Friday, July 29, 2011

Darn Deer!!

Oh Mother Nature can be cruel. Now that I've finally gotten the slug problem under control, she decides to bring back the deer.. I just wandered up to the kitchen garden with my neighbour to pick a few flowers when I noticed the peas were toppled over - and chewed off! Immediately, I checked on my beloved pole bean teepee close by - yep, they found the beans too. Didn't completely destroy the vines, but nibbled all the leaves off.. plus, hoofprints everywhere! How did they get in? The new fence is 8 to 9 feet tall and it's secured at the bottom so they can't nudge under it.

Anyway, that's the life of a gardener in deer country I suppose. On a positive note, we've been enjoying the 'All Blue' potatoes immensely. They're just fantastic - bbq'd, roasted or boiled. I also allowed a few garlic scapes to mature and we've been opening the buds and gathering the teeny, tiny garlic cloves tucked within for salads, pasta and many other dishes. Finally, the garlic plants are beginning to brown - 2 weeks later than last year - and the harvest will most likely begin in just a week or two. I can't wait to have that space for some fall greens. It's hard to believe, but it's almost time - mizuna, mustard, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, tatsoi and more! Plus, I need to get more carrots in too. If they don't get planted in the next two weeks, I won't have the winter bounty we love so much. So much to do, but so little time.

Here's a peek in this week's garden..

Garden fresh potatoes - such a treat!

Last year's potato onions (multipliers) are flowering

The beans that didn't get eaten by the deer!

Spicy Globe Basil - so pretty and delicious

The Renee's Garden zinnias are beginning to open!

The combo of calendula, parsley, oakleaf lettuce and tomatoes

Pretty leaf textures - parsley and lettuce

My double, ruffled pansies

Rustic arugula flowers - from last winter's crop

Time to gather the chervil seeds -before they seed everywhere!

More chervil seed

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Visual Garden Update

I've been a shutterbug all week taking my camera up into the garden whenever I go (which is not nearly often enough for my sanity), as well as to other gardens that I've been able to visit.. Plus, we had a little visitor - two little visitors - late last week and I wanted to share them with you.

Last Thurs evening, it was raining very hard and just as it was beginning to get dark, we found a baby bird on our driveway. He was chirping, but couldn't do more than hop. When we listened carefully, we heard another chirp and found his sibling 10 meters away. Lucky for us, we have a bird medic in our neighbourhood! We took over our cold baby birds and he was able to heat them up immediately with a heating pad and a lamp. Soon, they'll be big enough to fly and will be able to go back into the wild.. All's well that end's well..

So, onto the visual show.. here are some shots from the past week..

Hello cutie!

It took 20 photos before I could get his open beak!

My first 'White Satin' carrot.. yummy!

I bought this calendula seed in Brugges in April. The first bloom.

Borage fills the garden - maybe a bit too much!

Who can resist the blue, star-shaped edible blooms??

We're at the height of Super Sugar Snap season.. divine!

Parsley and nasturtiums.. love the textures..

My favourite basil - spicy globe! Makes a great garden edge.. like boxwood!

Kale seedpods.. soon they'll be ready to harvest.

Renee's Garden new Circus carrots - the kids ate the purple before I could photograph it!! :)

Next post - the snowstorm of kousa dogwoods from Liverpool NS (was there yesterday! Thanks Chris!)

Purple Wave.. never goes out of style.

Love the colour contrast.

Planted these yellow foxglove over 15 years ago

The blooms time lasts for weeks and weeks!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Let's Dance Moonlight Hydrangea

Continuing along the theme of pretty plants, here's a photo I just received from Marilyn in New Brunswick.  Let's Dance Moonlight is a bigleaf type hydrangea and one of the reblooming cultivars offered from Proven Winners. I haven't actually seen this in bloom, so thanks to Marilyn for sharing it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pretty Poppies

The rain is coming again, but before it arrives, I ran up to the garden take some photos of the just-opened poppies..

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good bugs, Bad Bugs and Giant Pumpkins!

Ah summer.. on those lovely hot, sunny days, the slugs finally retreat to their secret hideouts to breed and regroup. But, on days like yesterday where it was damp, foggy and rainy, the slugs emerge and ATTACK!! Mind you, this isn't another post on slugs. Although I did pick 197 last night before the darkness, mosquitoes and ickiness chased me inside.

