A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: sunshine

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary!

One Year of Blogging Done!   Last weekend was the one year anniversary of Oscoey. I can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone! I have learned a lot about blogging over the past year and gotten to know many fabulous bloggers as well. […]

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Resources

Indoor Seed Starting Time   It is that time of year again when I start to think about what seeds I need to start indoors. This is our third year gardening at our house and the second year for us starting seeds indoors. Last year […]

Gardening Goals for 2018

Gardening Goals for 2018

Last week I posted a sort of list for our financial goals for 2018. Today I wanted to lay out some goals we have for our garden.  We learned a lot last year about where the best light is for our small vegetable patch and this year we will definitely be making some changes. This year is our third year working on the garden and every year we learn a little bit more and improve our garden space.

 

Some things that worked for us last year were squash, green beans and pumpkins.  Our pumpkins took up way too much space though so next year instead of planting four plants I will just stick with two and I am going to put them in the side yard so they can grow all the way down our hill. We loved our green beans and squash but I am embarrassed to say we did not eat all of it in time. Since we didn’t get enough each day to make a meal out of it or to freeze in a decent sized batch, some of our beautiful produce ended up in the compost bin.  We still have one pumpkin, two decent sized spaghetti squash, and a few tomatoes that slowly ripened on our window sill left but other than that everything is gone.

 

Spaghetti Squash!

 

My plan for next year is:

 

1. Organize my garden planning with a garden journal

This has been on my list for the past two years and I just haven’t followed through. I even bought a beautiful notebook and colorful pens to make wonderful drawings of all the plants we will grow but besides a few lists of what we planted (I think) it hasn’t been touched. I am pretty sure I wrote down what I planted at the beginning of the season but my notebook has been collecting dust since last spring so at some point in the next week I will get it out and start recording for this year. This year I want to have some simple diagrams of where we plant things for crop rotation and a better list of what grew where.  I absolutely love how organized Annie over at 15acrehomestead is. She has tons of great posts for organizing your homesteading projects. I especially love this one where she lays out how to plan your projects for 2018.

 

End of season harvest.

 

2. Plant enough zucchini, green beans and peas to freeze for the entire year

This one is a little ambitious. We did not plant peas last year so I don’t know how well they will do in our space but I am hoping to find somewhere they do well. We need probably two more zucchini plants for a total of four to grow enough for the winter. I am the only one who eats it so we don’t need a whole lot but the challenge will be getting it processed every day. Last year we got quite a few green beans but the way I planted them made them hard to harvest and we did not inoculate at all (whoops) so I think as long as we get enough plants growing at the right time and I stay on top of picking and processing them we will be able to produce enough green beans to feed us all year. I am really excited about the possibility of green beans from our garden next winter! It turns out they are the only green beans my son will eat and it was a sad day when I cooked the last of them and then he refused the ones I bought at Costco as a replacement.

 

English Ivy climbing our tree.

 

3. Remove the ivy from all of the trees in our backyard

We got a good start last summer pulling English Ivy off of the trees in our backyard and this year I would love to finish.  I would also like to remove all of the ivy off the ground which is doable but it will constantly grow back so it will be an ongoing battle. English Ivy is a horrible invasive species here in the Pacific Northwest and many of the trees in the greenbelt behind our house are covered in it.  If we don’t girdle the ivy on the trees near our house at some point the ivy will weaken the trees enough to cause them to topple over in a windstorm.  We have frequent windstorms in our area so the possibility is definitely real.  Every day I drive down the street behind us and look at these giant trees that are covered past their lower branches with a ring of ivy at least 3 feet thick all the way around. I know some day soon at least one of those trees will fall and completely block the road. I am really hoping that nobody gets hurt when it happens.

 

Ornamental plants in the front yard.

 

4. Continue to replace our high maintenance ornamental bushes with food producing ones

The lady that lived here before us densely planted these gorgeous ornamental bushes that are very pretty but require constant pruning and I am sure fertilizer.  They also require a large amount of water in the summer which is pretty wasteful to me.  The one thing I love about all of our flowery bushes is the healthy bee population they support.  All spring and summer our yard is buzzing with friendly bees that easily pollinate our fruits and vegetables.  The amount of pruning and watering they require is too much for us though so we are slowly replacing them with lower maintenance native plants.

 

Blueberries on our bushes.

 

5. Continue to keep our berry bushes and fruit trees in top shape

We love our fruit at this house! Last year we planted some raspberries, a pear tree, a blueberry bush and some strawberries in addition to the apple tree and blueberry bushes we already had.  At this point we really don’t have room for much else without a major front yard overhaul so our goal is to keep them healthy and producing throughout the summer!

 

 

We have really enjoyed having a yard for the kids to play in. The back is pretty steep though and requires some skill to navigate safely so this year will be the first year our son is able to walk around back there on his own.  The kids had fun helping me pull ivy last weekend and I introduced them to the cool space I found underneath a bush that could definitely be a fairy hideout.  I am looking forward to spring and seeing the yard come alive again.  What projects are you working on this year?

