Monday, May 31, 2010

The first snow peas

Snow peas at 2 Green Acres, a Maryland garden
This week we harvested our first snow peas. I love growing these - they are easy and prolific. Also, they can be expensive to buy, so they are great vegetable to have in your garden.

Last year, I dried some of the seeds and used them this year. At first, it seemed like they were not going to come up, but they did eventually. Not sure why it took so long - probably the weird weather we have had this spring. But once they sprouted, they started growing like crazy.

It always feels like it takes forever to get the first snow peas. The peas were planted on March 24, but the plants did not start flowering until last weekend. However, once they start flowering, snow peas start coming quickly.

This first harvest will go in a stir fry later this week. Can't wait.

We also harvested spinach and lettuce this week. What's ready for harvest in your garden?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bloom Day: May 2010

All from my garden. I thought April was the best month for my garden, but May is not too bad either. Although there is not a huge variety in color, I like that there is less pink than last month. The previous owners of our house loved pink. Everything they had planted had pink flowers and bloomed in the Spring. My challenge has been to expand the bloom cycle and palette.
It is encouraging to put these snapshots together, because it reminds me that I have made some progress. Only the rhododendron was here when we bought the house. Everything else, we planted.
persicaria in bloom at 2 Green Acres, a Maryland gardenpersicaria polymorpha

pyracantha flowers at 2 Green Acres, a Maryland Garden

pyracantha angustifolia

itea virginica at 2 Green Acres itea virginica

spring geranium from 2 Green Acres geranium

rhododendron in bloom at 2 Green Acres, a garden in Maryland


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Unique Ecosystem: Soldiers Delight

Bird at Soldiers Delight - from 2 Green Acres
Last weekend, we went for a hike at Soldiers Delight, a serpentine barren in Maryland. What is a serpentine barren? I'll let the folks from the Maryland Geological Survey explain it:

The barrens are underlain by serpentinite, a rock that contains very little quartz and aluminum-bearing minerals and consists mainly of serpentine. When serpentinite weathers most of the rock dissolves leaving behind a thin, sand- and clay-poor soil which is easily eroded. Therefore the land surface over serpentinites is stony, unfertile and sparsely vegetated - hence the term "serpentine barren." Typically a serpentine barren contains scrub oak and pine, cedar, grasses and some unique and rare wildflowers.

The park service is working to rid the 1900 acres of invasive species and restore the site to a natural serpentine habitat. As part of this process they are doing controlled burns to protect the native grasslands. The site contains 39 rare or endangered plant species, including the serpentine chickweed which was in bloom.

serpentine chickweed at Soldiers Delight
The park is a great place to see wildflowers in bloom including black cherry, blue-eyed grass and a number of other wildflowers that I do not know the name of. If you live in the area, you should check it out!maryland wildflower photo from 2 Green Acres

Maryland wildflower photo from 2 Green AcresMaryland wildflower photo from 2 Green Acres