Tuesday, May 17, 2011

i've been puttering...here's proof

last week the weather was so beautiful--especially friday and saturday (84 degree highs!)--that i was finally able to get outside and do some real work in the garden.

it took me three hours to prepare this bed. since i put it off so long the weeds thoroughly established themselves and wouldn’t give up without a fight. (i leave all the grasses and weeds growing along the edge of the bank to prevent erosion.)

here’s the same bed with some tomatoes planted. i’m taking a much different approach to garden layout this year that i think will make better use of space. last year i tried to plant alternating tomatoes, peppers and eggplants: the peppers quickly got swallowed up by the tomatoes and were never heard from again, and the eggplants didn’t produce well. this year i’m doing a solid line of tomatoes behind the fence and no tomatoes in the front section of the main bed where they hogged tons of space last year. most of the peppers and eggplants will either be in the main bed or in containers.

i’m spacing the tomatoes about 1.5 feet apart (not much space, i know, but they have plenty of room in front and back.) i’ve already fit 15 and have space for at least another five back there, plus the five i planted in another part of the yard, plus the six i’ve put in containers so far. currently i have 26 tomatoes in their final growing places, and when everything’s finished i’ll have over 30 total.

two cherry tomatoes are already ripening! a total of four plants set fruit so far: two tiny tims and two gartenperles.

it seems like more tomatoes start blooming every day.

one ground cherry plant is fruiting too. i haven’t planted these or the tomatillos yet because i haven’t made up my mind where they’re going, but i’ll try to get them in this week.

today i potted this turkish orange eggplant:

it’s different from all the other eggplants i’m growing. there are no thorns and the flowers come in clusters rather than singles. about an inch from the soil the stem splits into two symmetrical stems. the leaves are huge, dark green and lush, and it’s compact and bushy. this plant was lucky enough to grow up in the warmest, sunniest windowsill in the house, so it’s extremely healthy.

borage plants from seeds scattered by last year’s flowers:

i’ve transplanted a few of them, it's pretty handy that they grow themselves. the birds kept nipping them at first but now that the fuzzy true leaves are growing they’re left alone. does anyone know from experience what the minimal spacing is between borages? i’d like to grow as many as possible without giving up too much space.

two of last year’s kale plants bolted and are blooming so beautifully.

they each have around a dozen flower stalks. i wonder how many seeds there will be.

in another experiment to maximize usable space, i planted garlic, onions and potatoes on the opposite bank of the creek. i put in purple seed potatoes as well as some yukon golds and red potatoes that accidentally chitted in my pantry. as far as i can tell everything has come up.

the original plan was to let these plants fend for themselves, but last week i waded over to do some weeding. the creek wasn’t as miserably cold as before, it felt refreshing, and i enjoyed getting to use my silly vibram fivefingers shoes. these work great for walking underwater.

i also have lemon balm growing over there. it’s weedish enough to compete with the evil horsetail and emerge victorious.

speaking of weedish, i wish this patch of oregano and chives would remain this nice looking all summer. it’s about to get huge and overgrown.

already the oregano is gobbling up minnidar the garden gnome. it seems to shoot up an inch or two every day.

the raspberry canes are growing like weeds, too, but they're allowed to get as overgrown as they want. i love that i don’t have to fuss with them at all.

the lilac tree is in full bloom...

and the azalea bush just finished.

everything everywhere is green leaves and flowers. i love this time of year.


Bumble Lush (A Garden Blog) said...

I like the pictures of how you're arranging your tomato/eggplant/pepper bed. It appeals to my nerdy organizational side! I've never grown eggplant; so curious to see the turkish orange. You have a creek near your house?! That's so cool! Am growing onions and garlic for the first time too. We'll see how it goes.

Your pictures are beautiful. I especially like the close-up of the bee.

Garden Girl said...

I love your garden tour :)
I like some of your solutions for working in confined spaces. I sympathize about the oregano, I have the same problem. Its so lush and beautiful now, but then it goes on to try to conquer the world! My herb garden turned into an oregano garden in a very short time. ha ha

Kim and Victoria said...

Very nice looking garden, and great use of your space!
This is a wonderful time of year. I managed to spend all day yesterday gardening and it felt great.

Potted Farm said...

What I wouldn't give for that kind of weather. Great looking garden!

GoneferalinID said...

Lovely photos. How do you like your Vibrams?

Emily said...

bumble lush--thank you! yeah, it's handy having a creek there, i use it for watering the garden.

garden girl--oregano is just lucky it tastes good. it almost killed my chives two years ago, and last year it killed part of the lawn.

victoria--i know the feeling. that's awesome.

potted farm--thanks! i hope it warms up for you soon.

goneferal--i like them but i don't wear them around a lot...they're by far the best shoes i've ever had for walking underwater, though.