Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts

28 April 2013

The Green House

Yesterday was the very first proper spring day up north, and our first order of business, after finally enjoying some coffee outside, was fixing the roof of the green house. Being veterans at this, we completed the task in no time, and without any arguments. Once the green house was cleaned, all 400 plants were moved from my dining room into their new home. Just a few more weeks, and we can plant them outside.

I promised you pictures, didn't I? I found them but then I got distracted by life. So here they are. Most are from last year when the green house was built. Some are from yesterday, to show off our ginormous tomato plants. Seriously, they are flowering already.

Our starting point:

To escape from eight little girls running around the house, it was the day of Lola’s birthday party, Ryan spent the day replacing the windows in the potting shed by bigger ones.

Next up, the roof:

So far, that was easy. And now for the fun part, putting up the acrylic plates. Gliding them into place was a major pain but we got it done and we’re still married.

And for the finishing touch, lobelia.

A few shots from inside:

That was last year. This was yesterday. The black-eyed Susans, started from seed, on their way to the green house.

Everything is back in place. And the dining room looks almost normal again.

22 March 2013

Four Hundred And Counting

The absence of gardening weather has not stopped us from planting seeds. We like to get a head start where our veggies are concerned, to maximize our summer yield. And now that we have a place to put everything, we are really going for it. We are also throwing some flowers in the mix.

It began last month. We sowed forget-me-nots, lobelia, alyssium, black-eyed-susans, cardinal climbers, and two different varieties of cherry tomatoes. Almost every single seed germinated. Yesterday the seedlings were transplanted to bigger pots to accommodate their growth. In the empty seed starter pots we planted large tomatoes, leek, corn, cucumber, okra, echinacea, marigolds, and more lobelia.

If they too germinate well, and why wouldn't they, we will have nearly 400 plants living in our dining room. The plan is for them to go to the greenhouse, but obviously it's still too cold for that. Not to mention part of the greenhouse roof blew off this winter and that needs to be fixed first.

Which reminds me, I have never shown you any pictures of our greenhouse, have I? Last year we turned the dilapidated potting shed into a cute little greenhouse by replacing the old windows with floor to ceiling ones, and installing clear acrylic sheets on the sunny half of the roof. I'll dig up those pictures and post them tomorrow.

22 October 2012

Tales From The Patch

The very first time we started a vegetable garden, we made a few mistakes. We picked a partially shaded spot, for one. We did not thin out our sprouts enough. We were not on top of weeding. And we did not realize just how much room a pumpkin plant takes up.

Despite overtaking half of the garden, the harvest was pitiful. Only one measly pumpkin made it, which we did not find until we cleaned the garden up. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise. The next time we wised up and planted the pumpkin seeds in a sunnier spot which they had all to themselves. A whopping two pumpkins we grew that year. Still not very impressive but a hundred percent improvement.

This year was our third attempt. And keeping with tradition, we harvested three pumpkins! Including the biggest one yet! Next year I want the kind you can eat. And maybe little gourds. Perhaps they'll do better.

Big pumpkins get big smiles

16 August 2012

Adventures In The Squash Patch

On Tuesday's to-do-list was weeding and mulching around the zucchini plants. They are located next to the blueberry plants which are consequently barely visible. Next year I'll plant the zucchini on the other side of that particular spot in the garden. The zucchini is doing very well. We started some indoors but the biggest plants are the ones that sprouted from the seeds I simply pushed down in the dirt this spring.

The pumpkins had a rougher start but are now slowly taking over the patch at the back of the garage. Only one plant made it from the indoors to the outdoors but again, dropping a few seeds in the dirt gave the results we were looking for. Sort of anyway. So far I have spotted only one jack-o-lantern in the making.

The finickiest plant turned out to be the watermelon. Not one of our indoor starters made it and only one of the seeds I planted, sprouted. But we do have a little watermelon growing behind the blueberries. I hope it ripens before summer ends. We'll have to wait and see.

A gardener must remain vigilant at all times however. While I was harvesting zucchinis I spotted squash bugs on my plants. I immediately ran inside to grab a spray bottle of Neem oil, a biodegradable leaf polisher and bug killer. Wonderful stuff! Because I was stalking my zucchini plants, anxiously waiting to rob them of their fruit, I caught the bugs at their nymph stage, which enabled me to ward off a full fledged infestation. I cut off the leaves with eggs and sprayed the remaining leaves with Neem oil. I think we're going to be okay.

Squash bugs are not the only animals to look out for, though. When Lola and I were looking at the baby watermelon, I spotted a snake in my patch. I nearly jumped over the corn fence. It wasn't very long, not even two feet, but it was a fatty. I don't know much about snakes but I could tell by the markings on its back that it was not a garter snake.

I don't like animals that slither. But at least with garter snakes I know they are harmless. Nevertheless, they freak me out when I stumble upon one. This snake looked like a rattle snake with a bright colored head. It lay there, very still, with its tail in the blueberry plant and its head under the mulberry tree.

