Garden Update – June 17th

OUR GARDEN 6-17-13

We cannot pinpoint the exact reason that our garden is doing so well this year, but we’re happy about it!  The multiple factors that we have changed from last year (our first year ever gardening), to now, made all the difference.  As I have mentioned, being a gardener you learn some hard lessons along the way.  For example, last year we did not use a rain barrel.  This year we are.  That in itself, made a huge difference, as we all know that rain water is much better for the garden and it shows in the growth of our plants.  Not to mention, the water bill will be kept to a minimum, as we have not watered our garden with anything else, but rain water.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 6-17-13

I know that I have complained about all the rain we have been getting lately, but it has kept our garden well watered.  It is great in that aspect, as just when I think that I have almost exhausted the entire drum of rain water, a storm rolls through and it is full again!  We even have cleaned out a huge garbage can on wheels, and are using it as a backup for rain water.  We just unhook the flexible hose attached to the gutter and let the rain water drain into the garbage can.  This is awesome, because all we have to do is “dunk” the watering can into the garbage can and fill up!  What amazes us is how quick a 55 gallon rain barrel can get filled up with one rainy downfall.

CONTAINER GARDENING A JULIET TOMATO

I think I did forget to mention, that we’re trying out two Juliet Tomato plants in large containers just to see what the difference is between plants in the garden, and plants in a container.  Right now, one of our container Juliet Tomato plants is starting to bloom, so tomatoes are soon to follow!

JULIET TOMATO 6-17-13

THE SMELL OF TOMATO PLANTS

What really blows our mind is, that our whole entire garden (minus the leaf lettuce and Romaine) were all started in our basement under a grow light.  We basically ran out of room on the one table we had as the plants got bigger, so we now know that we will need an extra table and more grow lights for next year to make room for everything.  Heaven help us if we had a bigger yard, as we know that we would most definitely build more raised garden beds!

RED PEPPER 6-17-13

LEAF LETTUCE 6-17-13

We had to cover up our strawberry patch (which we are sure by next year, or even the end of this growing season will take over the flower bed) to protect them from all the birds.  We watched them one afternoon just swooping in, one after another, flying in and grabbing a strawberry, then off they went.  We knew immediately that we had to do something to protect our berries!  The chipmunks can still get through this netting, but we are picking berries every day now as fast as they ripen, so at least we are getting the chance to enjoy our harvest!

STRAWBERRY PATCH COVERED TO KEEP OUT THE BIRDS

Gardening is sure an adventure, one that we enjoy each and every day.  Nothing brings so much pleasure than harvesting something that you grew yourself.  I can just see it now… me building a veggie stand for the end of our driveway and selling Juliet Tomatoes!  (now that would make a great blog post for sure!!)

ZUCCHINI 6-17-13

FLOWER GARDEN 6-17-13

And last but not least, every veggie gardener should also have a beautiful flower garden too!  This flower garden is definitely budding with almost everything ready to bloom any time now.  It is jammed packed with Bee Balm, Moon Beam Coreopsis, Russian Sage, Marigolds, Catnip (which the deer have grown quite fond of lately & ate half the bush!), lots of wild flowers, and if you look closely, you will see little pumpkins popping up all around this garden bed.  (The cement “GROW” stepping stone was made by me last year with a mold and sealed with cement sealer.  Beautiful!)

What do you have growing in your garden or flower beds?

CEMENT GROW STEPPING STONE

Getting Closer to Salad Time

The end of May is getting closer, and it has been a rather busy month.  We got everything into the garden, had to replant a few things that didn’t quite make it – – now the waiting (and watching) starts!   Checking out the garden on a daily basis is now a routine for us, just like adding to our routine of the daily watering for our little plants.  We have had not much rain this month, which is kinda a good thing, because last year we had an enormous amount of rain that flooded out alot of our pumpkin seeds and we had to replant.  We know that our neighbors garden got flooded last year too and he had to replant everything.  It finally rained yesterday and soaked everything really well.  A lot of the neighbors lawns are dying out (already) and look like straw, but we have been watering ours every day to keep it alive and we have to because we have fertilized and also seeded our lawn with grass seed to thicken it up. 

We have documented everything that we have done with our plants for the garden, like when we first planted them in the seed cells, when we saw the first sprout, when they were planted in the garden and have taken lots of photographs along the way as we watch our garden get closer to actually enjoying a fresh “picked” salad!  We did a quick post awhile back, and asked for everyone to share with us their Salsa Recipe, and to our amazement, no one responded back with a recipe!  Come on!  We know that a lot of you out there have a favorite recipe for your own homemade salsa and we want to try it!  We have never made homemade salsa before and we want the best recipe to snack on during the summer, so if you have a recipe to share, we’re ready! 

