Thursday, June 30, 2005

Now even white trashier

On Caruthers Street, there is a profusion of flowers. Can't even tell you everything that's blooming. My species cannas have successfully transplanted and started flowering about a week ago. Some blue flower I had last year has come back with a vengance, though it's supposed to be annual. My first tiny tomatos have appeared, one on the Early Girl and one on the heritage red cherry.

In the back yard, where I previously tried to plant sunflowers, I've put in six healthy raspberry bushes that were given to me by Kerry (Keri? Kerrie? Carrie? whatever) at her birthday party this past weekend.

Also back there, the garlic bulbs I planted have two inch sprouts. They'll make a nice little bed of plants. And right in front of them the only flowers that sprouted from all those different seeds I planted are coming right along. I beieve they're Money Plants.

Two of my mystery weeds have turned out to be exactly what I thought they were. One Bothe was wild carrot, AKA Queen Anne's Lace. The other is plantain, AKA plantago AKA psillium. The flower stalks of the latter is where the fiber in Metamucil comes from. Both former mystery weeds are now in bloom.

In a charming copper kettle I found recently, I crammed several small mystery weeds from under our camellia bush. They are the sweetest little plants with tiny bright blue flowers. I love them, and it seems hard to believe that they are actually a weed. I really need to go over to Portland Nursery to see if I can ID them.

On the fence next to the parking lot, I've hung up yet another coffee can and planted flowers in it. Sticking with the trailer trash theme, as you can tell. In the can, I've planted some nasturtiums that had sprung up on their own in a shady spot.

Among my upcoming projects, I'm thinking about planting some spelt, the grain, which I sprouted & ate recently. It inspired me to try gardening with it. After all, it would be just a decorative grass, basically. I like the way grain stalks look too, and they'd add some interest to the fall/winter garden. Can't figure out where to put them though.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Free rhubarb

At Reed, I mostly just weeded and picked stuff.

-Got another big handful of snow peas, with more on the way, it looks like. I've picked this many about six or seven times off of maybe half a dozen small plants. They've produced very well.

-Got five more medium sized turnips.

-Cut almost completely down the last of the three giant Siberian Kales. It was the largest and was fully in bloom. Even had seed pods, and as a result had few leaves of any size. Still, there was som much of the plant that I got a huge sack full of greens. Right now, the other two previously cut down kales are small flowering shrubs. Not sure if they'll rebound or not. Didn't want to pull them out just to see what'll happen.

-Planted a free pattypan squash seedling. Pattypans are the ones that look like flying saucers.

-My Arugula is fully flowering and so tall that it's falling over. I figure I'll just pick little bits for salads from her on out.

-My Rose Finn potatos are flowering, despite being fairly small, while my other potatos are large but not flowering, looking a bit leggy and unhappy actually.

-There was finally one little raspberry on my canes. More ahead. Other people's berries are producing abundantly. A neighbor's marionberries are ripening in profusion. Would love to grow some of those I was thinking that I could just pick some berries and plant the seeds. Not sure how well that would work.

-The volunteer daisies are dying back, and I cut off all the heads in preparation for moving the whole huge plant to my house, though now I am wondering if I should. It was nice to have the flowers.

-Elephant garlics are blooming just now.

-Though I sprinkled around quite a bit of chard seed, I only got three little seedlings. To those, which luckily grew all in a row and evenly spaced, I added three more chard starts that I got for free this past weekend.

Everything else in the garden is surviving, but not making the headlines. I always check the "free" area of the garden where people put stuff they don't want, and this time someone had piled a big stack of rhubarb stalks. Seems to be a few punds at least, enough for two crumbles. That was a particularly nice surprise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sperm trees

The nights have finally gotten warm, and an unmistakable harbinger of summer scents the evening air. The sperm trees are giving off pollen, and they smell powerfully and unmistakably like semen. I've always really loved it when I'd smell them riding around on my bike on a balmy night in Atlanta, and now that I'm in Portland, I'm glad they have sperm trees too.

