Sunday, July 3, 2016

Serious eating

As the lilies go into serious bloom each year, the serious eating also starts.  We had pancakes this morning with raspberries and saskatoons from our yard, I had our strawberries for snack, and supper was a taco salad featuring our greens, our tomatoes, our zucchini, and our single ripe pepper (thanks greenhouse). I also picked two types of cucumbers, beet greens, dill, and onion stalks today.

Anwyn and I were sitting out in the backyard this morning just soaking in the beauty.  The peonies are finishing up, but there are lots of other things blooming, particularly roses, lupines, delphiniums, sedums, and lilies.  The front has four colors, all versions of orange and yellow, with a mix of day-lilies, tiger lilies etc. The back also has some errant orange which I should dig up, and lots of pinks, whites, and maroons. Lilies are such great cut flowers, and  they will bloom in various forms for the next couple of weeks, ending the time when massive swaths of perennials bloom in the yard.

My sisters start arriving with their families in the next several days, and almost everyone will be here except my parents.  Mike made a video for you, Mom, so you can see what is up right now in the yard while everyone else is here in person. I hope I get to see a picture of the garlic you just dug, even if it was a bad crop due to heat.  I need to dig mine this week, too, and I am expecting the same crummy state for my early garlic.

The cherries are changing color, and one of the trees has an infected branch that I need to cut off once it freezes.  I always want to eat them as soon as they change color, even though they are much sweeter later.  We'll see how all the small cousins do with them, as they are very low hanging fruit. The apples are higher, and the ripe raspberries and strawberries should give the grazers a focus.  Teela is hoping to arrive in time for the peas, and it is looking good.  I think I will have my first pods later this week.

Mike is busy laying down additional soaker hoses for watering.  He set up our two boxes on the south side of the garage and house last summer, and is irrigating the strawberries and one front bed this year.  We have so many beds now that the three rain barrels only keep up for 4 days without rain, and we've had little rain for a couple of weeks.  Hopefully this will reduce serious time spent watering, and focus more of his time on the serious eating (and, of course, video production).

My only unhappiness is that our local rabbits have finally discovered our yard.  We found scat, and one sent of my bean plants went from blooming to stubs in one night.  You can see it in the video. Hopefully the bunny doesn't find a way into the backyard where most of the veggies are, or notice the north bed of salad greens. It is exactly the sort of place that Peter Rabbit would pig out.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Finally, fruit

Every year I wait for my strawberries to come in. For years, some would look ready and the birds seemed to get them just before they were ripe.  I was super sad until it became clear the birds were actually Leora.  Then with ordering, cajoling and constant vigilance it was possible for the others in the family to get berries (although still not usually the first ones).

Leo is getting ready to graduate and leave home after the summer, and she just got her second ever job.  Although all her plays have finally finished (I have never seen her care more than playing Juliet at the Persephone), she still has lots going on. Mike and I got home last night and we ate the first two berries.  It made it so clear, and bittersweet, that Leora is leaving.

The yard had another good week this week. Last week asparagus was completely done, and I picked a bit more rhubarb this week, but now I will wait till the fall.  We are eating lots of greens off the shade bed I grow in the driveway, and the herbs are awesome.  I really like watching the garden bound forward in growth - reminds be of the early teenager years. This week I did a lot of training plants on vertical growing surfaces, and I pulled out the last of the major baby elm seeds.

Perhaps the most exciting part (other than the first new strawberries in 17 years) is the flowers. My backyard is right in its best stage, and the front yard is about take over and show off for over a month. In the back, irises, bell flower, roses, daisies, geraniums, and a wide variety of other flowers are blooming. Mike and I have counted over fifty different types. In the front, Mike is excited about his orange irises and orange roses, which hang out side by side in the heart shaped bed. Soon the lilies and  money wart (ground cover) will be out. My favorite in the front right now is the thyme path (predictably purple instead of the warm color palette). All photos can be viewed here.

I (and in this case I mean Mike) have been taking videos of the yard once a week this year to chronically changes. Check out this week's video.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sea of purple

It is hard to get me out of my yard this year.  I have a leave for school, so I have time to be in the garden during the day at watch everything start to bloom.  It has been such a luxury.  I write for a couple of hours, hang out in the yard for an hour, write more, then go out more.

The tulips, which were lovely shades of purple and pink in the back, and the daffodils from Mom, leading the yellow in the front, are mostly done now. The iris and anemone have taken over.  Three iris types in different shades of purple iris are my beloved colours, but I also have lots of yellows and yellow/purples.   My double white has been transplanted this year and isn't doing much.  I did a count in the yard, and including bushes, I have over fifty different things currently blooming.  Not a good sign of personal restraint.  Predictably Mike's current favourites are in the front, his thyme path and his bright orange poppy. His rose will be the big hit right away. Everyone else keeps commenting on the lilacs on the left in the back, and Mike loves the white bleeding heart.

We put our garden in at the usual time, and most things are doing well despite early drought.  I start many things inside now including unusual things like beets and carrots, so things tend to take well when we plant.  I have tried carrots three ways with year, from seed, from transplants with just the starter leaves, and ones two weeks older.  I'll let you know what I find.  We get so little rain that carrots don't always germinate well in the garden, and thinning hurts my heart, leaving me with small, thin carrots who are overcrowded.

We have just finished eating asparagus and made a batch of stewed rhubarb and some fresh crisp this weekend.  All the spices are ready and Mike is using the March basil seedlings for pizza.  Strangely, the winter was so mild that both my oregano and my sage made it through, which has never happened. The sage is even about to bloom. I am trying a new curry rosemary that Jodi bought me - I will let you know what I like it in. My lettuce is also ready to eat, and I put in my final planting of lettuce and beans this weekend, nearly a month after my first seeds.  I usually plant for nearly a month in addition to all the seedlings I start, as it gives a variety of ripe veggies at different times. I'd far rather eat beans and peas fresh all summer than can them or freeze them in large batches because I planted all at once.

I put in two new beds at the end of last year.  The one above is in the front, and I will keep expanding it.  I has the two new honeyberries and Mom's daffodils. The one in the back has a new trellis and is designed to keep basketballs in the court. Luckily for me it is full sun, so I get to grow some new things.  You can view progress in all the beds for this week and last week.

Mike has taken some new video of the yard, which is great for those of you who aren't here right now.  It is from last weekend, so it is already outdated in terms of blooming, but it gives the idea.

Backyard video 1
Backyard video 2
Front yard video