Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
The heat index has been over 100 for 2 months and you are in your third trimester of your third pregnancy??? If you are me, you revisit and old hobby - one that is done sitting down and in the air conditioning...KNITTING! My mother taught me how to knit in my early 20's and thanks to you tube, I have been able to revisit the craft and have really enjoyed learning new techniques. Not to completely abandon my love of gardening...one of my first projects was a blanket for my oldest daughter complete with floral decorations:
I so enjoyed working on this for her! Many days were spent watching them play in the pool as I was busy with the needles in hand. Funny enough, the garden does go on with or without me! In this season of life, the lawn gets a little longer and the weeds are more plenty, but I am blessed to be at home with my kiddos and let them enjoy the outside while I attempt to survive the heat. The one place my lack of diligence is showing in my garden is the veggie bed. I am really finding out this year which crops are drought tolerant! LOL! Despite the lack of watering on my part, the cucumbers, beans, patty pan squash and hot peppers keep on keepin on! The tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchinni - not so much!
Only a few more weeks until we welcome another little one to our family and then we can look forward to some cooler weather and a mommy who can once again reach down far enough to pull a weed :)
As always, I reviewed my previous years Installations (2008, 2009, 2010) and successes and failures (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). Last year’s garden was a huge failure, so I am hoping for a better season this go around. So helpful to have these records!
Hubby was a big help as my pregger self tires out a bit more quickly.
Before we headed out to the nursery, I sketched out this little plan and list:
I kept things pretty simple this go around and the things I learned the most from last year was don’t plant too many varieties of things, because there won’t be a successful yield from one single thing. So, instead of doing all heirloom tomatoes, and having to wait until November for a tomato, I opted for 2 varieties of heirlooms and 2 varieties of hybrids.
Here is the layout, with Bed #1 being the top left:
3 Ichiban Eggplants
1 German Queen Heirloom Tom
2 Zucchinni Plants
Zinnias from Seeds
1 Better Boy Tom
1 Cherry Tom
1 Summer Squach
Bush Beans from seed
My perennial bed with strawberries, bee balm and purple asparagus
1 Fairytale striped Ichiban Eggplant
Lemon Cucumber from Seeds
Burpless Cucumber from Seeds
1 Early Girl Tom
1 Sweet Basil
1 mammoth Basil
Marigolds from seeds
Zinnias from seeds
White Patty Pan Squash from Seeds
1 Black Beauty Heirloom Tom
Marigolds from Seeds
We also planted Big mammoth sunflower seeds in pots around the beds for the kiddos. I could not find any nastursum seeds in the color that I wanted, so I substituted zinnias. Also, there were no Edamame seeds, so that bed got extra squash.
The girls had such a good time helping and my oldest daughter made her own little garden complete with stick surrounds:
Here is the veggie plot all ready for the season:
And, of course I couldn’t just buy veggies!
I also came home with this Rocket Ligularia and well as 3 caladiums for the hydrangea bed.
Time for my end of summer update! I am ready for fall and have been thinking back on yet another growing season - successes and failures.
g July and August, we enjoyed many harvests from our garden and spent the rest of the time inside and out of the heat. The girls are growing up fast and keeping us super busy! They are both getting into helping mommy in the garden and we have discoverd that the little one LOVES getting dirty! Her favorite place this summer has been smack in the middle of the tomato bed, picking them right off the plant and smooshing them all over her face!
We planted 9 varieties of tomatoes, 10 basil plants and 4 eggplants.
Here is a nice shot of some of the results:
It was great fun to try so many different varietes! Our favorites were the heirloom tomatoes, of course; and the japanese eggplants. We have had so much, that we have also been doing some different methods of preservation for use through the winter. I have dehydrated tomatoes, eggplants and figs. I am excited to use the dehydrated eggplants to make pasta sauces and babagunish (sp?) I also pureed tomatoes in the blender and put them in ice cube trays to freeze for making sauces later. I also did a pesto with 5 varieties of basil that I froze in ice cube trays too - now all of our ice tastes like basil!- HAH!
