Sunday, June 14, 2015

Garden 6.14.15

First of all, LOOK!  Tomatoes are starting!  These are the first two baby 'maters, on the Black Krim plant that I bought as a plant rather than starting from seed (because I didn't start my seeds soon enough and I was impatient for tomatoes and I won't make that mistake again.).  The Amish Paste tomato (bought as a plant) also has two babies on it, and the Oregon Spring and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes that I started from seed are blooming!

Developing tomatoes!

I didn't check the Tomato Annex today, but when I was there on Friday a couple of those plants were blooming as well.  Watering over there is on my list for tomorrow, so I'll get the full scoop then.

Also of note is the beginning of onion bulbification.  Not much yet, but the stems are enormous and they are definitely starting to swell.  I wish I could remember what variety of onion these are-"Yellow" is all I know.

Bulb-ifying onions

And Yay! The peas have started!

First pea harvest

So many peas coming!  These are sugar snaps, not snow peas, and we're trying very hard to restrain ourselves from eating them all before they fully plump up. The ones we sneaked at the very edge of being ready have been delicious.  Peas just taste like spring.

A plethora of peas

Strawberries taste like summer, and Emma is always out there foraging.

Foraging in the strawberry bed

Other newsworthy items around the yard include the blooming Penstemon barbatus 'Rubycunda' in the half barrel on the deck.  This is such a pretty flower, and I saw calliope and black-chinned hummingbirds visiting it this morning.


The red penstemon looks very nice with the marigolds.

Penstemon and marigolds

In the front flower bed the columbines have pretty much gone by, but the daylilies are about to start blooming and the foxgloves opened this week, including this spectacularly deformed one.  This is a peloric flower, and while I've seen this several times in orchids, it's apparently also fairly common in foxgloves.  All the parts of the flower are trying to be the lip.

Spectacularly deformed foxglove

The bed along the east side of the driveway has red roses,


White roses (which sadly, are not very fragrant),


and one beautiful orange iris.

pretty orange iris

The west side of the driveway has a giant mound of blooming thyme, much-beloved by bees.

thyme for bees

And now... back to the backyard for some overview shots.  These are the three original half barrels:
  • The back barrel has a threadleaf coreopsis, a 'Crazy Daisy' shasta daisy, a common thyme, and marigolds.
  • The middle barrel has the penstemon, catnip, a black petunia, marigolds, and a 'Batik' iris.
  • The front barrel has snapdragons, alyssum, lemongrass, and a random clove of garlic that sprouted in my kitchen.  I think I also stuck some nasturtium seeds in there last week.
  • The blue ceramic pot in the back has lily-of-the-valley.


This is the container garden along the edge of the deck.  The long edge hasn't changed; front to back there's lemon thyme, Freecycle peppermint, Freecycle lemon balm, rosemary, and oregano.  Then there's the strawberry jar, the pansy box with stargazer lilies (the pansies are almost done due to heat), and the curly willow with the very pretty little 'Doone Valley' thyme in full bloom.


I think I put nasturtium seeds in the rosemary and oregano, too. I also pinned six stems of the lemon thyme to the soil with rocks to propagate it by layering.  I peeked this morning, and they are rooted!  The peppermint stand in the second box was whacked back by half this week, to be dried for tea.  Yum!  It's extremely prolific.

Then we go around the corner of the deck for more herbs. 

herbs and others

Starting at the back next to the curly willow, there are shallow bowls of cilantro, parsley, and dill, and my ginger and turmeric rhizomes.  The ginger is sprouting from four eyes. No sign of activity on the turmeric yet.

The light green pots have a bush cucumber (back small), sweet mint (front small), lemon verbena (back large), and pineapple sage (front large). The orange pot is the freesia (which has BUDS!!) and a random lettuce seedling.

The front shallow green bowl is my favorite peppermint EVER.  This is the peppermint that's grown commercially on hundreds of acres here in the Grande Ronde Valley.  I snitched a 2-inch piece from the edge of a field and rooted it in a glass of water, so don't tell anyone, OK?  If I could have one mint for the rest of my life, this would be it.  It's the mintiest mint that was ever minted.

And the marigolds are because I have A Problem With Buying Plants, and also A Weakness for Marigolds.  It's not like I don't already have 20-30 marigolds around the garden that have sprouted and are almost blooming size already or anything.  These four six-packs were in the dead plant clearance area at Walmart, and I couldn't bear for them to be thrown out.  They were 75% off, and they just needed to be watered.  For 50 cents each I couldn't leave them there. Now to figure out where to plant them...

Ahem.  Moving on.  Here are the vining half barrels: 

vining barrels

  • The marigolds and zinnias are well up in the back barrel, and the morning glories will probably reach the first string and start climbing this week.  
  • The middle barrel has the Jackmanii clematis (which is about to burst into flower any day now), a peppermint, and direct-seeded marigolds which are also about ready to flower.
  • The front barrel has the Princess Diana clematis, bee balm (3 clumps), chocolate mint, and direct-seeded marigolds ready to flower.
I am apparently collecting mint varieties.  I do so like mint tea.  I'm pretty sure I stuck nasturtium seeds into all three of these barrels as well, but I really don't remember for sure where I put all those seeds on that hot day a week ago, after I got home from the first three days in the sagebrush.  It'll be an adventure when they start to come up.

Whew, so that's all the pots in the back yard. The beds are very pretty as well.


I already covered the peas and onions.  The greens bed still has both kinds of lettuce, although the Black-seeded Simpson is about ready to bolt and getting a little bitter.  The Grand Rapids lettuce is still quite delicious and has formed nice heads, and one head makes big salads for two people.  I planted carrots where I pulled out the pak choi and spinach.  Some of the cilantro has flowered but I let it go, for the bees to enjoy and so I can get some coriander seeds.

In the bed behind the peas and onions, which I realize you totally can't see, the tomatoes aren't growing as quickly as I would like but they are starting to set fruit.  I also planted marigold seeds in there, and stuck in a cinnamon basil plant.  I had some pinchings of the basil on my chicken for dinner tonight, and it was extremely yummy. I don't know that I've ever had cinnamon basil before.

Oh, and that plant that I thought was a lemon cucumber volunteer from last year?  I'm now quite sure it's NOT a lemon cucumber, but probably a sunflower. Oops. When I called it a cucumber it only had one set of leaves, and was where the cucumbers were last year.

And last but not least, here's the revised strawberry house that I constructed this afternoon.  This is 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC pipe, held in place with conduit straps.  It's a big improvement over the jury-rigged version, especially since it doesn't fall over if you look at it sideways. I was very skeptical about the PVC as hoop house ribs, but Pinterest and YouTube didn't lie and it really does bend that far without breaking.

new strawberry house

I had big plans to make this a fully openable cover, with the PVC and netting permanently attached to a frame on hinges, so all I would have to do to access the bed is lift the lid, but when I got home from the hardware store I realized that I forgot to get the boards for the frame.

A previous investigation of the scrap lumber in the garage had revealed that I don't have any the right length/size, and I didn't want to have to go out to the store again.  Also it was really hot out and I just wanted to be done.  So I revised my plan and attached the pipes directly to the existing raised bed frame, and the netting will continue to be draped over and held down with rocks.  It'll be fine for the rest of this year, and I can make my fancy one for next year.

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