}

June 12, 2011

June Salad Harvest

REMEMBER THOSE MINIATURE LETTUCE'S THAT I PLANTED A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO? THE ARE ALL READY FOR HARVESTING, AND BECAUSE I TIERED MY SOWING, I SHOULD HAVE FRESH SALAD GREENS ALL SUMMER LONG.


MIXED MINI - LETTUCES, AS I TALKED ABOUT GROWING LAST FEBRUARY, ARE BEING HARVESTED DAILY. THE RED LETTUCE ON THE LEFT IS BABY RED ROMAINE, CALLED 'RHAZES'. SPRING ONIONS AND FRESH DILL ARE ALSO PICKED THIS MORNING, FOR FRESH SALADS AT LUNCH AND THIS EVENING.

AUSTRALE, A RED BUTTERHEAD TYPE. SMALL HEADS ALLOW YOU TO CROWD MANY PLANTS INTO A SMALL AREA.

LOLLO-TYPE LETTUCE IS VERY POPULAR IN EUROPE, BOTH FOR IT'S DWARF HABIT, AND FOR IT'S FLAVOR. IT IS CRISPY AND CURLY, WITH A REAL NUTTY TASTE.

'PARADAI', A RED OAK-LEAF LETTUCE

Home grown lettuce and greens require a little post-harvest work before eating. I pick heads of greens early in the morning ( and this morning was perfect since we had spring thunderstorms all night, which kept the greens crisp and turgid). It is best to pick tender greens early in the morning, in late in the evening, or else they will wilt quickly, rarely recovering. Plunge newly picked greens into room temperature water, either outside or in the sink, and let them sit for an hour or two. This will drown any bugglin's and it will loosen any soil which will drop to the bottom of the container. I use a large stainless steel bowl.

June 7, 2011

Siberian Iris extravaganza

NEW SIBERIAN IRIS CULTIVARS SUCH AS THIS ONE NAMED 'HERE BE DRAGONS'  HAVE EXTRAORDINARY COLORS LIKE THESE MUSTARD GOLD AND GREY TONES.

Of all the Iris that I grow, my favorites are still the June flowering Siberian Iris. Siberian Iris are easier to grow than most any other iris, only requiring dividing every few years, which will provide you with enough plants to share, and they are simple to grow compared to the giant German Bearded Iris, or smaller species. Siberians can be divided in early spring with nothing more than a garden spade, they never require staking, they are sturdy in the rain, and they are rather disease free. Best of all, they only get better every year. The greatest problem I know is that they are hard to find, I think because either buyers associate them with old fashioned granny plants ( since they are classic hand-me-downs) so customers associate them with the ugly blueish purple skinny petaled forms that many of us grew up with ( remember the crispy split seed pods in the fall and the tall foliage that looks like cattails?).

New varieties are greater than ever, but only a few sources carry them today. I highly recommend Joe Pye Weed Garden for mail order, that's where I bought mine.
'ECHO THE WIND' A TALL BI COLORED BLUE

'MR. PEACOCK' HAS NAVY BLUE FLOWERS WITH AN AMAZING DARK TINT AND LACY VEINING


If you think that this looks like a wild Iris versicolor, it is, but a special one which was selected after being collected in a roadside ditch in Maine. It is about three times the size of the typical species.




Iris pseudacorus is a lovely wild species here in North America, often found growing along ponds and streams, it can grow very tall, and I love it for is tall 6 foot foliage. This one above is a selection that has larger blossoms. I grow it in the border, where it doesn't grow as tall as ones planted in water do.

June 6, 2011

Cacti blooming today in the greenhouse

THIS STARTLING BRILLIANT CACTI HAS NEEDLES THAT MAKE THE PLANT ALMOST ALL WHITE. NATURE CAN BE SO BEAUTIFUL SOMETIMES, SINCE THIS COLOR PALETTE IS NORMALLY ONLY SEEN ON SKI SLOPES OR ON THE BEACH!
MY MIXED COLLECTION OF LOBIVIA, REBUTIA AND OTHER FLOWERING CACTI. ALL ENJOY A BONE DRY WINTER IN THE COLD GREENHOUSE WHERE THEY GET FULL SUN ON THE UPPER BENCHES NEAR THE ICY WINDOW PANES. IN SPRING, THEY ALL BLOOM AT JUST ABOUT THE SAME TIME JUST AFTER THEY GET THEIR FIRST WATERING. SOME YEARS, LOTS OF BUDS, OTHER YEARS, NOT SO MUCH.

THIS REBUTIA IS NEW TO MY COLLECTION, WITH HINTS OF PEACH AND MELON, IT"S PRETTY AND VERY FLORIFEROUS - LOST TAG!



MOST FLOWERING CACTI COME FROM THE ANDES, BOLIVIA ( LIKE THIS LOBIVIA SP) AND REBUTUA IN THE BACKGROUND.


REBUTIA PERPLEXA, A SPECIES WITH ALOT OF FLOWERS IN A GOOD YEAR. A LITTLE FROST ENSURES MORE BUDS, AND FULL SUN IN THE WINTER.