Monday, May 28, 2012

May's Away

Miniature Iris (Henry) with snail damage on fronds.
      It's been a great month for growth in the garden. I hope the rest of the growing season will be as good.     
      There is a frost warning for tonight, but I haven't put put anything that would be susceptible yet - seedling tomatoes and cukes, etc. are still safe in the greenhouse every night.
I have let the asparagus out of its tent, and am letting it grow up into fronds now. The last bunch of the row, No. 9, had been nibbled right OFF by slugs, so I set a couple of Guinness traps and consoled myself that we still have 8 - and then just yesterday I found No. 9 sprouting again. They look purple and delicious but I am leaving them strictly alone. They have gone through enough with the slugs.
     Speaking of purple, though, I planted the seeds of purple sprouting broccoli the other day in the greenhouse, and they have come up! I fancy they will make for an interesting-looking broccoli salad. I really need regular green as well, but I still haven't found my seed stash from last year. I may have to purchase new ones.

     I have completed the sides on the second raised bed, and have begun work on the third. I fancy that, IF I manage to finish that one, it will use up all of my materials. I hope to visit Arsenault's Mill sometime and get some cedar slabs for the remaining two, and eventually to replace the flooring I've got on the first three beds, before it rots away. It *is* three years for the first bed I 'sided", though, and I  wouldn't have predicted the flooring would last that long. If only it were waterproof - otherwise it is perfect in size for the purpose.
    So far I have planted some basil (no sign of germination), tatties and carrots, beans, and lettuce. I have a few Spanish onions in as well. I like the beds with the sides because there is more planting room in them - you can go right to the edges with stuff. I had planted a few zucchini seeds in the "lasagne" bed, where I had the ground cherries last year. I see one has sprouted. I may have to protect *that* tonight against the frost.
     The strawberries (Sarain) in the pots in the greenhouse have set fruit! I was afraid they wouldn't get pollinated in there, but it seems that they have done.  The outdoor ones are just a bit behind. I saw the June-bearing ones yesterday at the neighbours', and I shouldn't get so excited about mine - the June-bearers set much, much more fruit.

    It's coming up to the Small Halls festival again, but there's no big names to be excited about this time - just local folks we've seen many times before. I suppose they've lost federal dollars ( as so many have), and can't afford the bigger prices. It's too bad, though. The local musicians learn from the big names - or at least, one hopes that they do!
     One of my three new hydrangeas has been totally denuded by the slugs - the poor thing! I have removed the slugs, but I have strong doubts that the plant will come back. I am keeping the one I got at WalMart safe in the greenhouse, and it's sprouting new leaves all over the place - they had clipped it off to fit into the shelving unit and it has responded well. I think it must be one of the vigorous ones. I'm holding back on planting it out, though. The slugs aren't getting this one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Growing things

Finally cut some of the grass today, between rain showers. Things are just jumping into growth.
I am pleased to report that the blueberries are leafing out and the blossoms are developing. This is a surprise, but of course we don't yet know if there will be berries! I probably should pick the blossoms off, to give the roots a chance. Maybe I will.  The blooms are these tiny pink tips on the branches. The plants are only about 15 cm. tall. The old plants, which have been there for a number of years, are at the same stage, so it looks like I haven't disturbed them much by moving them. That's so pleasing.
I checked my cranberry bog, and I seem to have just one living plant - of the 10 or thereabouts that I put in last fall. Ah well. Blueberries are better - and I shall try again with the cranberries, as soon as I find some plants. ETA: Checked again and I have three! alive out of 10. Better, but not good enough yet.
We have had asparagus twice already. This is the first year of the crowns, so I don't want to discourage them. I am not sure how much more we should pick. I have them under the poly tunnel still, and it is simply amazing how fast they are growing. If I had the time to watch I am sure I would see them at it. I usually open the tunnel on sunny days, because it gets really hot in there - and of course it has to be watered because the tunnel keeps off the rain as well.
       I am hoping to use the tunnel elsewhere in the garden later, perhaps over the tomatoes or something else that needs covering. I am planning to use curtain sheers over the broccoli when I put it in - but perhaps I don't need anything so sturdy to support the sheers. I have lots of plastic pipe saved from hoop-making that I could re-purpose.
     Once the May Long Weekend (a.k.a. Victoria Day) is over I can get back into the planting of the garden in a big way. I have more boards for the raised beds to go on, and plenty of seedlings started in the greenhouse to go in once the beds are ready. Bean seeds are soaking already.
     I was thrilled to find an Eryngeum at WalMart this week and immediately bought it - and another Hydrangea, MUCH bigger than the ones I got from Veseys. I have been wanting the Eryngeum for quite a while. It seems quite innocuous at the moment, though I've heard that it can be prickly and difficult. I need to find the perfect spot for it, so it doesn't prick the unwary.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Spring at last!

