Friday, May 13, 2016

Update on our garden

My last post about our garden was on May 1st, almost two weeks ago. A lot has happened since then. The entire garden has been raked clean of leaves and twigs, filling almost five large garbage bags. I've been doing a fair amount of weeding to get rid of the dandelions that have spread throughout the garden. I've also cleaned up both strawberry patches, removing dead vines and leaves and giving the plants some breathing room. Along the way, I've gotten to know the insects that live in our garden--a lot of earthworms, several kinds of snails, spiders, centipedes, silver-brown beetles, and bees. I'm fine with all of them, although I know I'm going to have to kill some of the snails when they start to devour the vegetable plants, because we're not allowed to use any kind of insecticides in the garden. We'll see how many snails invade the garden when the vegetable plants start to bloom. I've heard from the other gardeners that the snails love pumpkin plants. but that they also go after squash and other vegetables as well.

I've invested a fair amount of money already in the garden and garden accessories--weeding tools, a spade, a claw-like tool, a water pistol with eight different shower functions to water the plants (very useful since it means I won't have to carry heavy watering cans back and forth), pruning shears, and knee pads (I recommend them highly). I've also purchased a parasol and a heavy stone foot to hold it in place; they've found their place in the garden along with the bird bath (the little birds are using it--yay!) and the table and chairs. I also bought a garden arch to demarcate the entrance but that hasn't arrived yet. Today I bought some irregular flat stones to make an entrance path, and placed a few extra stones at other locations so that it is easier to water all parts of the garden without standing in muddy soil.

I've planted corn, pumpkins, spinach, cauliflower, string beans, and beets. My broccoli plants that I grew from seeds did not survive, nor did my pumpkin plants (they grew too quickly and were too spindly). So I had to buy new pumpkin plants. My husband got eight raspberry bushes from his friend, and planted them last weekend. He also planted a rhododendron bush that he rescued from the garbage pile generated by our apartment complex's annual cleanup. Why they decided to throw away a perfectly good bush is beyond us. So we're hoping it survives. The garden already had a cherry tree, two rhubarb plants that are doing well, a black currant bush, a red currant bush, and a gooseberry bush. It will be interesting to see what produces fruit this year and what doesn't. It will also be interesting to see how we manage the harvesting should there be an abundance of vegetables and fruits.

I've also planted three lavender plants (for the bees) and a lot of pansies that are also doing well. This past week has been very warm (close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit), so the plants took off. The warm weather has now given way to cooler temperatures, so it will be interesting to see how the plants tackle the cooler weather during the next week or so. I've read that pansies like cooler weather, so it's mostly the vegetable plants I'll be worrying about. I'm hoping that there won't be any night frosts.

Here are some photos of our garden:

new stone path between the strawberry patches

a view toward our neighbor's garden, with the rhododendron bush in the foreground 


corn plants

rhubarb plant 

pansies and the bird bath 

green (string) bean plants










bird bath 

parasol, table and chairs 

cherry tree with pansies planted in front of it 

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