Saturday, May 23, 2015

I forgot summer gardening requires stretching...

The middle of May arrives and the garden goes from a somnolent "come on, something germinate" to a knackered "oh crap, my back!" And thus was my first full day of gardening in a frantic Edmonton summer. I worked extra hard today to get tomorrow afternoon free to head down to the Leg.

The flowering trees and bushes are beautiful. The lilacs under Jessica's window are finally big enough to put out some blooms and they are much earlier than the lilac we have in the back. The apples trees are also in full bloom.

I have been taming the rhubarb (which keeps creeping up over top the basil in the back planter) by making pie. I should also can some to put on oatmeal next year.

The beets, carrots and zucchini have all germinated as have some of the bush beans. The pole beans seem a bit slower and no sign yet of the pumpkins.

The strawberries are also just starting to blossom. I spent a fair bit of the weekend cutting back the hedges and pulling crab grass that is regrowing in the beds I recovered earlier this spring. fortunately, it is much easier to get out of disturbed soil.

Around front, the tulips are probably at their best, with some of the early bulbs just finishing and the rest about to open. The Saskatoon bushes have also flowered and all of the tiny berries are starting to form (plus I figured out side-by-side photos on blogger--hello, extreme vertical pictures).

Watering has been a bit of a chore (trying to keep the seed beds moist enough for germination) but it is clouding up nicely. Perhaps a brief shower over night. I also see the Jerusalem artichokes have come back as promised. We should, in their second year, be able to get some bulbs to eat from this bed. Now to make more pie.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tulips, violets, potatoes and wine

The Victoria Day weekend was pleasant this year and I spent much of it knocking back the weeds! The tulips are up around front and quite pretty.

The garlic is also growing quite nicely, although I suspect the beets will soon catch up.

In the backyard the violets are out. This one we planted originally in about 2000 and it moves around the yard as the seeds get carried here and there.

It is presently add some colour to the potato bed. The potatoes are just peaking through the dirt. The carrots are also just emerging. Hopefully we can avoid any more frosty evenings.

I spent some time in doors this morning racking off the last batch of wine to bulk age for next fall. I think this one is a Cab-Merlot-Shiraz (I should keep better records) and smelled great. I'll bottle it towards the end of summer.

We have a few more tomato and paper starters to transplant this week (the weather looks great starting tomorrow) and also some basil. Then I need to clean the garage.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tomatoes and Saskatoons

 With nice weather, the garden is starting to really pick up and requires more frequent weeding.

Out front, some of the tomato plants are blooming (this is a cherry tomato), which seems ambitious to me! In the back, they are struggling a bit more. The peas are now all up and we'e finished planting the beans. This weekend we may get the cucumber seeds in to join the squash seeds.

Out front, the Saskatoon bushes are blooming alongside the beginning of the apple blooms. I'm looking forward to a weekend of gardening as well as a spot of rain this afternoon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ah, spring in Alberta

So, we awoke to this on Wednesday. Fortunately, I had wrapped up all of tomatoes before heading off to my scrutineer shift at the polls Tuesday night. No major damage although a couple of tomatoes I had under glass were touching the glass and froze off the tips.

The snow was mostly gone on Friday and underneath there had been a huge amount of growth. The beets are mostly germinated and the onions have started their impressive early growth.

The beds of kale and swiss chard at the back are also starting to emerge. And the garlic is more than 10 inches tall out front.

The fruit trees and bushes are also forming flower buds. Fortunately, the air temperature wasn't too cold and they all look okay this year. All of the bulbs have also emerged unscathed.

We spent yesterday putting in the rest of the tomato plants and moving perennials around to make more room for potatoes. We also put some flowers in over at the in laws. Today we have the last few seeds to put in (squash, cucumber) and I have more crabgrass to tackle.

If I get ambitious, I will break out the lawnmower this week. There are a few places that could use a trim already. I also need to run down a few basil starts and get the hummingbird feeder up.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bulbs, bugs, hail and tomatoes

It has been a very busy week but Jess and I have been outside as much as we have been able to swing.

Many of the spring bulbs are up, including these tulipa tarda. They are always a welcome sunny spot in the yard. I keep trying to move them around front (and out of the veggie beds) but we never seem to get them all.

The bugs are also out and enjoying the weather. This lady bug was enjoying the apple tree until I annoyed it with my camera and it flew away.

Then it hailed (two days in a row!). Then the sun came back out.

Jess and I decided that summer has arrived and planted out most of the tomatoes. I've got the heirloom Irish linen ready to throw out in the yard if frost threatens.But the forecast looks good, the city has a bit of a heat island and perhaps global warming is starting to push the frost dates back.

The kale in the cold frames have really started to respond and I'll be doing away with glass tomorrow.

The tulips are also out and flowering in warmer places.

Today we seeded in some bush beans and hunted for beet shoots. I see some peas are up so we may look to plunk in the zucchini and pumpkin seeds tonight.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Renovations and carrots

I spent much of the weekend completing some much needed changes in the back garden. The pathway from the lawn to the garage had become overgrown with crab grass and purple bellflower so I pulled everything out. Some of the perennials were transplanted around front. Still early days but I seem to winning the war against the bell flower.

The rest of the mess was sifted and the soil put back, extending the old garden bed (on the left of the path) by about 5 square feet) and the new garden bed (on the right) by about 25 square feet. I banged in some extra onions abutting the path, figuring those would be easiest to weed around this summer.

Jess and I then went out and planted what should turn into about 400 carrots by the end of the summer. That sounds like a lot but (with give-aways) that nets us only about one carrot per day.  That helps frame some of the production limits to growing your own food on a city lot.

We mixed it up a bit this year while seeding the carrots. Instead of seeding rows, I worked out a final spacing system and we seeded individual depressions. Should be slightly less weeding involved and we used way less seed! We put in a mixture of nantes and yellowstone.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beets, onions and potatoes

Spring is, more or less, in the air. Although I see a few flakes swirling in the wind as I type this. And the daffodils and other bulbs are up and starting to put on a show.

The beet seeds we put in are also starting to germinate, which is exciting--we may get two crops off this year! I have been watering on warm days to keep the beds moist. We also planted a bunch more kale and chard over the week in the beds behind the garage. The old guy who steals from the alley beds is welcomed to all the swiss chard he can stomach!

The yellow storage onions (below) are also poking up in the back yard. They are not as far along as the garlic in the front (which is four or more inches high).

I was in the basement and noticed the seed potatoes were also getting pretty leggy. so we went out tonight and put 43 in the ground. There was a mixture of caribe blue, Russian blue, Pontiac red, Yukon gold, russet and a few yellow banana potatoes. The latter wouldn't have been my choice (lots of handling to process because they are so small and modest production) but I sent Jess back in for an extra dozen or so and that is what she selected.

Some of the legs are quite colourful. Above is a caribe blue. The overcast skies dimmed the colour some but they are quite luminescent. I also decided we're going to try gardening against the north side of the house. It is dark there, but there is some direct sun in the morning and evening. And it gets a heck of a bounce off the neighbour's house all day long. If it is a bust no great loss--the seed was excess anyhow. And it will give me a reason to go there and weed more.

Out back the oregano is starting to grow. And I'm undertaking a bit of a recover project (battle crab grass and chives ("chives! why did it have to be chives?")) to extend one of the beds. I need to move some thyme into the front. And the city crews were through to prep for new sod on the boulevard (yay!).