Sorry for the crickets this past week. Summer vacation started for the kidlets, so we’ve been busy living it up with trips to the beach and park and hitting up their favorite playgrounds. And yes, there has been ice cream involved. We take summer vacation very seriously in this house. 🙂
The kids totally freaked out this week when these guys made their return:
I had no clue until very recently that our friends on the west coast do not have fireflies. It’s one of those things I take for granted seeing every summer and I just assumed that everyone had them. I can’t imagine summer without the kids running around catching these magical little guys.
I have a bunch of really cool posts in the works, but instead of making you wait while I finished them up, I thought we’d see how things were going in the garden.
Remember the sad state of affairs my marigold window box was in? Well, I spread out the few marigolds that sprouted and added some nasturtium seeds to fill it in and it’s not looking half bad now. Way less sad.
The kids and I were so excited to find a few Sweet Pea Currant tomatoes and Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes ripe this week. Sooooo tasty!! It just doesn’t get better than homegrown tomatoes! If I HAD to choose just one thing to grow in my garden, it would probably be tomatoes. Now ask me what kind of tomato and I would have a problem. You need one for every color of the rainbow, right?!?! 🙂
Purple Beauty Pepper. It’s teeny tiny, but we don’t judge. 🙂 I can’t figure out who is chomping on her leaves. I suspect a Hornworm, but haven’t found one yet and they are usually very easy to spot. It’s a mystery.
Rosita has finally gotten over her transplant shock and her unfortunate run in with a slug. She really liked the compost tea I gave her, but what lady doesn’t like her tea? 🙂
I am loving the ground cherries. They form little lanterns like tomatillos. If you are new I’ll tell you now, I love the out of ordinary when it comes to my garden. I pick a lot of my seeds based on unusual colors and I love stumbling across something I’ve never seen in the grocery store before.
My Sweet Pea’s lavender. She loves it like I do.
Garlic scapes I think. I planted all soft neck garlic though, so I’m not completely sure. Hmmmm…..
I may have a new garden obsession. Borage. It is so, so, so pretty!! I killed it all last year before I saw any blooms. (It’s a learning experience people)! 🙂 The plants in front of my strawberries are all way ahead of the ones by the tomatoes and are now blooming. Take a look and I bet you’ll be planting some seeds yourself.
I’m so in love with this shot. The fuzzy leaves and stems make it look like a watercolor painting. I may have to print this one for the wall.
See, I told you I was obsessed!!! I get so excited when something I’ve planted from seed grows and flourishes. If you have always purchased plants to plant in your garden, you HAVE to try growing at least one thing from seed this year. It’s nothing short of a miracle to put this little, tiny seed in the ground, and a few weeks later get this. ^^^
This week will be packed with fun posts. I promise not to stay away this long again. Happy Summer everyone!!
This past weekend was absolutely beautiful and I was totally spoiled for Mother’s Day! We had a lovely picnic at the park and I even got to spend a little time in the garden. I was surprised by an extra special gift when I walked out back later in the afternoon. My mom gave me some of my great-grandmother’s iris about 12 years ago. I remember them blooming beautifully at her house, and my mom has tons that always bloom at her’s. Mine have never bloomed in all the years I’ve had them. Never. Not once. I’ve moved them, fed them and begged them. Nada. I walk outside Sunday and what do I see?
I’d like to think it was my great-grandmother sending me a Mother’s Day gift. 🙂 I’m so happy to finally have them bloom.
Dew drops on strawberries. I love how there is always magic in the garden if you take a second and look around. There are a lot of evenings when I will sneak out of the house for a few minutes just for a quiet moment alone with the plants. You can call it therapeutic or renewing or spiritual, but it really is good for the soul.
Can’t wait for them to ripen!
I really can’t believe how healthy the plants are! The leaves are HUGE and you can tell how happy they are this year!
My unused chives in bloom. 🙂 Aren’t they pretty?? They earn their keep making me smile.
