I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately, so here’s a mega-update (click pictures to enlarge):
The alpine strawberries that I planted this spring are producing some fruit already. They do taste pretty amazing — a very full, sweet strawberry flavor in a tiny size. What I’ve read elsewhere is definitely true: they are shade-tolerant, but the more sun they get the more fruit they produce. So, I wouldn’t bother with them in heavy shade. Part shade is just fine.
Raspberry season has officially started. This was our first picking, last week.
I took this picture of the underside of our raspberry hedge to illustrate how raspberries (the old-fashioned cane variety, anyway) work: the darker woody canes are the ones that sprouted last year. Right now they are fruiting, and then they will die. The green canes will overwinter and produce fruit next year. I remove the woody canes shortly after the fruit is gone.
A handful of our raspberry plants are actually black raspberries. They start out small and red and then get darker as the fruit swells (standard red ones start out light pink). Wow, these are absolutely delicious, a little bit sweeter than the reds.
My efforts at acidifying the soil around my Endless Summer hydrangea (in order to make the flowers blue) have given me a plant with some pink flowers and some purple. It’s kinda pretty actually: like a natural gradient.
Here’s my sad apple tree. It has so many diseases/infestations at this point that I’m having trouble figuring out which one is afflicting it most. I don’t think last year’s pruning solved the fire blight problem. We will most likely have to remove this tree next year, but we want to at least see how it does this year. It’s got quite a few apples on.
Lots of wee roma tomatoes on the vine. I planted all romas this year in the hopes of having enough to can some of my own. I doubt I’ll get that many, but I can add these to the ones I plan to buy (I bought a 20 lb crate of romas last year through our CSA and plan to do so again).
We FINALLY came up with a plan for the backyard garden! We were going to put one in this spring, but we got overwhelmed with other things, and we just never came up with a solid plan that we both like — we have a tentative plan now which I will post about soon. We’re getting started on some of the preliminaries now, even though we won’t actually plant it until next spring. First up: getting rid of the landscape rock next to the foundation.
And a preview of an upcoming post: why am I grating soap? Inspired by my friend Christina, I tried my hand at making my own laundry detergent and deodorant. Since they called for a lot of the same ingredients, I made them both at the same time. I really like the laundry detergent so far, but haven’t made up my mind about the deodorant. I’ll post both recipes in the near future. (Oh, and also: HUP HUP HOLLAND!)