Sunday, July 5, 2009

Update on the Garden

There are two projects that have been growing along quietly with no fanfare, so it's time to let you see what's happened recently.

Mitchell's vegetable garden:

We have been picking lettuce for several weeks now and it is great. It was supposed to "head up" but did not seem to have the genetic message. We did get one nice head, but the rest of it came out as leaf lettuce - albeit curling leaves. It is delicious, tho, and we may well plant it again next year. It's like a cross between green leaf lettuce and Romaine. It's more crisp than green leaf, but more curly than Romaine. But, like all good things, it's time to come to an end. The lettuce is starting to bolt, so I will cut it all tomorrow.

We have had a decent growth of cilantro, but it as already gone to seed. I would leave it, but Mitchell doesn't want the new cilantro growing everywhere in the bed, so I will pull it tomorrow, too.

He has planted a variety of peppers - bell and hot of various types - but they are struggling. I think they were planted late, but may not like the humus soil in the boxes. We have a few small peppers on the bells, and one very nice hot pepper - New Mexico # something - but not really much to show for six weeks of growth. The cabbage are another matter tho. They are huge and have finally started growing heads. They are really pretty, but we will be happy in another couple of months when they are edible.

The tomatoes are a success story. He planted two cherry tomatoes and two Better Boy (or maybe Girl). We have been picking cherries for a couple of weeks and two "big" tomatoes are ripening on the window sill right now. There are many, many coming so we should have tomatoes for the next month or so. You can see them growing UP the netting at the back of the box on the left. All in all, I think this is a successful garden this year.

The Project

It's been just over a month since I "finished" the xeri-garden. [We all understand that "finished" and "garden" do not exist in the world as we know it.] You got your last look on May 25th, so here's what it looks like today.

I've lost two plants already - one of the thymes and one of the evening primroses. Everything else is doing very well. The salvia 'Snow Hill' has bloomed almost constantly since the garden was planted and the evening primrose 'Shimmer' has come and gone. One of the agastache "Ava" is in bloom now, as well as one of the penstemon 'Elfin Pink'. The four clumps of sedum "Autumn Joy" have recovered and are growing altho none is standing upright - that will come next year. But all in all, it's in good shape. The exubertant color you see at the right end of the box is a mass of petunias that I planted for fast color. They have bloomed constantly and look great. I think that in the spring I will plant cutting flowers there for the house next summer.

The native honeysuckle seems to be ok. I disturbed its roots pretty much in digging the box, but then put a good heavy covering of mulch over them and watered well, so they seem to have survived all right.

So, I am pleased. In mid-April next year when I see what's come back and where I have holes, I'll look at some other salvias or perhaps a penstemon - if I can find one locally - to fill in. I think it's a success overall.

There is one major mistake - rookie mistake - that I made. The bed is too wide to work easily. I made it 16 feet by 4 feet, which is a lovely proportion and looks really nice, but I cannot reach over four feet. I should have made it only three feet deep. I never really thought about it when I was planning. It just seemed like the right thing to do - to cut the landscaping timbers in half. So learn from my mistake. Remember that weeding is a major activity and you need to be able to reach across the bed to do it.

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