Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Bee!

Home from work on Friday, I was surprised to find a bumblebee in the day-lily shoots. The garden really is coming to life. I even got some gardening tasks done this weekend, including the layout of some new vegetable beds.

I don't know if this was the bee from the other day...but it looked very comfortable inside this crocus bed...

It really did not seem to have plans to vacate anytime soon.

The bulbs are starting to put on some nice shows...

There is still a lot of bulb potential to keep me happy until the spring plants pop up.

If the temperatures cooperate next week I should get a bit of planting done...yey!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crocus and Bee

(bee and crocus)

I am so happy! We have crocuses blooming and the first bee of the season....Time to get the bee house out/made. I decided to take a tour of the yard now that all the snow is gone and found this surprise. The first crocus bloom was actually on April 9th, which seems fairly average here. But the pictures with the bee are so much better!

(bee and crocus)

Finally we have a few days in the 60s F. Many shoots can be spotted like this hyacinth.


Chives are starting to shoot up as well.


We added rhubarb to our garden last is a shoot just starting to rise above the leaves.

(rhubarb sprouting)

Our only flowers right now are the crocuses. This is a new addition last fall. I like the effect of the purple striping.

(purple painted crocus)

Here are more purple with some pure white as well...

(purple and white crocus)

Here's the first group that started to bloom - on the west side of the house. I think next year the new additions (above) on the south side might take over the honor.

(light yellow crocus)

I have been reading up on that resources we might have right in our yard. I already knew a few things like dandelions are available, but here is the first prize for a "wild edible" this year: day-lily shoots.

(garden bed with common day-lily shoots)

[Please note aka disclaimer, eating things - especially wild plants is at your own risk. Be sure to correctly identify the plants. Also, individuals can have reactions to plants others can safely eat, so go easy at first.]

I have read in many sources that day-lilies are edible. After checking the blooms from last year (4th of July) it looks like ours are the common day-lily Hemerocallis fulva. I guess a typical urban yard fits the profile of a waste ground or disturbed land. According to my Peterson Field Guild there are many stages at which this plant can be used:

Early Spring: Small, tender shoots in salads
Early Spring: Small shoots cooked like asparagus
Early Spring: Young tubers in salad or cooked like corn
Summer: Buds as green beans or fritters
Summer: Flowers as fritters and seasoning
Fall: Older tubers can be cooked like corn

(harvested day-lily shoot and tuber part)

I have to say, the raw tubers and shoots were not bad at all and quite mild. I prefer the salad option to the cooked. I can't wait to try out the flowers...for now the next edible may be dandelion greens...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April and Spring

April is here and Spring is showing some signs of arrival. We have had a wet winter, heavy snow in spring, record river levels, and below average temperatures. Even though the yard is snowier and wetter than last year, things don't seem to be too far behind.

Above is a photo of ladybugs in the south foundation bed -- it was actually taken March 20. It is interesting to see this bed come to life first...the beetles are the first moving insect of the garden! I really must make better use of this early bed with its heat.

No outdoor seeding yet, things are way too wet still. I will try to transplant some lettuce this year and see if we get salads sooner than direct sowing. If that works, then I will repeat again.

(lettuce seedlings, 7 days old on 4/5/2009)

Cool-season transplants are growing nicely...

(early cool-season seedlings on 4/5/2009)

Some are chomping at the bit to be put out. I may start some hardening off so they can go in as soon as the garden is ready. I see some round swiss chard leaves, and the kohlrabi and kale are hard to tell apart at this point (kale is on the end).

(closer view of seedlings on 4/5/2009)

But, as you see - that last 12 inches of snow is holding on still. That is probably good though as the river levels are still falling (they will rise again come this weekend maybe). I do know it is spring...robins are singing, staying in the trees - what is up with all that white?

(snow from late March storm 4/5/2009)

This is the first vegetable showing its green. Walking onions I planted last year. I am hoping they will take off in their second season. I think I will be happy with this perennial giving a yearly supply.

(walking onions 4/5/2009)

In the south bed, day-lilies are sprouting nicely. They are a bit water-logged this spring, but about as tall as last year.

(day-lily in southern bed 4/5/2009)

I think this some kind of crocus I planted last fall. Either way it was planted last fall and it is coming up now.

(bulb in southern bed 4/5/2009)

I'm getting excited to get out and plant and see what is coming back under the snow!