Friday, May 22, 2009

A garden update. A plethora of photos aka Overload.

I was doing some blog browsing and saw that one of my favorite garden blogs had a really nice updated garden post with a challenge to improve together. Boy does our garden need some improving. Easy for me to say because I'm not allowed to do much in it right now -- modified bed rest to keep my blood pressure down, while worth it, is really annoying at this time of year. When our new son, Zander, is in my arms healthy and glowing it really will all seem so minor to be a few weeks behind on things after all.

Speaking of upcoming babies here are some baby berries: blueberries, boysenberries, and grapes!
So I went out to the garden to take stock of what we have going on right now and photograph the results... Because I'm not able to do much more than water, this post is flooded with photos!

This is an exciting new future addition to the garden! My dear friend
Sherri sent this to be placed over our new son's placenta. It will be a mate to an established tree we have in our front yard, a very early blooming Shaa-Kar-Pareh apricot from Iran. It blooms so early that no other apricots are ready to pollinate it in time, and alas it is not self-fruitful. I'm SO looking forward to the fruit these trees will set in the future!
This is Colven's placenta tree, a Wonderful pomegranate. This is the third year of good flowering, I'm hoping it sets fruit this year. I read to not water it and not feed it. I still wonder if the placenta gave it too much nitrogen for it to set fruit but the experiment of no extra love will be the test this year.

The flowers are gorgeous.

So on to the rest of the garden. Here is the freshly mulched (and replanted, again) children's garden. I gave up on planting Luscious corn since the birds got the first attempt and the second attempt had such poor germination. So here we have Kandy King hybrid and Casino with a small batch of Strawberry Popcorn in the back which was planted early enough to not cause interference with cross pollination.
Here is the Strawberry Popcorn, apparently not as tasty to the birds!
On the other side of a small path is another patch of popcorn called Japanese Hull-less
This funny little bed has some overflow onions along with Jarrahdale, French Cinderella and Jack O'Lantern pumpkin seeds planted last weekend. Also some bulbing fennel, a few volunteer tomatillos, a red cabbage that just keeps going despite being harvested from already, and a few stalks of transplanted (courtesy of the birds no doubt) corn.

The first tomatoes planted. Two volunteer cherry tomato plants I moved from one of the raised beds. A Green Zebra, Taxi, and Pineapple all from
GP Organics. I'm on the lookout for some San Marzano paste tomatoes. I didn't get my seeds started in time and I'm really wanting to try this type. My goal this year is to grow and can all of the tomatoes we will need for the year. I never thought we would use many canned tomatoes so I only did a few jars last year, inspired by my friend Marlyn. When we tasted how GOOOOOD homegrown and canned are we were amazed. What a different experience!

Mustard, bolting and beautiful:
The first raised bed, and the ugliest at this point! An overgrown patch of carrots which I wish I can remember what they are called because they are terrible. Woody from the time they were little baby carrots -- I keep hoping that leaving them in the ground longer will improve them. Also a second planting of peas and a laughable mound of celery seeds that I keep meaning to thin and transplant but it hasn't happened yet.
This busy bed has elephant garlic (which is actually a member of the leek family, not the garlic family!) hard and soft neck garlic, the last of the broccoli plants (which are still producing the most succulent little tid-bits of broccoli!) a bird transplanted sweet pea I let be, and two Black Beauty zucchini plants -- the BEST zucchini ever. Even if one is missed here and there and manages to get huge they are still tender and edible, a rarity with zucchinis.
This is an inspired little raised bed! I had read somewhere to companion plant rhubarb with columbine flowers and I have to say, they really do improve each other! The rhubarb has never looked better and the columbines are growing easier than ever. And they aesthetically are quite nice together.
This bed has been overtaken by sweet peas! They are gorgeous! Funny because it took them soooo long to get going this year. I believe I planted these in December! Also some bolting beets (man we had a good run with these lovelies!) and a few leftovers from spring garlic harvest.
Beets are GORGEOUS when they boltThe most forward bed has several types of peppers, basil, and artichokes (which are ready for another harvest I see). The bed behind it is full of purple, yellow, and white onions, and in the very back there is the asparagus bed into which I managed to sneak some Moon&Stars and Old Original melon seeds.
As this is the first year for the asparagus I can't harvest any yet but I can sit and slobber over the tender little shoots!Another cute little raised bed with borage, garlic chives, Texas marjoram, flat parsley, and Italian sage. Yes, a busy little box!

