Wordless Wednesday: Sprouting Plants

CLOUDS

I captured this beautiful scene yesterday, before it rained again.

BEE BALM

If you have ever grown Bee Balm before, you know how truly beautiful this plant is when blooming.

BURNING BUSH

This is our Burning Bush that is starting to sprout. It would be a bigger bush, but the deer in our area have nipped this poor bush so many times, that it has stunted its growth. It is such a beautiful bush as the leaves turn red in the Fall, hence the Burning Bush name.

RUSSIAN SAGE

Russian Sage is one plant I have found that the deer do not nibble. It blooms beautiful purple flowers and fills in beautifully.

GARDEN ENCOURAGEMENT

This is my cement stepping stone I made a few years ago! Yep, I made it with a mold I have for cement. I hope it gives the garden some encouragement!

RAIN BARRELS

I am getting our rain barrels ready for the garden season. We use these to water everything in our flower beds and the garden to save on using water from the hose. It truly saves on the water bill, not to mention that rain water makes the plants grow better. As you can see from the top of the blue rain barrel, I hooked up a gutter extension ($10) to our gutter that runs directly down to the rain barrel that catches the rain water. When the blue rain barrel fills up, I just switch out the gutter extension to the other rain barrel. To use the rain water we have collected, you can either hook up a hose to the spout on the bottom or just place your watering can under it. If you have never used a rain barrel before, it might be something that you should look into as it is a good way to conserve on the water you are using from your hose and it does in fact, save on the water bill.

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

Spring Storms & Blooms

Cleveland, OH is the only place on earth where you can go from 87 degrees on Monday to 40 degrees by Thursday in one week.  

On Monday, it was sweltering hot and just trying to get through the task of mowing your lawn before you fainted, was tough.  By Wednesday, the weather changed, storms arrived, brought downpours of rain, and I had to put away the flip flops for more suitable footwear.  Yep, we live in Cleveland, OH and this happens all the time. The weather here is so unpredictable.  We’re used to it, but don’t like it.  It sucks.

STORM SKY 5-23-13

STORMY ORANGE SKY 5-23-13

STORMS 5-23-13

STORM 5-23-13

Doesn’t the weather man or Mother Nature know that we are trying to start a garden over here?  Geez.  I had to head outside after dinner last night, and completed covered the entire garden with plastic to protect it from the bitter cold and high winds. The garden looks hideous right now, but at least it is covered up and the plants are protected.  Hopefully this will keep the soil warm a bit.  By the time I got inside, I was soaked and freezing.  My fingers felt like they were going to fall off from frost bite.  (not really, but that is what it felt like)  What we thought was amazing, is that our rain barrel has completely filled up from the rain we got this week.  The barrel is either a 50 or 55 gallon barrel and in just a few days of rain, it is overflowing!  We might need to check back with our neighbor to see if we can get a second barrel from him and use it as an overflow barrel.  With the rate at which the barrel filled up, we will have enough rain water to water the garden all season!  Nice!  Now, we can definitely see firsthand why everyone wants rain barrels!  Not to mention, rain water is so much better for your plants than the water coming from your hose.

I love photographing the sky.  The cloud formations lately have been stunning, yet quite eerie.  I can sometimes sit at the kitchen table and watch as the darkness rolls in and changes the skyline completely.  The way the skies looked this past week is like how they would look if we were expecting Halloween to arrive, not Spring.  But, what are you going to do?  Absolutely nothing, just bundle up.  I had to put on my Cleveland Browns hat and warm winter coat just to head outside with the dogs last night.

FERN

MARIGOLD

FLOWER2

Earlier in the week, I got some great photographs of our Spring blooms. I have to capture them at just the right time for some stunning buds.  The fern stems are all unrolling, the marigolds are magnificent, the peonies are getting ready to open, and the smell of the neighbors lilac trees fill the air.

LILAC

PEONY

TREE

Our warmer weather won’t be returning until about Sunday, so I am just going to sit here next to my space heater and keep warm.  And just think, June is just around the corner and I have a winter coat back on!  Something is not right here.

 

Where Did The Week Go?

It’s been about two weeks since we have any sort of rain.  Our temps have been nice, not hot, but nice and welcoming finally the arrival of Spring.  But, it appears that our temps are going to drop again for this weekend and a storm will be blowing in later today.  We need the rain.

