Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Garden of my very Own: Planting

The herb garden is in. Unfortunately, a lack of rain has hindered its growth thus far, but I have high hopes that continued watering will result in big bushy plants. The rosemary, thyme, and savory, for example, are all supposed to get around 15 inches in diameter, hence the hefty spacing between them.

There is a climbing mint plant not pictured that's in the back there by the rhododendron. I'm hoping it can take the amount of shade and expand out into ground cover. I can't think of anything I want more for ground cover than a bunch of mint.

I also bought a chocolate mint plant. I'm not sure what type of root system it will have, i.e. if it sprouts shoots with a wandering root system or not as some mint plants do, which can be rather invasive to other plants in the garden). Thus, I planted the chocolate mint in a bed that is largely overgrown and not-yet cleared. If it wants to take over there, I'd be more than fine with that.

While clearing room for the mint, I noticed a shamrock in the smaller bed below being strangled by weeds, so I ripped out the weeds and so far, the shamrock seems to be doing well. It promptly responded to its new situation by budding copuous amounts of yellow flowers for its small size. I take that as a good sign.

I also noticed that my strawberry plants both had a tag recommending they be planted with rhubarb, asparahus, and raspberries. I do not have raspberries yet, which will be planted along the back side fence-line, but I do have asparagus and rhubarb. In the spirit of suggestion, I cleared part of the side front bed behind our mailbox for a perrenial strawberry-rhubarb-asparagus garden. The bed, though overrun with weeds, also had a fabric covering it to keep out the weeds. This meant that the clearing didn't take nearly as much time or energy as the herb garden crabgrass situation. I got home from work, cleared the bed, stopped for dinner, and had the entire project done before dark. It's been over a week now, however, and still no growth has occured on the asparagus or rhubarb plants. This gives me no small amount of anxiety.
After so much garden success, I started in on the bed against the back fence in the back yard. I had high hopes of widening the bed and putting my remaining vegetable crops there for this year. As you may recall, this particular bed is overrun with pricker bushes. Well, I took my hoe and I got down to business. I hacked out weeds and vines and yet more of that seemingly useless weed-stopping garden fabric, underneath which I uncovered a hive of wolf spiders, all of whom carted egg sacks. This told me  that 1. I needed to be careful not to get bitten by fangs as well as pricked by thorns and 2. They had obviously already mated with and killed the males if the eggs are already on their mommas' backs. I stopped gardening for a while to watch the spiders (from a safe distance) and contemplate the joys of mate-acide in arachnids.

Makes the crabgrass seem harmless in comparison, doesn't it?

While hacking away at the back bed, I noticed I had hacked away what appeared to be edible. I confirmed it with my husband. Yes, 'tis true. We apparently already had rhubarb. I butchered one plant, which I hope regrows, as the roots are still intact, but I managed to avoid hurting the second.

That being said, we didn't need to buy any rhubarb and probably wouldn't have if we'd known these were back there. However, more rhubarb is a heck of a lot better than not enough rhubarb. Besides, none of the newly planted rhubarb has sprouted yet.

With the knowledge that I seem to be able to spot the good plants in the weeds without too much difficulty (barring the butcher of the occasional rhubarb plant), I continued my crusade, hoping against hope to get a viable garden out of this prickery bed.

Not far into my new efforts, I was stopped again. If you can believe it, this time I found wild strawberries. I called my husband over again. "If I find asparagus, I'm throwing in the towel," I said. Fortunately, I did not find any asparagus, but I did discover that those strawberries have been very busy. Half the back lawn is actually comprised almost entirely of wild strawberries. They are everywhere.
And here they are under the forsythia bush:

Despite my best efforts, I could not tame the pricker bed of doom, so I decided to leave it and its few repeat plants and instead, just clear out the rest of the front bed where the asparagus/rhubarb/strawberry garden is. Now, while this bed does have that nifty fabric, it also has weeds intermixed with assorted viable nonedible perrenials. Thus, clearing this bed was a lot more work, involving sorting the good from the bad, transplanting, discarding, and saving plants from weed strangulation. Slowly, that mess became this:
And then, in the midst of my work, I discovered another annoyance. That catnip plant I bought for the  herb garden and decided to plant indoors instead to keep stray cats away?

Well, it's not the only catnip we own, apparently. Unless of course, this isn't catnip and just looks a lot like catnip and drives my cat insane in the same manner as catnip without being catnip. But I doubt it.

When it was all over, the weeds were gone, some plants were moved to other areas of the yard, and in the midst of the remaining thornless rose bush, catnip, evergreen tree, random bushes, and hostas, I planted my veggies. I started by planting my two pepper plants in a cinder block, as recommended in a pinterest post I saw and wondered about. It claimed that peppers grown in cinder block, which conducts heat well, tend to produce better and have faster fruit maturation.

Then I planted three zucchini plants,

two eggplant varieties,

two cucumber plants (which I plan to trellis),

and one lone beet.

While I was clearing the front bed, my husband took the liberty of clearing the back bed behind the main garage. In this bed, we planted three hierloom tomato plants, one hybrid, and two cherry tomato plants.

In the same weekend that all this went down, my mother-in-law came down to see our house for the first time, and with her, she brough us a gift: One semi-dwarf Montmorency cherry tree (now planted but pictured here unplanted)

and one dwarf yellow transparent apple tree.

Obviously the ugly shed is not completely down yet, but until the rest of it goes (along with the dilapidated fence), it will help to harbor the little tree from the elements until it gets a little stronger.

I can't wait for things to start growing.

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