Thursday, May 18, 2017

April May showers bring May flowers

The weather is gradually shifting to early summer conditions but I'm still hesitant to put anything into the ground until the forecast stabilizes. That doesn't mean any less work in the yard though. On the contrary, the lawn needs to be mowed twice a week, there is constant weed control (manually, no chemicals!), and a battle with aphids that I'm proud to say I'm winning. While all that is going on, I count the days when we'll set up the irrigation system and hail protection. Whew!

When I'm done and satisfied, I make a nice cup of hibiscus tea and admire the flowers. My husband actually thanked me one day when he came home to a perfectly manicured yard. Gardening is such a boost for the soul!

The iris patch from last year finally established itself

Iceland poppy - salmon color

Oriental poppy

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Summer should be hot and spicy

Well I'm hoping for the hot part, because heat and lots of sunny days will determine how spicy these peppers will turn out. I bought them at a garden nursery when we were in Tuscany: Hot Lemon (hot), Cajamarca (medium), Fatalli Yellow (very hot).

But 3 varieties can't be enough if you're into food with some kick, so a few days later, I get another 2 from a nearby garden center: Multicolore Chiara (medium-hot) and Aji Amarillo (medium). I've been looking for the latter ever since I saw it mentioned being used in peruvian cuisine. It's an ingredient in a special sauce that goes on yummy arepas and I want to try making that!

I haven't decided exactly where I'm going to plant all of these, but this year the focus will be on producing a lot from only a few things, namely tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and hot peppers. Last year I had such a gross problem with black aphids on my pole beans but nothing touched the cukes. And we love cukes!

If the weather warms up in the next few weeks, these young tomatoes are going in the ground. The smaller seedlings to the left are padron peppers that I heard were similiar in taste to shishito peppers.

Dahlia and iris bulbs in the ground and waiting to bloom in a few months. At least I hope they'll bloom. We're always several weeks/months behind in respect to the average growing zone, and what doesn't come up this year more than often makes an appearance the next.

Today's high: 18°C / 64°F