Garden Update: April 28th

Much has happened since my last garden update. We needed to purchase a new plant table as our old table just was not long enough to hold all of our little plants. We now have a nice six foot long table that has enough room to spread out our plants across the table & give them room.


Our neighbor, Shawn, whom we are so thankful for, helped us out in a big way. Our one four-bulb grow light had gone on the fritz and we were down to only one grow light, BIG problem!  Shawn took a look at our light and said that the ballasts in the grow light needed to be replaced. We know nothing about anything electrical, so he replaced the two ballasts in our light and it works so nice now! Thank you so much Shawn for helping us out, as our plants are so happy now!




Since we got our nice new long table, I had a lot of work ahead of me because I now had to transfer all of our plants (about 85 plants) from one table to the new one. I also had to rearrange the hooks in the ceiling to hang the grow lights from so the entire table of plants was well lit. I just used those nice little curved hooks that screwed right into the beams in the ceiling and attached metal chains to hang the grow lights on.


What a difference in having enough room to move your plants around!

PLANTS2 4-27-14

We have enough room to add more plants, if needed.

PLANTS3 4-27-14

The table is full of vibrant growing happy plants!

4-27-14 Plants

The gangs all here and getting along nicely!


Our plants are coming along nicely and we won’t be planting them in the garden until the end of May because we have to wait for any last frosts that may occur. I might have to start a few additional seeds just to make sure that we have enough plants for the garden.


Our Bush Lake Beans plants are so beautiful, and our Juliet Tomato and Big Boy Tomato plants are getting bigger by the day. Our red peppers, green peppers, Flat Dutch Cabbage, cucumbers, and cantaloupe plants are coming along nicely too.  When it gets to the time in May when we take our plants out in the garden, we will also be planting leaf lettuce and Romaine lettuce too.  We would have had Romaine lettuce last year, but when we had a deer jump our fence, he ate all the Romaine and it never came back.

CUCUMBER 4-27-14

Like I said, we have been super busy over here getting the garden area in shape for this years growing season, and I finally got the stepping stone walkway in and completed. Our new little walkway looks so wonderful and it is a beautiful addition to our garden area. Our grass around our garden was never in that good shape, so I decided that I was going to change that this year. I worked all day yesterday laying a nice thin layer of topsoil all over the grassy area and I will spread grass seed all over the topsoil. The light topsoil topcoat will help the new grass seed germinate better and will make the grassy area thicker once it is established.


I also worked on cleaning up our strawberry patch picking out all of the leaves and straw from the winter, and I did some research on how to maintain strawberries. What I learned is that when a strawberry creates a runner and establishes a new plant, that you should cut the runner between the plants as it sucks life out of the plants. It makes a lot of sense and I am glad that I read this information, as I have a lot of runners to clip! Just don’t clip any green runners, wait until they have browned a bit before clipping!


Last year I saved every seed from the sunflowers that our Auntie Rene gave us and I wanted to see if the seeds would germinate, so I planted two seeds and waited. In just four days, I have two sunflowers coming up! I planted them in a little container and placed them under our grow lights and I was shocked on how quick the seeds germinated! I can’t wait to plant them out in the garden again as they were so beautiful to watch grow!


So, what did you do over the weekend? What are you growing?

The WOW Factor

I knew it would happen sooner or later, and it happened this weekend.  The sunflowers that our Auntie Rene gave us, finally started to open.  All of the sunflowers seem to be in different stages of growth, and one finally opened up this weekend. Definitely a WOW factor!


I have been keeping a close eye on the sunflowers to see what I would have to fight off these plants, and I have been quite successful, except for two of them perishing to a groundhog attack and being eaten.  Three of the five plants are still growing.

This is the first sunflower to open this weekend.  I had to climb up on a ladder to photograph this one as it is nearing the top of the garage right now.


It appears, that from the second it opened, the bees were drawn to it like it was smothered in honey or something of the sort.  I kept checking on it to capture it opening, and every time, I saw more bees….one, two, three.  I watched them closely on top of the ladder, as they just crawled around in circles around the face of the sunflower.  My only fear was to have a bee decide to fly at me and I would have fallen off the ladder for sure!  (as I was getting pretty close to the sunflower with my camera)



This is the second one, ready to open any day now.


What a beautiful pop of color now added to our garden!

Garden Update: August 19th


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?


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!



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



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


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


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.


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.


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.”


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!



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.



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)


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



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.


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!