Small Patio garden in pots

Quick update on some of my plants that I grow on the patio in summer and at home in winter - my citrus and tropical collection. Most of my citrus has been in bloom since March and lately some that have been struggling all winter and shed many leaves have started to put out blooms and new shoots, so that makes me very happy. Here you can see in first picture is my Calamondin on left with Banana palm next to it. Potted potatoes are experiment to see where I will get better yield - bed or a pot and on bottom are my Bay leaf & basil plant. Second picture is my new replacement Fig and it just set baby figs on it so there's hope for some fruit in the fall. 
And these two are my Lime ready to burst into bloom on left picture; and Pink Lemon on the right - that's the one that has been struggling and you can see whole lot of new leaves on it starting to regrow. I guess it really didn't like winter.
Here's a better shot of the Pink Lemon upright, with the Mayer Lemon on bottom left corner behind it. And on the right picture is my Kaffir Lime - also been struggling but really took of in the past two weeks setting up new leaves. I do hope it blooms, but even if it doesn't I love using it leaves in my cooking for Thai food.
And lastly is my Meyer lemon full in bloom and setting baby lemons - I love this plant. It's been with us two years now and so far it's a happy camper. I do hope that we'll get lemons for Christmas again.
All these are on my small patio by the addition, but we also have a large patio at the main house - that's for another post later.

The good, bad, and ugly side of gardening.

First the good side - you get to grow all your fresh veg and when it's a good year you'll have flourishing beds, pretty flowers and bountiful harvests.

Now the bad side - your weather doesn't always cooperate, wild animals like in my case our resident horde of deer, several groundhogs and raccoon keep trying to eat anything you plant just as fast as you plant it. And you have bugs - whole lot of bugs, that also eat anything you plant down to the ground. Case in point my grapes that were stripped by deer down to nothing; and runner beans struggling in the main garden half alive after rolly-polly had breakfast, or the goozeberries stripped by cabbage caterpillars. Take your pick.

And the ugly - half an hour in the garden and you spend another half hour picking nasty bugs off of you. These hitch a ride on our resident deer and they are EVERYWHERE.

I'm yet to have a day in the garden this year when I did not come home with couple of ticks on me. C'est la vie.

Memorial Day harvests

 Some of the things that were picked today: lettuces and asian greens; radishes; arugula, spinach and young garlic.

Bear in the garden and more flowers

My hubby made a new fluger to put on one of the posts in the garden - and it has a bear on top of it! I think it's very fitting, considering that we get visits quite often - like today! Picture is blurry because he was moving, but it's a 2 yrs old baby and I hope he'll stay for strawberries this year.   
Then we have some more flowers in bloom - Lily of the Valley is overwhelming the front door right under purple and white Rhododendron bushes.
And on the back of the house white Azaleas kicked into bloom, also mixed with purple Rhododendron.   
And we also have some greens that were overgrown in hydroponic so we plucked them out for salad and stir-fry. You'll see later a weight picture with the same greens.
In the back yard I put a fence around one of the chestnuts and hope it will survive. The other 3 wrapped in netting for now, but deer has proven that they know work around. And while I was there, I went to get few items for my salad - fresh garlic and few radishes to add to all greens from hydroponic. Yummy!

Identify Poison Ivy in the garden

One of my friends posted it on Facebook - this comes from the "Survival Life" source, and I thought it was a good reminder to all gardeners about this nasty plant. Unfortunately for us it's a native and is everywhere in our back yard, so knowing what it is and how to look for one is important.

Fortunately we also have another native plant called Jewelweed that works better than any ointments I can get in the store - and it's abundant in our backyard as well.

