Tag: vegetables

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

 

 

 

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 […]

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 been blanching and freezing small batches of green beans a couple of times a week since we have an over abundance of produce at the moment. It is wonderful to have fresh produce from the garden every day! I have already noticed a reduction in our grocery bill.

 

 

I went to go take pictures of the bush beans we have been harvesting and I discovered that we had eaten most of them! There are still some smaller ones left that should ripen in the next week or two but then we will be done with green beans until our pole beans start to produce some time in the next few weeks.

 

 

We only have two pumpkins so far but this one is gigantic.  I have been excitedly watching it grow over the past few weeks and my daughter finally got a good look at it the other day. We have decided that it is wonderful even if it doesn’t ripen. We will still carve it green!

 

 

There are several spaghetti squash in various stages of growth around the garden.  They are definitely an exercise in patience! Spaghetti squash is a family favorite and they seem to be taking forever to ripen.  Our very first one is just starting to turn yellow so I am hoping we can harvest it soon. We will be curing most of them so we can eat them in the winter but I want to try one this summer for sure!

 

 

I planted some radishes a few weeks ago and they are growing nicely. I completely forgot to write down when they popped up so I could keep track of when they would be ready to pick but I will be thinning them this week so I can check on their progress then.

 

 

They are kind of hard to see but my daughter and I planted our bottle gourd seedlings last weekend. They are doing well in their new space, crammed in front of some squash plants and an errant pumpkin vine.  I will definitely need to plant pumpkins somewhere else next year. They take up way too much space!

 

 

Our pole beans finally seem to be getting some legs on them.  I checked them again yesterday and one of them is already a couple of feet taller than our tepee so I will have to figure out a solution for that soon.

 

 

My ground cherry plant that I spent many months hoping would germinate and then carefully keeping healthy under the grow light has a couple of ripe fruits! My daughter was very excited to eat the first couple of them.  Our volunteer ground cherries are doing well and have some of the largest fruits I have seen, some are the size of a large grape.

 

 

We have two cucumbers. They aren’t very long but they are definitely fat! We ate the larger one last night and it was delicious! I will probably harvest the other one in the next day or two. I double checked our seed packet and the cucumbers are supposed to grow to 10 inches but this particular plant had several female blossoms shrivel up so I think it can’t support too many large cucumbers at once.  I have read it is better to harvest them to encourage new fruit.  Our cucumber vines are still pretty small at this point but I am a little nervous for how many they will produce later in the summer!

 

 

I thought I would also post a more general picture of the garden.  We have had a ton of growth since the last time I posted one.  Our tomatoes are coming along nicely but our broccoli is still struggling.  I am going to plant seed starts indoors ASAP for a fall/winter crop.  Adding the lavender plants to our garden has really helped with pollination.  Our marigolds all got eaten by slugs but I am sure we will have more next year since I think they are self-seeding.  We are having a huge problem with both crows and squirrels eating a majority of the squash blossoms but it hasn’t really affected our yellow zucchini or spaghetti squash production so I am not too worried about it. They are mostly eating the male blossoms so we aren’t able to harvest and eat any but honestly we haven’t had time anyways.

 

I am really glad we planted such a large vegetable garden this year! I am excited for more veggies to come! What is going on in your garden this week?

 

 

 

 

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 […]

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

Easy Vegetarian Burritos

We have been trying to eat both healthier and cheaper in our house and besides beans one of the ways I have been trying to do that is to add more squash into our diet.  I love squash.  I am really excited about our zucchini […]

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 weeding and cleaning up the back yard. Whew. It was a lot of work but well worth it in the end.

 

 

Our first ripe strawberries happened this week. Our daughter ate a few of them but the rest were stolen by our thieving squirrel. I had to chase him off twice and just now when I went out to turn on the soaker hose I discovered he had left a half ripe one on the sidewalk.  Luckily we are all strawberried out from picking them last weekend so our daughter didn’t even notice.  Usually she is way more on top of that sort of thing.

 

 

The lettuce in the top of our strawberry tower continues to flourish and our three year old continues to be the only one eating it.  She spends most of her time in the front yard randomly telling me she is going to eat a piece and then running over there and chowing down.  It is awesome because she will not eat lettuce in the house.  We haven’t been eating a lot of salad lately and I honestly prefer romaine lettuce but I should really pick some of it so we can eat it. Maybe I will put some in my salad next week.  I need to buy more seeds so I can do some succession planting.  I have a long planter I want to fill with a variety of lettuce but just haven’t gotten around to.

