My (itty-bitty in the city) Bramble Orchard

Who says you have to have a lot of real estate to have a bramble orchard?  Even in a small city lot you can enjoy fresh picked berries.  Berries such as…

Blueberries

Gooseberries

Strawberries (although not a bramble)

You can anticipate picking Raspberries

And blackberries

Did I say bramble “orchard”?  That might be a little misleading.  In a small back yard it would be more accurate to say bramble “corner of the yard.”  Here’s my little micro mini bramble orchard.Four raspberry plants, two blackberry plants (gave one to my mother-in-law),  three blueberry bushes (although twigs might be more appropriate for two of them), and two gooseberry plants.

I fancy myself being a little bit of a plant propagator, so whenever I see the opportunity to get a two-fer out of a plant I go for it.  Here’s Mother (on the left) and Daughter (on the right).Last year I pulled one of the suckers from the mother plant and potted it up.  This year there are a few berries on the daughter plant.

All of the raspberry plants were FreeCycled to me.  Because the plant sends out so many suckers and it’s necessary to keep the number of suckers to a limit for the health of the plant it’s easy to find yourself with extra plants.  The choice becomes whether to throw them away or try to save them.  Since my plants are relatively young, I’m not faced with that situation yet, but I did start some plants last year with some of the raspberry suckers.  I gave all of them away, but I know one of the plants will be producing some raspberries this year.  Easy, inexpensive garden gifts.

Happy Gardening!!!

I snagged a squash before I could pick a pea.

My little squash experiment has worked out fairly well.  There are many blooms and small squash on the three plants inside the cold frame.  The squashes aren’t growing quickly like they do in the heat of the summer, so I figured I’d pick one of them to maybe jump start the plant.  So, here’s Squash No. 1

I gave it to my mother-in-law.  I shared my first lettuce harvest with her and the lettuce is doing great.  Maybe I’ll have the same luck with the squash.

I realize that I haven’t posted too much on the overall garden, so here’s my update.  Between the squash cold frame, the perennials I got from the Great Perennial Divide this past fall, the strawberries growing like crazy and taking over their bed, and my FreeCycle plants, I lost a lot of growing space.  I got rid of the square foot twine dividers and I like the beds better without them.  It makes accessing the ground much easier.

This is the north bed.

On the trellis are the snow peas I planted the same day as the squash.  They’re finally showing a few blossoms but no pods yet.  These were supposed to be peas with “short compact growth” “not requiring trellising,” but they’re already three feet tall.  It seems a little weird that there aren’t any blooms on the lower part of the plant.  I hope I’ll get a few peas before it gets too hot for them.

Here’s a closer look at the north bed.

In the front of the north bed are Stella D’Oro daylillies that I got from a FreeCycler.  There was one big clump that I divided into eight smaller clumps and transplanted one per foot.  There are a gazillion buds on each plant.

I also stuck some of the plants from the Great Perennial divide into this bed.  A couple of them didn’t make it, and the two in the middle there are about to bloom.  Once they bloom, I’ll decide where to move them.  Of course I don’t have the plant tag to even know what they are. 

This one…

And this one…

Anybody have any guesses on what they are?

Also stuck in this bed are a couple of broccoli plants that are beginning to head up, some flat leaf parsley, a few rainbow swiss chard, turnip greens, one Brandywine tomato, the lettuce/chives/carrots/radish mix I planted, a couple of the asparagus plants that I grew from seed that are still hanging on, and a couple of volunteer potatoes.

I ended up digging out a couple of the parsley plants and the majority of the swiss chard because when the iris and the lillies and the volunteer potato started growing those plants were shaded out. 

Here’s the middle bed.

Mmmmm….straaawberiiiies

This bed started with three FreeCycle strawberry plants.  Well, they came from three pots buried in the ground at the FreeCycler’s yard, but when I got them home I separated them and got maybe five or six plants.  But these have multiplied like crazy (did way better than the ones I bought).  This year I even broke off some of the runners before they got established so they won’t take over the planet.

With the strawberries are some onions interplanted with the strawberries that I break of the tops for green onions, a couple of broccoli plants…

At the top left of the picture (below)  is a brussles sprout, lettuce and swiss chard that I just stuck there when I was planting lettuce around the cold frame, some collard plants, and in the upper right with all the little yellow blooms is another Great Perennial Divide plant.  It’s a Lady’s Mantle.

Lady’s Mantle is an herb with some interesting properties: “The major belief of the early herbalists regarding the lady’s mantle was that this herb was possessed of such strong contractile powers, that it was thought capable of “restoring” lost virginity to women and was believed to bring on a new firmness to flabby breasts in older women.”  Hmmm, wonder if it works on cellulite.  I think I’ll look into that.

But, I digress.  Here’s the south bed.

