Monday, April 9, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase- Week 15

Garden Magic
This is the garden's magic, 
That through the sunny hours 
The gardener who tends it, Himself outgrows his flowers. 
He grows by gift of patience, 
Since he who sows must know 
That only in the Lord's good time, Does any seedling grow.
He learns from buds unfolding, 
From each tight leaf unfurled, 
That his own heart, expanding, Is one with all the world.
He bares his head to sunshine, 
His bending back a sign
Of grace, and ev'ry shower becomes, His sacramental wine.
And when at last his labors 
Bring forth the very stuff 
And substance of all beauty, This is reward enough.
-Marie Nettleton Carroll

I hope this week finds you happy, healthy, and excited about your garden.  It's been a mixed bag of goods around here this week.  Strong sustained winds in excess of 45 mph for a few days, some wonderful sunshine,  and 20 degree nights.  My plastic covered mini hoophouses have been hanging in there, so far.
My greenhouse is struggling to stay warm enough for my tender tomatoes and cucumbers at night.  Even with a space heater.  Until we get time to go down the mountain and get new wooden furrow strips that go under the lexan, we'll have lots of gaps for wind and cold to enter and for heat to escape from.
Today, I plugged some of these spaces with quilt batting.  I know it's a temporary fix, but I just need a few more weeks before I can safely plant tomatoes and cucurbits in the ground.  I am crossing my fingers, but I hope it works for now.
Can you see our new pet in the picture above?  It's a plastic owl.  We got him today, an act of desperation.  I have been getting spoiled planting everything under cold frames and row covers for a year now.  
I forgot about little birds and how they like to eat baby plants.  
Yesterday I planted about 300 seedlings.  Cold hearty ones like onions, radishes, beets, and pak choy only to find that this morning the little birds I have been feeding with my bird feeders were now feasting on the leaves of my baby plants...   
We spent Easter morning hastily tying mylar tape to anything that would hold it safely.  
When that didn't scare them, we went and got some garden yard art that waves in the wind, and eventually the owl...  He scared them off for less than an hour.  
My last effort was to cover everything in straw mulch for the night.  I am going to make a scare crow tomorrow, but I have a sinking suspicion that I will lose this batch of tender plants to birds before the week is out.  Oh well, you win some and you lose some.  I'll plant older plants that can sustain some bird damage next time.  
 I pruned my new pecan and almond trees.  My wonderful husband made me a few spacer bars to spread branches and get a nice open canopy on this little almond
 The garlic, celery, and onions are hanging in there.  They did get a bit too cold the other night.
  My new berry garden is coming along well.  This is a raspberry cane.
 I finally figured out where all that bright magenta pollen is coming from on my bees legs...  my crabapple tree.
My little ladies have been hard at work bringing in lots of pollen as often as weather permits.  They sure are alot hardier than I expected.  They work from dawn until dusk when it's not raining or too windy.  I enjoy watching them fly in with full pollen sacks.  

Notice the bigger, darker bees in the picture above, they're the male drone bees.  Did you know that drones die after mating?  Really.  Their male reproductive organ and some of the abdominal wall are ripped off during mating, killing them.  They do not have stingers either.  Stingers are ovipositors or modified egg laying instruments, the males do not have them, therefore they cannot sting you.  

April Garden Planning Checklist...
Plant seedlings (in progress)
start warm season vegetable seeds indoors (in progress)
plant flowers (DONE)
plant sweet pea fencelines (DONE)
plant Scarlet Red Runner Beans (DONE)
natural varroa mite control- sprinkle bees lightly with powdered sugar on frames weekly (in progress)
prepare new beds and terrace (DONE)
make garden plans for new plantings (DONE)
start herb seeds indoors (in progress)
start bee friendly flower seeds indoors (in progress)
build chicken coop for new chicks... (hubby made plans, will be starting soon)
keep adding to compost pile (in progress)

What have YOU been working on in YOUR garden this week???


  1. You have been busy . All looks good love the owl . The weather here is slowly picking up still have chilly winds but the sun is warm and all is growing and green ! Our planting of flower gardens wont be till the end of the month but all the spring flowers and buds have either bloomed or on their way to blooming ! Have a great day !

  2. Hello Elaine!
    I am looking forward to seeing your garden too once things warm up for you.

  3. Glad to see you are making progress. What a bummer about the birds eating your seedlings. Good luck.

  4. I just love watching your weekly progress here Heidi! You keep me on my toes!!!

  5. you are way ahead of me!! It is still freezing nights here in central Pa, so no summer crops yet..but oh does my lettuce and spinach and radishes look great. just so fun to garden!!
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.


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