Monday, May 31, 2010

Fava Flowers


It smells so sweet.

This is my wisteria's 4th year with me, and it's first bloom (I have two plants on different posts of my arbor).

I pruned the heck out of it last spring and late winter, following the advice of some you-tube videos. I'm still not sure it bloomed where they said it would, and whether my pruning was instrumental or incidental. But I don't care, because it's beautiful.

Here is an early bud, when I was still just hoping that that's actually what it was:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

No Dig Potatoes

I don't have a pile of tires or potato bin yet, but this is an easy way to grow potatoes.

1. let your potatoes go to seed. (Last year I bought some early from the co-op and stored them in a paper bag in the basement. This year I just failed to keep the last of last years crop of purples potatoes from sprouting. I kept them for months, hoping they'd make it to spring and...

2. throw sprouted potatoes, or chunks with at least on sprouting eye a piece, on the ground. (You can also bury slightly if you feel like it).

3. cover with hay, or clippings.

4. keep topping off throughout the summer with clippings, to keep the plants growing higher, and creating more height for the roots and potatoes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fungus Gnats!

While tending my seedlings this morning after a long weekend away at the DFL convention in Duluth, I noticed some movement in one of the pots where the seeds had failed to germinate. Upon very very close inspection, I saw teeny tiny white/clear worms moving about. I dug around and didn't see them in any of the other failed pots (and most of the babies are doing great), but they are pretty hard to see. A little digging on line and I think I've got it: Fungus Gnat Larvae. As soon as I ruled out a few other pests and came across gnats, I remembered the little flock of gnats flying around my seedlings a couple of weeks ago, which I just hoped weren't a problem. Turns out they are - the larvae live on roots and seeds and can spread quickly. All my pots have the same organic mix this year, but I only washed and didn't bleach them, and may not have done a very good job with some. I'll have to do some more poking around in the dirt and on-line tonight to see if I can and should do anything to protect the other plants. (Other than take away the infected pot(s))

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm blushing

My neighborhood friend and huge garden resource Russ Henry profiled my garden in his latest newsletter, The Seed. It's a very glowing interpretation of my handiwork. I haven't felt like such an earth-mother since I was on the verge of leaving college to go bake bread on a commune. Thanks, Russ! (Okay, I never chose a commune. But I had a big book - before absolutely everything was on the internet - listing communal farms all over the country, and I was circling and day dreaming like mad.)

The best part of being interviewed was going back to look at some of the "before" pictures of my garden.

I inherited a great garden from the previous owners, in fact it's totally what made me notice this house, which they had just decided to sell, but hadn't even put on the market yet. But that's a story for another post. I was lucky though, because that garden stood in for details that as a first time home buyer I wasn't quite tracking. What I didn't realize is that the garden was so great because, with a house that faces the street, I had an alley on the East and a neighbor's yard to the West, and a low house to the North, meaning a ton of sun for the even bigger garden that was hardly even a twinkle in my eye at the time. Anyway - when the garden is a big swath of dirt this time of year, I can wonder if I was wise to tear up all that yard. But looking at those pictures, and reading Russ's insistent tribute, reminds me how much I love my garden.

Who are you and where did you come from?

So now that my camera is back in swing, I can ask, what the heck is this?
I found it when I cut back the "winter interest" (dead stalks) on the side of my house this spring. I feel like it has something to do with a kegger. Do college kids run around dropping off odd garden ornaments these days?

Odder still: someone made this. Like, came up with the sketch, got a green light, mass produced it, was like "people will totally buy this." And then, people did.

Camera is back, and so is Spring!

Finally! My camera broke last year, and I have been having trouble setting up a new cheap one for a while. It' finally working, and it seems "good enough for who it's for," as my mother always says.

Just in time to capture my bulbs!
So disclaimer: I am not a fan of showy bulbs. I like more delicate colors and small simple flowers. But I love free and I love scent. Free got me many of these non-species tulips which revert over time to red and yellow (from the former owners, and from the Minneapolis Parks, which toss their bulbs every year). Scent got me hyacinth and these fluffy daffodils. I like single layer narcissus better, but these smell wonderful, as promised by Mother Earth Gardens. Totally worth it.

By the way: Dear Squirrels: Thppt! I covered each patch of bulbs with chicken wire last fall, under the dirt. Hah! Guess you had to take a bite and toss aside something else all winter, eh? No more expensive (or free) bulbs of mine for you! (knock on wood)