PLANTING TOMATOES

Finally the tomato plants are ready to be planted out into the Potager.

We  ‘hardened them off‘ which means exposing them to natural light gradually. (Till now they have been raised under lights.) The first day they were kept in a shady area, then we  exposed them to morning sun for two days, while protecting them from the hottest part of the day.  Finally they are left in full sun and watched carefully. Not a leaf wilted, so we knew these babies were ready to go.

Habitually,we would pot the plants up; that is, put the seed starting cells, as seen in photos, into a larger pot with rich compost. There was just no time this year.

We had prepared the soil beforehand with copious quantities of compost and rabbit manure.

My husband digs a  hole in this rich mix. He  removes the lower leaves of the plant with a pinch, and fills the soil around the  stem up to the top leaves.

The plant  will grow roots all along the stem and  make it stronger (DO NOT DO THIS WITH OTHER PLANTS)

He inserts a toothpick on both side of the stem.  This prevents the dreaded cutworm from wrapping itself around the stem and cutting the plant down at soil level.

When the soil is firmed around the plant, I like to create a small well or indentation around the root-ball to direct the water.

Finally the plants are MUDDIED-IN,  the best description I know for deep and long watering, Then we place the cages around the plants….

We will mulch tomorrow; that is place a 2″ layer of shredded leaves on the exposed soil. These will retain the moisture in the soil and prevent annual weeds from germinating, I hope. We used to do it all in one day…. but we used to be younger.

BACK IN THE GARDEN

Finally!

Well, I’m back in the garden and dancing as fast as I can .  There is no end to the debris…..

                                                                                                      S,

 Screaming to be pruned are the  ‘ Annabelle’ and paniculata type hydrangeas*,  roses, grapes… the list goes on… plus the hellebores need to be deadhead. (who am I kidding? the hellebores will not get done) This list is for the ornamental garden; right  now the preparation of the beds for vegtables is proirity. This week end we turned the beds  in the potager.

                                                                                      

                                                                               

My friend Julieta of the incredible blog LINDARAXAS GARDEN is buildng a potager.  She will be posting recipes created with the bounty of her garden; and I can’t wait! If you appreciate good food and  have not yet discovered her blog,  you are in for a treat.

So here is a brief outline on how to prepare your soil.

Idealy beds  should be  4′ wide, so one can reach into them (from each side) without the need to step-in,  as this compacts the soil.  Paths between beds should be 18-24″; wide enough to accomadate a wheelbarrow.

                                                                                       

Turning the soil is simply,  a shovel inserted fully into the ground and the soil removed is flipped over. To this  add a good thick (6″) layer of compost, manure & chopped/shredded leaves. (run over a pile of leaves with a lawn mower a few times.) and chop  into this soil, or use a tiller to incorporate. Add another layer of compost etc. and again ‘turn’ this into the soil. This brings  the amendments to where the plant roots will feed.  Water well and let those soil enzymes go to work for a few weeks before planting. NOW  is the time. (the above beds are not yet amended)

 Lacking these amendments; I have had very good luck with  NATURES HELPER and composted cow manure from DIY stores. The best brand is BLACK KOW,it comes in a yellow bag. Avoid the .99 cent variety as it is mostly pine bark and less than 1% manure. If you are fortunate to have a good nursery close by, they should stock soil amendments, buying in bulk is cheaper and it will be delivered.( the bags weigh 20 to 40 lbs.)

                                                                                           In Georgia, lettuce is a cool weather annual, so one grows it in the winter. This year they are maturing very quickly, due to the warm weather, Lots of salad on the menu!

 

**Hydrangeas DO NOT PRUNE THE BIG BLUE MOPHEADS!

                                                                                      

 

GARDENING IN THE SOUTH

                                                                   

Perhaps what I appreciate most about gardening in the south is the fact that it is year round.

                                                                                    

While many of the deciduous hydrangeas are loosing their foliage, the Arum groundcover is coming into its own and will soon blanket the ground.

                                                                                         

Then there are the shrubs that bloom a second time. Above, the Chinese Witchhazel (Lorapetalum chinensis) in its second flowering.

                                                                                       

For the rest, far from looking bare the camellia sasanqua are putting on quite a show. From a distance they could be mistaken for  cascading  roses ….

                                                                                      

Close up, just as enchanting with as much diversity in form.

                                                                                 

                                                                    

                                                                    

The potager is done with the summer crop and we are now planting garlic (late), seeding lettuce and arugula,  planting kale, cabbage and broccoli. Believe it or not the summer peppers are still going strong, I just harvested these….

                                                                            

When the summer wildflowers die down I can see the bee hives…. wish you could taste the honey….

                                                                                            

No, we don’t do that, we have a beekeeper in fact the bees are his, we just supply the nectar and then share the honey, good deal!

FALL TOUR

 The area of the garden I’m sharing now on this Fall Tour is little seen because it’s incomplete. Not that any garden is ever ‘done’ or completed, however this part is has only ‘bones’ and is waiting for me to flesh out the details.  Till now it did not seem too pressing because all the important plants were tiny (1 gal.) but over the years they have matured. So its time has come. 

This green space above, divides the grapes and berries on the right from the vegetables on the left. (My husband’s Vegetable Garden is MY POTAGER)

                                                                                 

This feature, four upright exclamation points, is one I repeat in different garden rooms (with different plants)  throughout the garden. Here,  Eastern Arborvitae  (Thuja occidentalis)  ‘Degroot’s Spire’  marks the intersection of several foot paths; to the right ( West) is the Rose Walk terminated by the Schiaparelli Bench….. (below)

 to the left (east) lies the North Border which runs parallel to the Potager ….

                                                                          

and straight ahead, (south) the Viburnum / Clematis Court.

                                                                                           

Looking back, (north) the uprights  frame the putti that resides at the end of the Cutting garden…

                                                                                               

Going forward (south) through the Viburnum Court, around the bend, Oakleaf  Hydrangeas frame the path to the Main Walk and the  back of the house. (note the Camellia sasanqua blooming on the right.)

                                                                                         

This winter some garden construction is on the agenda.

ONE TIME CHARLIE

I think I know why this plant was named ‘One Time Charlie’.

                                                                                 

 

 It produces many large clusters of tomatoes… ONCE  and after a few ripen….the rest of the plant dies.

                                                                                        

     So what to do with all those  green tomatoes??              

                                                                                                Amish Green Tomato Relish!

                                                       

time……

Where is the summer going? ………………… it’s almost August.

 How did we get from here….

                                                                                               

                                                                                             

to here??

                                                                                      

so fast!????                 To say the Potager/ Kitchen Garden is keeping me busy…………..

                                                                                

      would be an understatement!!           Look what’s coming in……………

 

                                                                                 

                                                                                        

Spending all my time in the kitchen!!

MORE LILIES!

Starring in the Cutting Garden now are lilies!!

                                                                                         

                                                                                Above, Lilium ‘Montreal’ and Lily                                              

 I love them with hydrangeas.

                                                                                          

 a few feathery branches of Kerria japonica  and we are done. (not done yet!)

Several years ago, on a first consultation, I watched my perspective client pull together an  arrangement on a grand scale in no time at all while we talked about her needs in regard to her ‘outdoor space’. I always try to emulate her. The arrangement was loose, natural & ‘happy’, the  antithesis of   Beverly Nichols’ ‘Our Rose’, famous for torturing stems into fantastical & outlandish shapes.  I recently visited with the  gracious Ms C. I will post her garden in the next few days.

Meanwhile…..harvest from the Potager…..

                                                                                          

How fortuitous to have a coordinating bowl for Delicata squash!

© all photos 2011