Remember the Pink Senorita Zinnias I showed you growing in my greenhouse? Well I dug through my photo files from last year and found a shot I got while they were blooming. I don’t know if this is true for all Zinnias, since last year was my first year to grow them, but the blooms lasted FOREVER! I hate when you have this gorgeous flower one day and it is gone the next, so I was thrilled to death to go out day after day after day and see these. I actually bought seeds for two other kinds of Zinnias to try this year for that reason. I’m really hoping to attract and keep some bees around, so I am adding lots of flowers to my garden this year. The drop in our bee population is very noticeable and very scary.
Does anyone else have an obsession with succulents? I love the colors and shapes and how easy they are to care for. I have this spot at the bottom of the deck stairs, right up against the house that is overrun with weeds every year. Nothing grows well there, well except for the weeds. I’m trying a pretty succulent garden there this year and hoping that they really are hardy enough to survive the heat and cold. I found this beauty over the weekend at our local farm stand and might have to go back for another. I’m in LOVE!!!! I’ll have to do a whole post one day soon about succulents. They really are a LOT of fun!
I hope all the mamas had a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Sorry! I know that’s incredibly corny. 🙂 I decided that before I got too far in to this whole blogging adventure I needed to make it official and get a template that had everything I needed and get my domain purchased and running. I’m certainly not saying the look won’t change again in the near future, but I’ve settled on this for now. (A week of clicking through templates and trying them out was enough to make me insane and I need to get out in the garden people)!! I changed the banner image for the springtime too while I was at it. My daughter informed me she preferred the bird in the tree, but winter lasted long enough this year! I didn’t want to look at the snowy branches here any longer.
So please, if you like what you see when you visit, sign up on the right side to receive email notifications when I post so you don’t miss anything. Also, you can find links to my Facebook page, Twitter (though I still need to learn Twitter) and Pinterest here now as well. They are all set up, but I may need a few more days to get everything really linked and rolling.
Enough rambling? Want a garden update and some pictures? Me too! 🙂
With the weather being so crazy I never did get peas planted in the garden. 🙁 I have a couple of pots of sugar snaps on my deck, so hopefully they will give us a good bunch to snack on.
The peppers looking gorgeous! I wish I had enough pots to move them up a size and give them a little more room like I did with the tomatoes. Maybe next year I will buy some since I have lots of extra room with the new greenhouse. I am also trying an experiment with a handful of them destroying them by chopping the whole top off, I mean carefully pruning them. I recently watched a video which demonstrated pepper pruning, so scary as it might be, I decided to try it out on a few that were trying to bloom right now, before they got put into the ground. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Redbor Kale looking mighty fine! I have some in several different places, and the color is all slightly different. Most of it is more purple, but this window box is in a slightly warmer/brighter spot, so it is more green. So cool!
I have had this window box on my back deck for a very long time. I’m pretty sure I put it out there right after we moved here, so probably like 12ish years? I planted marigolds once and have always dropped seeds from the plants on top when they finally fizzle for the year and I chop the dead ones down. I love that I never have to replant them, and last year I added rabbit manure to the box and they were so huge, I had to dig some out and put them in the garden because there wasn’t enough room for them all. I think our insane winter ruined my streak though. :/ Either that, or I will have to just let the 4 or 5 plants that came up have the box to themselves this year and hope for better seed survival next year. We’ll see…
My herb “garden.” If you don’t do any container gardening, you really, REALLY should! It’s so fun and easy and WAY convenient! My herbs have always been in window boxes on the deck. I use them a lot more when I can just step out the door and cut myself some beautiful, fresh herbs! There is also basil and parsley that reseeded on their own coming up in this box. The purple sage is new for me this year. It’s so pretty! I’ve wanted some for quite a while and am really excited to have found some!
The chives and oregano. These both came from my mom’s garden years ago, and come back every year so pretty. I’ll tell you a secret though. I have never, ever used the chives. Ever. I keep them because the flowers are sooooo pretty and they originally came from my grandmother’s garden. I guess I’m a sentimental gardener, but there’s something special about having plants that came from people dear to your heart. 🙂
There’s a little action from the main garden for you. Beets making their appearance. See, told you I was late. :/ Darn weather!
Nature is so awesome! This is the spot I dumped the contents of our compost bin last fall. It was almost ready, but not quite, so I covered it with straw to hopefully keep out any critters and let it finish over the winter. There are literally hundreds of baby tomato plants coming up! I wish I knew what type they were. It will kill me to pull them all up, but this is the spot for the squash and cucumbers. I normally love volunteers, but there’s just too many of the silly things.
I have to go out again and count the number of flowers and baby berries on this one plant. I just couldn’t believe it! I planted the strawberries last year and covered them with woodchips when they were done. (Had to add some straw a couple months ago when they were popping up and it was going to snow again). I am hoping we are going to have tons of berries soon! Strawberries are my favorite!!! And apparently they go ga-ga for woodchips!
Ah! Now here’s a volunteer that gets to stay! Pretty sure it’s a pumpkin, but we’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t leave anything in this spot, so I’m not quite sure what got carried there. I think I put the broccoli and cauliflower in too late again. Sigh. One year I’ll get it right!
The plum tree. So exciting to see the “sticks” that I planted coming alive!
Now my parents gave me a GORGEOUS peach tree for my birthday! It was covered in blooms and so pretty really that I would want one even if it didn’t fruit. One of our late frosts got the blooms, but I am keeping my fingers crossed they had time to get themselves pollinated. I’m not sure if these are baby peaches or not. Fingers crossed!!
Another volunteer. Can you see it on this side of the strawberry plant? It’s a sunflower! We fed the birds this winter and one must’ve dropped one of the black oiled sunflower seeds, because I found the shell next to this little guy. I’m still trying to decide if I need to move him or not.
I’ve been cutting buds off the tomato plants all week, but decided to leave these on one of my Sweet Pea Currants. It might stunt the plant, but do I care? NOPE. This girl is ready for some ‘maters! 🙂
They’re going in the garden this weekend!!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!
Malabar Climbing Spinach anyone? My mom brought me the seeds from a plant and garden show. Yay mom!
An extra Japanese Black Trifele plant I’m leaving the blooms on too.
Look who I found sunning himself in my yard. He was so itty bitty he was almost cute. Almost. Hopefully he’ll grow up and eat some of my stupid moles and voles and we can be friends.
Can’t wait to get in the garden this weekend!!!!! 🙂
So we had sleet last week. Ugh! And last night I forgot to pull in the pepper and egg plant starts and the egg plants look AWFUL this morning. Luckily they have perked up a little as the day has gone on, but I think I nearly lost them. Sheesh! It’s almost May. You’d think they could stay in the greenhouse overnight at this point. Thanks stupid weather!
So I took a few photos of the garden last week, then we had Easter and then I got Strep and I haven’t had a chance to post them before now. Here is the inside of my new greenhouse my super awesome husband made me for my birthday. The potting bench was my Christmas present. (See, told you he was super awesome)!! We still need to make shelves or a bench top type thingy for it and put in the gutters along the walls and finish adding gravel to the floor, but otherwise it’s finished. I love it so much!! 🙂
Tomato babies gettin’ bigger and bigger!
Trying out some Sweet Pea Currant tomatoes this year from Territorial Seeds. I saw some on Pinterest and went on a mission to find them. I have three plants, but with three kiddos who are known for cleaning the plants of any type of tiny cherry tomatoes, I don’t think we will have too many. I’m hoping that some might actually make it inside for my summer salads! 🙂
Herbs, onions and some extra brassicas.
Ahhhh! The Pink Senorita Zinnias. They were supremely gorgeous last year. I would like to know who was strong enough to resist buying seeds after seeing Baker Creek‘s seed catalog cover last year. Not this girl. That’s for sure!
And up on the deck (because I got tired of hauling them all up the stairs and into the house every night) more herbs. I’ve found Basil doesn’t like to be too chilly.
My first attempt at Egg Plant. Rosita is her name. 🙂
Tons of peppers. (I have 2 of these flats full. Hee Hee). It took me three tries to get pepper seeds going last year, so I may have overdone it a bit this year. We didn’t start getting peppers until really late and didn’t get anywhere near what we wanted. It would be way cool to be swimming in them this year. (FYI pepper seeds and seedlings like it really warm. My two fails last year were in my basement without any added heat. This year they got their own heater and were happy as could be).
