Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wrens, Robins and Orioles

The last of the tulips
The lilacs are REALLY early!
A true Robin Egg Blue
The garden without most of its fence.
French Sorrel - what a great vegetable.

This was a return week for two of my favorite back yard birds - wrens and orioles. Both are back and singing out there borders. The wrens are great for the garden and the bug population. The orioles are just pretty. I have been told that orioles return to the same spot pretty much the same time each year so I will have to keep records on their May 9th return date for a few years to see if that is true.

All the lilacs are in full bloom. I am amazed because back in the 70's we used to have an awards day at school for kids and one of the teachers would bring in armloads of lilacs to decorate the stage and that was at the end of this month not the second week. Global warming anyone?
The weather was most unsettled this week and downright cold. I protected the peas and fig tree two nights. We were even threatened with snow!

Today I transplanted all the tomatoes and tomorrow I will try to get at the peppers. I thinned parsley and annuals and planted some annuals out in the yard. Also this week I rototilled the garden. I got the job done early in the week, so the rain this week helped to settle the new tilled ground and will help the tilled winter rye to break down. The winter rye is my green manure for the garden and for years it has been one way to help add good organic material to my heavy soil.
I also took down most of the garden fence as the picture post shows and used the panels to rabbit proof the whole back yard ( I thought). I did find a bunny in the yard yesterday and will have to make a real good perimeter check this week to see if there is any opening anyplace. I was sure I had the whole back yard cordoned off but maybe not. With the fence down the garden space just looks so much bigger and it truly will be.

We have been eating spinach, arugula, and radishes this whole week with some lettuce and nice sorrel mixed in. I have brought the radishes into the house with their tops attached as they make a quick and easy way to clean the dirt off the radish bulb before you serve them up. Try it. Just bend the tops over and use them to scrub the radish and then cut them off and compost them.

The upland rice has sprouted and the corn transplants are up and growing too. So with the garden tilled I can now decide where I want to put things. I planted quite a bit of lettuce this week but the sparrow decided to have some salad so they did a bit of damage to my transplants. I will start some more lettuce for transplants this week, too, along with maybe some broccoli and brussel sprouts as they are 90 day crops that needs frost to make them good. I want to start some early cucumbers this year and try for two different planting. Someone asked me about beans, and for me, my soil is still too cold for beans. Some crops just will sit and do nothing if the ground is cold and beans are one - wait till the ground is warmer to start a bean crop.
I also was asked about herbs. Herbs in our garden are planted out but herbs are a fine candidate for growing in pots. Chives, parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary are fine candidates. Just remember they need lots of sun (at least six hours) to be happy; and when growing in pots try to keep the roots cool while keeping the tops in the sun - a neat trick. So one of the best ways is to cluster the pots to help each shade one another. You can move the pots occasionally to keep the root temperatures cool and the plants from shading each other.
Happy Gardening


  1. Do you cook your sorrel or eat as a green?

  2. Hi Anon,
    BOTH! Sorrel adds a great sour taste to salad greens; adds a tartness to eggs; and if I steam it I only put the leaves, minus the midrib, in at the very last moment because they do not hold their color well when cooked that way. As yet we have not made any quiche with the sorrel but the recipes are out there. I grew both the two sorrel plantings I have from seed and as long as I keep the seed heads picked off the plants grow nicely all summer long. However, the very best harvest is right now - great color and great taste.
    Happy Gardening

  3. You have the most lovely and inspiring blog! It was so interesting to find yout what you are doing in your garden. I feel like a slug (no, please don't exterminate me)! YOur soil looks beautiful. Yes, even soil can be spectacular. This weekend we are switching to an all raised bed garden with mulched paths. I finally had to admit I hate gardening in August- too hot and humid and then the weeds get ahead of me. Hopefully I can manage my raised beds!
    Beautiful pictures, especially the robins eggs.

  4. Hi Yvonne,
    Thank you for your compliments - we work hard to make the blog interesting and our garden both productive and creative. August is a tough time but what you can plant in August in the stuff you will eat in October and November making your garden as productive as possible; so don't get discouraged just do a little bit each week. Raised beds are a good way to organize and improve your work space and a great idea especially for ground that is in need of help. Add as much peat moss to these new beds as you can afford now to help increase the organic content or your soil.
    Good luck on the work and remember - keep planting all season long even in dreaded August.
    Happy Gardening