When Life Gets Busy

TGIF! When Summer finally arrived here, we got busier. We get to head out of the house, wear flip flops, plant flowers, change our clothes to fun Summer wear, garden, grill out, and enjoy the outside weather with the dogs. Every time I work out in the yard, the dogs are there with me, soaking up the sun and sniffing everything. We have had a cotton tree blow cotton poofs all over the place and it looked like it was snowing. With those cotton poofs landing in the garden, that means a lot weeding.

NIKITA AND BELLA 6-12-14Nikita and Bella love heading into the garden area with me, as they think it is another room. It’s funny how excited they get while I am opening up the gate. They walk around our raised garden beds and sniff all the plants. Bella even chased a chippie for me the other day and was all pumped up from her chase. She kept looking for more to appear and watched closely.

STRAWBERRIES 6-12-14Our strawberries are finally ripening this week and we’ve picked bowlfuls of them each and every day. Nothing beats a home grown strawberry to eat.

BABY BUCKThis is a baby buck I saw resting in our neighbors yard. When you look closely, you can see his small rack. The deer population in our area just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and they definitely need some birth control! Babies are popping up every day around here. They are beautiful to look at, but all we think of when we look at them is being our enemy. They have damaged already so much of our flower beds this year, ate all of our hostas, day lillies, nipped off all the new growth on our burning bush and pretty much half of our back flower bed.

Our neighbor had asked me the other day why our garden fence was so high and I told her that the deer got in our garden last year and jumped our six foot high fence. I told her that I had to go higher this year to hopefully prevent another deer attack on the garden. Preventative maintenance is the cure, we hope.

FIRE HYDRANT FLUSHING2 6-6-14FIRE HYDRANT FLUSHING 6-6-14Our city had the yearly hydrant flushings this week. The dogs were woo wooing at the front window at the firemen and I laughed. I went to the door to snap a photo of them, and when they saw me, they even posed for a photograph! Silly firemen, but I loved it!

BELLA 6-11-14Here’s Bella posing for me as I entered the back door. She is so photogenic!

MARIGOLDSI planted lots of marigold seeds in our two pots on the front porch earlier in May. As you can see, they are coming along nicely and are getting ready to bloom. I just saved the seeds from my marigolds last year when they died. This is a great way to be able to plant more flowers from year to year without having to purchase any plants or seed packs. Do you walk around your flower beds and save seeds too?

FROGGYHere’s our little froggy that was on the front sidewalk, and I must have scared him when I walked past him as he tried to squeeze into this tiny space. I think he got stuck.

NIKITA AND BELLA2 6-12-14Nikita and Bella just love each other. They are best friends. Bella is going to be celebrating her birthday this month on June 29th. Our sweet girl will be two years old, and has brought us so much joy in our lives. Nikita will be celebrating her 4th birthday on July 18th and my birthday is on July 22nd. We have so much to celebrate and lots of love here.

Even when life gets busy, don’t forget your loved ones! How has your week been? What is going on in your part of the world?

Gardening Magicians

Being a gardener, we some times feel like we have to also be magicians. We work our magic in the soil, we create fantasies of bountiful harvests, we trick the bugs to go away, and we climb to new heights in protecting our plants from any harm.

STRAWBERRY 6-8-14

We noticed that our strawberries were being attacked by both the birds and the chipmunks, and we sprung into action over the weekend. We purchased a nice long roll of critter netting at Lowes (which was at a great price too) and placed it over our strawberry patch.

COMMAND STRIPS

We were going to build a frame out of either wood or pvc to go around the strawberry patch, but I came up with an easier and much cheaper idea for our strawberries protection. Now that we had the netting, we needed to figure out a way to hold up the netting.  I am not sure how I got this idea, but it was a good one! We purchased a box of nine Command Strips!