Anyone watch Growing Your Greens on YouTube? I found a green and a purple tree collard start on Ebay and have those bad boys potted up. Mr Green is sprouting some branches or leaves now. I actually have more growth since I took this. Mr Purple hasn’t done much of anything. He’s a little slower, but I’m hoping he’ll kick into gear soon. I knocked his pot over a couple of weeks ago and I think he’s still pouting.
Strawberries in gutters in the backyard? Yes please! This fence divides our backyard to keep the diggidy dog out of the kids’ play area and garden when we let him out by himself. He had his full backyard privileges revoked due to some toy eating (as in see-saw. yup. seriously), digging and leaving, um, well, you know, everywhere and mama didn’t appreciate his attempts to fertilize the garden and area under the swings. 3 gutters. 30 strawberry plants. And boy are they happy now that I added woodchips. You can also see the backside of the greenhouse on the left, and all the way in the back I have 3 apple trees planted and 4 currant bushes.
They popped up so quickly. The potting soil has rock dust added to it and was covered with leaf mulch at this point. I’ve since added a layer of woodchips too.
The currants I JUST planted (and they were little dormant sticks a couple weeks ago) say “Wood chips? Heck yeah!!!!”
The main garden. Not much happening here yet. As soon as the weather settles, I will be so busy in here catching up.
This is for all of you Back to Eden newbies. This is 18 months in. This first load of chips was put on the garden in Fall of 2012. I just pulled back the top layer of the chips and this gorgeousness is what is underneath. The white is the fungi at work and all of the dark brown is the compost from the chips and leaves decomposing for the last year and a half. I didn’t plant in this spot last year, so it didn’t get any compost added by me like the areas I planted. I have nasty, hard clay too, so to see this is just plain amazing. Can’t wait to see what this growing season brings! 🙂
This has definitely been the winter that won’t end. I can’t remember ever having a winter with so many snow storms. I’ve been dying to plant our peas, but with freezing temps and snow in the forecast every week, I’ve been too scared to put them in the ground. Fingers crossed I’ll get a chance this weekend!!
While we are on the subject of seeds, I’ll share my most favorite seed companies. In 2012 when I decided to try my hand at starting some seeds, I just grabbed some packets at Target and ordered a couple more from out of a seed catalog that happened to be delivered to my home. When I realized how great it was, starting from seed, and how many more varieties were available this way, I was hooked! I started doing some research because, A-I’m a science nerd and always research everything to death and B-I believe very strongly in supporting really good companies. Now there are tons of good ones out there, but I found two that I absolutely LOVE.
Botanical Interests is a family owned business that has signed the Safe Seed Pledge and are a perfect choice for the beginning garden. They have tons of heirloom and organic seeds and absolutely no GMOs. Their website and seed packets contain a wealth of information. When I am new at something I prefer to have everything spelled out for me so I’m not left doubting if I’ve done it correctly. These packets are just fabulous and so pretty too! (and we all know how important that is! 🙂 You can’t make a wrong choice when it comes to their seeds. For me, the worst thing about this company is having to choose what to order because I want them all! Their catalog is free, so pop on over to their website and request one.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is my other favorite seed company. Also family owned, this company sells only heirloom seeds and the owners are dedicated to preserving seed varieties and fighting against GMOs. I can not even begin to explain to you the awesomeness that is their seed catalog. I have spent more hours than I can count pouring through the pages, and my wishlist at Baker Creek is a mile long. I am continually amazed by how many varieties they sell and have found so many cool vegetables for my garden the past two years. They have a free catalog and the absolute king of all seed catalogs that you can purchase for a few bucks. I have both and they are getting worn out. 🙂
You honestly can’t go wrong purchasing from either company. Their customer service is top notch and I am always thrilled with the germination rate of their seeds. In fact, last year I started WAY too many seeds and was sad to have to thin so many because it seemed like such a waste! What a great problem to have! This year I knew pretty much all of the seeds would sprout, so I planted fewer and got the numbers I wanted, still having enough to share tomato seedlings with my family. Just look at these gorgeous tomatoes, peppers and friends!
And I’ll confess my nerdiness now and tell you that I get giddy looking at these little guys and think the smell of tomato plants is one of the best smells there is! 🙂 Come on spring! Be here for good this time!
