2015 Garden Update Part 13 - New Additions

Changes have been made to the garden!! I'm going to start with the most exciting.

We have added a cherry tree!

young northstar cherry tree
An ornamental shrub died and that left an opening in our landscape! So I bought a Northstar cherry tree to take it's place. This cherry tree is a dwarf (a dark morello cherry grafted onto dwarf stock.) It is an earlier variety so it should produce fruit before the spotted wing drosophila ramp up their populations. Of course, I will have to battle birds to get any cherries, but just seeing the tree makes me so happy!

I have planted a few things around the tree to protect it from disease and insects (in a guild, so to speak.) There are onion chives (to repel pests)

I also planted Shasta daisies (a natural insecticide and a host for lacewings - which eat some cane borers) and salvia - to attract the bumbles.
I really like salvia - it attracts bumblebees like nobody's business. But I found it looks better if you prune off the dead flower stalks and it also keeps it from flopping over so badly. It transplants and divides easily. We have always had 3 in this spot but one died last year. I just cut a bit off of the one in the upper left and stuck it in the ground in the center bottom. It was in the heat of summer (Not the best time to transplant or divide!) and the little plant struggled and fought, then came out swinging with new growth - complete with flowers. Yay!

I also transplanted 3 parts of this same plant back near my garden and the summer transplants are holding their own (in the worst soil, if I do say so myself!)

The second most exciting addition to the garden are these:
I found 3 blueberry plants on clearance for $5 and popped them into the ground. This means we have a whole new blueberry variety! Yay!!!!! But I would be lying if I said I just "popped these into the ground."

Actually, I dug and fought with the rock hard clay for a few hot and sweaty hours, then added a ton of compost/peat mix to finally plant these bad boys.

I was so hot and sweaty and dirty and gross, or I would have brought my camera out to show how horrible the soil really is. Jumping on the shovel made little dents at a time!

The soil reminded me of class 5 and reinforced for me that our suburban soil is nothing more than subsoil/rock fill leftover from the construction process. Of course, this was dumped on top of the severely compacted clay subsoil that was left as our "base soil." So sad....

So I whipped that crap soil down onto the rock ledges. If you remember from the strawberry renovation, the rocks are covered with a slim 1 inch layer of clay, then fabric, then mulch. Not a useful growing space. But they might as well hold some soil and grow a few pollination attractors!

This is the soil after I added some of our forest soil on top!
 And then planted a few perennial flowers:
I wish I could show what that soil was really like.... I think it would have required a video - a long, grunty, angry video.

Another addition is the ornamental grasses. The truth is, I hate these grasses. But my husband loves them and they will add a lot to the privacy of our yard. I added 7 of these plants around our fire pit, in front of the spruce trees. They will both help as a wind block and a privacy screen.

Since I thought this "secret garden" view was great, I am looking forward to what happens when the grasses grow up (and of course the trees continue to expand!)

Why do I hate the grasses? For one, everybody grows them. That makes me hate them on a non-conformist level. But the second reason I hate them is because they are expensive!!!!! I only bought 4 plants. I made them become 7 - yes, in the heat of summer, I know!

They cost $105!!!

And the very last reason I hate them - they are toxic and inedible. Some reed grasses are edible - these are not. 1 and 3 were my main reasons until I actually bought them. Now I hate them mostly because of the price....

Moving on.

The kids helped me make 3 cages for my honeyberry bushes. Why??? I was going to make them anyway since I need to protect these (and the blueberries) from rabbits in the winter, but also because somebody hopped over the fence and smashed a little plant to death this week.

So the cages are up now to prevent any more stepping incidents and then they'll be buried and ready for fall. Double win.

FYI - bunnies do not usually chew on trees in the summer. They go after the soft wood and bark of young trees and shrubs in the winter because they are starving for food. They prefer leafy greens and when they are abundant will leave your woody plants alone. Smashing feet know no seasons....

