The Garden August 2014

I can’t believe that August is half over and it will soon be autumn. This season has whizzed by and I feel like I planted the garden just yesterday. It definitely doesn’t look like that though. Everything is full and lush and in an overall insane state (but good insane). We’re working hard on keeping up with the garden bounty, which is definitely not something I will complain about. I’ve also started jotting down some notes for next year of areas I would like to work on or things I would like to try planting (my seed list is up to like 30 things, somebody stop me now).

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My only non-alpine clematis (variety unknown) that I have managed to keep alive in my garden. I’m so glad I decided to keep a few non-edible perennials in my vegetable growing spaces, especially vertical plants. 

My staycation has ended so work in the garden has slowed down quite a bit, although I am basically going directly from my car in to the garden when I get home every afternoon, desperate to get my gloved hands dirty. This week I was able to prune and tie back my tomato plants, pull the spent delphiniums, as well as finally finish mulching the front yard with cardboard underneath fresh shredded cedar (that is of course until I rip out more lawn – NO LAWN IS SAFE, YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED!). I still have about a cubic yard of mulch left in the alley, so I’ll spread a fresh layer in the back yard and throw some around Compost Land in the back alley to keep things looking a bit neater. What a difference the mulch makes – I love the way it looks and smells, not to mention that it keeps many of the weeds down, making maintaining the garden just a little bit easier.

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One of the raised beds overflowing with corn, runner beans, squash, tomatoes, zinnia and marigolds. Lettuces planted in the ground in front. A few holes in things from either hail or insects, but most everything still looks great. 

And no doubt you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to tell you what else I actually accomplished on my staycation. So here is the final update on that:
– Processed 12L of sour cherries. I am saying right now that I will never bring home 12L of sour cherries again. But I only half believe that statement. The most painful part was pitting them one by one “click…click…click”. And it looked like a murder scene outside where I’d sat and pitted them all. Pitting cherries is a long and dirty job. I ended up freezing about 4L, baked an amazing clafoutis, made homemade maraschino cherries using liqueur (delicious little alcohol soaked gems), infused sour cherry bourbon, and then spent a few hours over a boiling water bath making jam and preserves. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. I can say that now that its been a week and my resentment towards the cherries has dwindled.
– Planted a new sour cherry tree. Or rather, bush. Yeah because apparently I want more sour cherries. The variety I planted was a Romeo and I already have a Juliet, so it seemed fitting to get the other star-crossed lover.
– Stained and installed the new privacy lattice. Staining lattice is the worst, it needs to be said. In retrospect, getting a can of spray stain would have been a really good idea. Regardless, the lattice is up and it looks pretty good – it has given me an extra foot and a half of height on my fence for about 12 feet of width starting where the fence meets the house. I planted 3 alpine clematis along the fence as well – I’d originally wanted to plant 6 but my wallet just didn’t allow it at the time. I’ve kept space open for 3 more plants and I’ll try to buy them at end of season sales. It might not be totally necessary because alpine clematis fill in pretty well over time, but I’m feeling a bit impatient about this project and I’d like to see results next year. It won’t give us a whole lot more privacy, but it will give us a little bit and that is pretty important to me in that particular space. It was also important for me to get the privacy lattice up this month – our current duplex neighbors are a short term rental and I didn’t want to feel like I was snubbing the next occupants by putting up privacy panels first thing when they moved in. Maybe I’m over-thinking it.
– Cleaned up the front yard – edged the lawn along the public sidewalk, weed whacked along our side walk and chopped off the dandelion heads before they go to seed. I don’t tend the lawn in my front yard except for the occasional mow – it is horribly neglected and I could really care less. As I mentioned above and in earlier posts (and if you know me IRL, you’ve most likely heard me moan about my hatred for sod in casual conversation), the plan is for all of the front lawn to go and be replaced with perennial and food growing space. So caring for the lawn in the meantime is pretty low on my priority list. Regardless, I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up a bit and it does look much better.

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Coming from the front yard into the back – everything is so lush!

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Rare shot of the front yard with all of its fresh mulch. The perennial gardens in the front yard are relatively new, about 3-4 years old, so this is the first year that a lot of perennials are really becoming established and full-looking. I’m sure as time goes on and more of the lawn goes, I will be more inclined to post wide shots of the front gardens.

That’s it. So between all of those things and the mulch, I’ve gotten quite a bit done. I still have a few little projects like painting the wheel barrow and the front door, but there really isn’t much. I won’t be planting any flowering bulbs this fall because until I pull out more of the front lawn, there really isn’t much space available. Plus I always forget where my bulbs actually are, so the chances of digging up some bulbs in the process of planting new ones is highly likely. I am planning to plant some garlic in October (that reminds me that I need to order garlic bulbs), but otherwise my planting is done for the year. I’ll just continue to weed the garden, keep up with the harvests and then get ready for the autumn clean up.

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