Garden Update

JULIET TOMATOES 8-1-14

This is the happiest photograph ever! Look at the variety of colors on the Juliet Tomatoes! This is a sight that we have been waiting for!

PUMPKIN COLLAGE2 8-5-14

This is our one pumpkin that is outside of the garden bed that we get to watch grow. I decided to take photographs of this pumpkin every four days so we can see how much it has grown. In this collage, the first photo is on 7/20, then 7/24, 7/28, 8/1, and on 8/5. It is coming along nicely, don’t you think!

PUMPKIN VINE

Watching our pumpkin vines grow is fun! The only thing that I get upset about is when I see a new little pumpkin on a vine, and it turns yellow before the female flower can get pollinated. Bummer!

BIG BOY 8-1-14

Some of our Big Boy Tomatoes are starting to ripen! What a nice sized tomato!

RED PEPPERS 8-1-14

Our Red Pepper plants are growing some strangely shaped peppers.

PORTULACA PUPPY

I put my Portulaca plant on my little doggie planter and it looks so adorable.

HORN WORM

After finding 10 small Horn Worms in our garden a few weeks ago, we found this HUGE one over the weekend and freaked out! Holy crap! Every day, multiple trips out to the garden to check for Horn Worms is a must, since we know we have an issue. This one we cut the small branch it was on, and immediately placed it into the jar where I threw all the other ones to die. While it was in the jar, I watched it quickly munch down this entire branch in a matter of minutes. Minutes, people! Minutes! That is why it is so important to find and remove them in your garden immediately. Look for any Horn Worm piles of poop on your leaves, and look for little white eggs too, as this is a sign that you have a Horn Worm in your garden! Act upon it immediately!

HORN WORM CLOSEUP

I am so grossed out by this close up photo. If you click on the photo you can see it’s teeth better but I hope you did have anything to eat because you might get sick. Those little orangish rings on its side is how it breaths, and it has nine on each side of its body.

Gardening for us this year has gone to the bugs, and we are doing our best to keep on top of this problem. Every year we deal with “something”, and this year is no different, just a different problem. I refuse to let these issues take down our garden and all the hard work we have put into it.

 

Garden Update: May 15, 2014

I love heading downstairs to check on our garden plants, because you just never know what to expect. I am a firm believer that the plants grow over night and things happen while we are sleeping. Perhaps I should video tape them at night, just to see what’s going on!

PLANTS2 5-15-14

Our new table is getting crowded, and that is good news! That means that soon, they will be heading outdoors into their new home, in the garden. We are still watching the weather reports, and for now, they are staying safe indoors. We need to make sure that we pass our last frost date and the plants are safe, otherwise, we will have to jump through hoops to cover each one up at night to protect them from frost damage.

RED PEPPERS 5-15-14

We have 18 red pepper plants growing, and they are at various heights, because we love and use red peppers in almost everything we cook.

PEAS 5-15-14

This is our first year growing peas, so we are anxiously awaiting to see how they do once they head into the garden. I got great advice from my blog buddy Kathy that the peas just need small little stakes behind each one so they can crawl up. We can’t wait to see little pea pods growing one day!  I think that they are the cutest little plant I have ever grown!

FLOWERING CUCS 5-15-14

I found one of our cucumbers flowering in the basement already. That has never happened yet in all the years we have been gardening, and at least that tells me it is soon time for them to head out into the garden.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 5-15-14

Growing cabbage is easy, but they are slow growers indoors, at least that is my experience in growing them, but once they get into the garden, they get their growth spurt.

CONNECTICUT FIELD PUMPKINS 5-15-14

We are preparing a flower bed for our pumpkins this year, and we decided to start quite a few pumpkin plants indoors so those darn chipmunks would not dig up the pumpkin seeds. Last year, those chippies dug up every seed and ate them, and we had to replant.

If anyone has any advice for our soil for the pumpkins to get them to grow big and produce pumpkins, please share your soil advice with us! The last pumpkin growing seasons we have had bad luck. We tried the coffee ground idea last year and we think we might have put too much grounds into the soil and it killed off our pumpkin harvest.

