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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plans Starting For Next Year's Garden

Two Summers ago Todd made these crop row covers when we attempted to start new cucumbers after the cucumber beetle destroyed the crop we had. The past Summer Todd did not have the time for the garden as he has in the past because of his job and I did not have as much mobility yet because of my knee. We did not use the crop covers last season and we have decided very much to use them this coming up. The covers are made with some small piping, tulle, and clothes line clips. The covers will prevent the bugs destroying our crop. We will have to remove the covers once we see blooms but hopefully the bugs will be gone by then or at least less of them. I hope we are successful with the Diva cucumbers again next year, because they do not need pollinated to grow cucumbers, so I see the crop covers on through out the season except for weeding. One of our Thanksgiving weekend shopping was 2 bolts of tulle. We now have 40 yards of tulle to make crop row covers. I hope this will work.

Not only have we been planning on how to improve our crop but Todd has also been creative for containers for us to plant are seedlings come March. Can you believe it basically in 3 months we will begin to plant for next Summer's garden. I love having a creative husband. We have found our favorite light yogurt is Wal-Mart brand. The containers are not the typical round containers. Todd thought that these would make excellent containers to add the proper dirt and seeds to. He is right. How smart is that as well as recycling (going green)? We normally would just put them in the recycle bin, but now I am washing them and saving them for our future plants. Yeah Todd!

Great Buy!

Mrs. Wages we have found is the best salsa recipe for canning. This is also the same brand we use for the pasta, chili base, and pickles. We have used different brands for the pickles but Mrs. Wages taste much better. Next Summer I may experiment and make my own pasta sauce to see if I can make a low sodium one but I will not make a lot of it since we do not know if it will taste better. Todd went to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and found a bargain. Each packet was $.25. Typically they are any where from $2.50-$2.75. I am already looking forward to canning since we did not do very much of it this year and we have a huge start already for next year. He picked up 7 salsa, 3 pasta sauce, and 6 hot salsa. Each packet makes 5 quarts. We had picked up already 4 salsa, 2 pasta sauce, and pickle packets last Spring. My goal each year is to have 15 quarts of pasta sauce, 10 pints of chili base, 10 pints each type of salsa. I would like to make baskets with canning goodies for our Mothers and any child living away from home too next year. I do not think we need to pick up any more for salsa. I hope we have a great crop of tomatoes next year. I'm sad we were unable to do no canning this year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

End of Garden Season 2010 & We Found Carrots!

The weather is getting colder and the time to prepare the garden for next year is a little over due. Threats of snow this week put Todd and I into action. We both did not want anything to do with the garden after the type of year we had, yet we want a great year for next year. On Thursday, Todd had pulled weeds and plants he also told me we still had carrots. I did not think much of it because our garden was not that much of a success this year. I do remember that he found a carrot in the ground in the Spring that was left from last year. It had no step just the carrot in the ground, so I kind of thought of that when he was talking about the carrots.

Today we put the cages and stakes away. We also took apart the container garden. The boys helped out. I love it when they help it. It is more then cutting the time down, it is more then just getting help. (Yes, I love that part too.) I love it because partly that is what family does, help out and pitch in. I also have hopes that they will pick up some of this and when they have their own place they will garden too. Right now, they do not show any interest but I do hope that they see all the benefits a garden gives one. I also hope it shows a little of "Going Green". How composting helps not only our garden but the environment. Last year we did better at recycling and compost and I hope to put this action into play once again. I need to get a container to put our waste that we can compost. The main reason I love this is that it is something they can do together (we all can do) and get away from electronic gadgets. Joshua and Ethan were taking the planters from the container garden and wheel borrowing them to the the patio where we removed what plants were left and dumping the soil into a big barrel.

The boys came to me showing me a carrot they pulled and were about to toss it at one another. This is something Todd started a few years back when cleaning out the garden. He and Joshua would take old tomatoes and see if they could hit a tree or play golf with it and seeing how far they could put it. They were laughing because it was a huge baby carrot. I mean huge, like a potato. I looked at the containers on the picnic table and noticed two tubs of carrots still and told the boys not to throw them, we could eat the carrots. Todd turned around and looked at the carrot the boys brought. We all went over to the carrots and pulled several carrots. There were a few very small ones that Todd would toss to the boys to have fun with. I loved watching them all laugh, including Todd smiling at them. We definitely had found more then a bunch of carrot today in our garden. I sliced the carrots for crock pot meals or possibly stews. Tomorrow night we do plan on chicken with veggies in the crock pot, our carrots will be an addition for sure.



