Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tadpoles and toadstools

The rain brings more than just lush growth in the vegetable garden. Look what I found in a rain flooded ditch! The ditches on both sides of the road were full of rainwater. It was quite clear, and you easily could see the grass through the surface. As I rode my bike past, I noticed that the ditches were just boiling with something moving under the surface. My Mom taught me to get down and check out anything and everything in nature, so I parked my bike and got down to see what was in the ditches. It was tens of thousands of tadpoles! This photo is of a gang (pack? gaggle?) of tadpoles as they hunted along the grass below the rainwater's surface. Isn't that wonderful? Fungi also are popping up everywhere. I really love to examine them when I find them in the yard.

What about the garden? Well, as you see, the cabbages already are starting the first curled leaves inside the head, the freshly planted spinach leaves are peeking out, and the new kale has sprouted. I harvested over 7 pounds of green beans last week, and as I pulled up those plants I slipped them beneath the broccoli and cabbages, to serve as mulch. Those new spinach and kale sprouts are growing now where the beans were just a week before. Three types of lettuces have emerged as well. The fall garden is well underway.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beds, raised and lowered

It has rained, and rained, and rained today. I thought I would send you some photos to show you why my vegetable beds are raised, my rain garden bed has a trench dug in the middle, and my whole front yard is graded to push the excess water over to the side of the yard. You can see that, if not for the raised beds, my vegetables would be in deep standing water today. They would not survive that environment. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a trench dug into my rain garden bed, and I have water loving plants, such as iris and umbrella plant, in that trench where they can make the most of standing water. Finally, knowing how wet our yard is, before construction we graded the entire front yard to slope to one side, forcing much of the runoff water in one direction. We then planted native cedars along that side, where they thrive. So, even though water can be a real problem here, we have found ways to get beyond it, or to use it to our advantage. Sorry the photos are blurry, but the camera wanted to focus on the raindrops that were close, rather than the plants that were beyond the wall of rain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In the ground, and growing like crazy

Right before the rains predicted from tropical storm Danny, I rushed out and purchased some beautiful, locally grown, broccoli, collards, and savoy cabbage plants. I then ripped out the tomatoes, added some good compost and fertilizer to the bed, and got them in the ground. I know that young transplants need lots of moisture, and don't like lots of sun, so the predicted wet, cloudy weather seemed like a perfect way for a lazy gardener to get a jump on fall, with little effort. I was right! Those transplants already have doubled in size (although this photo, a couple of days old, doesn't show the full change). I am so excited to have new plants in the garden. Of course, I see now that, in my haste, I probably planted all of these too close together. But it is so hard not to plant them all, and I am so weak.

Also shown here are the first baby beans on my later summer planting of green bush beans. They are covered in blossoms and young pods, and are big, fat, beautiful plants. They need, however, to get a move on it. I need to harvest them in the next two weeks, as they are in the lettuce bed, and it soon will be time to get the lettuce in the ground.

Finally: here are the last few cherry tomatoes pulled off the vines as the vines were being pulled from the gound. These are sauteed with a few shitakes from the logs and with the fresh basil that is still abundant. After this I folded in a few beaten eggs from the ladies, and we had an amazing dinner, from our own backyard.