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.