I compared the baby carrot that is store bought to our baby carrots that we pulled from the garden today.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Disappointing Season

This year was a total bust with our garden. It was definitely a disappointment. The green beans were bountiful as well as the cabbage. Unfortunately that was about it. We were able to can 5 quarts of salsa, however Todd forgot to add the vinegar so we were unable to store it. I froze 19 quarts of green beans and yellow beans, however one of the children left the deep freezer open, so we lost all of them.

Within the next week we MUST prepare the garden for next spring. We will definitely be searching on new methods. This is the second year in a row we have had problems with tomatoes. The end up with some sort of fungus and this year had black mold on top of it. It did not matter if the plants were in the ground, pots, or hanging, they all came down with this fungus problem. We did have a lot of rain at first. Research will be a must this winter.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bacon and Vinegar Glazed Sugar Snap Peas

A new recipe for dinner tonight. Another big hit.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of bacon, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 packets of sweetener
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the minced bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the fat has rendered out and the bacon has begun to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the sugar snap peas, and toss to coat with the fat. Cook and stir until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cooked bacon. Continue cooking until the balsamic has reduced, and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Easy Garden Green Beans

We tried this new recipe for Todd's Birthday Dinner. It was a hit in our house.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Set a steamer basket insert into a large saucepan and fill with water to a level just below the steamer. Bring to a boil. Add green beans, and steam to your desired degree of tenderness, or about 5 minutes.
  2. Once the beans have cooked, transfer them to a serving bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and Parmesan cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove garlic slices and garnish with parsley before serving.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two More Summer Delicacy Recipes

Marinated Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers sliced
1/2 t of dill weed
1 T sugar (or sweetener)
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c mayonnaise

Combine cucumbers with other ingredients and chill for 1 to 2 hours stirring occasionally


Marinated Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber
1/2 c vinegar
2 T of sugar (or sweetener)
1 onion
1/2 c water
1/4 t salt
Dash of pepper

Slice thinly the cucumber. Thin slice onion and separate rings. Combine ingredients and pour over cucumber and onions. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Soil Trouble

We figured out some of our problems with the garden.

Tomatoes, we are not still how it came down with some sort of fungus disease other then too much water and the leaves getting wet, but we also have black mold on our tomatoes. Most of our tomatoes we will not be able to use. Due to this problem, we are not going to be able to can any tomatoes from this years crop. Our new plants are getting the fungus disease already. I found something that is suppose to help prevent several types of fungus disease for tomato plants and we are going to try it out next year.

3 cups of compost
1/2 cup of powdered nonfat milk
1/2 cup of Epsom salts
1 tbsp. of baking soda

Sprinkle a handful of the mixture into each planting hole. For additional disease defense, sprinkle a little more powdered milk on top of the soil after planting, and repeat every few weeks throughout the growing season.

We also plan to test the soil to see if something is going on with the soil as well. This may answer some questions as to why one half of the garden thrives more as well.

Our corn did not grow very tall and therefore we have small ears of corn. This we found out was because of lack of nitrogen...too much water in the soil makes the soil lose nitrogen. The soil test will help for our corn next year as well. It's too late this year for these crops but we are trying to plan for better crop next year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stuffed Banana Peppers

Another Summer delicacy of ours is stuffed banana peppers. Last year was our first year growing banana peppers and Todd came across a recipe for stuffed banana peppers. Oh what a treat they were. We definitely had to include banana peppers as a regular in our garden because nothing is better then fresh banana peppers stuffed.

Ingredients

1 pound ground sausage
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice 1 cup water 6 large/medium bell peppers
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
shredded cheese to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned.
  3. Slice down the banana pepper, remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the banana peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.
  4. In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
  5. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender. The last 15 minutes top the peppers with shredded cheese and sprinkle Italian Seasoning.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wascally Wabbits

This Summer we have a problem with rabbits. Our neighbor behind us has an owl posted. I'm not sure if this is one of many reasons why they are in our yard more then last year or what. I have seen several little baby bunnies crawling under our next door neighbor's yard. I'm not sure what they have on their side of the privacy fence, but I do know they have several gardens.

Last year's population was deleted some because one of the neighbors would shoot them with a pellet gun. Abrasive I know but it worked. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us.

