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Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still […]

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]

Gardening Update 11.07.21

Gardening Update 11.07.21

A lot happened in the garden since my last post in July which can be found here. We had a large crop of green tomatoes, lots of greens, successfully grew two nice sized pumpkins and many other vegetables. We continued to battle pests throughout the summer and fall with slugs being the main culprit. Most of our apple crop was wormy this year as can happen in Washington. I am going to try netting my apples next year when they are small and see if that helps. We did however get three pears and they were quite frankly the best pears I have ever eaten. I am really excited for next year to see if we get more. We planted our pear tree about five years ago so it is just starting to fruit.

Cucumbers on the vine.
Cucumbers on the vine.

One of our pleasant surprises this year was our cucumber crop. I planted them late in a shady part of the garden and they did really well. We got several larger cucumbers and quite a few of the small ones as well. We got so many of the larger ones I had a hard time finding them and unfortunately we didn’t get to all of them before they turned bitter. However, this is the first year I have been able to successfully grow cucumbers so I am excited to try them again next year.

Giant Mangel Beets.
Giant Mangel Beets.

Another fun item we grew this year was giant beets. Ours did not get nearly as big as they were supposed to but I probably didn’t fertilize them at the right times. My favorite part about the beets we grew was the greens. I ate quite a few beet greens both raw and blanched for soup. They were delicious! We are going to try saving some seeds this year so I left a few in the garden for the spring and hopefully we will get some seeds from them next year. Beets are biannual crops and flower the second year so next spring will be prime beet flower time. Every time I think about beet flowers I remember the scene in a book from my childhood where the main character pulls out a gigantic beet or turnip that turns out to be inedible because it was on it’s second year. I can’t remember if that was Ramona or Ellen Tebbets but either way, I was fascinated by this when I was younger.

Tomato harvest
Tomato harvest.

Our tomato plants loved the heat this year. I planted them in our garlic beds with a bunch of egg shells and they did fabulously! We got several large bowls of them and just finished eating the last of them about a week ago. I picked ours early because of a long wet streak of weather and ripened them inside. We have been very successful with this strategy in the past. I put them by our south facing windows with a paper towel on top and sometimes a banana. We were maneuvering around tomatoes for a bit but it was worth it to have a steady supply of fresh homegrown tomatoes for a couple of months. I did not can any tomatoes this year. We had a very busy fall and there just wasn’t any time to do it. Next year maybe I will plant more determinate varieties and try to can some pizza sauce or plain diced tomatoes.

Pumpkins
Our two pumpkins.

We were very happy to get two nice sized pumpkins this year. I picked them a little green because I needed the pots and the squirrels were eyeing them but we baked them this weekend and they were delicious. I pureed the baked pumpkin and froze it. I guess you aren’t supposed to can your own pumpkin any more because it is too dense to guarantee it will heat up enough in the center to kill all of the bacteria but we have several cups of pumpkin in the freezer that should last us until spring. I also did not carve the gigantic white pumpkin I picked out at the farm for Halloween and I might bake that one as well. Right now I am really enjoying having it on the porch for a fall decoration though.

Sunflower
Our one sunflower.

A major disappointment for us this year was our sunflower crop. I planted maybe 25-30 seeds, got about four plants and only one survived long enough to flower. Unfortunately our large flower barely got pollinated and we were only able to harvest about a third of the seeds. I definitely noticed a drop in the number of bees in our yard this year and I realized we simply didn’t have very many flowers later in the summer through early fall. I need to step up my flower game and plant more this year. I am not sure why we didn’t have as many in August but I didn’t buy a lot of flowers at the store and tried not cutting back the Hydrangea blooms this year and it didn’t produce more blooms so that may be part of it. We also had plants flowering later in the year as well. I have already started scoping out flower seeds in catalogs for next year and some native plants to help the bees as well. Hopefully next year we will do better on the flower front.

Beds prepped
Beds prepped for next year.

One thing I did remember to do this fall was to fill in my garden beds with more dirt. I actually added grass clippings on top of this dirt, then more dirt and left it for a few weeks before turning the soil and planting these beds with garlic. I have a couple more garden beds I need to fill and add egg shells to but I am hoping next year to have better soil quality overall. I am definitely working on my permaculture skills and finding ways to mulch with what we already have in the garden. Some of my plants I have to throw in the yard waste because they root from the branches but others I have been laying down around the bushes they come off of. I have heard this also helps with the insect populations because when you throw all of your yard clippings into the yard waste right away you are also throwing out all of your beneficial insects as well. Insect populations are definitely something I am thinking more about this year with climate issues becoming more urgent.

