Friday, June 29, 2018

Garden Friday

 It's Garden Friday
and summer is bloomin' strong!

 The Vitex is loaded with blooms
and what a treat to enjoy the beautiful lilac color.

The pollinators are 

Cucumbers were harvested this past week
and enjoyed with my daily salads.
Never having grown them before,
I'm thrilled with how easy they were.
The bonus is that they had really good flavor,
so this will be a crop that will be grown again.

The eggplant really responded to the recent rain.
I can hardly wait to harvest some of these goodies.
Notice the slug bait underneath the plant? 
The only good slug is a drunk slug!

Looks like something is sampling the pepper leaves.
They don't look any worse for wear right now,
so I'll just keep an eye on them.

The turtle beans are doing well.
This is another first-time for me crop,
but I have the feeling it won't be the last.

 The beets are small, but that's not a problem.
I  prefer veggies on the smaller side,
as they usually have better flavor and are more tender.
The tomatoes have started to flower,
so it won't be long before we are enjoying them too.
Mmmm, roasted beets and tomatoes sounds like 
a mighty fine combination!

The melon is still climbing the trellis.
Since last week, we've noticed an increase in pollinators,
so perhaps that explains the newly formed fruit.

 Another watermelon was spotted just yesterday.
It's so exciting to grow something new.

 The sweet potatoes are patiently awaiting planting.
I'm trying something new with my sowing lately.
Planting by the moon is an ancient method of determining
the best times to sow crops.
Read about it here.
Hoping to get them in the containers today.

The straw bales are falling apart fairly quickly.
They have been in place for nearly a year,
and will be removed and reused as mulch
for our new raised row garden in the fall.
It will no doubt be a fantastic asset to the new garden!

Summer's heat is full on, 
and the sunflowers are reveling in it.
We are looking forward to seeing this beauty
open up and kiss the sun.

How is your garden growing this summer?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dreams Come True

A few months ago,
someone answered an ad I placed on a local social media site.
The ad simply stated that I was looking for opportunities 
to help neighbors with yard work or organizing projects.
Funny thing is, that I advertised only in my immediate neighborhood,
so I could still be close enough to home.
A neighbor called me and we worked together on a couple of projects.
She was kind enough to write up a complimentary review
and another referral came from that.

Since February, I've been blessed to work for the most wonderful couple.
They have allowed me to care for their property,
tending flower beds, filling numerous bird feeders,
even taking care of their beloved fur babies.
This is my workplace.
What a dream!

 Many of the plants have been established for some time.
Look at these amazing hydrangea bushes and hostas.
We've been astounded to witness so many different colors on the bush to the right.
Everything from white, to yellow, to pink and lavender.

 This beautyberry is enormous and starting to fill out with buds.
Soon, it will be covered in magenta berries for the birds to enjoy.

 With eight acres to explore,
around every corner is something new to discover.

 This fig tree was severely pruned just weeks ago,
and yet has come back gangbusters.
It has found its happy place.

Numerous perennials return each year,
with some surprises thrown in.
This recently popped up in one of the front beds.

The coneflowers and bee balm have had many visitors this season.


What a thrill to pull up each week
to observe what new beauty awaits.

These lilies recently started blooming.
We will be dividing them after they finish providing their show.

 I have learned so much from this gardener.
She has abundant experience and knowledge
and has been patient with me as I learn and grow.

This is truly a dream job.
Blessings come when you least expect it.
Just stay open.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Things to Repurpose in the Garden

Every day is Earth Day here.
We try to repurpose as much as we can.
Here are a few ideas you might want to try out 
in your garden this season.
Not only will you save money, but
Mother Earth will thank you!

Baling twine-use for trellising, staking plants,  dividing sections of SFG, or binding bouquets for drying,
"Flag" certain plants (milkweed leaves with eggs), use to hang up tools (drill hole in handle)

 Branches-stakes, use as fencing or raised bed sides, mark off plants off-season (tulips)

Clothespins-plant markers, use to hold thorny plants that need pruning 

Fabric-cut strips of fabric from old dishtowels or t-shirts and use when staking plants.