Funny thing about the veggies; I always plant more than I should of every seed and it is just survival of the fittest. Well, this year, I put in a few different kinds of bean seeds and then forgot which kinds i put in - until a few months later, noticed that what had won out was the "yard bean":
So bizarre! and actually not that tastey...but fun and the kids thought they made great necklaces!
Next year, I will give more thought to the beans...we did miss having them this year.
SO..here is the list:
Heirloom tomatoes, will plant more varieties next year, perhaps will order some plants online for even more variety.
Cherry tomoates, love them...will only plant one plant next year....we had way more than we knew what do do with.
Artichokes, they germinated successfully and I am looking forward to them producing in seasons to come.
Asparagus, continues to do very well and next year, we should be able to harvest continually throughout the season.
Sunflowers, the "king kong" did great and next year, I may devote 1 entire bed to just sunflowers...I would like some for cutting.
Nastursums, did great. I just love them and they are so pretty!
Green Eggplant, it did well, but is quite prickly and tough...not all that tasty.
Beans, need to give them more thought...missed having big harvests of them this year.
Wished I had planted:
Cucumbers: hubby hates them, but they are so easy and I love em'
Carrots: the kids would have had fun with them,and they are super easy too!
Squash: I always have trouble with them, but I am always trying some weird variety, so next year I will plant to standby summer squash and hope for the best. These will be great to pre-cook and freeze too!
For the Fall Garden:
Poppies: I put out some in the spring, but still dont have any signs...will try again (i don't know why I can't seem to get these going to save my live-they are suuposed to be easy!)
Cabbage: I have never tried growing this, but I think it will be fun.
Garlic - have always wanted to try this
The rest of the garden has been just truckin along. It is nice that we are somewhat out of major project mode (other than the deck) and the garden is down to just routine work. I am enjoying watching the beds in the back fill in. I noticed today that the purple beautyberry that was just a few inches tall when I planted it - is now doing its thing:
I am really liking the textures that are happening in this bed. Here is a nice shot with the deck in the background:
Close up of solidago and miscanthus:
d...bumble bee having some fun on the autumn joy sedum:
We really had a bad time of spider mites early this spring. They really set up camp in a big oak in the back yard and they migrated their way over quite a few of my plants. The fruit tress suffered a great deal and I am not sure that they will bounce back - but hey, if they don't then I have a chance to buy more plants! A failure in the garden always presents another opportunity, doesn't it???
I finally killed all the grass around the veggie beds and fruit trees and have been slowly spreading wood chips there. I want to make that area more path-like and tuck plants in nooks and crannies.
I also plan to put in some encore azaleas in the front porch bed this fall. I would like another shot of color in there and some evergreen interests when the autumn ferns aren't looking their best during the winter.
All in all, we have had a great growing season and I am ready for fall and all the cool temps to come!
Well, most of our summer trips and parties have past and I was able to spend some much overdue time in the garden this weekend! I so enjoyed it, despite the heat. Because of the lack of recent attention, some extreme measures needed to be taken, so I spent most of my time using loud and aggressive power tools.
I first started out to mow the back by the veggies, but it was so long that the mower just wasn't holding up its end of the bargain...so after a few adjustment by my helpful hubby, I got to mowing...just in time to be chased indoors by a ginormous thunder storm. So, the next day it was back to it and i got most of the back yard done when the mower quit again, so I opted to do some weedeating. After 3 tanks of gas, I had done the entire creek area, around all the veggie beds, edged the lawn and cut the front yard using the weedeater (since I still couldn't get the mower started.) Somehow EVERYTHING gets harder when you go from one child to two HAH!
While I was back by the creek I did some more investigating as to why there is still no growth from the great gunnera....the bulb was as mushy as can be, so I called the company and they issued me a credit. so, i just have to decide if i am going to try another gunnera or something else...
