Monday, April 29, 2013

The Grackle Moon

Thursday was April's full moon, and I'd say that the warm-season crops are just about all planted. Finally time to relax a little bit after the frantic March and April planting season and watch things grow.

Here is the front garden. The only thing left to do is mulch that last bed, but I'm waiting until the pole beans get a bit bigger and start climbing the poles. Getting the front garden ready took up a lot of my time, so some of the planting was a little late this year.

I put sticks over the ground to keep the neighbor's chickens from digging up the sprouting beans. That seems to be working so far.

Most of the peppers that survived the winter are coming back nicely. I transplanted them to the front garden, but I'm afraid a few of them might not have survived the trip. Or maybe they're just taking their time.

The tomatillos already have lots of fruit on them. The husks grow first, and then the fruit grows into them (right now the fruits are about the size of marbles).  I got the seeds from an online trade, and they were supposed to be purple tomatillos, but they sure don't look like it to me.

In the back, the Tuscan kale is starting to bolt. I think I'll go ahead and let them and save seeds from them. I'm not going to plant anything in that spot anymore. It's too shady. Too close to an oak tree. The Elephant garlic is starting to make scapes, but it looks like the Romanian Red garlic is all dead now.

The potatoes are starting to turn a little yellow, and I can't tell if that means they're starting to finish up and get ready for harvest, or if they haven't been getting enough water.

The arugula seed pods are starting to dry and shatter. I've been going out there and clipping pods off to save seeds, but a lot of seed is ending up on the ground anyway. I guess I'll have lots of arugula volunteers.

I just planted some Calico lima beans around two bean tepees right next to this year's new pepper plants. I put these pepper plants in the back to isolate them from the peppers in the front for seed saving purposes.

I've started harvesting peas, but only enough to eat fresh right off the plant. The peas are turning out to be a disappointment this year. I think it's a combination of planting them late (after we moved here in March), a dry winter, and then the trellis I made for them keeps falling down and damaging the plants. I'll do better next time, when I will plant them in fall (like I usually do) so they can grow through the winter, and I'll be sure to build a much sturdier trellis for them.

The fava beans are starting to make pods. I'm not sure if I'll have enough to eat some, or if I should just let the seeds mature to increase my seed supply and plant more this fall.

The herb garden is doing great. The roses are finally starting to bloom, about a month later than they did last year. I trimmed back the esparanza and now it's coming back.

I planted watermelons, squash, cucumbers, cantelope, and okra seeds in pots to buy me a little more time to decide where I want to plant them, and to let some of my winter crops finish out before I plant them out. Also, some of the seeds were kind of old, so I wanted to make sure they were going to germinate. I also have basil plants in pots I need to plant out soon.

I've been getting lots of compliments from neighbors about my front yard vegetable garden. I'm really glad I did that. I think it might actually be a better spot than the one in the back (less shade, less rocky), and I'm feeling rebellious because a lot of neighborhoods don't allow front yard vegetable gardens at all. It's like I'm stickin' it to the Man!

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