Tag: zen

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

Since being laid off I have been trying to spend time with family and friends. My Dad is nearing retirement and has some free time as well so I have been trying to get the kids out to see him on the family property out […]

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. […]

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 prepping for my oldest’s 18th birthday party and then visiting with people until bedtime so I had to get my gardening fix in between visits with my mother and mother-in-law on Sunday. Phew. It was a very busy weekend and I am going to need a few days to recover!


Our gigantic chocolate mint plant.


I have been spending some time each weekend walking around the garden looking at how our plants are growing, seeing what needs trimming and planning out my projects for the week.  I am really pleased with how things have finally started growing now that the weather has sort of gotten warmer.  The chocolate mint plant we planted last year is really taking off.  I was afraid we had killed it with lack of attention and a dicey move to a bad spot mid-season last year (and yes we have somehow killed a mint plant in the past) but it is taking over the slope like I wanted it to.  Hopefully it will keep the slope from eroding further.



View from the bottom of the garden bed.


Last week we spent some time removing everything but the tree from our vegetable bed.  This week we filled our new planter box with soil, filled in the holes from plant removal, made mounds out of the new dirt for squash and planted all of the seedlings that were ready.  I planted cucumbers, spaghetti squash, zucchini, two tomato starts, watermelon, broccoli, bush beans, Hula berries and the remaining sunflowers, pumpkins, and Marigolds.   I am hoping to plant our luffa, green beans and peas next week as well as any remaining squash, cucumber and zucchini plants.


Marigolds, carrots and bush beans.


Our carrots have started to come up in nice neat lines although I was not able to get a close up picture of them. I planted a couple of rows of bush beans in the right half of the box that I will be massively thinning when they come up.  Last year we had pretty good luck with our bush beans so I am hoping this year will be the same.


Tomatoes, marigolds and broccoli.


In the new planter I put our remaining two tomato plants, a couple of marigolds and a couple of rows of broccoli seeds.  I am a little nervous about direct sowing but luckily it rained right after I planted so hopefully the squirrels weren’t watching me and will go dig up all of my seeds.  I am probably going to start a few more broccoli seeds inside in a few weeks to do succession planting with.  We love broccoli in our house so ideally we would grow it into late fall.




I planted the two remaining sunflowers and moved the first one closer to our pest control fence.  I wanted them right up against it since they will not shade the garden there and they do not take up too much space.  I might start more of these inside next week so that we have them all summer long. I know that my kids will love seeing them once they realize what they are.  I picked the biggest variety I could find for maximum impact.


Pumpkins, marigolds sunflowers, and watermelon.


Here is how I laid out our remaining pumpkins, the watermelon plant, sunflowers and marigolds.  I did not plan well when I planted the first few pumpkins but this year is all about seeing what fits where so next year I will know to move the rows farther away from the fence. I put the marigolds into the pot so that they will be taller than the vines and still receive enough light.  I left one mound of dirt for another watermelon plant but I doubt they will germinate.  I put our only watermelon under one of my makeshift greenhouse containers since I didn’t really harden the plants off and my daughter will be extra disappointed if we lose our watermelons again this year to the evil slugs.


Watermelon in makeshift greenhouse.


Here is our lonely watermelon plant.  I am really hoping we get at least one semi-decent fruit out of it.  My eventual goal is to have a greenhouse where I can grow these babies long term since watermelon is my favorite fruit.  I would love to have a supply straight from the garden but in the Pacific Northwest our growing season just isn’t long enough for many varieties.



Another view of the new pumpkins and the marigolds.  Hopefully they won’t be too cramped along the fence.


Zuchini, spaghetti squash, marigolds and cucumbers.


I made two long mounds along the length of the garden and planted zucchini on the left and spaghetti squash on the right.  We all love spaghetti squash so I am hoping to have a bunch grow.  I put one of the zucchinis under a makeshift greenhouse since it was small enough to fit and so that maybe it would do better.



This lovely patch of bare dirt is where the peas and green beans will hopefully go sometime soon.



A pot of marigolds near the squash.



The cucumbers got planted in between the tree and the fence.  I figured they might climb the fence a little but they also should have enough room to grow along the ground as well.  Maybe next year I will try a cucumber trellis.  Vertical gardening is very intriguing to me.



A view of the layout of the planter boxes.



We crammed a lot of vegetables into a small space so hopefully it will work out.  I love experimenting with the placement of things and I am already excited for next year and trying to figure our where I will be putting things.  I am happy with what we have done so far this year and I hope everything has enough room to grow.  It is our first time growing many of these plants so we are not familiar with exactly how big they will get.



A view from the top.



Our lettuce continues to grow.  It will need thinning soon but I am really happy with how healthy it is.  Right after I took this picture the puppy knocked over the planter but thankfully the top layer remained intact and only the second layer of lettuce dumped out. My husband filled it back up and thinned it so hopefully the lettuce will recover. If not I can always reseed.


Blueberry Flowers


During my tour of the garden I stopped to look at the blueberry flowers.  Despite being small they are very pretty and I was pleased to see that our bushes are covered in them.  Our kids will definitely be sneaking over to this section of the garden to eat them all summer!



I planted the Hula berries in this empty spot behind the blueberry bushes and sort of near our pear tree.  It is full of weeds but I pulled the biggest ones and hopefully the Hula berries will do ok there.  I plan on mulching this area eventually but we are still waiting on our trees being cut down.



Our Asian pear tree looks a little sad still.  The leaves are still coming out and it looks to have flowered a little bit but there is not much growth on it.



I am not sure what this flower is but every time I walk down the south side of the house I am struck by how beautiful the pink blossoms are against the dark green leaves.  It is definitely a plant I will be keeping!



