Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

4999 Turnip cover crop blooming, 4-21-17 copy

April 21…The turnips are blooming.  Why is that important?  Because the bees are getting the pollen.  Pollen that is high in protein, with all the essential amino acids, and is highly digestible.  Last October, we planted the turnips as a cover crop and intended the blossoms to mature early in spring, but we didn’t realize that the pollen was so nourishing.  Apparently, the bees do well on it, so well it can lead to swarming.  I just hope I can capture the swarm.

5003 Bee pollinating turnip flowers, 4-21-17.JPG+++

Pollen sacs full. (A lucky shot with an iPhone)

5001 Turnip flower bee,.JPG++++

4966 Pat's Warre Hive, bees outside, 4-18-17.JPG

For several days (when it’s not raining) the bees have appeared on the front of the hive.  I think they’re waiting for a sunny day.  “Be patient, little critters, good weather is coming soon.”

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…and the bees love it too.

4106-mostly-turnips-as-cover-crop-10-6-16

Want to grow spinach? We have been wildly unsuccessful in growing it, but guess what…steamed turnip greens taste just like spinach. It turns out they are very easy to grow and are good for you too. This was supposed to be a mixture of several cover crop seeds, Fava beans, Winter Rye, and Hairy Vetch included. It looks like the turnips took over. Uh, I might have broadcast them a little thick. My “solar-roller water pump panel” is positioned for the afternoon sun. Gotta keep the flow going. 🙂

honeybee-on-turnip-blossom-jan-16-2014

Turnip flowers in January provide nourishment for bees in the critical winter months.

4108-turnips-planted-a-month-ago-10-6-16

October 8…This bed was planted August 1. Turnips grow fast. Plant them thick, then you can harvest the thinnings by steaming the greens.  Leave a few to go to flowers in winter.

4110-short-bed-of-turnips-10-6-16

We’ve been getting three crops a year in our raised beds. This was lettuce last winter, then kale, now turnips. In between we bury crab shell when we can get it. This being October, that resource will soon be gone.

4120-one-of-5-turnips-used-for-turnip-soup-10-10-16

Oct. 10…My sweetheart made a delicious turnip soup for dinner this evening. These turnips were planted in early August. They grow fast!!!

4116-planted-more-turnips-yesterday-10-8-16

Oct. 8…just in case we haven’t planted enough turnips, here is another bed started…complete with drip water grid.

4132a-turnips-growing-well-rain-cloth-10-15-16-smlr

Oct. 15…Turnips are up already. The shade cloth is to protect the little darlings from the hurricane force winds and 12-18 inches (300-450mm) of rain that was forecast…didn’t happen, at least, not yet.

Turnip soup recipe

Chop an onion, saute in olive oil, add 4 to 5 cups of peeled chopped turnips, two garlic cloves (peeled and cut in half), add two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and teaspoon of thyme  leaves.  Cook until lightly brown, add three cups of vegetable or chicken broth, salt to taste.  Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are cooked.  Blend in blender, return to pan, add a cup of milk, or milk alternative.

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3146 Entrance into Sue's secret garden, 5-18-16

May 18…This is the entrance. Just today Sue was able to get the path covered with wood shavings. She says, “I feel like this is a secret garden. I can’t wait to show the grand kids.”

3142 Pat's block work, 5-18-16

The project involved some block work by you know who. (Note to self…never make suggestions to someone about block work unless you’re prepared to do it yourself.)

3129 Sue's (semi) Secret Garden, 5-18-16

Sue has added the planters with lobelia, snap dragons from seed, and Clary Sage Salvia (also from seeds this year), hoping to attract some bees. The squash barrels contain butternut, Red Hubbard, and Sugar Pie pumpkin starts. Between the planters and the squash is the Witch Hazel which we bought a couple of years ago, but it didn’t  do well in the clay pot we chose for it. We hope it comes back and blooms in winter. It’s next to an Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium).

3159 Sue in new garden room, 5-19-16.JPG++++

I asked Sue to sit down for a moment so I could take a photo.

3144 Hugelbed, cosmos, marigolds, phacelia, 5-18-16

The hugelkulture bed is technically in the new garden too. It’s getting planted with cosmos, marigolds, phacellia, California poppies, and more marigolds.

3145 Looking over hugel bed, 5-18-16

This is the other end of the hugelkulture bed, looking back towards the tall echium.

Some other garden scenes…

3196 Potatoes growing well, 5-22-16

May 22…Potatoes growing well.

