Friday, October 9, 2009

Careless Gardener!

Ugh, posted this the other night and it errored out. I really don't like having to rewrite everything! LOL.

Ok, so when I was checking my squash I broke it off the vine! Oops. I brought it in anyway and cut it open. It was almost 4lbs. Looked pretty ripe. Maybe not as ripe as it could be, but definitely orange throughout. I baked it and put some butter and brown sugar on it (like I do with sweet potatoes), and YUM!! It was great. Then I baked the seeds with some olive oil and sea salt and all I can say is DOUBLE YUM. Waaaaaayyyy better than baked pumpkin seeds.

Then as I was looking through the peppers I broke a branch off that had peppers on it! They were way too little. I mean, I've eaten them pretty little so that I can at least eat what I've grown, but not these LOL.
I broke something else too, but can't remember what. We've been sick all week. I haven't been out to the garden in a few days and hope the squash bugs haven't killed everything. I finally just let them have their way. The squash plant is still growing out and growing more squash so I guess it is healthy and strong enough to withstand the bugs.
I planted more carrots and lettuce, but it just isn't sprouting! Very annoying. I'm going to start some indoors again and see what happens.
Anyway, sorry I haven't been around reading and commenting. Just so tired, but I think we've rounded the corner on this thing and are getting better.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Squash Bug Killer!

Oh goodness. I just zoomed in on that photo of the bird in my previous post and I do believe that he's about to chomp down on a squash bug! Check it out...

See his open mouth and that brown blurry spot about to get devoured? I love this bird!! What is it?? Brown on top with a light yellow underside.


That's right. I decided to QUIT GIVING UP on my war against the squash bugs. I went out this morning armed with my weapons of warfare.

Gloves for squishing

Scissors for cutting away the dead/shriveled stuff - and chopping any squash bugs if I saw them

& my secret weapon....

For sucking those little buggers right off the leaves! It was satisfying watching them swirl around in the hurricane inside since the bottom is see through. Then I dumped them out into a bucket of soapy water.

I found some surprise squash hiding behind all of the out of control vines and ground cover. Yep, I finally pulled that stuff out and now I can walk behind those beds again. Here's the one that I didn't even know existed....

Here's the original first bloom that is still hanging on

Then, while I was busy vacuuming bugs I saw some movement in the other squash box. There was a little bird perched on the stalk/vine of one of the squash leaves. I thought to myself...I hope it eats some squash bugs! Well he hopped up the vine and started tilting his head this way and that, then he attacked and I saw a green worm go down that beak!! That bird is my new best friend!! LOL. He hopped from leaf to leaf, but I couldn't see what else he was catching. I ran in and grabbed the camera for a pic. Had to be quick, but I caught him :)

Oh, and the purple beans are coming in!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The watermelon wasn't ripe...

Drat! It sounded hollow, it was dull colored, it's vine was yellow with browning wilting leaves... it was all white inside except for a few hints of blush. So I yanked the rest of the vines out and we'll start over.
The zucchini was just getting nasty so it got ripped out too. Those things take up way too much space. I'd rather have my bush beans in that box than one big ol' zucc.
Then I wandered over to the squash. I have given up on the battle with the squash bugs. I'm so tired of them. I eyed the squash menacingly and debated pulling it out. But there's actually 2 decent sized squash on them. Still...I'd rather have tomatoes for salsa and ketchup and salads than just 2 squash. So the squash in that box got a reprieve. But the one in the other box. Well it is over 20 feet long and going but it hasn't produced a pollinated squash yet. And I need space for tomatoes!!
Next year - no squash! :) Or maybe one that I plant NOT at a trellis and let it wander through the paths. I could do that.
Anyhow, mostly I neglected the garden this week. Rain, tired, busy, etc. I hope to plant a few things this weekend in my newly opened areas and replant some things that didn't take.
That's all. I missed out on a nap today and I'm dragging, so have a great weekend! zzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shut Up about the Watermelon already!!

