Nature’s Bounty During a Strange Spring

I think the lyrics, “Rainy Days and Mondays,” was written for this past Monday at the Little House. It poured all day and was extremely cool for this time of the year. It wasn’t cold enough to fire the woodburner back up, but I had to turn on the oven for a little while just to take the chill off.

It’s been a strange spring in many areas of the country. I read on my Facebook page about friends turning their furnaces back on and snow still falling in parts of the west.

However, even with the weird weather, which goes from extremely hot and dry to cool and wet, we’re still benefiting from a wealth of nature’s bounty here. In the past week, we’ve made salsa with fresh cilantro from the garden we’re sharing with neighbors and eaten salads with fresh lettuce, radishes and green onion.

We also sautéed some lovely organic Portobello mushrooms we bought at the Farmer’s Market from a local grower last week.

In the photos, you will see my last harvest of radishes, which I love. I clean and trim them up and what’s not used in salads, I eat as snacks with just a little salt.

My grape tomato plant is doing well in its’ hanging basket and I just hope to get the harvest of those that I did last year for fresh salads throughout the summer. The little yellow flower you see with it is a marigold. Putting them near tomato plants will help keep the bugs away.  It’s a trick I learned from my mother, who was an excellent gardener.

In the ground  is one of the many Iris’s I planted. You can also see the rock all around the Iris, which seemingly also “grows” out of the ground here. My neighbor, Alicia, splits her plants out every summer and gave us two great big boxes. I tried to explain to her that the terrain here down the mountain is worse than at the top, but she insisted these need little room for roots. She was right! I planted several in front of my office, as well as in front of the party deck. They will be beautiful when they flower next spring.

What I didn’t plant, she told me to throw into the woods and they would take root and grow wild. We’ll see how that turns out.

We’re seeing very little spring-like weather, but nature’s bounty is already all around us.

What types of flowers and vegetables are now growing around your home?

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22 Responses

  1. Sandy says:

    Just finished the last of the buttercrunch lettuce, and have planted the rest of my strawbale garden with tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cukes and gourds. Going to plant a couple of squash and cantaloupe as well. My caladiums have broken through and the salmon colored impatients planted in my front bed are putting out small blooms already. My lantana is also up and starting to set a few blooms but the star of my yard right is the pink spirea…man is it beautiful! I have pots of white petunias lining my front steps and the Zinnia I sowed are now about 2-3′ tall.

    So now I just have to set back and be patient and hope everything grows!

    • Sounds wonderful, Sandy! I just spoke with my friend. I haven’t been up to the garden since last weekend, but she says the cucumbers sprouted this week and are doing quite well. I LOVE fresh cucumber from the garden and cannot wait.

      • Sandy says:

        I actually planted the cukes for my dgt…as much as I love them, they don’t love me…burp burp burp…

        One of the gastric upsets that come with a little

        • A lot of people tell me that, Sandy. Maybe someone here knows a natural remedy. As many problems as I’ve had with my stomach over the years, I usually don’t have problems with raw veggies. Sometimes I do with radishes, but I down a ginger ale and all is well again. 🙂

  2. Auntie Em says:

    Last Spring I thinned out an iris bed that had been neglected for some time. The neighbor said there had been just a handful of blooms during the previous two years. Many of the corms or rhizomes (whatever those little pods are called!) were growing and multiplying on top of the soil. I thinned the bed out drastically and built a low stacked stone border around the 3ft. x 4ft. bed.

    The reward was a fantastic explosion of white and purple iris beginning in mid February (love that Texas Hill Country weather!) right through Mother’s Day. Often there were 30+ blooms at a time. But the little pods have multiplied again. . .probably due to the attention I gave them last year. . .to the point that the bed again needs serious thinning. This year, I think I’ll wait until fall, and then as your neighbor suggested, take the thinnings out to the woods by the creek and scatter them there.

  3. Kim says:

    All my spring garden items are doing well– we’re enjoying spinach and lettuce at the moment, but the herbs are roaring along (salsa sounds great!) and onions, potatoes, garlic and sweet peas aren’t too far away.

