Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Garden Alphabet

A is for Apple Tree.
We have two at our house, planted in the Spring of 2014.  They've not yet produced fruit, but have filled out and look lovely this year.  I wish I could say the same about the apricot and plum tree, but, alas, the deer like them too well so they are more spindly looking.
B is for Bok Choy.
Bok choy were the first greens we harvested this year.  They're so quick and easy to grow and we use them in loads of ways in the kitchen from grilled to smoothies.
C is for Currants.
The currant bush is simply loaded this year.  We're going to make jelly, provided there is enough fruit.
D is for the Double Compost Pile.
Matt usually has one big compost pile going.  We've got two at the moment.  We've been calling it "stormpost" as it was made with the abundance of fallen green leaves after that hail storm we had.  Hey, at least we found the silver lining.  We're going to have way more compost than normal on account of all that stormpost.  Since we use up compost faster than we can make it that was a nice way to turn life's lemons into lemonade.
E is for Eggplant.
I really prefer the longer, skinnier Asian-style eggplants to those big, fat, Italian honker.  They have a better texture by far, I think.
F is for Fennel.
The fennel plants look pretty wimpy right now, but they always do until we transplant them out into the garden proper.  Thank heavens for that woman at the Farmer's Market a few years back who insisted I buy and roast a fennel bulb.  She was right.  It was amazing.  I'm already looking forward to it again this year.  Its a true seasonal delight.
G is for Garlic Scapes.
We didn't get as many scapes as we'd expected since many were damaged by the hail, but they are another seasonal treat, though I am not as over the moon about them as some people I know.    We made pesto with them last year, but Matt just really prefers basil pesto.  They're tasty and green though and a by-product of growing the garlic I love, so we'll  gobble them up somehow.
H is for Harvesting the Bounty.
So far we've harvested boy choy, spinach, scapes, parsley, and some flowers (for bouquets).  The strawberries are just starting to redden up so I think they will be next.  
I is for Irises.
These deep purple (and in my opinion,abnormally skinny) irises are just stunning.  They came with the house.  I've added some other irises, but they never bloom as early or with as much beauty.
J is for Jerusalem Artichokes.
We need to do some research.  We didn't harvest any of the tubers (also called Sunchokes) last year so that the bed could get well-established.  Well, it seems to have done that.  The bed is thick with the stalks.  So thick, in fact, that we're wondering if we need to thin them.  I like the idea of a perennial vegetable, but we're still working through the learning curve on this plant.
K is for Kitchen Sink Turned Garden Sink.
Matt built a Garden Sink over the winter of 2013-2014.  He took a regular ol' kitchen sink (purchased at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore) and some discarded lumber (from our friend Chelsey) and made us a great workspace and tool for keeping the garden soil out in the garden where it belongs.  We use it all the time.  It was a great creation--though the counter is starting to get a little warped and we should probably have put some finish on the wood.
L is for Leaves.
Matt saves leaves in the fall for use in the following spring/summer for building up his compost pile.  We'd found we were all to often short of the dry, carbon-rich materials needed to balance out the wet, nitrogen-rich green materials.   So, for the last couple years he has stacked them up in bags (dozens and dozens of bags) between the back fence and the shed.  Ginger has recently decided the mound of bags also makes a swell place to hang out--secluded, warm, soft, and offering the occasional rodent to hunt.
M is for Magenta Flowers.
I swoon over the clematis on our fence.  It was another flower that came with the house--in fact, I'd never heard of a clematis before then.  The cascade of magenta blooms, oh, I just love it.  We have two shades of peonies in the front beds and the deeper magenta one is just going off gangbusters this year.
N is for our Neighbor's Yard.
In the way that Matt and I are crazy vegetable gardener people our neighbor is a crazy flower gardener.  Her yard dazzles and inspires me.  So many colors and shapes all season long.
O is for Onions.
We may have too many onions planted this year.  We thought that the sets didn't come up and so replanted only to have the first ones showed up.  So now the beds are a forest of onions.  We're hoping the hail didn't ding them up too badly.  We've got red, white, and yellow onions.  Onions and potatoes are our two main staple crops, the ones we hope to store and eat throughout the winter.
P is for Potatoes.
We grow a lot of potatoes.  This is only one of our potato patches, in fact.  We devote much of our plot at the community garden to potatoes, too.  We eat potatoes just about every day.  They are so versatile and filling, not to mention tremendously easy to grow!  We've got  several varieties including my beloved All Blues (which are really purple, if you ask me).  We're even giving fingerlings another go this year.  They are SO tasty, but are much more of a hassle to harvest and wash since they're so small.
Q is for the Queen of the Garden.
I mean, what else would we call her?  Its basically her yard now and she just allows us to tend it for her.  In this photo she is sitting on the picnic table surveying her kingdom.
R is for Rosemary.
Following in the lead of my friend Jessica we attempted to overwinter our rosemary and thyme plants in pots in the livingroom.  The rosemary took it just fine--though was starting to get kind of spindly so I was glad when we were able to move it back outside again.  It remains to be seen if the thyme will make it through the ordeal.
S is for Sage.
Our sage bloomed this year.  Neither Matt nor I remember this from years past.  Its so pretty and purple, though in typical plant style it is now putting all its energy into those blooms instead of the  less-pretty-but-edible leaves.   As we have more than a quart jar full of dried sage from last year I am not worrying about it too much.  I have been picking and enjoying the purple blooms in my flower bouquets though.
T is for Tomatillo.
We only put in two tomatillo plants this year.  They are especially great in chili and salsa, I think.  I also find them to be striking plants, what with those two-toned blossoms and all.
U is for growing things Under Cover.
We are row cover converts.  I don' think we'll ever grow greens naked to the sky again.  They are so helpful in deterring our most common pests.  Its been especially windy this year though so they keep blowing off, much to Matt's dislike.  We might have to come up with some heavier boards or something for the edges--though soon all the greens will be harvested making it a moot point.
V is for Volunteer.
Matt was playing around with saving cabbage and chard seed last year.  Apparently that seed got scattered about the patio by the wind because there are a couple volunteer cabbages in the crack between the slabs of patio concrete.  They make me smile.
W is for Weeds.
Pulling weeds and (non-herbicide) gardening...they sure go together.  There is little avoiding that.
X is for our eXpanded garden space.
Though we did not expand out garden this year, we have systematically added to the space since we moved in--the raspberry patch the first year, the raised beds the second, the front beds the third.  I don't think we've plans to bring any new plots into cultivation this year--though we may continue work on one of the front beds that is perpetually underutilized on account of an overhanging evergreen tree.
Y is for Yard Art.
We like having unusual, pretty, or otherwise interesting things to look at scattered around the yard and garden beds.  This includes a Paul Molitor bobble head doing a long slide into the bok choy as well as some more traditional pieces of yard art, such as the owl next to the rosemary pot in the R is for Rosemary photo.
Z is for the buZZZZZZZZing Bees.
The raspberry patch is just a buzzing non-stop during the daylight hours.  Watching I can tell there are several kinds of bees in there, doing their thing.  Its pretty great.  We keep trying to add a new patch of flowers or two each year to help attract more of our pollinator friends for a visit.
Now you know my ABCs....

5 comments:

  1. Oh I love this post and the idea of The Garden Alphabet inspires me to have a go too, trouble is I don't think I'd be able to complete the list - may just try.

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