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
I did better this year with the plants I started from seed, but I still don’t have a system down and don’t completely know what I’m doing; I left some plants in the trays for much too long and it seems to have stunted their growth. The plants that I re-potted first were clearly the most happy.
Miss D helping me move tomato plants around while claiming a few of them as her own. “Mine!”
I waited a couple of extra weeks past our last frost date to plant tomatoes and peppers and, with the cold nights we had in late April, I carried these plants in and out of the garage each day for about a week. It was only within the last couple of weeks that I started to put them in the ground, and the garden began to look complete.
The warmer weather coupled with the plentiful rain we received over the last few weeks has really given the garden a boost. Here’s the garden on April 26th.
Here it is just two weeks later, on May 10th.
Don’t my potatoes (left middle) look great? The beans got a cold and soggy start and weren’t looking great, so I pulled some of them and replanted. I also planted a row of sweet potatoes last Sunday. I ordered them through a mail-order catalog and would you believe this is what they looked like when they came?
The instructions that came with the plants mentioned that they might be wilted and that I should not be concerned; they are resilient plants and should recover “under the right conditions”. I guess we’ll see if we have the right conditions.
Lastly, there has already been a visitor in the garden foraging on my plants and it appears to enjoy eating the entire plant! It leaves nothing behind but a small hole in the ground where the plant used to be. So far I’ve lost a tomato plant, a Brussels sprout plant, and a sweet potato plant. I don’t remember this happening last year–entire plants disappearing. Based on the hoof print in the fresh mud that I saw the other day, I suspect its deer. I’ll have to start mixing up a home-made deer deterrent. Last year I tried Deer Scram, which seemed to work, but it’s pricey. If you have a tried-and-true deer deterrent that doesn’t involve chemicals or firearms, I’d love to hear it!
By the way, did you notice the children’s garden in the photos above? It’s growing like mad! All of the plants in there are far outperforming the crops in the main garden! I’m not sure what their secret is but I’ve got a lot of work to do!
Posted in Children's Garden, Gardening
Tagged animals, beans, Brussel sprouts, childrens garden, deer, deer deterrent, garden, gardening, last frost date, pests, plants, potatoes, repotting, seedlings, seeds, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, transplanting
I’ve been patiently waiting for signs of growth from the potatoes I planted on March 30th. I had bought the potatoes at least two weeks (probably longer) before planting them and some of them had grown some pretty lanky sprouts on them while sitting in the basement. I wasn’t sure what that would mean for them after they were planted. With a little bit of concern, I’ve been watching the patch where I planted six short rows–three Kennebec and three red-skinned potatoes–waiting for signs of green poking up through the earth. I finally started seeing it a couple of days ago. Here’s the leader of the pack.
It’s just so satisfying to bury a dry, seemingly lifeless seed (or in this case, a chunk of potato) in the soil and see it emerge in a splash of green just days later. I think it’s especially exciting with the potatoes. It’s like a dark green rosette pushing its way up through the crust; not even so much a “splash” of green, but more like a “punch”.
We’re going to have a lot of fun digging these guys up in a few months! Happy gardening!