 

 

 

Blueberry Picking 2017

Blueberry Picking 2017

We have had a super busy summer and I was really bummed that we missed the July blueberry picking season. Our bushes are only a couple of years old and don’t produce anywhere near enough berries for us to freeze. They were eagerly eaten every […]

Garden Update July 10th 2017

Garden Update July 10th 2017

We have had a busy week in the garden! Lots of flowers are in bloom and we spent many hours pulling ivy along the property lines in anticipation of our fence measure this week. We are very close to being done with the fence line […]

Gardening Update

Gardening Update

This week not a lot got done in the garden besides watering and weeding.  We had a busy week with the oldest daughter graduating from high school and Father’s Day so we were pretty occupied.  We spent a lot of time doing maintenance type stuff around the garden so that it looked better for the party. I in no way got it looking nearly as nice as I wanted it to but the weeds were more in control and the lawn was at least mowed.

 

I have been really pleased with the growth in our vegetable garden.  All of the plants took off when the sun came out and we have quite a few vegetables growing.  Most of them are squash but now that they are starting to grow I can tell which plant is which. It is very helpful!

 

 

I pulled the last of our seedlings from the indoor grow area and started hardening them off this week. My ground cherry is growing well and has a couple of fruits on it. Yay! It looks like most of the other plants are bottle gourds. I am a little tight on space so I will have to find somewhere else to stash these.  I am thinking of planting them near the hydrangeas in our front bed for now and install some netting so they can grow vertically. I also have some room over by the blueberry bushes but that area is very weedy and I don’t know if that will be a problem later.  I might have to super mulch and see if that solves the problem.

 

 

The bush bean plants have gotten super tall. They seem to have grown a couple of feet in the last week or two.  We have been checking them every day but we missed a day for graduation and they seemed to grow overnight.

 

 

I am really excited about our carrots.  We grew this variety last year and had no luck.  They doubled in size over the last few days and I am hoping that they are growing some nice roots down in the soil!

 

 

We have a few pumpkins! I am really hoping they aren’t eaten by the pesky squirrels and crows.  I seem to be missing 95% of my strawberries and I think I know who has eaten them…

 

 

Our squash plants are taking over the bed. I planted way to many of them for the area. I honestly was not sure if they would even grow.  We should hopefully have a bunch though so I can freeze a bunch for the winter.  They are mostly summer squash so  they won’t keep over winter.

 

 

Baby zucchini!

 

 

Yellow squash! I took this photo a couple of days ago and they are much bigger today.  I didn’t get a picture but they almost looked big enough to eat. Yellow squash is one of my favorites!

 

 

Our Luffa plants are starting to grow up the trellis.  I need to trim them back a bit but I am waiting for the first flowers so I can do it all at once.  These really are my experiment this year.  I am hoping they do well so we can switch to natural sponges instead of synthetic.

 

 

We have a couple of tiny cucumbers.  I am going to have to train these with some string so they can find the fence behind them. I didn’t plant them quite close enough.

 

 

Our green beans are doing ok. They have been attacked by some slugs and many of them lost their leaves.  I am going to start another batch next week and set up a beer slug trap as soon as I can get around to it. Hopefully that will help.

 

 

Do you see these? These popped up in the garden a couple of weeks ago and I have been watching them carefully.  They first appeared to be weeds but I was hopeful and decided to let them grow a bit before I pulled the plug.  I am fairly certain now what they are since I compared them to my seedling from the laundry room. Do you know what they are? I am pretty sure they are volunteer ground cherries from our plant last year.  We planted it in this spot and many of the ground cherries were either squished or left under leaves since we had a very successful harvest last year and missed a bunch of them.  I am really excited about it if they are because that means next year I can just save some seeds, I don’t have to search high and low or stress about how many seeds germinate next year. I was also really nervous about our one not so great looking plant but even though it has been growing ever so slowly it looks really healthy so hopefully we will get quite a bit from it.

 

That’s it for our short but sweet garden update! I may look into some netting for our strawberry plants but honestly I have spent my budget for gardening for the year and my kids aren’t missing them so I may not.  Hopefully it will keep the birds off of our raspberry plants.  I am excited about the possibility of baby squash to eat next week! Yum!

 

What’s happening in your garden this week?

 

 

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

We have had some excitement in the garden this week. Our plants are continuing to grow super fast from our week of excellent sun and we harvested our first few strawberries.  I got some more seedlings planted and we spent quite a bit of time […]

Gardening Update June 5th 2017

Gardening Update June 5th 2017

We had a really busy week this week with playdates for the younger kids and prom for our oldest.  There were errands to run and the one year old didn’t nap all week. Both little kids must be growing through a growth spurt because I […]

Gardening Update May 30, 2017

Gardening Update May 30, 2017

I haven’t posted an update about the garden in a while since we got really busy and I ignored it for a bit…I am definitely paying for it now with weeding and chopping back, I mean pruning, the massive growth on our many ornamental bushes.  I was keeping an eye on the bushes but we had a few days of sun and they seem to have all grown a foot and put out their flowers so I feel pretty bad about chopping those off. I tried to just trim where it was necessary such as along paths and to keep plants from growing too close to the house. This week I focused on weeding the larger weeds, installing soaker hoses in the vegetable beds and trimming back bushes where I could.

