We have had some excitement in the garden this week. Our plants are continuing to grow super fast from our week of excellent sun and we harvested our first few strawberries. I got some more seedlings planted and we spent quite a bit of time […]
I haven’t posted an update about the garden in a while since we got really busy and I ignored it for a bit…I am definitely paying for it now with weeding and chopping back, I mean pruning, the massive growth on our many ornamental bushes. I was keeping an eye on the bushes but we had a few days of sun and they seem to have all grown a foot and put out their flowers so I feel pretty bad about chopping those off. I tried to just trim where it was necessary such as along paths and to keep plants from growing too close to the house. This week I focused on weeding the larger weeds, installing soaker hoses in the vegetable beds and trimming back bushes where I could.
The bushes near the front of my house are starting to bloom and it will be gorgeous when all of the white flowers are out. I started the annual spring trim of these bushes so they don’t completely take over the front of the house but I didn’t get very far since it was so hot. I am hoping to finish next weekend but it will depend on the vegetable garden.
My gigantic Hydrangea bushes in the front have a couple of flowers just starting to bloom. I love these bushes and they were a selling point for me when we bought the house. I am a little concerned though because last year I spent many, many hours deadheading these bushes and even though I cut it back pretty severely last fall it apparently wasn’t enough to prevent massive growth. It seems to be extra bushy this year with lots of new branches and each and every one of them has a flower bud on it.
I am also concerned I will have the same problem this year as last year with the blossoms being to massive for the branches to support their weight when it rains. Most of the branches fell over last year and I had to cut the flowers strategically so that the branches didn’t break. I may have to cut these back even further this year and see how they do.
Our apple tree seems to be doing well. It is leaning a bit which is concerning but it did produce fruit! There are a few apples on a couple of the branches.
I was really excited to see them but I may end up pinching them off so the tree can grow a little more since it was planted only a year ago.
Our raspberries, blueberries and strawberries have quite a few fruit on them and the kids have been checking them periodically to see if they are ripe. I know once the blueberries begin to turn blue I will have a hard time keeping my three year old from sneaking over there and eating them before they are ripe. I did a little weeding in the fruit beds and pulled some of the outlying raspberry starts. There are way too many of them and I was afraid they would crowd the blueberries or the pear tree that is planted next to it. I may have to rethink my raspberries next year and move them into a planter to keep them from taking over my garden bed. I don’t have time this year though so that would be a project for fall.
In the vegetable beds we have some quick growing bush bean sprouts and some tiny broccoli starts. The beans popped up overnight. I took this picture on Sunday night, installed soaker hoses that night, turned them on for an hour and by Monday night the bean sprouts had doubled in size. I should hopefully be able to thin them this week.
Our watermelon (lower right) seems to be doing so-so. I think I may have left it too long in the cup since it has barely grown. The soil in the garden bed was a little dry so I am hoping that with the soaker hoses the plants will do better, despite my best efforts at watering.
We have flowers on our pumpkin plants! I am hoping the yellow one was pollinated by our busy bees!
Our squash and zucchini are doing well. I was having a hard time watering them without getting the leaves wet and I had to pull a few of the leaves off of them but they still had quite a few leaves so they should recover. Our cucumbers however bit the dust. I apparently planted them too early but thankfully I still have a couple of seed starts under the grow lights that I can harden off this week and get in the ground hopefully next weekend.
My lettuce is flourishing in it’s pot and my daughter has been grazing off of it every time we go outside to play. She will not eat salad but she helped grow this lettuce and has been helping water it for me and now she is actually eating it. It really shows how getting kids involved in gardening will help then expand their palates.
It is kind of hard to see but our asparagus is also blooming. They have not sent up any new shoots besides the first few in the spring but I think that is because we have kind of neglected them. They are pretty weedy and I may have forgotten to mulch them at the beginning of the season. I am hoping to at least get them weeded this week and possibly look into a large quantity of mulch to cut down on my weeding time in the future.
I did a rather hasty soaker hose install on Sunday night using rocks to keep my hoses down. I ordered clips a couple of weeks ago from Gardener’s Supply Store but they have not come yet. I am hoping to plant pole beans, luffa and peas this week so I will be moving the hoses around a bit next weekend to get a better fit.
They seemed to work ok. I ran them for an hour the first night and will try again in the morning. My soil probably needs some mulching in this bed so it will hold moisture better.
I had to get a little creative in the corner and I will have to hand water the marigolds but after an hour the area was pretty well soaked.
Here is a view of the entire set up. It is pretty ugly as is but after I tweak it a bit it should look better. Overall it worked pretty well. The carrot starts were a little iffy with the water so I may have to continue to hand water those but everything else seemed to get quite a bit.
I am really excited to see my vegetable garden take off in the next few weeks! What’s going on in your garden?
The weather has been cooperative so we made a huge amount of progress in the garden this week! Everything has been growing like crazy and most of the fruits are blooming which makes me very excited! My gigantic hydrangeas are almost all the way leafed out and there are the beginnings of blossoms on them and I can’t wait for them to be in full bloom. This weekend I tried to go to the plant sale to buy a ground cherry for our daughter but our son fell asleep while I was trying to find parking so I ended up just heading home and moving a bunch of plants out of our vegetable garden. Hopefully our mother-in-law will pull through and get us one from her friend because we tried finding them at Home Depot where we saw them last weekend and they were out. Maybe our daughter won’t notice if we don’t have them this year since we have so much else going on in the garden.
