Wednesday, June 30, 2010

lush and green in Arkansas

We are in Arkansas visiting family, and yesterday my dad toured me around his backyard garden.

The deer are fans of his plum tree, and the plums are sweet and juicy. Smart deer!

My dad always grows tomatoes. He puts a small plastic tube around the bottom of the plants so he can direct the water more directly toward the roots. But a friend of his suggests spraying water all over the plant, because it will soak up water through the leaves, too, and make for a healthier plant? True or false?

Okra is one of my favorite summertime treats, and my dad's okra is coming up strong. Yesterday he noticed ants on his okra plants, and he said that they like to eat the okra blossoms, which means no okra pods. Not sure how he plans to get rid of the ants, and I didn't ask.

This year he's getting really clever with his cucumbers, growing them UP rather than letting them sprawl all over the ground. I think it makes such a pretty vertical element in his garden. He used the same concrete wire that Ryan used in making our garden arch.

Makes me miss my own garden!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

early summer harvest

This may be my favorite time of year in the garden. My hard work of digging in beds and removing spring weeds is over. The little seedlings have taken hold, and they are jubilantly reaching for the sun and growing strong and proud.

I'm still thrilled and amazed by the flowering plants - the beautiful lavender flowers of the eggplants; the bright yellow flowers on the tomatoes and cucumbers. The jasmine is blooming, and there are still some hot pink cecil brunner roses sending out a sweet scent.

Every afternoon I take a work break and wander outside, picking a few cherry tomatoes, a strawberry or two, for a snack.

The hot, hot summer days and rangy garden plants are still weeks away. Now, it's like paradise out there.

My favorite garden spot right now is the teepee of scarlet runner beans, with huge squash leaves peeking out from underneath. It makes me happy every time I pass by.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Old fence = new garden box

Ryan, in his infinite cleverness, created a new garden box out of an old fence (generously given to us by best friend Denise). 

When we started the Memorial Day weekend, our front yard looked like this:

Ryan cut the salvaged fence boards into 4' long pieces.

He also used redwood posts that were salvaged from underneath our house during the foundation project, and voila!

 One hour later a raised bed nestled into our front yard. It's 4 x 4, eleven inches tall.

Yay for Ryan! We filled the raised bed with compost, straw, worm casings, coffee grounds, vermiculite, and perlite. You may notice there are no manures listed - that is on purpose! We are trying "veganic gardening." More on that in a future post.

We planted kale, okra, basil, and lettuce in the raised bed.

And, I removed all the grass from underneath the magnolia tree, and planted alpine strawberries, a pretty, edible ground cover. I hope the squirrels and critters aren't crazy too about them.

Next up - taming the wild, weedy western side yard! But until then, I look forward to relaxing under the magnolia tree.