Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Community Garden Workday for April (2019)

 This past Saturday was a beautiful day 
to be out in the Community Garden.
As a volunteer, I get to participate in an array of activities
and work side-by-side with some mighty fine folks.

 Last month, these stones were relocated to the outside perimeter of the garden,
and they seem better suited here.

 The weather was spot on,
with a gorgeous azure sky enveloping us as we worked through the morning hours.

One of the chores on the day's list
was to add mulch to all of the walkways.
Thankfully, we had a couple of folks who worked tirelessly
to get the job done.
What a difference it made.

The garlic bed that was planted in the fall is looking healthy and strong.
It is scheduled to be harvested next month.

 Some beds were fairly full,
bursting with greens and herbs.

This bed of lettuce had me wishing for some salad dressing.

 These peas filled out the corner of another bed
and look to be getting close to flowering.
They are probably a dwarf variety that gets to be only 3 or 4 feet tall.

 In a nearby bed, 
some lucky soul will soon be sampling their goodies.

 This lovely head of broccoli was looking ready to be picked.


 And talk about mouth-watering,
just look at this stunning red lettuce.

The irrigation system has been recently changed over
from soaker hoses to PVC pipe.
It was being tested to see how well it was working.
It's been a slow process,
but with the help of some dedicated gardeners,
it seems to be doing its job.

 This workday was mostly about planting.
We were able to get some spring crops in.
A bed of tomatoes will no doubt fill out this bed nicely.
Some of the beds are "leased" by local residents,
while others are reserved for growing for the neighborhood food bank.

 In one of the perimeter beds,
an entire row of aromatic lavender was planted.
In just a few short weeks,
this place should smell amazing!
We also planted eggplant, herbs, okra, peppers and squash
in the community garden beds.

 Helpers of all sizes worked to get everything planted
and had some fun creating family memories to boot.

It's wonderful to be a part of such a worthwhile organization.
Giving back feels so good.

Counting my blessings
to have met these kind-hearted souls.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Garden Friday

It's Garden Friday once again
and we have been busy in the garden this week.
Last weekend, the trailer was emptied of its mulch.
Clearly, we will need at least one more yard
to fill in the rest of the veggie garden.
Good thing it's one of my favorite chores!

The bad news this week is this.
Something started to eat the kale in the hugelkultur bed.

A little detective work found these critters on many leaves.
The cabbage worms like the kale as much as I do.
The secret for bug-checking is to  

Where there's poop, there's a critter.

They were hand-picked and placed in the compost pile.
It is hard for me to squish them, even though I know
they are eating my food.
Thankfully, that particular kale was bolting anyway.
Here's an article about options for dealing with these pests.

A "bug jar" is always kept in the garden,
so that while I am out there watering or weeding,
it's easy to check for bugs and have a place to put them.

 The buttercrunch and oakleaf lettuces have been enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.
It is so tender, sweet and delicious,
without the least hint of bitterness.

The Red Planet lettuce mix
will be picked as micro-greens.
This is the first time I've tried this variety.

 A few things were transplanted from our "greenhouse",
including this red cabbage.
Another new crop for me,
I look forward to eating this favorite.

The thyme I had growing in several containers
surprised me to no end
by sailing right on through the winter with no special care.
It's even happier now that the temperatures are warmer.

 The flower buds were removed from half of the shallots this week.
A little experiment is underway to see if it makes any difference to production.

 With the other half left intact, 
the flowers should yield seeds that I can save for next season.
We shall see.

 The raspberry plants we got from Extension
are filling out quite nicely.
I'm thinking we will need to add more next year.

The blueberries made me jump for joy when I spied them on our plants.
It just amazes me to see all of this food growing before my eyes.

 Our apples are forming,
although I am fairly discouraged,
knowing that without spraying the trees,
there is not much likelihood that they will ever develop fully.
At least the deer might have something to eat.

 The butterfly bed is starting to come alive.
I noticed the gaillardia beginning to bloom this week.
This pollinator-friendly flower puts on a show for six months or longer.

 The lavender is getting ready to flower.
I'm hoping to harvest and dry some of it
to use for personal care products like salves and lotions.

 This two-year old beautyberry is showing signs of life.
It was relocated, as it will be too big for the butterfly bed.
With several on the property,
we should have a lot of happy birds!

The redbud trees that I planted in March are all leafing out.
With rain in tomorrow's forecast,
they will surely grow a bit fuller.

Last year I had planted three hostas near our back steps.
They all disappeared and are now coming back.
Not sure what happened to them.

The clematis is slowly gaining foliage and climbing the railing.
I think it needs to be moved,
as there is not too much sun on the back of the house.

 A lot of clearing out has been started just under the lorapetalum.
This will most likely end up being a second pathway to the veggie garden beyond.
It would be a great spot for a bench or chairs.

The photo doesn't capture it,
but this maple tree is truly stunning.
The layers and layers of bright green leaves are simply luxurious.
I could watch them sway in the breeze all day.

 It's time I learn a lot more about the trees on the property.
This is one of the trees out front,
but for the life of me,
I can't identify it.
I'd say a trip to the library might be in order.
Any good suggestions on books to aid in identifying trees?

A generous fellow Master Garden distributed extra plants she had,
free of charge,
to several of us at our last meeting.
I've got some more potting to do,
but it will be nice to be able to dress up the porch with some spring color.

What's happening in your spring garden?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2019 Home Project List

Our 2019 Home Project List is getting off to a slow start.
Here it is, almost May, and we have just begun.

We have several ambitious projects to complete this year.
A few things we can tackle ourselves,
but some more complex ventures will be hired out.
We have put money aside for several things,
including new kitchen countertops.
The bathrooms may not get done until next year,
when we can use our tax refund to fund the projects.
Whatever we do, we always try to pay cash,
so that we are not getting into debt just to improve our home.

One of the things I've been wanting to change out
was the front door.
Our home faces south, but very little light was coming through this door.
The style was a little busier than I liked as well,
so we made a switch.

This shaker-style door fits in better with the design of the house.
Simple, clean lines that better suit the character of the home.
The window at the top is high enough
that we maintain our privacy.
I like how the panes on the window echo the windows on the porch.

This weekend, Big K dressed it up with a beautiful periwinkle color.
It just happens to be my favorite color,
and it adds a little life to the front facade.
We've already picked out the storm door that we want,
which includes a screen so that we can enjoy cross ventilation
and a lot more light!

 This project wasn't even on our list,
but we had talked about a swap out on the porch.
This fishing basket was purchased at a flea market
over 4 years ago.
I remember seeing it on the table for sale
and thinking it was so cool,
but I don't fish, so what could I use it for?
I went back and bought it and held onto it
knowing that I would figure out some way to use it.
We did.

The porch light that was on the house was much too small
and lacking in any type of personality.
I think we kind of turned that upside-down!
We added a ginormous Edison-type amber bulb to the inside
and replaced the diminutive fixture.
I love finding new uses for unusual items.
I can imagine putting in some party lights at different times of the year.

It's coming together.
I'd like to repaint the porch and perhaps add a painted rug design.
Of course, as the season continues, I hope to have some potted flowers to adorn the entrance.
We are thinking of painting the shutters to match the door
and then moving on to the next item on our project list.
There is always something to do when you are a homeowner.
What a blessing to be able to put your personal stamp on your homestead.

One down.