Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spinach, Peas, and Lettuce, OH MY!

I am excited that I have been lucky enough to have a garden growing in all the weird weather that we are having! But strangely enough we are already eating from our garden and loving every bite!
I harvested a big row of spinach last week and came out with 9 bags of spinach to share and eat in delicious salads! We have also been lucky enough to get some peas and lettuce that is making my grocery shopping bill smaller and my smile bigger! In a few weeks it will be time to plant all the cole crops again that you want a second try at. I for one will be replanting peas for sure- I can't get enough of those yummy things....and mine struggled this season. I hope they do much better in a fall crop. I am still puttering and planting a few things here and there, pumpkins that I didn't get in yet and I re-seeded some of my corn that has come up spotty because of the weather.

Weed control time is here and we have the blisters on our hands to prove it! Get out those hoe's people and make sure your garden can be found among the many weeds popping up. The ever-bearing strawberry varieties are starting to produce, and there is nothing sweeter. Keep them moist and they will give you a great reason to go into your garden. With the heat in the afternoon I find it most helpful to spend my hours in the garden in the early morning 5:30-8am and in the evening (with a good bug spray on for mosquitoes) 7-9:30... This time of year I can still see to work until about 9:45 at night.... amazing! You gotta love the long summer nights. Don't forget to thin carrots, beets, and turnips for best results.

I hope you are enjoying your garden food and looking forward to more ahead while our tomatoes, corn, beans, and squash are growing happily. Remember to water deep and infrequent, try to get the water to go down at least 6 inches. It saves water and makes for happier healthier plants.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Annual Flower bed design

So I'll admit it, finally having nice weather I am having a hard time blogging. It is too fun to spend my time outside working and enjoying the still "cool enough to work" weather! I also have had to slow down a bit because I only have about 9 more weeks till my baby is born :) I apologize for the time gap but I thought I would post about one of the many things I have been working on outside lately....

Annual flower bed design! I have been inspired by many different places these past two years to start planting an annual flower bed or two each spring. It is so fun to find varieties that work well together and see the full splendor of summer annuals at their best. I used to not be a big fan of annuals until I saw the amazing ability they have to keep blooming all summer long. I have loved working with some more rare and tried and true varieties and trying something new each year.

I start by choosing a color scheme and think of the texture and spacing that I want. Some of the plants I like to use are flowering kale, purple basil, cardinal red salvia, cleome, gomphrena, profussion zinnias, imagination verbena, and black eyed susan. there are many other varieties you can experiment with, but those are a few of my favorites for zone 5. Look for plants in your nursery that are small and not too overgrown and lanky for the flat. The small plants do better because they are not so root-bound in the container. I really try to pack my annuals in the bed, the more color and texture the better. I count up how many flats of flowers I need for my space and place them by gently throwing the plants onto the ground and where they land is where they are planted. (please don't plant in cute little rows! there is nothing natural about it!) I try to copy nature as much as possible and random placement seems to be more aesthetically pleasing in my opinion.

Make sure you prepare the soil in your area well by adding plenty of organic matter and tilling before planting if possible. I also like to add some all purpose fertilizer to get things started well. I usually plant on may 15 but this year because of weather we are about a month behind schedule. My plants just went in about a week and a half ago and I am babying them until they get settled and start to do their thing!

They actually don't look like much now but in a few weeks will be beautiful as ever bursting with color and texture! I look forward to the enjoyment of it! I hope this will inspire you to try something new with the many amazing annuals that we have!

Happy Gardening