Another beautiful day and more work

Night before last, we decided to go have dinner at our favorite Local restaurant which has a large outside patio shaded partially by a canopy, partially by trees, and nearby buildings. When we arrived, surprised that there was no one on the patio, we noticed a sign on the two doors stating that they were closed for two days for upgrades. There are two other nearby restaurants with patios, one of them a new micro brewery so we decided to try it instead, though neither of drinks anymore. It was a huge mistake as far as I was concerned. They had no shade, no umbrellas, and it was in the 80’s in the hot sun around 5 p.m. I didn’t care for their menu and ended up with a small spinach salad that was ok, but nothing special. Hubby got a burger that he liked, but thought there fries were just so so. At any rate, I ended up hot, headachy inspite of consuming two large glasses of ice water, and getting too much sun for my first day in short sleeves and a skirt.

Yesterday, we met our daughter and granddaughter at the local nursery to pick out peppers for both of us, perennials for the walled garden, and flowers for the front of her house. They must have had a dozen varieties of pepper starts, some already in 4″ pots, some still in the 4 cell starters. They picked out their varieties, I added Seranos, Cayennes, and one of the Red Bells she bought, that came in a 4 pack and she only had room for 3. Daughter picked Tubrous Begonias and Impatiens for the front of her house. I got a Shasta Daisy, Sneezeweed, Yellow Sedum, and a purple Button Flower for the walled perennial garden. They will bloom at different times and are all perennials. After digging them in, the chicken challenge was faced again as I found them in there yesterday morning and daffodils dug up. There were 5 unused tall fake bamboo poles that were placed around the perimeter and the mesh cut in half lengthwise so it is about 3.5′ wide. The mesh was fastened at the upper edge with tomato tie tape and anchored at the bottom with rocks, and now surrounds the walled garden. The edge along the rocks in the lower left corner of the photo was fastened to a couple step in posts with one that I can lift out to get in the garden and to fill bird feeders. Though the poles are visible, the mesh you can barely see.

The new flowers were well watered in while we went to the pond for our daily walk before dinner. After dinner, since the long range forecast looks mild, I planted the tomatoes and peppers, put a thin layer of straw around the tomatoes and ran the first row of string trellis. As they grow, more straw will be added and additional runs of the string trellis. The garden got a couple hours of water too, to soak the peas, potatoes, and newly planted tomatoes and peppers. The row cover over the lettuce and brassicas isn’t allowing enough water into that bed. And yet again, I got overheated and too much sun. Though not to sunburn level, it is time to get new sunscreen and move my gardening to early morning and after dinner.

At the nursery today, I looked for a fig. That is where I got the one planted in the ground that doesn’t stay warm enough in the winter regardless of how I wrap it. They didn’t have any, so I will monitor the planted one, last year it put out leaves when I thought it was dead. If it does again, I will try to transplant it to the half barrel that can be moved into the garage during the winter months.

This evening, I need to begin the string trellis for the peas which seem to be recovering from the freeze and will likely improve more now that they were well watered last evening. I’m not sure I have enough cotton string to make their trellis. That should go on my shopping list.

The Tomatillos and Ground cherries are in peat starter pots, but not yet germinated. Soon I will start the cucumbers and the winter squash. The popcorn can’t be planted for at least a few weeks to a month, so I don’t want the winter squash to get too large as the corn needs some size before the squash starts it’s runners. They are a short runner variety, but I still don’t want them to crowd out the popcorn. Bush beans need to wait for another month before they go in the ground as well. The garden is coming along, though I still see no growth from the potatoes and the lettuce and brassica area needs to be uncovered and weeded, there is a lot of spinach coming up. A nice vegetable for baby spinach salad.

I do love this time of year. We have another day in the 80’s but cloudy then tomorrow a return to the mid 60’s for a day or two but the nights stay mild, so the garden is good to grow.

A Walk and a Garden

The beautiful day was not wasted. A walk along the river was enjoyed, followed by a trip to the Nursery and home with 2 Coral Bells for the front, a nice perennial so those pots will just need pruning and feeding for years to come. There was a smaller one in the back that got too much sun, and one in the daylily bed that got no sun, so they were put in the front in pots as well.

They are shade lovers and should do quite well there. A matching set of pots is on the other side of the stoop.

Two pots of red and candy cane petunias came home and since they were in nice pots, they didn’t get transplanted, just put in place to compliment the red Geraniums. This morning while enjoying my coffee and egg, the Hummingbird was checking out the red flowers.

A six pack of full sun sedum and a Ruby Hen and chicks were added to the cart and they were planted in the terra cotta strawberry pot and added to the back steps as well.

There is one pot on the bottom step on the right that I don’t know what was planted in it before and I’m waiting to see if anything emerges from the tuber in it before it is dumped and replanted with something else.

As it appears that my fig either didn’t survive the winter or at least burned to the ground again, I will get a new one and plant it in a half barrel that can be brought into the garage or basement during the winter. Rather than buy another larger half barrel, a smaller one was purchased and the buried pots of mint and lemon balm were transferred to it and buried to their rims.