The rabbits seem to love my new lily garden. I am not going to have the experience to view my Stargazer Lilies this year. My Casa Blanca was just about to bloom and they striped the entire plant and left only the stem. I have other lilies that the stem wasn't even left in tact. I'm afraid my Starfighter will be next. It's about to have several what I can imagine beautiful blooms too.

I did some research this morning to see how to rid these rascals. My Mom used to put my nephews hair throughout her garden. I came across that on the Internet. Hmmm...I just think that hair would not be attractive. I didn't like it in my Mom's garden back then either, it just takes away from the beauty in my opinion. I heard about blood meal, pepper, Tabasco Sauce but one will need to reapply said things when it rains and this late Spring and early Summer we have had too much rain. I thought about buying an owl as well. This will assist with ground squirrels too. I could put up the little decorative fences around it, but I really would like to do that as a last resort.

I stumbled across several plants that the rabbits do not like. Someone posted:
a = annual, p = perennial, zone 5
  1. lantana - a
  2. asters - a
  3. iris - p
  4. hosta - p
  5. violets - p
  6. eliotrope - a
  7. rhododendron - shrub
  8. pentas - a
  9. lunaria - biennial
  10. foxglove - biennial
  11. tomato plants - a
  12. rosemary - a
  13. lavender - p
  14. ageratum - a
  15. stokesia - p
  16. nemesia - a
  17. butterfly bush - p
  18. cleome (self-seeding)
  19. begonia - a
  20. azalea - shrub
  21. 4'0'clocks - a
  22. alyssum - a
  23. scented geraniums - a
I have never noticed any rabbits ravishing my hostas on this side of the shed years before, I understand why now. Thinking back, I only had problems with the flower bed in front of the shed prior to me planting the alyssums. I typically plant this flower as a border, but my seeds starters didn't take this year and I didn't want to buy the plants to plant since I was buying the actual flowers for other gardens. Next year this is a must. I also think that some of these plants listed above attract butterflies and they will be placed in that garden next year.

Unfortunately, I can't save what was eaten, nor will the lilies spread next year since they didn't flower, but next year alyssums are definitely back in my garden as borders.

Oh, I also read that the rabbits do not like cocoa bean mulch. I like my red mulch because it goes so well with the trim, but if the alyssums don't work, then I just might try changing the mulch.



Monday, July 5, 2010

Harvesting...What's for Dinner


Today we harvested 3 large zucchinis, 1 yellow squash, yellow wax beans, a handful of sugar peas, and 1 green tomato. Oh and 1 onion.

I don't think we will have more then 2 more zucchinis this year because of the Squash Vine Boar. They killed our entire plant of Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash. This was our first year planting them and I was so looking forward to the Spaghetti Squash.

I believe our Tomatoes have early blight disease. Still checking into it. We may not have more then one crop of tomatoes this year.

It's been such a disappointing season so far with our garden. We planned and looked forward all winter long and to lose so many things and the rain working against us with our peas, corn, and tomatoes.

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We took advantage of the yellow wax beans for dinner... I am wanting different recipes for the beans and I am in hopes of finding a good one. Tonight's dinner I just fixed them very simple by boiling in salt water for 4 minutes.

I also made our first summer delicacy...fried green tomatoes. Here again I use a very simple recipe. One green tomato, flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. I tend to go light on salt and pepper because each person has their own taste and they can always add more to their taste buds. You slice your tomato. While you are slicing your ripe green tomato, you should have a skillet with little vegetable oil heating. When the oil is hot enough, you coat both sides of the tomato in your flour mixture and place into the skillet. You want to pay attention so your tomatoes do not burn. You will need to fry both sides of the tomato. I have found that using tongues is much easier then a flipper or spatula for turning the tomato. When both sides are lightly browned, it is time to remove from your skillet. Season once more with pepper and salt. We have used an egg wash before dipping in the flour. The outside of the tomato is a little more crisper. We have also added Wheat Germ to the flour before as well. This gave it a different taste, it was still good.

Tonight's Dinner was grilled tomato basil chicken ka-bob, veggie ka-bob, small yellow potatoes, yellow wax beans, and fried green tomatoes. What a summer treat!

Pest...You Darn Rascals! You will get yours!

