Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Garden Buzzzzz!


 One of the intentions of our homestead
is to provide a safe haven for bees and other pollinators.
Along with supplying a water source and a place for raising young,
we aid these vital visitors by offering up an array of nectar sources.
Nectar furnishes pollinators with energy, 
so that they can continue with their valuable work.
Here are 8 easy-to-care for perennial plants that will support pollinators in your yard.

Black-eyed Susan- 
This common perennial can be planted in fall 
or early spring and is easily divided.
A show stopping display of blooms
will surely attract all sorts of pollinators to your yard.
The flowers grow on long stems,
which make them ideal for use as cutting flowers.
It prefers full sun and room to stretch out.

butterfly bush-
As the name implies,
this beauty is a favorite for many species of butterflies.
It can get quite large, unless pruned regularly,
and it will fill a space with plentiful blossoms.
It comes back brilliantly each spring after a good pruning.

Shasta daisies

Daisies are a bit of cheer in the garden,
not only for the gardener, but for the pollinators as well.
They are a favorite of all types of butterflies
and the flat petals make a great landing spot while out foraging.
Daisies return each spring and last up until autumn.
They are one of the best flowers to grow
for cutting and bringing indoors.  

I don't know anyone who doesn't adore coneflowers.
They are a summer staple, popping back up
around the beginning of spring.
With numerous blooms on each plant,
there is ample opportunity for critters to feast.
These come in a wide variety of colors
and are very easy to grow.

Joe Pye weed-
This is one of the best pollinator attractors.
Bees and several types of butterflies enjoy
visiting its blooms.
It can grow to be up to 8 feet tall,
but the one we have in our flower bed
is a dwarf variety, which never exceeds 3 feet high.
The purple flowers show up in late summer,
but last for a few months to enjoy. 

The only host plant for the Monarch butterfly,
this essential plant is a must for every garden.
Each year, we save seeds from the plants we have growing.
We are always looking for full sun areas where
we can plant more so that we can help support 
these fascinating creatures.

salvia (also known as sage)-
This vibrant perennial is one of the most loved plants
by all types of pollinators.
The blooms are prolific, and are constantly covered in bees.
This drought tolerant plant requires very little attention
as long as it gets full sun and room to grow.

With a variety of colors to choose from,
there is sure to be a yarrow you can't live without.
The butterflies and bees swarm this beauty constantly.
Given a spot in full sun,
it will continue to bloom all through the summer.

So, there you have it.
These garden staples are easy to find at nurseries
or quick to grow from seed.
They all require full sun, but very little else.
They are drought tolerant once established
and provide so many critters with food, shelter and protection.
I hope you'll consider adding them to your homestead.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Garden Friday On Hiatus

Garden Friday is on hiatus for one more week.
I'll be back home later today,
so we'll have it up and running again next Friday.
Until then,
may your garden be blessed with abundance.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

"A" Frame Trellis

A few weeks back, I got the idea to find some space 
for some runner beans and cucumbers.
With no more space in the raised beds,
I decided to go UP.
A neighbor had given me some bamboo,
so I fashioned an "A" frame for the beans and cukes to climb.

With just a few materials, I was ready to go.
This was a one-woman project,
although it would be easier with two willing hands.
A sawzall, tape measure, scissors, hammer, baling twine or jute,
and some conduit are all that are needed, along with the bamboo poles.

I first decided where I wanted the frame.
The garden has full sun most of the day,
so I just tucked it in next to one of the raised beds.
After measuring out the distance between the end supports,
I hammered in some pieces of conduit,
which were cut in half to 2 1/2 feet.
The length of the frame will be determined by the length 
of your longest bamboo pole.

The bamboo was slipped over the conduit and tilted toward the center,
so that it could be attached together.
Some of the bamboo was plugged up at the end,
so I just hammered the material out.

Here are the two pieces of conduit in the foreground.
I laid the longest piece of bamboo across the ground
so that I would know where to install the conduit on the other end.
The piece that spans the top should overlap on the sides.

The two end poles are crossed (like an "A") and the baling twine is used
to bind them together.
The longest bamboo pole is then laid across the top between the crossed poles.

Baling twine was again used, this time
tied from the horizontal pole,
to offer a place for the beans and cukes to climb.
Soil was added at the bottom, and the seeds were sown.
I love how much growing space this gives me,
without taking up much room.
I can see another one of these in our future.
Now, let's get growing!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Garden Friday or Not


While I’m away from the homestead pup sitting,
I don’t have access to a computer,
and I can’t figure out how to post on my tablet,
so Garden Friday will be taking the week off.
I hope to someday share this lovely veg garden with you.
Hint:  I work here!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

"Spooning" Onions

newly planted onions

This was the first year that I grew onions in earnest.
There's always a learning curve when trying new ventures,
and I'm just beginning to find out what's entailed with growing this crop.
It doesn't require much, but it's satisfying knowing that should I master this crop,
I'll never need to buy onions again.

These are the Walla-Walla variety,
which were acquired from Sow True seeds. 
They are a sweet Spanish variety that can be planted
either in the late summer for a June harvest,
or in the early spring for a late summer harvest.
I enjoy growing year-round, so this variety fit right in
with my plans to overwinter a few crops like garlic and leek. 
These seeds were planted in early fall and pretty much
left to their own devices.
I mulched over them with our own leaf mulch
and just checked on them once in a while to see how they were doing.
I didn't know about spooning
which helps the onions grow better.

 I've been watching a vlog called,
That 1870's Homestead,
where Rachel talked about
(Click on the link above to watch her video).
It's a new concept to me, but she swears by it.
Instead of allowing the mulch and soil to envelope the bulb,
the soil around the base of the bulb is moved aside,
so that only the roots are buried.
(It has been said that a spoon was used to do this.)
This is supposed to promote a larger bulb.

Although I'm a little late to the party this year,
(what else is new?),
I went ahead and spooned the onions ,
and will keep this in mind for next season when I start anew.
It will be interesting to see if it makes a difference
compared to this year.
Many of the onions look just fine already,
and I'll harvest the larger ones for processing,
but it will be fun to see if the spooning
will make any difference by the end of the month,
when I will need to harvest them all.
This onion is supposed to be good for storing
for just a few months,
so I may need to research another variety that can be stored long term.

Do you have any experience with onions for long term storage?
Have you heard of spooning?