I am going to call 2012 my very first garden. Before that I had one or two failed attempts at a tiny vegetable patch. I wasn’t serious about those. I just wanted a few super yummy homegrown tomatoes, but life soon got in the way, and the weeds quickly took over past the point of no return. In 2012 I was really focused on growing healthy food for my family. I bought seeds and a few little plants. My husband borrowed a tiller and I made a really good attempt, which was relatively successful. We enjoy tons of cherry tomatoes and some cucumbers, and a few peppers. Not bad for a first attempt. The weeds were pretty vicious and battling them was pretty exhausting. I also watered a lot. Our summers are hot. This gardening thing was work. Work paid with tomatoes wasn’t too shabby though.
Summer started to wrap up. I had bookmarked a cool looking gardening documentary months before, and happened to watch it right before Hurricane Sandy came through. I was hooked pretty quickly. No tilling? Few weeds? Huge, delicious fruits and veggies? Sign me up! Let me tell you, it was so life changing I am really excited to be able to share it whenever I can. It’s so simple, most of us miss it. In order to grow healthy, nutritious food, your soil must be healthy and full of vitamins and minerals. We think we know the best way to grow, and yet the earth was designed to do it perfectly, if only we take a second to look. It’s a wonderful film, and very generously the women who made it allow all who wish to, to view it for free.
Trust me though, you will probably want to buy the dvd so you can watch it over and over and share with your friends. Also, once you’ve watched the film and digested the information, check out the YouTube page L2Survive for TONS of interviews with Paul, a wonderful garden tour in its entirety and TONS of other little clips with information. L2Survive on YouTube
I’ll post photos of last year’s garden soon. I got my woodchips in the fall of 2012 and planted using this method in the spring of 2013. I am extremely excited to plant this year after seeing the results last year after such a short time. It’s one of those things that just keeps getting better and better with time.
I’ve been playing with the idea of this for quite a while now. I’m not sure why the idea of a blog could be so daunting, but today I decided to just get it started and quit over-thinking it. So why the blog? What do I have to offer? I feel like the past five years have been a major turning point and beginning to the life I really want. Really, if I’m being honest, the beginning of the life I never knew I wanted until now.
Five years ago this May, our newest addition only weeks old, life changed and my eyes were opened. This was baby #3 for us, so we were far from being newbie parents. I was nursing and our 3 or 4 week old baby began having blood in his stools which was soon attributed to food allergies, most likely milk. I took all dairy out of my diet, and while this seemed to improve things, it didn’t fix them completely. Through many doctor visits and much research I was eventually able to identify the culprits, remove them completely from my diet and continue nursing. What was he allergic to? Milk, soy, corn, beef, potato and chocolate. If you are a label reader you will know that milk, soy and corn are in EVERYTHING you buy in a package. I couldn’t comprehend how this brand new little baby could possibly be allergic to so much, and didn’t realize what I would have to do to keep them out of our diets.
It amazed me how different food tasted that was made from scratch. I always thought we ate healthy, but until you can no longer eat fast food or pre-packaged food, you have no idea how much salt is in everything and how good fresh food can taste. Over the years since I have read A LOT and watched a lot of documentaries on our food system and it has lit a fire under me to learn how to provide my family with the healthiest and safest food possible. I don’t believe that there was a single thing wrong with my son at birth. He was perfectly and wonderfully made. His brand new little body was able to do something that mine was not. It showed me that much of the food we are putting into our bodies is poison, for lack of a better term. So much is genetically modified and pumped full of and covered with pesticides and herbicides and grown not based on how nutritious it is, but how it will hold up and make it to the store looking perfect. We have factory farms growing the animals for our tables that are a disgrace to our species.
I want to grow what I feed my children. I want to buy locally what I can’t grow, as much as possible. I want to support those who choose a more kinder, sustainable path. And I want to share with others what I’ve learned by putting all of the best resources I’ve found in one spot. I will not, for second, claim to be an expert. This is all my opinion and my experiences. Take it with a grain of salt and do your own research. We can’t continue to be sheep blindly following the herd and pretending to not see what is happening around us. We need to make big changes, if not for ourselves then for our children.
“Let us walk softly on the earth with all living beings great and small, remembering as we go, that one God, kind and wise, created all. ”