Half an inch. According to the rain gauge, that’s approximately how much rain has already fallen today. We’re in Day 1 of a three-day precipitation event that could deliver 1-4 inches of rain. Four inches!!
We’ve been flirting with drought here in Virginia. This rain will definitely help. And, as if that weren’t enough, it’s transplanting time. This is perfect weather for transplants. I got my first sweet potatoes in the ground on Saturday, and have plans to start setting out the tomatoes in the next day or so. These overcast, gray and dribbly skies are ideal for transplants. Perfect timing!
But, first, let’s take a stroll through the garden:
Mmm…. The strawberries are at peak production right now, and I can barely keep up. When the rain slowed earlier today, picking strawberries was the first thing I thought to do. And, when the rain began again, I just kept collecting these perfectly-ripe jewels. Priorities!
Do you remember the photo I shared last week of my just-sprouted potatoes? Well, check these babies out! Huge, yes? What’s more: these guys have already been buried in more soil. There’s a lot more potato below that dirt than above it. Looks like these plants are determined to catch up with where they would be if I’d planted them in March, instead of just two weeks ago. I’m not complaining.
And, speaking of things growing by leaps and bounds… The artichokes are just fantastic. I’m actually thinking about harvesting one, and am not exactly sure what pick-me-now signs to look for. Anyone have experience growing artichokes? Any tips to offer on when to harvest? The largest blossom is just bigger than fist-sized, but the flower stalk is only about 18 inches tall.
It’s not all strawberries and artichokes, however. There’s also deer. And, turns out, deer like the taste of plum leaves, as you can see by the absence of plum leaves here. They also got into the chard, ate some strawberry leaves and munched on a bunch of the developing coneflower buds. Not happy about this. So very very not happy.
Fences and shotguns are not options in this suburban, front-yard veggie garden, so I’m going to need to get creative. I had great luck last year with some blood-meal-based deer repellents. But, I’ve read that deer get accustomed to odors, so I’m guessing its time to switch things up. I’ve got a few ideas — soap, mint, garlic — but would love to hear your ideas too. What works in your garden?
Thankfully, the deer didn’t find the peas. These things have survived slugs, millipedes, cutworms and pillbugs. These are tough peas. They’ve been around. Still, I worry they’d just roll over and submit if a deer glanced in their direction. And, honestly, I wouldn’t blame them. These peas have had a rough life — they deserve a break.
No sign of flowers yet, but I’m hoping that will change soon. I’m hungering for some sugar snaps.
There are flowers on the Roman chamomile, however. So excited! These were the tiniest little seedlings last year, and now they are big, billowing poofs of ferny foliage and white flowers. I’ll be harvesting some for homegrown chamomile tea soon. How awesome is that!?
They’re not edible (or, turn-into-tea drinkable), but I’m still thrilled to see that the guara are already flowering again. I’ve heard that these guys (also know as wind flower) are tricky to overwinter around here. Maybe because they like sandy soil, and we’ve got nothing but dense, red clay around these parts. Maybe… Whatever it is, these plants did hang around for a second season, and I’ll take it. Because, really, so pretty!
Those flowers are pretty, and the strawberries are delicious, but these may be the most exciting thing in the garden right now: blueberries! I’ve got six plants in the garden — three ‘Northland Blue,’ and one each of ‘Elliott’s,’ ‘Blue Ray’ and ‘Jersey.’ — and five of them are LOADED with berries (the ‘Jersey’ is taking a year off while it recuperates from a near-death experience). I was eating blueberries by early June last year. Looks like we’re right on track!
And, last photo for the week. The garlic plants are loving the rain and recent warmth. Most have already sent out scapes, which are the under-developed flower stalks. The trick is to pick these scapes, since we gardeners want the plants to put all their energy into bulbs, not scapes. But — please! — don’t throw those scapes out. Eat them! Garlic scapes have a mild garlicky flavor, and can be used much like scallions. I’ll be picking these scapes in the next week or so, and will definitely share a recipe or two. Yum!
How is your garden looking today?