How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden | Garden Variety

Hello – I’ve been remiss in posting. Life has a way of interrupting things sometimes. But I came across this blog post today and thought it was cheerful and hopeful as winter continues to blast many regions in North America. I love my hummingbirds and believe this is the best way to get these little sweeties to our yard rather than using the sugar water in feeders, which need to be changed often and attract those pesky red fire ants in the South. Enjoy!

Greetings everyone…Spring has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier. I still have a long wait before I can actually harden off my plants, and I am eagerly awaiting that day!

Source: How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden | Garden Variety

SPRING IN THE MOUNTAINS

 

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Dogwoods of early spring

It’s been a beautiful spring here in North Carolina — our first one. We’ve been blessed with two months of one tree or another in full bloom, beginning with the dogwoods and then the flame azaleas. Now, along with the mountain laurel and wildflowers, our own flowers planted from seed, are starting to bloom. Here’s a little photo journey of what’s been happening this week.

 

Happy May to you! What’s blooming in your neighborhood?

Asparagus – First Vegetable of Spring

 

First Asparagus of 2014 Season

First Asparagus of 2014 Season

We had a real treat last night. We ate the most delicious steamed asparagus–picked fresh from our garden only moments before.

Robert planted the asparagus crowns in a bed at the end of our garden two years ago.

Asparagus 2013

Asparagus 2013

This makes its third season and the first one for harvesting. For the best results, it’s good not to harvest until the third year. Also, be sure to plant them with forethought because asparagus is a perennial, and the same planting can last for twenty years or more without doing much but covering them with straw over the winter.

Purple asparagus

Purple asparagus

Asparagus is rich in all the B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron. It’s also chock full of anti-oxidants and provides digestive support. What’s not to love? I thought I loved everything about asparagus until I ate it the other night fresh from the garden. As with all vegetables, nothing beats a newly harvested crop. There’s none of the bitterness that sometimes comes with older asparagus. Ours actually tasted sweet.

Here’s the one problem as I see it. It will produce more and more each week for about six to seven weeks. That means we need to eat it often, and I need to become proficient in finding and making different recipes. Steamed is great, but perhaps it will lose its novelty after the fifth night in a row. I’ve yet to find a good way to preserve it as I can do with the spinach about to be picked as I write this post.

Spinach ready to pick

Spinach ready to pick

However, I will search for preserving techniques for asparagus and welcome suggestions from you. One of my friends told me about asparagus guacamole–I actually thought she had her “a” vegetables confused. I looked it up online, and it’s the same recipe as with avocados, except substituting asparagus that’s put through a food processor. That will probably be one of the first recipes I’ll try.

What about it? Any ideas to share about the harvesting and preparing of asparagus? This is my first season with this vegetable, and I’m a little giddy to think of having so much to eat for the next few weeks.

Click on cover for Amazon page

Click on cover for Amazon page

 

From Seed to Table – Growing, Harvesting, Cooking, and Preserving Food  provides lots of tips and recipes for vegetable gardening.

 

 

Signs of Spring in the Yard

???????????????????????????????Short little post today to remind us all, spring is here. I’ll keep reminding myself of that this week. I’m in shorts today, but the weather experts keep saying there’s a chance for snow later this week. In the meantime, I’m enjoying a little color in the yard.

 

I planted pansies in an old bird water bath and in pots for the front steps a few weeks ago. So far they’ve survived a light frost. I don’t know how they’ll do in snow.???????????????????????????????

And the finally, I spied the daffodils in full bloom under the front bushes. Tulips have yet to burst out, but hopefully they won’t be long behind. ???????????????????????????????

 

 

 

 

 

What’s going on in your yard?

Garden Odds and Ends

First signs of spring

First signs of spring

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

It’s been a long winter, which makes us all the more appreciative of all the signs of spring. These daffodils came out last week, and then were beaten down by a ferocious rainstorm within the first day of blooming. But with a little sun and some warmer temps, they rebounded in a yellow bursts of hope.

peas reach for the sky

peas reach for the sky

The peas are growing steadily. The other plantings are also starting to show themselves, while others wait for their time in the soil.

garden-in-waiting

garden-in-waiting

A Note on Raised-bed Gardening

Excerpt From Seed to Table (to be released in May 2013)

S2T-6Robert has been gardening using the raised bed method for several decades. I’ve come to appreciate its benefits as well. He rakes the soil into eight-inch mounds in three- to four-foot wide rows. He forms the raised bed from soil raked into a mound. The space left forms the paths between the raised beds and is an excellent place for mulch application.

The mulch we place on the garden serves as its own compost bin. We use straw from a local farm – we buy six-eight bales total in summer and fall. They cost approximately $6 each. I use them as decorative items in the yard until Robert’s ready to pull them apart for use as mulch. We also use mushroom manure, grass clippings from our lawn, leaves from our trees, compost from the bin, plants that have bolted, remains of vegetables, such as cornhusks, pea pods, or bean ends and strings. This material goes into the valleys between the raised beds to form a path between rows. It’s very easy to reach all the plants in our garden from the mulched paths without walking on the beds.

When we first married, I was cautious about going into Robert’s sanctuary because I didn’t want to do something wrong or step on anything. After the first year of working with him in the garden, I realized his way of laying out the garden made it extremely friendly for me to go out and pick vegetables. Also with the heavy layers of mulch between the rows, there’s very little weeding to do in the garden.

Raised bed gardening provides several benefits over regular garden beds. Because the plants are above the ground, drainage from the beds is very good. It also helps in aeration of the soil and the plant’s roots. It increases the depth of the bed. And my personal favorite, it provides excellent demarcation of the plants and the walking paths.

raised beds

raised beds