Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Flower Time! and Pinching Basil

Things are starting to flower in my garden-- the alyssum has expanded to fill all available space, thwarting my hopes for zinnias to come up between the clumps.  On the right, the dark foliage is my lone dahlia that survived the ravages of the snails this spring.

In the neighboring planter, the feathery foliage of the cosmos can be seen, with a few catch-up planting zinnias peeking out between the cosmos.  That bare patch on the top right needs another catch-up attempt at zinnias.

The Japanese long eggplant has started making flowers, and I'm really excited to see them!  It's the largest of the four eggplants that I planted around the same time.

The Sungold cherry tomato is also flowering prolifically, and I look forward to sprays of delicious orange cherry tomato!  The other tomatoes are also flowering but not so spectacularly as the Sungold.

The lemon basil is also flowering, which we don't want, because then it will get all woody and make seeds instead of more yummy basil for cooking with.   All of the tops were turning to flowering stems like the one on the left, and I pinched them off.  Pinching off makes the plant get bushy by encouraging side stem growth.  Pinch or snip right between the next set of leaves, as you can see in the picture on the right.  I had to pinch off the Genovese basil and the lettuce-leaf basil as well.

Our first strawberries are starting to ripen!  They're small but we hope they'll be extra sweet and delicious.

Last but not least, the rhubarb-- it's really taking off!  From a fist-sized lump a few weeks ago, it's gone to a huge leafy plant.  New leaves are coming up from the center as well-- I might dare to pick a single stalk if this keeps up.   No heavy harvesting until the 2nd year though.   I will probably transplant into a half wine barrel this winter, to give it room for next spring.  A friend suggested I save the first handful of strawberries and cut a single small stalk of rhubarb to make a teeny tiny strawberry rhubarb tart.  I just might!