Enjoy your visit!!!

Its going to be one interesting summer!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Madness, Mayhem and Quirky Pets...and Raspberries!

Well the garden has exploded over the past couple weeks, and I am overwhelmed. There is no room in the fridge for regular groceries, as the rest of the space is being hogged by tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers (still!) and cauliflower..at least till I can make the rounds and pass some of this stuff out! We have canned salsa, pickles, jalepenos and other goodies crowding the kitchen and I'm sure there's more to come. Don't ask what the secret is...cause I haven't figured it out! Half the garden hasn't been properly mulched or weeded (in weeks) and we never fertilized anything. As far as I can tell, its mostly a product of good luck and over planting :) But this crazy mess in the corner of my back yard is starting to grow on me. Though the weeds are high, they aren't really crowding out anything, and I'm kinda starting to find it fun whenever I stumble upon and errant radish or onion and other tiny treasures hidden away in the mess.
In other garden news, our new puppy seems to find tomatoes absolutely delicious...I take her out with me to harvest and she heads straight for the tomato 'aisles', picks a ripe on and plops down, proceeding to enjoy her snack. Another tasty favorite of hers is carrots- which she will only eat out of my gardening clogs...why? I have no clue. But as I seem to have a knack for finding the oddest animals with the weirdest personalities, we are just going to take it for what it is, and hope she doesn't make herself sick!
This weekend, I am off to pick raspberries. Mostly for making preserves (a tried and tested favorite in this house)- not from my garden, but from Rainbows End Farm , one of the best local growers I know. One of the things I find important is to support local growers and sustainable farming, and here, they practice both! Plus the berries are AMAZING!! They have a nice selection of greens, mums, and corn for making popcorn -so please check them out if you are ever in the area.
Yummy! Fresh beans from the garden are my fave!

Again, no explanation for my luck growing tomatoes like this

Molly..sans carrot or tomato, but this is the "do i have to go inside?" face. priceless.

Seriously? Where am I going to put all this stuff?

P.S. found these little buggers in my strawberry patch. WTH? thought
strawberry season was over 2 months ago!! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

here and there...and everywhere

Things in the garden are going well ~ The tomatoes look AMAZING...I mean, not so much the plants themselves, but the fruits...the tomatoes are so big and growing so fast, I'm convinced they are sucking the life out of the plants. Funny how things work out that way. We have been harvesting lots of jalepenos and cucumbers and made some salsa and zucchini relish too.
I am, as always, amused & surprised at how certain plants grow and change through out the season, as well as by what each plant produces. Take for example, the green pepper plants...every plant looks tall and healthy, but is producing very tiny (although perfectly colored and shaped) peppers. At the end of the season now, the cucumbers are turning into short fat, little cucumber balls.. and the green beans are still producing, but again, miniature versions of what they should be -whether it's because of lack of water or maybe nutrients are lacking in the soil, I'm not quite sure. We still have onions, squash, corn, potatoes (my word will we have potatoes!!!!), and cauliflower (lets hope I don't mess these up AGAIN!) and red cabbage left.
Come to think of it, the only thing that is really done is the summer squash and the large cucumber plants are on the way out...oh, and the lettuce is done (but we are blaming summer heat for that one!)
I will try and get pictures posted this week...things sure are  looking interesting out there.
I've been working on some ideas about what to share with everyone this fall, while the garden is wintering over, and I have some fun stuff in store for you!!!
The Garden is far from being done this year, there is much to do and talk about, so stay tuned :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Beginning of the End

So after a few days of some much-needed time away, I am back. But before my bags were even unloaded, it was straight to the garden so see what had transpired while I was away...
Before I left, I did as much weeding and watering as I could, and plucked any veggies that were ready - hoping that everything would hold off till my return. I set more rows of carrots (who knows if they will sprout) and radishes since they did so well the first time around. The tomatoes are pretty close to ready, and I might have to call in back up when the time comes to harvest - its looking like they will all be ready at the same time and with nearly two-dozen plants out there, I'm going to have to hustle!! Anyhow, upon my return, I found myself amazed at how much can happen in a few short days. A half-dozen cucumbers, a handful of jalepenos, a couple green peppers and some more green beans were waiting to be harvested. I also pulled some basil and dill from the garden for later. The lettuce decided it was much too hot and bolted ( I guess all that shade from the corn wasn't enough) but the onions are poking their little tops out from the soil :) -
On the other side of the garden, the melon and butternut squash plants are starting to fruit - no sign of any acorn squash yet. Hooray!!!
We are still waiting to see if the cauliflower and red cabbage are going to do anything--- the foliage looks fabulous but no sign of heads developing - keep your fingers crossed!
The kids have been anxious to help me keep an eye on things, and Em is working hard to weed when she can.
If anyone has any recipes to share for the yellow squash or any ideas on how to preserve these for later, please share... I seem to have an over-abundance of this stuff and a lack of people who want to eat it!

