Monday, May 6, 2013

Between Rain Showers

I just dashed out between the rain showers to snap a few photos and cut some lilacs to bring in before they got all smashed and ruined in the rain.  I can't believe that it is already the 6th of May and 3 weeks since my last post.  Apologies faithful readers, it's been a busy patch.  This Gold Flame lonicera (honeysuckle) has been spectacular over the past week and continues to delight, especially nice that it can be seen from the kitchen window.  Last season it bloomed 4 times over the course of the season, a real winner.

What have I been up to since last I wrote?  Learning more about bird banding over at Prairie Ridge and taking a few bird walks around here in search of spring migrants, they seem a bit late due to the cool weather.  I've organized work days and planting at the community garden. I went to a two-day writing workshop on "Those who shape us - character portraits"  with my long time teacher Carol which was really good, now I need to put the learning into practice as I continue to work on a long piece about "my life in food" and my early days in Austin, Texas.

We've had two more meetings of the garden club mob, one at a new garden and one at Spanish for Fun Academy child care center.  This was our "community service" effort of the group as one of our members works at SFF and has no garden space at home.  I have been working with them for 2 years on their naturalized play space, adding more bit by bit. Click here for photos of the play space over time, I was just looking at them and its kind of amazing how it has changed, going from having nothing growing there to adding 16 trees, many shrubs, blueberries, apples, strawberries and a fig tree, veggie and flower beds- remarkable! 

Yesterday I  worked like a maniac all day trying to get the rest of our summer veggies planted before the next long rainy period which started just about the time I could no longer stand up straight last evening and is to continue through Wednesday!  I was a success, planted 16 assorted pepper plants that I started from seed back in March; red, yellow and orange bells, Carmen Italian stuffing, Hungarian round pimentos, one Serrano, one new Mex Joe Parker and one Marconi Gold yellow Italian.  I also prepped beds and sowed 3 kinds of cukes; Tasty Jade, Diva and Suyo Long, 3 kinds of squash; sunburst patty pan, romanesco costato zucchini, and yellow crook neck- the seed viability test of the year with seeds from 2000!  I sowed 3 kinds of beans, are we picking up a theme here?  Roc d'or yellow wax, Tavera haricot verts and Pension Italian flat. I also set out some basil and parsley plants.

I had managed to get most of the tomatoes in back around April 15th, but yesterday I added 4 cherry tomato plants to round out the tomato planting to a total of 28 plants.  This years goal was to have more plum tomatoes for sauce and canning and fewer slicers, but because we like so many kinds and want a variety, I still planted more than we probably need.  Seven Mariana hybrid romas and 7 Red Agate romas, and a couple of each; Cherokee purple, Georgia streak, Celebrity, Bolseno, Mosckvich and beef steak, and the four cherries; Sungold, Sundrop, Bi-color and Sweetie.  I think we won't see a shortage of mates this season!

I will leave you with a couple of photos of clematis that have started to bloom in the past couple of weeks, they're very happy with all the rain.  Here is Niobe, transplanted last year to this sunnier spot, it grew and grew but never flowered, this year it is covered with buds.
 This is Nelly Moser below, very happy on the fence between the veggie garden and the lawn.
and up close
I'm glad for all the rain, but am looking forward to warmer weather, it is May after all, seems weird to have the heater running.  I'll try to write more this month, there is certainly plenty to write about!

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