Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vegetables Already!

We got a good rain overnight, which is the first significant rainfall we have had in months -- not really surprising in this semi-arid desert climate.  This will be good for BC's wildfires, though the lightning is still unwanted.
Spinach and other vegetables in the stock tank raised beds
The stock tank raised beds are offering up some great spinach at the moment.  The only quandary is finding recipes for spinach that children find appetizing.  We will have to do some internet searching or hand it out free to willing friends and neighbours.

I inter-planted the spinach with carrots so that the carrots will continue on when the spinach is done.  Of course, we planted "rainbow" colored carrots, as kids love the novelty of interesting colored vegetables.  I surely hope they EAT THEM too.

Tomato Time!
Corn starting to come up in the "Three Sisters" plot

I transplanted my tomatoes outside this weekend, filling another two stock tanks.  I am trying a variety of heirloom varieties, including Costoluto Genovese, Omar's Lebanese, Black plum, and Black cherry tomato.  I am also growing a hybrid cherry tomato called "Jelly Bean".  Besides its appealing name, it has good disease resistance and bears large clusters of oval-shaped fruits.  They grow very tall, so will be needing support systems.

Scallions and marigolds in raised bed
I was going to put all the tomatoes into the stock tanks, but Gardener-man appeared distressed when I mentioned driving tomato supports into the raised beds.  This is because there is a membrane separating the water reservoir on the bottom from the sand layer in the middle.  Also, all of my tomato plants are indeterminate (vs. determinate), which means that their vertical growth doesn't stop after reaching their genetically-determined height.  They will keep getting taller all season.  We will have to come up with a support system that is compatible with the stock tank raised beds.  However, "Jelly Bean" will go into the ground near the asparagus and have the benefit of underground drip-watering.

Meanwhile, in the Flower Beds...

Shaded border - Cunningham white rhododendron
My Blanc Double de Coubert shrub rose is blooming and already dropping petals!  I was not prepared to have roses so early, but having moved from Saskatchewan makes these events seem astounding.  The rhododendrons around town are looking great and my still-tiny rhodos with white and red blooms are looking good, though barely visible except up-close.  The small-statured Rhododendron "Baden Baden" is in the rock garden and has already finished blooming, while  red "Vulcan" is presently looking great.  The "Cunningham's White" had an intermediate blooming time and is pictured here in this post.  I had a little panic episode this spring when I saw that the closed buds were PINK, but was relieved to see the flowers are indeed white.

Allium "Purple Sensation"
 My Allium "Purple Sensation" is the first bloomer of my ornamental alliums.  It will be finished before A. giganteum "Globemaster" blooms (which I am really excited to see, because it was never hardy in Saskatchewan).     
Table at the Summerland Ornamental Garden Plant Sale, May 9

I thoroughly enjoyed the Summerland Ornamental Gardens plant sale last weekend.  I heard in advance that it was very popular and that one should get there early, which I did, despite a puking child.  However, getting there at the official opening time of 8 am doesn't get mean you get there before the crowds of people.  Gardeners must be early-rising and highly-competitive sorts, because I had to drive down to the far-away overflow parking spots.  I think the keen gardeners before me had lined up in the early morning.  Fortunately, I wasn't after the bedding plants.  I had my eye on some native perennials and a few other unusual plants, like Echium amoenum "Red Feathers", which is now planted in the "desert bed" with a variegated yucca.  Although I don't want to swell the crowds for next year's plant sale, I must say that the prices were quite good and the selection quite nice.  They even were prepared to take interact and credit card! 


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