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 ~

The Beginnings of the Berry Blooms

~ marionberry ~
 The berries & fruit trees are taking advantage of the sunshine & warmer temperatures by setting lots of blooms early.

The Marionberry that I purchased & planted last year are really taking off & setting many, many blooms - I'm curious to see what they look like when they open & if the insects will swarm & pollinate them.

These blackberries are an early ripening variety, so - with a bit of luck, there should be berries ready for harvest towards the end of June!

~ wild crab apple ~
The wild trees & berries are also starting to wake up in the sunshine.

The Pacific Wild Crab Apple, while not really providing any sort of harvest of fruit, is an important pollinator for other fruit trees in the neighbourhood.

I'm headed out early today to see what else is getting ready for what will be another very productive year for berries!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Gardens can Wait Today

~ fishing in Barkley Sound, BC ~
When the weather is this sunny & warm (despite my many layers of sweaters!), the gardens are always forgiving enough to allow time to go out & fish!

The season is yet early - there are fish out there, just not many of them are interested in becoming our dinner.

What could be better than having fresh fish for dinner while sitting in the sunshine & enjoying the spring gardens?

Happy Weekend!