Monday, March 30, 2015

The fruit and nut varieties we planted this year


Cox's Orange Pippin



Pink Lady

Frost Peach

Methley Japanese Plum

Hall's Hardy Almond

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring, glorious spring

Every gardener spends this time of year watching the soil carefully for signs of anything coming to life. Today was that day here in Sidney. The newly planted potato patch sent up its first leaves. I planted four varieties and the first to come up were my brother Steven's Quebec potatoes and the Compassion Farm potatoes. I do not know the real name of either. 

I moved on to the onion patch. Both red and white are up a couple of inches. 

I was standing on my deck admiring and looking around. I was really surprised to see that I have some healthy and good sized asparagus spears. 

The rhubarb is large enough that within a couple weeks, I'll make a crisp. 

I love this time of year. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A tour of the March garden

So much is blooming and about to bloom, I just had to share it.

An oncidium orchid about to bloom. Thank you Edie.

A huge pale lavender in the East yard coming back to life. 

Blueberries about to burst into bloom.

My Fallgold raspberry is budding.

I love close ups of fruit tree blossoms.

The plum tree.

My French Lilac in budding like mad. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paths cleared and Raspberry's planted

Today Allan and I planted 25 bare root Tulameen Raspberry plants and two that were in large pots from last spring. I made the new paths around the beds. Allan will still need to build the framework support for the wire. Thank you Dinter Nursery for the superb plants. Doesn't this look beautiful.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A trip to Dinter Nursery

We headed up Island to Duncan today. I needed to go and pick up my 25 Tulameen Raspberry's. I purchased some a few years ago from our local nursery and they were contaminated with Root Rot. I was not willing to try that again. The berry's at Dinter Nursery just south of Duncan are always immaculate and healthy looking. They also carefully arrange their plants by variety. Very neat, tidy and refreshing. Dinter Nursery is a dream. Bernie Dinter was extremely helpful and guided me through the different options very patiently by email. 
After we arrived, I was strolling around...of course...and stumbled on roses. I could not believe it. They had the two David Austin roses I planned to get this year. Abraham Darby and Constance Spry.

Abraham Darby

Constance Spry (a good climber). I want to make an archway in the new garden out of this variety. if that wasn't good enough, there was a Nikko Blue Hydrangea. I wanted one of these for the front garden next door so it will look different from this yard. So now I have some serious planting to do!!

Nikko Blue Hydrangea

Monday, March 16, 2015

So why is this little weed such a big deal?

If you've been following this blog for a while, you will remember my battle with my nemesis, the buttercup. They would be rooted in our concrete clay soil, did not die with my sure fire vinegar weed killer and finally I had to cover a whole area with black landscape fabric for about two years. 
I was watching the Back to Eden video last year and when I saw them pulling out dandelions with their whole root systems, I thought, 'that would be my most glorious moment in gardening'. Today I pulled out this buttercup. I have never seen a buttercup root before. The roots break very easily so they stayed in the clay, ready to regrow. So this was one of those moments in gardening that make you smile and say 'I think I'm getting this'.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Keep your newly planted fruit trees damp.

Last week we planted out many bare root fruit trees. You must remember to keep them watered. We gave each a good watering today while we did other chores.

These beautiful narcissus planted between the blueberries absolutely glowed in the sun today.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Last fall I planted potatoes the Back to Eden way.

I planted some potatoes in the fall the way Paul Gautschi does in his Back to Eden garden. As he is harvesting he puts the largest most perfect potatoes back in. He does not cut the potatoes up either, as that is not how it would happen in nature. 

This is the result of the experiment so far. I did this short row as a test. Doesn't it look great. The potato plants are about six inches tall. So far so good. I am going to plant the very large potato patch the conventional plant in the spring, but I will switch the whole system over at harvest time. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Our first vegetables planted in the Back to Eden garden.

Once I had the paths in place on the east side of the garden, it meant the onions and the potatoes could go in. I got the red onions in. 

This incredible device was made by my grandfather in the 20's or 30's when he was at his gardening peak. It was given to me by my Dad for Christmas. It is incredible to use. There is more cord on here than I could use in these yards. This row of onions is about 35' long.

I raked up the large sticks from the wood chips that went in in the fall. Ran the cord and furrowed down through the wood chip mulch down to soil and placed the onion sets there and covered them over. On the package it said to plant the sets one inch deep. You don't plant the same way in a BTE garden. They need to go down where the soil is. I then watered them in. 

Onion sets. 

Monday, March 09, 2015

A glorious day in the garden. About half of the paths are done.

It was so beautiful today I cannot put it into words. It must have been close to 15 in the yard next door. I dressed in layers and ended up in my tshirt.

What made it so glorious besides the heat and sun? Two weeks ago I was bending way over and weeding and popped my rib. It is a loud pop where the bottom rib joins with the cartilage part of the rib. POP and then excruciating pain. I don't know what actually happened from a medical perspective....but I felt like I'd broken it. It was so painful I was actually thinking 'If it doesn't get better soon, I'm going to ask if I can have the rib removed'. That kind of pain. 

So that I could go out and get some work done was the best feeling. I took it slow and easy. I raked through the mulch very slowly and made some paths. The paths took about three, maybe four hours?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

What the heck happened to my forsythia?

I went to check on the yard when I returned from Hawaii. It is so warm on Vancouver Island it was a smooth transition temperature wise. I stopped to look at my forsythia bush which looked odd. As you can see the outer branches were cleanly cut on an angle with, I assumed, sharp pruners. The branches were left on the ground. I took them in and put them in water to flower inside. I was completely confused why anyone would want to hack all but four branches off my forsythia and then leave the prunings behind. Was it malicious?

I was showing Amanda the damage. Just like me she was confused as to why!! We strolled a bit and I noticed the lower branch on my fig was cut the same way. The branch wasn't visible from the street. Okay....what!?

Then the light went on. Amanda had been telling me that while we were gone she and Noel saw two rabbits in our yard. We have not had rabbits in the 36 years we've lived here. So I didn't recognize the damage. Here are some Google images of rabbit 'prunings'. Doesn't it look like a nice pair of Felco Pruners did this. Mystery solved.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Dwarf fruit tree mini-orchard has been planted

Today Allan and I planted eight fruit trees. Six planted next door and two in our yard. In our yard we planted a Frost Peach tree on our south facing wall and a Methley (Japanese) Plum in our yard to pollinate the Shiro. 

Next door we planted Apples on M26 root stock. 

             Cox's Orange Pippin
             Early Pink Lady (aka Maslin) 

I also put a Frost Peach on the back wall of the house house next door. When we bring down the Fir tree I will put the Halls almond tree in its place. 

I have a spare Honeycrisp Apple to plant. I have buried the roots of the almond and Apple in wood chips until I can get them planted.