Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garden Update ~ Container Garden

Now, this is where I feel most comfortable as I tried it last year and had some marginal success.  I did opt for larger pots this year, hoping that will help.  I also tried a different potting mix and made it more like the mix I used in the raise beds.

For my pots this year I used a mixture of potting soil, peat hummus, mushroom compost and vermiculite, using organic whenever possible.

We have a selection of plants, and here's where most of my heirlooms are right now.  I currently have my jalepenos up here, but am debating moving the pots down closer to the beds.  At any rate, we have two kinds of grape tomatoes (red and yellow), a larger tomato called Black Pineapple, a special cucumber plant we wanted to try call Dragon's Egg (they are white), some some red and yellow onions and a few garlic.  Here are just a couple of early morning pics (sorry, didn't get the tomatoes or dragon's egg cucumber yet)...


jalepeno, one bloom

And that's the garden so far...will update in a few weeks or when the first bits of harvest come in!  Hope you have a fabulous day and if you're growing something, be sure to let me know where you blogged about it so I can check it out!


Garden Update ~ Raised Beds

This year, after 15 years of living in this house we just discovered that one of the trees on the side of the house is a white mulberry tree.  That was a thrill this summer!   Back by this tree is also one of the only mainly sunny spots in our not-front-yard.  This area is where I put in the two beds.  After viewing Back To Eden film, I decided to give it a try only make it into a square-foot garden.  When I got going, I decided to make two beds, based on the "walls" I had that were "preset" size.  One bed ended up being 5'x5' and the other ended up being 4'x4'.

In the 5'x5' bed I have some radishes, zucchini and cucumber.  They are doing wonderfully and I was so excited to see the zucchini blooming this morning and watch a big ol' bumble bee come and buzz around the cucumber flowers.  

Upper Two Pics:  Cucumbers.  Lower Three Pics:  Zucchini Squash

In the 4'x4' bed is watermelon and okra.  We are struggling with these two this year.  Originally direct-sowed 3 watermelon and 6 okra.  Only two okra came up.  So, started seeds in pots~ 3 watermelon and 4 okra.  Only one watermelon germinated and while all four okra germinated, three were killed in transplant.  So, we are down to limited numbers and lots of space left in this bed.  I'll use this bed for spinach/lettuce/cabbage later this fall.  Something has been eating the leaves of the okra plants, so praying hard that they manage to come up and survive. Because of couple weeks delay in germinating, these are not as large as other plants yet, just made the cut on seeding.

Malali Watermelon


And now we finish up on the deck!  See you in a few...


Garden Update ~ Front

We tore out some monster shrubs last year that were in front of our home.  When deciding what to replace it with, we knew we wanted a ground cover.  I remembered a landscaping show I had watched that talked about using strawberry plants as ground cover in place of ivy or something else.  Since I love strawberries it was a no-brainer.  Last year I planted ten, and then in an effort to kill the snails/slugs that were eating the fruit, I accidentally killed most of them.  :(  Four or five came back (though a couple have since died), and so I purchased three more from farmer's market.  It will be a couple of years before they "cover" the area intended, but until then, they still look awfully nice out there.

June Bearing Strawberry

Also in this "bed" area, I have a few plants called "Mole Fear" which I picked up from local Farmer's Market.  Last year our neighbor had some moles going through their yard.  I thought it wouldn't hurt to try.  These plants have an oil in their roots to keep moles away.  I will say, they must have worked because the moles did not come over into our yard (and there is no fence to prevent them).  That said, it doesn't work on other types of critters, like ground squirrels.  They are supposed to be annuals, but two of the three plants came back this year, and here's one of them, bolting (flowering).

Mole Fear, in bloom

Over to the side, we have three huge planters and in those I have Roma tomato plants.  They have been flowering for about a week now and I just noticed our first Roma tomato growing (this morning!)  Can you see it?

Our first Roma!
Oh!  I also have some very delicious smelling basil growing in one of the Roma pots, and a second one growing by itself in a pot on the front stoop.  This one is Cinnamon Basil.  The only problem is that both plants are starting to turn woody too quickly.  I'm wondering if the crazy temperature cycles are doing it (one week 90s, one week 70s, repeat.)

Cinnamon Basil

And finally, I couldn't wait for my tomato seedlings to grow, so I gave in and purchased and Early Girl Tomato plant.  It will probably be the last year I do this since I'm trying hard to switch over to all heirlooms and organic (non-gmo, etc.).  But this little plant has been a good producer.  We've had over half a dozen tomatoes from it, lost about 7-10 when it kept getting knocked over, but there are still a bunch on the vines, as you can see.  This plant also sits on my front stoop (don't want the tomatoes out front to pollinate with my heirlooms in back).

Early Girl tomatoes 

And that's the garden update for the front of the house...onto the back!



Well, you all might or might not know about my attempts at gardening.  If you were a follower last spring, then you know I was determined to grow at least one little carrot (well, not a carrot, but one little something...anything!).  It was a big learning year.  We managed to eek out a handful or two of strawberries, got a couple of cucumbers (most didn't pollinate right), and a whole slew of cherry tomatoes and a few hot peppers and tiny bell peppers.  Not too shabby.

This year I wanted to try again, and after watching this documentary (Back to Eden), I was inspired to give raised bed gardening a try, combining it a bit with square foot gardening since there aren't many areas in my back yard that get a substantial amount of sunshine each day.  I also decided to stick with the tried and true front little "bed" and my container garden on the deck, though I did buy bigger pots this year.  With this method, I use a lot less water because the natural mulch holds in the moisture longer another plus for our budget.

I am trying to switch over to all heirloom, but didn't get to this year.  I did support my local farmer's market though and purchased some plants from there.  Hoping next year will be a straight heirloom year.

BTW, if you haven't already watched the above-mentioned documentary, it's really chock full of information and just good fun about God's covering and how this man came to garden the way he does.  My favorite part is when he tells a man that he needs to "ask his mentor" about something, then he goes inside and prays.  I think we often forget God is everything to us.  That just tickled me when he said that though, lol.  :) 

Okay, back to my garden.  Since this is the first time sharing with you, have some pretty pics and it might get a little long.  To break it up and make it easier to digest (pardon the pun), will separate the areas into separate posts and include the pics there.  :)

What have you planted this year?   How is your garden doing?

Slacker Blogging

Okay, first off, giving a shout out to my girl (you know who you are, J!  LOL) who reminded me that I've been slacking when it comes to the blog!

<hanging head>

Of course, she's correct but in my defense I have been very busy in real life so at least the blog slacking has not been in vain.  It's been a whirlwind of activity around our home for the past two months.  I hope to catch you all up soon with photos, memories and fun.

Missed you all much!