Ok. I can't stop talking about the watermelon. I am excited about the watermelon! Every day I check on the watermelon.
Last night at 9PM we measured the melon and it was 13 1/2" around at its widest part. This morning at 10AM we measured and it was 14 3/8"! Tonight at 9PM we measured and it was 14 3/4"! It grew over an inch in 24 hours.
Ok, we're too obsessed with the melon. Step away from the melon...
But it is just so fun with things actually growing this year! Plus it is in Jake's box, and you're always happier when it is your kids' stuff that is having success!
I will try to refrain from even mentioning the melon the rest of the week.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rain = Crazy Growth

I popped out real quick to check the garden this morning. Wow! Jake's watermelon is just growing like crazy. Yesterday it could sit in my palm, today I had to cup it to hold it there. Here's a pic from today.

And this squash, looks like it got pollinated! It must have doubled in size overnight, maybe more than doubled. This is the same squash as the last pic in yesterday's post.
So, I'm very excited about this season's potential. Last year I didn't have much success during fall planting, although winter did pretty well. I'm certain it was lack of enough good compost. I had the right ratio's down for Mel's mix, but I think I really needed more compost.
At this point I have the original 3 part mix in the box under 6" (i have 12" deep) of the aged horse manure. I'd love to get some other types in there next time I fill. I filled these things to the brim with the horse stuff and they've already dropped about 2" below the board. I toss bunny poo on top every week when I clean the bunny cage. We have a few worm bins going that I use, but neither of those puts out in the amount needed for all of the beds. Okay, so the bunny tries and does a really good job LOL!
We've also had more rain this year, so that is good. I have to remember that I'll need to water when it stops. I did the same thing last year. The sky had been watering the garden for me every afternoon that I just forgot watering had to be done when the rain season left LOL.
Anyhow, like I said. I'm just very excited about what the possibilites are this year. Now, I really need to go out and squish a few squash bugs I saw while taking pics. I didn't have gloves, and don't have EG's bug bravery LOL.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Catching back up

I know it has been a few days since I posted, but this week has been a whirlwind! My son, who is 12, was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent). So needless to say there is a bit of stress and confusion - and information overload- going on.
I'm going to go off topic for a few minutes just to say how cool God is. And since it is my blog I can do that, LOL. A few years ago I got my personal trainer certification which also deals with nutrition. Beginning to prep for a figure competition myself and a very brief time training others for the same taught me how to count cals & carbs so easily that I could now do it in my sleep. It is something I really understand. A few months later my anxiety attacks came back and some depression set in and I began gardening simply for the sake of therapy. It was a chance to get outside in the sun and fresh air, dig in the earth, be alone for a little while and enjoy nature. Now that garden that was planted from just a small thought has grown and can provide the fresh vegetables that will be vital to my son's diet. So when you look back you can see how God worked out every thing that happened, all the desires planted into my heart, to bring me to the place I'd need to be for this time. Jesus is awesome!!!
Ok, onto the pictures! Jake's watermelons are finally hanging onto the vine and growing. He's so excited about this.
Watermelon size on Sunday:
Size yesterday: (about the size of my palm)
Some peppers!
A few female flowers. I actually have quite a few, but how many squash flower pics does a person want to see? LOL.
Yay! Lots of stuff growing :) .
On Monday I planted:
A 3x3 box full of 3 types of lettuce - with a few spaces saved for spinach in Oct.
Bush Beans
And some indoor seedlings of the same, plus a bunch of herbs, in case they won't start out there. I think we've had rain every day since I planted them.
That's all!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's a squash takeover!

Look at this monstrous plant! This is just one winter squash plant that I decided to allow to roam through the garden instead of up the trellis. It was supposed to be a 3 sisters thing. But the corn is only a few inches high (or not growing at all) and the bean, well I had to add a tiki torch for it to climb because there was no corn to hold onto (note to self, plant the corn earlier next time). I planted this squash on August 1st I think. I saw one female flower on it, but it turned yellow and shriveled before the flower even opened.

I must have killed about 100 worms on my summer squash yesterday. Squish, squish, squish. My fingers were pretty green LOL, but I have no coordination with gloves on. I'm going to try to bag the fruit the moment I see the flower open (i'll help pollinate to be sure). We'll see how that works.