ZUCCHINI 5-15-14

We are attempting to grow zucchini again this year. Every time we try to grow zucchini, either the chippies eat them, or they grow to a certain size, then die off. We are hoping for a good season this year for these guys!

BEANS 5-15-14

I know, you would not have believed me if I had not taken this photo, but yes, we are growing beans in the basement!  A few of our bean plants have small beans growing on them!  This is one of the largest beans we have growing under our nice grow lights!  Pretty neat, eh!

TOMATO PLANTS 5-15-14

Our Juliet Tomato plants are at the perfect size right now, and I bet they can’t wait to be planted out in the garden soon. Last year, we started our plants way too early and they were so tall that they were hard to handle while being transplanted, this year, we did not want to make that same mistake. We have nine Juliet Tomato plants that are enjoying their new larger pots to grow in.

STRAWBERRY PATCH 5-15-14

This is our strawberry patch that has come back nicely since recovering from the winter. If you have ever grown strawberries, you know how they can “take over” an area quite quickly. We started off with approximately 20 strawberry plants about where the arrow is in the above photo, and now, they are almost all the way down to the end of this flower bed. They have finally started to flower this week, and they are right on time, as these are June Bearing Strawberry plants.

STRAWBERRY BLOOM 5-15-14

This is always a good sign that strawberry season is upon us!

STRAWBERRY BLOOMS IN THE RAIN 5-15-14

Soon, we will have strawberries!

BACKYARD3

And now for the best part – – our backyard! Remember one of my last posts on how we had lots of work to do to fix all the winter pee spots from the dogs? Well, they have all been fixed and the backyard is in tip top shape! Not to mention, the grass is so thick and fluffy now from all the rain we have been having.

BACKYARD2

My flower bed is starting to fill in nicely and our Burning Bush is finally nice and green. It is hard to see in this photo, but I also purchased a few sections of this beautiful metal garden fencing to try to keep the deer out and from eating the flowers. I still need to get one more section to complete it.

BACKYARD1

We are so pleased on how good the backyard has filled in as well as it has as we are in love with the Quick Seed we are using.

NEW PATIO CHAIRS

My Sweetie arrived home from work earlier this week and was surprised by our new patio chairs & pads. I finally had to toss my old wicker table & chairs a few weeks ago, and we needed something to sit on in the backyard. I love how the new cushions are reversible to a solid red color too!  That is also my new planter that I got on sale at KMart and I think I might plant some nice red flowers in it with something else that perhaps hangs over the side. Any suggestions on what I should plant?

Garden Update for October

I thought that it was time to give you a garden update!  It’s October, and yes, our garden is still producing vegetables for us!  While most gardeners are putting their gardens to rest for the season, our garden is still working hard for us and producing. But, it is winding down, as we have watched our tomato plant branches start to yellow a bit.  Do you have any guesses on how many Juliets and how many Big Boy Tomatoes we picked so far?

We have had an interesting gardening season nonetheless.  From every shape & size of critters from a chipmunk to deer and everything in between, they have made gardening this year challenging for sure.  The chipmunks in the beginning, dug up and ate most of our seeds we planted, the ground hogs arrived to plague havoc on us by digging under our back fence and invading the garden for a feast, to the deer who surprisingly jumped our high 6+ foot fence and damaged, well, everything in the garden.  If it was not for the deer damage that night, we would have had produced more vegetables throughout the season.

This is what the garden looks like as of today.  The tomato plants are all yellowing, but still producing.  Both the green and red peppers are still producing nice sized peppers and growing new ones as of today.

OUR GARDEN 10-2-13

The red and green pepper plants are still going strong and blooming with new peppers, with tons of nice sized ones right now, ready to be picked.  When the deer jumped the fence that one night, they chowed down each and every pepper plant down to nubs.  They ate all the peppers that were on each plant, ate all the leaves, every branch, and left us with green ripped apart stalks.  It was depressing, nonetheless, but surprisingly the plants all came back with Epsom Salt and some plant food.

Over the weekend, I pulled out all of the cucumber plants from the garden as they were done producing.

CUCUMBERS 10-2-13

Our sunflowers are done blooming, and I cut them from their thick stalks and we’re drying the seeds right now.