3121 Turnip blossoms, mulched lettuce, 5-18-16

May 18…..My wife says it was a mistake to mulch the lettuce. It takes quite a bit of time to remove the straw when you want to eat it. In the background you can see the turnip flowers heavy with growth. This is our turnip seed source. The bees are still working it for now. For the record, these turnips, which were planted directly over crab shells last year, grew all winter.

3195 Pole beans planted, 5-22-16

Because of the new deer fence, I can plant pole beans for the first time in about 25 years. It’ll be fun watching the vine crawl up the bamboo poles.

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The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well.  From the lobelia in the front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well. From the colorful lobelia in front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

July 3...Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

July 3…The Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

July 3...The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already.  It's older siblings can only watch with envy.

July 3…The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already. It’s older siblings can only watch with envy.

This deer seems to be asking me the question...

This deer seems to be asking me the question…”What are you doing out here at this time in the evening, this is MY time?”  In the video you’ll see why she looked up…she picked up the sound of the camera’s zoom lens.  Their hearing is phenomenal, but luckily their eyesight isn’t that good.  I’m standing in the sunlight just a short distance away, but she can’t see me very well.

Arrrgh!  Deer damage!

Arrrgh! Deer damage!

I'm not sure if there's any reason to net what's left of these potatoes.  They have been stripped of their leaves by the 'cute' deer. :(

I’m not sure if there’s any reason to net what’s left of these potatoes. They have been stripped of their leaves by the ‘cute’ deer. 😦

I mulched this corn in the morning...by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it.  A temporary fence is now in place to protect it...I hope it recovers.

I mulched this corn in the morning…by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it. A temporary fence is now in place to protect it…I hope it recovers.

This tomato's only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

This tomato’s only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice.   We're so happy to finally see the blooms, but we've yet to see the bees on them.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice. We’re so happy to finally see the blooms, but we’ve yet to see any bees on them.

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5-27-15...Pink Chintz Thyme

5-27-14…Pink Chintz Thyme attracted bees last year

Butterflies like them too.

Butterflies like them too.

June 29, 2014...English Thyme

June 29, 2014…English Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

June 29...English Thyme

June 29…English Thyme

6-4-13...Red Thyme

6-4-13…Growing as a ground cover, this red thyme is hard to see until you bend down close.

Health benefits of thyme…

To finish out the beautiful music of La Tabú, I added some video of this new plant…a type of St. John’s Wort called HyPearls Hypericum.

July 10, 2014...HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

July 10, 2014…HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

You can understand why it's called HyPearls.

You can understand why it’s called HyPearls.

 

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We planted fennel this year to attract bees and butterflies.  We never saw the butterflies, but we spotted the caterpillars and later on the bees.

August 22, 2014...we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

August 22, 2014…we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters.  Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem.  It doesn't waste any time.  I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters. Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem. It doesn’t waste any time. I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth.  More information about the many stages

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth. The life cycle of the Black Swallowtail Butterflies can be found here.

Fennel can grow quite tall.  This one is at least 7 ft. tall.

Fennel can grow quite tall. This one is at least 7 ft. tall.  I wonder if the chrysalis will be hidden in the undergrowth.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.  I don’t know what the insect at the top is, but it’s very colorful.  My wife thinks its a Great Golden Digger Wasp.

This shows the color of gathered pollen.

I’m happy the bees like fennel too.

The parsley muncher

October 8...more caterpillars seen last week and today.  I hope to see many Swallowtail butterflies next spring.

October 8…more caterpillars seen last week and today. I hope to see many Swallowtail butterflies next spring.

 

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July 10, 2013...Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

July 7, 2013…Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

When we planted  turnips, lettuce and kale in July for our winter garden little did we know we were planting for the bees as well as ourselves.

July 28, 2013...turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides.

July 28, 2013…turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides. Deer netting over pvc hoops.

January 16, 2014...We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed.  We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January.  What a welcome surprise.

January 16, 2014…We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed. We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January. What a welcome surprise.

February 9, 2014...My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up.  I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014…My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up. I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014...Many colors of pollen entering the hive.  In the video you can see the bright yellow from the turnip flowers.  It's possible this is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom

February 9, 2014…Many colors of pollen can be seen entering the hive. In the video you can see the bright yellow pollen from turnip flowers. It’s possible this shot is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom.  The darker orange might be from early gorse.

February 10, 2014...Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January.  Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.

February 10, 2014…Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January. Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.  Second bed is producing greens for our salads.  We can eat them 15 minutes after they are picked…can’t get much fresher than that.  We cover them with plastic film (partially visible on far side) on nights of sub freezing temps.

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