Friday, April 21, 2023

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share what's growing in our
Zone 7b Piedmont garden.
These bluebird eggs were discovered recently
in one of our bluebird houses.
We've got another that is very noisy already,
and we are hoping to catch the fledglings in flight!

A mulberry tree was identified in our wooded area.
It has been relocated to a more favorable location.

The planting has begun!
All of those winter sowing seedlings
are finding homes, slowly but surely.
A setback this week slowed me down
(more about that later),
but I am in transplant mode now!

All of the empty beds have had something installed.
In one of the 3X8 beds,
carrots, leeks and onions have been sown,
while transplants of lettuces and tat soi have been added.

This 3X4 bed had already overwintered
a thyme plant and several stalks of kale.
Other brassicas were added as transplants,
and they are neatly tucked under row cover.
(The row cover is to keep chooks out!)

A few buttercrunch lettuce plants
came back to life on their own,
and cabbage and broccoli transplants filled in
the empty spots.

The remaining seedlings will be distributed
to fellow gardeners and tucked into flower beds
to expand my foodscaping experiment.
This bed will then be free to be planted
with summer crops.

Nothing fancy here.
I secure the row cover on the beds
using clothespins fastened to nails on the frames.
I'm planning to transition to all Birdie's beds,
buying a few at a time as the budget allows.
I love the retro look of them,
and it will be fun to recreate the design of the layout.

The stake-a-cage builds I made for tomato and pepper support
a few years ago, are being used to keep the chooks
out of the garlic bed.

I needed a place to house all of the seedlings I had transferred into pots,
and so placed them here between the garlic.
Once the pots are shared with others,
the garlic will have more room to grow.
It's doing quite well thanks to all of the rain we got this winter.
Our flower beds will be changing as time permits me to work on the new design.
A fellow master gardener helped create a layout for me,
and I hope to get started transplanting, relocating
and adding a few new things to the landscape.

The irises look even better this year
since some of them were removed and placed elsewhere.
The yarrow fills in the area near the mailbox
and at the other end of the bed,
but there is still room for a few zinnias, sunflowers and other fun stuff.
I love that the allyssum came back all on its own right in front of the mailbox.

The rudebekia will be thinned out here and other things moved around.
This front porch bed will be a riot of color if I do my job right.
A few evergreens were suggested as foundation plants,
so that there is something growing year round.

The coneflowers are almost blooming! 
 I can't wait to see all of the new life emerging!
There can never be enough coneflowers!

The spider wort is making a lovely border near the oregano patch.
I had transplanted quite a bit to this area earlier in the season,
and it seems much happier with additional sunshine.
Who wouldn't be?

Digging out one single mass of yarrow just about laid me out!
Making a mental note to divide that next year
when it is still small!
Many new things will be going in this bed.
The garlic border is doing well.

Don't you just love salvia?
Aside from being my favorite color in the garden,
it blooms nonstop for months on end,
and asks very little.
Some of this will be divided to add in other places.
The bonus is that the pollinators adore this bad boy!

I mentioned a setback earlier in the week.  
Well, actually we've had a lot of chook drama
here on the homestead.
Our rooster spurred me in the leg just below the knee
(my fault, not his),
so after a lot of pain and a trip to urgent care,
I am on the mend, but not up to full speed just yet.
Then there's the mystery of what's ailing our sweet Betty (above).
We think she somehow has mites,
as her back end is lacking feathers and is quite red and irritated.
We are treating her as best we can
and giving her lots of one-on-one time.
I hope she is feeling herself soon.

The chooks are loving their time in the shade of our woods.
Every day that I can, they get time out there
and it is a joy to watch them.
What a blessing they have been to our family.
What's happening in your spring garden?

Friday, April 7, 2023

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we share our Zone 7b Piedmont garden.
This clematis was found near our back porch steps
when we bought the place.
It never did anything until just recently
when I moved it closer to the back entry of the garden.
I think I've found the right spot!

This week, the rest of the blueberries
were planted in pots and relocated to offer them a bit more sunshine.
For the past two years, although I amended the soil,
we got very few berries and the soil's pH was not balanced.
I used Holly Tone and a good organic potting mix
to foster the chances of success.
Time will tell.

Next to the blueberries are the extra strawberry
plants I was gifted.
These are mostly for giving away,
once they have some size to them.
The wire mesh is to dissuade squirrels from 
digging up the soil to bury their treasures.

The Birdie's bed is filled with more strawberries,
some which were transplanted from a washtub,
and a few more that were added this year.
Soil was collected from all of the berry pots,
so that it can be tested by our local Cooperative Extension.

Most of the smaller beds are filling up with 
containers from the winter sowing project.
It will soon be time to get them planted,
as soon as I come up with a solution to keep the chooks 
from eating all the kale and lettuce they see.

Insect netting may be my best option,
as it will also protect the brassicas from cabbage moths.
Beans, broccoli, cabbage,
leeks, tat soi and some flowers are also growing
in the repurposed salad containers.
It was a busy week, but with spring moving forward,
I don't expect things to slow down anytime soon.
I've been enjoying my umbrella as I sit at my makeshift workbench
and pot up seedlings and commune with the chooks.
If you notice the two blue grow bags hanging on the bamboo uprights,
there are more strawberries in them.
This is the first time I've used grow bags,
but it's a nice option for so many uses.

The potatoes that were planted in February
are finally starting to pop up.
This is unusually slow,
but I'm using a new technique called
"The Ruth Stout Method", 
so I'm not really sure what to expect.

There is lettuce volunteering in some of the small beds.
I want to say it may have been sown in the fall,
but I honestly don't remember.
In any case, it is more than welcome!

I'm trying my hand again with the chook composting method.
I used welded wire to make a ring right in the chicken run,
and have been throwing all sorts of scraps into it.
Since I shortened the wire to about a foot and a half,
they have been climbing right in there,
scratching, pooping and moving the pile around.
We'll see what comes of it.

I put up some flexible fencing around the wooded area
near the garden.
We have a dog who is not too friendly who lives
across the street and this gives me a bit more confidence
that the chooks will be safer.
They are only allowed to roam in the woods
when I am working outside, so I can keep an eye on things.
They have been enjoying the cool shade
and ample dust baths!

Cooler weather lies ahead for us next week,
after a good dousing of rainfall over the weekend.
I embrace it all!
Here's hoping your weekend is just how you like it.