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!