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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 […]

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have been spending a lot of time lately working on sensory play with our kids. They love to get messy and a lot of the activities we have been doing are brand new to our one year old and our three year old hasn’t […]

Gardening Update May 2, 2017

Gardening Update May 2, 2017

This past weekend we started our work on completely overhauling our front bed. It was originally planted with all ornamental plants and last year we removed a couple of large bushes and installed a planter box we were gifted from our neighbor.  After a winter of neglect it was pretty much due for some major work. My eventual goal is to remove all of the plants up until the boxwood which are planted along the property line blocking the sewer drain from sight. I do not particularly care for them but they do their job well and require very little maintenance besides trimming them twice a year. I am at a loss as to what to do with the tree. I have no idea what it is and it isn’t particularly pretty nor does it shade the area so it isn’t really in the way. I would hate to cut it down but I have nowhere else to put it. I am still debating what to do with it so it may stay there until next year.

 

 

I moved one of the butterfly bushes down our hill to shade a large south facing window.  I am re-homing it there temporarily until I figure out what to do with it.  There were two gigantic butterfly bushes in the front garden bed originally that took up way too much space.  The other one is going to be planted at my mom’s house.  I cut these back at least two feet last year and they are still taller than me.  We have had a cold spring so far so I don’t anticipate a huge growth season this year.

 

 

The roots on all of the bushes I took out are mysteriously shallow and I am having very little trouble pulling out large bushes.  I think we have very shallow top soil that the previous owners must have covered with some high quality soil since everything grew so much last year.  It makes me a little bit nervous about planting any more trees since we get quite a bit of wind for most of the year.

 

 

Here is where we added the planter box last week. My kids have been using it as a sand box so it is well weeded and the soil has been turned over quite a bit. I am going to have an issue keeping them out of it when I plant my seeds.

 

 

I bought some Marigolds as a pest deterrent. I planted one in each corner of our first box and I will add a couple to the second box once we get some good quality soil in there.  The rest I am going to put into pots around the plants I am putting directly into the soil. I am concerned they will be covered up by the sprawling vines.

 

 

A sunflower! Hopefully it won’t get eaten!

 

 

I had a few plastic containers I am using for mini-greenhouses since the weather has decided to be cold and yucky again.  I only found a few so I put them on only a couple of plants. I did not get around to removing the stickers on them but my seedlings are already almost to big for them so they won’t be on there long.

 

 

 

Our son helping out in the garden. He was fascinated with Daddy changing the oil in his car. We also started to put up a pest control fence but were only able to get some of the stakes all the way in.  Our kids got hungry so we ran out of time and we will hopefully get to it next weekend. It makes me a little nervous that we didn’t get the fence up since last year some sort of rodent at all of our non-nightshade seedlings within a few days of planting them.  Luckily they left the tomatoes, beans, ground cherries and spicy peppers but our daughter was very disappointed they ate our very healthy watermelon plants.

 

 

 

I planted about half of the pumpkin seedlings and covered two of them with my makeshift greenhouses.

 

 

 

I did not get around to thinning my seedlings which I know is a big no no but they were too intertwined to separate at this point so I kept them together.  We are still taking baby steps towards figuring out how to grow our own food so a lot of what we are doing is mostly trial and error.  I think next year our children will be older and we will have more time to prep the soil over the winter so we will have a more organized year for sure. This year we are still trying to figure out what works.

 

 

 

Healthy pumpkin seedling.

 

 

Here is a view from the bottom of the bed towards the street. It still looks a little messy and hopefully we can get some mulch down soon but I am really happy with what we got done this week.

 

 

 

Another view from the top.  The red plant and some of the smaller ones will go in the planting strip near where the fence will go in and the larger bushes still need homes.  I have no idea where I am going to put the biggest one but I have more people coming this week to dig up extra plants along the side yard so I might put the extras there.

 

 

A view of the beds and the seed starts.  I am probably going to add a row of squash along the rock wall to the left of the pumpkins.

 

 

Last minute I added three rows of carrot seedlings in the larger garden bed next to the Marigolds. I am probably going to plant a couple of pea plants in here and I wanted something low that wouldn’t block the light.

 

 

After the kids went to bed I checked on our seedlings in the laundry room.  We have two cucumbers popping up in the tray I planted last week.

 

 

 

There is also one and part of another watermelon seedling coming up.  My ground cherries still are not germinating so I am definitely buying some starts this weekend at the local plant sales.  Our lettuce seeds are starting to germinate as well in the strawberry planter but they were way too small to take a picture of!  We are planning on buying more Marigolds and I was talked into some Hula strawberries by the three year old so I will be planting those some time this week as well but I have no idea where since I already planted strawberries.  Have you seen the Hula-berries? They are white strawberries that taste like pineapple.  I am not sure about the taste but our daughter will love them and we love to have our kids excited about healthy food! Gardening is the best way to get your kids involved in what they eat and it is a ton of fun!

 

My plans for the next couple of weeks are to get the beans and peas in, finish our fence, empty out the rest of the ornamental plants from the vegetable beds and plant the rest of the seedlings from the laundry room.  May and June are super insane for us normally but this year we have the added craziness of our oldest graduating from high school so hopefully we can fit in all of our gardening plans.

 

Happy gardening everyone!

 

Spring is Here!

Spring is Here!

Spring is finally here! We have spent huge chunks of time outdoors the past week now that the weather has finally warmed up. Today I spent time alone with each of the little kids. I spent the morning blowing bubbles, riding in cars and cleaning […]

Zen

Zen

Today for the first time in weeks I was able to get out walking in the sunshine.  I love walking. Being outdoors and getting exercise is one of my favorite things to do. We have been hit really hard with sickness in our family this […]