Then, hubby came home, got the lawnmower fixed, and finished up the back yard for me :)
The other thing i worked on this weekend was some veggie bed clean up. We harvested some corn and had some for dinner, but it was not the least bit tasty....I don't know if maybe I left it on the stalk to long, and what was left was so buggy, so I just pulled the remainder of it out and took it to the curb for yard pickup. I don't think i will do corn again...
I also pulled out the spent bush bean plants and okra. This left a lot of room to add more compost and get ready for fall plantings...HOORAY!
The veggie garden has taught me quite a bit this year. I tried my hand at companion planting this season and have been very pleased for the most part. i do think that next year i will plant a smaller variety of things, but more of each thing that i plant.
I have also learned what i don't want to grow again:
corn-takes too much space and is a bit messy and buggy, plus i can buy it pretty cheap at the store
carrots-hubby doesn't like them and i never seem to get them thinned out quite right
okra- i have trouble picking them before they get tough
broccoli-i just never have luck with this :(
Here is what i am for sure going to grow lots of:
And, here is what i want to try that i didn't this year:
garlic, onions and artichokes
I will continue with the companion planting focusing on the use of marigolds, sunflowers, and nastursuims. these are what seemed to germinate and perform the best. I really had trouble getting a lot of my flower seeds to germinate this year. it is so hard to keep them evenly moist when you have watering restrictions. The whole bed I had planned around the back porch was a total flop. nothing germinated :(. I was going to have 3 kinds of sunflowers, bells of ireland, sweet pea vines and sweet alyssum. But, nothing....oh well, thats the best way to learn as a gardener :) Trial and error...sometimes LOTS of error LOL!
Well, things keep moving right along here in the garden...with or without my help - :) It has been very hot here with not a lot of rain fall - but luckily we are allowed to water at certain times...so I have been keeping up with that. I am still enjoying the results of all my hard work over the fall and winter (with things being somewhat more low maintenance) I have decided that that is definitely the way to go!
During a good session in the garden the other afternoon, I was able to capture these picts:
y bush is looking great!
Daylilies doing their thing:
forward to my canna blooms!
rn Mountain Oats that I ordered on line last year are doing well and I look forward to them naturalizing a bit:
Oak Leaf Blooms turning pink:
Here is a view of the veggies from the back of the back yard:
I just love the shot of color that the marigold give...makes a great view from the kitchen window:
gh, I did have to pull out all the broccolli due to that yucky wormy thing they got...just like last year! I guess I am just not cut out for broccolli growing :(
The corn is doing its thing:
But, has some yuck on it! This is my first time to grow corn, so I am not sure what to do about this or if it will effect production:
I am loving the purple pole beans! They are SO pretty and yummy too!
And, the spaghetti squash is jumping out of its bed!
Here is a good shot as you come around to the front yard:
The turks cap lilies are just starting to bloom. I can always count on these guys!
Getting ready for my hibiscus blooms!
The little knockouts that i planted at the base of the sculpture are blooming and i know they will fill in nicely!:Here is the view as of late as i sit on my front porch:
And finally...the view of the front yard from across the street:
Can you tell most of what i have planted along the street was to block off the view of the rental house across the street from us - HAH! Guess its working :)
Its amazing how much happens in a garden in just 2 days, especially with a good rain! We were so glad to get home from the hospital with Etta Rose:
Of course, one of the first things I had to do upon my return, was to walk around the garden....so much happened! The peonies bloomed!
All the good rain we had while I was in the hospital really helped along all the veggies:
Everything practically doubled in size! And, look at all the blackberries we are going to have!