I spent some time moving smaller plants around in the front bed. I moved two succulents closer to the street in preparation for the fence going in and transplanted two flowers from the vegetable bed. I still have a couple of plants to move in this bed to make room for the fence but I don’t know where to put them yet. I might dig up some of the grass along the gravel strip and put them there but I haven’t decided.
I couldn’t really get a good before picture of the vegetable bed and show all of the plants since the one is gigantic, but I removed another butterfly bush (gave it to my mom) and shuffled the large bush and two white butterfly bushes down to the south side hill where friends dug up other plants last week. The move will be temporary since I will be eventually redoing the side yard but I don’t know exactly what to do with them yet so they will be there for at least a year, probably closer to two or three before they are moved again.
We also started to put our pest control fence in around the vegetable bed. We bought it at Home Depot and buried it a little bit around the edges just in case.
My husband tackled the big bush. It was pretty deep in there and had a huge root ball. I moved it to a dubious spot since the soil on the hill seems to be very shallow, much shallower than where we took the bush from. We have several of these bushes and they are pretty but they need to be trimmed back every month or so otherwise they take up way too much space. I just don’t have that sort of time with little kids right now so I am trying to pass them along to other people.
It got dark before I could take a really good after picture but basically there is a gigantic hole where the bush was removed that we will be filling in at some point in the next week or so. I am going to plant a bean house in that corner for the kids to play in while I garden. They will love it!
While I was out and about in the garden I took some pictures of what our plants are doing. All of the fruit trees, bushes and plants are blooming and our outdoor seed starts are doing well. Now that the vegetable bed is cleared out I am going to try to get everything into the ground this week and keep it protected from pests. Phew.
I am particularly pleased with our lettuce starts and strawberry tower. Most of the strawberry plants are growing and blooming and they will be fun for the kids to pick when they are ripe.
Our one potted tomato is doing well and has grown quite a bit. I need to get the other two into pots this week and plant our remaining hardened off seed starts. I still don’t know where to put the Hula berries but I need to decide this week.
Here are some of the flowers coming up along our walkway and my daughter’s fairy garden. Some of her flowers are past their prime but her hens and chicks are starting to spread out a bit. This pot is her responsibility and she loves to water it and take care of it. I may show her how to pinch back the dead flowers this week but I have to do it when our son is occupied so he doesn’t run over there on his own and “help”.
The remaining strawberries I planted on the slope are very healthy and growing super fast.
Our chocolate mint plant is spreading like a weed. We thought we had killed it last winter but it resprouted this spring and is doing it’s job of soil control on the slope opposite the strawberries.
We had a great time working in the yard this week! Hopefully by next week all of our vegetables will be in the ground and I will be able to get to the badly needed mulching and pruning!
What is going on in your garden this week?
This past weekend we started our work on completely overhauling our front bed. It was originally planted with all ornamental plants and last year we removed a couple of large bushes and installed a planter box we were gifted from our neighbor. After a winter […]
We have finally been able to make some progress on our garden this week. Our pumpkin and sunflower seedlings are growing well and are almost ready for hardening off and transplant. I checked this morning and the watermelon seedlings are just starting to peek through […]
To say the north side of my house was a hot mess is an understatement. The previous owners planted a bunch of bushes and some ivy along the property line and I honestly barely did any gardening back there last year so the weeds were out of control. I spent the entire gardening season trying to cut back the tremendous growth on all of my bushes in the front and south side yards. I am talking about chopping off 2-3 feet of growth in the spring and late summer on the same plants. It was crazy. Plus some sort of weed fairy blessed our yard with many, many weeds in all of the areas that were completely bare when we moved in so I spent many many hours hoeing and hand pulling weeds. My son was a baby last year and he hated the sun his first summer so my weeding time was pretty limited to begin with. Thankfully he has gotten over it and now loves to be outdoors.
I am still having a hard time getting over to the north side to garden because there is no fence over there and the ravine is just too close for comfort with little kids that like to run off and hide. I finally got around to cutting back the gigantic sword fern that is on our rock wall at the corner of the house and I found some not so fun things going on with our retaining wall.
Sword ferns need to be cut back in Late March/Early April although some of the reading I have been doing has said you don’t need to cut them back every year but they look much nicer without the dead ferns hanging around. Some resources say not to cut them back at all or just to cut the old dead fronds out but since I didn’t cut anything off of them last year they were getting a little out of control so I cut them back all the way this year. It would be pretty difficult to cut just the dead fronds out after new growth occurs so it is best to do it during that magic moment right before the new growth pops up. Sword ferns are native to the Pacific Northwest so I am not doing any other care to them besides the occasional watering in the summer. The little curly brown things are the new growth on this fern in the picture below. The new growth looks kind of like caterpillars.
I finally got all of the fern cut back and I realized that several of the concrete blocks along the house are askew. The soil is pretty moist and I am pretty sure our gutter issues this past winter have caused the blocks to shift a bit. The base of the fern is actually growing over the side of a block that is completely not in the right position and the weight of the fern is causing it to shift further.
Some of the blocks along the wall are very crooked and slope downward with no soil behind them.
I was pretty upset to see this since we are supposed to be installing a fence along the top of this wall and now we have to wait until we get a landscaper out to see if we can put a better retaining wall in and fix some of the hillside issues. The soil near the downspout is pretty loose and if they put fence posts in I am afraid the posts will shift in the next storm.
For now I am continuing to clean up the weeds and hopefully this weekend I can work on the ivy covering the pathway. We are looking for a landscaper to help with the wall and putting our fence on hold until we figure it out.
What kind of surprises have you found while gardening?
Sword Fern Care Resources: