May 2012

May has been a whirlwind of activity and lots of hard work. With the warm temps, the weeds are getting a jump on us. With the extremely dry conditions, watering takes up a lot of time. I’m still laying irrigation. There’s still planting to be done and still greenhouse plants to care for. We’ve got flowers coming into bloom early. It seems we have a lot of different season’s chores rolled into one month this year!

Tomato Trellis
Our New Tomato Trellis

 

 

I built raised beds for the tomatoes and Jerid built a beautiful tomato trellis out of some old split rails.

 

 

 

 

Pat brought the baler home from the track and inside there were 4 tiny little gray kittens! I am guessing they are about 3 weeks old. We couldn’t find momma, so I’ve added bottling babies to the list. They sure are adorable and are doing really well. They will need homes when they are old enough, so if you know of anyone looking for a kitten, excellent homes only please, get in touch with us.

Robin nesting
Our resident Robin in the flower shed

The work on the flower shed continues around Mrs. Robin who decided to build her nest on some old rope hanging on the wall. I thought with all the banging she’d leave, but she seems pretty determined to raise her young right where she is.

 

 

 

 

Iris
Scented Iris

What’s in Bloom This May
Lily of the Valley
Allium
Anise
Iris- Peach and Purple
Red (Juniper’s Beard) and White Valerian
Coral Bells
Sage
Foxglove
Columbine
Wisteria
Jacob’s Ladder
Chives
Cherry
Sweet William
Verbascum

Peach Iris, Allium & Fennel
Iris, Allium and Fennel

The purple iris is heavenly scented, as is the wisteria. Both are two of my favorites. Of course they are all my favorites.

Weed of the Week – Common Chickweed

Common Chickweed, Stellaria media

Chickweed is a winter annual. The plants overwinter, coming into bloom early in the season.

       Pros: 

  • Absolutely delicious in salads, or to snack on while weeding! It’s flavor reminds me of corn silk.
  • Chickweed is high in nutrients including beta carotene, calcium, iron, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C and zinc.
  • Chickweed has many, many medicinal properties and is used as an anti-inflammatory and mild diuretic.
  • It is useful as a remedy for rheumatic conditions.Externally it can be used to treat mild skin irritations.
  • Chickens and ducks love this weed.

    Cons:

  • This is one very happy weed after our very mild winter.
  • It’s prostrate habit can quickly choke out tender seedlings.

       Control:

  • Keep the plant from setting seed.
  • Hand pulling and hoeing.
  • Vinegar spray is useful. Spraying tender growth, when the temperature is above 70 degrees and on sunny days is most effective.


Vinegar Herbicide:
1 gallon white or cider vinegar
1 T dish soap
2 T coking oil

Use with caution. Over spray will damage many plants.

 

Weeds: a.k.a. Wildflowers

My granddaughter was helping me out in the fields last month while I was weeding out carpet weed and ground ivy. She asked  “ Gramma? Why do you have to pull all the beautiful flowers out”? I remember having this conversation with her daddy when he was about her age, and I tried again to explain. As with all things that we must kill, it’s not an easy explanation. I thought I was doing pretty well talking about balance and how the weeds will take all the food and water away from the flowers we plant, but she still looked sad and took some of weeds from the pile into the house and put them in water.

In my world, weeds are bad. In a more simple, natural world, the world of children and butterflies and bees, weeds are not weeds, but wildflowers.

We have a patch that has gotten away from us. The ground ivy has really taken over and the area needs to be mowed, tilled and replanted. Well, that didn’t happen last fall, and it hadn’t happened yet this spring. It’s full of dandelions, violets, purple dead nettle, carpet weed and speedwell. To me it’s an eye sore and on the list to take care of.  Mid April I was about to take care of it for once and for all. I walked out to the field and was surprised by thousands of painted lady butterflies! More than I had ever seen!  The bees were buzzing and very happy to find this early source of nectar.

When Grace saw all these amazing insects,  she said “Lucky for us, we sure have a lot of weeds”!

Yes, my little one, that we are.