COMMAND STRIPS TO HOLD UP NETTING

I cleaned off the siding on the garage next to the strawberry patch and attached the Command Strips to the siding. Then we just took the netting and “hooked” it to the Command Strip and made sure it was nice and tight up against the garage. Next, we ran the roll down the strawberry patch and cut off what we did not need. Then we just tucked the remaining netting around the front of the stones and secured it into the ground with little metal hooks. Now, we will at least have a good chance of eating the strawberries that are ripening now, and our crop is bigger than ever!

ZUCCHINI 6-8-14

I also wanted to share a tip with you that I found on Pinterest!  We are trying to grow Zucchini again this year, since we tried to grow it in prior years and had no luck. In prior years, we just planted the seeds directly in the soil and the chipmunks just kept digging up the seeds and eating them, so this year we decided to start them indoors to get the plants nice and healthy before we took them out to the garden. We have nine zucchini plants that were planted in our new raised garden and the tip that I learned on Pinterest was to place a tomato cage over the zucchini’s so that they would grow up inside the cages to contain their huge leaves. So far, we have seen new growth on our nine plants and their leaves are up and over the first rung of the tomato cage. We’ll keep you up to date on how this new tip is working for us this year, as we really think it is going to make a huge difference!

PEA POD 6-8-14

I don’t know how I missed this, but I noticed over the weekend that we have pea pods growing! Yippee!  We have nine pea plants in the garden and they are all flowering! This is the first time ever that we tried to grow peas and if our plants do well, we will for sure be planting them every year!

BABY PEA POD 6-8-14

Look at that adorable baby pea pod!

LEAF LETTUCE 6-8-14

My Sweetie is so proud of his leaf lettuce, and his straight rows that he planted!  Look at how nice it is coming along!

ROMAINE LETTUCE 6-8-14

The Romaine Lettuce is looking really good too! Ooooh, we can’t wait for some delicious salads now!  These were all started indoors too under our grow lights.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 6-8-14

The Flat Dutch Cabbage is finally taking hold in the garden! We are also going to do some netting around each cabbage plant to keep the white moths off of them this year.

WALLY THE WATERMELON 6-8-14

In our entire garden, this is the only plant we purchased. This is “Wally” the Watermelon. It was the spur of the moment purchase, and thought “why not”, let’s plant a watermelon!

It rained over the weekend and it could not have come at a more perfect time, because I totally ran out of water in our rain barrel. We got one full rain barrel filled up, and part of our second one. By using rain barrels, it definitely saves on the water bill of watering the garden and our flowers!

What are you growing where you live? How do you battle the critters in your garden? We would love to hear your thoughts!

 

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?

Freshly Picked

STRAWBERRIES FRESHLY PICKED 6-23-13

You just can’t help but love freshly picked strawberries and what makes them even better is when you grow them yourself.

We originally purchased 25 strawberry plants from Burpee last year, a few of them did not make it.  When you plant strawberries, they will not produce any berries in the first year, and we were aware of this.  We carefully covered them up with straw to protect them over the winter and hoped for the best.  Since we have never grown strawberries before, we were hoping that they would survive our cold winter.

STRAWBERRIES 6-23-13

When we felt it was time to uncover them, we carefully removed the straw over them, added a little more good garden soil around them, and started to water them.  They started to perk up nicely.  Until one morning, we went outside and found the most horrible thing had happened.  The deer came in and chewed all of our plants down to a nub.  We were horrified.  We were outraged.  We had thought that we would never see a strawberry this year at all, after looking at what the deer had done.  At this time when we had uncovered the strawberries, we had not put up the fence yet around our garden, and we probably should have.

STRAWBERRIES TWINKLE 6-23-13

But, to our amazement, our strawberry plants came back with a vengeance and have now probably doubled, as we have strawberry runners all over our strawberry patch!  We definitely have the funny feeling that the whole bed we have them in will be taken over by the strawberries by next year.  (which is not a bad problem to have)

We have been picking fresh strawberries daily and are enjoying our tasty harvest!  But, we are still amazed that we even have any strawberries this gardening season after what the deer did to them.

STRAWBERRIES 6-19-13