Monday, April 27, 2009

State of the Garden - 27 April 2009

It's been 3 weeks since my last garden update and what a difference a bit of spring makes! So, let's get started with the show and tell. I also have a couple of questions in here that maybe some of you savvy and more experienced gardeners can answer.

Those little sticks that were supposed to be apple trees, remember those? Well! They are covered in leaves and look very happy!

The comfrey plants are well up and the leaves are just huge! Far bigger than my hand. I really love the soft feathery feel of the fuzz on them.

One of my olive trees, arbequina olives, is actually blooming! I wasn't really expecting that until next year. There won't be a harvest, per se, because the first few years they bloom and set fruit they are mostly pit. Arbequina olives are the most flavorful little bursts of deliciousness you can imagine and the finest oil also comes from them. They are great for large containers too and can be shaped very nicely too.

Sorry about the thumb in the picture (when is the last time you actually saw that happen?) but I didn't have another shot quite so good from yesterday. This is one of the new beds and wow, can you believe how much it has grown in the last 3 weeks? I sure can't. In fact, I'll post a time show sometime soon because Spring is just amazing in how fast it works on our gardens, isn't it?

You can see the onions are growing super fast, as are the purple cauliflower, radishes (of course) and beets, but the real surprise is the recovery and fast growth of the tomatoes! I put them out way too early because I had run out of space under the lights, thinking I had so many extra that if they died I could swap them out. For a while it looked bad and then a week ago, we had big hail ripping holes in things but then, suddenly, bonanza!

Here in Bed 2, the peas are twining, lettuce is still producing some beautiful (and yummy) leaves, and other brassicas are growing apace even while being attacked by my greatest spring enemy (I've got another post and close up for you). Tomatoes here are doing fab also. As of this morning one of the early peas also had a few blooms. Hurray!

And for the first official tomato bloom of the year, the prize goes to a surprising contestant. The Black Krim tomato. I'm pot growing many of the extra tomatoes as well as giving some away.

Not too far behind the Black Krim is another surprising one, Cherokee Purple, who is probably going to unfurl its lovely and large bloom today.

The blueberries, which are just on their second year, are loaded with lovely growing berries. I just have 2 bushes right now as I'm experimenting with variety and soil and they are contained in a giant pot...I do mean giant...that is 3 feet high. New branches have come out of the base of it and they are quite tall, but I'm still trying to figure out how to prune for max production so I think I have far less than I probably should.

And one of the biggest surprises in the new "orchard" of experimental fruiting is the cherry tree. It is a dwarf, self pollinating one and was just a stick and hasn't even fully unfurled all the new leaf growth, but yet, it has one small blossom that appears to have taken!

My strawberry bed is producing, but the results are a bit varied. The plants near the base of the brick porch have grown by leaps and bounds more than those out front and center. I'm thinking it is because the porch retained heat while it was so cold while those up front had more chilling wind effects.

Nonetheless, I've harvested a half dozen or so small and perfectly tasty very early strawberries!

Here is on of my most pressing questions. The bush below is one of two planted when my house was built in 2005. Since I wasn't very familiar with what my neighbors would or wouldn't accept in my front yard and not at all sure of the right types for this area's weather, I asked they choose something fairly easy care, evergreen and not likely to create problems with my foundation. This is what they put in. To this day, I still have no idea what they are.

To describe them, they are evergreen, they spread about twice as much as they grow in height and right now each is about 8 feet wide and 4 feet high. And for a close up...

You can see in this close up what the blooms and leaves look like. They have a very heady scent that is quite enticing. I associate the smell with gardenia but I'm not good with very precise smells. The leaves are waxy and firm. I'd really like to know what they are. Any idea?

My alien hostas are coming up fast and I'm very happy to see they weren't all destroyed when my foundation was re-stuccoed last fall. It looks like some close to the wall may have had some damage as they aren't coming up fast or as thick, but there is survival! I desperately need to separate these out this year and spread the wealth to the other beds around the house I'm building. I actually included this picture to show the effect of 30 minutes of rain that produced over 2 inches of rain! It overflowed the gutters and came down in sheets, pushing the soil right over the bed edging and into the yard. I estimate I lost about a cubic yard of newly laid compost/topsoil mix in that half hour.

My dogwood is blooming so prettily.

And the bulbs are starting to bloom and be all showy for me.

And not to forget a little puppy love, here is Boscoe smiling up at me because he knows he's about to get his belly rubbed. It is totally his favorite.


Walter Jeffries said...

That is amazing! You give me hope. We won't look like that until late June. Winter has a tenacious grip. There is still snow in the fields but almost gone. Up higher on the mountain there is more snow but it should be gone in a week or two except for the dark spots on the north faces.

You asked about the taste of the goose eggs. They're like duck eggs to me, a very, very slightly sulphur tinge compared with chicken eggs. I like the whites better than the yokes. All our eggs have very rich yokes since the birds eat greens - even more so in the summer.

We have had a goose for years that lives with our pigs. She lays - in fact for the first year we thought she was a gander as that was what we were told by the person who gave her to us. Imagine our surprise when the gander laid eggs! Thus the name change from gander to goose-goose.

This year we have five geese, more donations from a friend, and have both male and female - we're pretty sure! - so we hope to have goslings too this summer.

Milah said...

Wow, three weeks really has made a difference. I think we are about two-three weeks behind you so I have a lot to look forward to.

I bought the book, One Second After. I'm currently reading Three Cups of Tea, so it's next on my reading list.

Kristina said...

In a word: WOW!Man, you've been busy. I can't tell you exactly what that shrub is, but it's in the Heath family. Maybe a laurel or azalea? Good luck.

fullfreezer said...

Oh, you have things blooming and growing!! How beautiful. I'll get there someday, if it ever stops raining long enough to get my garden in.

Christy said...

Your garden is so beautiful! I'm so far behind. I love your beds, they look so nice.

Ruralrose said...

Excellent post Christy - everything looks wonderful you are a month ahead of us here - peace for all

wyldthang said...

hello (same wt from HT)is that bush daphne? my friend has a bush it smells wonderfull, kinda looks like that, can't be positive since I don't have her bush on hand to compare with your pic. Nice garden and cute pup!

ATW said...

WOW!! Very Nice!! Everything looks great. Im also jelous about your cherry tree, My tree is producing green foliage but it is no where near producing any flowers. Keep the pics coming!!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh - what wonderful pictures - I *loved* taking a tour of your garden. Many of your plants are so much farther along than mine. I wouldn't dare, for example, plant my tomatoes outside yet. And the iris are still at least a month off. I do see that my lilac trees have started to bloom, though, and my peas and lettuce are growing like crazy. I love spring!

Robbyn said...

Oh, your growing things are beautiful! I love the mix of fruits and veggies and that they seem to be exploding before your eyes with new growth. Lovely! :)