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Friday PhotoEssay

Wow! It was almost like having a whole week of spring weather! The garden is looking good, especially the tomatoes. We’ve had 2 years of tomato troubles here in the Demo Garden, so I’m happy to see normal growth and some flowers starting.

The garden doesn’t look that much different than last week, other than that hint of purple over in the herb garden where the sage is in full bloom.

Here’s a closer look at the sage. It is looking beautiful! I love the purple next to the gold variety of Lemon Balm.

One of the Spiderwort that was planted in the new Shade Garden this week.

The container of sugar snap peas in the Kids’ Snack Garden is starting to have some peas. There definitely aren’t enough to do much with, except grab one for a snack, of course!

We pulled the Easter Egg Radishes and the lettuces from the Kids’ Snack Garden this week. They were a lot bigger than I usually let the radishes get. Some of them were probably a little bit woody.

We’ve got tomato flowers! I’m just starting to see a few flowers on the determinate varieties and the cherry/grape varieties. Not surprisingly, the heirlooms and the ones with longer days to maturity don’t have any flowers (or buds) yet. I’m really hoping for a good tomato year!

We have chives in one of the herb containers this year, and it is blooming as well. I guess the theme today is purple and blue flowers, huh? Since the plant is small, the flowers are pretty small yet too.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

New Garden in One Morning!

The area right next to our Demonstration Garden was planned to be an expansion for a demonstration of shade-loving perennials. We’ve been working on it slowly over the past year, with the fence constructed last fall and planning going on throughout the winter. The irrigation system got redone last week. Today was planting day! Here are a few before and after shots.

Before planting.

Before planting. Some light weeding is taking place before getting started.

After the soil was prepared, they placed all the plants.

After planting! The plants were good sized going in, which helps make it look fuller right now.

The view in the other direction after planting. From dirt to garden in one morning!

Friday PhotoEssay

Another Friday is here! There is no sign of germination where we planted seeds last week, so I’m beginning to get a little concerned. I haven’t done a great job of keeping the soil moist, but then it was covered with snow for part of the last week. I’m hoping that it is just the cold weather (keeping the soil cold) that is delaying germination of the typically quick-germinating radishes. It is so weird to have a late spring!

Here’s a quiz for you…how doe you tell if what you are seeing is grass or garlic or shallots? This picture isn’t too difficult to distinguish, but when the garlic or shallots are smaller it can be a real challenge! The garlic leaves usually feel thicker and waxier to me than grass, and of course, they smell like garlic too!

The rhubarb crown they planted a couple weeks ago is starting to slooooowly put on some growth. I could be wrong, but I think these leaves look like they got a little more cold than they would have preferred.

Speaking of cold, the lettuce and chard in our cold frame got a little more cold than they would have strictly preferred this week, since we left the cold frame completely open when it got so cold earlier this week. Somewhat surprisingly, they really don’t look that much the worse for wear!

This is the obligatory “before” picture. Rumor has it that we are going to be starting work on this shade garden this week. If nothing else, the compost has to move from the parking lot into the garden, since the farmers’ market is starting a week from tomorrow!

My light stand looks like a forest of plant labels right now! By next Friday I hope it will look like a forest of small tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants!

Have a great weekend!

Friday PhotoEssay

I hadn’t really realized how much I miss all the fall gardening that we usually do until I was going through some pictures from the last 2 years. It makes our garden this fall seem pretty sad.

I’m sure the tomatoes are the main culprit for the sadness. These two plants toppled over in the wind a couple days ago. They just got too top heavy with all the growth and fruit at the top, and then the wind knocked them over. Luckily, it seems like no harm was done. I stood them up and stuck a couple posts in the cages to help hold them up.

Some of the Master Gardeners worked on planting a new shade trial garden this week. We have several different types of ornamentals and grasses that we are testing for K-State to see how well they do in a situation where they are competing with tree roots in a non-improved soil.

The Mini Belle Peppers are fairly prolific, although the fruit are still about 1/2 to 1/3 the size I think they should be. They probably need more fertilizer, but they aren’t going to get it. Isn’t that orange color beautiful, though?

Last year, the citrus marigolds just keeled over in the heat of summer. This year, the plant didn’t look very good for most of the summer, but it is finally holding its own. I love the lacy foliage with the tiny blooms. I did try eating one (yes, they’re edible), and it wasn’t bad. But not quite good enough for me to dig out that citrus marigold sauce recipe.

I haven’t shared as many cooking adventures this year, but here’s a picture of one interesting experiment. This is a Peanut-Pork Satay with lots of peppers, and instead of noodles or rice, we made Cucumber Noodles. Yes, that’s right – that slightly green pile of noodles is 100% cucumber. (Well…probably 98%, by the time you account for butter and seasoning.) We sliced the cucumbers into noodles with a mandolin slicer, blanched them in boiling water, drained them, then sauteed them in butter. They were pretty good!

Here are 4 of the 5 melons we picked this week. They are pretty small, and unfortunately, not very tasty. The small ones tasted over-ripe and mealy. The larger ones were better, but still not as sweet as we might have wished.

Have a great weekend! Next week – Garden Demolition!