It’s Heating Up In Our Garden

Well, July has arrived and so has the HEAT, just what our garden needed to give it a huge growth spurt.  Everything in the garden has really taken off, not to mention so have all of the bees, wasps, and yellow jackets that are swarming around.  It has been quite difficult lately to do any gardening during the day because of the amount of the bees, so we have to wait until later in the day when they seem to taper off a bit.  Mommy is allergic to bee stings, so she is being very careful when out by the garden, and she is concerned too that I might get stung, and we don’t want that.  Daddy does not seem to mind the bees, but is still avoiding them when they are out in full force. 

Daddy has still been doing a lot of fighting with the little furry Chipmunks that continually visit our pumpkin patch.  He plants a few seeds, and the next day that little Chippy has pulled them out and eaten the seed, and then blatantly leaves the empty seed on top of the soil for him to find it.  Grrrr!  The Chippies did the same thing to him when he planted more zucchini seeds – he planted a few seeds, checked on them in a few days only to find them pulled out and eaten (again) by the little furry vermin.  He said that “this is getting old” and they better stop doing this.  Well, the majority of our pumpkin plants have taken off and have grown quite a bit, so it appears that the Chippies don’t nibble on them when they get to a certain size, but….getting them to that “certain size” was the problem.   We even started 10 more pumpkin seeds in peat pots indoors about a week ago, just to get them ready to head outside later today for planting, so we hope that they survive the Chippy attacks! 

NOTE TO GARDENER’S:  We heard about a really cool trick to ensure that your pumpkins get “pollinated”, even if the bees don’t do their jobs.  The trick is to pollinate the pumpkins yourself by using a Q-Tip.  You just take the Q-Tip and twist it around inside the male flower of the pumpkin, then swipe it around the inside of the female flower.  Whala, instant pollination!    We have never heard of this before, so we are going to try it out and we’ll let you know how it works.  If we would have known about this last year, we could have had more pumpkins! 

We just noticed the other day that we are starting to see our cherry tomatoes ripen and Mommy is really excited to see that!  She needs to stock up on Italian Dressing now for sure, as she is anxiously awaiting her first salad with them.  The Beefsteak Tomatoes are getting bigger with all of this heat, but we have not noticed any ripening ones yet.  Daddy’s onions have grown by leaps and bounds and we have noticed how big they are getting as they push through the soil and expose a little bit of the onion.  But he knows to cover them back up with a little soil until they are ready to be plucked from the garden. 

The cucumbers had a very shaky start, and if you remember, we started a lot of our plants indoors.  But, we found out the hard way, that we started them way too early indoors, and when we took them out to the garden, they seemed a bit wild.  So, we let them go to see what happened.  Well, we saw what happened….they died, well, most of them did anyhow.  So, Daddy replanted seeds directly in the garden this time and we now have a huge cucumber crop that is erupting on one end of the garden.  The bees are definitely doing their job and have pollinated the majority of the cucumbers already as we can see from how large some of them are getting. 

As for the zucchini plants, they have “Gone Wild“, not growing wildly, but rather they have had a tremendous growth spurt with the heat and rain we have had.  We can see a large amount of little baby zucchini’s starting to emerge and we are tickled pink to see that.   Mommy can’t wait until the day that she can pick a zucchini and make Zucchini Bread for Daddy, and she will definitely share with you the two recipes she has for a) regular zucchini bread, and b) chocolate zucchini bread.  (betcha you can’t wait for those!) 

We forgot to mention also that we even have four Cantaloupe plants doing very well and we can’t wait to see how they produce for us this year.  No Chippies took down these guys!  (phew

Our Red Warty Thing Pumpkin is growing like it is on drugs or something.  We check on it one day, then by the next day it has grown bigger.  The stalk on this pumpkin plant is huge, not like the other pumpkins we have growing whose stalks are thin, so we’re unsure of why the stalk is so large, but who cares – this thing is awesome!  We are anxiously waiting to see the first sight of a red warty pumpkin to emerge, as these are supposed to get to about 20+ pounds in size.

So, like we have mentioned, it is heating up in our garden and we have lots going on, and with us being “first time gardener’s” we are truly proud of what we have grown so far, have learned a lot along the way, know what works and what does not, but by far we have loved every minute of it and can’t wait to do it all again next year. 

 

Decorating for Halloween

 

                                           The time FINALLY arrived…. it was time to cut Daddy’s pumpkin!  Daddy could not wait to finally get the chance to cut his own grown pumpkin this weekend as he was so proud of it.  If you were following our story of our attempt to grow pumpkins in our backyard, you will remember that we had problems from the start.  The rainy weather demolished the first packs of pumpkins planted, so re-planting was next.  We waited impatiently for the first pumpkin plants to emerge from the ground, only to have them chewed off by chipmunks.  Still, we weren’t worried because we had so many pumpkin plants planted and felt that we had a good chance of more little sprouts.  Well, one after another little sprout appeared and we got so happy, until the next day they were gone – chipmunks again.  We ended up with just a few pumpkin plants and we were uncertain if these guys would make it, so we waited.  Well, one plant took off and grew to a vine of more than 19′ with approximately 17″ wide leaves.  We thought that since this plant has grown so big, that nothing would touch it, we were so wrong.  The chipmunks left this plant alone (finally), but the deer had a field day one night on our pumpkin vine and ate half of the main vine.  Since they ate the main vine, it stunted the growth of the other vines with all of the unpollinated small pumpkins, so we were left with just our one pumpkin.  We were so unhappy with all the damage that the deer did, but we are glad to announce that our one pumpkin made it to an amazing 20.4 pounds!  After Halloween, Daddy is going to take all of the pumpkin seeds from his pumpkin, clean them, and store them away for next year and use them to plant more pumpkins. 

Daddy & Mommy started pulling out all of their Halloween decorations over the weekend and Mommy went into overdrive painting all of the wood tombstones she cut with the jigsaw, while Daddy carried up props from storage for the front yard and started placing them in the grass. 

It took them over three hours to get everything in the yard for now, but there is still a lot more props that will be placed outside, but they can’t put them out yet because these are the expensive ones, like Daddy’s animatronic Freddy, Jason, and his 6′ tall Ripping Reaper of Souls that rips open his cloak to show all the souls in his chest.  Pretty cool, eh? 

It was a long weekend and Daddy & Mommy are pooped from all the work they did.  Mommy is still painting & staining tombstones, but the yard looks great.  They even had Grandpa help fix one of their props, a 63″ Standing Ghoul that had a broken clamp, and we knew that Grandpa was the only one that could fix this, and he did!  (Thanks Grandpa!) 

I still don’t have my Halloween costume done yet, but Auntie Rene sent us some great photographs of neat costumes for pets (thanks Auntie) to help us get a costume idea.  We still think that I might be a lion for Halloween, but you’ll have to wait and see what I end up as.

Monday was kinda crazy over here because Daddy & Mommy had eight items that sold over the weekend on their eBay store, so lots of Halloween products had to get wrapped up for shipping.  I helped Mommy get everything done too, as I sniffed all of the product and chewed a little on each of the boxes, so if anyone of you get a box with a little chew mark on it – that was me!  She spent the entire day getting all of these packages ready for the UPS man, and I had to take a break and I napped amongst all of the boxes in the kitchen. 

How are you decorating for Halloween this year?  What is your costume?