 

 

 

Our apple tree has a couple of apples. I was really surprised since we planted it only a year ago. I thinned a few of the smaller ones but I am on the fence about the remaining ones.  I have heard conflicting information about whether to leave apples on the tree before the third year and honestly I haven’t had time to look it up again to double check.  So far of the 5 varieties on our combination tree the only two with fruit are the Gravenstein and the Gala. I will probably end up removing them. I think we also need to prune back our tree a bit since it is a little leggy so I will definitely have to read up on my apple tree care this week!

 

 

Our bush beans are doing well.  I thinned them a bit after I took this picture but I am still having a hard time ripping seedlings out since they are all so healthy. I know that they will be too crowded though so eventually we will be down to about 4 based on the space available in the bed.  I will continue to pull a couple out every week until we are at a good number.

 

 

Our carrots are doing ok.  They are finally growing a little bit but not super fast.  We didn’t have much luck with these seeds last year.  There is a lot of room in this bed so I may grow some fast growing plants such as radishes on the edges while the beans and carrots grow since I am running out of room in my garden.  I have heard that is a way to increase your crop yield but it may need more soil amending than I am ready to do.

 

 

Our broccoli seems to be having a hard time getting started.  All of our seedlings are still small and a little leggy so I may start some other plants inside for crop succession since we eat a lot of broccoli.  I am just really short on time and a little concerned that the garden will get away from me if I plant too much.

 

 

The luffa plants are in the ground with their trellis and doing well. I may have to guide them towards the trellis with some string but they have grown a couple of inches since I planted them a week ago which is fabulous!

 

 

So I am only partially certain these are both cucumbers.  We may have mixed up our seedlings since I only labeled the front of the rows and I didn’t warn my husband when he brought me some and then I may have forgotten and mixed them up even further but hey, it will be a nice surprise later?  I don’t have enough trellises so I planted these two along the fence hoping they would grow up the fence if they needed more space.  I am quickly realizing we need a much bigger garden if we are to grow the amount of food I want to.

 

 

Our green beans are starting to come up under our tepee and I am really excited about it.  The little kids are going to have a ton of fun sitting in there while I garden sneaking fresh green beans.  I really with I had room for a bigger crop of green beans so that we could freeze a bunch but maybe next year.

 

 

 

 

Our squash continue to do well.  The zucchini is really taking off.  I was slightly crazy and planted my last zucchini plant so we have four total with a couple of yellow squash and possibly some spaghetti squash.  That is a lot of squash for us. I put some Mylar firecracker decorations in the squash and pumpkin beds because I suspect the squirrel is eating some of the blossoms.  I did some research and Mylar strips are supposed to keep both birds and squirrels out and we happened to be at the craft store and saw these with the Fourth of July decorations.  They are pretty garish but I love them.  Hopefully they work.

 

 

 

Both our Shortcake and our mystery raspberries are doing well.  We have a number of berries on the larger variety and I am hoping I will be able to freeze some of them.

 

 

The blueberries continue to look delicious.  I am really excited to eat them later this year!

 

 

My gigantic Hydrangea bushes in the front are covered in blossoms.  They seem to have grown at least two feet in the last month as well and I can no longer get even close to trimming them back to a decent height.  I am pretty sure I will be majorly chopping these back this year and probably won’t get any blossoms on them next year but I am ok with that because they are completely taking over the space and it is going to be a nightmare trimming all of those flowers.  Last year there were probably a third of the blossoms and I spent several hours a week deadheading these bushes alone.

 

 

I thought I would post a picture of our small herb garden.  We planted Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and Sage last year.  They Rosemary didn’t make it through the winter and I have yet to buy another plant.  For some reason I keep not liking the ones I see in the store or they are tiny.  We also have some garlic in there that we planted last spring that probably should have been harvested.  I will probably pull one up at the end of the summer and see how they are doing.  We are going to have to redo this section after a little bit since the plants are starting to crowd together.

 

I think the next few weeks will be interesting as the garden really starts to take off with the nicer weather.  We are planning on removing all of the ivy in the back by mid-July so we can install our back fence.  We have made some progress but there is quite a bit of it and we haven’t had time with all of the end of the school year stuff going on.  I also really need to weed the side yards and start trimming all of the bushes that tend to overgrow.  I need to move or find homes for several bushes in order to put the fence in and that will take some time as well.

 

What’s happening in your garden this week?

 

 

Hickies - No Tie Elastic Shoelaces

 

 

 

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 […]


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