Friday, June 5, 2009

Garden Update, End of May

It's amazing to me how far my little garden has come. Everything is in its place and growing happily, which is a huge relief. As an added bonus, the strange and semi-wild jungle that is most of my yard is producing all sorts of interesting and beautiful things. I have three rosebushes that produce these beautiful blush pink roses. They don't last too long as cut flowers--too floppy with spindly little stems. The one bouquet I made took forever to assemble due to the thorns and only lasted a day or two. But on the bush they last for much longer, and they make me happy every time I come home.

The tomato and basil starts I bought at the end of April are doing quite well. Each tomato got transplanted into its own big plastic pot with a mixture of compost, potting soil, and slow-release plant food. They were put outside in the middle of May, against a south-facing wall with lots of sun. One of the big problems with tomatoes in Seattle is that they don't get enough heat, so I covered my three large-sized tomatoes with a clear plastic sheet to act as a sort of greenhouse. Didn't have enough to cover all four, but I decided that the cherry tomatoes would probably ripen on their own, even without a bit of extra heat. The plastic also helps keep rain off their leaves--tomatoes really don't like being wet. The pots are mostly sheltered by the roof of the house, but it doesn't hurt to be extra sure.

I decided to buy a tomato cage for each of them, as the wooden trellis I was planning to use was too thick and blocked too much sun. They took forever to grow tall enough to reach the first ring of their cages, but now that they're there, they're taking off! Each has lots of adorable little yellow flowers, and I even have my first little green tomatoes! Oh my goodness I'm so excited.

My basil is trucking along patiently, almost tall enough for me to lop off the tops to encourage bushiness. I'm hoping to keep this basil growing year-round (indoors, when necessary), so I want him to get big and bushy instead of bolting. More leaves = more pesto = more happiness. Some critter has been munching a bit on the lower leaves, but it's not too bad. *Cross my fingers that I don't jinx my otherwise bug-free plants.*

My housemate Alison also started a bit of a veggie garden. She's planted cilantro, three different types of beans (from seed! super impressive), red lettuce, lavender, and three types of peppers. We help each other remember to water and generally coo over our baby plants together. It's really rather dorky, but we love it.

Go little bean sprout, go!

With the exception of our veggie patch, though, we've done almost nothing with our garden. There isn't much incentive to landscape your rental house nicely or to keep it looking clean and tidy, so the yard is a full on mess. It looked like there was nothing there over the winter, but it's just been busting out round after round of amazing things. First came the daffodils, then a veritable forest of what I think were bluebells, and now a smattering of a variety of things. They're not exactly weeds because they're not unwanted, but they are moderately wild. Whatever grows, grows. It's a bit of an adventure watching it all unfold.

First to catch my eye this past week were these tiny little pink flowers. I thought they looked like mini orchids, but Alison says they're wild peas. I wonder if they'll make any edible pods?

Alison also ID'd this as a Columbine, and a quick Google search seems to agree. She was ecstatic to see them, as they remind her of being in the mountains. I'm not sure I've ever seen them, though. Must not be in my native chaparral mountains much. :)

These little yellow guys seem so happy. They're kind of waxy-shiny for a flower, which strikes me as odd. I understand the biological importance of a cuticle on leaves, but why on petals?

These purple flowers are yet another mystery. At first thought they were violets, but then discovered (again, thank you Google), that violets have five petals and these only have four. Anyone have an idea what they could be?

The last few days have been really hot for Seattle, with highs of 85-90 degrees. I checked on my plants this morning, and they've grown so much in the nine days since I took these pictures! White irises have popped up out of nowhere, the bean sprouts are almost five inches tall, my zucchini and sqaush suddenly look like they're doubling in size every day, and all four of the tomatoes now have stems reaching the highest hoop of their cages. But really, the most exciting thing is still this... baby tomatoes are growing!

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