Friday, May 24, 2013

Strange Fruition

I was reading a new gardening blog (thanks Jane!) the other day and the writer was talking about how that gardening was often just a crap shoot.  And this from a professional gardener!  I had to agree in a lot of ways.  We have worked really hard to amend the soil here naturally, use no chemicals, keep everything neat and weeded (mostly) and then we have a spring like this one that is SO unusually cool.  The figs are a bust, best I can tell.  None of those this year.  We are however, loaded up with strawberries for the first time ever.  I can handle that.  Jack bought a couple of buckets from a local farm before we knew how ours were going to do.  I don't think we'll need to buy anymore.  If you remember, last year I switched all the plants to varieties bred for the south and I think that has made all the difference.  These are Eversweet and Chandler.
So far I've put up 8 half pints of jam and we have been enjoying fresh ones as snacks every day or on salads.  Yummy with some feta and a nice vinaigrette.  I believe I'll make a strawberry shortcake next maybe.

It has finally warmed up enough that the garden has started growing.  And yes, I need to do some weeding and mulching!!  I know!!  That job in Birmingham has kept me working long hours there but that is almost over.  Some of the crops I direct seeded have started to some up but much of it has not.  I may have to resow everything.

I have rhubarbs scattered all over the place in hopes one or two locations hit the magic spot.  This one is doing very well since I got the ants out.  Except for that big yellow leaf; don't look at that.  Behind the rhubarb is a mess of lettuce and kale.  Carrots in the foreground.  I can't get carrots to do worth a crap anywhere but the coldframe.  I guess they like the soil there better than anywhere else.

The broccoli has really shot up this past week.  Hopefully we'll get a good harvest before the heat gets it, and I think we will judging by the way things are currently going.  I really thought we were going to make it all the way to June without turning on the air conditioning and we almost did.  That's mind-boggling!  I have never seen it stay cool this long into the year.  We did end up running it a couple of days this past week however.  Now, it's turned cool again!

The raspberries are loaded this year too!!  Yay!!  Can't wait for these!

 I have been really happy with how large some of these strawberries are but they still have good flavor.  I really, really don't see how people stomach those fake things in the grocery stores.  Gag!!  It much be they have never tasted a real strawberry.

Blueberries loaded too! 

After enjoying the asparagus for about 2 weeks I let it go to seed to gain strength for next year.  *sigh*.

The little Easter Eggers are growing like crazy too!!  They are so funny.  All 6 are still doing well.

They are housed in the Goober Chicken Memorial Run where they have their own little apartment with roost and outside run.  They really love the grass and outside coop.  It's big enough they can practice their flying.

The big chickens are doing well too. 

Anybody know this variety of iris?  I moved a few of these from down by the creek to an area closer to the house and in more sunlight.  It is still an area that stays semi-wet, as it has a wet weather creek running through it.  The area is kinda boggy and unattractive and I would like to fill it all in with iris and some of the native grasses so that it doesn't require any mowing or maintenance.

These are already established in the area and I think the purple blended with the yellow would be quite striking.  I have seen these referred to as Louisiana iris or yellow flag??  Two names for the same plant or two different plants??   So, that's the news for today.
How goes the weather where you are? 


Sissy said...

The purple iris is Siberian Iris; I have many and love them, selling quite a few. Pretty sure the yellow iris one that grows very well in boggy/wet areas and the root is dried and used in potpourri. An old lady in the area had a great patch and called it Calamus. The root did have a good aroma yet I cannot find a picture of this particular iris online. Hmm, now I'm thoroughly confused!

Rachael Miller said...

I second the Siberian iris. The other is yellow flag, and it is invasive in some areas, like ours. I'm not sure if it's considered invasive everywhere in the states. In Vermont, people are not supposed to sell it anymore. It pushes out other marshy plants, like marsh marigolds. In my yard (not marshy), they bloom beautifully, but show no signs of trying to take over.

Anonymous said...

I love your beautiful gardens :)

This year we are trying planting rhubarb as an annual. So far so good! I planted the seed last fall and set plants in the ground late fall early winter. We have two, one gallon bags in the freezer packed with sliced rhubarb, and it is nowhere near being done. In Texas, they take them out in May and plant warm weather crops. If you google growing rhubarb as an annual, the first hit should be the university of texas ag something. I want to try to leave a couple in to see if they will go to seed (for saving) Otherwise, we can't keep it alive here through the summer :) Kathy

edifice rex said...

Hey Sissy! I thought that was a Siberian Iris but was not sure. I get them all mixed up. I'll have to dig up a piece of root of the yellow ones and see if it has a nice smell! that's interesting.

Hey Rachael! Yes, I have seen it where it was invasive but, as you say, at my place they don't seem to spread much. I have 3 clumps that have been here for at least 6 years and they are still about the same size as when I planted them.

Hey Kathy! thanks! yes, I have read several of the articles about growing rhubarb in Texas! that's kinda what gave me the idea to do it this way. I'm going to let mine go just as long as they will since it is cooler than normal so far.

Anonymous said...

Flowers and gardens look great.
I have a mini garden. I can't wait to have real tasting maters. Planted peppers, eggplants, okra, cucumber and cantaloupe. We will see how it all turns out...
I agree with the strawberries. I didn't plant any but got some from the local farmers sweet. Apples from the grocery taste like cardboard. Blecckk...
Keep up the good work.
My Grandpa farmed and raised livestock most of his 88 years in Lower Ms. Some were good years, some not so much. Just have to prepare for both.

woodysrockyridge said...

The Siberians foliage should have a bit of a twist to it. Like pulling a ribbon across a blade. I've not seen yellow flag around here. Looks nice.

One of my favorite strawberry uses is in a spinach salad with goat cheese and pickled it!

edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! Yep. Some years some things do great, some things crap out. I guess it all evens out in a way.

Hey woody! Yes, we've been doing the salads with feta! Yum!
This iris foliage does not have any twist; stick straight. The more I look around though, the more I think it may be a Japanese water iris, aka Russian iris "Ranpo". Doesn't look anything like the pictures I see for Siberian. Also loves water.

Grace 77x7 said...

It is always difficult to be entirely sure since lighting and color don't necessarily "translate" well from real life to computer screen & there are so many similar varieties of purple iris, but I have a louisiana iris called black gamecock that looks very much like your mystery purple. It also loves water & seems to be naturalizing very politely in our yard.

Images of black gamecock louisiana iris

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

We have the same iris that has seeded itself and really taken off in the front flower bed this year. This is the first time, I have seen so many in bloom and they are so delicately beautiful and colorful too. Our strawberries are coming in great too and we have been enjoying them every morning with yogurt. Froze some last year and the defrost was a soggy mess, so this year we are enjoying them fresh. Your garden is looking good, ours is in, but very scaled down from past years. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

edifice rex said...

Hey Grace! After seeing the images I believe you are correct. It is hard to judge sometimes but the one I have really does look like the black gamecock with the little slivers of yellow. Thanks for the info.

Hey Bea! thanks! hope ya'll have had a nice weekend too.