I have never been a bug fan. In 7th grade we had to collect bugs as an assignment. Icky, I hated it. Now I find I'm not bug fan in many ways. The pest are killing some of our crops and I need to educate myself on this. Todd has so much more knowledge then I do, but he has been very busy with the new Communication Center that he hasn't been able to work in our garden as he normally does, well that and the weather. Every day off he has it rains, so I am going to attempt to help as much as my knee will allow.

I have been reading up on Squash Vine Boar bugs and Squash Beetle. They have taken a good portion of our squash this year. Here is what I learned about these pest and ways to help prevent.

Squash bug adults are approximately 5/8-inch long, dark brown or mottled, and hard-shelled. They have a long, shield-like shape and membranous-looking wing tips. They give off an odor in large numbers or when crushed.( I haven't noticed this, so maybe we are safe as in not having them in large numbers.) Nymphs are delicate, with bright orangish-red heads, legs, and antennae; the abdomen is green. As the nymphs age, they become grayish-white with dark legs. They range in size from 1/10 to 2/5 of an inch. Squash bug eggs are easy to identify. The orange-yellow eggs are each about 1/16-inch in length. Eggs appear in neatly ordered rows on the underside of host-plant leaves. They gradually change to a bronze color as hatch nears. (I think we are in trouble here. I found several eggs on one of our leaves that are bronze in color. )

Squash vine borers overwinter as larvae or pupae in the soil. Adult moths emerge in the spring and deposit eggs on the plants. Disk-shaped, dark-reddish-brown eggs are laid singly on the plant near the base. After hatching, the larvae penetrate the plant stem and burrow toward the base. An individual adult can lay from 150 to 250 eggs. (That is a lot of bugs.) Occasionally, small borers may also enter leaf stems. The burrowing larvae destroy the whole plant or the invaded runner to wilt and die. Feeding may continue for four to six weeks. A sticky gob of excrement (which resembles wet sawdust) typically marks the entrance site. If a vine dies before the borer has completed its larval cycle, the larva can migrate to a neighboring plant and resume feeding there. The squash vine borer larvae are whitish, wrinkled, brown-headed worms that can grow to about 1 inch in length. The adult moth, a member of the clear-winged moth family, has clear wings with metallic green-black and orange colors on the body and wing fringes. The moth is a day flier, and looks like a wasp. Generally, only one generation per year is produced in northern state.

Iowa State University Organics Research Program conducted trials of various control methods for squash bug and squash vine borer. Researchers found that mulching with newspaper and hay, combined with tightly secured row covers on the plots, provided very effective control of both weeds and squash bugs. Todd did the mulching with newspaper and hay last year in the main garden. This year I think we should do the same to our squash beds.

Other options to help prevent diseases are:
  • Row Covers~physically exclude pests and prevent them from reaching the plants in large numbers. Uncover about the time the female blooms are about to bloom.
  • Plant later in the year, about now. The bugs are less active in July to mid July.
  • An experimental technique for squash bug control is companion planting with repellent plants such as catnip, tansy, radishes, nasturtiums, or marigolds. I have a huge box of marigolds. I recall many gardens with marigolds in it. I guess this flower assists in many ways.
Striped cucumber beetles larval stage only feed on roots of cucurbit plants. Overwintering adults feed on the pollen, petals and leaves of early blooming plants, especially flowering plants in the rose family, in spring before migrating to cucurbit fields. Adults also feed on the leaves and
flowers of corn, beans and peas during the growing season and on goldenrods, sunflowers
and asters later in the season. However, both species of striped cucumber beetles are known as specialist feeders because the beetles highly prefer cucurbit plants and fruits. The beetles produce one or two generations per growing season in northern regions.
Cucumber beetles injure cucurbit crops by:
  • Direct feeding by larvae can injure crop roots and disrupt plant growth. Direct feeding by adults can stunt seedlings and damage maturing fruits.
  • Cucumber beetles transmit bacterial wilt, which causes plants to quickly wilt and die. Bacterial wilt is a major problem for many vegetable growers.
Plants that the Cucumber Beetle prefers: (listed as greatest to least)
  1. cucumber
  2. cantaloupe
  3. honeydew
  4. casaba melon
  5. winter squash
  6. pumpkins
  7. summer squash
  8. watermelon
Row covers can make a difference between harvestable crop and crop failure. However, row covers will need weed control because this will create a favorable environment for weeds. The first 30-40 days the cover can be on or until blooms begin. However it is during this time that it is critical to have no weeds. During this time a weed-suppressive mulch would be great such as plastic mulch, straw, hay, and paper. This is great for cucumbers even if the row covers are not on the seedlings, however this creates a perfect environment for the squash bugs

Most importantly for all pest is to cultivate and residue removal this can help reduce over-winterizing populations

Predators...bats, hunting spiders, web weaving spiders, and especially tachinid flies and wasp.

