Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Madness

The madness has set in. Not college basketball madness. I'm talking spring garden madness. Average temps have been consistently warm for the past few weeks, and I think the plants in the yard believe it is April. Enjoy the following picture tour of March Madness at .09 Acres:

Still harvesting Chantenay Red Core carrots from the garden.
This 18.5 oz carrot dwarfed the 14.1 oz carrot I harvested 2 months ago. I don't have the largest hands, but this octopus-like carrot is ridiculous. This carrot is grown from seed I purchased from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (SESE).
Japanese maple waking up from winter slumber. This tree was a seedling from parent's old house in Virginia Beach. I also gave a second seedling (now about 8 feet tall) to my friends Elsa and Matt in Norfolk.
Gardeners know that mint is extremely invasive. Here is a half-barrel of mint scrambling for more real estate. 
Rosemary. Yum.
Rosemary blooms. Yum?
Cold hardy mache appears as if it will be going to seed very shortly. It doesn't like hot weather.
Arugula in full bloom. I save seed from this plant every year. It's very easy. Just wait for the seed pods to dry on the plant, then cut the flower stalk and shake the dry pods in a brown bag. Voila! Seeds!!
A 4-foot row of various Swiss Chard. This stuff is versatile in the kitchen and grows in all weather conditions.
Ruby Red Chard from SESE.
Kale. I grew my kale exposed all winter. No plastic, floating row cover, or hoop house. Resilient for sure. Try kale soup with chorizo. You won't be disappointed.
Red bunching onion grown from SESE seed sown last fall.
This Calabrese broccoli is destined for pasta with olive oil and garlic.
Winter Density has been the top lettuce producer in my garden for the past two years. The only problem I have is dealing with slugs and aphids that crawl inside the wrinkly leaves. Nothing a little water won't solve.
A row of trellised Fall Gold, Kiwi Gold, and Heritage Red raspberries. These are a must-grow in the Mid-Atlantic and Tidewater area.
Thornless Ouachita blackberries busting loose.
Potted lemon tree preparing to bloom. Looking forward to a better citrus harvest in 2012-13. This past year was disappointing. I only harvested a handful of lemons and limes.
Russian Red Pomegranate (8 feet tall) from Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA.
Russian Red Pomegranate leaves reaching for the sun.
Celeste fig tree (appx. 6 years old) from the now-closed Paradise Nursery. I've pruned this every year in order to encourage a low, wide shrub-like growth. More branches = more figs.
The tip of a Celeste fig tree branch. Notice the combination of new leaves and tiny figs. Some varieties of figs produce 2 harvests per year. The early figs are called brebas.
Another view of the Celeste fig tree. Note the multiple growths on each branch. If I didn't prune, I would have a tall, lanky tree rather than a dense shrub.
My fig espalier at the corner of my garden shed. 3 days ago I pruned off all of last year's vertical growth near the two main horizontal arms. I left a single vertical node from last year's growth in order to allow the new branches to grow from those same locations this year. I will repeat this process year after year. Grow, harvest, prune. Grow, harvest, prune.
Detailed photo of a vertical node extending from a horizontal branch of the Celeste fig espalier. New growth will appear on the rough area of the top portion of the vertical node. New growth will also likely appear elsewhere, but I will prune or rub off the new growth before it negatively impacts the desire appearance of the overall espalier. 
I hope you enjoyed your tour of March Madness at .09 Acres. My apologies for not posting here more consistently during the past few weeks. Work has been eating me alive, and it's great to be back outside again. Wishing you good growing and great harvests in your gardens!


Anonymous said...

WOW, can't believe you pruned the figs down to the nub. That would scare me... My local nursery ordered pomegranates but there is no info on the variety. We'll see what happens. Are all the pictures current? If so your garden is way ahead of mine. IT looks fantastic. Helen

.09 Acres said...

Helen, thanks for the garden compliment. I took all the photos today (3/18/12). We have had bright, warm, sunny days for the past 10 days, and it has made a huge difference in the growth of the plants. I think they are a few weeks ahead of regular years. I was definitely aggressive with my fig espalier pruning. It's an experiment. You'll notice that I only did minor pruning on the Celeste fig tree in comparison to the espalier. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Jenny said...

I'm seriosly jealous of your greens now! they look absolutely yummy :) I also got a new brown fig that will be planted this year so I look forward to seeing it grow like yours.

Veggie PAK said...

Everything looks GREAT! Don't you just love Spring?

Tamara said...

Your garden is on fire!! Wow! Looking great! Mine is just at the very beginning (of course we were a bit behind on the purchasing of seeds which doesn't help in the least!)

Frank said...

to get rid of the slugs in your raised beds, if you can come up with some sheet copper, put a small strip around near the top of your raised beds. Slugs will not cross copper.

Thad said...

Looks great! I am currently rooting the figs that I got from Sybil and my plan is to espalier all of them that will be planted in our yard. I will be keeping an eye out on yours to see how it does. Cheers!

Sybil Mays said...

Things are looking great, Dave! I'm so busy catching up in the garden that I haven't had a moment to post any photos or reports - if I'm not trying to catch up (these temps! I'm not done dormant oil spraying or pruning! Where's March????) then I'm out on the bicycle getting in shape for The Big Ride! Whoo hooo. But I'm inspired by your delightful post and will try to get something up on the blog down here!

.09 Acres said...

Tamara, sounds like I'm even more behind than you! All of these plants overwintered in my yard. I planted them last fall. Frank, thanks for the slug tip. Definitely need to try that. Thad, keep me posted on your fig progress. I'd like to compare notes. Sybil, great to hear from you -- good luck with your big ride!

KL said...

How do you take care of your plants? It would be nice information for novice gardeners like us. Care of the plants in containers, garden? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd like to hear how you deal with pests. Slugs and aphids. I have both in my garden right now along with lots of tiny little holes and some not so tiny in my broccoli, cabbage and artichokes. I picked off some baby slugs and plan to go out at daybreak to look for more. But I don't know how to effectively deal with aphids. Any suggestions? Helen

.09 Acres said...

Helen, please check your e-mail. I responded to your questions about slugs, aphids, and caterpillars, etc.