Happy tulip

Happy tulip

The week was cold and rainy and we had light frost a couple mornings justifying my reluctance to plant out the tomatoes and peppers last weekend. But this weekend was glorious, a comfortable 73F (23C) and sunny. The week ahead is forecast to be similar to today but for some rain tomorrow. I do hope it rains tomorrow so our rain barrel is refilled and all of our newly planted seeds are soaked.

We have passed our average last frost date by a few days now and given the forecast for the week it seems safe to put out those tomatoes and plant all the remaining seeds in the garden. So that’s what Bookman and I did today. Actually, the day began with him making several runs for free wood chips from the city piles. Then we recarved our veggie bed from the sideways “s” to an “m.” It was easy to do because the area we made into the left hump of the “m” had been wood chipped over all summer last year. The chips had begun decomposing and the grass beneath was all dead. We moved the chips aside

Creeping phlox

Creeping phlox

to find beautiful soil with happy earthworms abounding. The change in bed shape also gave us quite a lot more veggie bed space and we were a bit hard pressed to fill it but we managed!

Today we planted the warm weather veggies we bought at the garden sale last weekend: tomatoes (two kinds a slicing and a paste total 5 five plants), a basil mix (4 plants), marigolds, a sweet pepper mix (6 plants) an anaheim chile, and an eggplant. We also planted a malabar spinach. In addition we planted seeds: quinoa, boston pickling cucumber, coco noir black beans, Minnesota midget cantaloupe, yellow and purple bush beans (same as we had last year), a summer squash we got free seeds for in our seed order called lemon squash, more kale and more leeks. We would have planted zucchini but the seeds have gone missing! I don’t know where they could have gotten to, but poof! Gone.

Crabapple flowers

Crabapple flowers

We also planted seed for borage, nasturtium, and sweet alyssum (white). I found some seeds for lemon grass I had bought a couple years ago and we planted some of those too.

We have pie pumpkin and pole beans left to plant but need to wait another week or two for the corn to get sprouted and growing. The row cover we put over the bed when we planted the corn seed last week has done a fantastic job keeping the squirrels and other critters from digging up the seed. My neighbor warned us today though that she tried growing corn once and the squirrels took the ears just before they were ripe. So I’m not sure yet how to guard against that but I have some time to think of something.

The polyculture bed we planted Easter weekend in April is doing beautifully. We still have the row cover fabric over it but it is filled with sprouts of lettuce, radish, spinach and beets. In a week or two we will have to take the fabric off because the plants will be too tall. So exciting!

We went out to Bachman’s garden center today to buy some sulphur to put on our blueberry beds to acidify the soil since

Pasque flowers and Pussytoes

Pasque flowers and Pussytoes

peat moss last summer did not do the job. Also we got a new blueberry because Chandler (variety “Friendship”) did not bud. It looked like it was going to and I waited and waited and nothing. Meanwhile Boo has tiny leaves. We need two bushes to get berries so decided to get a new one. The variety we got is called “Polaris.” Back at home, Bookman kneels down to dig out Chandler and put in Polaris and exclaims, it has leaves! What? I said in surprise. Look, he says, pointing to the tiny leaves unfurling at the base of Chandler. Huh, it figures. So we planted Polaris in between Chandler and the huckleberry. When they all get tall it is going to be a bit tight but, well, what else is to be done? So now we have three blueberry bushes. Polaris has flower buds but it is too early for Boo to have any and I am not sure he will since the soil ph is not right, but I guess I’ll wait and see since blueberries seems to be full of surprises. We put sulphur on the beds and stirred it into the soil a little. It is slow acting and will take 6-8 weeks to reach full activation. So July 4th weekend I will do another ph soil test and see if it worked. I’ve never done this before so I have no idea if we added enough sulphur or too much or what. Time will tell.

Meanwhile around the rest of the garden, Walter the crabapple is bursting into bloom. He looks so very pretty with the yellow daffodils blooming at his feet. Both the tiny bush cherries are covered in flowers. The shrubs are so small and look so delicate and their pink flowers look so huge in comparison.

The garden bed on the alley is home to a tenacious creeping phlox. This is one tough plant that keeps coming back in

Early meadow rue

Early meadow rue

spite of severe neglect on my part. In the tiny, narrow garden on the south side of the house where it is hot and dry but not ver sunny because it gets shaded from the house next door, the early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum) is thriving. It’s a tough area to grow things and many plants have died and no doubt more will before I manage to happily fill in the area. The meadow rue has been there three or four years now, is about knee high and is flowering. The flowers aren’t anything spectacular, they are small and hang down over the plant and look like miniature upside down sea polyps, which make them cute and interesting.

In the front garden, the pasque flowers are going gangbusters and the pussytoes are starting to bloom. The tulips are blooming too, well, a few of them. We have a couple red tulips that we never planted, the previous owners must have, but they keep coming back year after year and haven’t given up on us yet. I love them!

Pasque flowers

Pasque flowers

In the coming week I believe Bookman and I are going to work out the logistics of our little pond — bin, rocks, location. We are probably going to put in two small goldfish and a couple of snails. We’ll be growing watercress on the edge of the pond. No plans for any other plants because the pond is not going to be deep enough to overwinter anything. I also have my ceramic frog fountain to get up and running. A rubber o-ring broke and we couldn’t find the right size to replace it so we are cutting down a larger one to the right size. I hope. With luck next weekend I’ll have some water features to tell you about!

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