Monday, June 1, 2015

2000-year-old squash and other stories

Lee and I were marveling this weekend at how many garden renos we've completed already this year. Sometimes, April and May are a write-off when it comes to gardening, but June 1st has arrived with everything in the ground this year. I guess you could call this my earliest garden report ever!

We've been eating some pretty colourful lettuce of late...

With the real water (rain) that finally came down on the weekend, 
purple carrots are starting to make an appearance. I've never
grown them before, and they're up sooner than their orange mates.

Our cucumbers are showing up, too. 
Lee mounted some old trellis for them to climb...

Broad beans...

potatoes... with a mound of dirt in the middle, ready for when
they need to be hilled. We had to do a bit of research on
how to hill potatoes grown in raised bed boxes.

This year I'm managing to keep ahead of the cut worms that love my onions.
My neighbour is having a harder time with her cut bunny, 
a local jackrabbit who loves her unfenced garden. 
Brings Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit to mind, 
though Olga isn't nearly as scary as Mr McGregor!

Here come the pumpkins! Half Moons and Sweetie Pies.
I think they'll be happy in their double deep box, 
especially since it got a big share of compost.

The strawberries have thrown their flowers up in the air 
in exaltation ever since we got rain Saturday night!

I learned an important lesson about growing seedlings this year. 
Thought I'd be smart and use my own compost enriched soil, 
which worked well enough until the seedlings reached a certain size 
and started to look a little sickly, probably because there's so much clay in our soil. 
Now I understand why my super-gardener aunt uses potting mix 
to start her seedlings -- they look healthier by garden transplant time.
These plants are recuperating just fine now that they're in full garden soil.

I'm guessing this will be the first oxheart tomato that we eat in 2015.

Saskatoon berries and raspberries are coming along just fine...

and on Saturday, Lee and I installed six new blueberry bushes 
where we removed the dead mugo pine and other half-dead looking shrubs.
I love the idea of having shrubs that will provide food as well as beauty.
The stepping stones make it so easy to water my planter box, which holds
some of my Dad-in-law's baby marigolds that grew from seed. 
Can't wait to see them flower!

My goal to always have something interesting blooming in the front yard
might just come true this year. The tulips have been going steady since April 29th,
and now the perennials are kicking in -- cornflowers, anemones, and day lilies.

And my birthday dahlia, thanks to Stan and Charleen!

I'm posting this picture and planning to take updates on the first of each month.
Watch this space grow!

What about the 2000-year-old squash, you ask? Well, last fall, my daughter and her boyfriend attended a workshop on small scale farms, local food, and the importance of seed-saving to preserve genetic diversity. One of the presenters told how some squash seed had been discovered in an earthenware jug that had been buried some 2000 years ago. The archaeologists who found it were delighted to discover that the seed was still viable -- and the presenter offered workshop participants some seeds taken from squash grown from the 2000-year-old seed. Christina and Landon brought home two "great-grandchildren" seeds of the orginal for me, and wouldn't you know it, of all the squash seeds I planted this year, the 2000-year-old variety were the first two up! Here's one below. I have no idea what the fruit will be like, but God- and weather-willing, we'll see! (And if they're good, I'll have seeds to share...)

If I'm missing in action when it comes to these moodlings, you know where to find me! Happy gardening!

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