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May Showers Bring You Flowers

Growing in my garden…

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8 responses to “May Showers Bring You Flowers

  1. Ralph ⋅

    It looks like gardens are coming out of their winter slumber. My containered (is that a word?) string beans, carrots, cucumbers, and others are growing, apparently happy with all the recent rain. This morning produced another surprise, 5 new bamboo shoots growing right against the edge of their flower pot- their position subtly hinting they need more space. One carrot from a starter plant made it into salad already, as has scattered strawberries and scallions. Not all is right however, as happened the past couple years my broccoli is pretty well eaten by bugs. Not much more than seed pods are left. Maybe those seeds can start a few more plants in containers. If last year’s praying mantis shows up again I’ll see if I can fit it with a tiny shotgun to take care of those broccoli eating savages. They should be easy targets, moving slowly from gorging themselves on my broccoli. If only it was that simple!

    • Revel

      Haha! I love the image of the mantis that’s packing. This weather has been weird but a delight in its own way. I haven’t had to do any real watering on my own. My rose has been persnickety this season, and I’m thinking it’s time to take it out of the container and place it in the ground. But aside from that (which I’ve given extra care to with collected rain water), everything has done just fine on its own given the abundant rain we’ve had. What’s been really wonderful is the switching between wet and sunny days. If I remember right, last year this time we had too much rain and not enough sun. Although I was worried about the heaviness of the rain on my new tomato plants, they fared just fine (especially after I put some wire mesh around them as an extra layer of protection). I have some carrots that I had pretty much abandoned that are still coming up from last year. They were dormant over the winter but not dead, and now they seem like they’re just taking their time but still growing. The peach tree may be getting a little too much water. There’s some green mossy-like growth around its trunk, but the leaves look much healthier than they did last year, and I’m already starting to see some hard baby peaches. Grow on, little garden, grow on.

  2. Ralph ⋅

    As of early this morning my bamboo is up to 9 new culms/ shoots. I am beginning to believe all the things I’ve read about how much this stuff can spread. With so much new growth hopefully I’ll be able to start a new plant- more research!

    • Revel

      Congrats! Send pics to revelgardener@gmail.com and I’ll post them. I think bamboo would be a nice way to cover a fence that needs mending (one that always lands on my eternal to-do list). You haven’t started a new one yet, right? I’d like to hear how it goes!

  3. Ralph ⋅

    No, I haven’t started a new one yet but will try when I move it to a larger container. Bamboo can make a great privacy fence to cover or hide something from view. There are some cautions as far as the variety/ climate, and whether it is a ‘running’ type which can spread quite vigorously, or ‘clumping’ which pretty much grows where planted. Mine is a running type which is supposed to tolerate -20 degrees, and if memory serves can reach 20 feet tall. So far mine is a little over 5 feet, but each new culm grows taller than the ones before it. Mine is a fairly small diameter said to be good for making fishing poles.

    Tomorrow I’ll try to get a few pictures. Check out http://www.bambooweb.info/ for lots of great bamboo info. I am on the forum there but haven’t posted in quite a while. I will be soon since I will be looking for suggestions on splitting mine.

    Switching gears to carrots, how long do they have to be in the ground before picking? I have some from seeds and I have to find out how much ‘grow time’ they need before eating.

    • Revel

      That’s a good question on the carrots. I assume they’re organic? I planted some from seed last year and they didn’t take long to sprout up but I had the same question — when to pull them. I planted enough that if I pulled just one or two at a time to see how they were growing, there would still be plenty left if it were too early. (I also tried putting them back in the ground but didn’t follow them closely enough to know whether that worked). I pulled a bunch later into the summer (about 2-3 months after I planted them), and they were still very small. I was pretty disappointed. But they tasted delicious. Next thing I know, I am at Union Square, shopping for Thanksgiving dinner when I see some carrots as small as mine were but going for a very pretty penny. I bought a bunch and asked the farmer about their size. They told me it’s typical for organic carrots to not get very big but that they made up in flavor what they lacked in size. I, of course, knew that from my own but had missed out on the experience of enjoying my harvest, thinking that it had not been “successful.”

      It turns out my expectations were off, on several fronts. It sounds like 100 days (not the meager 90 days I gave mine) is a better period of time to allow them to grow. Keep in mind, though, that you can pick them earlier for the sweet little baby carrots I pulled up. It’s fine, too, since it’ll give the others room to grow. Go ahead and leave some in the ground to see what happens over the winter and next spring. I’m still discovering the life of my carrots (which, by the way, are in a large planter box that gets medium sun).

      To my surprise, this spring there started to appear to be more carrot plants than I planted. I am still in the process of trying to really understand the nature of carrots as biennials (plants that take two years to cycle). In this second year of my carrots’ life, true to form (as I’ve read about it anyway), they are bolting and I’m watching them grow very long green stems out of the lower-to- the-ground rosette (a hallmark of biennials) that was there before. They are reaching up and spreading out. I have not yet pulled any to see how much the root (my tasty carrots) have grown. And I’m skeptical that when I do I will find the juicy veg that was there last year. But it is fascinating to watch them spring back from what I had incorrectly assumed was death. It was just dormancy. Based on my reading, I am expecting them to bolt and flower before too long. I will definitely be bringing seeds to our annual (yes, takers?) swap.

      Any tips of saving carrot seeds welcome…

      Btw, here are a couple sites that might be helpful…http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/carrots/

      http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/a/organiccarrots.htm

      http://yourpatchorganic.com/handy-harvest-guide/

      The last one is not very in depth – no pun intended – but it’s a helpful guide for when/how to harvest a variety of gardens, in alphabetical order (the guide not the picking).

  4. Ralph ⋅

    The carrot seeds I used were from The Seed Savers Exchange. Next year most of my ‘green leafy stuff’ (the Latin family name) will not go in the ground. Escarole and Romaine are the two exceptions. Bugs don’t seem to like them or the wormwood on guard duty. I took some seeds from my eaten broccoli rabe and put them into a pot on the deck. It’ll be interesting to see if the bugs find them up there.

    I harvested some scallion seeds already and will have lots of broccoli rabe seeds before long. I put some store bought organic scallion cuttings in potting soil. After just a few days they are now growing pretty fast. My quick ‘nothing to loose’ bamboo cutting seems to have died, but i’ll wait a while in case there’s still live roots under the soil.

    • Revel

      I was listening to a self sufficient gardener podcast yesterday re watering, and Jason was talking about emptying out bamboo shoots and using them for a slow drip. Good idea, no? I just bought several sticks to support the tomato plants (11! Thx in large part to Aimee at Red Garden Clogs) I now have in the ground.

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