 

You can find more pictures of our garden and more frequent updates on Instagram located here. How has your garden done this fall?

 

Some of my favorite gardening links:

 

Territorial Seed

 

Tilth Alliance

 

Epic Gardening

 

Acre Homestead

 

Gardening Update 06.20.21

Gardening Update 06.20.21

Hello and welcome to the first gardening update of 2021! This year my goal was to expand our vegetable garden and add in more pollinator friendly plants. My usual spring garden supply budget was much larger than usual because we ended up needing a large […]

Gardening Update 09.05.2020

Gardening Update 09.05.2020

As the nights get cooler and the days shorter our summer 2020 garden is winding down for fall. This summer our vegetable garden stepped up a notch and I planted way more than previous years. We also had a huge pest problem with rodents, ants, […]

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 that after work I put on my garden clothes and take the kids outside for some sunshine. My workplace is closed for until the fall and even then they are only allowing a few people in the office and things are up in the air as far as going back to school so I have planned an ambitious vegetable garden this year.

 

Front garden bed.

 

I started out this spring with sprucing up our front garden bed. We share part of it with our neighbors and our side needed a bunch of work. Every fall/winter I am good about cutting our monster hydrangeas back so that was taken care of this year. They grow so much over the summer that if I don’t cut them they will cover most of the garden bed! In late February and early March I pruned back the sword ferns, redid the edging, weeded aggressively, pulled out a bunch of salmon berry and then mulched the whole thing with a thick coat from the stuff that has been hanging out on our driveway for far longer than I would like to admit. The mulch is not super great quality but I needed something to make it look more uniform. The front bed looks fabulous and it was so uniform at first that people were walking in it as if it was empty so our asparagus was slightly trampled this year and we did not get more than a few spears before I decided to let it grow. We have since installed a small fence where the asparagus is and I am hoping that will keep people and dogs out of it in the future.

 

Seed starts from April.

 

I was a little bit late starting my seeds this year. I am not the only one upping their gardening game and many of the seeds I wanted were on backorder or were out at the first couple of places I looked. I ended up ordering from Territorial Seed Company and they took a while to get here but the quality was fabulous and we had a very successful germination rate so l ended up ordering way more seeds later on for my fall gardening. For the spring I planted Napa cabbage, two different green cabbages, a red cabbage, bush peas, pole peas, pole beans, lettuce, spinach, potatoes (from a bag in the pantry), watermelon, cucumber and several varieties of squash.

 

Potatoes in a bag.

 

I may have planted too many potatoes. I planted a bunch early from a bag in our pantry that had started to sprout. A couple of weeks later I noticed squirrel holes all over the bed so I planted more, and some in another part of the garden. Then a couple of weeks after that I replanted more potatoes to fill in even more squirrel dug holes and planted some potatoes into the potato bags I found in the garage and we somehow ended up with about 20 plants which is way more than I wanted. I keep running out of soil so I have not been great about mounding dirt up around the potatoes but if things go ok we should have enough potatoes to last us a little bit. My kids don’t really like potatoes except when they are made a couple of ways so I may end up donating some of them to the local free pantry if we have too many.

 

garden beds
New garden beds.

 

This year I decided to put our plants into garden beds instead of directly into the ground. Our soil is not that great and I wanted to mulch around the beds to create a path and reduce the mud. In the past I planted directly into the ground with squash varieties but since we are doing more than squash this year we got some raised beds off of Amazon. We bought three total and used some landscape fabric underneath to reduce the weeds. Our older beds need a soil refresh and but I discovered that after I had done some planting so one of my plans for next fall is to add a bunch of soil and plant some cover crops for the older beds.

 

potted plants
Fairy gardens and our containers.

 

Over Mother’s Day weekend the family got together and planted some seed starts from the store of tomatoes, pumpkins and cantaloupe as well as the Brussels sprouts and artichokes I started in March. I should have planted the seeds I started earlier but honestly I ran out of space in my main vegetable garden and we had to buy both containers and more soil. We had some issues transplanting two of the pumpkins and the cantaloupe and as of right now our cantaloupe won’t make it and the pumpkins might recover. In order to use up more of the empty space in the tomato planters I also sprinkled some lettuce seeds in there and so far we have a few plants coming up.

