Friday, August 28, 2015

A glut of green beans

My message in vegetable gardening programs is to plant what you like to eat, just enough for what you want to eat and preserve (whether freezing, canning, etc.) and not anything more.

Small vegetable gardening spaces have kept me honest in this regard; even when I had more space, various critters and soil pests combined to make things manageable.

But this year, for some reason, my pole beans on trellises have been pest-free, and have kept producing for weeks and weeks... how many green beans can the two of us eat? 

I've frozen them plain, cooked them with garlic and onions, frozen those, too, made a delicious green bean, mint, and peanut salad (thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi's wonderful recipe), cooked more beans with mushrooms (and frozen those), etc. etc.  Needless to say, eating out this evening, neither of us picked green beens as our side!

And the beans that I've grown are quite delicious (Romano, Emerite, Kentucky Wonder, and a couple of others), so I'm thankful for the abundance, really, as I cooked up yet another batch this evening, after dinner out....
Green beans in late July...hmm, they still look like that, even after the squash succumbed to powdery mildew!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yet another pocket meadow view

I just keep enjoying the view out the front door.  With a smaller garden, I do see this view all the time, but it keeps the late afternoon light, it was lovely.

The Vernonia, Eupatorium, Sedum, Phlox, etc. just keep flowering.  We're having a cool late August, so maybe flowering is extended.  I'm not complaining! The flower visitors are totally happy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Warm-season veggies to cool-season veggies

The change-outs began a couple of weeks ago, as fading tomatoes were replaced by newly sown greens, etc.

Squash vines have given way to beets and cilantro, and starts of leeks, kale, and parsley have been tucked in here and there.

The beans are still going strong (hmm) -- I'm getting a bit tired of green beans, actually, and have frozen about as many containers that I think we'll want to eat (there will be winter greens, after all!)

squash to peas, bare spots to greens....

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tiger Swallowtail on Vernonia

Not a particularly good photograph, but it's always nice to see Tiger Swallowtails.  They're common butterflies, to be sure, but totally beautiful.

This one was visiting the Vernonia lettermannii, a favorite now for flower visitors of all sorts.

Tiger swallowtail on Vernonia lettermannii

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An unexpected bumblebee hawkmoth

I was outside looking at the myriad flower visitors on the Vernonia, Eutrochium, etc. in the pocket meadow yesterday, and happily saw this bumblebee hawkmoth.

I had (by accident) my big camera along so managed a bit more decent photo than from my iPhone.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

A changing front garden

One of the nice things about keeping account of garden changes is that it encourages appreciation, at least when progress has been made!

I've been reminded of this again and again, as I enjoy the front garden, with its pocket meadow, sedum bed, raised bed vegetable garden, and various other perennial plantings.

I've especially been enjoying the pocket meadow in the last couple of weeks, and have realized that I keep taking photos from various angles and reflecting on it.  I see it many, many times a day -- out the front door, coming back from a walk, while gardening in the raised beds, departing to or pulling in from an excursion in my car, etc.

This perennial bed (which I now call the pocket meadow) was first planted in the fall of 2009.

It adjoins the raised bed vegetable and herb garden, another perennial border, and the sedum bed, along with various other plantings.
Sept. 2009
Our first gardening project in the new house (a second home at the time) had actually been a small pitcher plant bog, which was  replaced by the sedum bed the following spring, about the time the raised beds were planted for the first time.   

Here was a early musing about how much they added to the landscape.

But to begin, we started with an expanse of mulch, covering the gravel driveway with a layer of shredded hardwood, similar to what was in the rest of the front yard.

Here were the bed outlines for the raised beds -- "sketched" in mulch lines.
It looks SO different today.
sedum bed and vegetable beds, April 2010
 In the first spring season, things had improved already.

I've just pulled out the last of the tomato plants and most of the squash plants in the vegetable garden beds, and sown seeds of fall greens, sugar snap peas where the trellised squash was (crossing my fingers for a very late fall frost), and transplanted some lettuce starts from the local hardware store.

I'm doing a program on fall vegetable gardening and season extension next week, so it's been fun to review the progression of some of these swaps, and reflect on how successful these raised beds have been.  They're attractive as well as productive, even though that requires a bit more "editing" and "grooming" than some vegetable gardens, but as they're up front, it's a priority.  And it's easy to harvest as well as monitor how things are growing, etc.

pocket meadow today
A welcoming front garden, indeed!

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