A fresh bed with the remainder of the Purple Haze carrots (divine!) and some freshly planted Smart Pickle Cucumbers, Purple Queen bush beans, freshly transplanted and hilled leeks, and a new patch of carrots. Also threw in a few Corsican bowl gourds to climb up each side of the cucumbers. I love gourd flowers and leaves, so soft and fuzzy.

The berry zone: Nanaberry boysenberries, Oro Gold strawberries, Golden raspberries You'd never know I removed all the potatoes from this bed and planted dahlias here last year. Not a dahlia in sight but plenty of Yellow Finn potatoes (which turned out to not be our favorite). I still have a box of gorgeous organic seed potatoes which have not been planted...

Future Nopales! Yummm!

A day's harvest of eggs:

The Matijila Poppy just started to bloom:

This tree is related to the Melaluca, or Tea Tree. It's flowers are so unusual and pretty. The bees love when this tree is in flower. It takes almost no water!

Volunteer somniferum poppies. These are descendants from the seeds we gave away at our wedding. They self sow every year and make their own little jungle patch. We weed wack around them :)

So there we have it, a pretty decent garden post showing much room for improvement! Cheers and good wishes for a great season of growing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weeds as medicinals

I get the pleasure of dealing with high blood pressure late in my pregnancies. During my home visit with my homebirth midwife and her apprentice on Thursday, they showed me a "weed" growing in my yard which helps with lowering blood pressure. Oat straw. I did a bit of research on it and also found that not only is it an effective nervine, it also has nutritive value, is a diuretic as well as an antidepressant, helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, is one of the most potent anti-osteoporosis herbs out there, and because of the sicilic acid content it's excellent for treating skin conditions externally. Impressive, eh? This pesky grass just became quite attractive. I decided to add some fresh chamomile from the garden (which, let's face it, once planted becomes a pesky weed as well) and steep a tea overnight. It has now been added to my somewhat lengthy regiment of tinctures and supplements.
Cheers to good health! (and continued numbers like this!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Production levels in our garden are low at the moment. I'm at the speed right now where sitting in a chair on the lawn with my belly out and feet up while drinking fresh coconut water is as about as much as I can handle. Seeds be damned. What difference will a few weeks make? I've already been humbled by the lack of corn germination and decided that I'll have to buy tomato and pepper starts instead of planting the seeds I purchased. Until I can bend over properly again, not much is on the planting agenda. At least my Crocs still look properly gardenfied.

Colven, however, is busy at work. Except for the cold he aquired today which slowed him down to just one mud pie for mama "cuz it looks like chocolate and you like chocolate!" Yes, my rad boy, when mama is very pregnant I do very much love chocolate! haha!
Had to share a pic of this little egg I found in one of the nesting boxes a few days ago! It is so tiny!

Be well!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I was slowly watching my garden floor being taken over by weeds as all the mulch thinned. In a pregnant state I thoroughly freaked out about it and my dear husband came swooping in with a load of gorilla hair and a friend to place all of it. True romance in my book!

As if that weren't enough, he also spent a good chunk of his weekend dressing up our outdoor family tub so it would be a clean, tranquil place for the upcoming labor of our second son.

Colven, being his adorable creative self
As for goings on in the garden, I am sad to report the second batch of Luscious corn did not come up. That is two long sessions of bending over my huge belly to get corn in and have it not come up. The other types came up decently, I now have to decide what other type to plant. Any suggestions? I'd like something tall and... luscious LOL! Tomatillos are popping up everywhere, as are volunteer sunflowers which is ironic because all the sunflower seeds I planted were ravaged by birds. The season is off to a slow start for me so far, I'm thinking once this baby is on the outside I'll be more mobile! I was last time!