Sunday, April 26, 2015

My Garden Shadow

~ Nola ~
I have a new Garden Shadow this year. Her name is Nola & she's a lovely little Cairn Terrier.

Last year it was a group of ducks, this year it's a wee little dog who loves to be outside, investigating every weed I dig up, every plant I cut & every edible I harvest. She will gladly try to eat anything I am harvesting, only to find out that right now, herbs & greens are not what she was hoping for... Wait til the berry season arrives!!

She'll pop up right in my face in between the flowers & remain either under hand or under foot while I'm working away. Right now, I'm gently training her to stay out of the beds so she doesn't trample the young plants. Thankfully, she's not yet figured out the joy of digging in the dirt!! I'll let her dig in the tide pools down at the beach (looking for crabs or snails), so maybe that will not be an issue we need to worry about.

I'd like to think she enjoys the walk-abouts looking at the flowers just as much as I do. She certainly has a nose for them!
~ forget-me-nots ~

~ perennial bachelor button ~

~ raindrops on columbines ~

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Life Becomes More Simple - Finally...

~ drip hose with potatoes & greens ~
This year I've finally installed a drip line in my veggie beds. I picked some up last year, but just didn't find the energy to install it. Took minutes... literally...

So, with the simple aid of a timer for the water flow, I've got the summer drought months taken care of! No more hauling out the hose to spend rushed minutes at the end of the day, covered in swarming-biting insects to water plants that should have been watered in the morning... No more throwing hands up in the air saying 'I just can't grow that' because I chose not to water...

Of course, there is always a bit of fine tuning to be done throughout the growing season, such as: water pressure - too high? too low? One bed requires more water, one bed requires less water. Are the plants at the edges of the bed getting enough water? How much water will I actually be using during those weeks in July & August when we have absolutely no rain & the rain barrels are empty?

I look forward to finding out the answers to all of this!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Grow Your Own Fertilizer!

~ comfrey ~
I've mentioned this before, but growing comfrey is such a benefit to your gardens, you'll actively search out this 'weed' growing in the wild just to dig up & bring home. I've got them planted inbetween some berry bushes, in hard to mow spots of the lawn & in areas that should be left to grow wild.

I use the leaves whole as mulch or chopped up with a lawn mower (that's at the end of the season when they are ratty looking) tossed into the composter (an activator), or tossed into a bucket with water to make comfrey compost tea.

The purple flowers are a huge attractant to insects, especially bees, & can be eaten in salads. The small tender leaves can also be eaten in spring salads & taste like cucumber.

If you have ducks or chickens, they love this plant too, so if they run around the yard at all, provide a bit of protection around the plant or else the silly feathered garden helpers will eat the entire plant in one sitting... (been there, done that...)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Berry Blooms Con't

~ red currant ~
 I love taking a few minutes each day to walk around the gardens & yard to see what's popped up, what's blooming & how things are doing without constant care & maintenance (I rather do like a low-maintenance approach if I can get away with it...)

The currant bushes are in full bloom & loving the warmer weather & sunshine. I wish I had mason bees this year, but there are lots of other insects out there pollinating things for me.
~ black currant ~

Why are the red currant blossoms so much smaller & unassuming than the black currant blossoms?

I prefer the black currant fruit over the red currants but the black currants are notoriously more difficult to get to produce any sizeable crop, whereas the red currants are profuse...

Mother Nature has a sense of humour!

~ John Downey crab apple ~
My wee little crab apple tree is in full bloom this year - every single one of the branches & leaf nodes is open with blossoms! I know I'll have to remove some of those if I want to harvest fruit of any size or quality - it just wouldn't be fair to a tree of only 4 feet to produce a full load of fruit such as it seems to promise.

Looks like a great year for berries indeed!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Greenhouse Rebuild - Part 2(b)

~ greenhouse footing framed in ~
We started work on the greenhouse bright & early today, which really isn't such a chore when the sun is shining & it is so warm for this time of year, (I think we both got a little burnt!)

The raised beds were trimmed down level with the chain saw & stakes pounded in to keep them vertical. A bit of screen was placed along the inside lower edge & then we dug down & started to level the dirt from front to back. The beds will require quite a bit of new soil - which is never a bad thing - so will not be planted for a few weeks.

The next stages will be to get the soil to the house from another town & then to plan on the frame & covering to go over top everything. It's a good thing it's still early in the season!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Greenhouse Rebuild - Part 2(a)

After taking some time off due to weather & planning, we decided to revisit the greenhouse project.

First came the walk on the beach & now comes the hard work...

The footings required leveling & staking & with a bit of ingenuity & brute strength, the raised bed boards were installed at a width of 3 feet.

Notice how the water barrels are slightly out of balance? Well, we had to fix that as well... actually, they were sitting on pieces of wood we required for the framing, so I filled as many buckets & barrels & the duck pond & watered the rhubarb & deck pots & then had to watch the rest of that glorious FREE water run down the ditch...

The rains that will return shortly, will fill them up pretty quick & it was probably a good thing too as there were lots of mosquito larvae in the barrels already...

The Gardens can Wait Today - Part 2

~ Brady's Beach - low-low tide ~
 Today was another amazing day of sunshine & I decided to take some time off the property & go down to the beach, only a 15 minute walk from the house.

The tide was the lowest I've seen for a long time & we were able to walk a long ways down the beach, investigating tide pools & other beaches difficult to access at most times...
~ anemones ~

~ sea stars returning ~

~ looks like a moon-scape! ~

~ sea geranium ~

~ me & the pooch enjoying the sunshine & sea air ~