Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday in the Garden

After barely making it home in time to clean up and go to work on Monday, I am finally getting a chance to sit down and take a deep breath.

Mother's Day here in Helena had been cool (ok, cold) and overcast and just downright dreary.  But Monday dawned bright and beautiful, if only getting into the 50's.  I headed out to Tizer Botanical Gardens to get into their vegetable garden after 3 days of pruning roses.

(Note:  I apparently did something to the settings on my camera and the following pictures are terrible.)

After 55 years of gardening in the South, where putting in potatoes in February/March is the norm, I really wanted to get involved with the vegetable garden so I could learn how to cram everything into a 90 day (if we're lucky I'm told) growing season.

And while it only drizzled at times in Helena, a little further south and a little further 'up', there was snow on the ground when I arrived.

I set about cleaning out the herb garden area first, tidying it up and getting it ready for planting to fill in the gaps.  Despite the chilly temps, once I was out working in the sun, I had to dump the jacket and just go with shirt sleeves.  Some of the thymes winter over pretty well.  I was inhaling the lovely, herby smell as I weeded and trimmed back dead branches.  I felt like throwing myself down on top of it and just rolling around, like one of the cats.  The chives in the middle area...I have my eyes on them for picking the blooms for some chive vinegar this summer.  Makes a lovely purple/pink vinegar and will use it for cooking and making salad dressing.  The bee balm seems to over-winter well too.  Lots of clumps of it and can't wait for it to start sending up flowers.

Then I got down to the 'real' gardening....planting veggies.  In one area there are four 4X10 raised beds and I had enough time to get one of them planted.  With temperatures forecasted into the 70's by the end of the week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday will see me spending most of the day in the garden with my hands in the soil.

 So far, there in the first bed there is the following planted:

3 Bonnie Mega Cabbage
4 White Cloud Hybrid Cauliflower
4 Packman Hybrid Broccoli
2 Dill
17 Butter Crunch Lettuce
4 Bright Lights Chard
45 Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions
27 Golden Beets (seeds)
6-1' squares of a combination of Royal Chardonnay Carrots and Hailstone Radish

Belva is pretty much letting me do what I want to do in the garden (so far - she hasn't witnessed the havoc I can make), so I am pretty much going with a square foot garden technique in the raised beds.

When I go back next, if they haven't gotten to it yet, I will be planting peas and beans, corn, potatoes, and tons of other things.  I just about died when I was told I could pretty much take what I wanted from the nursery, I just have to write it down.  Why didn't she just tell the drug addict that the drug store was unlocked and open!

I also will be starting on the containers for my front entry way (faces east and south) and my balcony (west facing) in the next week.  I have one container with strawberries in it that I pulled up at Tizer.  They are setting some blooms already.

But my day at Tizer started out with this jaunty little fellow.  I wish the picture was better.  I will do better next time since it looks like he will be nesting here.

A little nuthatch.  So neat and clean looking and just hops up and down the tree.

Off to have dreams of soil and transplants and seeds and flowers and 'dirty' things!

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