Information for us to think on and possibly act upon for next year's garden.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Worry, Worry, Worry!

We have had an exceptionally wet and humid Spring. Humidity is great for the garden but all this rain! I am afraid we are not going to have a very productive garden this year. Our peas are only knee to hip high. This time last year they were nearly 6-8 ft and needing a trellis. They are producing peas now too. This concerns me with the plants being so short that we will not have nearly as many peas as we did last year.

Pepper plants are stunted in growth compared to last year. Our banana peppers and hot peppers are producing peppers, the peppers themselves are nearly as big as the actual plant.

Our bush yellow wax beans, seem to be doing well, but I don't have anything to compare to since this is our first year growing them. The pole beans are doing great and we are seeing green beans now. A little earlier then last year, but I am not worried about them since they are still growing.

Tomatoes started to produce tomatoes early and the bottom leaves are yellowing from all the rain.

Corn, the first 4 rows of corn are about shoulder high, very comparable to last year, however they are starting to have tassels, this is a lot earlier then last year and at a shorter height. I don't know if this should be a concern or not.

Cucumbers the burpee are doing well so far, but we are seeing a lot of cucumber beetles and they wiped our cucumbers out last year. The Divas we had luck and we have a good two plants growing. We need to get out and put something around them to protect them from the beetles. Divas are a special breed, they can self pollinate and we don't need the bees, so we might get a good cucumber crop.

The zucchinis are producing but we lost a lot of yellow squash and the spaghetti squash to to the squash boar bug. I have done some research and will have to see if we can prevent the larva from developing for next year.

The cauliflower, doesn't seem to be doing so well, again nothing to compare with this one as well since it is our first year growing cauliflower. The broccoli seems o.k. so far and the cabbage the outer leaves have been destroyed by some sort of slug but the heads seem to be fine so far.

I am in hopes to get some pictures this weekend only if we are able to take care of all the crab grass and weeds. We haven't been able to get into it due to the rain.

We are seeing a lot of Japanese beetles again and they are eating the leaves of our green beans. I found an article and next year, I plan to plant poppies on the boarder of the garden. Japanese beetles do not like this flower. Hopefully it will take care of them.

I'm giving up on strawberries. My pot didn't thrive again this year. I think I will just go to a strawberry patch and pick them next year. I haven't been able to make strawberry jam yet.

Now I have to find something to keep the bunnies and chipmunks away from my lilies.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's A Good Thing

The weather has been perfect so far for our gardens. First time in the 3 years I have had all 3 of my Asiatic Lilies blooming the same time. Typically one is just finishing as the other starts to open up. This year I did not add the Alyssum to the border only because none of my seeds took this year. I am going to have to re-think where to start them next year. I'm thinking the closet where the furnace and water heater might be a good start for a small little green house but I will have to take a better look at that later. Next year when I start my butterfly garden, I am taking most of the Lamb's Ear out of this garden and placing it in the butterfly garden. It is over powering my flower bed. These were just 3 different 1 gallon pot plants last year that is just exploding. My Iris plants and the 2 day lilies have not even bloomed because of the Lamb's Ear. I might add something else in it's place next year, but they are definitely going. Don't take me wrong, I do like them and when they have all the purple blooms open, they are pretty. I just want to see the other plants that I planted as well.



The row of Day Lilies will be pretty next year. After I added the 4 new plants from last weekend, it is giving me a better image. Although there is 1 hosta there as well. I just didn't want to move it since it was doing great. My newest lilac bush I am concerned about. It does have new growth but the old growth seems to be dieing. I do hope it makes it. The butterfly bush seems to have taken. It is so small. I am going to have to put out some blood meal once the rain stops, the bunnies are eating my plants and I don't want them to eat this one, they have devoured some of my lilies.





