Appreciation: In my edible garden

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Sundrop, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Weeds are taking over :-)

    lychnis_chalcedonica_2015-06-24.jpg
    Lychnis chalcedonica lovingly embraces the trunk of my Italian Prune. Birds are the culprit of bringing the seeds from my flower beds here.

    asiatic_lilies_2015-06-24.jpg
    Asiatic Lilies happy in the company of my Blueberry (and vice versa). I probably planted one bulb here several years ago . . .
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  2. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    i like the spirit of your post
    today i discovered one of my sturdy, loyal lilies has a scent like Hawaii (like Oleander) - our family is longtime Hawaii - so I was >> searching for word here - I was given a pause to enjoy it - i never knew that pot of lilies had such a nice scent

    so many butterlies this year - are they swallowtail?

    and we saw a big owl in our garden recently - in the dusk light

    next?
     
  3. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Yes, many Lily varieties/cultivars have a very intense, very pleasant smell. It makes them even more charming.

    Yes, a lot of them. I enjoy them, but can't tell what kind they are, know literally nothing about butterfly classification. The sentence like this "Swallowtails have a number of distinctive features; for example, the Papilionid caterpillar bears a repugnatorial organ called the osmeterium on its prothorax." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swallowtail_butterfly rather terrifies me.
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    red_orach_2015-08-19.jpg

    This is not a weed, although could easily become one.
    I have left one of my Red Orach (Atriplex Hortensis) plants for seeds. It looks that, despite of heavy pruning, it will produce enough to supply gardeners in the whole Canada : )
    The plant is about 2.5 m. tall (8 ft.)
    I was curious how tall Red Orach can grow and found out on the Net BBC - Gardening: Plant Finder - Red orache that it grows 120 cm tall and 30 cm wide. Well, mine is two times taller than that and, if not pruned, would be three or more times wider. Well, may be they use synthetic fertilizers there (hehe), I don't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  5. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    sauerkraut.jpg cabbage_2015-10-14.jpg My last jar of sauerkraut made from my own, naturally grown, beautiful, open pollinated old Dutch green cabbage, Langedijker Winterkeeper.
     
  6. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Spring with new fresh vegies is just around the corner, but now I still need my sauerkraut.
    Another month and a half, or maybe two, and I will change into something resembling a caterpillar voraciously devouring my own salad greens, full of minerals, pesticide and herbicide free.

    To prevent me from starvation until then
    :-J , besides the sauerkraut, I still have many little jars of my own, naturally grown, open pollinated European red cabbage, Langedijker Late Red, shredded and frozen, for my breakfast salads. And the last three 2 l. jars of pickled heirloom Peppers Doe Hill from my garden, as well. Should be enough.


    pickled_peppers_doe_hill.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  7. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot in my edible garden for others, too :-). See the bees gathering pollen from the very late blooming red perennial Aster growing close to the cabbage? They love it!
    The Aster is another weed in my edible garden, it didn't want to give up when I put it on the compost pile long ago, so, again I let it be!

    cabbage_red_asters_2015-10-14.jpg red_asters_2015-10-14.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
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  8. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    my_edible_garden_2016-04-23.jpg
    Spring. Weeds, as always, are first.

    It is still a little empty in my edible garden at this time of year, but many of its volunteer inhabitants are already in full bloom. I am getting more and more harsh with them, a few days ago I spent several hours pulling out my multicoloured, sweet looking and sweet scented 'Johnny Jump Up' Violas (almost got a heart break because of that ;-)). Still I let some, less eager to take over, 'weeds' to be.

    But, of course, there are not only weeds presently growing in my edible garden.
    I harvest my Asparagus, Green Onions, Chieves and other herbs already for a couple of weeks, and my Italian Prune, White Currant, Blueberries, Honeyberries and Strawberries are in bloom.
    As for annuals, Garlic (center-left in the picture) is already doing well and growing vigorously, and in the red-and-yellow-Tulip bed Spinach is sprouting nicely, although it is difficult to see it on the picture. Some other early crops, like Green Peas, Snow Peas and Radishes are sprouting too, and I have already 12 seedlings of Sierra Lettuce and 10 of Purple Vienna Kohlrabi planted in the garden.
    Still, I am afraid of bad, late frost, though. Officially last frost date for my 5a zone is May 25.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
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  9. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  10. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know, I eat them in big quantities with my salads, but my salad greens are not ready yet for harvest. I have left a patch of them for that purpose in the garden, and have many growing in my lawn.

