Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's walk, shall we?

Just around the gardens, so it won't take long unless you've got a lot of questions or advice.

My remote bed is full of shadows in this picture, but not doing too badly. As at home, the corn isn't doing much there. I companion-planted it with climbing peas but wherever I got that advice didn't live in our climate. The peas are WAAY more advanced than the corn and have nothing to climb. I had a particularly great batch of canola or mustard in this bed that I've never had before. I left it until it bloomed because I thought they might be my zinnias. Alas, while pretty, they were massive weeds and very fast growing. It looks better now. There's still one in this picture.

Now to my own house...

This is the view I see out of my bedroom window and I usually gaze out first thing in the morning as if to see if any miracles happened overnight. Even if it's not the most productive garden, I never got as much enjoyment out of the grass that used to be there.
Just outside the front door is this small bed of tomatoes and a few potatoes. And my two lovely rain barrels from the Italian Centre. They buy their olives in these bulk containers and then sell them off pretty cheaply out the back door. That was quite a find for me this year. I don't think I've ever been that excited by either black plastic or olives.
Calendula and pink poppies can be seen all over the garden. I love the colour of the poppies and their fluffy heads. If I don't think they're choking out anything, I let them grow where they want and easily pull them when they're done (in a couple of weeks). Sometimes I save a cup of seeds for eating or planting again. The calendula is going to be made into a cream for my hands and feet. I started drying the first heads today.

More of the front bed. The carrots need thinning but I was hoping to get some pickling carrots out of them so they still have to grow for a bit. The beans have just started with 1" beans on them. I can't wait! But what's with the garlic in the front? Do they always do this, or were they flattened in the rain? I've never grown garlic before.

Although it's hard to see the brick paths through the jungle of poppies and weeds, this is a triangle of perennial herbs. I've cut the oregano to the ground once and dried it and it's come back looking great after the days of rain we just had.

This is the newest veggie patch, mixed with some of the perennials that I couldn't part with. After removing the big central bush, I must say that I don't miss it at all. Although, I had planned to plant a privacy screen of cucumbers (on the supports shown) and corn. Hmm, do you see how private it is to sit on my new chairs?

No? Sigh. The cucumbers are actually growing, but not reaching for their strings, and this is the corn.

It is growing and is about 1.5 feet high, but it's blooming already. I highly doubt I'll get any cobs off these and no privacy. I'm not sure why I keep trying corn. Although I dumped a bunch of manure in this bed, it's got the worst soil of all my beds. I'm going to work on that. At the end of July I've got more manure coming, and in the fall all of my compost bins are being emptied and dug into my gardens. Over time it should get where I want it to be.

I tried a few fava beans for the first time, hopefully for drying. Beans and tomato paste are among the few canned goods I still buy. I can't make tomato paste (I've tried), but I should be able to stop buying canned beans. These are totally unlike green beans in their growth, so I'm curious to see how the beans form. And they have no interest in the support whatsoever but I put them there because all of the Italians do it. They must know what they are doing, right? Maybe I'll have to tie them to the stakes when they get too tall. I'll walk around Little Italy soon and see what they do.

One of my last purely flower beds. The golden elder died to the ground this winter and is now as tall as I am.

And this allium is very out of season, but I love it. If only there were more. I've just got the one and we've been watching it closely as the flower head formed and is finally blooming.

This is my tiny Evans Cherry tree. The first foot of it has leaves but otherwise looks unpromising. In five years I hope that will not be the case. I surrounded it with the most beautiful tulips (obviously done blooming) and some tiny seeded asters. I never have luck with asters, but I keep trying.

As you round the corner into the back yard, you walk along our new strawberry patch. I've had to cover them to keep the sparrows from getting everything, but even so these strawberries have mostly been wonky and stunted. The patch in the front garden is producing beautiful berries, about five a day. Nothing for jam at them moment! And that Virginia Creeper just will not die. After a white fly infestation I tried to get rid of it two years ago. It's looking healthy this year so I'm giving it a third (?) chance.

I hate the back yard when I look at the big picture, but the garden itself does well back here. The soil must be better and the stucco wall gets nice and hot for tomatoes. I think I'll try peppers here next year if I must do crop rotations.

And this is the original plot that was here when we moved in. Although unappealing to me in it's rectangularness (it's a word if you use it often enough), it actually produces well. The blue delphinium has never been as happy as it is this year.

And I didn't make it out to the alley with the camera, but the sorrel has settled in (I got three plants this year from a friend), the comfrey is doing great (to help speed up the compost), and the raspberries are just starting to turn red. Beth ate the first berry yesterday. The rain should nicely plump them up because I'm pretty irregular about watering the alley.

And that's it. How's your garden doing?


Coralee said...

soooo beautiful, Ev! Being in an apartment pretty much kills any idea of growing (the air conditioner kills anything we've tried), though even on the ground, I'm not sure I'd be much of a gardner. I can appreciate the beauty of yours though!

Farmwife said...

Thanks for the tour! Your garden is beautiful! I still have not managed to grow any flowers from seed...ever. Even last year's forgotten onion that's about to bloom was from a set!

cg said...

looks good ev, keep me posted on the calendula cream and how it turns out.

Unknown said...

Oh goodness you're having far more success than I am! I have had to change my strategy now that I realize the 'sod' is quackgrass, so that's set me back some. Still, my borage plant is blooming and it's very pretty - and I have calendula EVERYWHERE! Good thing I use it (like you) for ointments.

For the peas/corn combo - next year try sunflowers. They grow fast enough to function as supports and if you get the big mammoth kind, they are sturdy enough, too. I did a few like that last year and it worked great. Trying it this year for cucumbers.

I was out planting today - I'm telling myself that I've got a 'fall garden' this year. Better late than never, right? :)

Patty-Jean from LittleQuiver said...

Thank-you for the lovely tour! Very impressive, I really see the "permaculture" taking wonderful shape on your property!

We've been enjoying the carrots and beats that we've taken out to help space them. As well as snap peas (or mange-toutes, as we call them) lettuce, beet tops in salads and steamed with some vinegar, and bbq'ed onions and garlic.

Oh I adore poppies - and look forward to the day we have a home of our own and perhaps property to plant hundreds of them. Do you harvest the seeds? I love poppy seeds and I know most folk around here grow poppies purely for the beauty. So I'm curious about the harvest part!?

Evelyn in Canada said...

AJC: Thanks for the sunflower tip. I'll maybe try that next year. I used to hate dealing with the woody stalks in the fall, but did you know they can be burnt as firewood? Now I'll pass them on to people with firepits.

CG: I will let you know. I'm very anxious to try it because my hands and feet are currently alive with throbbing nerve endings. I hope the cream is something that actually helps.

Coralee: I suspect that with your current interests, by the time you move into your first house you'll slowly grow into a love of gardening too. I'm willing to eat my tiny wool hat if I'm wrong though!

Farmwife: No seedlings of your own? Not even with your new greenhouse? I'm not at all expert at it, but they always do okay in the end. Try a few next year. There's very little to lose really.

Patty-Jean: I just leave some heads on the poppies to dry in the sun and then shake them into a container. I don't dry them any further - just eat or reseed. I never really save more than 1 cup for eating because I tire of the dying stalks and rip most of them out to make room for the other expanding greenery. If I had more space, maybe I'd grow full rows for eating, but alas I'm just an urban dweller with a typical lot.