SUNFLOWER 10-2-13

To our surprise, we have found three cantaloupes growing in our garden bed by the strawberries.  I ran across one, then found a second one, then just the other day, I found the third one.  They are about 3-4″ in size and look like they might actually produce some melons for us!  WOW!

CANTELOUPE

All of our six Juliet Tomato plants look pathetic.  Yes, that is the perfect word for them now, but they still have Juliet Tomatoes on them, ripening every day.  I pick anywhere between 30-50 of them every day.  (I’m not kidding about this either)  Their time will be ending soon, but as long as I see green Juliets on the plants, I will keep watering them.  I have definitely had my fill of tomatoes this season, as well as every else whom I shared them with.  We will be planting these again next year for sure!  As of today, I have picked a total of 1,056 Juliet Tomatoes and 238 Big Boy Tomatoes!

JULIET TOMATOES 10-2-13

See what I mean…still lots of “red” on those branches!

OUR GARDEN 9-30-13

I will probably have one last garden post when I finally put our garden to rest for the season, when I have to pull out all of the plants from the ground.  That will be a sad day for sure, but that just means that we get to do this all over again next year.  When 2014 arrives, we will have our seed catalogs out to pick what we will grow for the next gardening season, and the process starts all over again.

“It all started with a seed and will end with a hoe.”

 

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

I just happened to notice it the other day, on how the spiders around here are busy getting ready for Halloween too.  They are busy spinning their webs in each corner of our windows outside and I was going to use the broom to brush them away, but then I thought, no wait…. this is the perfect natural setting for Halloween.  Thank you spiders for helping out!

NIKITA

If you have noticed my absence (or maybe not), I have been busy over here working on all of my paper mache projects and I can gladly say that I am getting close to putting the final touches on them!  After our experience of almost catching our Jack Skeleton pumpkin on fire, we have ordered another camping light and will only use regular AA batteries in it, and not the Lithium ones as they turned out to be way too powerful for a little $5 camping light.

PAINTED JACK 9-17-13

I finally got to spray paint two pumpkins yesterday with their first coat and still need a few more coats to cover the newspaper.  The insides are being spray painted with a Marigold color to brighten the insides when the camping light is lit.  (I know when my Sweetie came home yesterday, he was amazed on how good the pumpkins looked)

JACK SKELETON PAINTED PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN

JACK SKELETON PAPER MACHE PUMPKIN IN KITCHEN

I am working on finishing the paper mache fireplace too, as I already have one side of stenciling done and will be working on more today.  Normally, when you stencil, you just tape the stencil down and dab your dauber of paint on it, but since the fireplace’s front is not quite flat, I used my silver Sharpie marker and am drawing the stencil on first, then hand painting the white zig zag on the fireplace.  I know, it is going to take a long time, but I have a steady hand and a small paint brush that is getting the job done.

PUMPKIN NO 2 AND FIREPLACE

FIREPLACE COLLAGE

We stopped in a garden center over the weekend to look at their Fall display and saw the most amazing mums and decorations.  I wanted to purchase everything because it was so beautiful, but refrained.  They had the cutest terracotta pumpkin on display and an adorable mummy that I really wanted, but after looking at the $69 price tag, I did not think it was cute anymore!  LOL  How come all of these garden centers jack up the prices on their stuff?  I wonder sometimes what the real cost of the items are.

GARDEN CENTER COLLAGE

Our garden is still producing and I am NOT going to tell you the exact amount of tomatoes that we have picked to date, because I want you all to guess!  What I can’t wait for, is what the “final” total will be when the season comes to an end.  All I can say, is that for the past week or so, I have picked at least 50+ Juliet Tomatoes and about 13+ Big Boy Tomatoes each day!  Yes, you heard that correctly!  So, just imagine after three days of heading out to the garden, I have picked more than 150 Juliet Tomatoes!  It is amazing, and we are definitely going to be planting these again next year.  We have kept Grandma & Grandpa fully loaded with tomatoes for sure this year!

