The Garden Blossoms

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StrawberryBlackberriesTomato BlossomsSnap Peas

Blossoms in the garden. I am looking forward to the fruit ……. already getting a few strawberries and we have been loaded up with the snap peas. I have seen some of the tomatoes beginning to set fruit. The Roma tomatoes and the Julliet cherries are going to be abundant pretty soon. Cucumbers are well spouted – I am trying squash again – it usually succumbs to the beetles. Peppers and cantaloupe are looking good! My experiments with potatoes under mulch and the hanging tomatoes are looking good….. I have so many blackberry blossoms that we may be overwhelmed! More photos to come.

Had some roasted beets at lunch today and then had snap peas and beet tops with my chicken tonight. It is really a treat to have the freshest veggies! I will need to eat well as I rehab from this pending knee surgery. Tuesday April 27th I get the left knee replaced. Could be 6-8 weeks of recovery to get back to 80% normal gait and strength. May have to use hired help in the garden.


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Need a little Balance in your Life?


So what is this photo doing in my gardening blog? Well that is me in my younger years balancing a log but not wise enough then to understand what balance in my life should have been. Balance then was just having enough money for beer, playing a little Rugby and maybe catching hold of a young lady or two.

Now that I have begun to figure it out, yes – I still have a few things to learn, I use my garden as a big piece of my balance! After I have been out on the road with my work I can't wait to get back and check on the plants, the compost pile and see how the worms are coming along on their job digesting the kitchen scraps.It is part of my chill out therapy. See dear, I am also happy to see you & Joe and I do appreciate you checking on the patch while I am gone.(I have to be honest and truthful because she actually reads the blog!)

Tonight for dinner I felt like I made some connections for others about my "gardening jones" – see earlier blog. I planned to roast some fresh beets from my garden and also prepare the tops as greens. As I was prepping dinner my good friend John came over to give some input on the height of the new mirror we were hanging and to try a bottle of the beer I had just finished brewing, bottling and aging. I was anxious to share this new ale with my friend.(another part of my balancing). John tried the beets and they were as good as he remembered from his youth but he wasn't too sure about trying the greens.  It was a simple recipe but he couldn't believe how good they were. Now I had to convince my wife to try both the beets and the greens. She was a little too quick and ate the first beet before she heard me tell her to peel the skin off before eating. She ate it and did not seem to mind the skin. And, best of all,  the flavor of the greens surprised her.

Now my favorite part …. John picked from my garden last summer when we were away and I had tried to convince him to plant a veggie patch at his house. He didn't bite on my suggestion but he did enjoy the fresh eating from mine. His yard is situated much better than mine when it comes to sun exposure. It is really perfect, in fact I would even manage it for him. After he ate both the beets and greens he said, "Bishop, I guess you can put a garden in my yard….. another convert, yee haw!

Now I can help put a some balance into my good buddy's life and yard….And maybe I'm a little closer to convincing my wife that I need something bigger to balance…. no, not  bigger log but, maybe, just maybe a real acre or five!

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Companion Planting vs. The Smörgåsbord Approach

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I have been out pulling weeds, removing early berries on the strawberry plants, checking on the blackberries and I just loving seeing it all grow!!!!!
Here is a picture of a mixed bed. I have heard that there are some real benefits to utilizing the companion planting techniques. Problem with that is-  there has to be a plan….. I sometimes just group stuff by height and width…. makes sense to me. So… if you look closely I have;
Swiss Chard, Romaine lettuce, garlic, carrots, asparagus ferns, beets,a few small weeds, potatoes way out in back and empty plastic jugs waiting to be put in service…. they will be mini greenhouses. I call it Smörgåsbord grouping. I can pick a salad without taking a step.
I was down at the farmers market this morning and saw Romaine lettuce going for $2-$3 per head and they didn't look nearly as good as mine. Swiss Chard-  bunches of 5 leaves for $3 to $4 an bunch. People were carting out bags of the stuff. Makes me wonder if maybe I can have a fourth or fifth career selling organically grown veggies….. Hmmm. Maybe I should pull out the business plan forms I picked up a couple of years ago and give it a try. The booths selling eggs ran out by 9:30 AM except for one and the line was 10 back…. $3/dz. for white eggs and $4/dz for brown. Same feed, same pasture, same bugs to eat….. there is not an advantage to buy brown eggs, they taste the same …….. the farmer likes the perceived differences!!!  
Check out my new photos from today's garden visit, Oh, by the way, my latest batch of beer is ready to drink – Farmhouse Ale…. go figure. Even my wife liked the finish, not too hoppy- just right.

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