There is a lot growing in the winter garden, despite my not planting most of it. The giant red mustard has self-seeded everywhere! And it is giant. We found if you just dunk it in boiling water for a minute or two, then plunge it in an ice bath, it’s glowing green and loses its mustard pungency. I’ve got baby mache growing in between the mustards, another prolific self-seeder, but with a mild flavor.
My current favorite beauties are the purple peas. Their fuscia and lavendar flowers are as lovely as sweet peas, but edible. The peas themselves are too fibrous as snow peas, but if you wait until they are plump, there are tasty (but disappointingly, green) peas inside. I also have yellow peas growing. Green peas are boring!
Last week’s project was to separate the strawberries and move them to the borders of the garden. First, I decided to create a “strawberry spiral”. I planted tall yellow lupine, 3 different poppies, and some dahlias. If they all grow to their reported 4 feet, you will be invisible as you sit on the wooly thyme in the center of the circle.
And then it became time to prune the grapevine. Note we skipped pruning it last year, due to sickness and neglect. Which meant that there was an amazing amount of grape wood that is now littering half the yard.
Since I now have over 40 grapevine wreaths, I’ve been experimenting with adding flowering branches, such as quince blossoms.
So I cut some quince branches… and tucked them into the grapevines…and the result is lovely! Doesn’t last long, though.
I just twisted the grape vines around and around until I had enough bulk to make a wreath. Then, you need clippers and a few flowering spring branches. I tucked these in one at a time, using no twine or wire, the grape vines held them into place.
I think the wreath could use even more quince branches, but I was being stingy. I especially like the pink blossoms against my pink livingroom walls. Nice!
I also planted 4 new trees : a chocolate persimmon, a black mulberry tree, another cherry, a wolfberry bush (goji berry). I’ve never tasted a fresh goji berry…I hope it’s good! And I added a few more yellow raspberries, 4 “pink lemonade” blueberries – yes, they’re pink! Now I just have to wait several years to see if the varieties are tasty enough to keep.
We’re starting up Fairy-Tale Farm events in May, so stay tuned! The greenhouse is packed right now with tomato seedlings, peppers, sweet peas and edible peas galore, and other herbs and vegetables. Now if everything escapes the wrath of gophers, birds, the one chicken who flies out everyday, and assorted insects, then in a few months, the garden will look like paradise! Come back and see…