OUR DAILY TOMATO PICK

Nikita and Bella have been silly again, but that should not surprise you in the least.  I got Nikita a new toy yesterday and she would not let Bella even come near it.  When Nikita took a nap, she would tuck her new toy under her leg or under her head to protect it from being stolen by Bella.  Don’t think that Bella did not try to snag it, as she put in a good effort all day.  Came close a few times though, so Bella had to find other things to amuse her, like my roll of packing tape!  When she got her hands on that roll, there was no giving it back to me.

NIKITAS NEW TOY 9-17-13

BELLA WITH PACKING TAPE

Man, I love our dogs!  They are so lovable and snuggly and I love the looks on their faces when we play.  If they had eyebrows, they would be raised up like Spok’s in exhilaration of me chasing their butts all over the house and playing hide and seek from them.  (They always end up finding me though)

One of the funniest things that I heard this week was a comment that our UPS driver said.  He dropped off a package the other day and he said to me “It’s about time to decorate the yard isn’t it?”  Now that is hilarious that even he knows how much we love Halloween!

Garden Update: August 19th

GARDEN UPDATE 8-19-13

At this time of year, your garden should be in full bloom and producing veggies by the handful, and our garden is definitely on track with that.

We continually weed on a daily basis, feed our plants the nutrients they need, and use the rain water that we catch in our rain barrel to water every day. The vines on each and every tomato plant is jammed packed with green tomatoes getting bigger with the sun rays, and we are basically picking ripened ones by the handful a few times a day.  Not bad for our small 6′ x 16′ garden, eh?

JULIET TOMATO 8-19-13

Skully has done a tremendous job keeping all of the critters away in the garden and has asked me if I had some other small jobs that he could do. Well, of course, I had some jobs for him to do and I immediately put him to work – – mowing the lawn!

SKELETON MOWING THE LAWN

SKELETON MOWING WOO HOO

We are starting to pick cucumbers each week, and the one that we picked the other day was such a nice size, I just had to weigh it.  Yeah, I know, I am weird, but I am having lots of fun gardening.  That cucumber weighed in at 1 lb. 8 ounces!  Bazinga, that’s a nice sized cuc!

CUCUMBER 8-19-13

I found something hilarious in the garden.  I placed two Halloween black birds in the garden and move one of them every once in awhile to a different spot to scare my Sweetie (and it works every time).  Right now, one of them is perched on top of the cucumber trellis and what was funny is that one of the cucumber runners has wrapped around the birds beak.  It looks like a little lasso, or rather the cucs are trying to “silence” the bird from talking!  LOL

BIRD IN GARDEN 8-19-13

BIRD IN GARDEN CUC VINE 8-19-13

Our neighbors, family, and friends are definitely enjoying our harvests from the garden and have hands down all said that they love the Juliet Tomatoes the best!  The taste of these tomatoes far exceeds any expectations, and in my opinion, taste better than the Big Boy Tomatoes.  Definitely, we will be planting more Juliet Tomatoes next year too!

OUR GARDEN 8-19-13

Both the green and red pepper plants have had a huge growth spurt since last week, and are producing tons of peppers.  We even cut up a green pepper and added it to some beef tips & onions and served it over rice the other day and boy was that a great meal!

RED PEPPER 8-19-13

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 8-19-13

Our second round of leaf lettuce is almost ready to pick, so we are planning on enjoying more fresh garden salads soon.

LEAF LETTUCE 8-19-13

Our sunflowers are doing great and the tallest one is now 21 slats high next to the garage.  The sunflower should be blooming soon and I can’t wait to see it.  The only problem we now face are the squirrels.  We heard that they love sunflower seeds, so we will now have to figure out what to do to protect the sunflower from them.  Probably wrapping a light netting over the top of the sunflower will be in order to keep them away, as we want to keep the seeds for next year so we can plant more.

SUNFLOWER 8-19-13

One thing that we are doing also this season, is saving our seeds from our veggies to use next year.  Why would you go out and purchase seeds for your garden when you have all the seeds you need in your own garden right now?  When cutting up our veggies, I just carefully extract the seeds from the veggie, wash them, and let them dry on a paper towel.  Then I just put them in a small container that has a good seal and save them for next year.

