2011 Garden

Focused On Flowers

Garden Entrance
Guineas by the portolaca bed.

Beds and arbor ready for planting.

This year we started with tilling the entire garden area, which had been taken over quite successfully by the weeds. We also allocated the north end of the garden space to be flower beds, and added other flower beds around and throughout the gardens. Just outside the gate we planted a bed of portolaca. The beds in the flower garden were raised as in the lower garden, but were much wider at 4'x12'. We planted giant zinnias, cosmos, bachelor's buttons, snapdragons, agrostema, and larkspur in the flower garden. Other beds scattered around in the vegetables included marigolds, nasturtiums, calendula, chamomile, and a number of herbs. We also put up two hog panel arbors in the garden. The arbors had sweet peas growing on them, but they didn't do as well. I suspect this is due to their being planted later than what is ideal. The flower beds were planted in large blocks of single flowers, and they did quite well. The butterflies and moths were pleased with this latest improvement to the gardens.

The flower garden in bloom.

Buckwheat planted as a green manure crop.

For the area just insde the garden gate, I decided to plant 3 successive crops of buckwheat. Buckwheat is a green manure crop which fixes nitrogen into the soil. It also has a hollow tap root that reaches deep into the heavy clay soil, breaking it up. It is super easy to scythe down and till into the soil after it comes up. I like to let it flower for a couple of days first so that the honey bees can have some of the pollen. To do the successive plantings, I spread the seed, let it come up and flower, a couple of days after flowering-till it back in and replant with seed again. At some point I had planted "wildflower mix" seeds in this area, but most of what came up were weeds. I was tired of fighting the weeds and decided the area needed to be rid of them once and for all. Best of all? It worked!

The raised beds in the vegetable garden.

In the vegetable garden, I once again tilled and raised beds. The harvest this year wasn't exceptional, but the drought took it's toll once again so any harvest was appreciated. The most exciting part of the harvest this year, didn't even come from the gardens. For the first time ever, we found morrel mushrooms here on our property! Hopefully this colony will multiply for future years. These were found at the base of a fallen black walnut tree, growing in amongst the decaying matter of the tree.

Morrel Mushrooms

Our favorite visitor to the garden this year was a cecropia moth (also called a giant silk moth). We had never seen one of these before, and this one was breathtaking! They are quite large, with a wingspan greater than four inches.

Cecropia Moth
Birdhouse over the garden entrance.

Until next year...


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