We have had a lot of trouble with our cucumber plants, and first off, we started them way too early indoors as they germinated quite quickly.  So, next year, we are just going to plant them directly in the garden and not start them indoors.  We have already had to replant quite a few of them, and the seeds that we put directly into the garden are coming up nicely.  Just can’t wait for that first picked cucumber!  The thought of a fresh picked cucumber & tomato salad with Italian dressing on it is making my mouth water…

Our Copenhagen Cabbage is coming along nicely and getting bigger by the day.  We have also planted some Flat Dutch Cabbage too, but it is a little behind the Copenhagen.  No worries, they will catch up!  But, our leaf lettuce is emerging from the garden with leaps and bounds!  I looked back in our photographs, and noticed that on May 11th, we saw our first “green” emerging from the soil, and now on May 26th, it is getting quite bushy!  Almost salad time for sure! 

 

Our poor little tomato plants that we started indoors all took a dive after they went into the garden.  But, we think that what killed them was perhaps that we did not clip a few plants that were planted in the seed cells so one plant could survive.  After we saw what happened, we did some research and found that if you plant a few tomato plants in a seed cell, you must clip all but one so the one can get stronger.  If you leave them “all” in the seed cell without clipping them, then you will run into the issue we did, as they killed each other off.  Since this was our first time doing this, we have decided that next year, we will only start one tomato in a seed cell and see if that works out better for us. 

Our Bush Lake Beans are coming along nicely, even though we have planted a few extra seeds directly in the garden – just in case.  We are also surprised that lots of our bean plants have little beans on them already!  When we were talking to our neighbor, he said that he was surprised that we had beans already on our small plants and that his bean plants produced beans only when his plants were much much bigger.  Who knows why we have beans starting to grow already on our small plants, but it is really neat to see them.  We are for sure going to have a lot of beans this year, and we will have to freeze some.

As for me, Nikita, I am doing well and having fun playing with my Rigatoni boxes!  LOL   Heck, any box will do for me, as I can find fun with anything made out of cardboard!  I got my nails clipped on Friday and boy oh boy was I a big baby.  They had to drag me into the back room because I knew what was going to happen.  I even tried crawling up on Daddy’s lap to get away from the nice lady coming to get me, but that did not work, as I went reluctantly with her, but not without a fight.  Geez, Mommy said, as I looked over my shoulder one last time before the door closed behind me.  The funny thing is, is that I am in and out of that room so fast, so why do I make such a huge fuss?  Ha ha, I can say that now, after the fact, but man I don’t like getting my nails clipped! 

Grandma had a birthday on Thursday and we surprised her with a very special handmade gift.  Daddy bought Mommy a really awesome cement mold for a “GROW” stepping stone, and Mommy mixed up some cement and sealed it with cement sealer and made one for Grandma for her birthday!  Grandma always tells us that she loves homemade things because they are more special, and we know that she will always think of us every time she looks at her stepping stone in her flower garden!  We love you Grandma!  What do you think?  Do you like it?

And, you know my Mommy, she is always goofing around with wood projects, and she even surprised Daddy with a neat, hand cut with a jigsaw, a “GROW” sign.  She painted it Key Lime Green and accented the outside border with black and now the sign looks 3-D.  That Mommy, she is something else, not to mention that she has become very versed with the use of a hand jigsaw!   Mommy also finished her wood House Boxes and painted them all in a patriotic manner, just in time for the Fourth of July, and she even made Grandma two because she wanted them so badly and thought they were adorable. 

Like we said, it has been a busy month with lots of things going on and with our garden project going on, it is hard to keep up with the blog some days as there are only so many hours in a day, ya know.  But, we will do our best to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on.  We all hope you have a great Memorial Day and don’t forget to have a hamburger for me!  (as for me, Mommy is going to keep me away from the raw hamburgers so I don’t eat any like I did last year) 

 

TGIF: When the Sun Shines, Spring Fever Hits!

TGIF and we are blessed to see the sun in it’s full brightness today!  We have not had many bad snowy days here and seeing the sun shine today gets that Spring Fever mojo going!  All that Mommy wants to do is head outside to do yardwork, (Yes, she loves yardwork!) like cutting the grass, running the edger to make everything look perfect, planting flowers and everything else that goes along with being outside. 

I am enjoying the day with Mommy and she has been watching me sit by the backdoor looking out so intensly, so she decided to take me on a short walk today to get some fresh air!  I had so much fun sniffing…everything!  But, when we got back home, I had to get my legs & paws cleaned because it is muddy outside. 

"GROW" Stepping Stone

Since the Spring Fever has hit this house, we wanted to share with you what Daddy & Mommy have been working on.  They will be announcing the new Stepping Stones that will be available soon for sale on their website, but if you live locally to us, you can pick up your stepping stone and save on the shipping costs!   This will be the first of many garden accessories that they will have, and since they are a Seasonal Seller, they thought that adding garden stones & plaques would be a great addition to their product line.  This beautiful detailed GROW Stepping Stone would look great in your garden this year or it would make a great gift for a gardener, or for Mother’s Day!  Wait until you see the beautiful garden plaques that we will have and since we love Halloween so much, we will also have skulls too!  All of our stepping stones, plaques, and skulls will be made out of cement so they will hold up nicely during the seasons.

What plans do you have for your landscaping this year?  Do you have any big plans?  More flowers?  Adding a bird bath?  Fire Pit?  How are you going to change your yard this year to make it more enjoyable?

With Love Always,
Nikita