favourite flowers. They have a very sweet scent that wafts across the air with every breeze. The white Alyssum self-seeded from last year. That's okay. It's welcome here. In the background is a nice clump of garden oregano. It's doing quite well for having been transplanted just this spring.

That poor solar light. The $1 lights just don't hold up too well. I might have to break the piggy bank and invest in some $2 solar lights.

I'll have some more of the gardens, soon.


Gill - That British Woman said...

lovely photo's please take more,


Denise said...

Another beautiful garden! And great photos.

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