The casa blanca lillies are flowering and making the containers look respectable. Actually, these keep their flowers for a long time. I am going to save the bulbs and plant them again next year, but with full sized strawberry runners and bachelor buttons to fill the bottoms. No more messing around with seeds of various flowers in these pots. 
We finished the flax harvest! This is a picture of the winnowed flax before screening. I was too lazy to take a finished picture. We started with 1/2 tsp of seeds and ended up with 3/4 of a cup. Not bad, but not great. I will plant these as some of my pollinator flowers next year but only a few.
 A picture of the leeks. I love these guys.
The raspberry flowers are opening and are swarming with bees. For some reason, it seems late to me.... And although the berries are super tall (without any extra water, what??) it seems there are fewer berry buds than I remember in the past. Alas, that is why I blog about the garden. Every year, I think - wait, I remember so much more, wasn't this all big and green by now, etc? It's helpful to go back and see that every year is different but the same. It helps me stay sane with the progress or lack thereof.

 Now onto the Firsts:

Our first cucumber:
Our first ground cherries are dropping to the ground. I've eaten 2 of them. They are exactly as I remember and I will keep growing these from here on out...

Our first "non-shrivelly" squash! Yay!
 Our first scarlet runner beans - though they seem to be something different...
 Our first baby watermelon. Really...smaller than a dime....baby!
It should be noted that our "first tomato" was found rotten on the vine yesterday. I have no idea why it rotted. It didn't seem like blossom end rot (of which I am all too familiar.) Maybe it's something different. Working with heirlooms for the first time, I am hoping it's not a disease. A lot of the tomatoes have significant hail damage so that may be partially to blame. Or the fact that I hadn't been watering the garden all season - then started watering regularly once I realized my mistake!

I am gathering up a ton of seeds.
 Lol - that barely looks like a ton, but it's coming along.

The 2nd batch of peas are struggling to get upright.
I created a trellis to help them get up and over the fence. It went up yesterday. Maybe they won't make it in the shade, but if they don't at least they will provide some nitrogen fixing goodness to the strawberry bed. And you can see from the photos above, I have collected enough pea seed for next year.

And finally - I leave you with the most ominous vision in my garden. Seriously, this photo scares the crap out of me! It scares me every time I look at it in real life too!

More articles from this year's garden:

19 Tomatoes and counting
Growing Heirloom Tomatoes without electricity
2015 Garden Part 1
2015 Garden Part 2
2015 Garden Part 3
2015 Garden Part 4
2015 Garden Part 5
2015 Garden Part 6
2015 Garden Part 7
2015 Garden Part 8
2015 Garden Part 9
2015 Garden Part 10
2015 Garden Part 11
2015 Garden Part 12
Keeping Slugs off Your Strawberries Forever!
Growing Flaxseed in the Home Garden
Growing Potatoes from the Grocery store 
Growing Potatoes from Grocery potatoes - the results
Growing Espalier Grapes on a Fence
Can Tomatoes Survive temperatures below 28 Fahrenheit?

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A full list of the edibles in our garden as of July 2015:
Aronia chokeberries
Walking onions
Rhubarb (victoria)
5 Varieties of Blueberry (bluecrop, northblue, northland, chippewa, northsky)
3 Varieties of Red Raspberry (2 summer (latham & boyne), 1 fall - heritage)
Red, White, and  Pink Currants (JVT, champagne, jewel/blanca)
2 Varieties of Gooseberries (wild, picsweet)
Black Raspberry (wild)
Dill, Sage, lemon balm, thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil
Garlic chives
Onion chives
6 Varieties of Tomato (coyote, brandywine, mr. stripey, moneymaker, rutgers, siberian)
2 Varieties of Potato (russet, yukon)
2 Varieties of Grapes (1 red - valient, 1 white - niagra)
2 Varieties of Strawberry (1 june quinalt, 1 alpine)
Fava beans
Bush beans
Snap peas (2 types)
Butternut squash
Cucumbers (2 types)
Bell Peppers
Sweet Corn
Pineapple Ground cherries
Crookneck squash
Swiss Chard
Bok choy
Purslane (2 varieties)
Golden Flax
Scarlet Runner Beans
Honeyberries (2 varieties)
NorthStar Cherry


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