Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden Hoodlums

Unfortunately, it got so hot soon after the lettuce sprouted that it went almost directly to seed as soon as it was big enough to eat. It didn't matter that a month later it cooled off to near normal temperatures, perfect for growing lettuce. The lettuce had had it. And, it was to late to plant more because it would heat up again and I'd just waste the seed.

So I decided to let the seed lettuce mature and reseed itself for this fall. That way I wouldn't have to plant another batch of seed at the wrong time. Sounded like a good idea, but it seems the lettuce had another idea. Instead of putting out seed and maturing in a nice patch, it decided it wanted to keep growing larger and larger, and the seed heads started laying down into the other vegetable areas.

Yesterday, I decided enough was enough and pulled the lettuce out of the garden completely. I could not rehabilitate the lettuce so it had to go. It was a hard decision to make but in the end I think it was the best one. Under the sprawling, and unruly, lettuce I found two watermelon sprouts and a small, unhealthy looking, tomato plant. Now, with the lettuce cleared out they will get much needed sunshine and rain and will hopefully grow to be nice productive members of the garden.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buckwheat Blooms

We decided some years ago that we would try to grow our own grains at some point in the future. It was an unclear goal other than that. No plans for time, space, or even where to get the seeds. We bought a book on growing grains and read it but otherwise the project just floated in the ether.

Then this past Spring, during my annual seed catalogue hunt, I found buckwheat seeds from a new seed supplier. Of course I ordered them without giving much thought to where I was going to plant them. Luck would have it PeterC had decided he was willing to build two new raised beds to extend our garden space. And voilĂ , we had space for the buckwheat.

It turns out buckwheat is pretty easy to grow. Or at least we have been lucky this year. It was slow to start because we had a cold snap in May, but now it is growing happily and has already started blooming. Having never seen buckwheat grown much less bloom I am quite interested in how it looks through out its life cycle.

Surprisingly, the sprouts look a lot like beans. The plants are tall and kind of thin looking but the flowers are very pretty. Several sites say that honey bees love the flowers of the buckwheat plant. That makes me very happy, though those same honey bees seem pretty intent on coming into the house. Maybe I should add a beehive to the garden area and give them someplace to swarm and live.

So we have officially started our grain growing project. Once the buckwheat has been harvested and the soil tilled deeply to turn under the left over leaves we are going to find a supplier for wheat, rye, or oats and see about growing them. It will be interesting to see just how much grain we can get from a 3 x 6 ft raised bed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Robin

We try to provide as much natural habitat as possible to encourage wild birds doing what wild birds do, eat and have babies. We always get to see the babies after they have fledged and have started flying around, though still being fed by mom and dad. Sometimes we get to see them in that stage just before they start flying.

This year it was a baby robin, who had obviously hopped or fallen out of his nest and was waiting patiently in the trademark Sparrow Haven hedge for mom to find and feed him. He has most of his feathers but you can tell by the wide, jokeresque, smile of his beak that he is still just a baby. He let PeterC get close enough to take a couple of good shots of him before he hopped deeper into the hedge and obvious safety.

With luck this little guy will be back in the yard next spring raising his or her own brood of chicks in the sanctuary of Sparrow Haven.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Look

As you can see I've been playing with Bloggers new templates options. I think the blog looks much nicer but it seems slower to load and browse. Please let me know if this new look slows down your enjoyment of Sparrow Haven. If it does I'll go back to the old template as quickly as possible.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Thank God for Rain

It has been incredibly dry here since I planted the garden. We were having to water the beds every other day. Finally though we have been getting rain. Not just a sprinkle, but all day drizzle that soaks the soil and just keeps going. Thank the Gods and all that.

Since we got the first rain storm the plants in the garden have gone crazy. The herbs have already started spreading out into their new bed. The cabbages, potatoes, beans, and peas are getting huge. I've even seen all those cucumber seeds start sprouting. Now if the corn, hot peppers, and tomato seeds would sprout I'll be a happy camper/ gardener.