Sunday, April 25, 2010

Raised Beds

We've made some more progress on filling the raised beds. Just a couple more beds until we're done moving dirt! We're also getting much closer to having our fence up. Jeff has everything laid out and is renting a post hole digger tomorrow. I think that everything will look a lot better with the fence up and more well defined lines. Right now, this area of the yard looks like total chaos.

Maybe by next weekend we can plant our fruit trees, currants, honeyberries and raspberries out in the garden where they'll be safe from deer. Right now they are relaxing in the greenhouse, hopefully they're not getting too comfy.

Here is a close-up of our currant. We decided to try out a currant (Black September) based on the advice of an Idaho gardener who has had a lot of luck with them in a similar climate. Right now, it has the most new growth of all of the berry bushes and fruit trees. We may add more to the collection in the future when (and if!) we create a berry patch.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blooming Tuesday, Etc.

Our first daffodils of the season opened today! Click on them to go over to Jean's blog and Blooming Tuesday to see more blogs with blossoms.

We're harvesting lettuce, radishes, arugula and green onions out of the greenhouse on a regular basis now. I love that we have enough lettuce to have a home grown salad at dinner every night! These are some spicy salads with both arugula and radishes in there.

Look closely and you'll see some violas thrown in for color. Did you know they're edible?

An update on the garden work. We (particularly Jeff) have really had our hands full with the garden! The shade bed up against the side of the greenhouse is the only one left to be built. Next on the agenda is to put up a deer fence, and fill the beds with dirt! We just got our dwarf fruit trees, raspberries, honeyberries and currants in yesterday. Right now they are in a holding pattern in the greenhouse while Jeff works quickly to get things done! We'll post more about those once they're planted.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Solarium, Greenhouse, Dirt and Bed Construction

We're making great progress on the construction of the beds and filling them with soil. Check back Monday night for a picture of our progress this weekend. We should have a couple more beds built and almost half filled with soil.

The garden looks so bare and utilitarian right now. I can't wait to see if full of flowers, fruit trees and greenery!

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are plugging along slowly. They all have flowers and are starting to set fruit. The minimum temperatures each night have been about 40 degrees the past few days. Tomatoes like a minimum temperature of 50, so this is pushing the envelope for tomatoes a bit.

Peppers also like a warmer environment than we've given them recently, but we're trying to see just how much we can get away with. We're growing the tender vegetables in 3 places to see where they do best. We've got peppers in containers in the solarium, in the beds of the greenhouse and have some seedlings that we just started for planting out into the garden after our last frost date (June 1). These peppers are also flowering and beginning to set fruit. We've got antohi romanian sweet peppers, jalapeno, cayenne and a bell pepper variety.

Next to the radishes in the greenhouse I've planted some sweet peas to grow up a trellis. This should look pretty when they begin to flower!

The arugula and lettuce are growing great in this spot in the greenhouse. We've started harvesting the lettuce and have been harvesting the arugula for a few weeks.

Our germination and propagation station is plugging along!

The indio mandarinquat is flowering. This tree is doing the best out of all of our citrus. It was the only one that didn't lose a lot of leaves this winter. We can't wait to enjoy this fruit. I'm planning on making marmalade.

Another shot of the indio mandarinquat. Behind this picture you can see the door to our bedroom. It opens into the solarium. We love our house and still feel like we won the housing lottery.

A view of the cabinet mountain range as seen through our jungle of tomato plants in the solarium.

Seriously, it's a jungle. These plants are almost as tall as me. With the plants up on a table for better light, I am starting to have a really tough time pollinating everything.

Some trays of onions and herbs thriving upstairs.

Baby tomatoes in the solarium! I would estimate we've had about a 60-70% success rate with our pollination. You really begin to appreciate the work that bees, butterflies and bats do when you are faced with the task of pollinating 40+ plants.

This is an antohi pepper inside our solarium. How long from flowering to mature peppers typically? 6 weeks?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blooming Tuesday

Today is my first entry into "Blooming Tuesday". Click the flower above to be taken to the blog that hosts Blooming Tuesday.

