Monday, November 4, 2013

Garden Journal Entry

There's so much going on in the vegetable garden that I could not photograph it all, but I got a few of the high points under the gentle, November sunlight.  Gardening this time of year is so much more leisurely and enjoyable.  None of that back-breaking stuff, but all the fine weather and satisfaction of the harvests and looking forward to a winter pantry.  [All these photos are really better if enlarged by clicking on them.]

 Parsley, small and tender, sprouting at the end of this bed and in the wood chip path.  The tall, ferny plant is fennel coming back after the heat and bugs ate it down to the stalk.  There are more instances in the pictures below where mild weather interspersed with rains and a couple of light frosts has allowed a rejuvenation of plant life.
 The spent bases of parsley flowers in an umbrel. I believe this might still ripen into seed.  I am watching.
A young crepe myrtle, the volunteering offspring of the mother plant a few inches away.  Wherever there is freedom from the lawn mower and my hoe, trees and bushes will come up on their own.  Marigolds are always a plus in a photo!
 Proud harvester of another batch of sweet potatoes.  This is from a small bed 5.5 ft x 2.5 ft x 4 in deep--roughly.  Two slips survived here, and I planted a tomato where the third one withered.  I found potatoes everywhere, and there's only one word for what is going on out there-INVASION.  I probably left as many as I found.  If the zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow, I'm finally ready~as long as I don't mind eating sweet potatoes morning, noon and night.  I have about three times this area left to dig.
 A gorgeously-hued echinacea I might call merlot.  Most of them are spent, but there are two or three with blooms in loose bouquets like this.  They are the delight of the late insects.
 A closer shot of the fennel, not really something I eat much, but the plant is so pretty, and the caterpillars like it so much.  The leaves and stalk are edible and taste like licorice.  The flavor is unmistakable.  A fun plant for kids!
 A peek inside the greenhouse where I have radishes, peas, parsley, cilantro, onions, carrots, spinach and lettuce.  The tall plants are peas on a fence.  Everything is still small, but is finally getting some sun now that the trees have dropped most of their leaves.
 Third time's a charm!  The weather has been so mild this autumn that I have had to plant several times due to hot temps thwarting my attempts to germinate cold-weather crops.  This time I covered the soil to keep it moist enough to germinate.  Hopefully, I will be eating spinach salads out of this cold frame during the winter.
 One tiny representative of all the beans I need to harvest.  This was three plants I planted at the base of a bird feeder support, only I didn't like the new feeders and took them down.  They were drowning too many bees!
 These are my three, rosemary bushes over which I have mothered for many years.  Despite cutting them harshly twice a year, they simply were TOO big to move in and out of the greenhouse another winter.  Early this summer, I planted them into the garden and now I must assure they make it through the winter outdoors.  I'm a wreck over it!
 This is another of those drop-dead gorgeous, merlot-hued coneflowers.  Click on the photo to make it large enough to see the grateful insect.  There was even a bee, but he was camera shy.
 Haroo!  I thought I dug out all those leeks, but they must have produced small bulblets before I toted them away.  Here are the young'uns, which will do fine through the winter and from which I may make more delicious soups!
 This is a picture that I love.  It may look a mess, but it is chock full of goodness!  The tender, grassy plant there is young garlic.  There are echinacea leaves, which I could harvest and dry for tea.  There is also a species of rudbeckia mixed in there that are bright yellow, a relative of black-eyed Susan, not good for eating, but birds like the seeds.  There are a few sorrel, which do not have many leaves, but will come back now that the sorrel-eating bugs are all gone.  In the background, there is a bed of oregano growing rampant, and in the close foreground, impossible to see, there were seeds scattered all over the ground, which were either dill, fennel or parsley.  I will know next spring when I taste it.  Best of all, very little weeding, no replanting, and no tilling at all.  All I do in this bed is cut back the flower stalks in the fall, which I did just prior to taking this photo.
 I mentioned the mild weather above, and this is another effect of it.  This hot-loving, cold-hating bean has sprouted from the base of the plant and is growing back.  Boy is she in for a surprise!
Speaking of the warm and wet weather.  Here's a dill that was eaten down to the stalk, but now flowering again although November is fully upon us!  Behind it is my play-dome.  It is a clear, plastic drawer out of my refrigerator that always stuck, which made me hate it until I viciously ripped it out.  I have upturned it in the garden to act as a mini-greenhouse for whatever chooses to sprout under its solar protection this winter.  It is always interesting to see what seeds lie latent in the soil.
 I couldn't resist one more photo of the echinacea.  When I figure out what conditions give me this color rather than the paler, washed out pinks, I will do them all that way.  It's a mystery to me!
I had to end with the winter workhorse, the chard.  Some people grow kale for this purpose, but I have better luck with Swiss chard, and I believe it is more tender and more mildly flavored.  I have been known to eat this in every meal for days on end.  It is great in everything; eggs, soups, stir fry, quiches, fried rice and more. It survives most of the cold weather and snow.  Only hard freezes that last many days will wilt its leaves, although not kill the plant at all.  As soon as the weather warms even a little, it is back to production.

And isn't it pretty?!


nilraps said...

As usual your garden never ceases to amaze me with all the neat plants and features thru out and that green house is awesome. Who is that young lady with your sweet potatos?

Morning Angel said...

Ha Ha! I told Alan not to get too close of a face shot. I only wanted a record of the day and my tubers!

Thanks for browsing thru the pictures with me. It's fun to share them with someone.