Saturday, March 8, 2014

Quick Peek in the Garden

All the little plants are finally ready to be transplanted into the garden beds, so a few days ago I did that with my 13 year old son's help. The little terra-cotta pots that I like to start the peppers and tomatoes in sometimes need a little help with a couple of taps of a rubber mallet on the bottom to get the plant to come loose, but Rylan caught on pretty quick and in no time, we had all the peppers and tomatoes transplanted! The picture above is of the pepper bed. The plants all seem to be doing just fine, even though we have had some cooler weather that they usually like. Last year, I had some trouble with the leaves turning yellow shortly after transplanting, and I was reading that that is usually caused by not enough calcium in the soil. However, these haven't had that problem, thankfully, and they are in a different spot, so hopefully that's why.

This lovely little artichoke plant (shown above), which isn't so little, was actually planted last spring, and I thought that it died. Apparently, it was waiting for the season to come around again, and decided to start growing! I learned that hard way that artichokes do need a LOT of space as they get really big, sometimes needing about 4 feet across to spread themselves.

The lavender is looking very lovely, and the hummingbirds that live in our yard are really loving it. Every night at around 5pm, some hummingbirds come for a taste and a sip of the fountain. 

The peach tree blossoms are my favorite this year!

The calendula is loving the weather, and really putting out a lot of blossoms. I am experimenting with a calendula salve for the shop, so as I get that going I will put the tutorial on. Above are shown some calendula blossoms which were snipped right off the plant just under the blossom itself, first thing in the morning, to allow for all the medicinal properties to be at their best. Without rinsing the blossoms, they are put into a dehydrator to dry. It only takes a few hours, half a day at most, and they are dry enough to remove the petals from the head, and put into a jar. I usually get about 1/2 cup of dried petals from 1 tray of blossoms. Then if you pour about 1 cup of grapeseed oil, which contains vitamin E, which is really good for the skin, over the dried petals, cap it, and store on a darkened shelf for about 2 weeks, it will be ready for straining off to get some quality calendula infused grapeseed oil, ready for a wonderful salve. Really easy to do. The calendulas (or pot marigolds) that I currently have, I planted from seed last spring and they continue to thrive in the garden. 

I am having a terrible time with the birds right now. They must be starving because every little seed I stick out in the garden gets gobbled up as soon as it pokes it's little head from the ground. So I began covering the area with chicken wire in hopes that that will deter most of the birds. So far, it does seem to be working, and I do currently have cucumbers that have just germinated.

The asparagus is just starting to poke through the garden beds. Yay! Asparagus fest has officially begun. In this bottom picture you can actually see the asparagus roots that have extended themselves out from the beds and are growing atop the ground. I plan on covering them with soil later today, but I thought it an interesting picture of how long the roots actually grow, and they really don't extend down as much as out. Those roots only are a couple inches below the surface of the bed.

Well, happy gardening!

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