Thursday, May 27, 2021

Green and Growing

Last weekend, I was talking to a blogger friend who has also drifted into silence on his blog, and we agreed that we missed writing and then we further vowed that we would blog again. So here I am! 

Let's start with all the green things. The plants are hard to distinguish in the photos. If you're local, come for a tour: we can safely do that again, praise the Lord! My loosestrife did not come back in the cute little olive pot, so I pulled a spider baby off a houseplant and a piece of creeping Jenny from the tree well and poked them in there. It's only been a couple days, but they don't look dead so I'm hopeful.
The big pot has lemongrass, purple basil, apple mint, petunias, marigolds, and creeping jenny. I love mixing edibles and flowers. The nasturtium seeds are germinating unevenly for the second summer in a row. I think I need to buy more and sow more heavily to get a decent amount. That parsley overwintered and surprised me. 
We are making a pea gravel patio in our backyard after talking about it for years. It's coming along and we are using it in its half-completed state, eating supper outside most days on our new dining set before the mosquitoes get going. 

We also made a rain garden to absorb the runoff from our roof after my husband piped the spouting under the patio. Our city has a runoff problem that is polluting nearby waterways, so this is one way we are working at it. We followed directions to blend the soil with compost and sand and dig the bed out to encourage absorption. The native plants can handle soggy roots if needed. We planted a redtwig dogwood, black-eyed susans, Joe Pye weed, turtle heads, and another shrub whose name I don't recall. I loved this project! 
I planted kale last fall and was pleased by the harvest and thought it was done, but it appeared this spring. Bonus! Or maybe that's what kale does? I still have a lot to learn about growing food. 

My sugar peas are just starting and we've been harvesting spinach for a few weeks now. I transplanted 4 tomato seedlings to nurture; we get volunteers every year from the heirlooms planted years ago. It's thrilling, but maybe not advisable for crop rotation and soil diseases.
 We grew okra for the first time last year and it was a huge success: easy to grow, nutritious, popular with the fam. The seeds my husband saved did not germinate, however, so I just bought seed (not really easy to find in the north) and we're trying again. 

The red and black raspberries are going nuts. I lost my hold on a container of organic berry fertilizer this January and whoops, they got overfed. 
The rhubarb is also turning into a bush! That is a little swamp white oak tree next to it, which is finally taller than me. It is a slow growing tree, but I was just reading this spring how oaks are the backbone of the regional tree ecosystem, so I'm pleased to be part of that. 

My family gives rhubarb the side eye, but I love it, so I'm still figuring out how much I can realistically use or preserve and whether I should give it away. I did already freeze some to use as a tart element in winter cooking instead of lemon: got that tip from a friend who also likes to cook with local food. 
How are your plants doing? And how are you? I missed you and plan to keep writing here!