Friday, April 24, 2009

Simple garden fun

I had a lot of fun in my garden yesterday morning. First, it was nice to have mostly everything planted, including:

7 types of tomatoes: Juliet, Grape, Celebrity, San Marzano, Cherokee Purple, Roma, Lemon Boy
4 types of peppers: Emerald Giant, California Wonder, Jalapeno, Mystery?? pepper
2 butternuts: Waltham and the Lewru special (Got the Lewru special in a seed swap)
2 sunflower types: Tall multicolored and dwarf border (Planted among the butternuts)
Royalty purple bush beans (already sprouting!)
Scallions (ready to harvest)
Kale (still going... but starting to bolt)
Cilantro (Multiple plants, in various stages of bolt)
African basil
Bull's Blood beets (90% dead due to critter feeding)
Zucchini and yellow squash ( Planted in front landscaping to avoid the squash bug scourge)

Future home of zuchinni

The bush beans and part of the butternut/sunflower interplanting are netted to keep the birds out. I am letting a few of the fall-planted veggies and herbs go to seed as they wish, because they seem to attract a variety of insects, including a bumblebee the size of my thumb. For this reason we've also let clover go wild in the backyard.

I noticed yesterday that my Interlaken grape had died. So sad, but I should have been suspicious of anything named Interlaken in my garden - it sounds like it belongs in Sweden. Not tough enough for the heat and humidity in Oklahoma! Or maybe it was just my not-so-benign neglect. Regardless, I jumped on this opportunity to re-purpose my grape trellis for something I've been lusting to plant - Chinese red noodle beans. YES!

Noodle beans from Baker Creek Seeds

While I was planting the red noodle yard-long beans, I saw another patch along the fence with some good sun. This patch would not have been noticeable last year, before my hard-working husband brush-hogged along the East and West fences. Now, I have a nice 2 foot spot for some Malabar spinach - another lovely heat-loving vine I've been itching to try. It's not a true spinach, but (according to my sources) looks and tastes like it, and grows well through the heat of the summer.

So I popped in a modified trellis (a jerryrigged contraption consisting of twine, nails and baby bricks leftover from our patio installation) and planted the seeds! I can't wait! I just hope my "trellis" is strong enough to hold the vines. If not, apparently the Malabar spinach does fine as a groundcover too.

Improvised trellis

Now, all that's left is to put up a teepee in the actual garden beds for the regular pole beans and a Hyacinth bean for some pizazz. I am really excited about adding color into the garden this year. I spent a lot of time out there last year, and I want to be able to look around and just smile from all the flowers. Of course, colorful herbs and flowers also are supposed to serve as companion plants to encourage pollinators and confuse the malicious insects.

After building the teepee, I need to newspaper and mulch the beds and then, of course, keep watering. Watering this year is much more fun since my son is old enough to come outside with me and run around. Last year I had to rush to water the whole area whenever he was napping. And finally, in about another week I will plant the okra, lantana, and sweet potatoes (apparently it involves something called "slips" or "starters" -?).

Hope all your gardens are looking lovely! Are you doing anything new or different this year?


Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife said...

We're trying a few new things this year. Okra and Brussels sprouts which we've neither grown nor eaten much before. Trying two new varieties of winter squash, the Stella blue Hokkaido and the triamble. Some new medicinal herbs to use the shady areas as well. We also put in asparagus and fruit trees that we won't see a crop from for a few years at least.

Happy gardening!

Lewru said...

That is SOOOOOO COOOOOOOLLLLL you're going to grow noodle beans! I can't wait to see how they turn out! Way to go! I'm excited to see your garden later this summer. The only new thing I'm trying this year is lemon squash (I've grown summer squash but not this variety) and lima beans. I don't have super high hopes for the beans because I just don't have enough room to grow a substantial crop for dried beans. BUT it'll be interesting to see how they do. WOOHOO! Planting!

Chile said...

Sounds great, Hausfrau. Sorry about your grape. I have fond memories of my grandfather growing Concord grapes in our yard when I was growing up and my mother making jelly. Storebought grape jelly can't begin to compare.

We'll be evaluating garden options when we get home. Summer heat is fast approaching which limits what we can grow.

Jane Talkington said...

Hey Haus! I have a new class online at OU you might want to know about/enroll in/be a guest speaker for. Email me!

Verde said...

I am gradually working out edible landscaping in front. I've put in two espalier apple trees and 4 raspberys, ripped out old shrubbery to make way for raised beds.

I want to hear about eating those noodle beans - they look really cool.

Tara said...

You'll like the Malabar spinach - it grows very quickly, will climb virtually anything, and withstands heat and drought beautifully. It also looks lovely, especially if you have the red variety. We plan to cover our patio and grow it up and over that as a vegetative shade (that we can also eat). I will say that unlike regular spinach, it is slightly succulent - the leaves are a bit "juicy". I'm anxious to hear how your noodle beans work out, since I've been wanting to try those, too.