Sunday, June 14, 2009

Les Jardins

Everyday I inspect the vegetable garden. And most days, not much changes, so I just pull out little weeds here and there. The big action of this week was that the corn and pole beans sprouted. The rows of soy beans and hills of cukes, winter squash, and zucchini, however, were vacant of sprouts, so I replanted those seeds yesterday. Too wet? Old seeds? Hens?

The 22 tomatoes and 12 peppers are healthy, but I think they could use some warm, sunny days. The potatoes are going great guns and should be mulched today. A visual tour:


In perennial land...

...peonies, my favorite summer flower, are finally opening:

The Japanese iris are in full bloom:

And my always confident and reliable hostas aren't disappointing, as usual:

Lots if purples blooming right now. Is this a nature thing? That purples attract certain insects, or that the weather is conducive to purples right now? I wonder...


A couple months ago, I ordered and planted a 'Reliance' peach tree and a 'Mount Royal' plum (both Zone 4 and self-pollinating). The plum came with no blossoms, but the peach was loaded, and it looks like we may eat pick some fruit in another couple months.

I rubbed off quite a few buds so as not to overload the tree after transplanting. I love this tree for both its fuzzy little fruit and because it already smells peachy.

As I've mentioned before, my blueberries are loaded this year -- their third in my yard:

Over in the apple orchard, my one tree is growing plenty of little apples...

but causing me plenty more consternation. First, I don't like spraying it with pesticide, but I'm determined to harvest something edible from this tree, and I can't find an alternative to spraying. I sprayed pre-bloom and again about 10 days after the blossoms dropped. I was hoping to stop there, but careful observation [obsession] uncovered borings into my tine apples. I don't know much about apple pests -- other than there are a lot them. But this looks like it could be apple maggot. So I sprayed again yesterday. I'm also going to order a couple sticky apple traps (fake apples covered in something sticky that attracts pests).

Beyond my own yard, local strawberries are starting to show up. The u-pick places should be open in a week or two, provided we dry out. (Last year, the strawberry seasons was all but non-existent due to too much rain.) I can taste them already...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

First Week in June Status Check

What's blooming: Bridal Veil spirea (a Vermont early-summer classic), allium, something that looks like a wild phlox, perennial geranium, dwarf Korean lilacs, rhodies, iris

What's almost done blooming: creeping phlox, bleeding heart, PJM rhodies

What's definitely done blooming: Lilacs, tree peony


I sprayed my apple tree with pesticide yesterday. Everything in my head was against this, but I know no other solution to having a productive tree. I could justify this only by knowing that most other apples I've eaten in my life were likely sprayed diligently.


Today, I drove our riding lawn mower down the street about 1/2 mile, towing a trailer, to ask a neighbor if I could have his grass clippings from a field he had just mowed. Grass clippings are my favorite vegetable garden mulch, as they stop the weeds then can be tilled into the soil or added to the compost pile when all is said and done.

A few years ago, I tried to mulch with straw, but it sprouted, so my efforts at mulching about doubled my efforts at weeding. That was the year I gave up on straw.

At any rate, my neighbor gladly shared his grass clippings. He went on to tell me a story about how he had been hit by a pickup truck while out riding a bicycle a few years ago, followed by a coma for a month. It was a chilling story and one of those out-of-the-blue reminders of the potential fragility of it all. Here today; gone tomorrow. Unless some sort of random luck blows your way after you've been hit by a truck. I told him I was glad to meet him, glad he was still alive, and glad to take his grass.