The Romaine Lettuce that was eaten by that deer attack we had a few weeks ago has now gone to seed.  So this means that we can harvest the seeds from these plants to use next year.  We still have some more Romaine shoots coming up, but we are unsure if they will get big enough to pick any lettuce, but we still might be able to.

Skully finally got done with the lawn and asked if he could come in and use the bathroom facilities.  I agreed as I would not want him to be urinating out on the lawn and make a scene for the neighbors.

SKELETON ON TOILET

This is our garden veggie’s picked to date:

  • Juliet Tomatoes – 80
  • Big Boy Tomatoes – 33
  • Cucumbers – 5
  • Red Peppers – 3

All in all, it has been a great gardening week with no critter attacks of any kind, but we’re biting our tongue, as something is always around the corner trying to either dig under the fence or jump it for a little snack.  Glad we have Skully to patrol the garden area!

 

Garden Update: 8-5-13

“What is there not to like about having your own vegetable garden?  I mean, seriously folks, you just walk out into your backyard and pick dinner!  It could not get any easier than this.”

OUR GARDEN 8-5-13

Since last week, our garden has come alive with “color”!  We are seeing more and more “red” throughout the garden – Juliet Tomatoes are ripening like crazy now, and the red peppers are now turning red.  So far, we have picked a total of 19 Juliet Tomatoes, 1 Big Boy Tomato, and 1 cucumber. But don’t fret, there will be much much more on their way soon!

OUR GARDEN VEGGIES 8-5-13

JULIET TOMATO 8-5-13

I know what you are thinking that I can’t believe that Val is “counting” her veggies, (I count my blessings too!) but I really want to know how many vegetables our garden produced this year.  I wanted to do this last year, but when I forgot to mark down a lot of things, I gave up the list.  This season, I am on it and have the list in plain view.  I think it would be so neat and rather interesting to know that 500 Juliet Tomatoes were picked this season.  (this number is no joke, as we could possibly get this many)  We enjoyed our first home grown cucumber and some Juliet Tomatoes with dinner last night and NOTHING beats home grown!  Holy cow, these were so fresh, crisp, and tasty, that I was sad when my bowl was empty and I was only looking at my Italian dressing swirling around in the bottom of the bowl.

CUCUMBER 8-5-13

CUCUMBER PATCH 8-5-13

Our cucumbers are on drugs right now, or at least they act like it, as they have grown so high & bushy since last week’s garden post.  When we peeked under all the leaves crawling up the trellis, we saw at least 20+ cucumbers on the vines!  This truly excites us, since our cucs last year hardly produced anything.  But…. since I share our pros and cons of gardening with you, I can tell you that last year we did not use a trellis and just let the cucumbers crawl all through the garden and this year we are using two trellis’s.  This has made a huge difference in their growth!  We find that cucumbers like to climb and they are better off the ground so they can produce better.  (side note:  I have also read that you should use a wood trellis for the cucumbers and not metal, as the metal can heat up with the sun and burn the vines)

SUNFLOWERS 8-5-13

The sunflowers that we got from Auntie Rene have grown with leaps and bounds, and although we can visually see that their height is now taller, we are also counting the siding on the side of the garage to tell how much they have grown.  I am starting to wonder now as to how “high” they are going to get before the huge sunflower emerges.  Does anyone know?  If I am not mistaken, our tallest one is “15 siding slats” high!  LOL

BIG BOY TOMATO 8-5-13

TOMATO GARDEN 8-5-13

The Big Boy Tomatoes right now are so beautiful.  Nice round, firm, and big!  We have been using Epsom Salt around our tomatoes to keep them from splitting and for their growth too, as Epsom Salt is a good provider of Magnesium which tomatoes need.  Our tomato plants last year, as a comparison, lacked in Magnesium, so we corrected that this year.  Last year they split near the top before they were ready to be picked, and since we did not want the same thing to happen this year in our garden, we chose to correct their soil for proper growth.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 8-5-13

The Flat Dutch Cabbage is slowly coming along forming heads.  One of the heads got chewed by “something” (probably the darn bunny I have seen around here), and will one day be turned into stuffed cabbage by Grandma!  Oh, Grandma’s stuffed cabbage is the best!