Paper towel/tp rolls-make seed pots, support stems, use as collars around stem to keep pests at bay.

Plastic 2-liter bottles-use as a cloche for plants in winter, drill small holes in the cap and use as a waterer, cut off top, poke holes in the bottom for drainage, and plant shallow-rooted crops.

Plastic water jugs-plant markers, hold seedling trays, fertilizing cell packs 

Pot shards-bird feeders

Strawberry containers-mini-greenhouses, starting seeds

Straws-helps to plant small seeds right where you want them, use for plant markers

Tie wraps-staking

Yogurt containers-collars, holds small seeds before sowing, seed starting,


Friday, June 22, 2018

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday!
Here's an update on what's growing in our summer garden.

In March, we put up our potato towers.
This was the first time we've grown white potatoes
(these are the Yukon Gold variety).
We showed you this method here.

The technique was pretty easy.
The towers were topped with dried leaves
whenever the potato stalks showed themselves in the cage.
The plants were fertilized once a month,
just like everything else in the veggie garden.

Over the last few weeks,
the potatoes began to flower.
Once the flowers dropped off, the leaves started to turn yellow.
Over the weekend, we harvested the crop.

The potato stalks were trimmed,
so that the tower could be easily lifted off the pile.

The pile of leaves were put to the side,
and used to cover the spot where the potatoes had been growing.
We will be redesigning the garden for fall,
so this was a good time to add the organic material.

The spuds were found at the ends of the stalks.
After gingerly digging them out of the pile,
they were placed in a bucket.
They will be cured for 2 weeks in the coolest place I can find.

Here's what the spent seed potato looked like after harvest.
This material will be added to the compost pile.
There is no waste in this method to growing spuds.

I would consider this a success.
We got enough spuds to last us a few weeks.
The towers were easy to manage and 
the potatoes were easily harvested.
The towers were almost too short for the growth,
so I might consider changing the design in the future.
I will definitely be planting potatoes again,
making sure to increase the number planted.

Elsewhere in the garden,
some things are winding down
while others are just getting started.

 The cucumbers are getting some size to them.
This plant was a gift from a friend.
She showed me her first pick the other day
and it was about twice this size.
Good enough to eat!

 The turtle beans are coming along.
This is the first time I've grown drying beans,
but it won't be the last.
It would be fantastic to have a pantry full of dried beans
to make any of the vegetarian dishes on the "Scratch Recipes" page.

The watermelon and cantaloupe plants keep climbing
the wire arches.  There are lots of flowers, but not much fruit.
I think I have some investigating to do...

Unlike most of us, the okra is relishing the heat!

Sweet potato slips were purchased at the local hardware store.
This is the first time I've bought them.
These are the Beauregard variety that grow so abundantly here.
They are getting a late start in my garden,
but we should still be able to get a good crop.

This is my tried-and-true method of starting sweet taters.
Creating your own slips is easy,
I just didn't start them early enough.

This thyme has found its sweet spot on the back deck.
It's as happy as can be in this icing bucket.
I'm thinking about getting some hangers for the railing
on which to grow my lettuces, kales and herbs.
It would save space on the deck top and the conditions out there are perfect.

 Some of the butterfly attractors are coming alive.
We are working toward getting certified as a wildlife habitat,
to add to our Monarch Way Station certification.

 Although a handful of Mammoth sunflowers were planted
along the back of this bed, only one has made it this far.
New flower seedlings are being started in the trays to the left.
If I can keep the doggone squirrels out of my pots,
maybe something would grow!

 The heat of summer looks like it's here to stay.
I'm thankful for lots of shade trees
and time in the early morning hours
to get outdoor chores done.
And lemonade.
And air conditioning.
Oh yeah.

Happy Summer, y'all!