First Strawberry

Check out this strawberry!

Connor was SO excited to see that the first Aromas strawberry was ripe. We planted them last spring, both in a large container and outside in the garden, and the container we overwintered in the sunroom brought forth ripe fruit this spring before the plants outdoors.

I gave it to him as part of his dinner tonight (along with our dinner frittata and a side of grapes and cheese cubes).

The consensus? “Blech!”

Really?

Yep. He let me finish the berry he’d bitten into, and while it looked red and it was quite juicy, it wasn’t nearly as sweet as a truly ripe berry should be.

So, let that be a lesson to us: once it looks ripe, give it a little more time — maybe a couple of days? The outdoor strawberries are going gangbusters with green berries right now, so we’ll get to try our hand at identifying ripe berries (and protecting them from the birds) soon enough.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: May 2017

Tulip ‘Angelique,’ the tree peony, the earliest red herbaceous peonies, and the dogwood blooms have all faded. Now my Zone 6 garden is preparing for the next wave of awesomeness.

Starting along the front fence, where passersby are most likely to enjoy the view for a few seconds as they speed past…

The Amur Honeysuckle is in bloom and throwing a magnificent scent.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: May 2017

The herbaceous peonies have been ready to pop for a couple of weeks, it seems.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: May 2017

The front fence used to be more festive in the spring, until one landscaper a couple years back thought my oriental poppies looked like broadleaf weeds and nuked them with Round-Up, and overmulched my Siberian Irises such that most of them didn’t make it. The ones that did make it got weed-whacked by our lawn guys earlier this spring; apparently, they looked like grass to someone.

Chalk it up to life experience, and the knowledge that gardens are mutable and ever-changing, anyway. Moving on…  (more…)

Garden Planning

Hobonichi Techo page

It’s quite possible that I’m trying to make my vegetable garden a smidge too crowded this year, even with the expansion from rounded to rectangle.

Im going to see if cucumbers will climb some twine supports up our decorative (read: nonfunctional) lamppost, and the zucchini will be growing up some sort of teepee or lean-to with twine supports. I bought spiral stakes for my tomatoes and eggplants this year, so that should keep crazy vining craziness in check. I may have too many varieties of basil… but I invariably lose a plant or two at some point, so I consider it insurance. (Plus, I’m planning to plant a few extras in containers, just in case.)

My son and I planted some carrots today: Bolero and Nelson. One is an early variety, and the other takes longer to mature. I’m planning to plant in shifts, so we have a longer harvest.

Some plants, like the paprika peppers, will go in the front garden (aka the cottage garden). Others will go in containers to be placed in various sunny spots where I won’t forget to water them regularly.

Here we go…

Veggie Garden Prepped and Ready

Veggie Garden before and after

This is the before and after of my modest vegetable garden plot. What was once a bare spot where a hydrangea and some annuals grew long ago has expanded over the past few years — and will likely continue to expand over time.

I had intended to get a couple bags of compost from the garden center of some box store to mix in with my soil, but it’s too late for that now. I should have already planted my carrots; instead, Connor and I will be sowing them tomorrow.

It’s been a chilly and wet May here in NW Ohio, and I’m not sure when Planting Weekend will be, but I’m glad to have the garden ready to go whenever I’m confident that we’ve seen the last frost.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: April 2017

Technically, Bloom Day was two days ago, but better late than never, yes? I actually did get out to take these photos on the 15th, but didn’t get around to posting them until tonight.

Here in my NW Ohio Zone 6 garden, spring seems to be a good week or two ahead of schedule. One day last week, all the spring bulbs decided it was time to bloom. (I mean that, too — I left for work at 8am to tightly closed daffodil buds and came home at 5pm to a yard full of nodding yellow heads.)

I don’t know what all these varieties are, as they came with the house when we moved in some four years back, but here they are:

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: April 2017 (more…)

You may be pleased to note, @relysh, that I will be continuing your tradition of sharing tomato plants at work. I maded too many maters.

Three flats of tomato plants

Strawberry Blossoms

I brought my strawberry bucket into my unheated sunroom last fall to overwinter. These beauties must be enjoying the greenhouse effect of the windows, as they’re already in bloom, just as the daffodils and hyacinths and cherry blossoms are doing their thing outside.

I did a little research to learn whether strawberry plants need pollinators, and the answer is — not really? The dark yellow bits need to come into contact with the light yellow center, whether by wind or other means. One gardener wrote that he usually rubs two blooms together, but that some people use a paintbrush to get the pollen where it needs to go.

After I took this photo, I pollinated the blossom by kind of pushing the pollen into place with my fingers. The next day, the petals were dropping and the center part was getting ready to strawberry itself.

Might be an extra bit of work on my part, but if I keep the strawberry bucket in the sunroom, I won’t have to worry about birds eating my damn berries.