Lola and I went back inside to see if we could identify it with the help of Google. Sure enough, we discovered it was a Fox Snake. Looks like a cross between a rattlesnake and a copperhead, but without the venom. It's actually very useful since it rids your garden of rodents. With Sandman having decided he is too old for that sh*t, we could use some help in that department. The chipmunks are out of control, to be honest.

We went back outside to take the snake's picture. Knowing we were not in imminent danger, we quickly made our way back to the squash patch. Too late. The snake had vanished. I did not like that. Much as I fear the creature, I would prefer to be able to see it and know where it is. Our grass needs to be mowed (hint, hint...) and it's difficult to see if there's anything hiding in the grass.

Needless to say, weeding and mulching around the zucchinis is still on the to-do list.

06 July 2012

Summer Tidbits

I dipped my foot outside this morning and discovered it was nice out. A balmy 86F (28C). Much better than earlier this week. Finally I can sit in the garden again, and watch my vegetables grow. I feel bad about staying indoors when the sun is shining, but really, it was just too warm to be outside. It was 99F degrees (38C) yesterday. That's hot. Sweltering hot in fact.

Speaking of my garden, it is looking wonderful. The tomatoes are out of control, as are the weeds, the corn is growing well (the second round of planting yielded a much higher germination rate), and the peas and beans all need trellises now. I picked up an old metal chair at a garage sale which I placed just outside the garden, in the shade. It's my new favorite spot.

We harvested our first peppers on Wednesday, and a bunch of basil. I made fresh pesto last night to go on a homemade chicken, sausage, and artichoke pizza. How's that for summer fare? Goes nicely with the watermelon pops, too. And the red clover lemonade, a very interesting drink. I am still tweaking the recipe, but as soon as it's to my liking, I'll share that one with you.

We had a very relaxing Fourth, not doing much of anything. A little bit of fishing, a little bit of grilling, a little bit of hanging out. As summer days should be.

14 June 2012

Step Into My Garden

For the first time in our gardening lives, Ryan and I have full sun available to us. We attempted a vegetable garden in Olympia but had to make do with partial sun. In spite of the lack of rays we were moderately successful. Had we been more diligent at thinning, I am sure we would have had better results.

We have high hopes for our garden this season and so far, things are going well. We built four raised beds, which filled up much faster than I anticipated. We will not be cultivating a full on kitchen garden just yet. There is just not enough room. We may have gone a little overboard on the tomatoes. There are eleven plants in our tomato bed, four different varieties, three of the plants started from seed. Salsa anyone?

Aside from the tomatoes, we have beans in three colors, peas, strawberries, and assorted peppers. Wherever I found a free spot, I planted onions, kohlrabi, chamomile, and celery. Today Lola and I shall plant several varieties of lettuce around the edges of the beds. We were going to plant the greens in gutters attached to the greenhouse, but that is a project for next year. And then we wait.

Alongside the beds, we have planted corn and sunflowers. The sunflowers are doing well, but I am not too impressed with the germination rate of the corn. We started a few plants indoors, but the majority was direct sowed. I put the second batch in the ground yesterday, and filled in the empty spots. I used a different variety of corn, perhaps we will be more successful this time.

On the west side of the garage you'll find the blueberry patch and zucchini. The zucchini is growing well. Only one measly watermelon has sprouted. The ones we started indoors did not make it either. I am having a really hard time with pumpkins as well this year. I don't know what the deal is. Perhaps the June Bugs are a bigger problem than I thought.

What is left on my wishlist is an herb garden. Right now the herbs are in pots in the green house where they are very happy. The sage is out of control, and the thyme, oregano, and chives are also thriving. My only concern is that I cannot find the tiny but very hungry caterpillar that is eating great big holes in my basil.

To protect our tiny plants from critters and other wildlife, we have erected a fence around the garden, with a sturdy garden gate built of old wood we found in the garage. I love the look of the different sized and colored planks. The jury is still out on whether or not we will cut off or round the top of the gate. We will probably leave it as is. We like it. But I might persuade Ryan to cut out an opening. Perhaps even a heart.

13 June 2012


Obviously the color orange isn't working out very well for me this week, so I am switching to green. Here are a few snapshots from my garden. Far more satisfying.

Banana Pepper
Bell Pepper
Green is my favorite color. Perhaps I'll spray paint my lion green, too.

25 May 2012

Build It And They Will Come

The beds are done! Ryan and his friend C. tilled the earth, built four lovely boxes, and put everything together last weekend in the blistering heat. Lola and I filled them up with tomatoes, strawberries, green and yellow onions, and beans in every color imaginable. All that is left to do is put up a fence to keep deer and rabbits out.

The fence is a necessity, believe me. No sooner had we finished planting our seeds and seedlings, or we spotted a rabbit hopping through the yard. Coincidence? I think not! She was building a bed of her own in a little mound on the north side of the yard. And while baby bunnies are undoubtedly cute, I do not want them in my garden. Don't worry though, we're on it.

Funny thing is, it worked!