    My tomatoes and peppers are struggling a bit with this wild weather, I think. Hopefully they’ll perk up as we get some steady warm weather. My mom’s look twice as big as mine over in her tiny garden– which makes me terribly jealous.

    Coming soon: squash, green beans, and a pumpkin and icebox watermelon. I need to get planting!

    • Sounds great,Kim! And you’re right, peppers and tomatoes need some nice hot sun to bake them into ripeness. If there’s anything we Kansans know about growing (besides corn and wheat), it is a good tomato! 😉

  4. Reader says:

    The last avocados were gone by early April but my papayas are starting to ripen! Aloha.

  5. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Not the best time of year for the garden in the Southern Hemisphere, but we’ve got lots of mandarins on the tree, a few avocados and ripening lemons.

  6. Kathleen Winn says:

    At our land in the country, there is an area in the woods where an old homestead once stood. It belonged to the family that owned our land for over 100 years, the Hunters. There is not much left there except remnants of a smokehouse, a moldy old well and some rusty farm implements. But- each spring I love to walk there to see the beautiful Iris and Daffodils that come up, survivors of Nellie Hunter’s once beautiful garden. They cut a gold and purple swath through the woods, so striking and elegant among the Sweet Williams and Wild Ragwort growing alongside. The first time I discovered them was like finding buried treasure, a complete surprise that absolutely delighted me. I love to think about Nellie planting those bulbs so many years ago with loving hands, and how pleased she would be that they still grow and thrive, no longer confined to tidy flower beds, but wandering wild and free through the woods. Perhaps someday Kerri, someone will come upon your Iris and wonder about the person who planted them. Like me, they might offer up a little prayer of thanks, to a gardener from long ago whose efforts still bring beauty to the woods.

    • kerri says:

      What a beautiful thought, Kathleen! We also have a couple of old homesteads here with remnants of gardens. I also think about the people who planted them and the springs they were able to enjoy their flowers.

  7. MarthaandMe says:

    My wisteria is blooming this year for the first time and I’m quite excited! The lilacs are almost done, but the honeysuckle is next. My lilies of the valley are in crisis this year. They were under shade, but we had major yard work done and the brush that was creating shade is gone, so they didn’t do well. I’m planning to be a tree to plant over them though so I hope they can hang on. My azalea has buds now too.

    • kerri says:

      Wow, sounds like you have a lot going on in your yard. That’s the way my mother’s homes always were. She would be out gardening from early in the morning until the heat caught up with her.

  8. V Schoenwald says:

    I still have my cold frames up and covered. My potatoes are in cold frame buckets and are covered with greenhouse plastic, these are doing great. My lettuces and radishes are great and my fall sown spinach was so sweet and it went through a 30-below winter, covered in the cold frames. But no tomatoes or anything yet here. I wish I had a large greenhouse then I could risk it.
    We are supposed to have snow today, and temps in the low 20’s tonight and tomorrow night.
    Go figure, where did spring go!!!

    • kerri says:

      Oh, snow. It’s way too late for that! 🙁 It’s warm and humid here this morning, but we haven’t seen the sun in far too long now. This weather pattern can disappear anytime.

  9. Susan says:

    Well I just picked some cherry tomatoes (5 🙂 ) My tomato plants are loaded with fruit or blossoms and have tons of flowers on my beans and zuchinni plants. Pepper plants so-so. My herbs are doing wonderful but do need to replace my parsley plant which is several years old. Still have a few more cabbages to get that were planted last year…my lettuces are trying to make a go of it but think it is getting to hot for them.

    • kerri says:

      Wow, Susan, that’s amazing you’re getting so much already. I wish our tomatoes were ready. I’m hungry for BLT’s!

  10. kerri says:

    Interesting, Alexandra. In Kansas City, it was usually May 15. Here, we are supposed to be able to safely plant by May 1. We haven’t had any frosts, but it has been insanely cold here for the south – in the low 40s a couple of nights.

  11. Alexandra says:

    In New England, we are not supposed to plant annuals and veggies until May 31, but everything is two to three weeks early this year. I could not resist and have put snapdragons in and a few tomatoes. Also, cosmos. If there is no freeze, we will have tomatoes early.