“No sooner did I bend over and scratch the soil with the hoe that I began to unearth bits and pieces…of my past. Memories forever rooted in time were clustered in my garden consciousness like potatoes, waiting, crying to be dug up….I plant flowers and vegetables. I harvest memories–and life.” ~Nancy H. Jordan
Every year I find joy and memories, learning and experience, hardships and gifts flowing from my garden. And May is usually a wonderful month to start harvesting. Not this year. The heat wave we had for the first 2 weeks in May stifled the veggies that love cooler weather. Funny how the lettuces didn’t grow, and the radishes and peas took forever to germinate.
But then the weather shifted to cool, downright cold, weather giving the early veg garden a jump ahead. So we may see a little harvest in May.
As I begin this veg garden review, I am joining in again with Dee Nash@Red Dirt Ramblings for her virtual garden club called, Dear Friend and Gardener. You can see the badge here and on my sidebar.
I was able to get one project started even in the early heat. With the inspiration from Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and her cutting gardens, I have wanted a cutting garden of my own. Of course a cutting garden implies you will be cutting the flowers for arrangements. So my plans for a cutting garden really took shape when I started getting into a regular habit of making a weekly vase….thanks to Cathy@Rambling in the Garden and other bloggers who regularly join in Cathy’s meme, In A Vase On Monday. And I have always been inspired by the incredible arrangements made by Beth@PlantPostings.
I had originally planned to get the cutting gardens constructed in the fall due to other chores that needed to be done in spring. But with the heat and no rain, much of my spring work was on hold so out came the plans for the Cutting Garden.
I decided to site the bed in the Side Garden. This garden needs redoing and there is room here. My kind neighbor had some wonderful stone and brick she no longer needed. And once we had the stones, I found the spot and laid out the bed. It actually comes out into the grass, but that will change as we remove at least a foot of sod to expand the garden. The grass has really grown into this garden at least a foot in the last 8 years. The few plants growing, where I was siting the new bed, were easily moved to the left of the bricks. I am sure I will be tweaking the layout of the Side Garden a bit more.
We had to level the stones and once in place we started the prep. Knowing that the horsetail weed and voles are prolific in this garden, we used both landscaping fabric and screening as deterrents for both. Then we filled it in with soil and compost. I planted it a few days later. I was hoping to put dahlias in here, but since I did not dig it deep enough, I had to move the dahlias into the Side Garden. I plan to make another cutting bed in the fall in the back garden and will be digging that at least a foot deep to allow for bulbs and dahlias to grow.
We did have a few unusual frosts in late May so we covered the bed, as the flowers started from seed were up and growing. And I decided to cover it with netting for a while to keep the deer, rabbits and birds out. I planted cleome, sunflowers, four o’clocks, cosmos, stock and zinnia in this bed. I will have an update, on how this bed is doing, next month.
The pansies and violas, I started from seed in my basement in January, are finally blooming too. You can see some at the top of the post…and these are Johnny Jump Up violas. They are making such a statement in my containers especially since the cooler weather hit.
And the nasturtium seeds I planted in the containers of pansies/violas, are growing now too. So as soon as the pansies/violas fade, I will pull them, plant them in a few spots, and let the nasturtiums take over in the pots. Then I hope to have the pansies and violas, I pulled from containers, bloom again in my fall garden and maybe seed around a bit.
Here is the view of the back gardens in early May, including all the covered veg beds planted in April.
We’ll start with the portable bed on the patio. The lettuces are barely growing as the heat was not helpful, and we realized we had it covered too tight to keep out critters. And this portable bed seemed to hold too much heat, so we transplanted the greens to some plastic window boxes where we hope they will grow better. The loosely covered kale, in a small container, is growing nicely so we think the other greens will too.
The peas are finally growing. They are about a foot tall, and will soon spring up the trellis and start producing.
You can see the radishes after a couple of weeks in mild temps (on the right) and then how big they are after the heat on the bottom left.
It took a couple of extra weeks in cooler temps for them to finally produce some radishes. We picked about half. Delicious.
Lastly is the squash bed that has 2 large trellises ready for squashes soon. Growing under the trellises are the carrots, beets, chard and arugula….and lots of horsetail weed. You can pull this weed, and it just keeps coming back.
The big veg project in May was planting the potatoes and onions in containers and Grow Bags. We plant 8 bags of potatoes now using our own mix of organic compost, organic potting soil and sand. When planting in bags, you put in 4 inches of soil mix, lay the potatoes on the soil and cover with 3 inches of soil mix. Once the potatoes sprout and grow 8 inches, you cover them with 4 inches of soil. You repeat this process until the bag is filled with soil. Then cover to keep out cold and pests, and let the potatoes grow until harvest.
We planted a new red potato, ‘Adirondack Red’ which is red inside and out, and our favorite blue potato, ‘All Blue’. I buy organic seed potatoes, and cut the larger potatoes into pieces. I also use seed onions. I only grow ‘Red Baron’ red onions, also organic. We plant them in big trugs and small grow bags, filling them with a combo of compost and potting soil. This year I also added scallion seeds as we love them too.
Well that is it for May. We are crawling along, but making progress. The heat finally returned, so late this week I will be planting out beans, okra, peppers, eggplant, squash and all the rest of the veggies and flowers growing in the basement that love hot weather. I’ll highlight them next month.
Have you started any veggies or flowers from seed outside?
In A Vase On Monday
So many flowers are blooming even with the alternate hot and cold weather we are having. But since this is the end of May, and my birthday is tomorrow, I wanted to pick my favorite May flower…also my birth month flower….lily of the valley.
I cannot get enough of them, and they are now growing in at the back of the garden along the fence. This rare pink variety, Convallaria rosea, grows in the Center Garden. I cannot get over its gorgeous shade of pink and delicate little bells. I added a few leaves from Lady’s Mantle also known as Alchemilla mollis.
I wanted more lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) for my sitting room/library/sanctuary…the green room. But I wanted to add a bit more color to this vase.
I placed the vase next to a very special saying about friends and a bear talisman given to me by a dear friend. So you can see the vase is in a place of honor. I love how it looks against the bright green wall in this room.
I added some white daffs, surprisingly a few still blooming, that had a lovely scent. And I found a double pink Primula vulgaris flowering near the purple Phlox stolonifera. Both were perfect additions. And then a bit of a more white from Bleeding Heart or Lamprocapnos spectabilis that was also still blooming. Such delicate little blooms.
So there are my vases this week. I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase: Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday. And I was invited to link in withMacro Monday Mixer hosted by Stephanie@allthevs.com.
Next up on the blog:
Friday, will be time for another Seasonal Celebrations. I hope you will join in. And next Monday, I will be looking back at the May garden in my Garden Journal post.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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