It’s been nearly two years since I last posted. TWO YEARS! I haven’t forgotten about my little blog. It’s been quietly nagging me in the back of my mind. For two years I’ve been thinking about and meaning to get back to it, but life has been so busy. In those two years I increased the amount of hours I am at work and our two kids are now school age and involved in more activities (soccer, swimming, gymnastics, piano). I value our quiet time and we all enjoy just hanging out at home and playing in the back yard. We aren’t usually involved in that many things at one time. However, in an effort to try different things and see what the kids really enjoy (in addition to wanting the kids to learn how to swim), it feels like we’ve been overdoing it. My son informed me last night that he’s ready to take a break from swimming. Right on. He’s been doing great and has really progressed since he started winter lessons in January, but a break is definitely due.
One of the highlights of the last year is that we now have backyard chickens! I plan to write a whole post on that, but in short: husband built a coop and a run, and in March 2015 we got six Golden Comet chicks (red sexlinks). The kids loved watching them grow from chicks and have continued to love and care for them. They even gave them names. The chickens deserve a blog post of their own, so we’ll cover all that next time around.
In the meantime, it’s April and the weather has been gorgeous (except for the last few days of heavy rain). We’ve gotten our garden started, and since my garden is the topic I blog about most (aside from my kids, maybe), I wanted to share a few pics of what we’ve got going. I’m also home today with a sick kindergartener, so while she’s resting and watching The Land Before Time (a favorite movie series around here), I decided to finally bring back the blog. 🙂
Our new chicken coop and run along the side of the garden. Also, last year Mr. L. added a fence around the garden to keep the chickens, dogs and deer out. It’s been working great!
This is late afternoon and as you can see, the garden gets a good bit of shade then. I usually try to start planting in the far end and save the sunniest parts of the garden for tomatoes.
The first transplants include cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. I will need to keep an eye on them so I can see when the cabbage worms start to show up, then take action.
Our “walking onions” popping through! My dad gave me a bunch of these a few years ago and I save the bulbs to replant each year. They develop a flower at the top with a bunch of new bulbs that get heavy and plop over, starting a new plant, which is how they “walk”.
These two were really into helping garden this month, so we harnessed that enthusiasm! They helped plant onions, potatoes, and green beans. Miss D. also helped transplant the Brassicas one afternoon when her brother was at soccer practice. We still have lots to do!
At the recommendation of my Uncle Joe, I’m currently reading Growing Great Tomatoes in preparation of planting our own tomatoes in the next week or so. I’m also checking out Straw Bale Gardens and am thinking of giving that technique a try at some point. There’s always so much to learn!
To be continued…
Posted in Book Recommendations, Gardening, My Kids, The Great Outdoors, Uncategorized
Tagged backyard chickens, brassicas, broccoli, cabbage, chicken coop, family, garden, gardening, green beans, kale, kids, onions, plants, potatoes, seeds, spring, tomatoes, vegetables
We got a late start on this year’s garden, due to the harsh winter that ran into spring. However, this spring has been mostly nice and cool, and our garden is looking pretty good so far! My goal this year was to space things appropriately (everything was super cramped and overgrown by October in years past) and to stay ahead of the weeds, which overcame the garden in previous years. I’d get to point where I just gave up, and the weeds won.
This year, I laid much more leaf mulch, thanks to the nifty leaf compost bin that my husband made out of wooden pallets last year. It was packed full of leaves that we collected in the fall.
I’ve also been trying to get out there regularly to pull weeds and cultivate. It’s working so far, although I fell behind in a few rows… mainly the peas and the radishes/carrots. The weeds don’t seem to be bothering the peas, but I know I have to clean up the row with the carrots or they won’t grow. Does anyone know the best way to weed around carrots?
We started harvesting a couple of weeks ago. First out of the garden were lettuce, radishes, and spring onions. I love growing radishes and spring onions because they are so easy.
This year we had better luck with lettuce, too, partly because we started with plants. I think the last few years I sowed lettuce seeds too late, and I waited and waited for them to get big enough to pick, and then they bolted. It’s working out much better this year, from plants. We have big, full heads of lettuce. I’m sure the cooler spring is helping too.
