Garden Check-In

I spent some quality time walking through the garden this evening, after work and all the kids' activities were finished, and before dinner had to be prepared (which is on hold while I write this blog. Hey, priorities.). It's been a crazy week and this morning I woke up in exactly the same position I had fallen asleep in, eight hours before. We're all exhausted. But nothing recharges me like time in the garden, and I intend to get a lot of it this weekend. Or at least as much as the kids' busy schedules will allow me. So walking around this evening, and checking in with every bed and plant, helps me to see what needs doing and creates a list in my head. 

Spring is such a beautiful time, there is so much to show you. Let's get to it.

First on my list is cleaning up some vegetable beds. The braising greens have totally bolted. I've been cutting flowers for the chickens daily, but it's time to just clear out this bed and get it ready for summer planting.

We'll eat that chard that still looks nice, but the rest of it will go to the chickens and the compost.

The broccoli has also totally bolted, but I noticed bees in it today, collecting both pollen and nectar. So I'll leave that there for the time being. It's pretty, too.

We have one nice cabbage - I believe it was the variety 'Pixie' - so we'll harvest that and either make slaw or sauerkraut, and the rest can go to C & C (chickens and/or compost). 

The pea plants are still pumping out produce, so that will stay in place for now. I'm hoping to get some kohlrabi from that bed, as well. The spinach is being taken over by nasturtiums. I'm ok with that for now - these were all volunteers, and lots of bad bugs will go to nasturtiums before they go to my veg, so I'm going to leave them there. And the bees like 'em. And, they're pretty (I like a lot of flowers and color in the garden, as you know). 

There's still plenty of kale and chard in the last bed in the South Garden, so I'll leave that for now, too.

The Understory garden is growing very slowly, so not much to show you there, but the South Pollinator garden is starting to get diverse with blooms. Here's a few.

 a Native I can't remember the name of

a Native I can't remember the name of

 volunteer Nicotiana

volunteer Nicotiana

 I've figured out that I got this in a mix from Larner Seeds. It's a California Native called Mountain Phlox. It's charming.

I've figured out that I got this in a mix from Larner Seeds. It's a California Native called Mountain Phlox. It's charming.

 Erigeron

Erigeron

 Japanese Mock Orange

Japanese Mock Orange

 Ceanothus

Ceanothus

In the Woodland Garden, coral bells are blooming, the yarrow is starting to bud, and there are different salvias blooming along with the spirea, and we can't forget lots of Douglas Iris in purples and yellows. One plant I always see a lot of native bee activity on is scabiosa.

And there is a gorgeous thing blooming, I have no idea what it is, boys and girls, do not be like me and throw out your identifying tags. Argh.

Over in the North Garden, things are starting to look a little spare in one respect. There are three bare beds ready for planting. One bed still has garlic and I think it will for a long time yet. Another bed has potatoes, which haven't bloomed, and are now getting eaten up by some sort of bug, so I'm not sure how long I'll let them linger. Another bed has what's left of the carrots and some cilantro I seeded a while ago. It's also where I tend to find Joe when I come home from work. He doesn't look a bit guilty, does he?

Another bed has what's left of the beets. You can only eat so many beets, and it's interesting, a lot of people don't like them (including my son, who will eat almost anything else including Brussels sprouts and kale). Sometimes I pluck a few out and throw them whole to the chickens, who love them, but what's interesting about that is that they poop red the next day. It's a little startling.

The fruit trees are all coming along really nicely.

 Peaches

Peaches

We're getting a few strawberries. It's hard to get to them before the slugs do. But when I find a slug, guess who gets it? Sometimes I'll just go out in the early morning and find all the slugs I can to take to those voracious chickens. By the way, why buy vegetarian eggs? Chickens aren't vegetarians. I can promise you that. I have a friend who saw her chickens decapitate a mouse. I digress.

In the North Pollinator garden, there are loads of Chinese Houses, and the Clarkia is starting to bloom which will be spectacular in a week or so. But for sure, the Borage is the star at the moment, and my honeybees think it's the greatest flower ever.

 the first Sweet Pea

the first Sweet Pea

 Poppy

Poppy

Now, about those tomatoes and peppers. The most wonderful thing happened. I have six paste tomatoes, five slicers, and four cherries ready to go. I really wanted six slicers, and decided to go back to the Master Gardeners to pick another one up, but they SOLD OUT. So I resigned myself to five. And then a neighbor came by with a beautiful tomato called Copper River.  I was so excited! Now I have six slicers. 

All the tomatoes are big, beautiful, and healthy - most of them grown from seed. Seeds are truly miraculous. Last night I went to our local beekeepers association bee talk, and the person giving the talk said the coolest thing. He said when he goes to pick up a swarm in someone's yard, he sits them down and says, "Let's watch a minute." He talks to them about how the swarm is a miracle of nature. An event that most folks never see. It's like the swallows coming back to San Juan Capistrano every Spring on March 19. It's like the California Grey Whales migrating 10,000 miles every year. It's simply a miracle and it must be watched respectfully and with wonder. There's no need to be afraid of a swarm, it's a beautiful thing to see. And that's how I feel about seeds. Each and every one is a crazy amazing feat of nature.

ANYWAY. Some of my potted tomatoes are already starting to bloom! A couple more weeks, and I'll get them in the ground.

 Brandywine

Brandywine

So! That's the state of the garden. I neglected to take pictures of the blueberries, but if I can stay ahead of the birds, we're going to have a nice crop this year. Everything is doing quite nicely and we look forward to opening the bee hive tomorrow and spending some time working in the dirt!