I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many plants we have in bloom right now. This morning felt like winter outside. We had snow and a low of 20 degrees, but its 100 degrees in the solarium and spring in the greenhouse. It's so neat being able to exist in three seasons all at once.

This viola was started from seed last fall and moved into the greenhouse over the winter. I attempted to kill it at one point when re-arranging beds in the greenhouse and preparing for new plants, but it didn't die. Now it's planted among the lettuce and arugula. I'm thinking we'll use the violas to garnish an upcoming salad. Aren't these flowers edible?

Ahh, my tomato plants. I can't wait to be able to post pictures of these plants in a couple months for harvest monday.

Maybe next week these jalapeno flowers will open. I think I'll still count these as blooms this week.

This is the best angle to photograph chamomile. If there is such a thing as an ugly plant, I think I might have to put chamomile in that category. I started this from seed last fall and have been growing it in the unheated solarium since then. Pretty soon I'll dry the flower heads, chop them up a bit and then use them when I make soap.

I believe that this is our lime tree. Its doing well inside our solarium and starting to set pea-sized fruits.

I think this is another picture of our lime tree (I neglected to label the lemons and limes, and forgot how to tell the difference). It was full of gorgeous blooms, but now it is full of equally gorgeous limes! (Or are those lemons?)

Another picture of one of our mystery citrus trees. In another few weeks, stop back in for some pictures of the indio mandarinquat tree in bloom. It's a bit behind the other citrus trees but will be bursting with flowers very soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pictures of Progress

The tomato plants in the solarium are getting huge. It's time to prune these monsters, but we hate the thought of doing it. I've been researching the pruning of tomatoes to make sure that we don't kill off our babies, but most of the information is on pruning to improve fruiting not pruning to control the height/size of the plant. Any ideas out there?

The railing in our upstairs solarium makes a really great place to place trays of seedlings. Above is a tray of lupine, followed by some herbs, onions, shallots and leeks. Beyond that are some more tomatoes and peppers.

These herbs will be used as ornamentals (and also for harvesting) in the bed in front of our house and in the 8x26 foot raised perennial bed in the garden.

This is my first try at growing chamomile. It seems to be quite a thirsty plant and not too attractive. Definitely won't grow this indoors in a pot again.

This picture was taken 2 days ago of the progress on the garden.

Ta-dah! Today we finished moving mulch. We have a small pile left to move for leveling. We calculated that we've shoveled/spread roughly 80 cubic yards of mulch. Thank goodness it's free. This has been a 6 month project interrupted by snow and soggy ground.

Eventually there will be 7 raised beds running parallel to one another, a raised bed against the greenhouse for a shade garden, a raised bed on the other side of the 7 parallel beds for flowers (bee food!) followed by a row of fruit trees with some beds of berries on the bottom right corner. We're definitely growing raspberries, but we were advised to not try blueberries or grapes at our local extension office. Any ideas for some other berries to grow? We're a zone 3/4.

As soon as we finished the mulch, we started looking at another garden spot for future expansion. You can see where the previous homeowners had their garden. Much smaller, at maybe 20 by 20 feet. We're thinking of creating a berry patch here in the future.

Now a look inside the greenhouse.

The radishes in the greenhouse are getting closer to harvesting. Maybe another week or two?

We transplanted some peppers to the greenhouse this weekend. The minimum temperatures are regularly between 35 and 39 degrees. I know this is a bit chilly for peppers so we've only transplanted out 1/3 of the peppers. The rest are relaxing in the solarium enjoying balmy temperatures between 55 and 100 degrees.

The south bed in the greenhouse containing arugula, winter density lettuce, black seeded simpson lettuce, radishes and then the peppers. Next time I plant arugula I'm planting 4x as much and only leaving a few inches between plants. I love this stuff! We never ate much of it before as it was always so expensive in the grocery store.

The greenhouse tomatoes are holding their own despite a slightly chilly week. In the foreground is a brandy wine tomato, followed by a greenhouse type hybrid, debarao tall vine and then a few more brandy wines. They've also been joined by some creeping onions that a coworker gave me.

All of the tomato plants are flowering! We have been busy going around and making sure that everything gets pollinated.

Hopefully this black seeded simpson lettuce is ready to harvest soon.