Sunday, July 28, 2013

More Bees, Please!

Bumblebee visiting gaura
 I try to do everything I can to attract bees to my garden.  Different types of bees visit, but my predominant guests are bumblebees.  I can't say they've arrived in record numbers this year, after all, the bee population has been at risk for a while now.  But I have gotten quite a few and I continue to plant things that I think they will like and that will contribute to their survival. 

So this year I have:  (annuals) calibrachoa, zinnia; (perennials) agastache, clematis, purple coneflower, gaura, geranium, roses, sedum; (fruit and vegetables) peppers, strawberries; (herbs) bee balm, rosemary, sage, thyme, and mint.  All of these are known to attract bees. 

This forager bee looks pretty pleased with the selection.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Exactly Three Months Later...

Lady Elizabeth Daylily
...Elizabeth, my daylily has bloomed.  And she's a beauty.  

You may recall that this plant arrived bareroot from White Flower Farm in the spring.  Its roots were wrapped in newspaper and it didn't look like much of anything.  But all I did was put it in a pot with some potting mix, time release fertilizer, and some earthworm castings.  I put the pot in full sun and just watered regularly. Now it's just starting to bloom.
Daylily arrives bareroot

So why is it called a daylily?  Because each bloom lasts about 24 hours.  Not to worry; there are other buds ready to open up when the previous one(s) wilt. 

Daylily in pot
Elizabeth is perennial so I should be able to count on her returning next year.  She's a good height for my container garden (18"), and she blends in well with all kinds of other flowers and plants.  Definitely a winner.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Candy Onion

"Candy" Onion

Today, I harvested my first onion.  This is called "Candy Onion."  This is one of a few plants that I bought in early April.  I planted each of them in separate pots.  As you can see in the picture, this pot is tall and narrow so it allows for decent root growth.  The plant tag said it would take about 85 days until ready to harvest.  I pulled this one today so it's been about 90 days.

So, I planted them all in full sun. I did not use any extra fertilizer other than my regular time-release Osmocote that I always use at planting.  My minimal web research told me that I should harvest when the tops fall over.  Well, they fell over pretty much immediately so I ignored that piece of information.  However, I did notice that recently the tops were turning brown and dry looking so that's probably an indication of maturity. 

Falling tops and dried tips

Further instructions indicate that I should let my harvested onion dry for a few days, then clip off the top an inch from the bulb and store in a ventilated area.

I have about 3 or 4 more plants out on the deck that will be ready to harvest soon.  I wish I had more but I simply don't have the space to grow enough onions to keep pace with what we consume.  Practically everything we cook starts out with onion (and garlic). I might be able to eke out a little more real estate next year for more Candys.  But first I'm going to wait to see how this one tastes.

Close up of Candy

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books