Friday, November 20, 2009

Garden Sprawl Friday

We've been having wind storms here. This time of year it is typical to get wonderful, deep-roaring winds.

This is our backyard willow. Both leaders snapped. Just this past spring I pruned it along its sides, shaping and clearing the way for it to put its growth towards the top. This allows steady sunlight to get into the gardens. I had yet more plans to do further pruning higher up, and keeping the leaders. The willow was looking quite nice, with a good upright form and tapering off into its natural ends. Usually you see willows that get truncated every year, then resprout like a mad Madusa.

And now the beautiful leaders are broken. So, what I'll do is this: I'll go ahead and prune the branches I was going to prune anyway, in addition to cutting clean the broken ends where the wind had its way. From those clean-cut ends, in spring, will sprout multiple branches. I will then prune all of them out but one. This one will become the new leader. I will select the one branch that has the most upright form.

Now this branch,

from one of the apple trees, broke not from winds but from being so heavily laden with apples. That's what I like. There's some kind of metaphor there.

The four back garden beds:

I covered the two beds that have growing things in them with leaves. There's carrots, onions, cabbage, rutabaga, lettuce, garlic and leeks growing (or at least not dying) in these beds. Soon I will need to rig up some sort of cold frame for some of the crops; though I would like to see what I can get away with just by piling more leaves.

I have the leeks in three different areas, each group a successive size, according to the time that I took them out of the mostly shaded greenhouse (perfect for germinating and keeping young crops for transplanting where they won't grow too much) and planted them in the garden. Here are the ones I first took out:

A number of them (the largest) have been pulled up for cooking. These variety (Bandit) are not a giant leek. They are a moderate size (but not small) with a nice buttery, tender white portion; lots of flavour. But their even better trait is that they are a work-horse. They are very cold hardy.

Growing out of the bed at the farther end of the pictured pole beans (the ones that are all now dead) is this singular pumpkin:

That area is where the compost bins used to be. A stray pumpkin seed from who knows when decided to sprout. It must have come from an hybrid pumpkin, of the typical grocery store variety for Halloween carving. An hybrid seed will not grow true to the parent. It "reverts", or does unexpected things. I am going to save the seeds from this little guy, and grow them in the spring and pollinate it with the pollen from a Rouge Vif d'Etempes variety, then see what happens.

And these are some of the well-aged beans from the pole that I marked off in the spring, for saving for seed:

I left them too long, out of laziness, and some of them I threw away as some of the mould had penetrated through the skin to the seeds inside; though it was minimal, I don't want to take any chances. The others were quite clean. Its amazing how a plant will develop all these protective measures.

As for the beans that are still on the dead vines (lots of them) and which are matured but still in the green stage (not the brown stage as pictured above), I am going to pick all of them and perhaps save only the most matured for future growing and see if I can use the others in a slow cooker.

I transplanted kale (which I had grown in the back) into the front bed a little while ago. Kale is another work-horse.

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