I had wondered why the daily quota of eggs had been so low, thinking that the hens were just aging out, but when I went to remove the mint and lemon balm from the barrel, I noticed in the small space between it and the house, was a cache of 8 eggs. They can’t be more than a week old because the hens have only had free range for a week.

The smaller half barrel is now in that spot but I left their depression, at least I know where to look now. Those eggs will be kept separate and cracked in a bowl one at a time, to make sure they are okay before using. The first one used this morning was fine. Silly hens, I don’t want daily egg hunts.

The littles, not so little anymore, even though they are in the pen during the day and back in the coop at night, still come running for treats.

This flock is so pretty with the variety. The eggs will be so interesting with 5 breeds. And two of the pretty all black Marans with black legs and beaks. Three have feathered legs, the other two do not.

This morning, the bed for the tomatoes and peppers was remeasured and drawn out on graph paper to see if it will all fit and it looks like I’m in good shape. I need to go pound in the posts for the Florida trellis for the tomatoes. More volunteer raspberries have been dug and pulled, I guess that will be an on going challenge for a year of so, but if they are removed often enough, eventually they will give up.

Today is another beautiful day in store, so I will go get to work and take a walk to enjoy it.

Olio since it isn’t Sunday for Musings

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The outlook forward is spring (with summer for the next few days.) In a week’s time we have had freezing nights, snow flurries, strong wind, chilly gray days, and 83 f expected for today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

This morning, the Geraniums took up residence in their deck pots. Last summer, those pots would blow off the deck and down the steps in strong wind, and they are too deep for the root system of most decorative plants, so this year, I filled them 1/3 full of fist sized rocks before adding the soil and planting the bright red flowers.

Geraniums and Petunias are my favorites to put in pots on the deck and steps. There are two empty pots on the top steps that will hold a pair of Petunia plants as soon as they are purchased. The two pots on the stoop on the north side of the house are always a conundrum. I want color, but it doesn’t have to be flowers, I have used Coleus in the past with some success but I think a variety of Begonias that was successful in the past might be what will go in those pots. The Spider plant babies that overwintered in the utility room need to be planted in the hanging pots and put out on the porch.

The tomatoes are beginning to bloom, still in the 4″ starter pots on the deck. Mother’s Day is the magic date here to put them in the ground, but if the future forecast stays mild, I might sneak them in a week early. They are strong, healthy seedlings, the first successful tomatoes seedlings I have ever started. There are several purchased pepper plants also on the deck with some Thai basil. They live there unless the nights are going to drop below 45 f but that isn’t in the forecast for the next 10 days. Soon the tomatoes will be divided up with daughter for their garden and my 10 will get staked out in the garden. And a few more pepper plants, of different varieties, though I still have more than a half gallon of dried Thai peppers so I don’t think I will plant them this year. Maybe cayenne for crushed red pepper flakes that get used generously here and Serranos so Sriracha style sauce can be fermented in the fall.

The Hummingbirds are becoming regular visitors again, though still no photos. I should make a fresh batch of nectar and clean the feeders for them. That is a weekly addition to the summer routine. Once the flowers and grasses are blooming and seeding, the other feeders will come down and be cleaned up until fall. I miss seeing the little flocks of small birds during the summer, but when they can forage on their own and the bears and raccoons are active, the feeders come down and are put away.

The net on the walled garden has had little effect at keeping the chickens out, but at least they can’t scratch through it. There must be a solution short of an ugly fence around a flower and herb garden. Since the Baptisia either didn’t come up or was scratched up, I ordered a shrub already started. It is a perennial, so once it is established, I’m good. The Cilantro germination test showed that the seed was viable, so sprouted seed was planted and it looks like there may actually be some developing.

A trip to the Nursery is in order to fill the remaining deck pots and decide on other additions to the walled garden. I garden full of blooms that will come back each year and spread to fill the area is my dream, a few plants at a time. There is a patch of Brown Eyed Susan that comes up on the edge of one of the fields they hay, I would love to transplant some of it before it gets cut down, but have had very little luck moving it. There is a clump by the garage door that has over the years established itself there inspite of the the chicken scratching in that area. Two of the clumps of daffodils I planted on the east side of the garage keep getting dug up by the hens. Once the daylilies and Iris in that bed begin to show, I fence off that area, but my fence isn’t long enough to go all the way around the daffodils too. I love having my chickens, but dislike the havoc they wreck doing what comes naturally.

The two freeze nights last week burned the Peonies and somewhat the peas in the garden. I hope they recover as they are one of our favorite vegetables from the garden. The onions and the covered bed did fine. I fear the potatoes that were planted just before the freeze may or may not have survived. While weeding yesterday, one of the “weeds” I dug up was a potato I missed last year with healthy sprouts, so it was transplanted to the raised bed with the other potatoes. Time will tell if anything comes up. If not, they can be replanted until mid June and I’m sure a bag of organic potatoes left out in the light will produce sprouts in short order. The Peonies have never done very well where they are planted, they have been there for more than a dozen years and have produced fewer than half a dozen blooms. Perhaps they would be happier in the better soil of the walled garden. That is a move to consider.

Enough musings for today. Enjoy the nice weather if you are having it and if not, I hope it comes your way soon.