10 July 2009

Garden Ramble: A post guaranteed to be as overgrown as my herb garden

It's been too long since I shared the going on in my garden. I've been through life, death, and life again with my botanical treasures. As usual I'll work from from to back. I'd like to make note of something, first. As I was pulling weeds from the sidewalk a few weeks back I noticed an oddly familiar plant sticking up out of the cracks - how did spearmint get in the sidewalk?! But it was there.
Now then, my front porch has faired better this summer than in summers past. The bricks of the house hold that morning heat all day, making it something of a brick oven, meaning that it's impossible for the soil in the pots and baskets to hold water for very long. Marigolds grown from last year's seeds are flourishing, zinnias are fighting the battle (also from collected seeds) but are much more needy in the water department. The ponytail plant I inherited is loving its new pot, and I haven't killed the hanging baskets we bought yet! Dad also gve me an awesome looking colias (sp?) pot with different colored foliage, and it is quite literally the cornerstone of my little front porch garden.
The houseplants are thriving as well! My spider plant has found a happy home in the bathroom, I'll hopefully have some babies this summer! One of my peace lilies has seemingly given up the fight, though; it never recovered after I split the plant in two. The other half is growing nicely, mind you. Likewise the indoor palms I almost killed with too much sun last summer, now split into two pots, are growing nicely.
The back porch has tomatoes and a bean plant (an accidental planting) as well as some seedling cayennes sprouted from seed that had wintered outdoors, mixed in with some flowers. Hanging proudly on the back porch is the officially recognized spearmint, transplanted back in the spring after wintering in the office.
The herb garden is indeed run riot. Several cuttings of peppermint, sage, chamomile, chocolate mint, lemon balm, and oregano are drying in the basement. Smells like tea down there. I need to get out there again soon and take another round of cuttings - oh, and I have an anise hyssop plant I picked up on clearance that has made itself at home. Very licoricey. The poinsettia we bought around Christmas is thriving in its predecessor's pot, and the rubber tree and snake plant are loving the sun and their new large pots.
The vegetable garden has been my largest source of frustration this season. Out of about 100 carrot seeds planted I have maybe a dozen carrots dispersed throughout the garden; the radishes were a huge failure. I mis-calculated my planting location and the hedge blocked too much light making them leggy and more interested in growing leaves than bulbs. Argh. I also got ONE stinking broccoli plant out of a dozen seeds, and that singleton was just transplanted because the squash plants were growing over it. I cut those back some so they wouldn't take over the pepper plants I just a week ago stuck in the ground. Finally, I had brown potato beetles attack my redskin potato experiment (where I stuck redskin potatoes that had grown roots while in the drawer into the ground to see if they would bear potatoes). That said it's not all bad, because...
I got taters, precious! Some things are growing nicely in the patch. I pulled out potatoes this evening, enough for a single serving. I tended to my remaining potatoes; hopefully there'll be enough for me and the mrs. to share after we get back from paradise (more on that in another post). The squash are growing, too! I'll hopefully have one with dinner before heading out. The garlic I stuck into the ground is just about ready to come out also, which elates me because that's just cool. My romaine lettuce is forming some heads, but other heads are pulling a radish, if you will. That corner of the garden is running riot because apparently the compost didn't sterilize all the seed and I have volunteer tomatoes and cucumbers that are growing better than they ever did when I planted them on purpose. I feel like God is looking down and saying "this is how it's done, hah!" Our God is an Ironic God.
As I contemplate the rest of the growing year, I'm going to give radishes another shot in the fall (I'm a glutton for punishment), and some more lettuce, and some onions! Dad has been sharing the largesse of his onion patch with us, and they are delicious. I want to get enough together to freeze for the winter because even thawed onion is better than dried onion, and who wants to pay for onion if you don't have to?
In the end it's all worth it, even if just staring at all the green punctuated by the yellows and blues and purples and reds of flowers and vegetables. It beats the hell out of the brown wasteland we get all winter, or the awful blandness of a manicured lawn.
That reminds me, I have to mow the grass tomorrow morning.
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