The other 2 winter squash are doing well growing up their trellis. They are reaching out to grab anything they can. My peppers are doing well. I have 3 more growing - yay! I'm going to start seedlings for more this week because it is almost the official time for peppers here. I think I'll keep the shade curtains up for a while because last year even in Sept I had problems with the flowers dropping.

And look at this beauty who dropped by this morning. I'm not sure what it is. I'm Googling it right now. Oh, it's a polka dot wasp moth. We have chrysallis' all over the front of the house of them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Corn, corn, corn

That's what I planted yesterday. A whole box of corn. The original box I had planned for the corn has been taken over by squash. I still planted some seeds in that box, but I couldn't count on it to come up under those huge, humongous, gigantic squash leaves. So I had to rearrange the whole fall planting schedule to use a different box. The birds started making all sorts of racket as soon as I poured the corn into my hand and started planting. There were alot of "caw caw" sounds and I think the crows were hiding back in the woods and telling the news that corn was being planted. I covered the box with trellis pieces so they wouldn't steal what I'd planted LOL.

I also replanted the herb garden where not one herb came up in the two weeks since it was planted. Third time's a charm?? I hope so. And I harvested my green pepper before the raccoons could steal it. So it was only 2 oz, but at least I got it and not them! Pfft. I also stuck a tiki torch into the squash/corn bed for the poor bean to climb. It was stretching out just trying to find something to hang on to LOL.

And, here's a pic that Jake took of a butterfly on our bottlebrush tree. I can't believe how good the photo turned out. It is currently my desktop background.

Today we're getting a ton of rain. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ugh, Titles!

Couldn't think of a title today :)

So the garden is doing well. Or is it good? Either way, things are growing. Except that corn is being so stubborn. My corn window here is very short. I have to get it going. And the squash that I planted "with" it. Well it is taking over everywhere! It was supposed to sprawl around through the corn with the beans and do that 3 sisters thing. Well 2 sisters showed up, but the corn is a late arrival. My poor bean has nothing to climb. The squash is shading half of the corn squares. And that is the only box for corn so I guess I'd better do something about it and stop griping.

The winter squash in the other box is insane! It has climbed up almost to the top of the trellis already. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it besides run it back down and up and down that thing. The summer squash in the other box is doing okay. The wormy things really like that box. Fine, let them play there and at least leave the other ones alone. Then it is only one box to deal with worms. There are a few bush beans growing there too - although the squash seem to be trying to elbow them out.

And who knew a lima bean bush would take over a whole 3x3 box? Not me!

Jake has 9 watermelon, oops, that's 8 watermelon growing. I think a squirrel got to one. It definitely wasn't a raccoon with those tiny bites taken out of it. Not sure what I'll do except maybe cover the top of the box again. I'm tired of being shut out of my boxes to keep the other things out. It is a pain!

I did some home-y stuff yesterday and today. Made butter, canned 4 jars of that Annie's Salsa from Granny's blog, 3 more loaves of bread, 12 cinnamon rolls from scratch and corn chips that didn't turn out. I'm tired! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rainy day in the garden

I didn't get out there until this evening because it was rainy and dreary today. I only saw 2 worm/caterpillar thingies on my squash tonight - yay! Either the rain or I've been keeping up with them good. When I went out yesterday evening I found a bunch. I wonder if they hatch in the evenings then eat all night? They were miniscule when I came across them yesterday.

Since it was so dreary out we spent the day baking. Jake made blondies, all by himself. They were good! I made 3 loaves of regular bread and 2 loaves of cinnamon raisin braids. Take a look!

Here's a little guy who was resting on a leaf of my pepper plant. Hopefully he's working hard keeping the bad stuff away.

