A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: fruit

Meal Planning: A New Start

Meal Planning: A New Start

This past year I realized we have fallen down a hole of eating not so healthy foods more often then we should. We totally fell off the bandwagon of both eating well and keeping our grocery costs down. The pandemic has really split our routine […]

Gardening Update 6.14.2020

Gardening Update 6.14.2020

This year is the first one in a while I have been excited about my garden. Working from home for the past few months due to the Corona virus has greatly reduced my commute time from 3-4 hours a day to nothing and this means […]

Garden Update 06.08.19

Garden Update 06.08.19

It has been a while since I have done a gardening update so I though I would take a few pictures and talk a little bit about them. Our family has been super busy with travel, kids, work and the frequent birthday parties that happen this time of year so not much gardening has been going on. I have made an effort to do some weeding and mulch some areas of the garden but time is limited and the garden is still rough around more than a few edges.

 

Faded Peony

Our Peonies came up beautifully this year. They seem to be recovering from their accidental stomping the first spring we lived in our house. We bought our house in the fall and a large number of dormant plants popped up during our first spring that we had no idea were there. This particular plant was stepped on as it first started emerging while we were digging our asparagus beds. Last year it had one blossom and this year there are several which are very beautiful! We have two Peony plants and honestly even the second year one of them was so damaged I didn’t really see it until much later in the season. Strangely one only one of our Peonies is blooming and almost done. The other has several blooms ready to pop, and even the bees are trying to get inside but they have not opened yet and it has been a couple of weeks. It is pretty interesting how these plants are probably about 20 feet away from each other but they each have their own micro climate and are blooming at different times.

 

Strawberries

Our strawberries are coming along nicely. We planted one of these Alpine Strawberries we inherited from the neighbors a couple of years ago and now we have several plants along with many, many June bearing plants that have all taken over one area of our garden. These tiny tart strawberries were our son’s favorite last year and the only fresh fruit he would eat. So far this year he has not been as interested but hopefully he will come around eventually!

 

Gigantic bush with white flowers.

Our gigantic bush that shades our front door is blooming beautifully this year. In the afternoons it is buzzing with the hum of dozens of bees.

 

 

I finally got around to planting annuals in our gigantic pot. It is really heavy and under the cover of the roof so every year I plant annuals in it since watering can be tricky. I also filled most of the pot up with Plastic milk bottles before I added soil to cut down on the soil used and to keep the pot from getting too heavy.

 

 

We did official fairy gardens this year for both kids. My daughter had only a couple of hens and chicks left in her pot and some of her fairies were broken so we added a couple more to her pot, some more hens and chicks (a girl after my own heart) and some annuals. I like to do annuals in the kids’ fairy gardens because they love choosing plants every year. Since we use smallish pots there isn’t a lot of room but it is nice for the kids to have a little piece of their own gardens.

 

 

My son got to make his own fairy garden this year. He was too young the first year and last year we never got around to it so he was very excited. He picked out mostly pink and red flowers and they look really good. He also picked the red gnome because he looked like Santa Clause which was really cute.

 

 

I bought some vegetables for the kids to plant as well. They picked out some squash, snow peas and cantaloupe which is tricky to grow in the PNW. I fully intended to plant them immediately but when I got home I discovered that my garden beds are missing quite a bit of dirt and are at best half way full. I am going to get more soil this weekend so I can get these in the ground before I forget.

 

 

I should probably show you a few of my weeds that popped up despite the mulch I laid down. Next fall my goal is to lay down cardboard and mulch and try to keep the weeds in check for next year.

 

 

Most of the gardening I have gotten to has been in the front yard. This picture is of my side yard…there is supposed to be a path through there but clearly it is super tiny and mostly non-existent. This area was way over planted by the previous owners and is prone to weeds, despite mulching and regular weeding. I have taken out about half the plants but everything that is there overcrowds. At some point I will probably take out everything on the right hand side but I am hesitant since a lot of those plants bloom later in the year and they feed our resident hummingbirds and healthy bee population.

 

Despite my lack of time to garden ours is flourishing. How is your garden going this year?

 

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 […]

Dried Banana Chips

Dried Banana Chips

One of the easiest, cheapest and healthiest snacks I make my kids is dried banana chips. My son absolutely loves them! We buy a couple of bunches of bananas at Costco for $1.39, slice them up and put them into the dehydrator and at the […]

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 day by the kids with very few to spare. I was super excited to hear from another mom at gymnastics that there was a local U-pick farm that still had blueberries! We cancelled our plans to try an easy hike with the kids and headed out to pick as many blueberries as we could manage.

 

 

The farm we went to was super close and I am really glad I found it because the blueberries were delicious! My blueberry hating husband even liked them and actually ate a few. The kids of course ate themselves silly and enjoyed every moment of it!

 

 

We grabbed a couple of smaller buckets and one gigantic 5 gallon bucket to consolidate our berries into. It was a pretty hot day and we were worried about the kids overheating so we picked at lightening speed. Luckily blueberries are much easier to pick than raspberries or strawberries because you do not have to be super careful about placing them into your container.  I just placed my bucket underneath a large blueberry covered branch and let them fall into the bucket as I massaged them off of the branches.  It took us less than an hour to fill our five gallon bucket with over 20 pounds of blueberries!

 

 

The biggest issue we had was the fear of losing one or both of the kids.  The bushes were overgrown and touching each other in many places so you could not see down the rows at all.  We split up with one kid each and made the kids wear their hats for both eye protection and visibility.  I highly advise buying your kids neon hats and jackets so you can easily pick them out in a crowd of people or when you are outside with them.  It was really easy to keep track of my son’s bright orange Tigger hat even when I couldn’t see the rest of him.

 

 

I don’t remember what type of blueberry we picked but they were not organic (which I found out later on). Next time we will try and find an organic blueberry farm to pick from or I will see if the farm we went to has some that are organic.  There were tons of them on the bushes though and we did not have to walk very far to pick all that we needed.

 

 

We did however come home with two half flats of berries and I am super excited to eat them this winter!

 

 

 

I immediately started freezing our berries in batches on a cookie sheet.  We froze about three gallons total and I still have a half flat left.  We have made blueberry jam in the past but we typically do not eat enough of it so we decided not to this year.  We also have tons of raspberry jam which will be plenty of jam for us!

 

 

All week we have been eating blueberries on our cereal and our ice cream and the kids and I absolutely love it! We haven’t decided what to do with the rest of the berries yet and we may try to dry some of them in the dehydrator but I am really hoping my husband will make his famous blueberry peach pie!

 

Did you pick blueberries this year? What are some of the ways you prepared them?

 

 

Garden Update July 28, 2017

Garden Update July 28, 2017

Summer is upon us and the vegetable garden is in full swing. My pumpkins have taken over the garden space and the spaghetti squash is not far behind it.  The kids and I are harvesting berries, green beans and squash every other day.  I have […]

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 […]