Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Gardening Begins

A Mason Bee structure in the apple tree.

With the new greenhouse done and the cold frames full of seedlings, some planting has begun.  We found two nice lilac plants for the hill area where the pine trees were removed; and then just this week we found another lilac so now that space has seven different lilacs from white to dark purple and shades in between.  Give them a few years and the view of the neighbors swing set and play area will be gone.

I got some of the annuals planted and the planters both on the patio and out front done.  The patio funeral basket has a mix of black petunias and pink flowered strawberries which should be fun.   I was thinking about a determinate tomato in the center but that might be a bit  too much.  The front planter has marigolds and some tall peppers now and I would like some nasturtiums too but that seed is just not germinating too well.

Lettuce and dandelions (endive) have been planted in the garden and we have started on some cutting of lettuce along with sorrel and arugula.  The arugula that wintered over is really spicy by now and too much in a salad is a bit overpowering.  We also have two kinds of kale that is fine for cutting too.  I  got the tomatoes planted this week.  I think the ground is warm enough for them even though its a week earlier than I usually plant them.

I bought a mason bee structure at the garden store and we ordered paper straws to fill the hole as the bamboos that the nest was made of were a bit big for the bees.  So as you see the straws are a nice size for mason bees to fill - if we're lucky.   Mason bees used to love the old greenhouse and would, as I found out when I took it apart last summer, fill the channels of the aluminum struts with their nests.

The bad garden news is that the oldest apple tree (maybe 25 plus years) and ironically the one with the most grafts on it has a bad case of Black Rot.  Both branches and the trunk are showing the malady and growth this season will surely be affected along with apple production.  All of this after I cut down the pine trees to give the apples more sun!  I do think that all my trees have it but the oldest tree has the disease the worst - lucky us.  I am just going to wait and see how the growth goes this season before I make any decisions about further pruning or tree removal.  Its getting a bit late for me to be starting with new trees and my grafting scion stock source may soon be a thing of the past too.

The earth boxes are planted with determinate tomatoes and white cotton this year  - our experimental plants for the new greenhouse.  Plus the cucumber seedlings are sprouted and they too will be grown    in pots in this new environment too.  Out in the garden the black raspberries are growing nicely and I am still waiting for the horseradish to sprout.  We have several kinds of sage seedlings to plant and both summer and winter savory to try this year.  So all in all a few experiments to test for  2015.

Happy Gardening

Straws in the bamboo

Lettuce, Dandelions, and Endive

New lilacs in place.

Three of the four rows of tomatoes.

The Queen Sophia marigolds in place - Profusion zinnias next.

The new Harry Lauder Hazelnut in the front bed.

Black Rot on all these pictures.

Stunted, pale leaves on this branch.

Black Mamba Petunias.