All in all, another victorious week of gardening and we have kept out any critters from doing any major damage.  Phew!

If you wanted to take a peek back on our older “Garden Updates“, you can view them below.  It is amazing to see the difference in the garden in one week’s time, as I take all of my garden update photographs every Monday.

Garden Update: 7-29-13
Garden Update: 7-22-13
Garden Update: 7-15-13
Garden Update: 7-8-13
Garden Update:  7-1-13

P.S. – How do you like my new logo?  Isn’t it awesome!
LOGO WAS CREATED BY KEY AND ARROW

Garden Update: 7-29-13

THE CYCLE OF A TOMATO

I just realized that we’re in our eleventh week of gardening, and what an adventure we have had.  I almost don’t want to make this statement, that we have not had any issues lately from any critters because I am scared to think that after I make this statement…something will happen.  Ya know that Murphy’s Law thing.  But, we have not had any attacks and we are so pleased.

OUR GARDEN 7-29-13

The garden is now starting to produce both Juliet and Big Boy Tomatoes now, and like I have said before, this seems kinda late but it’s because all of our plants were damaged from that deer attack and are finally back on track again.  We picked our first tomatoes a few days ago and every day that passes, more are ripening!

JULIET TOMATO 7-29-13

So get ready friends and family for some good home grown tomatoes, because we are going to have a lot to share.  We are definitely going to get our fair share of them and last night I had some Juliets and cucumbers in Italian Dressing with dinner.  (The cucumber was not from our garden, rather our neighbors.  He grows the best cucumbers around, and makes the best pickles too)

ROY WITH FIRST PICKED TOMATOES

Our cucumbers are starting to produce into some nice sizes, so the bees are doing their job properly and pollinating what they should.

CUCUMBER 7-29-13

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 7-29-13

We’re still watching our pumpkins to see if there are any starting to form, and we had one little one, but it turned yellow and that means that it was not pollinated.  (a yellow little pumpkin is no good)  We are just hoping that the bees do their job properly on the pumpkins too, and generate us some pumpkins that we can carve for Halloween.

LEAF LETTUCE 7-29-13

RED PEPPER 7-29-13

BIG BOY TOMATO 7-29-13

All in all, the garden is doing well.  Our weather has cooled off dramatically from our week long 90+ temps, and this morning when I woke up the thermometer said 56 degrees.  Going to be in the 70’s today.  Heading outside to do some weeding & watering.  Gotta hugs our plants today & give them some love.

Garden Update 7-22-13

GARDEN COLLAGE 7-22-13

Another week has passed and we have evaded any deer attacks in the garden, except now something is taking advantage of our cabbage.  We are thinking that a bunny got in the garden area somehow, but we’re not sure since we have not seen one yet.  The cabbage heads are still intact, but the outer leaves have been severely nibbled.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 7-22-13

We do have some good news to report, as our Juliet Tomatoes are now starting to ripen.  HINT: When Juliets form on the vine, they usually come in a group of 10, so just imagine how many tomatoes we are going to pick with batches like that! They have come back after the deer had chewed lots of the branches a few weeks earlier, and are now filled with nice huge tomatoes, getting ready to be picked soon.  Phew!  You should click on the photographs to enlarge so you can see actually how tall our one Juliet plant is.  It is amazing on how this just sky-rocketed!  (we need to find a pole tall enough to support it now)

JULIET TOMATO 7-22-13

JULIET TOMATOES 7-22-13

SEVEN FOOT HIGH JULIET TOMATO PLANT 7-22-13

Our weather has been so up and down here lately, one week with nothing but rain, then temps in the 90’s, and now this week we’re back to normal temps and cooler, and we even had more rain today with hail.  If we can just get a nice week of sun, the garden would surely ripen up nicely.

SPIDER IN THE GARDEN 7-22-13

I just noticed today that we finally have a small Red Warty Thing pumpkin that has formed.  Our pumpkins are really behind in their growth this year and we hope that we can actually get a pumpkin or two before Halloween.

