Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Weeds... and Apple Leaves

The High Desert is alive and turning green! There are four different types of "weeds" here - the very, very tiny ones are tumble weed seedlings. Unfortunately, in the garden area, these will be ruthlessly destroyed.

This is what I am currently calling "the ferny weed." I let two grow last year - they both reached two feet tall and had masses of tiny yellow flowers. Something laid some eggs on it as I had some happy, healthy caterpillars on them - until, of course, something ate them!

Another weed. Waiting to see what this one turns into!

This is not a weed! These are among the first leaves on the first tree in the orchard to unfurl. I hope it isn't too early. The first tree to wake up is always the oldest one - the "rescue" apple tree that my dear husband brought over the mountains for me - it was scheduled to be bull dozed. The next oldest one also has some small leaves, and the ones after it have nice fat fuzzy buds. The nectarine flower buds are swelling and showing hints of pink. Maybe I'll have photos of flowers some time this week!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weeds - er, native plants?

It's Spring and the weeds sure know it! I'm not really sure what these are, but there are an abundance of them growing in the garden area. It always astounds me that there are things that will grow in pretty darn near pure sand (look at the photos - I don't really see much organic matter in that there growing medium!). I know I will probably regret it, but I am actually watering and taking care of a patch of weeds to see what they turn into. I did this a few years ago and now have a perenial Desert Mallow growing in the garden - lovely orange flowers with geranium-looking leaves. Hopefully I won't be spreading weed seeds that will haunt me for years and years to come. If I get my act together, I'll try to post more pictures of these weeds throughout the seasons.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring was appropriately mild, breezy and full of surprises - I planted these crocus in the fall of 2006. Most of them didn't come up last spring (2007) and those that did were promptly consumed by ravenous rabbits. I figured they were just a bit of expensive rodent dinner and wrote them off as "another thing to not grow in the desert." But behold, a bloom bursting from the sand on The First Day of Spring. I credit their success this year to it being a very wet winter with snow and rain spread out through the season. And I think the rabbits didn't dine on them because I fertiliezed lightly with bone meal - ironically enough, just a few days before they broke ground and I didn't even knew anything was still alive under the sand - just generally getting the ground ready for Things To Come.

Daffodils planted in another area during the fall of 2005 (and bloomed profusely in 2006) that did also not show up in 2007 are now several inches tall. I had written them off as "dead and gone, but maybe worth growing as one shot wonders." I am greatly anticipating if they will bloom or not.

Another surprise survivor is a tiny lemon balm plant, found burried among tomato vine debris. It is bright green and healthy looking with a delightfully pungent lemon aroma. And, while I knew the oregano might come back, I had no idea that by the end of March, it would have expanded its patch by 6 inches. Truly, it might become a ground cover, yet.

I uncovered the winter mulch from the strawberries earlier this week and they have all greened up wonderously. There's about a 4 ft x 4 ft patch of them. Not really enough to pig out on when berry season arrives, but lovely all the same.

Garlic, of course, has been out of the ground for more than a month now. In fact, a few hardy souls have been steadily growing one tiny bit at a time right through the winter snows. Most are 5 - 7 inches tall now. Maybe in a few months we will be harvesting arestingly pungent and spicy garlic! I have two beds of garlic with about 50 cloves in each. One bed is straight in the (amended) sand and the other bed is a raised bed. The bed in the ground sprouted sooner, but after a few weeks of mild sunshine, the ones in the raised beds have caught up.

The first set of peas are in the ground two weeks now, and the second set has been in less than a week. None have broken ground yet. But the weeds - of course, they are off and running.

Still, it appears that Spring has sprung right on schedule, and the garden is slowly waking up. Inside, a profusion of tiny tomato plants and an assortment of basils impatiently sit under grow lights, awaiting their moments in the sun. I love this time of year.