Monday, April 21, 2008

Out in the Garden

This year seems to be a much better gardening year (knock on wood) than last was.

The peach trees are finished blooming and the apples are half way done. Peonies are getting ready to bloom but unfortunately the heavenly smelling lilacs are just about finished.

This weekend we went to a plant sale and then worked in the garden the rest of the weekend.
We picked up a Louisiana purple Fig at the plant sale ---just one---and divided and planted our own Brown Turkey. That gives us 4 figs total. I had mulched the brown turkey this winter very high and got one branch that sent down roots. The other brown turkey is a cutting and we will see if it does "it's thing".

We have a couple of tomatoes planted along with a wall o water around each----just to give them that extra extra heat they like at this time of year since I find they grow just so much faster with one of these around them when their young. I purchased these two at the plant sale---a cherry variety that I wanted to try. I like cherry tomatoes---always plenty to eat AND share.
For the tomatoes this year we are using what is left of the leaf pile in our yard from fall of 2006. Totally weed free---but absolutely beautiful soil ---we decided that would be a great place for them. And maybe maintenance free for us except for some watering occasionally. So stakes and trellis are in the process of being put up with the expectation that more tomatoes are to come.

Potatoes are in the ground-- I didn't buy any of those this year. I planted small potatoes left over from last year and some that actually made it through the winter in the garden. I moved them to a new spot but have many of the purple potatoes ---all blue I think----that made it fine even though they were partially exposed during the winter. Wondering why I didn't take them in and eat them? Well, I couldn't see that I missed them in the fall---maybe they worked their way up during the cold and frost??? However it is: they survived drought then living in the garden through the winter. So of course we should absolutely plant those!

Anyway---I did notice that we don't eat as many potatoes as we used to but much more sweet potatoes than we used to so this year I will grow more sweet potatoes than regular. As a matter of fact I should be getting some slips of Okinawa purple---cross my fingers ---which is a purple sweet potato. Tannish skin (white is the official color---but their fooling their selves by calling it white) and purple flesh. Cool huh? I also ordered a number of heirloom sweet potato varieties from Sandhill Preservation---hopefully they won't sell out before they get my order. I ordered 5 or 6 varieties: Red Wine velvet, Old Henry, Brinkley white and I don't remember what else---so they'll be a surprise. About 40 slips I think. With those I started myself this year and the others I purchased from elsewhere I should have about 70 plants. I have never grown this many before so I will see how well I can store them throughout the year.

Moving on we also planted out some summer squash. A yellow variety I will try and remember to post the name on later. It is an heirloom and last year I got some freebies during my volunteer stint at crabtree farms. This year I purchased a few of them since they didn't have any freebies for the volunteers. (Shucks)
This variety did really well last year and kept on producing well even after they got squash vine borers. They also didn't seem to pick up the borers right away so I wanted to try these again. The zucchinis never seem to make it before they get borers and succumb so we have just quit planting them---even with pre blooming protection of remay. Zukes are my favorite but hey...yellow squash is better than no squash. And this one does have a good flavor.
Each squash has it's Juicy Juice brand plastic container with the bottom cut off over the top to protect it from cutworms and add a bit of heat. I don't bother with wall o waters on the squash---though I could ---since they grow so fast anyway. Before I know it we will be throwing them in the compost pile as it is :-)

Lastly we have ancho and jalapeƱo peppers. Just two of each. We eat a lot of peppers but find that only a few plants will produce way more than we can consume. The anchos I will dry and use throughout the year and the jalapeƱos I will hopefully make into salsa/pico de gallo with homegrown tomatoes. Last year that didn't work out for us---but maybe this year. Some years we get to can---others we don't.

I still have tomato seedlings in the house---they won't be ready for a few more weeks. I have that late start from being sick with the flu.
I also have flowers and some herbs to get started now that it should stay warm.

Maybe this year---my garden will grow full of beautiful things to eat and look at. Hopefully we will all have a better gardening year this year -----unlike last. Cross my fingers and pray for rain. But not too much :-D Always that fine line aye?


Robbyn said...

I'm glad you're feeling better, Monica! Sure sounds like a great start with the garden...the purple sweet potatoes sound awesome :)

Hayden said...

I've grown to much prefer sweet potatoes over white - but PURPLE sweets? Oh, my, they are the absolute BEST. So sweet they make me drool just thinking about them.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Good! I haven't ever had them---just heard about them. Besides I like anything that is different looking. No "common" food colors for me thank you very much.
BTW---potatoes I have decided are just to BLAH. A sweet has flavor even if you don't add anything to it and it tastes GREAT will grilled lamb chops Mmmmmmmm
Have a great day Hayden.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Thanks Robbyn---and I am anxious to try them though Hayden seems to give them the "thumbs up" for flavor :-D