Our most recent harvest from the garden has been peas. During our first year gardening, we had a great row of sugar snap peas that seemed to produce early, and just kept giving us peas. This year I sowed three rows of peas, one of Frosty Pea, one Sugar Bush, and one Sugar Snap. Not sure why I dedicated three rows to peas, but I did. They grew strong and big, but it seemed like the blossoms were never going to develop. I even considering pulling out the plants so that I could put something else there, because I was starting to think they wouldn’t produce for us. Then, after a recent weekend of heavy rain I walked out there and they were full of beautiful little pink and white blossoms! It’s been my favorite part of this year’s garden so far, particularly the pink pea blossoms. I went out there last night and snapped some photos before the blossoms were all gone.
Are you keeping a garden this year? How is it doing?
Posted in Gardening
Tagged blossoms, compost bin, DIY, flowers, garden, gardening, lettuce, onions, pallets, peas, plants, radishes, seeds, spring, vegetables
I’ve been enjoying the Simple Things photography link-up. There are some great photos posted every week, but I gotta say some of my favorites have been from Gigi Marie Photography, especially her macro photography. She takes some amazingly creative photos of sometimes ordinary things using a macro lens. For instance, check out her photos of the sewing machine needle from last week’s Simple Things post. Awesome.
Though her skills and equipment are definitely a cut above mine, I do have a 100mm f2.8 telephoto/macro lens that I bought a few years ago, so this week I decided to try to get creative with it in the garden. The scallions that I planted from seed last summer are blooming, and there is just something about onion blooms that I love. So, I captured a few close-ups.
The photos would have been crisper if I had used a tripod, but it was getting late and the sun was setting. I stole a few moments before supper time to get these photos, keeping one eye on the kids to make sure they weren’t getting themselves into any trouble. There just wasn’t time for a tripod. In fact, in the five or ten minutes I took to take these photos, our basset hound snatched and ate a handful of radishes we had just picked. Bummer.
Lastly, I wouldn’t normally choose to go monochrome with garden produce, but I thought the combination of the structure of the blossoms and the low sun shining on them created some nice shadows, lending them to black-and-white. I also love the texture of thin, papery sheath these flowers are pushing their way out of. The first photo is on the soft side, but I thought there was something sexy and moody about it. (Imagine that… a scallion being sexy and moody.)
In the future, I probably won’t plant scallions from seed. They take FOREVER to grow! But I am enjoying their beauty.
Posted in Being Creative, Gardening, Photography, Simple Things Sunday
Tagged 100mm f2/8, black-and-white, blooms, blossoms, close-up, flowers, gardening, lens, macro, macro photography, monochrome, onions, photography, scallions, seeds, simple things, telephoto
What an incredible weekend to be outside in the garden! I didn’t want it to end… especially Sunday. The weather was perfect.
With the snow and rain we got over the last couple of weeks I was starting to get anxious to plant and wanted to get as much in the ground this weekend as I could. We got the garden mostly tilled and ready, which included mixing in some horse manure that my husband picked up two weeks ago. My in-laws were in town and helped keep the kids busy, which gave me some larger chunks of time in the garden than I usually get. (Thank you to E, G, and my hubby!)
Saturday I sowed yellow and sweet onions, lettuce (arugula and simpson), and spinach, and transplanted some lettuce and chard that had come up from last year. I also planted some broccoli and cabbage plants that we got at the garden store just up the road, along with some garlic chives. On Sunday I sowed garden peas, snap peas, kale, turnips, broccoli rabe, and kohlrabi. My son went to the garden store with me on Saturday and he picked out some pansies for the kids’ garden. So, we planted those too, and added a few other fun things, like some pinwheels and river rocks.
As I mentioned, there are some plants that overwintered and are showing new growth. I moved the lettuce and chard to the appropriate plot, based on my crop rotation plan. (The spot where there were will have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes this year.) Also, while taking compost out of the bottom of our compost bin to put in the garden, I found four cloves of garlic that were sprouting, so I planted them in the garden near the onions. (Why not?)
Finally, we had a bunch of onions in last year’s onion plot that had grown new green stalks. They weren’t onions that I planted in the fall with the expectation of an early spring harvest. They were onions I missed when harvesting them last year, because I wasn’t really sure when I was supposed to pull them out and I did it a little too late, after the stalks on some of the smaller onions completely dried up and withered away. So, they grew back this spring. At the suggestion of my mother-in-law, I pulled them to have as spring onions. They filled a quart size mason jar nicely, so I decided to get a little creative with them before eating them. I’m so excited Spring is finally here!
Posted in Being Creative, Gardening, Photography
Tagged arugula, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, chard, childrens garden, chives, compost, crop rotation, flowers, garden, gardening, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, manure, mason jar, onions, pansies, peas, photography, spinach, spring, turnips, vegetables