But, most noteable is the rose that bloomed! I planted this out in the fall: Mdme Alfred Cartiere. They are on either side of the arbor in the back and will look so pretty when they grow up big. So for now, on our first day home, a new rose for our new rose:
We enjoyed our little stroll in the garden and now I must figure out a time in the day to do my gardening...but, all in good time. For now I am enjoying my little Rose :)
Despite the Iris Patch having a MAJOR aphid infestation, they continue to bloom :) They have never really done too much in seasons pasts (they are relatively new to my garden- passed along from my husband's grandfather's farm), so its fun to see what color they are. So far we have white and today, the purples are blooming. In the picture, they look more maroon colored. It depends which way the sun is hitting:
I am also very pleased to report that some of the veggie seeds are starting to come up already and the freshly planted hostas are looking good. Also, the peony buds look like they might burst open any day now!
Oi Vey! Just had to take a quick break from writing this to go tell 3 neighborhood kids to get out of our creek and not mess up all my freshly planted goodies! They were swinging from bank to bank from the grape vines that I cut back! ARGH! I hate being THAT neighbor....but really, I don't want them to get hurt either, would be our liability you know. They quickly sauntered off with their tail between their legs.
Well, the steps survived! It wasn't a torrential down pour, but it was more than a drizzle....the great thing is that the rain helped clean up the creek even more and the steps look more settled in.
I spent the afternoon dragging more brush to the curb. I also pruned my crepe myrtles and autumn ferns.
But, most notably, I did a lot of garden planning. I have been reading a book on companion planting lately and I really want to use this system in my spring/summer vegetable beds. But, its a lot to think about and my usual method of buying what sounds fun and throwing it in the ground was just making my head hurt...so I needed to plan.
First, I made my wish list of things to plant, then I jotted down their appropriate companions according to my book, then I made my shopping list. And, finally, I got it all down on paper!
Plants: (Due to the drought...I plan on starting a lot less from seed this go around)
An Heirloom Tomato
Big Boy Tomato
Black Eyed Susan
I have 2 existing raised beds in the back (about 8 feet by 8 feet) The plan is to add 3 more by spring time... Here is the plan I came up with:
I know its a bit hard to see on the computer...but it will be so helpful to me. I will print it out before I go shopping and have it as a reference while I plant. Now I can get all that confusion out of my brain and onto paper....so, on to the next task!
Well, yesterday we had snow all day...with accumulation, which is very unusual for us here! Of course b/c of snow...I am sure you can all imagine that it was quite cold! This means my plans for more creek clean up were put to a rest for this weekend at least. But, it did give me a good chance to get some things done inside the house. I worked on painting the nursery for the little one to come and I spent some time tootling around on various gardening websites. But, most exciting of all is that I got all of my past blog entries printed out and put in a 3 ring binder. I had NO idea how much I had written! I have enjoyed and found it very helpful in the past to look over my old entries. Now that they are all on paper...I have a great essay of the garden for most of last season and I can write notes in the margins and highlight and it will be just a great resource for future garden planning. It ended up being over 300 pages of blog entries! Now, I will try to maintain the discipline of printing out my blog on a monthly basis so that I always have it up to date.
One thing that I have found most helpful with it right now is looking back on the creek project and the progress. I am really starting to plan what to plant in that area as it is almost cleared out....but, since everything is dormant right now, looking back at old entries has really helped me notice where I still need to clean out and areas of sun and shade.
I have also been making a lot of mental to do lists for future garden projects. I think I ought to get them down on "paper":
Whew....now that I got that out of my system!
It will be great to look back on this and see what ends up getting done! LOL
This week we are finally supposed to have a break from the over 100 heat. Back into the 90's, so that means...back to the garden! I have missed it!!!! I am really looking forward to fall and thinking of all my projects and plantings. I just took a part time job so I will have less time, but I'm sure I will manage as I tend not to sit still well :)
They were talking on the radio this morning about how the heat and drought might affect the fall color we get here. They said the leaves may just start dropping instead of changing colors :( I hadn't even considered that would happen!
Projects for Fall:
I think I'll be busy!!!!!
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