Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wild Strawberries

I was walking through the yard the other day when something caught my eye. Something red, down there near my foot. I bent down for a closer look and found . . . . .

Little wild strawberries! Last year I found some of these in my yard, but they were bushes along the fence. These are basically growing in the field of weeds that is the, uh, "lawn."

How cool is that?

No wonder that little bunny keeps coming into our yard.
I wanted to show the fencing that keeps Peter Cottontail out of the garden.
One side has tall fencing:

You can see it there on the other side of the bean and pea patches. That goes around almost two sides of the garden. The other two sides have much lower fencing:

Disregard the lack of tan, etc., but what I was trying to demonstrate in this photo is that it's a little bit higher than knee-height. So you can just step over it. But no Brer Rabbits can get in. Or at least they haven't yet.
The beans look great in their mulch bed:

And here in this shot you can see that i actually did get some newspaper down beneath the mulch in the pea bed.

Here's a closeup of the newspaper peeking out. I just used one sheet, folded in half. Hope that's enough.

And the cucumbers are popping up too!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sprouting Pride

There is a certain feeling one gets when one sees all of the little seedlings sprout. A feeling of pride, and accomplishment. And after three years of trying this stuff, of . . . relief, honestly.
This is what I saw this weekend:

The peas are growing :) All around the jury-rigged pea trellis. You can notice very clearly that the two front rows are growing much more hardily than the two back rows. We will see if that changes.

These are the Top Marvels (I think i called them Modern Marvels before. They are Top Marvel peas.) They are looking great as of 5-2-10. They have come up in droves and are smiling at the world.

Back here on the back are the Sugar Snaps. These are the ones that never took last year. Now, granted, I was trying to grow them in May, June, July, and August - months that peas don't generally like (I now know.) However, in comparison to these Top Marvels, they aren't looking too happy, are they?

Take a look at the bean patch:

All the pretty looking sprouts raising their heads and poking out. Here's what they look like up close.

When they first come out, you can see the shape of the actual bean pod still as they unfurl.

But as they get larger and grow bigger, they grow a great big leaf, to aid in photosynthesis. Later they will flower, like last year, and develop bean pods. I read last week that I should plant a new set every two weeks to ensure a constant harvest. I'm glad to be reading these sorts of things. Because of my job I can't get all of the information I need all the time. I did not realize that I would need to be replanting lettuce and beans. I know this year. Zucchini, on the other hand, you apparently don't need to replant. It just overtakes your garden and produces enough for a neighborhood.

Speaking of zucchini:

I planted three seeds in this hole so will need to thin it out. There are two plants growing about 12 inches away that I will also need to thin out. I hope the zucchini does better than last year! With everyone complaining about how they have too much zucchini, I am going to feel like a total failure if I can't have an overabundance of zucchini. I can always bring it to church.

The cucumber seedlings look very similar to the zucchini:

Same shaped leaves.

Before I closed up shop for the day, I mulched the bean patch and the pea patch.

I protected all of the pea shoots first before putting a 2-inch layer down here (approximately.)

For the beans:

Same thing, basically. Actually I meant to put down newspaper first, but only accomplished this in the pea patch. I want to mulch the rest of the garden to keep down the weeds as well. Need more mulch!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weeds weeds everywhere

Already this year a lot of time is being taken up weeding. But, as you can see, there is a lot of square footage in this garden.

There are many different types of weeds encountered here. I am not good at identifying them but I would love to know if anyone else can. I have noticed from year to year that the types of weeds change. Once I eradicate a certain type, another type becomes more prolific. This year, we have the following:

This grass. I wish it would grow in the actual yard. When i yank it up, i throw it over into the yard, hoping it will take root there. All i really have in the "yard" is crabgrass, patches of dirt, and weeds. But unfortunately not this particular one. Which i don't want in the garden.

There's this one, which looks like an herb, doesn't it? I wonder if this is a remnant of something the gardener before me planted, before I came onto the scene. The garden layed fallow and became a jungle for a couple of years in between the last gardener and me. But there is something fragrant and tasty-smelling when I weed, and I have always suspected this is it.

It grows up to look like this:

I mean, it sort of looks like something you would munch on, doesn't it? (I know the bunny thinks so.) It is hard to pull up, has a deep root system with thick, ropy roots along with thready shoots, that, if you don't pull up when it's young, turn into woody substances.

Then there's this one:

It looks like lily pads, sort of, and is an invasive vine. It's very easy to pull up. It has little purple flowers but the root system is not deep and it's thready.

This one is easy to pull up but pops up all over the place. Before I was familiar with it, I thought it was one of the plants I had planted, like a pea or something (last year.) Now I'm wise to it. Not sure what it actually is, though.

Then there is this:

This is a seed pod dropped all over the garden (ALL OVER IT) by some tree in the vicinity. It looks sort of like a feather, doesn't it. A beautiful piece of nature's handiwork. On the left hand side you have a lighter than air, papery substance made for the express purpose of taking flight. On the right hand side you have a seed encased in a pod. It lands in my garden, plants itself, aaaaand:

The pod begins to disintegrate. The seed germinates. And a little tree begins to grow.

And then I yank that sucker out.

But there is no way I can ever pick up all the pods laying all over the garden. Lordy.

Anyway, if you know what any of these weeds are, lemme know!

The Bunny is Back

It's hard to get a photo of him because he is so sneaky. But he doesn't scare easily. Or else his absolute stillness when I photograph him is a defense tactic. Instinct, if you will.

He's down there in the right corner, hiding from you. I put up the rest of the fencing this weekend in order to protect my newly sprouted plants from being, basically, his salad bowl.