Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plenty of boy choy to harvest right now (plus a few chives). The one on the left is Shanghai Green and the small one on the right is Tatsoi.  They will be good with salmon and squash tonight for supper.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Storm clouds moved in quickly late yesterday afternoon. High winds and hard rain followed but it didn't last long and didn't leave nearly enough rain behind. June is supposed to be our wettest month but so far it isn't turning out that way. Most of my plants have enough mulch so I don't have to worry about watering every day. The garlic is the exception; it is ready to harvest but I never got around to adding mulch to the bed, so the ground is now too hard to plow. I will just have to wait a little longer for home grown garlic.

The squash and cucumber plants are growing rapidly, so I'm hoping to have some fresh produce by the end of the month. My tomatoes are behind schedule, as usual. All but one of mine disappeared shortly after planting out. I don't know if the rabbits ate them or if they were abducted by aliens, but they were just gone one day without a trace. Much to my shame, I had to go out and buy my tomato plants for this year. I have one heirloom that survived and two pepper plants. Well, maybe one pepper. One of my plants that I thought was a pepper has been growing across the ground instead of upright. Now I think it may be a ground cherry instead of a pepper. That is fine with me, I just don't remember starting ground cherries. Of course, it was back in March when I was in the middle of a challenging semester, so there is no telling what I may have done. My garden always manages to surprise me, either by what has survived and flourished, or by what I have inadvertently planted.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today was the our first day with above-freezing temperatures since December 31st. The warm-up began Saturday when we went from a low of -7 to a high of 26. It almost felt warm. Today we had a high of 36, up from a low of 27 last night. It seemed positively balmy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Wonderland

The herb garden is idle with only the rooster to stand watch all winter.

The view was better when we moved here seven years ago. There were no houses behind us, only an open field. We don't see tree frogs anymore, and only occasionally do we hear an owl.

The wisteria tree in winter. If it doesn't bloom in the spring, its days could be numbered.

We received five inches of snow on Sunday, throughout the day and evening. It is so cold right now, only the beauty of the snow makes it worthwhile.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Osage Orange - Maclura Pomifera

They look like alien pods, but in the Ozarks we call them hedge apples, as did Captain Meriwether Lewis when he sent samples home to President Jefferson. A resident of St. Louis, Pierre Chouteau, had received slips of this tree from the Osage Indians in Missouri, and shared samples with Lewis, who seemed to be fascinated by the fruit of the tree. We are not much impressed with them around here. At this particular time of year, the fruit can be found all over the ground beneath the host tree. Most people don’t grow these trees on purpose anymore , and many are found growing wild along the roadside. I dislike driving under a hedge apple tree, as I’m afraid one will fall off the tree and land on my car, causing a considerable dent.

According to the book, another name for the tree is “bois d’arc” or bow-tree. I found this interesting because there is a small town not far from here that is named “Bois D’Arc”. A can only assume that the towns original settlers found an abundance of osage apples.

I also learned from this book that the common name of ‘hedge apple’ was probably derived from the old custom of using the tree as a hedge for cattle.

Common to This Country, Botanical Discoveries of Lewis & Clark by Susan H. Munger

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The rain has finally stopped and the weather is more seasonal rather than so cold and damp, so we may have lots of little goblins knocking on the door tonight. We will also have a full moon tonight. Perfect timing. I wish I had a scary movie to watch, but the best I can do is "The Great Pumpkin".

There was a brief reprieve from the rain on Wednesday, so I took the opportunity to get the garlic planted. Almost 70 cloves of garlic! I had three heads of Ajo Rojo, which had about 17 cloves each, then I had three head of Old German which had about 6-8 cloves each. We will have plenty of garlic next year, since almost one-quarter of one of my beds is now full of garlic. At least I don't have to worry about keeping it moist, since it has rained for almost an entire month.

The swiss chard is doing well. I'm not sure when it will be ready. We had a frost a couple of weeks ago, so most of the garden is finished now. By Christmas, school will be over for the semester and I will need something to do for a couple of weeks, so it will be time to get serious about planning next years garden. I love looking at seed catalogs in the winter, when the world is cold and dark and I need to be reminded that there will be new life in the spring. It's something to look forward to.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This is the extent of my autumn garden right now; a few little Swiss Chard plants. We had frost on the ground this morning, and it has been about 20 degrees below normal every day for two weeks now. We have had a lot of rain, almost seven inches at our house in a 24 hour period.

The roses continue to bloom and I still have plenty of parsley (despite the continued presence of caterpillars on the plant) and chives. As cold as it has been, I think it is safe to go ahead and plant the garlic and grape hyacinths, just as soon as I have a few free moments from school.