 

Cabbages April 2020

 

cabbage
Cabbages June 2020

 

One part of our garden that is thriving is the cabbage bed. I totally over planted this one with nine or ten cabbages but they are doing great. These seeds were started around the 14th of April and most of them should be ready to eat around the first week of July. This year I got smart and I wrote the day I planted them and the days to maturity from the package on the popsicle stick labels. I already have another set of seeds planted under these ones so we shall see if those do ok with the larger cabbages in there as well. If not, I plan on starting more seeds indoors with our grow light just in case although I have heard that Napa cabbage will bolt when the weather turns so I may try something else here over the heat of the summer. Cabbages are just starting to form and it is really cool to see. I have not grown cabbages before and honestly I didn’t do any research ahead of time but I view the garden as a gigantic experiment so if these don’t work out I will have a better idea for next year.

 

squash
Squash bed.

 

We have always had good luck with zucchini and yellow squash in our garden. This year is no exception. This bed has three zucchini plants in it as well as some bee attracting flowers. They are probably too close together but that was not a problem for us last year and we fertilized this soil so there is plenty of nutrients. Our male flowers are already blooming but I have not seen any female flowers yet. We have about 8 total squash plants so I am sure we won’t have any issues with pollination. Usually we do three or 4 plants and it has never been an issue for us. We have a really healthy bee population which helps tremendously.

 

strawberry
Strawberry plant.

 

We have been harvesting quite a few strawberries off of the plant I threw into a pot a couple of years ago. For some reason it does really well in the spot that it is in and has strawberries on it weeks ahead of our actual strawberry plot. I think this spot is more sunny than the other and even though the bees have been pollinating away in our main strawberry bed the berries are still super immature and won’t be ripe for another week or two.

 

ladybugs
Releasing lady bugs into the garden

 

One fun thing we tried this year was releasing ladybugs into the garden. I ordered them from Territorial Seeds a couple of weeks ago along with my fall planting seeds and some garlic starts that will ship in September. My kids were a little scared of the lady bugs at first but by the end of it they were picking them up gently and letting them crawl around for a bit before asking for the grownups to remove them. We will definitely be doing this again next year or maybe even later on this summer since we had such a good time. I would have loved to do praying mantises as well but everywhere was out so we haven’t yet. Ladybugs only stick around long enough to lay some eggs and then they move on to the next area. I am hoping in a few weeks we will have lots of little lady bug larva crawling around eating up any aphids on our plants. So far the weather in the PNW has been mostly gloomy and wet and I haven’t seen many aphids but I know that as soon as it warms up a bit we will start to see them more.

 

We are having a great time in the garden this year and hopefully in a few weeks we will be able to start eating most of our vegetables out of the garden instead of buying them at the store. Below are some resources for your garden with no affiliate links, just sites we have used and liked. Happy gardening!

 

Territorial Seed

 

Seed Savers Exchange

 

Ladybug Life Cycle

 

 

 

Our Not-So-Frugal San Francisco Trip February 2019

Our Not-So-Frugal San Francisco Trip February 2019

Mr. Oscoey and I have always loved San Francisco. We went there once many years ago by ourselves for a whirlwind 18 hour trip and had always wanted to go back but never found the time or money. Last fall (while I was laid off […]

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 […]

A Not So Brief Hiatus

A Not So Brief Hiatus

About eight months ago I took a break from blogging. There were many reasons, the most pressing being a complete utter lack of time while trying to maintain balance with both Mr. Oscoey and I working full-time with small kids. To say it was difficult to balance everything is an understatement and I am very impressed with everyone who can keep their households running successfully with both parents working full-time! We were only semi-successful at keeping everything running smoothly but lots of corners had to be cut and the blog was one of the activities I had to drop in order to get at least a little bit of sleep every night. I do not function without a full night of sleep so going to bed on time was mandatory!

 

Weedy garden.
Gardening did not happen much this summer.

 

Oscoey was also discovered by some people in my real life through the magic of Instagram suggestions and I squeezed in some time to think about the direction I want to take with the blog and how much I want to reveal about our finances. On one hand I would love to be fully transparent about finances and put it all out there but I know that it would not work for the Oscoey household so I am going to try and reach a healthy medium. I am still not sure about how much we will reveal but look out for more Personal Finance posts in the next few months! I definitely want to follow up on our 2018 Financial Goals and lay out the direction we will head in 2019. Yes, I am already thinking ahead to 2019!

 

Raspberry ;picking
We fit in raspberry picking last minute but did not make jam this year.

 

I hope everyone had a great time this spring, summer and fall! Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! Please look for my post later this week about recently being laid off and in the meantime here are some of Oscoey’s most loved posts!

 

 

Going back to work after being a Stay at Home Mom

 

Easy Dairy-Free Grandma’s Fruit Salad

 

How we Avoid Birthday Present Overgiftingitus

 

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. […]


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