Strawberries from the Garden

Strawberries from the Garden

Apr 25, 2011

A Welcome New Addition To My Garden

     It's the little things that make me happy and excited! Right now, I'm so excited that my rain barrel is set-up, ready for use, and already full of rain water! Yeah! My mother-in-law and father-in-law gave me a barrel they got from a winery in upstate New York. I purchased a downspout diverter from Gardener's and my husband and I found the spigots and handles we wanted at Home Depot.
     Thanks to April Showers, my barrel is full and ready for use. I think I will be using it to water my new transplants and seedlings. On Sunday, I put together a strawberry pot for my mother-in-law and father-in-law with strawberry plants from my garden. I watered the transplants with water from the rain barrel. With fresh rain water they should be off to a great start!
     I think I'm going to plant some hostas around the base of the blocks that the barrel is setting on. I think it will look better. Yes, it's just a rain barrel. But it is a welcome new addition to my garden and I think it will be well loved!

Apr 19, 2011

Keep it Coming!

Think about it, if you keep the soil in your garden covered, there is less room for weeds. So what do you keep your soil covered with? Plantings of new crops! Plant a new crop as soon as you harvest a crop and pull up the crop that is finished. For example, you can have a cool weather crop in the ground now, and then pull up that crop as the temperatures rise and it's time to plant something like tomatoes or squash. 

So what about relay planting? Let's say I have a cool crop in the garden such as cabbage and it's going to be ready to harvest soon. I can plant bean seeds next to the plants or slightly under the leaves of the plant a couple of weeks before you want to harvest. When you harvest the cabbage, you have your beans well under way and ready to fill in the space. You can do this again in the fall. In an area where you have something like squash, start putting in seeds for a new crop like lettuce or broccoli.

I plant lettuce, radishes, and carrots at regular intervals using the shade of other plants to get through the hot summer months and then when fall comes around you have a good foundation started for your fall harvest.

Apr 16, 2011

Spring has sprung!

So today is Saturday, April 16th and I am finally starting to get the feeling that spring has sprung. The red raspberries and blueberries are coming into leaf, the strawberries are starting to form their first blossoms, and my first plantings of spinach and carrots are starting to show themselves. It's a few weeks later than normal, but our peas are finally reaching for the sky. Yeah! It doesn't matter what the almanac says or the date on the calendar. It just doesn't seem like spring until I start to see the garden wake and stretch in the sun.Life is good.

Apr 9, 2011

A New Favorite Pepper!

The Fish Pepper; This is my new favorite! 
I love it's history, it's variety of characteristics and uses, and I think it is just a cool looking plant in the garden with it's green and cream variegated leaves! The history is pretty interesting. It is an African-American heirloom pepper that was popular in the Baltimore, Philadelphia area in the fish and shellfish cooking pre-1950's. When the pepper is very young, it is a cream, almost white pepper. It is at this stage that it was used in white soups and sauces in the fish houses. It is very spicy and it changes from white to off-white and green striped, to a bright red. Living near Baltimore, it would be a crime not to include it in my garden! I found my first fish pepper seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and now I save my own seeds. I Love this plant!!!!

Apr 3, 2011

Make Room For Bees!

I know some people are a little afraid of bees and some people, like myself, are somewhat allergic, while others are down right deathly allergic. But I want to make a plea for the safe passage of bees in and around our gardens. We need the bees for the pollination of our plants and flowers and we need to do our part to help provide a safe haven.

One of the first things you can do is to avoid using pesticides and/or harmful chemicals, and detergents. We need to remember that when we spray something for the 'bad' bugs we are probably going to have an effect on the 'good' bugs. There are all kinds of things that can be done to eliminate the need of such dangerous chemicals. 

Try row covers, companion gardening, and homemade pepper sprays and the like. Think about keeping everything in your garden 'natural' enough to eat yourself. If you keep this in mind, you will be able to help provide a safe haven for bees. Remember to also provide something shallow filled with water and plant flowers that draw bees such as sunflowers, cosmos, bee balm, etc. 

If you keep a safe environment that is 'attractive' to bees, then they will stay busy in your garden helping you to grow the things you love whether it's the amazing sunflower or your garden veggies!