FINALLY! Wind Is Gone and the Temperatures Are UP! GARDENING UPDATE!

~~By NM-Girl (IA)

Well, I’ve been slaving away in the garden every moment I have over the last few days. A couple of days ago, it happened. You could tell.

The winds died down and instead of the cool weather, we started feeling warm. Warm enough to make the car hot during the time I was in the store shopping.  Warm enough to make some of the plants look a little wilted midday.  It’s all about the sun–today it’s overcast, but for the last few days the sun has been stronger.  I’m already tanning if I go out for just a few minutes without my sun gear.

I have a big hat with a flap which covers my neck and an array of long-sleeved shirts that I use when I walk the dogs and go to the mailbox.  No matter how hot it gets–and it gets HOT–I still put those things on.  I’m sure people think I’m nuts.

Saturday I planted the new Belle of Georgia peach. Even with a pre-existing hole (after I pulled out the old tree), it was still a huge job as I enlarged the whole and mixed in a lot more compost and root stimulator.

On Sunday I planted a lot of the pots and sweet potato slips.  Yesterday, I moved around a lot of extra stones which I was getting out of the way while preparing the spot for the new chocolate flower.  In the morning, this perennial does smell like chocolate. I killed one a couple of years ago in the wrong spot, so I’m trying again. I’m going to wait to see if rains tonight or tomorrow before digging so I can take advantage if any moisture helps soften up the  hard concrete-like sandy “soil.”

So, here are some pics of where things are now in the garden!

The honeysuckle is blooming now…

Blooming honeysuckle...

Blooming honeysuckle...

The cactus is sprouting…

Cactus awakening...

Cactus awakening...

The mockingbird surveys the scene below:

2009_0421gardenfinallyspring0024

Here’s a view across the covered patio looking toward the vegetable beds:

2009_0421gardenfinallyspring0030From the opposite direction to the other side of the yard:

2009_0421gardenfinallyspring0031The far corner of the yard where the white-tailed doves and rock squirrels eat cracked corn…a vitex tree starting to leaf out by corner…

2009_0421gardenfinallyspring0032Lots of fruit is growing now…and the squirrel was spotted in the yard…more next time!!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 11, 2009) Carnage in the Garden; Blossoms; Harvesting Water; Empty Clouds; Spoiled Squirrels

Originally Posted at InsightAnalytical

~~By NM-GRL (IA)

This has been such a windy week that it’s been hard getting plants into pots, but by yesterday I had planted petunias, dianthus and a couple of peppers I had split off and saved for their pots on the patio.

In the raised beds, there has been absolute carnage as the little crickets are out in full force and the pill bugs have been nipping at lettuce and chard. In fact, I was horrified today to see some very nice chard seedlings GONE!!!

Over at our sister site Open Range Ramblings, we’ve been focused on fruit. Here’s a bit more…

Apricot blossom

Apricot blossom

So far, that blossom is the only one on the tree. In case you’re wondering what that odd thing in the background is, it’s my new “rain barrel”. What rain we get comes mostly in the form of huge downpours during the monsoon season during the summer. So, I’m hoping “harvest” about 50 gallons of water this summer.

Yesterday was rather cloudy but no rain! This is typical of this area…you really think there’s a chance…but nothing materializes most of the time. However, the sky does do some interesting things…the light here is always fascinating.

No rain after all...

No rain after all...

The squirrels are out, but I don’t see them too often. I’m thinking there’s some day care going on for little squirrels. The squirrels have been knawing at a cactus I planted last year, so I put water out for them near the wall. Nearly every day I toss the vegetable scraps over the wall for them to feast on. They must be fairly happy because this is the first year I haven’t found a huge hole being dug in the raised beds.

Obviously, my rock squirrels are pampered, in the hopes that they don’t have to rely on marauding through my garden TOO much. Chicago Correspondent Leslie sent this along awhile ago, and it describes the kind of life my squirrels receive:

 ...at the spa

...at the spa

Even though they need constant pampering, I have to admit the little ones are adorable, so I’ll be looking out to their debut and will hopefully be able to catch a few shots!

Have a great week outside!

The Fruit is Growing!

~~By NM-GRL (IA-GRL)

Well, yesterday about noon the winds started.   So before they kicked up I went out and got some pictures of the various fruits I’m growing…

But first, here’s a picture of the garden “under wraps.”  Because I knew the wind was coming, I watered the plants and then put the covers that I’ve been using overnight back on.  It was easier that putting up the “windbreak” that you see draped around the edge of the raised beds. Tomorrow, the plants will be in the sun again since the winds will be gone.

Ready for the wind...

Ready for the wind...

As you can see, the Flame grape  is already growing like crazy, complete with the beginnings of bunches of grapes!!

A baby bunch of grapes...

A baby bunch of grapes...

The first figs are about the size of a ping pong ball now…

Yummy, a fig!

Yummy, a fig!

Last but not least, the peaches…I sure hope I can get the bags on one of the days before the squirrels get to them!! (You can see the tree to the right in the corner in the garden picture above.)

More ping pong-sized fruits...PEACHES!

More ping pong-sized fruits...PEACHES!

This may be the most peaches I’ve seen on this tree since I’ve had it. We’ve had a very mild winter and the peaches have grown big enough to withstand the winds (so far!).

This is a standard “Ranger” peach which I’ve kept small.  It grows like crazy in this warm corner.

Eventually, I want to remove it and put something in that won’t be “fooled” into an early bloom.

The tree I bought a few years ago and moved last year doesn’t seem to be waking up at all, although I was doing fine after I transplanted it last fall.  I’m not quite sure if it’s just slow or dead!  The buds have separated from the branches, but they dont’ seem to be doing much. This is the tree I’m hoping to have producing before I take out the Ranger.

I moved one of the artichokes today because I thought it need more sun. Besides, I may be using the space if my big plan actually swings into gear. I’ll know more on Friday…

Hope the weather is good wherever you are today…