Our zucchini is taking its good ole time in growing too, but we are not surprised with this as they did the same thing last year.  We need to improve our soil next year as this will encourage growth with more nutrients.  Remember that our zucchini plants are in the flower bed next to the garage, and are not in our raised garden.  But what is strange, is that our strawberry patch is on the left side of this same flower bed and the strawberries did great this season.  Who knows why one kind of plant does well and the other grows slower, but it has to be all about the soil composition.  That’s ok though, as next year we are planning on planting the zucchini in the raised garden bed, as we feel the strawberry plants will take over that entire flower bed area.  (by the way, look at the photo below…can you see where the arrow is?  That is where the strawberry plants started at the beginning of the season.  Now they are more than halfway through the flower bed)

ZUCCHINI 7-22-13

STRAWBERRY PATCH 7-22-13

The cucumbers have grown with leaps and bounds and are climbing up the two trellis’s and little cucumbers are all over the vines.  I could only imagine how much taller our cucumbers would be now, if the deer would not have pruned them down to nubs a few weeks ago.

CUCUMBERS 7-22-13

BABY CUCUMBER 7-22-13

We were sitting here talking the other day and we could not believe all of the setbacks we have had this gardening season.  One after another, and we were close to just throwing in the towel on the whole garden a few times, but then you get that burst of energy that pulls you back up to fight back against the elements & the critters.  Even having a small garden like ours, is a lot of work, time involved, and lots of maintenance.  Our garden is 6′ x 16′ and you would think that it would be a breeze to maintain…think again!

SUNFLOWERS FROM AUNTIE RENE

It’s all worth it though just to be able to pick something that you grew yourself, as you can appreciate all the work that went behind starting that plant from a seed the size of a “dot”.

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

Garden Update June 3, 2013

NIKITA MAGAZINE COVER

Ah, the beginning of June has finally arrived.  By now, everyone’s garden should be planted and the hopes of harvesting a plentiful crop is on everyone’s mind.  We are as well, dreaming of the day when we can start picking veggies from the garden, but also watching your plants mature is an adventure in itself.

6-3-13 OUR GARDEN

A few days ago, we took off the Creamora bottles from our zucchini.  The plants have matured enough to stand alone from chippie attacks, but we are still keeping a watchful eye on them.  (one seed still has the bottle over it so the chippies don’t eat it!)

6-3-13 ZUCCHINI

Our strawberry plants are growing like they are on crack and will soon take over the whole garden bed by our garage.  We even got to eat our first few strawberries over the weekend, and need to watch the chippies as they are starting to nip the ripe berries.

6-3-13 BLOOMING STRAWBERRY

The Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce is coming in beautifully in two straight rows.  It is funny how we have some spots that are bushier than others, but that is probably because we might have dropped more seeds in those places.

6-3-13 LEAF LETTUCE

Both are red and green pepper plants are maturing nicely.  We even have little peppers forming!

6-3-13 RED PEPPER

Two of our Juliet Tomato plants that we thought we might have lost due the frost we had are actually producing tomatoes right now!  Nice!

6-3-13 JULIET TOMATOES

I even added some Halloween crows in our garden, which scare the pants off of Roy every time he goes into the garden.  I laugh, but hope that the birds will scare away whatever might enter to munch on our plants.  We’ll see if they do any good, but for now, it provides a good laugh every time we head into our garden.  Here’s one, just hanging around on our garden door.

6-3-13 GARDEN BIRDIE

We headed off to our local garden center over the weekend to purchase the only two plants we did not start from seed.  These Jalapeno plants will be used for my salsa and I will get my Cilantro from our next door neighbor.

CONE FLOWER BLACK AND WHITEYELLOW FLOWER

All in all, we are so pleased on the progress of our garden as it is coming along nicely.  Even Roy’s Jack Be Little Pumpkin plants are getting bigger by the day.  We also have other pumpkins growing too, which include Connecticut Field and Red Warty Thing pumpkins.  If you have never heard of the Red Warty Thing Pumpkin before, Google it to see how cool it looks! It it reddish orange in color with bumps or warts all over it.  We tried to grow these last year and they did remarkable in the garden, but the deer ate them and we were left with nothing.  This year, we have them protected inside our garden fence, so the deer won’t be munching on them this year.  Live and learn – the gardeners hardships only make them better gardeners!