Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 64

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
Please link back to Maple Hill 101.

It's been a dreary winter here so far.
For nearly a month,
the sun has been hiding around these parts.
What a glorious sight the sky was this weekend,
with blue as far as the eye could see.
We appreciate things so much more when we are denied them for a time.

This weekend found me fertilizing all of our crops.
It was so good to get outside and see what is growing in our modest garden.

Thanks to my farmer friends Faye and Lynn,
we have a broccoli forest started.
I've started  clustering like crops to make watering easier,
and create a lusher look. 
There's a pepper patch growing nearby
that will supply us with a red pepper regalia.

We were also gifted with ample eggplant starts
and hope to be harvesting within the next two months.
This is the Epic variety which can be found here.
The fruit gets to be about 8-10 inches long
and mighty flavorful.

We have a couple that will be ready a little sooner.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this veggie 
is in Mimi's Ratatouille or roasted for a delicious pizza topping.


We're also growing this striped variety, Listada De Gandia.
The seeds came from here.
It's a smaller fruit, more likely to fit in your palm,
but equally as tasty.

I'm still having to reseed beets and sugar snap peas every few weeks.
It's a bit disappointing,
as I thought by now we'd be swimming in peas.
It has been a cool and relatively sunless winter thus far,
so I'm chalking it up to that.

 What has brought me untold joy is this blue pot
that's planted with two types of lettuce, beets and parsley.
It's the only place in the garden so far that has produced beets.
Maybe there's something to this container gardening, huh?

 The square-foot bed recently welcomed a few more lettuce starts,
as well as a few broccoli plants that Lynn had left over.
The "weeds" on the perimeter of this bed are morning glories
that are just getting started.
Thyme makes its home in the center of the bed.

A few lettuce starts were added along one of the paths in the south bed.
The arrow toward the upper left corner shows their location.
Our Halloween jack-o-lantern is slowly decomposing in the foreground.
The red flowers are native salvia, in case you're wondering.
They are butterfly and hummingbird attractors,
and the bees love 'em too!

The butterfly garden is making a comeback.
Here we have the native salvia, milkweed, daisies, parsley, rudbeckia and cleome
sharing space to greet flying visitors who bless us with their presence.

Everywhere that parsley has been planted is exploding.
This is a host plant for the black swallowtail caterpillars,
and we hope to be loaded with them in a few months.

This is a citronella plant given to us by someone coming to pick up caterpillars
(we give them away when we have them to educate folks on the life cycle).
It smells so good, and we're hoping it will do double duty as a mosquito repellent.

Without the streaming sun, we've been grateful for any burst of color in the garden.
These rudbeckias are still giving us a pop of  pizazz.

Milkweed pods have been harvested to start new plants.
This native, which is the host plant for the monarch caterpillar/butterfly,
will be grown so that we can supply folks 
with the necessary plant needed for their own butterfly gardens.

Our passionflower vine is blessing us with blooms daily.
Another butterfly plant, it adds beauty to the garden year-round.
We're so grateful to be able to enjoy so many wonders of nature.
And so thankful for that glorious sunshine!
What's going on outside where you are?
HOP to it!