Saturday, 21 June 2014

Purple Beauty and the Nasty Quack

Normally we don't see fog until later in the summer, but we were treated to a misty sunrise this week.  The sun burned it all off quite quickly and we had a lovely day to work outside.

Everything in bloom at the moment is purple.  I haven't planned that - it's just how the garden has unfolded.  Most of what I've planted has been given to me in the form of perennial splits but some of  my plants were started from seed.  The bees are quite thrilled with the blooms - they are working the flowers very busily, collecting pollen and nectar for the magical processes that occur within the hive.

This comfrey plant below was a recent addition to the garden thanks to generous free cycler.  I actually received 2 splits, so have planted one out by the compost pile (to add leaves between layers) and the other is planted across the property near a hose bib so I can easily make comfrey tea for the far garden.

Although it's not a good picture of it, the basket below was a thrift store find this Spring.  It's very sturdy and in excellent condition.  It's a bit large and heavy to use for harvesting in the garden, so I lined it with some plastic (leftover from a bag of purchased wood shavings) and have planted it out to petunias for the deck. Soon, those petunias will be spilling over the sides in every direction.

 My brilliant hubby ripped some scrap wood pieces into strips and "threw together" this melon support.  I'm hoping that having it in place will encourage these melons to grow quickly.  Now that we finally have some heat, they should take off (fingers crossed).  I'm a bit worried about them because the greenhouse roof panels have yellowed a lot over the last few years which has affected light transmissivity - they will have to be replaced with something with a longer life span.

I've seeded all the main crops and even some fall crops, but there's a few stragglers here and there that need a home.   That's on my current list of to do's.

In the photo below the curved, mulched bed on the right was just planted out to beans, potatoes and carrots.  This is my "extra insurance bed", to give the winter cellar/pantry a boost in case yield aren't strong from the main crops.  It was a bed that took a year to be prepared.  Last Spring we sheet mulched it with cardboard (on grass), a thick layer of wood chip coop bedding and"iced" with organic flax straw.   It had broken down quite well by fall, but as an extra boost, we seeded fall rye into it and worked that into the soil late this Spring.  The result of that "passive work" is truly beautiful soil that is chock full of fat earthworms.   The bed is probably a bit too rich for potatoes,  but I'll take my chances because I had nowhere left to plant them!  The carrots should thrive.

The borage looks happy, doesn't it?  It's set to bloom soon which will please the bees :)

Here's a shot of the front of the house so you can see what I've been working on for a few weeks.  That barrow is full of quack grass which I'm beginning to have nightmares about.  Those pesky rhizomes are never ending...  All the mulch is helping as the roots come near the surface and are at least easier to pull out.  Nonetheless, the quack is a real pain in my back (couldn't help myself).

This is my heavily mulched front bed.  Where you see the established plants growing were beds planted in previous years, but the newly mulched areas are the work of this year.  We rented a sod cutter and cut out what felt like MILES of grass (it carries on further to right out of the picture).  We've slowly been planting and mulching and it's coming together.  The seedlings are small but they are finally taking off.  A lot of this area is planted to potatoes ~ they should do a good job of breaking up the compacted soil and because the soil there isn't rich, they hopefully won't scab.

The hives are busy and seem quite productive.  We supered the strongest hive and at long last the bees are working the super!  It was a stressful 10 days waiting for it to happen.  Bees have much to teach us - we've learned that you can't make bees DO anything that you want them to do.  You can only facilitate them to do the work that bees naturally do.  Such a humble lesson.

Our grape vines overwintered well and are really taking off!  I'm so excited at the prospect of grapes in our future (probably not for a year or two yet).  We have planted hyssop with all the vines to help them out - it sure seems to be working.

A friend shared a horseradish plant and I'm needing to find an appropriate home for it - I hear it can be invasive so I'll have to think carefully of where to put it.

I planted my old kettles with alyssum - they have such a funny story behind them!  Many years ago, I was driving my children to school (in my nightgown because we had slept in) and I stopped to get out and pick them up.  Someone had left them at the end of their drive for free pickup!  I was so embarrassed but I did it anyway.  I don't think anyone saw me.  Hahaha!

There much more to share, but that will have to wait for another post.  I've got to get in that garden and re-seed the damage done by 3 naughty Rhode Island Reds who snuck in this morning!  BAD GIRLS!  


  1. Purple flowers are my favorite in the garden. Every is looking lovely. Enjoy the sunshine and summer months.

  2. Be VERY careful where you plant the horse radish!!!! It takes right over. My suggestion would be to put a big pot in the ground and put it in the pot. I tired to get rid of one in our yard and 4 years later there are still shoots (the hole I dug to get it out easily fit 2 people in it)

    1. Thanks for the head's up. I was thinking of doing just that and you've convinced me not to do anything else :)

  3. Oh such fun and what a joy to read your posts again! Everything is just looking so beautiful - lots of HARD work and love has gone into your garden spaces. It's amazing what you've accomplished this past year. Really, just amazing!!