I have to be extra vigilant now, in regards to the slugs, as I've become one of 15 growers for Pumpkins for Prostate - and although I've joined the fundraiser a bit late - some of the growers have several weeks on me - I'm going to giv'r my all and try to grow the biggest pumpkin I can.. which brings me to the subject of slugs.. I've surrounded my pumpkin plants with a wide band of diatomaceous earth in hopes of keeping the slimy mollusks from devouring them! Fingers crossed.. with a bit of sunshine, some 'secret' fertilizer and plenty of water, the slugs will stay away and I'll be able to grow a MUCH bigger pumpkin than Halifax Mayor, Peter Kelly or the national Minister of Defense, Peter MacKay!! Bring on the battle for gourd supremacy!

As I was checking up on my pumpkin plants last night, I noticed that my newly planted fall crop of kale has been munched. Upon closer inspection, I noticed these little buggers!! Easy to knock off and smush though, but very annoying!

On a happier note, the garden is also alive with good bugs - including this lovely Luna moth that graced us with his presence last night. We've always treasured our rare encounters with this lovely moth, but since I've read the new book, The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs, I've become obsessed with the moths, butterflies and bugs that we see.

Ah summer, I'm just so happy you're here that I'll take the good with the bad.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Garden Update, Slug Eggs, Garlic Scapes and more!

A lovely garlic scape bouquet!
Finally, summer has arrived. And with it comes the lovely reminder that heat-loving veggies like tomatoes and zucchini simply bask in warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. In fact, they, along with the beans have actually doubled in size over the past 3 days - crazy!! I'm so glad the pole beans are finally climbing - I was worried that they wouldn't be able to shake the non-stop slug damage. In fact, I've reseeded in the empty spots along the A-frame trellis and pole bean teepees to make sure that we have plenty of summer snap beans - my favourite summer treat!

It's also not too late to put in more bush beans for a late Aug harvest.. even fall peas should be sown soon and you'll be able to enjoy a late season bumper crop of tender, sweet peas. Yum! The only problem is finding space in the garden for them!

I also have fresh cuke transplants ready for transplanting and more sweet corn (a white heirloom). I'm also trying Molokhia, a middle eastern super-green. My mother-in-law makes a cooked chicken and rice dish with Molokhia, but I've never tried growing it before. It typically takes about 2 months until harvest, so I started some seeds indoors. Now, I just need to find the time to plant them and enough space!

Slug eggs!!
The straw bale gardens are growing slowly, but steadily. In fact, I'm not completely sold on this method. The straw dries out very quickly, wicking the moisture from the soil/compost pockets where my tomatoes are planted. Plus, I've discovered many many clusters of slug eggs in the straw!! Argh.. I pulled apart a few of my old bales to use on the potatoes - the tubers will grow into the straw and I'll be able to harvest soil-free tubers.. but, there are so many slugs in the half rotted straw bales that  I may not bother with the straw. Yuck! And, as I pulled apart the bales to use around the potato plants, I noticed these slug eggs.. not a great photo, but you can tell from the one with my hand just how small these eggs are. They resemble tiny crystal balls. And they will tell you the future of your garden - slug damaged crops!!

Anyhoo.. I hope you'll join me again this Sunday, July 10th for The Weekend Gardener 10 to 1 pm - now 3 hours of garden fun every Sunday!! Thanks so much for all the kind e-mails and comments about the show - they're very appreciated.

We're going to talk to the wonderful Craig, the North Carolina tomato man this Sunday, as well as Carla from Halifax Seed. She's a good friend and an expert on a wide variety of garden topics. This weekend, we'll cover pests - what pests are in the garden now and what we can do about them - naturally, of course.

Also, we'll talk daylilies with Nancy from Red Land Gardens in PEI and Lorraine Flanigan, the Toronto garden expert will tell us about her new garage rooftop garden! All this and so much  more..

Happy Gardening!

I love calendula.. so cheerful and pretty! Also great in salads

A Swiss chard from last autumn bolting

Sage borders the entrance to our garden - just glorious!

More sage..

Even closer.. 

The bees love sage too - ready for landing!

Could he crawl in any deeper??

Ready to go in the garden

Roots - escaping! 

Molokhia ready for the summer sun

Last night's salad - over a dozen types of greens.. sigh..