The vegetable garden. WoW!!!! Well we are going to have a lot of sugar snap peas. I believe we figured out why they didn't take. Todd realized we didn't soak the seeds the first time. Now we have a lot of sprouts on the one side. I didn't notice any on the side with more shade. We have a lot of actual vegetables starting now. This broccoli started way too soon. Thankfully only one of the plants started early. We will not have big heads of broccoli from this plant. However the others are growing so large. We will have a lot of broccoli from them. The green beans are starting to attach to the fence. This is a very good thing, we should have a bumper crop of green beans is all goes well still. Most of the radish is ready for us to harvest. They are getting huge and some have went to bloom so I hope those are still good enough to eat. We haven't been able to get out to pick them due to the rain. We need a dry day to have the soil not so wet when we get in there. We have our first head of cauliflower growing. This is so exciting because we have never grown cauliflower before. The carrots are taking off. I think we are going to have some great frozen mixed veggies for this Fall and Winter straight from our own garden.
The Roma tomatoes are starting to have tomatoes now. Last year we were disappointed with our tomatoes, I hope we have a better season this year. Last year, it was a cooler Summer and that had a lot to do with it. Our corn, I can't believe how big they are. The first 4 rows we planted will definitely be higher then knee high by the 4th of July. Our second 4 row, just might be knee high by the 4th.

We are not sure what but we think there may be some kind of slug in the garden eating on our cabbage. Once again, if it were to stop raining long enough to dry out some, we would be able to get into the garden and find the guy. We also found our first Squash Boar Bug, 2 of them yesterday. It was this bug that killed our squash plant last year. Right now our squash and zucchini are doing great. The Diva Cucumber plant didn't make it. Todd read online that many fail at having one successfully grow from seedling. We will try again next year. This afternoon we will hopefully find a cucumber plant to replace this one. Our pickling cucumber took and is doing well.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Evans Evans Quite Contrary...How Does Your Garden Grow?

The garden is coming to life! How exciting just one weeks of growth can be in our gardens. Last Saturday, we had no corn at all with all the heat and humidity our garden has taken off. I feel like a parent watching my toddler take his first step, excited yet worried. Todd and Joshua moved the old swing next to the garden. This will act as a barrier to help protect the corn from winds. Last year we had to rope our corn because of wind damage. Our picnic table will be used as a container garden center, which is perfect to keep the rabbits away. We are worried about our sugar snap peas. I'm not sure if Todd planted seeds left from last year or if they are new seeds, the right side of our garden where the peas flourished last year is sporadic. Another cause could be that it has been a warmer Spring this year compared to last year. peas do better in cooler weather. We may have planted them a little too late. Concern number two is our cucumbers. The diva's are not growing. This is a special hybrid that Todd wanted because it is suppose to be immune to wilt disease that the cucumber beetles may cause. Our pickling cucumbers are growing but not as much as our other types of squash. We might have to go buy plants and try to see if they take. The Lima beans are not sprouting at all. This is on the left side of our garden. This is the same side the sugar snap peas that didn't do as well last year. We are not sure if it is the soil or due to shade. The vine beans on the far side of the garden are taking off. I think we will have a bumper crop of green beans again this year. On the side of the entrance we are trying bush yellow waxed beans. The right side of the entrance is doing great, yet the left side is sporadic. This is exactly what happened last year with the vine green beans again we are not sure if it is the soil, since this is the soil our original garden and the rest of the garden is soil we brought in a year later when we expanded the garden or it could be due to the fact it has more shade.

My goodness the broccoli and cabbage has taken off. I just can not believe how much growth in one week. The cauliflower is a little smaller, but we have never tried cauliflower before either. The radishes and onions are doing great as well as our first 4 rows of corn. Todd planted our bell peppers, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and banana peppers today. Sometime this week the next 4 rows of corn will be planted as well as more seeds for peas and Lima beans and possibly a cucumber plant. In side our Mother Earth garden we have 9 cabbage plants, 3 cauliflower plants, 6 broccoli plants, 2 rows of radishes (once they are harvested more onions will go into the ground), 1 row of onions, 4 rows of corn started with 4 more to start. We have our row of vine green beans, row of sugar snap peas, row of bush yellow waxed beans, hopefully a row of Lima beans, 6 Roma tomato plants, 6 Better Boys tomato plants, 5 bell pepper plants, 2 hot pepper plants, 2 sweet pepper plants and 5 banana peppers.Over in our container garden area we have 3 Topsy Turvy planters. The actual Topsy Turvy have cherry tomato plants below and above. One of the hangers Todd made and it has 2 pepper plants in it. In the containers on the picnic table we have 2 tubs of carrots, 1 tub of scallion, 6 patio tomatoes, 2 cherry tomatoes, 3 peppers (unknown at this time, we know they are sweet and hot but how many each we will see.) We still have 1 cherry and 3 better boys to plant in containers.

