Monday, May 11, 2009

I heart my garden!

I'm a day late in posting an update because I partied on Saturday night and stayed out way past my bedtime. My friend Meredith had her last night out as a single lady, she's getting married next month. I volunteered to be the designated driver, and believe me, that was FAR more exhausting than getting drunk and dancing all night. Keeping track of all the girls was like herding kittens. The next morning I had to take Dan to the airport. I went out into the garden in the afternoon and took some photos, but it was raining, so I only took a few. I went out today and got some more. The plants loved the rain! See for yourself.

I am so proud of my morning glories. They are the only thing (besides the beans) that I sowed from seed that survived. I know they're really easy, but still, it makes me happy to see them grow so well. When they start blooming I am going to stick them out by the front door. I think this variety has a red flower.

As you can see in the photo above, the prickly pear cactus is flowering like crazy! I am already thinking of all the things I can make with the prickly pears when they are ripe.

Ok, so here's a video. Nature is just so cool. Apparently, prickly pear flowers have a really neat adaptation that helps them to pollenate. When something touches the anthers, they all move in towards the stigma. Watch - I caught it on video (yes, I am really this nerdy!).

Here's my itty bitty paw paw tree, growing more leaves every day! I learned AFTER I bought this last year that I need at least two trees to get fruit, so maybe next year I will buy another one. The fruit is supposed to taste like a combo of mango and banana. Yum!

WARNING: Here comes another spider picture! :)
This spider web is probably the most amazing one I have EVER seen. This little spider has been living in the blueberry bush for weeks now (in fact, if you go back a few posts, there is a picture of the much smaller spider). She has been building and rebuilding her web, so the whole top of the bush is covered in a mess cobwebs. She then built her new web, but attached the center of it to the other webs to form an inverted bowl shape. It was SO hard to get a picture of this. You have GOT to click on the picture to see it magnified. Also check out the perfection of the web - it looks like fine-mesh mosquito netting. Man, nature is just so awesome! At this point I'd like to give a shout-out to my homegirl Becky, who would have taken just as many photos and obsessed over this just as much. Love you, Becky! Wish you could have been there!

Remember when I posted that photo of the first fig leaf? Well, here's the fig tree. It's growing pretty well this year. We haven't had any figs since the first year, so maybe this year?

Ok, let's move on to the garden!
Here's the barrel that I bought to turn into a rain barrel. I want to get more of them so I can have a whole water-storage system, but right now I am concentrating on getting this one up and running. I have all the parts, I just haven't figured out a way to build a platform that will support the weight of a full barrel (400 lbs!). The problem is that the bottom of the barrel is not flat, so it weebles and wobbles a little. I am hoping to get this going by the end of the week, so look for the finished project in next week's update!

Here's a view of the garden from further away. The beans are absolutely out of control; I love it! Next to the beans, the cucumber is growing up and away!

Here's a view from the house-side of the garden.

Look at the cayenne peppers! When we started out, I was doubtful these would make it, especially after the windy day where they kept getting stuck under the plastic. They have caught up to the other peppers in height. I attribute that to the sun shifting, and this part of the garden getting more sunlight than before.

Someone's going to be eating squash soon!!! At least I hope to.

Teeny little cucumber. The vine is covered with these guys!

Drumroll please: the beans are flowering! I have been waiting for this since the day I bought the seeds. I have so many fond memories of eating fresh beans out of my grandparents' garden, so these are going to be the best crop for me!

The beans are growing up the fence and have run out of room,...

...they're looking for something to climb on!

Here's a view of the zucchini, just huge!

And a view of some of the fruit! Today I plucked some of the blossoms and fried them in butter. WOW! How come I've never done this? It was unbelievably delicious. Now I kind of wish I had another couple of plants, just for the blossoms!

The eggplant is looking a lot better. No more aphids, from what I can see, and lots of flowers. Still waiting for the first fruits though.

I am training the cucumber to grow up and over to the left, so it doesn't interfere with the beans. There are tons of male and female flowers on this vine, so we'll probably see some cucumbers soon. I'll be making cucumber salad all day long!

The corn is officially taller than the fence...
...and taller than me, too!
Cherry tomatoes! I go out every day and tell them, "please turn RED, NOW!" They look so perfect and plump!

The little bell pepper is also growing fast. I am thinking I will be having this with dinner in a few days! Yay! If it's big enough to eat before next Sunday, I will post a mid-week update of the first harvest.

And here's a first view of the roma tomatoes. These are still small and have a ways to go.

I'll leave you with a story. (Another story? Yes, I am full of stories.)

Last Saturday, I was preparing to host my friend's bachelorette party. I let the dogs out into the yard, and two of them made a beeline for the fence at the corner of the house. They didn't bark, but they were sniffing and whining. I followed them to see what they had found, and I heard the strangest sound, kind of like a mixture of a baby bird and a toad. I pushed the dogs away and found the cutest baby possum behind the fence. Of course possums do not run away, so it stayed in between the chain link fence and some cinderblocks. So I put the dogs back inside and went around front to rescue the baby. I had to lift the cinderblocks away, and the little baby was hissing and growling violently the whole time. (I had to move it, because I wanted the dogs to stay outside while the party guests were there.) I plucked the baby close to the base of its tail and carried it to the front corner of the house, where we had some boards. It ran under the boards and that was that.

So, why no pictures? I still had to put out food and get dressed and I didn't have time to grab the camera. Otherwise the whole story would have been chronicled. :) I haven't checked to see if it's still there, since possums usually don't stick around for long.

All righty, that's it for this week, friends!


wendi said...

I love your blog! What kind of weed guard did you put down? Do you have problems with ants? Last summer, we had crazy ants when we used the weed guard.
: )

German Girl said...

Thanks, Wendi!
We are using a huuuuuge, thick plastic sheet that Dan got for free from work. Can't beat free.
Yes, there are little ants everywhere, but thus far they haven't done any damage. In fact, I think they are helping with the pollenation for some of the plants.
I like the weed guard, but I think next year we'll got back to raised beds - on top of this weed guard.
Ultimately, I'd like to put down gravel for walkways inbetween the raised beds.

tashona w said...

Hey Svenja! i thoroughly enjoyed catching myself up on your gardening (spiders and all). i like to think i'm a nature nerd but i dont always know what i'm looking at. :)

anyway your garden is fabulous. i planted my first one this year. i started them in a box top on the back porch and just moved them to the back yard garden a week or two ago. looking at your garden i must have started late. my corn is only 2 or 3 inches and my beans are about the same. i also have okra, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, and watermelon for the girls. we'll see how it goes.

I was thinking of using news paper for a weed barrier (i've used it before in paths and walkways). then i wonder about how the fertilizer would get to it through the news paper. i guess with plastic you are not fertilizing??? your input and suggestions are welcome.

love the rain barrel - i'm jealous. i want to try a compost pile now i'll have to add that to my wish list. :)

Our Lives said...

WOW your vegetables are coming along so well. I am just as excited as you are about my garden and the flowers I planted by seed.

Happy Gardening,