And because cucumbers are best preserved within a few days of harvest... here is what happened to the ones that were waiting for me when I got home :

Friday, July 15, 2011

Out of Control!

So first off... I have to share the latest funny... I have been letting the kids pick the purslane from the veggie garden to eat - and today, Izaac tells me that we just "must figure out the name of that stuff we have been eating." To which I reply to him that its called purslane - his immediate response was "Oh, well I thought it was called 'greatiest tastiest' cause its soooooo tasty!"

So half of the garden looks really really great and the other half is being taken over by weeds...so tomorrow thats my morning project. We have already had an early harvest of radishes, a few cucumbers, summer squash and a few beans and peas. The problem with buying starter plants rather than planting from seed is that the plants just might not be exactly what they are labeled at the greenhouse...my climber beans that I worked so hard to build a trellis for are actually bush beans and it looks as though the butter crunch lettuce and romaine are all actually loose-leaf lettuces. They all look pretty much the same, so this is the conclusion I have come to. That what I thought I bought is not really what I ended up with. Serves me right for not paying better attention! OOPS!! Everything else seems to be alright though. The sugar snap peas don't really seem to happy with the soil in my garden. They are producing, but the plants haven't climbed much in the past month. Cucumbers and squash however are taking over their ends of the garden and the tomato and potato plants are HUGE. Corn is almost waist high, so I think these will all do well this year. I'm not really sure what the cabbage and cauliflower is up to..I expected both of these to be forming heads by now, and they aren't - foliage is pretty though. So thats something. Always and adventure/experiment when it comes to me and gardening. Also, the birds ate the carrot seeds and green onion seeds..so I am hoping to have enough time to plant more before summer is over.
 I will post more pics as soon as I can. But I have been a little obsessive this year about how the garden looks and am determined to clean it up a bit first :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Busy as a bee..

Wow- Its been a busy couple of weeks around here. We have had some really hot and very dry days, but all the newspaper we have been putting down is not only helping with the weeds (at least in the parts of the garden where there is newspaper..haha), but it is also helping hold some of the moisture in the soil. Its been too hot to work outside or too stormy lately, so not a whole lot has gotten done.
Things are looking good out there and the kids have been doing a little bit more than making mud (whew!).
We also have more veggies to get planted this week -where I will find the time, I have no clue, but it will get done. The lettuce and arugula is almost ready for first harvest already and the radishes are looking great!!
I was quite happy to see the onions making a come-back too!
We haven't seen the mole lately, at least not in the garden - but the bunnies are still hanging around :)
I will try and get some new pics uploaded this week too. The goal this week is to get the rest of the newspaper down, plant more radishes and carrots, and maybe some more lettuce...oh...and the rest of the veggie plants. Yikes!!! Wish me luck!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Just went out and checked on the garden...yes...sometimes I have days where I feel I need to make sure all is well in the garden before bed...LOL...
But I am sooooo excited...almost all of the potato plants have sprouted out of their hills and the kids' little water trough to the squash plants made them all grow about 4 inches over night...Yippee for their wild ideas! Guess I need to get them to finish up with all the plants at that end of garden...hahaha. Anyhow, I was happy to see things had sort of "taken off" out there :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What the.....

Soooo.....we decided to head out to the garden to get a little bit of work done this afternoon. Last night, I was out hoeing weeds and trying to keep the place looking somewhat presentable. And so far....the handy dandy mole repellent is NOT working. They have only found new and creative ways around it. Anyhow....While I was doing this: (trying to save my self from some of the weeding)

The kids were over at the other end of the garden, doing this: 

yes. now they have taken to making little water ways to the squash and cucumber plants. the whole thing started out with Izaac thinking he could dig a hole to China. Which turned into "Can we use the hose so its easier to dig?" To which I replied: "I suppose, but only if you water the potatoes too." Which they did not. Apparently they are planning a little "vay-cay" to the far East without Mommy Dearest. Because, you know, they have been working so hard out here. So while Izaac digs, Emily is making sure the squash want for nothing in the way of liquid refreshment...

