Carol from May Dreams Gardens (Zone 5), Mary Ann from Gardens of the Wild, Wild West (Zone 6) and I decided, last year, to exchange letters from our vegetable gardens. We had so much fun we’re continuing the tradition this spring and summer. We hope to give everyone an idea of how gardens grow in three different USDA hardiness zones. I garden in Zone 7a, where it’s surprisingly chilly.
It’s been a wonderful week in the garden, and I can’t tell you how much different this spring is from last year’s. All the flowers are going gangbusters, and the fruits and veggies are right on schedule.
In the potager and veggie garden, I was worried the irrigation guys had really buried my seeds when they dug up the soil. So, I replanted some of the basil, green beans and squash. A couple of days ago I noticed my seeds were still right on target. So, I’ll need to do some thinning soon.
Let’s talk fruit. The strawberry patch is the best ever. I already have green berries hanging from the plants and loads of blooms. This is good because we love strawberries. To grow strawberries isn’t difficult, but I’ve found that they like oak leaves. Mine are planted beneath an oak tree in partial shade, and the leaves fall into the bed every Autumn. I just let them lie there until spring, and then I move them aside leaving them between the plants. Now, the interesting this is I always heard strawberries should be grown in full sun. Like many plants in Oklahoma, full sun is like baking them in a 375 degree oven for days and days at a time. Mine, in the back garden, get some morning sun, but then take a rest in the afternoon shade. I always tell people if they want a good strawberry patch, they must pick off the blooms the first year and give the plants plenty of time to establish and then send out runner babies.
For the first time in years, the peach trees have fuzzy green globes hanging from the branches, and I’m doing a happy dance. Last spring, I lost the entire peach crop to a freeze. This summer, I will not lose the peaches to the freakin’ deer. Hear that, deer? I will use a deer deterrent like I did one summer. I will. In a few weeks, I’ll also remove some the fruit to give others a chance to grow larger. Plus, it’s time to lay some old chicken manure at the drip line of the trees.
I also have little green apples. Apple trees are funny creatures. They don’t really like Oklahoma, but they suffer through our heat. I need to keep an eye on these, and, once again, keep the deer away.
Did you know I also have a cherry tree? It’s a sour cherry I planted about eighteen years ago. On a good year, with bird netting firmly in place, I get enough cherries to bake a pie. The best you ever tasted. There is nothing like fresh food to make the heart glad. Normally, cherry trees don’t like our soil and extreme weather patterns, but sour cherries do better in our climate.
Our weather the last couple of days has been cooler than normal, and we had to turn the heat on last night. It is 41F this morning, not our norm for late April. In fact, on Facebook, I joked with Margaret at A Way to Garden that we’d traded springs. Hers is warm and dry. All of the lettuces are responding beautifully to the cooler temperatures, but the green beans are struggling to get up out of the ground. I did plant four rows of corn in the potager. I’ll probably need a step ladder to harvest the ears.
When the irrigation guys came and tore up the potager, I was worried about my squash and bean seeds, but I shouldn’t have. I replanted, and now, everything is coming up. Even the tiny basil seeds. I should have plenty of basil and eggplant for my Thai food. When it gets hot though, basil bolts, and I’ll be spending all my time pinching off the blooms. I could also plant more seed, but will that happen? Uhm, no.
If you’re wondering how to keep critters from eating all your handiwork, head on over to the Lowe’s Garden Grow Along blog where I and seven other garden writers explain what we do to ward off the beasties.
Meanwhile, the iris are blooming, and I’m wearing long sleeves and a jacket.
Bye for now,