Mid-May Gardening Update: Kiwi Blossoms, Berries, and Bees!

I’ve been meaning to share a garden update with you – a lot has happened since my last update! It’s one of those things where I’ve been doing more gardening than writing about it.

DSCN6791 (600x800)My hardy kiwi vines have been growing like gangbusters!

But the most exciting thing about the kiwis isn’t how fast they are growing, but what they are growing…

DSCN6797 (800x600)I couldn’t believe it – but BOTH my male and female vines seem to be budding! I’ve been told it can be a few years before they produce fruit and we’re only in our second year, but I’m sooo hoping for even a few kiwis to enjoy this fall. I’ll keep you posted.

DSCN6807 (600x800)My parsley patch is getting ready to bolt, so I clipped quite a bit of it to freeze into ice cubes. This little patch has been going since LAST SUMMER. Talk about a cost savings! I personally prefer to freeze herbs in a little water than dry them. I think the flavor is better retained. (Not to mention it’s ridiculously easy!) For more on this and other ways to preserve herbs, make sure to see my post on herb preservation.

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Speaking of bolting, I actually don’t mind when a few veggies “go to seed” such as these kale plants and rutabagas. It is actually a natural process and look who benefits – the bees! I have spotted a few different kinds of bees on these flowers and I want them to get nice and ready to pollinate those kiwis and other berries in the garden. I plan on leaving them flowering until I need the space for other planting.

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Check out that pollen!

berries

We have a bunch of berries coming along rather nicely, too! Raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries. We’re growing two different gooseberry varieties this year that are supposedly sweet enough to eat out of hand. I figure if they aren’t, there is always gooseberry pie! We also have three blueberry bushes, a service berry (Saskatoon) and three huckleberry bushes. Unfortunately, two of the huckleberries are looking less than happy right now, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll make a comeback.

DSCN6830 (800x600)Does this bug look like he’s got some serious attitude or what? This is a leafhopper and I first noticed them on my raspberries last year. At first I began the panicky – oh no! what’s going to happen! But guess what? Nothing seemed to happen… really. Still had plenty of raspberries. I’ve decided for right now at least, he and his buddies can stay.

DSCN6827 (800x600)Always a favorite plant of mine – mint! It always just pops up in the spring just begging to go into a mojito! Last year, I bought candy mint, apple mint, and chocolate mint and those are all starting to rally for spring now, too.

DSCN6820 (800x600)So this is going to get its own post in the next week or so (just sit tight!), but I basically created about 100 square feet of new growing space. It required building NO raised beds and involved recycling lots of materials I already had laying around. I promise… a post is coming, but I wanted to share what I’ve got going!

This is a fairly steep slope, so I’m growing perennial herbs and some flowers on it as well. At the top, I’m growing a pumpkin plant that I hope will fill in the slope. This area is in full sun! Yes, I know it’s a tad early perhaps to put in a pumpkin, but I also know we’re going to be having very warm weather this entire week, so I’m taking a risk. If temperatures dip, I’ll find a way to deal with it and protect it.

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Many of the herbs and flowers we’re growing on that slope we picked up at the Seattle Tilth Edible Plant sale we attended a couple weekends ago (did you go?)! Have I ever mentioned I have a serious weakness for plants? Yeah…. I do. At last count, I now have over 20 different herb varieties growing around our property.

PS no, that is not my backyard – it’s the Seattle Tilth garden. (I wish!)DSCN6834 (800x600)Here’s one such herb – German Chamomile that reseeded itself and is getting ready to pop! I will then use these beauties for a homemade herbal tea.

winecratesI wanted to share with you one final tip I stumbled on – wine crates! I noticed these just chilling at the end of the aisle at my local wine shop, so I asked them, “hey, what do you do with those?” Turns out they sell them for $5 each! I have seen folks use these on Pinterest as inexpensive grow beds, but I’m going to use mine for harvesting veggies, maybe drying herbs, and a few other assorted things as I come up with them.

Let me know if you have seen these at your wine store before, or have other ideas for how to use them!

By the way – make sure to check out my Gardening Page for all kinds of gardening deals, updates, and tips! And if you’re on Pinterest, I’ve been “cultivating” a pretty awesome Project – Gardening board for awhile now! What’s growing in your garden these days?


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