    Edit 1 day later: I found it, here it is, a pic of my salad I posted several years ago. Violas are good for us!

    salad_2012-06-10.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  11. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    my_place_2016-05-08_hairy_vetch.jpg

    The cover crop of Hairy Vetch is doing well. Time to cut it down and use as mulch on the bed where it grows. On top I am going to cover it with straw, to make the layer of mulch even thicker. Tomatoes that I am going to plant in this bed should be happy.

    In my garden I have been trying to reduce outside inputs as much as possible. I don't use synthetic fertilizers, only organic in a very small amounts. Growing cover crops is a great method of improving soil health and fertility.
     
  12. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    My first harvest of spinach. Spinach is one of my staple foods. I eat it because I like it. As a bonus to tasting well it is well known for its health benefits, of course if not contaminated with agrochemicals. It is full of minerals and phytonutrients that are good for us.

    my_place_spinach_2016-05-18.jpg

    I harvest lettuce, cress, orach and radishes for a week already, and perennial green onions and asparagus for more than a month. Despite of a unusually hot weather most of the time this spring my early vegetables are doing rather well, although lettuce seems to be less juicy and radishes are very slightly on a woody side and do not taste like a little balls of butter, as they used to when grown in the normal spring weather. The little, still shallowly rooted seedlings of cold weather crops wilt in the hot sun during the day only to recover at night, and wilt again in the heat. Perennial plants seem to be not affected by the heat, my asparagus, green onions, chives are as sweet and juicy as always.


    my_place_viola_2016-05-03.jpg

    Of course I can't resist posting pictures of the weeds in my edible garden, too. This Viola, beautiful as it is with its fragrant, sky-blue flowers, is one of the most dangerous invaders. It is surrounded already by thousands of its little babies, growing around it. The time seems to be close I will dig it up and put it into a special garbage bag in which I compost most invasive plants with their seeds ;-)
     
  13. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    my_place_black_locust_2016-05-19.jpg Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) growing in my front yard is all white. It is one of my favourite trees, and not only mine. It is one of the “trees for bees”. It attracts like a magnet all kinds of pollinators: honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and moths. When standing under the tree one can hear the humming of thousands of happy insects and inhale sweet scent of the flowers. It is a true aromatherapy experience for me, after breathing toxic fumes coming from my neighbour chimney all through the winter.

    Pollinators are welcome on my property. I have flowers for them blooming since early spring through to late fall. Pollination is so good that my flowers try to take over even inside of my edible garden.
     
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  14. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    My edible garden supplies me with healthy, naturally grown fruit and vegetables, but is also a source of fun. I can't help smiling when looking at the little Strawberry plants in the embrace of big Peonies that decided to grow there. Believe it or not, I never planted Peonies in my edible garden, they are “weeds” in there, they came from compost. Several years ago I decided to dig up and divide the three Peony plants I had at that time. I took four pieces from each formidable root and replanted them in my flower bed. The rest I threw on my compost pile. After a year I used the compost in my edible garden and here are the Peonies, happy and thriving again. At first I tried to pull them up but they kept regrowing again and again until I gave up and let them be. Now I am glad I did, they are so beautiful.

    my_edible_garden_strawberries_2016-05-20.jpg
    Peonies and Strawberries on 20th of May 2016. My red Peony is in full bloom. In the background, on the left Garlic, slightly to the right of it Blackberry 'Triple Crown' bush (producing three times more fruit than I am able to use), in the top-right corner a branch of my Italian Prune. Douglas Firs outside of the garden in the background of everything.


    my_edible_garden_strawberries_2016-06-09.jpg
    About three weeks later, 9th of June. Pink Peony took over now and strawberries are ripening.


