Friday, May 25, 2018

Garden Friday

blanket flower

Welcome to Garden Friday!
The garden is loving all the rain we've had,
and the gardener is grateful she hasn't had to water!
Summer blooms are arriving early along with the humidity.
We have a mix of things to share today,
with a couple of field trips thrown in for good measure!

It's been wonderful being able to harvest greens for my daily salad.
A mix of beet greens, kale, all kinds of lettuce
and pea leaves have been enjoyed every day.
This weekend's plans include sowing more lettuce
to get me through the next few months.
With the arches in place on the straw bales,
I'm hoping the shade provided by the morning glory vines
will extend my season. 

I would also like to get the beans and tomatoes planted.
Stake-a-cages will be made for the tomatoes,
following instructions from the Old World Garden blog,
and the beans will be added to one of the raised beds recently constructed. 

Someone gifted me this Mortgage Lifter tomato seedling.
It was in a pot on the back deck and something 
(confounded squirrels) snapped it right in half.
Since it was the only one I had,
I decided to just stick it in water to see if it would come back to life.
Would you look at those roots?
Amazing, isn't it?
When plants have that urge to grow, nothing gets in their way!

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one eating the kale and lettuce around here.
Although I am doing an early morning check every day,
slugs are still getting their share of the goodies.
I erroneously assumed that they wouldn't like 
crawling across the rough straw bales.
Guess it doesn't bother them one bit. 
Along those lines,
one gardener I spoke with told me that they don't like mulch,
so her garden is topped with the small-chipped stuff.
She reported having no slug issues.

I'm experimenting with several organic deterrents.
One method I learned about was using these copper scrubbies
on the stems of crops.

 The slugs are supposed to get a healthy jolt
whenever they come into contact with it.

I also read about sprinkling used coffee grounds
near the base of plants
because slugs would avoid it.
Tried it.

Another technique I read about was to place melon rinds
near the crops overnight to attract the slugs.
The next morning, when you turn over the rind,
it should be loaded with slugs.
The theory is that they all congregate on the rind,
so they are easy to eliminate.
So far, I'm not seeing the results I'd hoped for,
but I'll give it another week
(and hope that I still have lettuce to eat).

I'd still like to test the beer trap theory.
It's probably the most well-known remedy,
and at this point, it's worth a try.

 Another option I have is to keep my lettuce and kale growing up here
on the back deck.
I haven't had one slug on the lettuce I've been harvesting here.
(I hope I didn't just jinx myself!)

More things are popping up
that I can't identify.
When someone else plants things,
you never know what you're going to get!

One of the projects we tackled this week,
was assembling this frame.
It used to be a gazebo-type structure,
but the canvas cover only lasted a season
before the heavy winds in Central Florida tore it up.
I saved the frame, knowing that one day it could be put to use.

With Big K's help, we completed the assembly in about 20 minutes.
This will be our frame for growing loofah.
It's a first-time crop for me,
and I'm looking forward to the novelty.

Twine was used on the top of the structure,
to allow the vines to have a bit more support.

Summer is on its way!

One of the projects our Master Gardener class is working on
is replanting these boxes on Main Street downtown.
It will help us fulfill the volunteer hours needed
to become fully certified as Master Gardeners.
We are excited to create a new design in the six beds that line the main thoroughfare,
and we hope to use drought-tolerant and native plants.

A group of Master Gardeners is already maintaining this gorgeous rose garden
that enhances the parking area at the local library downtown.

A variety of roses bedeck the grounds.

My favorite part of this garden
(roses aren't my thing),
is this cluster of crape myrtles.
The architecture of the branches is just stunning.

It's a blessing to be surrounded by opportunities to garden,
whether it is in my own yard,
or being able to volunteer my time.

What's happening in your garden 
on this last Friday in May?

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