 Stem of the Jewelweed is hallow and when you break it it's a bit slimy and juicy, but that's the juice you need to rub on rash that you get from poison ivy and it will go away. It's almost like Mother Nature decided to counteract her own nasty gift with a positive one :)

Harvest May 18

This weekend was very mild but not much was harvested - the first of the Rhubarb was picked as it was getting a bit over crowded, few shoots of brocolini and some of the last asparagus for the year. The bed was not producing as well as I hoped so I don't want to overtax it and will let it grow out a bit. Hope next year will be better. First of the baby strawberries were picked and my hubby enjoyed them for a treat. There are loads of flowers blooming but will have to wait few more weeks for really good harvest (pending no more storms).
At the house our cucurbits are growing nicely, waiting for weather to get above 50 at night to be transplanted. There are several varieties of cucumbers, summer and winter squash, luffa, cantaloupe and watermelons have been seeded. Also running an experiment with hydroponic cucumber - it seems to be very happy there! Growing very fast and very healthy.
Also part of the hydroponic experiment are tomatoes - growing twice as big as in pots; chard - so-so for now but I hope it will pick up, asian greens as usual and whole lot of letuces and even one melon.
And in the last picture you can see an addition to the back yard - chestnut trees were packed in the car, delivered and planted - 4 of them. I do hope at least 1 will make it as so far we haven't had good track record with others like walnuts. And deer tend to strip anything we plant so I hope for 1 out of 4. Otherwise in 10 yrs we'll be swimming in chestnuts.
How is your garden doing? Visit Daphne's garden to see other harvests.

Early May around the garden

Few pictures to show how the garden looks mid-May. It's very bare in the beds, but things are slowly starting to grow and bloom. Here's an overhead view from 2nd story window - screen makes it hard to get a clear picture, but you get an idea.
Seedlings are getting hardened off on the patio - some early beans in the pot (hopefully groundhog won't find them), and few seeds of corn that I wanted to grow for my hubby as he likes it fresh. This year I'm trying heirloom blue corn and sweet yellow open pollinated variety. 
The trays of tomatoes and peppers waiting for warmer nights to get in - I had to buy two trays of peppers (with yellow rims) in addition to my own as germination was very poor and aphids ate half of the ones that did decide to grow. Hope next year will be better. Then you can see few pics inside the garden - grapes waking up, strawberry in bloom, bed of brassica plants, peas that need support. 
This one strawberry is the sole survivor of 25 plants that were planted right before winter - Honeoye variety and it's first time it's in bloom. Let's hope it was worth it. Next to it are our blueberry bushes - 4 yrs old and finally decent blooms on them. I didn't want to trim them and hope they will grow well. Garlic in small garden is doing ok but not as well as last year. Not sure what was different. Some additional cabbages, strawberries and greens are planted in between to use up some of the space. Lonely nectarine tree on the background - it's on 3 year so will strip it this year. 
These are my apple trees - the one in the middle unfortunately was severely striped by an animal (most likely deer) and only has few leaves remaining. I hope it will recover. It's a shame as it was covered in blooms - you can see upclose shot of one of them on top of the tree. I was looking forward to trying it - it's a Ginger Gold variety. 
Then here we have mulberry - on its 3rd year and growing quite nicely. And another picture showing my future favorite - persimmon, also on 3rd year and just starting to open leaves. I do hope next year it will start to produce. Then we have rhubarb and a peach tree both doing very well this spring. 
And of course some pretty flowers - lily of the valley is just opening first flowers and our entry to the house covered with them! Lilacs are full in bloom and all peonies that I planted all over the property and in both gardens are full in buds so hope in a week or two they'll open up! I have bright red, pink and white peonies. 
Columbine, red Azeleas and up-close shot of the lilacs - all so pretty. 
White Bleeding Heart is just starting to bloom away and Hostas are unfurling their leaves. I planted few zinnias here and there to keep a splash of color in the garden while it's starting up.
The last two pictures are inside the large garden - a salad "mess" that happened when i was planting it and didn't realize that bag was torn - full bed is infested with salad now And my potatoes starting to wake up and grow - I sprinkled some radishes so they can grow while the potatoes taking off, but they took nearly 3 weeks to wake up themselves. Go figure. So here you have it. Wish I had it all nice and clear of weeds but the weeds grow faster and better than the rest of the garden. :)