The front landscape that I thought was going to wait next year, happened this year. We split several of our large hostas that were on the left side of the shed and transplanted some to the front. The smaller ones were placed in a ring around our large Maple tree in the front yard. I planted 2 of my new day lilies in the front along with 2 coral bells. We also added 6 solar yard lights as well. Below are pictures taken prior to adding the solar lights.

A close up after the solar lights were added. We are very happy with the outcome for now. In a few years we will need to add top soil to the front yard to cover our Maple tree's roots. After we build up the yard, we will then need to either re-seed for grass or add sod, but that will be in the future.




Two Summers ago, I began a flower bed in front of the shed, this year I have completed all sides of the shed. The left and to the right we had some large hostas. The left side, the sun shines too much on them to thrive properly. The left side we dug up all the hostas and split those that needed to be split and transplanted to the right side of the shed and to the front yard. The right side is now a row of hostas. On the left side I have added several lily bulbs and 3 lily plants. This Summer they are small just like the front was 2 Summers ago. I am hoping that they fill in just as nicely on this side. Planted on the right side is 1 starfighter lily, 4 stargazer lilies, 1 casa blanca lily, and 2 asiatic lilies (lolly pop and strawberries and cream) The back of the shed for now is a row of a variety of lilies. I don't think they will bloom this year but I am looking forward to them next Summer. On the corner of the shed on the left side is my newest lilac bush. It wasn't doing very well but it looks like I have new growth, so there is a little hope for the bush. On the opposite side, I have my new tiny butterfly bush. I am very pleased with the way the beds look around the shed. I do hope they fill out in 2 years as well as the front did. Below on the left is one of my favorite planters this year. It was placed in the large basket in the front. At the end of Fall I will take this planter indoors to keep the cala lilies going for next year. Next to the planter is one of my favorite asiatic lilies that have started to bloom this week. The lambs ear is also starting to bloom.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Beginning...2010 Growing Season

March 11, 2010

Todd started seedlings today. In the pellets: seeds were planted for Cabbage, Early Snowball Cauliflower. This year the container is being kept in the Kitchen. On the back porch, two tub gardens have been started with Baby's Leaf Spinach, Space Spinach and a variety Leaf Lettuce.

March 14, 2010
Sprouts have started in some of the pellets. Today Todd started more seedlings in the pellets for Iceberg Lettuce and Calabrese Broccoli.

Last Summer some of the flowers I started from seeds took longer then the package stated, so I am experimenting and planting some of them early. Today I started seedlings for Petunias, Impatience, Sweet Williams, and Snap Dragons. I need to pick up more Petunias and Impatience seeds.

March 16, 2010
Today we checked on the seedlings. No sprouting for the flowers, all the vegetables have sprouts now. The first rows of cabbage and cauliflower has some nice starts.

March 20, 2010

Today I planted more flower seeds for seedlings. Petunias, Pansies, and Impatience. I started my flower bulbs for 5 assorted Day Lilies, 2 Calla Lilies, and 5 Stargaze Lilies. I wasn't sure for the Stargaze which side of the bulb was up or down, so I planted 3 of them the way I thought it was up and two the other way so I am hopefully guaranteed at least 2 plants.

We checked the seedlings prior planted. The Sweet Williams and Snap Dragons had sprouts starting; Petunias and Impatience nothing. As for the veggies seedlings, all have great starts with exception of a few cabbage. The loose leaf lettuce is doing great in the tub. The tubs were placed outside on our deck.

March 24, 2010

Today the vegetable seedlings were placed out on the 3 seasonal porch for more direct sunlight. I noticed some starts on a few Petunias that were planted the first round.

April 3, 2010

Today Todd planted more seedlings. All seedlings have been in the pellets this year with exception of the tomatoes. Seeds planted today are: 6 Diva Cucumbers, 3 Butter Squash, 3 Spaghetti Squash, 3 Summer Squash, 3 Zucchini, 6 Green Peppers, 6 Hot Peppers, 6 Sweet Banana Peppers, 6 Bell Pepper Mixed, 6 Broccoli, 6 Cauliflower, 6 Cabbage. The tomatoes were planted in biodegradable pot; 4 Cherry Tomatoes, 8 Beef Steak Tomatoes, 10 Roma Tomatoes.
The prior vegetable seedlings were placed outdoors with the Spinach and Loose Leaf Lettuce. 5 Ice Berg Lettuce, 3 Broccoli, 2 Cauliflower, and 1 Cabbage made it out of 6 each from the seeds.

