Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Community Garden Workday for August (2019)

It was foggy on Saturday,
but that didn't keep a handful of volunteers
from working in the Community Garden in Denver.
It's always so fun to see the changes each month,
from season to season.
Here, towards the end of summer,
there is a lotta green goin' on!

This year, the loofah was grown on the perimeter fence,
as well as in its designated bed.

It seems that the gourds are not as prolific as in previous years,
but there is still time left for them to develop.

The blooms attract so many pollinators,
which in turn benefit the crops in each bed.

This okra is a little far gone,
as it must be checked twice a day,
it grows so quickly.

This cucumber might have gotten missed as well.
We have a large compost pile,
so any unusable produce goes back into soil making.

Here's a healthy bed full of beginning crops.
Looks like they will get plenty of water
with the drip irrigation system.

A nearby bed hosts Japanese eggplant.
Many were picked on this day to be shared with others.

In a private bed,
someone will be enjoying ripe, juicy melon.
There's nothing like homegrown.

Lettuces are just getting started here
and should fare well as cooler temperatures draw near.

One of our volunteers offered up these milkweed seeds.
Several of us took some home to add to our pollinator beds next spring.
Until then, they are best kept refrigerated.

These cactus zinnias are some of my absolute favorite blooms.
I need to look for seeds so that I can plant some next spring in my own garden..

This blossom caught my eye,
and when I was uploading pictures,
I noticed the stowaway aboard.
See him?

A bountiful basket was taken to the local food bank.
It's wonderful being a part of such a generous group of gardeners.
Knowing that our small steps are aiding in others eating well
is the only motivation needed.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Garden Friday

It's Garden Friday
and it also happens to be my birthday!
The giving starts here with these shots of the garden
taken with my new phone.
C'mon, let's take a stroll.

Tuesday night brought a fierce storm
with ferocious winds and about an inch of rain.
The poor sunflowers held on for dear life
and I have no way to prop them up because of their size.
Some of these are upwards of 12 feet tall!

Thankfully, most of the garden was unharmed.
This butternut squash should be ready to harvest within days.
I see soup in my future...

The pumpkins started flowering this week
and were promptly fertilized.
No doubt the rainfall helped them along their way.

Last year, I grew okra in a raised bed.
This year, they are in raised rows,
and they are much more difficult to harvest 
because they are low to the ground.
I have a couple in a straw bale,
so I'm hoping those will be a bit easier.

The magic of beans, in this case,
Red Ripper beans.
Here they are in two stages,
fresh and dried on the vine.
The dried beans will be used to make soup
and also used for sprouting.

The loofah is really taking off now.
It seems to thrive in the heat
and doesn't mind one bit if it stays dry for a while.

This is the first gourd I spotted on the trellis,
and it's now turning yellow.
Never having grown these before,
I'll have to do a little research about peak harvest times.

This plant is a delight to grow and I will continue to add it 
to the summer garden each year.
It asks for very little and the sweet golden blooms alone
make it worth growing.

The melons are starting to suffer from something.
Many leaves are turning yellow or brown
and it's too late in the season to try to save them.

There is one hanging on the arches that looks promising.
Even if it's the only one we get, I'll be over the moon!

Here's a little bitty one just getting started.
This is one crop I will try to do better with next year.
We can't get enough melon around here!

Considering that I wasn't planning to grow tomatoes this year,
these volunteers sure look healthy.
I picked a couple of them so that the critters couldn't get them,
and I'll most likely give them to a neighbor as they come in.
(I'm avoiding tomatoes at the moment.)

Aren't these sweet potato blossoms just the cutest things?
The bees love 'em and I often see them fighting for space inside.

The black-eyed Susan vine is enveloping the straw bales
where the cucumbers refused to grow.
Works for me.

With summer coming to a close in the next month or so,
the butterflies will soon be bidding us adieu for another season.
They have been plentiful and spectacular this year,
and for that I am truly grateful.

