Friday, May 12, 2017

A Walk Through the Garden, May 12th

It's been a while since I wrote one of these posts (almost two years ago, to be more precise, revisit it here). I've done a fair share of lamenting, that's for true, but just a straight-up casual walk-through? I think one of those is due.

Note: as I've said before, I've been slowly working to improve the conditions of the fill in the raised beds, and some of my plants have really responded to the amendments, while others continue to struggle. There are some things out there right now offering some encouragement, though... 

When you first step through the garden gate, you might notice right away that two of the perimeter beds are finally filling up with flowers- both the annuals I planted from seeds and the perennials that came from nursery transplants. The big, beautiful sunflower that greets you first thing is a volunteer from some chicken scratch left behind when that run of fence was part of the coop.

Next you'll walk by my radishes, which are currently in two separate phases- the first radishes planted almost all failed after germination, but the few that did survive I've let go to seed because let's face it, those are survivors and totally worth perpetuating (and the flowers are pretty!). The second round just poked their spicy little baby leaves out of the areas that we added rotted horse manure to, and hopefully those will lead to some crisp red globes we can sink our teeth in to!

In the two legs of the same bed with the radishes are the green beans, which have been struggling with rust, and quite a few have been succumbing despite my best intervention efforts. However a few have come back around and are flowering profusely to make up for the loss. Our pole beans- planted after I realized we had soil problems- will know nothing but perfect growing conditions (or as close to perfect as I can manage), and if you walk under the first cattle panel arbor you might notice a few of them are already beginning their climb. I've been proactively treating them for rust with neem oil.

Strolling by the bed opposite the beans and radishes, you'd next see the peppers. The verdict is still out as to whether or not they will pull through, but a few of them are bearing fruit and I'm feeding them like crazy. I haven't quite let go of my hopes for homemade fermented hot sauce. Still crossing my fingers.

You'll probably notice I've planted quite a few nasturtiums here and there, and many of them have finally made an appearance! We may not get much of a yield from our garden this year, but I can try to make it pretty anyway!

The bed next to the peppers holds our tomatoes, and they are the bushiest and greenest things out in the garden. You can't help but be drawn to them when you're making the rounds. Our tomatoes, for some reason, have never shown a single symptom of the soil problems we're having, and have all put on quite a show with flowers and little green orbs of promise... which means with my luck they'll be crawling with pests in another month. It's always something, right? For now, though, they remain a highlight of my garden walks.

 And then there are my squash, the most successful of which is another volunteer (the pumpkin). You have to take care not to step on it now as it continues to sprawl. It is growing in the pathway around the raised bed that holds zucchini and yellow squash, and recently our cucumbers have also germinated in this bed, too. Surprisingly, one of the zucchini is just going to town, and we've picked four squash off this plant this week (one which was as big as my forearm!).

Lastly, on your way out of the garden you'll pass by two perennials that are making me soooo happy right now- my pineapple sage (an impulse buy that is turning out to be delightful, love it) and my lavender (smells so good, and it's always hosting bees). I spray them with the hose first thing when I'm watering because they immediately fill the air with the most amazing perfume.

There is a sense of hope now when I stroll up and down the paths, taking stock of what's going on and what needs attention, and for me that is all I need to keep at it. Summer is just around the corner and heat stress is no plant's friend, but my main goal is soil building this season, and that I can work on no matter the weather.

When you're standing out there and the sun is setting, it's easy to imagine how great it'll be when it's all fixed up............ but even now when things are less than ideal, there's still a little something growing, blooming, changing, and helping to remind me that really, even now, it's not all that bad.

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