From left to right:  Onions, two rows of mustard greens with a cherry tomato in front, two more rows of lettuce, a couple of brussles sprout plants, another row of lettuce and a row of swiss chard and a pepper in front and onions interspersed wherever I could find a little spot.

Here’s a closeup of the squash in the cold frame…

I pulled the overwintered swiss chard from the area at the top of the cold frame and stuck in these sugar baby watermelon plants (upper middle) that I got from Mr. Gregory.

I’m still getting lettuce galore from this bed.  I like to harvest the side leaves from the lettuce when they’re about palm size.  These plants (in the picture above) are growing in pure compost and new leaves seem to shoot out of the plants.  I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that these plants are literally under glass when the cold frame is open.

Anyway, lest this post becomes an epic novel, I’ll save the rest of the garden update for the next post.

Happy Gardening!!!

Time to play catch-up.

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, but I’ll try to catch up a little.  If I tried to catch up on everything that’s happened over the past three weeks I’d be writing a novel, so here’s a few highlights.

I missed Kate’s Garden Blogger’s Death Day even though I had some sorry looking cucumber plants that have been euthanized.   Most of the lemon cucumber plants were full of mold or fungus or whatever it was, so they got pulled.  They were really cute and made nice crunchy pickles, so I’ll be growing them next year.

And I missed Daphne’s Harvest Monday even though I had a few things I harvested.

Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers (I got so excited about making pickles that I forgot to take a picture before I used the cucumbers).  Very tasty pickles indeed.  Lemon cucumbers on the left and pickling cucumbers on the right.   (8-12-09)08-12-09

2 lemon cukes, 4 pickling cukes, and lots of cherry tomatoes. (8-16-09)08-16-09

3 lemon cukes, 2 beefsteak tomatoes, 4 Aztec tomatoes, and lots of cherry tomatoes (8-18-09)08-18-09

One lemon cucumber, one pickling cucumber and cherry tomatoes.  (8-20-09).08-20-~1

A few kale leaves (top), a few broccoli raab leaves (bottom), three bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, Egyptian Walking Onions…that didn’t do any walking. (9-3-09)   *I missed taking pictures of a couple harvests of tomatoes and cukes.*09-03-09 (2)I have been waiting all summer for these onions to make the tops with the little onions on them.  I only had a couple that made the tops, which I re-planted the little baby onion bulbs.  They’re still alive, just not growing much.  Looks like another trip to my aunts house to beg up on some of her bulbs.  This year I’ll actually plant them in the fall instead of leaving them in a plastic bag outside all winter and then planting them in the summer.  I should be happy they grew at all with the abuse they went through living in a plastic bag all winter.

And here are a few radishes, one carrot, four cukes, a few string beans, green Aztec tomatoes, a few habanero peppers and my total harvest of bell peppers.  (9-4-09).09-04-09 (4)

Just look at that carrot.  That’s the best carrot I grew this year.  This was a second planting of carrots in one of the empty squares.  The others are still in the ground, but they don’t look like they’re growing too big.09-04-09 (6)

Between the squirrels rediscovering my garden and inviting their friends over for the smorgasbord, I made a decision to pick the few bell peppers that grew.  Other than the cherry tomatoes and the lettuce at the beginning of the season, I haven’t been too happy with the garden production this year.  After seeing some of the gardens in the Garden tour I went on last Sunday (more on that tomorrow), I have come to the conclusion that it’s the trees.  By 1:00 or 2:00 the vegetable garden is completely shaded out.   Getting those trees gone is on my to-do list.

Providing a playground for the squirrels is another reason to get rid of the trees.  Squirrels…the bane of my existence.  I grew my egg plants from seeds.  I only kept two of them.  One went into a pot, one into the ground.  I’ve been nursing these babies along since April waiting all summer for the first egg plant.  Finally, a beautiful bloom…06-15-09

A couple weeks later, the egg plant cometh….Forgot to set the date on the camera (3)

And the next morning the egg plant goeth…The Next Day

I thought it was something exotic like the possum that got the egg plant, then I realized it was the @%&#ing squirrels when I found little nibblets of cucumbers and tomato peels on the ground.  Not only did they take the developing egg plant, but they decided they like the egg plant blooms too.   The little #%$%*#s got my one watermelon that set.  It was only the size of a gumball and it probably wouldn’t have matured, but, dang it, it was my watermelon. 

Then they really crossed the line.   Take a look at this.Ripening Raspberries Pre-SquirrelsRound 2 of ripening raspberries growing in containers.  I stuck the bamboo canes in the four corners of the containers and tied the canes with string to keep everything nice and neat looking, and two days after this one of those little @&^$#^s  had eaten the raspberries and I’m seeing raspberry leaves on the ground.

THOU SHALT NOT MESS WITH MY RASPBERRIES!!!  They just don’t know.  Their days are numbered.

Happy Gardening!!

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