Today I start the last year of my 50's.
Where has it gone?
I'm thankful to have had another year with my family,
friends and neighbors.
I hope this year is filled with opportunities to give back.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Backsplash Bonanza

We're down to the wire with our kitchen makeover.
Here's what it looked like before we changed out the countertops and backsplash.

And here's where all the stuff ended up while we were working on this project.
I can't tell you how much it bothered the organizer in me.
I can't even watch that show about hoarders anymore...

The laminate was a bear to remove
and we used several tools and a lot of patience to get the job done.
This was the section that was behind the stove.

After removing the backsplash,
we peeled off the remaining paper
and then sanded down where it was needed.

We chose glass tiles for our backsplash
because we loved the reflective quality that offered the kitchen more light.
It didn't hurt that it was the perfect match for our new recycled glass countertops.

The first attempt at doing the backsplash,
(er, I did tell you we had to do it twice, didn't I?)
was a great practice run.
Big K found out about this double-sided material
that adheres to the wall and then the tile is laid right over it.
The associate at the big box store assured him 
that it would be perfect for a backsplash application.
Uh, not so much.
Within 24 hours, the tile started falling off the wall.

Back to plan A.
We covered the new countertops with butcher paper
so as not to damage them,
and went about it the old school way with mastic.
The wall and the tiles were both buttered with the adhesive,
using spacers between every tile to ensure even spacing.

White grout was then added and sealed,
and you know what?
Not one tile has fallen off the wall since installation!
I'd call that a win!

We love the new, fresh look.
In fact, I plan to enjoy the honeymoon phase for a good, long time.

The update feels so good.
And knowing that we did some of it ourselves
makes it even sweeter.
The bonus, Big K and I are still speaking!

We will be changing out the light fixture next
and eventually, we'll update the dishwasher and stove.
But, overall, we're pretty stoked about it just the way it is.
It was worth the month or so of inconvenience and having the kitchen look a fright.
Good things come to those who wait...

Friday, August 9, 2019

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday!
The garden is in transition mode,
with summer crops being very late to produce,
while new seedlings are being started for the fall garden.
It's all one big experiment!

The cucumbers have done well in the straw bales,
and I think I will grow them this way next season.
Today I hope to make some homemade pickles using our harvest.

I was surprised to see the Red Ripper beans starting to form on the vines.
These are great dried right in the shells, 
as well as shelled and sprouted.

 The eggplant displayed its lovely lavender flowers this week.
That means that fruit isn't far behind!

There are some okra plants growing in the straw bales.
We've been harvesting okra bit by bit elsewhere,
but have yet to pick from these two crops.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am with the white sweet potatoes.
They are growing like nobody's business!
A neighbor gave me the potatoes
(they were too big for her to eat),
and they were cut up and placed in this bed.

 The arches are starting to fill in with beans and melons.
It's late in the season, 
so we don't know if we'll get to harvest.
There's always next year.

 Some of the melon leaves are mottled.
Possibly powdery mildew?
So far, I'm still getting flowers and the fruit is still growing,
so I will just keep a wait-and-see attitude.

After spending a good morning seeding beans, beets, broccoli, 
cabbage, chard, kale and lettuce, 
it took only 3 days for much of it to germinate.
I so look forward to cooler temperatures
and a fresh round of home grown veggies.

 Looks like we might be in luck with a fall crop of broccoli.

 Look at what one of our neighbor's dogs found underneath one of our trees.
It was munching on some wild strawberry vines.
Have you ever seen such a creature?

 We have been consistently visited by a number of pollinators all summer long,

who just can't seem to get enough of the available nectar.

We're happy to oblige them.

Check out this lil' guy trying to burrow into the head of this beauty.

This amazing sunflower must be over 12 feet tall!
I'm not sure where he's going...

 The black-eyed Susan vine is starting to cover some of the straw bales.

Change is in the air.
It's palpable.
While the thermometer says otherwise,
a cool breeze will start blowing in any day now.
And we'll be ready...