Garden 2012

The garden has been started. I’m pretty pepper heavy again this year. They seem to be what we use most, grow rather well in the back and give me something to can at the end of the season. After last year’s debacle with mislabeled plants (and ending up with ALL hot peppers instead of the good variety I had planned) I thought it would be best to avoid the large lot garden stores. A weekend in Jersey provided the perfect opportunity to swing by Wellsweep Herb farm. Mom was looking for plants anyway, and it was a beautiful day out. I was only going to get one pepper, but I ended up buying one of each kind they had. Muscato, Jalapeno, Summer Sweet, Garden Salsa and Serano. Should be a good variety this year, and I trust them to be labeled properly. I also got a pineapple sage, with no real plan for it. My rosemary was still alive (!!) despite my lack of care of it, and of course the strawberry and mint won’t die. I pulled all the mint ¬†and half of the strawberries out of the large planter and potted them in smaller pots to clear room for the peppers. I also picked up a thyme plant, lavender, basil and marigolds from the local garden shop, Urban Jungle. That fills out my available pots and planter.

Wendy

My sempervivums¬†are doing well, too. Wendy flowered last year, so she’s back to her short little self. I don’t remember if I planted regular ones with her. I assume I must have, otherwise half of Wendy lost her fuzz, and I don’t know how that would have happened.

garden strawberries

I’m still struggling with a few garden related things though… like how do I keep strawberries on the plant long enough to ripen, but not too long that bugs get to them? And most importantly, how do I keep the neighborhood cats from pooping in my garden? It is awful. It seems they think it is their own personal litter box. Not good for the plants, and sure stinks up the back yard. Any suggestions? I tried netting to keep them away, but it didn’t really work. I’ve also tried putting sharp sticks in the garden, but that had limited success. Is there something I can plant that would keep them away?

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The weather is humid, the sky heavy. The city’s edges looked like they were drawn against a chalkboard today as I drove home. While this might not be great weather for people, it seems to be doing well by my little garden.

Plants all set, waiting to grow

This is the third year of the little boxed space that I traded a hand knit skull and crossbones scarf for. The first year I was ambitious- cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, various other plants. Last year I axed the tomatoes, but kept the cucumber. This year the shift to all peppers was completed. I never ate the tomatoes and the cucumber never bore much fruit anyway, and it was a bully- its large leaves shading and hindering the growth of other plants. The peppers have always survived the best, and been the most useful for cooking. We have so many kinds this time! Cherry red hots (quite robust and very popular last year), jalapenos, sweet gypsy, two other kinds (one spicy, one sweet-ish) I can’t recall right now. More herbs, too, but in separate pots next to the garden. Spicy globe basil, cinnamon basil, thyme. Mint, though its been transplanted from the garden into a pot. I’m going to try hard to get the basil to survive. I don’t have a very good track record with it, unfortunately. And my favorite- the marigolds. Someone told me that marigolds help keep bad bugs away, and I’ve been planting them ever since. Bright puffy African marigolds have joined the herd this year. I love them. They’re so full of joy! Last but not least, my little strawberry plant, which has powered through all three years. Sadly, I never get to eat the berries. The bugs always get to them first, and I can’t bring myself to spray them with any kind of pest control.

I can’t wait for the plants to grow up. I can’t wait for our first BBQ with full foliage. Tucked in the back corner of the garden is a little solar light- you can sort of see it in the photo. It glows so nicely! I also got a strand of colored lights, but they’re not up yet, I’m going to wait till our first event to string them outside, so they don’t sit out in the rain unnecessarily.

So it’s been a while, but looks like this little blog is going to be graced with more green for the upcoming months. I can’t wait till we can start cooking with peppers from my garden. The CSA that we signed up for starts in a week or two, also, so we’re sure to be delightfully swamped with fresh vegetables. This muggy weather might be just awful, and sticky summer around the corner, but the sun and warmth means things can grow again, and for that I am glad.

strawberry blossom

Scorch performing the "Phantom" vignette

Scorch went for another round at the Ab’n’Jacks All Better Fest this weekend. It was just a few of the vignettes, and the whole thing was a little last minute (our only run-through was a few hours before the show). The festival itself was a bit hybrid. Half PEX burners, half bluegrass. The show seemed well received from the folks there, though.

One of the soon-to-be-ripe cherry red hots

Also, my peppers are ripening! A no-go on the shallots, though. I think I somehow messed that one up, and left them in the ground too long. Last year the cucumbers killed some plants, this year the peppers are killing the cucumbers.

I think I need to plan out my garden a little better. Maybe just plant peppers, or leave extra space around the cucumber. The gifted tomatoes aren’t taking this weather too kindly, and I have to admit, I haven’t really been caring for them that well. The mint is taking over (pulling that out at the end of the year and keeping it in its own little pot next go-around). And I didn’t get any strawberries before the bugs, oh well. The pablanos are thriving, the red-hots are ripening, and the jalapenos are chugging along. Yay for gardens!