    my_edible_garden_lettuce_2016-06-04.jpg
    4th of June. Companion planting. Lettuce Sierra already well established, my little Rhazes not doing bad, either, and a few days earlier planted Marigolds still struggling a little bit in the crazy weather. Marigolds will have a lot of room for themselves later, when Lettuce is harvested.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
  15. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    my_place_2016-06-12_honeyberry.jpg my_place_2016-06-12_honeyberries_strawberries.jpg
    June 12, first fruits: strawberries and honeyberries.


    my_place_2016-06-12_lettuce.jpg The heads on my Sierra Lettuce are more than a foot in diameter (compare with the one foot in diameter stepping stone), the taste is sweet, leaves are crisp and juicy. I like my Rhazes, too, they look so funny with their tiny size and purple colouration.

    my_place_2016-06-12_valerian.jpg my_place_2016-06-12_pinks_thyme.jpg my_place_2016-06-12_vetch_dogbane.jpg
    And of course, some tasty treats for pollinators: Valerian (Valeriana officinalis ) inside of my edible garden, Pinks (Dianthus sp.), Thyme (Thymus sp.) not yet in bloom, Sedum (Sedum sp.), Hairy Vetch (
    Vicia villosa ) and Dogbane (Apocynum sp.) in my meadows. I allow everything what is not invasive to grow on the little piece of land that I have in my care. Mowing, yes, but only in selected areas, mostly when I need grass clippings for mulching in my gardens.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  16. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This is the first time I've heard of honeyberries. I see the botanical name is Lonicera caerulea and one of the common names is Haskap, which sounds only vaguely familiar.
    Is there anything dangerous to eat that I could confuse that with?
     
  17. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Not in my garden :-)
    Otherwise I don't think so, but can't say for sure, maybe someone who knows more about toxic berries in BC will answer that question.
     
  18. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    my_place_ninebark_amber-jubilee_2016-06-16.jpg my_place_ninebark_center-glow_2016-06-16.jpg I didn't have any idea how beautiful Ninebarks (Physocarpus sp.) could be before I planted two of them on my property and can see them every day now.

    This year especially the colours are quite stunning. I think it could be because of stress caused by the crazy weather we have been experiencing here in the Kootenays; unusually mild and wet the second half of winter, followed by the spring with drastic and rapid fluctuations in temperatures, from
    extreme heat, changing to cold much below normal for this time of year in a matter of a couple of days, and back to heat again, and so on. Nothing is spared in my edible garden, cold weather crops suffer from the heat, hot weather lovers, like already developing fruits, Peppers, Cucumbers, Watermelon, Tomatoes, are close to being damaged by night temperatures dangerously close to zero C and lack of the possibility to warm up during the day.

    The colours on some of my ornamentals are spectacular, though.

    my_place_eastern-redbud_appaliachian-red_2016-06-16.jpg New, developing foliage on my Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  19. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    2016-06-27 More berries:
    my_place_tayberries_2016-06-25.jpg my_place_tayberries_shrub_2016-06-25.jpg My tayberries started to ripen, very gradually, only a handful or two a day, what suits me well, I can eat them as I like the most, straight from the shrub, when they are still warm from the sun, when working in my garden.
    For those who don't know, Tayberry is a hybrid (one of them) between a Raspberry and a Blackberry. I like to grow fruit I can't buy anywhere and Tayberries belong to this group, so I planted one in the garden.


    my_place_raspberries_2016-06-25.jpg Raspberries are getting ready to follow, but they are still quite far, a week or more, from the full production.


    my_place_blueberries_2016-06-25.jpg My blueberries are still very far from ripening, but they look so nice on the background of Asiatic Lilies (one of the weeds in my edible garden) that I couldn't resist taking a picture of them, too :)

    Talking of colours, here are some of my colourful Orachs:
    my_place_orach_green_2016-06-25.jpg my_place_orach_red_2016-06-25.jpg my_place_orach_orangy-green_2016-06-25.jpg I use orach in my salads and cooked and eaten the same way I cook spinach. The advantage of Orach is that it lasts longer in the garden, and is doing well when Spinach already starts bolting.
    I never sow Orach in my garden, I just leave one or two plants to go to seed. They can grow to the monstrous size, though, like on one of the pictures somewhere above. It looks like plants like my not contaminated with agrochemicals soil.
    In the spring I have Orach sprouting nicely in between my other plants.


