Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Garden Club

Monday again! The sun is shining (even now at 5:48 AM), the birds are singing and the garden is mostly planted. Yay! My brother came over last week to help with the planting.

I say mostly because after hoeing in all of the row crops (peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, radishes, etc) and planting all of the vine plants (cucumbers, melons, squash, giant pumpkins, etc.), I was beat and still had a house to clean and a Birthday party to plan (more on that tomorrow) so I decided to hold off on planting the tomatoes until things calmed down a bit. It rained all day Friday totaling about half an inch so I didn't need to drag out the 4 hoses and water my freshly planted garden, Mother Nature took care of that. She also managed to clear things up just in time for Binny's party. Love her!

This year, since the garden is so freaking big, we have separated it into quadrants, kind of.

The row crops take up the right half of the garden.
The other half (separated by the rhubarb and asparagus is actually 2 gardens. One for all of the vine plants...
And one for the tomatoes... (yet to be planted of course)

The rhubarb is still going strong and growing like mad. I have been giving it away as fast as I can cut it and throw it into a grocery bag, although I will admit that some of the family that was here over the weekend for Binny's birthday did one hell of a job thinning it out. We still have more than we could ever use so please come and get some if you don't have a supply of your own growing like mad in your yard.The blueberry bushes are showing signs of life and the possibility of actually bearing some fruit this year, if the birds don't get to them before we can. We haven't had much luck over the years with blueberries but since they are my all time favorite fruit (not to mention the health benefits) I'm not giving up quite yet. Our soil here is a bit on the alkaline side (blueberries thrive in acidic soil) so I have been giving them acid treatments on a regular basis. Seems to be helping! Here is one of the healthier looking bushes. And yes I do have several varieties so they can cross pollinate.The strawberry plants are doing great this year too. I'm sure all of the weeding we have been doing this spring has something to do with it. Even a few green berries already!
Speaking of strawberries... My dad gave Binny a Topsy Turvy strawberry planter for her birthday, so yesterday we assembled it, and supported the one business in town that happened to be open on Sunday. Turns out, the Topsy Turvy Strawberry planter holds 15 plants. My Dad brought over 8 plants, a bag of dirt and the planting bag, so I thought we were all set. Who would have thought it was HUGE and required 15 plants? A little big in my opinion. Plus the directions say to shove 2 plants into each hole. That's 30 plants! These Topsy Turvy folks must have some interest in the strawberry plant business, I mean really! Good thing I overheard the man at the local Garden Center (Windmill Gardens, in the heart of Dutch country) tell another customer that he would be open every day for the next few weeks. You should have seen the woman's reaction when she asked if that meant Sunday's too and he said yes. Trust me, it's a big deal. I'm pretty sure I was the only customer in all day, so I think he kind of appreciated that I bought every single strawberry plant he had in the place.
After finishing the strawberry planter, we decided to give last year's Topsy Turvy tomato planter (Binny's B-day gift from my brother last year) another year of service and plant a pear tomato.
Since the planters are very heavy, especially when they are full of water (and they need to be watered at least once a day to keep all of those plants alive) we needed something a little stronger and more sturdy than the Shepard's hook we used last year. I casually mentioned to the Gardener (my husband) while I was hanging some laundry on the line that I need a few hangers and after a minute of him thinking about it he said "how about a tripod?" I say "yeah, sure" and 20 minutes later he walked out of the shed with this.
Then another to make a pair. Not sure that I'm loving them in my flower garden (or that purple sticker on one of the pipes) right next to the house but they can be moved fairly easily.
Hooray for handy husbands!

More flowers...The yellow irises (I wish I could claim that they were the inspiration for the house color, but they weren't. Almost a perfect match though.)

Lupines finally going to flower after 2 years of no flowers. I hope at least!

These are the hanging baskets Binny and I put together last week from plants we started from seed. Since we planted these, one pansy has opened and one zinnia is almost open. I can't wait to see what colors we get. Always a surprise when you buy the seed packets labeled assorted colors.
This is a giant planter that ended up getting waaaaay too heavy to move, so we just left it in front of the barn about 6 inches from where we assembled it.
And another planter...

I know I keep raving about it, but this greenhouse has been an absolutely wonderful addition this year! This is how it works. I get the urge to plant something. Flowers, veggies... anything and I grab the ATV and trailer. Drive it over to the potting shed, collect any tools I will need along with my gardening gloves and a bucket of fresh dirt mix, swing by the greenhouse and go shopping, throw everything in the trailer and off I go. How nice it is to be able to have everything on site and not have to make so many trips to the garden center for flowers and veggies. Definitely doing this again next year!

This beautiful arrangement was given to me as a gift for taking some photos recently. I love it sitting right here on my front porch.

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments and I'll add it to this post.


Out in Them Sticks said...

Everything looks great Ali! Soooo exciting!!!! :)

You'll have to report how the turvy deals work out. I have always been curious about how they do!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned planting canteloupe & pumpkins so I thought I'd pass on this advice. This weekend Brett's grandma told me to make sure the pumpkins & canteloupe were far away from each other because the bees will pollinate the pumpkins & bring it over to the canteloupe so your cateloupes will taste like pumpkin if they're not far enough apart. Talk to you later. -- L

Aliceson said...

Oh shit! Mine are right next to eachother. I normally don't even grow pumpkins but the girls picked them out. What to do now? I trust Grandma though, I've seen her garden. One of the best in the county! Pumpkin flavored cantaloupe? Hmmm, that could be interesting. I think I'll just let it ride.

I also heard something over the weekend on Garden Talk about cucumbers, squash, etc. Most of those should be planted directly into the ground from seed. I've done it both ways but I wanted to get a jump this year and started them a few weeks ago, since I had it all out anyway. Apparently they don't transplant well. Last year my store bought cucumbers all died, but the zucchini and squash were fine. So far this year all of my transplants are doing well. I did go back through with some leftover seeds and planted them along with the plants and I'll thin them out when they get bigger.

So much to learn from a garden and especially since most times you have to wait a whole year before trying something new.

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow looks like yo've been really busy.

The tripod arrangements are very creative. You could always grow some plant up the metal poles and then they could look really attractive.

sheila said...

*sigh* your stuff looks so awesome. Compared to my crap. ughhhhh.

So I was looking at your planting method. I think I planted mine wrong! I made mounded rows. Looking at yours I should have made little ditches. Oh boy.

Julia said...

Your gardens look amazing!

We tried doing blueberries at our old house, in the summer, in 110 degree weather. needless to say they didn't grow very well. I told the boys if we can keep the gardens we have (mostly) alive then we can build beds for blueberries next year. My husband is already planning out raised beds to build.

Here's how my garden is doing:

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Your garden looks amazing.

Riot Kitty said...

Lots of pics! That last one is my favorite. Send some of that sunshine my way, will you? It was 50 and raining all day at the walk and I am still cold!