Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rain and Cool Weather

  
The Chives are in full bloom
The bumblebees are happy because the chive clumps are in bloom.  These are great to eat and I have seen someplace where they are dipped in tempura batter and fried.  Cooked onions are the only way I can eat this vegetable so maybe we need to try a batch.  Chive blossoms decorate the food from the grill for the next couple of weeks.  I also harvested leeks that wintered over in the garden.  This was a surprise to me that they would do this.  In between the two leek rows I planted the set onions for this year and will fill in the space with more sets as I pull the leeks - we like to keep the ground busy here.  I also made some jam from last years frozen currents.  Currents are high in pectin and as I make many kinds of jam, having some currents, usually a cup, to add to the mix, help with the jam setting.  I have gotten away from commercial pectin and use the currents as my pectin supply.  Home made jam is why I planted black raspberries this year and an apricot tree last year - planning ahead.

We had a rainy week and that was good for the garden.  The plants that were put into the ground last week before the rain got a chance to settle in nicely.  I have more to plant and even with the ground wet I should be able to plant.  One applies the old gardening adage of "Seed Dry and Plant Wet".  So the herbs that are ready, the zinnias that are in flats and ready, and all the parsley plants should get into the ground in the next few days.

I got all the EarthBoxes cleaned, filled with compost and fertilized with organic fertilizer so that I could plant the greenhouse tomatoes (Totem) and the white cotton.  The tomatoes are a determinate variety that seem really precocious as they already have flowers on them.  The cotton is in the EarthBoxes because last year the cold wet summer was the reason for my cotton crop failure  I have grown several cotton varieties in the past (check back in the blog) but this white variety is over 120 day plant and so they will need the greenhouse to give me the length of time. Also, as heavy feeders, the cotton plants can be fertilized in the pots easily.  I have planted the cucumbers that are also going to grow in the greenhouse and will transplant them into 5 gal buckets soon - filling with compost and fertilizer similar to the EarthBoxes.

While I was in Chicago this week I visited a location to see a sample of the benches I want to put in the greenhouse.  In the past, I have built a bench with wood, wire, and cement blocks.  I don't want that this time around so I found a sturdy plastic bench that I think will work.  I just happened to be real close to a place in the western suburbs that had this brand of bench as part of their spring plants sales setup.  The benches come with both solid and open tops and legs of various heights.  I have spoken with a sales rep and will call them back and work out a bench layout with his help and ship them in.  Then the greenhouse will be almost ready after the electrician and plumber do their magic.

Happy Gardening

Leeks harvested this season from a planting last summer

The white cotton in the EarthBox planter

Totem determinate tomatoes flowering already.

Current Jam - ready for biscuits or scones.

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