 

 

The bushes near the front of my house are starting to bloom and it will be gorgeous when all of the white flowers are out.  I started the annual spring trim of these bushes so they don’t completely take over the front of the house but I didn’t get very far since it was so hot. I am hoping to finish next weekend but it will depend on the vegetable garden.

 

 

My gigantic Hydrangea bushes in the front have a couple of flowers just starting to bloom.  I love these bushes and they were a selling point for me when we bought the house.  I am a little concerned though because last year I spent many, many hours deadheading these bushes and even though I cut it back pretty severely last fall it apparently wasn’t enough to prevent massive growth.  It seems to be extra bushy this year with lots of new branches and each and every one of them has a flower bud on it.

 

 

I am also concerned I will have the same problem this year as last year with the blossoms being to massive for the branches to support their weight when it rains.  Most of the branches fell over last year and I had to cut the flowers strategically so that the branches didn’t break. I may have to cut these back even further this year and see how they do.

 

 

Our apple tree seems to be doing well. It is leaning a bit which is concerning but it did produce fruit! There are a few apples on a couple of the branches.

 

 

I was really excited to see them but I may end up pinching them off so the tree can grow a little more since it was planted only a year ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Our raspberries, blueberries and strawberries have quite a few fruit on them and the kids have been checking them periodically to see if they are ripe.  I know once the blueberries begin to turn blue I will have a hard time keeping my three year old from sneaking over there and eating them before they are ripe.  I did a little weeding in the fruit beds and pulled some of the outlying raspberry starts.  There are way too many of them and I was afraid they would crowd the blueberries or the pear tree that is planted next to it.  I may have to rethink my raspberries next year and move them into a planter to keep them from taking over my garden bed.  I don’t have time this year though so that would be a project for fall.

 

 

In the vegetable beds we have some quick growing bush bean sprouts and some tiny broccoli starts.  The beans popped up overnight. I took this picture on Sunday night, installed soaker hoses that night, turned them on for an hour and by Monday night the bean sprouts had doubled in size.  I should hopefully be able to thin them this week.

 

 

Our watermelon (lower right) seems to be doing so-so. I think I may have left it too long in the cup since it has barely grown. The soil in the garden bed was a little dry so I am hoping that with the soaker hoses the plants will do better, despite my best efforts at watering.

 

 

We have flowers on our pumpkin plants! I am hoping the yellow one was pollinated by our busy bees!

 

 

Our squash and zucchini are doing well. I was having a hard time watering them without getting the leaves wet and I had to pull a few of the leaves off of them but they still had quite a few leaves so they should recover.  Our cucumbers however bit the dust.  I apparently planted them too early but thankfully I still have a couple of seed starts under the grow lights that I can harden off this week and get in the ground hopefully next weekend.

 

 

My lettuce is flourishing in it’s pot and my daughter has been grazing off of it every time we go outside to play.  She will not eat salad but she helped grow this lettuce and has been helping water it for me and now she is actually eating it. It really shows how getting kids involved in gardening will help then expand their palates.

 

 

It is kind of hard to see but our asparagus is also blooming.  They have not sent up any new shoots besides the first few in the spring but I think that is because we have kind of neglected them.  They are pretty weedy and I may have forgotten to mulch them at the beginning of the season. I am hoping to at least get them weeded this week and possibly look into a large quantity of mulch to cut down on my weeding time in the future.

 

 

I did a rather hasty soaker hose install on Sunday night using rocks to keep my hoses down.  I ordered clips a couple of weeks ago from Gardener’s Supply Store but they have not come yet. I am hoping to plant pole beans, luffa and peas this week so I will be moving the hoses around a bit next weekend to get a better fit.

 

 

They seemed to work ok. I ran them for an hour the first night and will try again in the morning. My soil probably needs some mulching in this bed so it will hold moisture better.

 

 

I had to get a little creative in the corner and I will have to hand water the marigolds but after an hour the area was pretty well soaked.

 

 

Here is a view of the entire set up. It is pretty ugly as is but after I tweak it a bit it should look better.  Overall it worked pretty well. The carrot starts were a little iffy with the water so I may have to continue to hand water those but everything else seemed to get quite a bit.

 

I am really excited to see my vegetable garden take off in the next few weeks! What’s going on in your garden?

 

 

 

Gardening Update May 15th 2017

Gardening Update May 15th 2017

Sunday was Mother’s Day and my wonderful husband ran to the nursery and picked up soil after work on Friday and played with the kids on Sunday so that I could get my seedlings in the ground that were ready to plant.  We spent Saturday […]