    Still haven't cut the grass, though lots of our neighbours have done. Much progress has been made in the flower beds, including some splitting up and moving things.
Bush cherries: Back: Romeo, front left Juliet, right: Crimson Romance.

     I received the long-awaited package from Veseys last week, and put the cherry trees into pots in the greenhouse, but I foolishly decided to plant the hydrangeas into the shrub border right away. It's been quite cold at the nights, so I have had to cover them up. I should have hardened them off - but I was so excited, I didn't think of it. There were three - of the 'Hardy Hydrangea" variety. I planted the first, Hydrangea paniculata 'DVPpinky', on the east side of the central shrub bed, and the second, Hydrangea aborescens 'Abetwo' on the west side of the same bed. The third I put in front of the rugosa roses in the west bed. It is Hydrangea aborescens 'NCHAI', ppaf, cbraf. Common names in order, with sizes at maturity, are "Pinky Winky", 6 - 8 feet tall & wide; "Incrediball", 4-5 feet tall & wide, and "Invincibelle Spirit", 3-4 feet tall & wide. Hope they survive.
Blueberries, mulched with sawdust

      I took the truck up the Black Creek Road last week and dug up some lowbush blueberries - easy peasy, as the road machine had been and they were hanging out over the road, with almost no soil underneath them. I had started a bed for them, and when I got back with the plants I Googled and found what they need - basically, manure and sawdust to increase acidity, so that was easy to provide. I think it must be acidic there already, as I have put them near the ones that have been in our garden for years. After I got them planted, I mulched with more sawdust and watered well. I'm not expecting a lot of fruit this year, but I know they are a late and sweet variety because they performed well on the road last year. Apparently I am to let them fruit one year and cut them back the next - or maybe every three years. The pros do every two. The ones we have haven't ever been cut back, of course.

     In knitting news, I have started a spiral scarf using black Kroy and a long-repeat multicolour - Elann's Sock it to Me dankai. It's short-row wedges between black borders which really set off the colour changes well.  I had gotten a bit obsessed with the pattern after seeing it on Ravelry, and went to Owl's Hollow looking for a long-repeat colour. All they had was the Noro cotton-and nylon in a couple of truly ugly colours, so I bought the Kroy and came home, and ordered some Chroma from Knit Picks. And then I was looking for something else in my stash page on Ravelry, and saw the two skeins of dankai I'd bought some time ago, and I was off! TGFR!

       I have completed the linen closet (but for the doors), and today I dry-fitted the cradle for the bathtub. I have to wait for Fred to come home to help me lift the tub on to the cradle, and then probably take it all apart to nail it into place, and then together. The tub needs a bit of sawing to make the holes for the water attachments and I'll have to cut the cradle as well, just not sure where yet.This will have to come after the dry-fitting. And then it's the plumber again to fit the drains and attach the water supply, and we will have a bathtub again after - seven years?
     I painted the walls around the tub space, as I thought it would be easier without the tub in place. Of course I still haven't decided on a colour for the walls, but at least the gyproc is primed. 
       I have plans to tile the walls around the tub, just up 9 inches or so - as I am hoping the days of splashing in the tub are behind us. I am surprised how finished it looks, I think because I put a bit of pine along the front, rather than the rough 2 x 4s. I will probably put tile there as well - at least,  I do have the tile for it, and if it looks good I'll go for it.

     The end is in sight. Then I can spend ALL my time in the garden.