Thursday, June 20, 2013

Garden Update

Well, it's been hot and dry!  Colorado is experiencing a very dry, hot (and often windy) summer yet again.  We already have a lot of fires going.  One in particular has been devastating...  Luckily, our area is relatively untouched by the fire, just occasional smoke from shifts in wind direction causing hazy skies.

We have started free ranging our chickens.  At first, under strict supervision (because of our cats).  Now that the cats don't show as much interest after nearly being pecked from getting too close, we are now letting them do some free ranging on their own.

For the most part, the girls leave the garden boxes alone.  But the corn box was hit hard one afternoon, and this Summer Veggies Box is showing some damage by the birds.  Look closer at the cauliflower plant.

At first glance, it looks like cabbage worm or grass hopper damage, but no, this is all by our girls within a very short time period while they were unsupervised... T_T   At least, they left the cauliflower head for us. :D  They like Swiss chard, lettuce, anything in the cabbage family (cauliflower and broccoli), and corn!  Our corn plants have been severely set back. T_T

But they leave the Herb Box completely alone.  They seem to not like anything with strong scents.  They don't mess with the tomato plants or the mint plants, either. :)  By the way, the herbs have grown to fairly decent size now.  I can enjoy them in my cooking on a daily basis, which is wonderful!

Here's a look at our dill plant.  Very tall already and flowering.  Chickens leave this plant alone.  I like the way it looks.   Reminds me of fireworks. :)

Banana Pepper plant is showing a baby fruit growing on a not-so-tall plant in my Summer Veggies Box.  I loved the ones I got from our neighbor last year, I decided to grow my own.

Eggplant, a Japanese variety called Ichiban.  It's my favorite.  One of the local nurseries always offer seedlings.  I make my trip out of the way to get them. ^^  Since I didn't have enough for myself last year from a single plant, I planted two this year.

Beefmaster tomato plant is starting to bear fruits.  This plant was slow to get going, so I was worried, but I am now seeing baby fruits.  This year, I am not growing any heirloom tomatoes, although I love them very much.  Last year, they were off to a great start, and they were hit by some disease, and it was heartbreaking to see them slowly die or barely surviving with small fruits on the vine.  I am growing disease-resistant hybrids this time around.  I have three different types in my backyard this year.

Here's another tomato plant.  It was supposed to be "Pink Girl", but judging from the pear-shape of this baby fruit, I'm suspecting either yellow pear or something similar...  Swapped ID tags!

And here's a beautiful globe of onion flowers! :D  I grew this one from seeds (planted last spring).  This one overwintered in the box in the backyard and now has a bloom cluster atop a 3-ft stem.  How it's been surviving the mischievous cats and the high winds is a mystery to me. ^^

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Garden Update

We are now consistently hitting lower to mid 90s for daily high.  With the high temperature, comes explosive growth. :D

Here's a look at the SFG boxes in the backyard.  We now have 6.  I got a bird bath for my birthday to make water available to the bees and other insects that come to the backyard (And to entertain my cats...).

The Spring Veggies Box is overflowing with fresh goodness! :D  The peas in the back are really productive right now, and some of the greens are already bolting.  You can see the yellow flowers of Bok Choy, and pale pink flowers from Radish. ^^;

These pretty yellow flowers belong to Bok Choy.  I guess it's already too warm for them.  They look like rape flowers.  The bees seem to love the flowers though.  I also like the cheerful lemon yellow flowers. :)

And here's a look at the Bee Garden Box.  The Pansy, Snapdragon, and Lobelia I planted fairly early in the season have really taken off and are blooming profusely.  I love the fresh colors! :D  I see different types of bees in this section of the backyard.

A close-up view.  I really should have pulled those "cat deterrent" sticks out.  XD  They're ruining the otherwise lovely view. T_T  I really love the watercolor-like hues!

I put fresh blooms and sprigs of mint in the bird bath to make it look pretty as well as giving bees places to land.  :D

I know this is not a bee, but a wasp, but you get the idea. :)  The insects (bees, wasps, butterflies, lady bugs, flies, etc.) come to drink from the bird bath.  I don't mind wasps at all.  I see them in my garden every season, and they are good pest control (They hunt for caterpillars and carry them away.).

Cornflower (or Bachelor's Buttons) in blue, purple, and lavender.  The deep magenta color is from the Sweet Williams.  The bees love these flowers.

Summer Veggies Box.  Cabbage plants are taking up good amount of space up front.  You can see tomato plants, eggplants, banana pepper, and an ornamental pepper plant.  The overgrown radishes are going crazy in the front as well. ^^;

And this is one of the two newly added boxes.  This one is planted as my Herb Garden (Although I did put a cherry tomato plant in the middle. ^^; ).  I have Sweet Basil, Flat-leaf Parsley, Thyme, Orange Mint, Dill, and Cilantro.  Too small to see just yet are seedlings of Garlic Chives and German Chamomile.  They sprouted up very quickly in this soil mix and are doing very well.   I love having fresh herbs for cooking. :D

The other addition this year is dedicated as a Corn Box.  There's nothing much going on just yet, so I will add the photo of the Corn Box in my next update.