    my_place_chinese_cabbage_2016-06-26.jpg my_place_chinese_cabbage_size_2016-06-26.jpg Chinese Cabbage, very fast growing, one of the earliest vegetables to be used in cooking. It is quite tasty, too.
    On the left side picture: in the garden, Cabbage in the center, forgotten Radish in-between, Columbine (another weed) at the top, and Sweet Alyssum (still another weed) to the right. On the right side picture showing size: already harvested, with a few outer leaves to be removed later.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  20. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    2016-07-09 The branches on my berry bushes are close to breaking under the heavy load of fruit. Berry picking is very time consuming, I spend hours picking them but the reward is the freshest, ripest, healthiest (I have an organic garden) and tastiest fruit possible.

    my_place_raspberries_2016-07-08.jpg my_place_raspberries_harvest_2016-07-08.jpg
    My raspberries are ripening rapidly but gradually, I will be busy picking them for another two, up to three or so weeks. I eat them raw in big amounts, make a lot of raspberry jam, and the rest I freeze for the winter.


    my_place_white_currant_branches_2016-07-08.jpg my_place_white_currant_fruit_2016-07-08.jpg
    White currants ripen all at about the same time, but they keep very well on the bush for a long time, I leave some hidden between the leaves sometimes for a month or even longer. I love their intense sour-sweet taste when eaten raw, and the taste of white currant jelly is unsurpassed.

    I am grateful to my pollinators for doing such a good job and have a lot of tasty treats for them all season long. Here is my another meadow, this time filled with Red Clover. Besides supplying food for beneficial insects Red Clover also makes my soil more fertile.

    my_place_meadow_red_clover_2016-07-08.jpg
     
  21. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Two days later, 2016-07-11. I harvest raspberries every second day. Yesterday I picked 3.6 kg of berries, so far altogether more than 6.5 kg. But it is only just the beginning.

    my_place_raspberries_harvest_2016-07-10.jpg
     
  22. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    2016-07-21
    my_place_harvest_blueberries_2016-07-17.jpg Blueberries started to ripen a few days ago. I have three, rather small Blueberry plants, they grow very slowly occupying themselves mostly with the production of berries. Every branch is bent to the ground under the heavy load. I credit the heavy production to great pollination and cross pollination between the two, or may be three, varieties (I am not completely sure of the variety of one of the plants). My pollinators have been doing a great job for me.

    my_place_harvest_raspberries_2016-07-17.jpg Raspberries continue to ripen gradually. So far I harvested more than 22 kg. and it is still far from over. Quality is exceptional, what I attribute to the incredible amount of pollination, too. During the blooming time for several weeks I could hear the humming of all kinds of pollinators around my Raspberry plants from far away outside the garden.

    my_place_harvest_garlic_2016-07-17.jpg Garlic, well, I don't know a gardener who doesn't like to grow it. I just dug up the first garlic head this year. I still have the last head of garlic from the last year's harvest, in good shape, not even trying to sprout, just a little less juicy. The new one is a hardneck Italian Porcelain, with big heads and big cloves. The last year's one is a softneck Oregon Blue. Unfortunately it has small heads and cloves but is unsurpassed in longevity. Well, nothing is perfect in life.

    my_place_harvest_rats_tail_radish_pods_2016-07-17.jpg Just a curiosity: Rat's Tail Radish pods. They look similar to the regular Radish pods with the exception of very long "tails" resembling those of a rat. Any Radish pods are edible and very tasty, similar in taste to radish bulb, although hotter. They can be eaten raw, I like them also in my salads, and use them in soups.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  23. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    2016-08-10 Nothing changes as quickly as the garden. My raspberries, currants and blueberries are mostly in my freezer now or on the shelf in the form of jams and jellies. I still have some ripening on the shrubs and canes, but now it is enough only for eating them raw, thankfully.
    my_place_2016-08-02_white_currant_harvest.jpg
    Picking small berries takes a lot of time and I have a lot of them to pick. So far I picked more than 55 kg of berries, not counting those eaten during the picking; 39 kg of raspberries – more than 1 kg per one cane since I have 33 or may be 34 canes only, 2 kg of tayberries – from two canes, 9 kg of blueberries from three quite small bushes, and 5 kg of white currants from one shrub. And oops, I forgot about strawberries and honeyberries.
    It looks like plants like to grow and produce in the natural, native soil, not contaminated with agrochemicals, or doubtful quality “organic” soil amendments.

    Blackberries are now next in the succession of berries, they should ripen gradually until my grapes start ripening.
    my_place_2016-08-05_blackberry.jpg

    My former Spinach bed is now occupied by flowers for dried bouquets, Helichrysum and Statice. my_place_2016-08-05_helichrysum01.jpg my_place_2016-08-05_helichrysum02.jpg my_place_2016-08-05_statice.jpg
    The flowers are doing great and are so sweetly beautiful.

    I almost can't believe that all this food and beauty is just a combination of a tiny seed and soil. All is miracle.
     
  24. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    2016-08-14
    All ready for making the white currant / blackberry jelly.
    white_currant_blackberry_jelly_2016-08-10.jpg

    Every year is different in the garden. This is the year of fruit and berries. It must have something to do with a very mild second half of winter here where I live. The above zero temperatures almost all the time, with a lot of rain, allowed for extended microbial activity in the soil, resulting in the production of a lot of nutrients for the plants. The branches are breaking under the heavy load. Here is my Italian Prune, reduced to half of its size. Well, I was thinking of pruning the tree, but a little bit differently.
    italian_prune_2016-08-12_2.jpg italian_prune_2016-08-12_1.jpg

    After the deer trimmed half of the leaves on the easy to reach, broken branches the fruit is more visible now :-(
    italian_prune_fruit_2016-08-14.jpg

    2016-08-22
    I am in love with my Zucchini plant this year. It is a new variety for me, Ronde de Nice, beautiful dwarf European heirloom, with sweet, juicy fruit and stunning, variegated leaves, that I bought on-line from H
    eritage Harvest Seed in Manitoba. The plant is small, only about 3 x 3 feet, so much smaller, nicer and much more manageable than the regular variety I used to grow, and struggle with, in previous years. zucchini_ronde_de_nice_fruit_2.jpg zucchini_ronde_de_nice_fruit_2016-08-22.jpg zucchini_ronde_de_nice_leaves_2016-08-22.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  25. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Just a few more pictures from my 2016 edible garden.

    grapes_valiant_1_2016-09-08.jpg grapes_valiant_2_2016-09-08.jpg 2016-09-08 Grape Valiant with sweet, loaded with flavour fruit that I love. The berries are seedy - reach in flavonoids, with a rather thick skin that is rich in
    resveratrol. What could be healthier? Unfortunately my plant is still not very big, this year I had only about 13 kg of berries. I believe that I owe the intensity of taste of my fruit to the natural growing conditions. I never fertilize my Grapes, don't even mulch them to feed the soil organisms and, of course, I don't use any -cides.

    russet_potatoes_2016-09-17.jpg 2016-09-17
    Since I usually eat my potatoes baked in their skin it is important to me to clean them well after digging them up. I grow Russets because I love dry potatoes. In garden supply stores in my area they have all kinds of fancy varieties of Potato seeds, I even considered growing them for fun, I love to grow things that are less common, but I would not have any use for them.

    tomato_early_surprise_2016-09-19.jpg 2016-09-19
    And, of course, Tomatoes. I had about 45 kg of tomatoes from my nine plants this year, anything from 10 kg (Siberia) to 2.5 kg (Yellow Pear) per plant, depending on the variety. Not the most prolific year, but good enough. I grow Tomatoes from my own seeds. Here is my own variety "Early Surprise" - beautiful, early, almost seedless. It popped up as a great surprise among my Tomatoes several years ago and it was early, hence the name I gave it. It seems to be quite stable.
     

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