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okiedawn1

Fruit , Veggie, Herb and Flower News

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
17 years ago

FRUIT TREE REPORT:

The early-blooming plum has very little fruit. The late-blooming one is covered though. The Mexican Plum, which we transplanted from the edge of the woods to its current location when it was tiny, has fruit for the first time this year. If the wild animals don't find the Mexican plums before I can pick them, we'll have Mexican Plum jelly this year. The peach trees have light crops. They had heavy ones last year. I need to plant more fruit trees.

GARDEN REPORT:

I have been spending EVERY waking minute in the garden this week, trying to get all the veggies, herbs and annual flowers into the ground. Since I winter-sowed billions of annuals and quite a lot of them grew, this is proving to be a very time-consuming venture! :)

I have been weeding and mulching, too, as I have found that April is the key month...if I get EVERYTHING in the veggie garden and its surrounding herb/flower border weeded well and heavily mulched right now, then I am on Easy Street the rest of the summer. Conversely, if I don't get that weeding and mulching done now, it gets away from me and I struggle to regain control.

So, for those of you who are interested in veggies, here's the garden report:

COLD-SEASON VEGGIES: I only plant a few cool season crops, as I'd rather save my space for the warm-season veggies we love.

GARLIC: clumps are huge

ONIONS: I planted them Jan. 1st. They are 18" tall and lush and dark green. Barring any natural disaster, I should harvest a nice crop of Texas Supersweets (1015Ys) this summer. They have survived being dug up three times by the chickens.

LETTUCE: Green butterhead types are huge, and I will begin harvesting this week, using the cut-and-come-again method. Red butterhead types are smaller, and need to grow a little more.

SWISS CHARD: Getting huge, and looks too lovely to cut. Think I will actually cut some and eat it though, as I've only grown it as an ornamental in the past.

WARM-SEASON-CROPS:

SWEET CORN: The early corn is about 10" tall, so today I am going to plant the mid-season corn. Once the mid-season corn is 10", I will plant the late corn. I usually harvest corn from late May through August, and so far it is looking like a good year.

BEANS: The first batch of beans I planted are about 8" or 10" tall and looking really good. I think they will start blooming sometime next week. Today or tomorrow I need to plant another bunch of beans. I do a lot of succession planning. So far I have only bush beans in the ground, but will soon plant the pole beans.

TOMATOES: I have about 80 plants in the ground, with another 40 to go. The "late 40" are deliberately late, though, as I stagger the plantings so paste tomatoes produce after my main flush of slicers. My plants vary widely in size. Those started earliest are about 30" tall and blooming. The smallest ones put in the ground are about 12" now. I plant them all really deep for maximum root growth.

I'd say that, regardless of plant size, at least 50% are in bloom. A few have fruit. The largest fruit, on a Better Boy, is now quite large and looking good.

PEPPERS: Hot ones and sweet ones go into the ground today!

MELONS: Today I'll be planting watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Almost all of them are heirlooms and I'll be planting about fifteen varieties I think.

SQUASH: Will plant summer squash today. Winter squash and pumpkins have to wait until the weekend, when DH can rototill up their new bed. I plant many, many varieties of these and they have outgrown the regular garden space.

FOR NEXT WEEK OR BEYOND: I hope to get the okra, black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes in the ground next week, 'cause I won't get to them this week.

FLOWER & HERB BORDER:

HERBS: Many herbs self-sowed, especially the tansy, catnip and chamomile. I've been adding a lot of parsely, borage and different basils. Once everything I grew myself is in the ground, I'll add a few plants I'll pick up in a nurery.

I think I'll add some pineapple sage, tri-color sage, lemon verbena, lemon balm, rosemary and maybe a couple of mints.

FLOWERS: Among the flowers in the border around the veg garden:

HOLLYHOCKS:, These are getting big. I have Summer Carnival Mix, Creme de Cassis, the Watchman (black-flowered), Country Romance Mix, and Outhouse Mix.

VERBEBA BONARIENSIS: these tall verbenas seeded themselves everywhere guaranteeing I'll have tons of butterflies all spring and summer. Some of them are about to bloom.

ZINNIAS: I grow about 15 kinds in all sizes, shapes, heights and colors. Some re-seeded from last year and some I winter-sowed. I am raising Magellan Mix and Dreamland from seed in flats. They are about 2" tall.

TEXAS HUMMINGBIRD SAGE: also re-seeded everywhere.

VERONICA: The blue-flowered veronica I grew from seed has re-seeded prolifically, but mostly in the garden paths, so I am moving it to where I want it.

COCKSCOMBS/AMARANTHS: I grow about 20 amaranths and cockscombs. Some have reseeded themselves. Some were winter sowed. The rest will be direct seeded this weekend.

BLUE SALVIA: comes back for me and also reseeds. Some is in bloom now.

PURPLE CONEFLOWERS: Last year's 2 plants have been joined by at least 3 that re-seeded.

KISS-ME-OVER-THE-GARDEN-GATE: About 4" tall in flats. My first time to try it. Transplanting it today.

I already have scarlet runner beans, painted lady runner beans, purple-flowered hyacinth beans and white-flowered hyacinth beans, all planted near the chicken wire fence, and all grown as ornamentals. Joining them will be the usual re-seeded vines that include black-eyed susan vine, cypress vine, and morning glories in several colors, and I'll be adding 2 new ones, Sunspots and Sunrise Serenade.

There's lots more flowers in the border, and I could go on forever, but won't. The flower border is in full, gorgeous bloom by late May and passers-by always stop to look at it and enjoy it.

I'm getting it all planted, weeded, mulched. Eager to get through with it.

NEXT WEEK: In addition to finishing the warm-season crops, I will sow seeds for several kinds of ornamental peppers, which then will be growing nicely all summer. I have seed for Medusa, Chilly Chili, Bolivian Rainbow, Pretty Purple, Poinsettia, and Tri-Color Variegata.

Then, if DH gets ALL my beds tilled up this weekend, I can start on the Barn Border. It will have about a dozen kinds of sunflowers, 9 amaranths, and some zinnias. Also lots of gourds for fall decorations, and Red Stalker corn for fall decorations. And ornamental corn for fall decorations. This is a new bed and will give me room to grow more sunflowers and amaranths and fall ornamentals than I previously had space for.

And, once that is finished, we start the work on the back yard, which will include building a flagstone pathway, doing some rock work around the lily pond, and putting in new shrubs. We will be adding lots of tropicals, and removing lots of bermuda. Yippee!

It's a busy time of year for me, and I love it.

Hopw y'all are having as much fun in your yards and gardens now as I am.

Dawn

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