Flowers: All the seedlings were placed on the back porch today. The Sweet Williams and Impatience are doing great. The Snapdragons are very puny and the Petunias are barely sprouting. I planted the Alyssums today, white, rose, and royal (purple). I placed the Calla Lilies planter outdoors today. I will have to keep my eye on the weather, if we get a freeze warning, I will have to bring the pot indoors.

April 17, 2010

Todd covered the vegetable garden with black plastic, to help warm up the earth.
April 27, 2010
First set of planting of vegetables, did not make it. The second set of plantings of vegetables were transplanted into small containers. Todd also planted the next planter of lettuce.

None of the flowers made it from seed except the pansies but they are not doing well. This year we didn't have the spare bedroom where we could apply the laps to create some heat, I think this is why it didn't work as well this time.

May 2, 2010
Todd ended up deciding not to enlarge the vegetable garden this year, so we chose to work on the front yard landscaping. In a few years we plan to build a small retaining wall and level the yard some by adding more dirt. The dirt is needed for our tree, the roots are showing and the tree doesn't look as healthy.
Todd started a second container of loose leaf lettuce today.

Joshua assisted me with moving all the hostas on the side of the shed near the house. They were transplanted to the front and to the opposite side of the shed.

Ethan and Noah, dug the weeds out of the flower bed in front of the shed and I sprinkled Preveen on it and the Hosta flower bed.
The side where we had some Hostas, I planted a variety of lilies, Casa Blanca Oriential, Stargazer Oriental, Starfighter Oriental , Strawberry and Cream Asiatic, Elodie Asiatic, and Lollypop Asiatic.

The back of the shed Joshua helped me plant my different varieties of day lilies.

I can't wait to see all the new flowers bloom, it may not be until next year but my project is done with exception of adding the Alyssums.

May 4, 2010

A lot of our seedlings just didn't make it this year for veggies as well, again I think it was lack of warmth and lighting. We had to purchase our plants this year with a few exceptions that the seedlings made it, Diva Cucumber, Yellow Squash, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Spaghetti Squash, a few Big Boys, Hot Pepper, a Mixed Pepper.

Todd planted 6 Roma Tomato, 6 Big Boy Tomato plants today as well as seeds for 2 rows of radishes and 1 row of onions. The tomato plants , we placed plastic jugs over to create more warmth if the temperatures drop and to add a little protection from the winds. The border of our garden he planted seeds for sugar snap peas, green beans, Lima beans, and yellow wax beans.

In our containers Todd planted carrot seeds in 2 - 32 gallon totes.

May 6, 2010

Todd placed the fencing around the garden to keep out the high population of rabbits. He planted 6 broccoli, 6 cabbage, and 4 cauliflower plants. He staked off the area where the sweet corn will be planted.

May 9, 2010

We went to Lowe's and picked up my Mother's day gift. I wanted another lilac bush, this year it is a pink flowering bush and it was planted on the corner of the shed in the back. I am in hopes it may draw more butterflies to our yard.

We worked on the landscape in the front yard. We used the hostas that Joshua dug up in the back and worked it in as well as 2 new day lilies. It was just the beginning of the front landscaping. We need to finish the large tree in the front. Plans are to add more hostas around the trunk. I also plan to add a few more plants in the landscape next Summer as well as this Fall, trying to have a variety of flowers blooming through out the seasons.


May 15, 2010

Our first container of lettuce is ready to start harvesting.

May 16, 2010

Todd planted 4 rows of sweet corn and in two weeks the last 4 rows of sweet corn will go in, about the same time the peppers will be planted in the garden. At this time, our planting will be complete. Todd also planted the pickling cucumber, diva cucumber (this is a cucumber beetle disease resistant cucumber), yellow squash, summer squash, zucchini, and spaghetti squash. Radishes are coming in great and we are starting to see some onions now.

I planted my flower pots today. 6 were completed and the wash tub, I placed a butterfly garden seeds. This will be a temporary home this Summer for the flowers, next year we plan to build the butterfly garden. I have 3 more pots to plant but ran out of flowers.