Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vegetable Garden Update May 2016

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a great spring. It has been a fantastic one here in my part of Tennessee. The plants are most happy. I am happy too because just as the irises go by the daylilies are coming into bloom!

Let's talk vegetables though...
My vegetable garden is an absolute delight. It takes a little maintenance but not really as much as one would think. I do a bit of weeding but that's about it. The gravel paths seem to get some weeds too; which really frustrates me but I hope with time they lessen.
The southeast bed still has some cool weather crops in the form of cabbage. This is the same cabbage Mr. Fix-it and I planted last fall. We have some small heads growing but at the same time the cabbage plants are flowering. I have left them alone for now. Mr. Fix-it planted several tomato plants in this bed and they are beginning to bloom and grow large. We can't wait for fresh tomatoes and hope this is a better year for tomatoes than last year.
The northeast bed definitely has a bunch of cool weather crops growing in it. We have broccoli, spinach (it did absolutely nothing), two types of lettuce which is now going to seed, potatoes, and onions.
The potatoes and onions are doing really well. I even think the onions will bulb up for us. It is quite hard to get onions to bulb up in Tennessee, at least that's been my experience. If we are successful with this planting we will be delighted and will follow the same regimen next year as well. 

As a side note on bulbing vegetables I must mention my garlic. Normally garlic is very easy to grow here and I've been successful growing it each of the previous years I've grown it. Not so this year. I planted the bulbs last fall which is normal, but I think I left the plants alone for too long this spring. By the time I dug the garlic the foliage was vanishing quite quickly. Garlic is not usually ready to be dug until late May or early June in my area so early May was unusual for foliage to be dying off. You dig garlic when the foliage begins to yellow. When I finally dug the garlic it had definitely cloved up but was all separated due to cloving up so well. Sigh. Note to self: dig as soon as the foliage begins to yellow if only to check on the bulbing.
We pick fresh strawberries daily! Yum!!! This system of raised planting works okay but due to the thickness of the foliage a lot of the berries are well hidden. At least from me. When the chickens are allowed to free roam (not often) the Boss (the rooster) has no trouble finding the good berries. He is persona non grata in the veggie garden. I really need to fence it off soon.
My herb garden is a delight to the senses. I read a report on Facebook that says sniffing rosemary each day helps to improve your memory. I make it a point to sniff mine:)
This bed has been weeded but not fully planted. It is a hot weather bed that will contain vining crops such as cucumbers, melons, and squash. I hope to get to planting it soon. Mr. Fix-it and I are delighted our move odyssey is almost at an end. Within the next two weeks both of our other houses will have been sold and we can finally settle down to just focusing on this current home and garden. Maintaining all that we have done for the last three and one half years has been a burden--really. We are so grateful it is nearly done!
The last bed is our tomato bed. I jumped the gun and planted tomato starts back in March when we had a long spell of warm weather. The subsequent frosts took out most of those tomato plants though a few that were covered with the hay survived. Mr. Fix-it replanted all of these tomato plants and they are doing quite well. I amended this bed quite a bit since we had such awful luck with tomatoes last year. This bed was covered with wood ashes to increase the pH (our soil is acidic), and I also added some tomato fertilizer. I mean most summers vegetable gardeners get tons of tomatoes but we barely got a dozen last year from five plants. This was rather disappointing so I fear we went overboard with tomato plant this year in hopes of harvesting a bumper crop. Time will tell....

in the vegetable garden.....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I Love a Rainbow Made of Irises!

It's rainbow time iris time in Tennessee! And what a lovely spring it has been in between the rain storms. Over the past week we have received four inches of rain. Rain is a delightful thing for gardeners but geez, can we get it spread out a bit? In between rain storms I managed to take some photos of the rainbow in my front garden. The irises are mainly congregated around my vegetable garden but there are some different kinds scattered in other gardens. I am trying to get a good picture of the colors I have and this post is a start. There are still about 7-8 more colors I am missing because they are later blooming but here is my rainbow during this rain.

I've acquired a good many of these irises from my friend Angie, roadside flea markets, plant sales, the Daylily Barn, trades from other gardeners, and I have even bought a few specialized ones. It does not take long to get a good color palette and I so enjoy the beauty of irises. 

A tip for growing them is to make sure the rhizome (modified stem) is not buried, do not mulch, keep weeds down, and fertilize lightly. Divide the bearded irises every three years or so. Irises like full sun but will do okay in part sun. They will even do okay in part shade but the bloom will suffer and your irises will be prone to getting iris borers and rot.



































Everyone have a great day....

in the Rainbow Garden.....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden