susansflowers

garden ponderings


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New Year’s Baby

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Olympia hybrid spinach, planted in July 2015, is starting to flower.  Since they are hybrid plants, I will not try to save any seeds.  This makes me aware to next time look for open pollinated spinach seed.  Maybe the next spinach leaves will taste better than these did 🙂  So much for the first time I have ever been able to sprout spinach seeds in my garden, ha-ha.

At the same time I seeded spinach, I also put in an entire packet of turnip (on the left – they have reddish tops) and rutabaga seeds, each.  I suppose it was because I had the space and wanted to see if anything really would come up.  Of course, when one doesn’t care that much, the emergence rate is incredible.  We have eaten more turnips and rutabagas than ever in our entire life.  I have given them to friends (hey, wouldn’t your sheep like any?), and finally donated bags of vegies to the local Food Bank.  Really do not like to waste anything.  Though, the compost pile puts all excess garden growth to good use!


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Garlic Chives

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These look and grow almost identical to onion chives.  There are a couple of differences, though.  For one, the garlic chives are blooming now, and the onion chives bloomed over a month ago.  Another difference that can be seen year round, is that garlic chive spears are flat, where the onion chives are tubular or round. 

And then there is the taste.  Ah, now there they do differ.  The taste and smell of garlic chives is distinct and will never be confused with onion chives.

These are a nice addition to the kitchen garden.  I also plant them around my roses to help deter aphids.


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Oregano, Mexican and Greek

Oregano, GreekOregano, Mexican

While both of these oregano plants look similar in the photos they have big differences.  The first photo is Greek oregano, which is low growing like a groundcover.  When Mexican oregano comes into bloom, the flower stems shoot up over a foot high.  While various bees like lavender and germander flowers, moths are especially attracted to the Mexican oregano.  I remember catching these moths when I was a kid (it is not hard to pinch the wings together when they are fully open).

In the culinary field, low-growing Greek oregano seems to me to have a stronger aroma and potency.  I recently acquired a small Italian oregano plant, that has yet to flower.  Have not yet done a taste comparison with the three varieties of oregano either.

I like using all of the oregano plants in the landscape, as they have some strong assets, besides their good looks.  They are deer and drought resistant.  The flowers are a pretty addition to a summer bouquet, but not over-powering in their scent.  While the Greek oregano flowers are good for very small vases, the Mexican variety is a nice accent for mid-size flower arrangements.

Strawberry flowers

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Strawberry flowers

While this plant is not full of flowers, I am impressed the plant is flowering in our cool rainy weather. We have had some 60-degree days that probably favored flowering and these are sturdy plants.

This may be the third summer for these plants, which could be their maximum production year. If I was really together and hard-core, I would be planting another bed of strawberries to start bearing a year from now. This current batch of strawberry plants was purchased from a reputable nursery (Territorial Seed in Cottage Grove, OR) instead of the local discount store. There were a few holdover plants from the last discount store buy, and those plants need to be dug up as their production doesn’t even warrant the space in the garden.

I will have to look up the name of these strawberries, if I want to be able to make an educated, experienced purchase on my next buy. I remember being given a choice between taste, higher yield, size or disease immunity and I went with taste. Ultimately, for me, it really comes down to taste for home-grown strawberries. These are not the largest berries, but we are still eating last year’s harvest – yum!