Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Update: April 2013

We've had a relatively rainy April. Though the unpredictable weather has halted a lot of outdoor mural/painting projects, the plants in the garden are thriving and happy. Here's a quick look at what's been growing ...

Strawberry blossoms! We have 7 strawberry plants (one from last year and 6 other new ones) and they all look like they are doing well. It's so fun to see the flowers bloom, fall, and the little strawberries emerging. 7 plants seem like a lot but Zach is still convinced he's not going to have enough to eat!

zone 5 swiss chard

Swiss chard -- a new addition to the garden this year. I got the "bright lights" variety because I thought this would be a fun and delicious way to add some color in the garden. The seeds took no time at all to germinate, which is always a bonus! I've never actually eaten chard before, so this should give us plenty of opportunities to explore and experiment with new recipes ...

dwarf gray sugar pea shoots

Pea shoots (dwarf gray sugar). I've already harvested a round of these! These little happy campers love the rain and gloom. They are so easy to grow, and you can harvest them in a week! Cut them above the first set of leaves and they'll come back even stronger! We've been eating these in salads, but another easy way to prepare pea shoots, is to saute with freshly minced garlic and a sprinkle of salt. You can add some sesame oil if you like, but resist the urge to douse the dish with oyster sauce!

zone 5 blueberries

We have 4 blueberry bushes and 3 of them have these clusters on them. We've been waiting a year for blueberries so I'm hoping we'll get some this year!

Dill. We grew a little pot of them so we have plenty to put into yogurt sauces and egg salads. Yum.

Last year we struggled to get the Japanese shiso growing. This time around, we've ditched the Japanese variety for the Vietnamese kind and they seem to be growing well. I'm still not sure what we'll do with the shiso but I guess there's plenty of time left to figure this out.

Cilantro and parsley. We grew them in long planter boxes because these were the herbs that we didn't seem to be able to get enough of! The cilantro seeds germinated fairly easily. The parsley is about a week or 2 behind. We're planning to sow these successively so we can hopefully have a nice and steady supply of both this year. 

Our raised planted filled with greens ...

Kale. I thought the kale would love the slightly chilly spring weather but these have really taken a while to grow. Maybe we need to fertilize them more, or maybe I'm just too impatient!

zone 5 bok choy

Speaking of being impatient, these are the dwarf baby bok choy that I thought would grow in just a couple of weeks. It's been a month now and they are still just little, tiny plants. Grow bok choy! Grow fast so the bugs and worms don't eat you bare like they did last year!

zone 5 dwarf peach mandarin tree

This is our dwarf mandarin peach tree. The flowers are a striking fuchsia color that the camera simply cannot capture. I'm excited to see this tree come back to life. We left it out all winter and have been keeping our fingers crossed ...

Blue sky salvia, with little flowers starting to show!

Borage. We decided to grow borage because I read somewhere that borage deters a good number of pests in the garden. Borage is apparently also good for attracting bees. I'm not usually a fan of anything that crawls or flies, but I'm learning that bees are our friends.

Our raspberry shortcake bush! We are so excited that this plant came back to life! We didn't have high hopes for it. The lady at Bennett's didn't have high hopes for it either. But this little plant surprised us all and I am so happy for it! I doubt we'll have any fruits this year, but that's okay. We'll just focus on it growing big and strong. Anything beyond the 2 existing twigs will be a treat.

zone 5 improved meyer lemon indiana

An improved meyer lemon tree. We bought this earlier in the month, and have been carrying it in and out the house so it can get some sun but not freeze overnight. It's a lot of work, but we're not complaining ... yet. The little blossoms smell heavenly and the flowers look so pretty it's hard to stay mad at a plant as awesome as this!

This dark leaf clover plant is my favorite in the garden. And that's quite the surprising choice considering how we can't eat it! I just love the dancing leaves and the cheerful demeanor of the plant. The leaves open in the sun and close back up at dusk. How special. :)

** sidenote: we planted tomatoes, celery, and beans today!

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