I was outside with the dogs this morning and happened to look up and saw a beautiful deer just standing in our neighbors yard.  Man, it was so beautiful just standing there eating their lilac tree.  It started to stomp its front hoof at me when I approached to take a photograph.  Silly deer.  They are so wonderful to watch walking around the neighborhood, and are definitely a lot bigger when you are close enough to them.  The only thing that I despise about them is when they head on over to our yard and start to munch on all of our plants.  They are destructive.

DEER 5-10-13

We worked on getting our raised garden together and filled with new garden soil over the weekend.  We had 3 yards of garden soil delivered on Saturday, and Sunday we worked on getting all of that soil in the raised garden, and on Monday morning, woke up sore.  (figured that would happen)

ROY WORKING IN GARDEN

VAL WORKING IN GARDEN

Not to mention that I got sunburned on my back.  You forget about putting on any sunscreen this early in the year, and you definitely pay for it later, like I am now.  My back is peeling like how a snake sheds it skin.  Yuck!  We also had to put up the 6 foot high fence around the garden again, like we did last year, to keep the deer out.  We even have a wood door to walk into the garden too, pretty cool, eh?  Now, our next problem to address is how to keep the chipmunks away from pulling our seeds out of the ground like they did last year.  So, what we are going to do, is cut the bottom off all of the plastic Creamora bottles we have been saving and place the  bottles over the seeds and seedlings when they start to emerge from the soil, just to keep the chippies away.  (oh yeah, you leave the top off the bottle too, to let air in)

Roy got a lot of things planted over the weekend as he was chomping at the bit to get the garden started already.  We had a great day to do this on Sunday.  After all the new soil was added to the garden, he planted us some Romaine Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce, Zucchini, and some Jack Be Little Pumpkins.  We had no luck last year with our zucchini, so this year I hope we have a better shot at getting some as I am dying to make some homemade zucchini bread.  Yum!

At this time of year, we are always busy.  Right now, I am still working my way around the house painting.  Trying to fit that in around all of the outside work to do.  Since we loved the Behr Gobi Desert color we painted in the bedroom, we decided to do the kitchen in it too.  The kitchen was only painted white, so adding a tad of color to it really looks beautiful.  It’s a very nice neutral color, and once I get a few things up on the wall, like photographs of the dogs in nice black frames, it will look marvelous!

We also got a nice new rain barrel from our new neighbors last week.  Since we almost passed out from the water bills last year watering the garden, we were so thankful and appreciative that we were able to get this rain barrel.  This will definitely save us lots of money on watering the garden this summer.  So, we have the rain barrel now, and we had to figure out how to hook it up since we never had one before.  We did research online and found lots of places that had parts to hook to the rain barrel, but when I was in KMart, I purchased a “gutter extension” flexible hose for $10.99 that worked perfectly for our needs.  I got my jigsaw out and cut a hole on top of the rain barrel in the size of the one end of the flexible hose, made sure the hose fit perfectly, then took our sharp garden scissors and cut the gutter.  After that, it was basically all done, as I just had to slide the gutter into the flexible hose and the hookup was complete.  With the rain storm arriving later today, we can’t wait to start collecting water!

FLEX-A-SPOUT

RAIN BARREL

Once this cold spell passes us this weekend, I am going to start taking all of our plants outside for small increments to harden them off.  After a week of doing this, they will be ready to be planted into the garden.  Man, I can’t even tell you how excited we are about picking our first pile of fresh home grown veggies!  I can taste my first tomato salad now!  And, I can’t wait to show you the progression of our garden too with photographs.  I also thought it would be really neat to do a slideshow of the garden.  What I was thinking, was to take a photograph of the garden every Monday morning from the same spot, and so on, and see how the garden grows in week increments!  It should look like the garden is growing right in front of you!

Bella and I took a walk in the park the other day and talked with a few people.  Bella met this adorable little girl who fed her doggie treats.  Bella was so nice to her and even gave her a little kissie on her nose.  The little girl giggled.  Bella also got to meet a small doggie on our walk named Buster.  Both Buster and Bella did their funny thing of running around in circles like little tazmanian devils.  It was funny to watch!

BELLA AND VAL ON SLIDE

BELLA SIDEWALK CHALK

Bella meets Buster in the Park

Bella meets Buster in the Park

I am not sure where this whole week went.  it just seemed to fly by in a blink of an eye.  I can’t believe it’s Friday already.  What do you have planned for your weekend?