It took me years to figure out which tree was producing the smell, then more time to figure out what they were called. They're Ailanthus altissima, AKA "Tree of Heaven." They're considered weeds, since they'll grow out of cracks in a city sidewalk, get really big really fast, and undermine building foundations. But they will also grow into large, attractive, slightly tropical looking trees. The most disagreeable thing to most people, is the scent, though it's what I like.

So, if you're riding around on your bike in the early summer, and you get a whiff of deeply funky semen in the air, now you know where it came from-- the Tree of Heaven.



Caruthers roundup

Been doing a lot of planting around Caruthers Street. Mostly, it's been flowers, since my roommate decided we needed some cool colors to compliment all of the yellows & oranges in the yard. She went and got some lariope, and some other blue & purple bedding flowers, and planted them in the front. Our flower beds are looking great now.

Another thing I planted is a mystery weed that I think is feverfew. I found it growing in a weedy patch on the side of the house and moved it to the front because I liked the little white flowers.

The sunflowers I planted first this season (next to the fence) are almost three feet high & will probably be blooming soon.

The cosmos in the median go their first bloom yeaterday. Purple & cute.

The species cannas have started to bloom finally. Nice to have some red in the front.

All of the naturtiums everywhere are now blooming in profusion. All of the little clumps of them in the front are still small, but blooming well nonetheless. The hanging planters on the back portch look wonderful.

Planted some sprouting garlics a couple of days ago. Might get a bed of scapes out of it by fall. Put them in the border in the back yard, since very little else wants to grow back there.

Planted some thai hot peppers in the front and in a small pot a couple of days ago. They're still very small, but I'm hoping the room will help them. Whatever. I scraped the seeds from out of a pepper; so anything that comes of it will be great.

For about a week now, there have been red strawberries on my plants. They're mostly just decorative, since the slugs usually get them before I do. The ones I ate were tasty though.

All of the more recently planted sunflowers have been reluctant to sprout. I've havn't gotten more than one or two seeds to germinate. I'll just have to plant more! It's warm now. Maybe they'll sprout finally.

Just harvesting

Buzzed by my Reed garden for a quick weeding and harvesting session.

Got several big turnips and a big bag of greens to go with 'em. So far, I've gottn about 6 good sized ones, with about 15 to 20 still getting bigger in the plot. They've really produced well and been trouble free, and I'm definitely going to plant more later in the season for late fall.

It's all gone hopelessly to seed, but I'm going to leave it in place in the hope of getting a few leaves here & there throughout the summe to toss in a salad. Today, I pulled a few whole plants in order to thin the bed.

Snow Peas
I picked another big handful of snow peas today, which is about the fifth buch I've gotten. Pretty amazing for five or six little plants. They've been very easy to grow, take up very little space, and produce abundantly. I'll be planting more again next year for sure.

The acorn & delicata squashes I planted in hills are doing quite well, though still seedlings. I had to thin the hills.

Doing well. Flowers, but no berries yet. Healthy looking plants. I dug up the empty areas in the row to make the soil more inviting for new canes.

All the tomatos are surviving, if growing slowly. Some have flowers & may soon produce fruit, though they're still small plants. I've been pulling the suckers from the branches. Not sure what that's supposed to do. We'll see if it helps.

Both patches are doing quite well, and I'm betting there'll be taters a plenty this fall. Makes me wonder why everyone doesn't plant potatos.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More of the same

At Reed, I got more kale, snowpeas, garlic scapes, and turnip greens. Got my first full size turnips this time though. They was purty. Since the previously planted tomatillos were eaten by slugs, I planted more of them--three this time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Summer crops

It's finally beginning to get warm and a few summer crops are going in at Reed.

I dug one of the sunnier beds that was still covered and put in three eggplants that I grew from seed. In the bed with the other tomatos, I put in two tomatillos. They're tiny & may not make it. Got a large handful of snowpeas, some arugula trimmings, some turnip thinnings with very small turnips attached, and garlic scapes from neighbor.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Filling in the gaps

At Caruthers, in the front herb bed, I filled in the last open areas with two sad little eggplant seedlings and one more red cherry tomato plant (courtesy of Sauvie's Island Garden share).

Unfortunately, the benevolent Mexican lawn crew that mows the grass for the bar next door chopped down most of my new "Guerrilla flowers.