This bush is by far my favorite secret find from the previous owners. I have been eagerly waiting for it to flower and it looks like it is getting close.  Luckily the previous owner left the tag on it and it is some sort of Korean lavender.  When it blooms the sweetest most wonderful smell permeates the yard for about a week and it is heavenly.  I can’t wait for it to be in full bloom!


After I worked outside I went back in and checked my seed starts. They were doing well and I found a few surprises!



Lo and behold a lone ground cherry seedling! I was beginning to give up on these but it looks like leaving them under the lights has possibly paid off.  We have one super tiny ground cherry start and hopefully it will grow big and strong!



I also discovered my luffa plants are beginning to sprout.  This is the first one and it looks like a couple of others are starting to break through so hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have several strong plants.  I am really excited about these since if they are successful I will be able to give them as gifts or possibly sell them at a profit.


We got a lot done in the vegetable garden this week and hopefully by next week we can get the beans and peas in with new trellises.  I am going to try and make a pea tepee out of branches found in the woods so hopefully there are a bunch the right size for the job.


Happy gardening everyone!


Gardening Update May 8th 2017

Gardening Update May 8th 2017

The weather has been cooperative so we made a huge amount of progress in the garden this week! Everything has been growing like crazy and most of the fruits are blooming which makes me very excited! My gigantic hydrangeas are almost all the way leafed […]

Garden Update April 23, 2017

Garden Update April 23, 2017

We have finally been able to make some progress on our garden this week.  Our pumpkin and sunflower seedlings are growing well and are almost ready for hardening off and transplant.  I checked this morning and the watermelon seedlings are just starting to peek through […]

Spring in our Garden

Spring in our Garden


The leaves are just starting to come out on our plants and bulbs are beginning to come up. I thought I would post some pictures from around the garden to show the current state it is in. Most of the plants in our garden are ornamental. The previous owners planted several of each type to run their flower business.  We had about 10 hydrangeas and heavenly bamboos, several azaelas, fuchsias and honeysuckles and a large number of both male and female skimmias. They all require a lot of maintenance to keep them trimmed and looking nice which I am not so excited about.  We have given away about 20 of the smaller ones, mostly in the front garden area and along the side of the house but as you can see in the pictures there are still many more left.  I am hesitant to remove too many of them since we have a very healthy bee population I don’t want to disturb.



Gigantic bushes the bees love.



We have a relatively isolated front bed we will eventually turn into a vegetable garden.  Currently there is some sort of tree, some white and purple butterfly bushes, some heavenly bamboo, some succulents that take over everything and several other low growing flowers. Last year we cleared a large section of it and installed a vegetable bed we inherited from our neighbor (free garden supplies are my favorite!). Our plans this year are to add another vegetable box next to the first one and to install a fence to help with pest management.  Last year all of our starts except for tomatoes, beans and hot peppers were eaten. I am slightly discouraged by the holes I keep finding in the ground and when we turned the soil in our first garden bed. Please don’t make the same mistake as I did and let your children turn the bed by themselves..I found a large amount of our “good” soil squashed in with the “bad” stuff all around our garden bed. I may need to add more this year so it isn’t too shallow.  We will be growing tomatoes, pumpkins, beans, peppers and carrots in these beds. I have also started sunflowers and watermelons but they will be planted in the ground.



Front Vegetable Bed



I would also like to work on the South side of the house but we are experiencing some drainage issues there so they need to be resolved before we can start. I am torn between several ideas.  I would love to add a greenhouse along this side, but we also need a play structure for the kids and somewhere to put chickens…my list is long and usable space is small since we are on a slope.  As you can see the yard is a bit of a mess right now.  We badly need to put down a weed barrier and mulch everything but time is a huge issue for us. I am also trying to do everything as frugally as possible and reuse materials whenever we can.  We are having a tree removed asap and I am hoping they will be able to provide us with some wood chips to spread along the pathway to prevent further erosion.



View down the south side of the house.



My two gigantic hydrangea bushes in the front are beginning to leaf.  I love these bushes.  Last year they were covered in gigantic blue flower clusters.  We had hydrangeas on the kitchen table for months.  My daughter would carry them around the yard shaking them like pom poms and yelling at the top of her lungs.  It was the best free entertainment for both her and us.  She is hilarious.  I can’t wait for this year when she teaches the baby how to shake the “ya yas”. He will love it. As you can see, this bed needs some TLC. I have trimmed two of the sword ferns, yanked out the opportunistic succulent starts and weeded, and weeded and weeded.  It still is covered in weeds.  I am going to mulch this bed for sure this year.  On the street side is our asparagus and some herbs my husband planted.  We will also be installing a fence at some point that will cut through this bed so it will need a little rearranging.



Large bed at the front of the yard.



I also took some time today to check out our fruit trees and bushes.  Our combination apple tree that we planted last year is beginning to leaf out.  We recently planted an Asian pear and a pear combo that we got at Costco (our favorite place to shop) that look like in another week or so will begin to leaf.  I was very pleased and a little worried that our Shortcake raspberry (planted last year) is spreading farther out than I thought it would.  It is supposed to be small and compact, great for containers but I found several starts surrounding it. I may move it to a container to prevent further spreading since I also was gifted some large raspberry canes from a local Buy Nothing group member.  I have no idea what variety they are but I know for sure they will spread so I placed them temporarily in the garden until I can make a box for them. Our blueberries are beginning to leaf and we are waiting to plant our third one until after I gift a white hydrangea left over from the previous owners.



Shortcake Raspberry starts.



Whew. I didn’t even get to the back yard today and already my list is super long. Happy gardening!


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 […]



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 […]

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