Less Noise, More Green: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Eating flowers from the edible garden: lavender

Lady lavender, edible flowers

My edible garden project has had a big growth spurt this week and some of the edible flowers are now in bloom! This is very exciting as I have been waiting to use these blossoms in our meals. The garden is becoming beautiful and now it is productive as well.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Has attempting to grow healthy tomato plants become a lesson in futility?

Tomato plants with yellow leaves, tomatoes, urban farming
This gardening lark is such a roller coaster. One minute I'm excited about all the delicious strawberries coming out of the berry patch and the next I'm using sharp implements on my tomato plants to remove infected leaves.  What a downer. Two days ago I was thinking how great the Roma tomatoes were doing in their containers. Today I'm hoping they survive long enough for any tomatoes to mature. This is what happens when you count your tomatoes before they are sauce.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Including vegetables in my edible landscaping project

Less Noise, More Green Edible Landscaping Project, including vegetables in edible landscaping

One of the main reasons for creating an edible landscape in the front of our house was the amazing sun exposure. Our house faces south which means the back garden where all the vegetables are growing is in shade for some of the day. With two trees being removed due to disease from the strip next to the street, our front garden is now awash in sun all day. I needed to get my hands on this sun drenched earth!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Making the most of strawberry season

 Strawberries, recipe ideas for strawberries
My kitchen right now is overflowing with containers of strawberries. I thought we had an amazing strawberry crop last year but I am blown away by the quantity, size and taste of the berries coming out of my patch! The quality of the fruit this season is by far the best I've grown. I'm picking at least one bowl full each morning and we're happily making the most of strawberry season while it lasts.  Here are some of the ways we are enjoying our berry abundance.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Edible Landscape Project: Lingonberries

Balsgart Lingonberry, edible landscaping
These berries will turn bright red when ripe.

When looking for plants for my edible garden, I knew I needed a ground cover for the front edges that would be pretty and practical. I needed a plant that would help with preventing soil erosion and, if possible, have an edible element. I originally planned on planting cranberries, which would have been an appropriate addition to a New England garden!  Then, as I continued researching, I read about lingonberries and knew I had found my plant.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Organic Pest Control Part 2: Leafminers; cabbage worms; squirrels and birds, oh my!

cabbage worms, organic pest control

Everywhere I look in the garden right now, there are living things trying to eat me out of house and home.  This year seems particularly bad. I'm being attacked from above, below and from all sides. If the squirrels were as obsessed with cabbage worms as they are with strawberries I wouldn't have a problem, but that would be too easy. Instead I have more pests to add to the "most wanted" list and some solutions I am trying.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pinching tomato suckers and hilling grow bag potatoes

Roma tomatoes, pinching suckers
Roma tomato clusters are forming on all my container plants!
There is always something to do in the veggie garden. Each crop has its own maintenance requirements, which we would be wise to keep on top of if we want to avoid problems ( I hope I'm paying attention to the nice lady's good advice). With all the sun and rain we've had this week there has been some amazing growth happening! Consequently, both the potatoes and the tomatoes needed some attention.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Organic Pest Control Part 1: slugs, aphids and flea beetles - the axis of evil

Slug on cabbage, organic pest control
How great would it be to not have to worry about pests in our gardens? I find it the most disheartening part of gardening. Just this week I had the joy of seeing all my sunflower seeds emerge, to then go back the next day and find every single one eaten by birds.  Sigh. As an organic gardener, spraying everything with pesticides is not an option or, in my option, a smart thing to do as those chemicals kill the good bugs along with the bad. We don't have to lie down and take it, however! Here are some of the remedies I use.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dinner theater - auditions held daily!

Radishes, urban farming

It is only the end of the first week in June but I realized today that my morning ritual of walking the garden beds to see what will be on the day's menu has already begun. It feels early, which is ironic given all the frustration I experienced a few months ago due to the late start to the growing season! The choices are not as many as they will be in a month, but I love examining the plants, noting their progress and identifying the players in the evening's upcoming dinner theater.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Edible Landscaping: Plant map and edible flowers

Less Noise, More Green, Edible Landscape Project
Taken from the porch, this is the left hand garden if facing the house.

My edible landscape project is coming along nicely. The plants seem to be adjusting to their new home and finally I'm seeing seedlings start to pop through the soil. In a few weeks the beds shouldn't look so bear! A lot of the herb seeds I have planted have yet to make an appearance so I'm going to wait until they do to talk about them. There is growth with many of the edible flowers, but I'd like to start this post by sharing my plant map.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My garden this week: June 4

blackberry flower, urban farming
Blackberry flower

Here we are in June and it feels like the hard slog of getting the garden up and running is over. With most of the summer crops planted now and the edible landscape project well under way I'm feeling good about the progress being made. Now comes watering and weeding and the monitoring for pests as well as increased harvests and planning how to preserve the fruits of my labors.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Edible landscaping with berries

Northland blueberry, edible landscaping
Adding berries to my edible landscaping project was always a major goal. Perennial berry bushes help to provide a permanent framework to my design as well as color and texture to the landscape. Not to mention they are delicious! Bearberry was one of the first perennials to be planted. Since then we've added strawberries, blueberries and elderberries!