On the bright side, I suppose there is one good thing.....Izaac did help me put eggshells around the tomato plants today, and they all seem to be doing quite well. So there's that. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hooray for Rain!!!

I was thrilled to wake up this morning to the sound of rain...this meant I didn't have to get up early to go water the garden (and I was ready for a break!) It's been a long week out there. I have been scrambling to get the rest of the plants in, and weeding relentlessly. Hopefully soon, I can get out there with the oodles of newspaper (now that I have my wheelbarrow back, which has been MIA since we used it at my Gram's last summer to move mulch -YAY!), and then the weeding won't be such a daunting task.
It's been a busy week out there, and things might be starting to settle down for a bit. While I was watering the potatoes, I realized I was missing two cucumber plants (which are in the general area of the cucumbers)...and the bunnies helped themselves to the lettuce -YIKES!! So while I was standing there, hose in hand, wondering where the heck the cucumbers went, I also realized that I was now watering a hole in the ground, and not my precious 'taters.... yuppers...the moles are back and now I think I know what happened to the cukes! So the kids and I hauled off to the store to get batteries for our handy mole repellent posts (generously left to me by my home's former owner). If you have never seen or used such a thing, they are a battery powered device that you bury in the garden. Every so often, they emit an ultrasonic tone that supposedly drives the moles away. We.Shall.See.
We also planted carrot, radish and green onion seeds. Hopefully I remember to thin all of these when they are ready so they actually grow well this time! Later this week,  I will add more basil around the tomatoes - they make good neighbors and the basil helps ward off bugs - and I plan to add more herbs around some of the other plants to help those along as well. If anyone has any brilliant ideas about how to protect the cabbage and cauliflower (that doesn't involve super-toxic chemicals please), I'm all ears! I always have trouble with these ones...
I brought my kids out to the garden to help, or to try and get them to help- the were my anxious little helpers the first year we had a garden, and not so much anymore. They will water the plants most times, but weeding? HA! Planting? Um..maybe...if the wind is blowing the right direction...So, if you happen to scroll through the pictures at the bottom of the page, you will see just how much help they are. Look for the one of my son, the-stick-wielding-crown-wearing (fashioned by his sister)-self-declared-roman-soldier...and you will see exactly how much help I get from these guys! I think all he is missing is the tunic. And Emily ran for the hills as soon as I pulled out the camera.
Despite all the work it takes to get a veggie garden going, I still enjoy it. Every last part of it -the quiet hours I spend out there weeding and digging, planting, tending and harvesting all make it worth while. The excitement of watching the plants grow and discovering new ways to help the garden along are part of the fun. To me, this is nature at one of its finest moments... you plant, you water, you watch and hope, and eventually the little seeds and tiny plants do something wondrous...they somehow work their way out of the dark earth, and without question, they reach for the sky and begin to grow.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Uhhh....here goes nothin'

Ok everyone....be patient with me here as I learn my way around the world of blogging...eventually I WILL figure out how to upload photos and get everything rearranged :)

So after giving my veggie garden a breather last year, I've decided to give it another go. The weeds and critters always end up getting the better of me ( I will tell you more about "Dilly" and "Basil" soon..oh and "Molly"- Yikes!!!) so the soil and I both needed to take a break, a chance to recharge and regroup. Things don't always go so well for me out there in our big back yard, but I am always determined to find ways to improve things and be more productive with every year. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am hopelessly optimistic when it comes to this stuff. I spend all winter dreaming about next year's garden, figuring out where I went wrong last year, how to fix it, and waiting for the ground to thaw, the grass to green, till I get the chance to dig in and get down to business. This year, not unlike years previous, will be a combined effort (the kids always say they will help, but that only ever lasts a week or two) and the results as always, are shared with friends and family.

My family and close friends always get a kick out of the funny and sometimes not-so-funny things that happen every year, as I try to pretend that I have a handle on this gardening business...so we thought it might be fun if started my own blog and shared my misadventures with the rest of the world. I hope you enjoy reading. Maybe we can learn something new from each other in process. This summer looks to be a great one!