Thursday, June 30, 2011

Benefits of a wet spring

I like to think of the glass as half full, for me the world just works better this way. 
For example, I could spin you the sad tale of the state of my tomatoes, peppers, and melons after this cold wet spring.  However, they'll get big eventually. 
In the meantime, after using some netting to keep the birds out, my peas are looking beautiful and filling up my A-frame nicely.
My Garlic is on autopilot and looks like we'll have nice big heads.  Essentially, all I've been doing for the garlic since I planted is watering once a week if it doesn't rain, and weeding.  I'll be pulling these up in a week or so.

The wet weather has also boosted the populations of my beneficial insects.  Look at this beautiful dragon fly, fat from eating pests like aphids and mosquitos.
We had our first appreciable harvest of summer greens.  From left, Rainbow Chard, Lacinato Kale, Collard Greens. 
And last but not least, strawberries.
All said, it has been a good week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colors of June

Things are mostly green out here in the June Garden, but there are stirrings of other hues.
Take this Radicchio for example, its getting nice and purple in the center
And it turns out that blue potatoes make blue flowers, how lovely.

I keep catching Carson "red" handed...hey, did you just swipe my gloves?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When Greens Bolt

If you are like me and live in the northern climes of the US, some of your greens are getting ready to bolt or already have.  Let's discuss bolting, shall we?  This is what you will see when things are moving in that direction
The individual plants will start to look taller with what will appear to be one or many flower heads developing at the top.  The plant is now placing its emphasis on reproduction and producing seed for self propagation.  For most mild lettuces, this means that you have missed the boat, the leaves will already be much too bitter to enjoy.  For Arugula, which is spicy, this is your last chance to pull up and harvest, like I did here
I pick off all of the big leaves and leave the feathery looking ones at the top near the seed head for the compost bin.
Additionally, I leave a few plants scattered throughout the bed and let them go completely to seed.  I try to leave them in places that won't interfere with the other plants and along my drip line so that I will not need to add extra watering work.  This way, I end up with more seeds for these varieties of whatever green I grew, Sylvetta Wild and Sputnik Arugula in this case.

I used to think about seeing my greens bolt as a sad ending to a good thing.  Now I think about it like this (greens + seed = bonus!).

Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.