Monday, April 21, 2008

Winter is Back!

But before she returned and frosted all my apple blossoms, I took a few photos to save an April Spring Day forever!
So of course, I know Spring is fickle, but I do so enjoy it when she shows her lovely face.

For Spring flowers with gumption,however, one need only look to the lovely weeds - they laugh when Spring hides her head and Winter's chilly 25*F nights return.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blustery Spring Day & Early April Photos

Nectarine blossom, April 6th, 2008...

The nectarine tree officially burst into bloom on April 6th! First of the orchard trees to bloom this year. The two more mature apple trees were only 13 days behind the nectarine, though - opening their first buds today. (Unfortunately, there were 40 MPH winds, so I was not able to photograph them, although I spend a goodly amount of time standing in the sand-blasting wind just gazing at them.) The two younger trees do not look like they have flower buds on them - only leaf buds. Ditto for the sweet cherry. All the trees in the orchard look happy, though, with bright green leaves and/or leaf buds.

More nectarine bud photos from April 6th...

In spite of 40 MPH winds and sand-blasting, I hung out in the garden for several hours during the late morning. Had a peaceful, therapeutic time. Even got some garden "chores" done.

Lemon Balm in Bed No. 1

    Raised Bed No. 1
  • Watered
  • Transplanted some oregano from the original patch to another location in the same bed - pulled it away from some bearded irises that it was trying to invade - and couldn't just "throw it away!"
  • Speaking of bearded irises, they survived the winter just fine and most have leaves more than 6 inches high now.
  • A dozen sugar snap peas have broken ground
  • Earlier in the week I discovered 2 more lemon balm clumps hiding in the tomato debris from last year - bringing the total to 3 clumps! They don't really have a pleasant lemon smell or flavor - kind of have turpentine undertones - but anything that will survive the desert and our winters is totally welcomed!
  • Earlier in the week also discovered a small patch of sweet marjoram. Looks and smells very similar to the oregano, but the leaves are not fuzzy and the smell is not nearly so pungent. Another survivor from last year - that's 3 herbs I've found that will over winter here (Sweet Marjoram, Lemon Balm, Oregano)
  • Desert Mallow has 3 very tiny leaves at the base of last year's dead wood - so I shall say it is officially awake

Closeup of new strawberry growth, 4 April 2008...

    Raised Bed No. 2
  • Watered
  • Strawberries look healthy and undaunted by whirling winds
  • A few stray garlic are up - not as robust as the main crops - these were small cloves planted more for decoration and because I cannot stand to throw any plant away that might possibly grow
  • Crocus leaves are still up and healthy looking, although the few crocus that bloomed in this bed are long gone
  • more than 25 sugar snap peas are up and have their first true leave - planted some more to fill in the gaps where nothing seems to have germinated

Happy Garlic, 6 April 2008...

    Raised Bed No. 3 & In Ground Garlic Bed
  • Watered both
  • Both are devoted just to garlic - mostly hard necks
  • The garlic in the south west corner of the in-ground garlic has "split" and has two stems - I don't think it will form a good bulb - I heard that water stress or cold stress can cause this. The others appear to be fine.

Obviously, I should probably be posting more regularly as a lot is going on right now - like the weeds are very happy and such...sunflower seeds planted a little over a week ago have germinated... I planted more sunflower seeds this afternoon... and, well, I'd rather BE in the garden than write about it...

Ok, a few more weed photos and that's it for tonight...

The flowers for this one are particularly difficult for me to get in focus... not sure why, but this is the best one so far...(4/6/08)

It comes in yellow, too...(4/6/08)

Ok, that's it for tonight. Good night.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Spring is Sprung

Nectarine Bud
Nectarine bud ready to unfurl. This is it's first Spring in our tiny orchard and I did not expect it to actually bloom. Of course, it is only the beginning of April, so I suspect we will have several light frosts and at least one more hard frost before the cold has left us for good - meaning that any fruits formed of these flowers will probably be frost blasted and killed sometime between now and the middle of May. Since the tree is not yet really established, even if it did set fruit that survived, I suppose that I should take them off, any way, so that the tree can spend its energy getting better situated.

A weed.
The weeds are starting to bloom, also. This one has delicate lavender flowers. The color shows up a little washed out in this photo.

Another weed
More weed flowers.

Something new that is now germinating.

Sugar Snap Pea Seedling
And finally, some action in the garden area. This is a close up of a sugar snap "edible pod" pea seedling. I've planted about 200 of these babies, so far, but only about 20 have germinated as of today. Hopefully more will soon follow their lead.

Other action in the garden are includes: Bearded Irises have broken dormancy and are about 6 inches tall, Garlic is growing like a weed, Cherry tree leaf buds fattening up, Apple trees have little leaves, daffodils are blooming, crocus flowers are all gone.