And, my spider finally learned his lesson! He left his anchoring strand of his web where I put it and hasn't flung it out to my barrier in the past 3 days. Good spider!
I was going to blog earlier and complain about how none of my bush beans are coming up and when I went out this evening I found 6 sprouts LOL. Guess I shouldn't be thinking of complaining. :) Maybe if I think about complaining tomorrow about all of my herbs.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The squash pest

Here's some pics of the caterpillar thing that is on my squash. I had pickleworms earlier this year, but these just don't look exactly the same as those. Everytime I google squash pests all they show me is squash bugs and vine borers. These aren't interested in the vine/stalk at all. They just like the leaves.

And you can see the overall damage that they do here.

And on a happier note... No one got at my peppers last night. I did harvest one of them to make sure that I got one from the batch LOL. But here's one that is still growing!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Squash Pests!

Something is munching on my squash. They are tiny bright green caterpillars or worms. Sometimes they are only like a mm or two long - incredibly tiny! Others that escape notice get a little bit bigger before I find them. They seem to build a little weblike cocoon to hide under at times. I've been killing them every day. Any thoughts? I will get a pic of them if there are more tomorrow. Right now the pic would be of little caterpillar corpses & guts on the edge of the raised bed LOL.
And, someone stole a pepper from me last night! I thought I had secured the area, but apparently not. I'll have to work on that today. And maybe harvest one of my "larger" peppers just so I can have it before it gets stolen.
Other news - the corn doesn't seem to be growing. I've planted two weekends in a row and nothing! The purple pole beans are doing well. The one that I interplanted with the corn...well it has nothing to hold onto! It was supposed to have corn to climb LOL. I'll have to get it a little post for now until the corn comes in. Which it better do soon! Also planted a bunch of herbs 2 weeks ago and am not seeing much action. Sigh.
Oh well, I will be happy with my beans and squash for now :) .

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sprouts - new beginnings!

I love seeing the sprouts coming up through the soil. They are new beginnings for another season of life. I took a few pics today of what's coming up in the garden.

I told this guy to stop building his web connected to my flimsy garden cages. Everyday when I lean over them I end up breaking his connector string. I try to put it somewhere else but he puts it right back every single day! He's one of those pretty flourescent green and orange ones. or maybe a she)

Got a squash here. It is going to be allowed to just roam wherever it wants. Oh, and my pretty whitefly trap LOL. I have corn in the squares next to it. But where is it? It should be coming up soon.

There's a purple pole bean sprout coming up! And some ground cover coming in over the box edges!

AND... PEPPERS!!!!! Gosh I'm excited about these. I LOVE peppers. The two things I started a garden for - peppers and corn.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back from the Beach! Planting; Neglect or Horse Manure?

I'm back from a week at the beach. It was GREAT! I would love to live at the beach :) . Since this is the garden blog though we won't talk about the gorgeous weather, warm water, tons of good food, and the dolphins, manatees, rays, etc. :)

When I got back I went out in the dark to look at the garden. It looked like the transplants survived a week without me. The next morning I went out for a better look and found that most of them made it. I lost 2 bush beans and 1 zucc plant and some broc sprouts. No biggie. 5 of the various squash survived.
But the REAL surprise was my pepper plant. I planted this bell pepper back in the winter planting season. During its prime time it yielded one small pepper. It isn't even supposed to be alive right now because of the heat. I put some sheers over the box to keep it alive, even though it wouldn't produce fruit. Well I checked that baby out and would you believe it... 5 peppers are growing! So, is it the neglect or the horse manure? LOL. I'm very pleased that I bought all of that compost. It seems to be working great. I've tried 3 seasons to plant peppers and only had one or two grow on each plant. Now I have 5 and possibly more on the way.

I planted 4 squares of corn. I'm going with 3/sq this year. First time I did 4 and they didn't grow well (corn borers and not enough nutrients). Last time I did 2 and they still didn't grow well (corn borers) and even if they had it wasn't enough. So I'm going with 3 this time and see how it goes. I'll succession plant the next few rows each week. I also planted some pole beans and some bush beans. Last year I did 1 little plant per square. I must have read something wrong on that LOL. I have 8 per square going this year. Let's see, what else went in?? Oh, broc, more zucc, and tons of herbs. All of my herbs have died off, except the thyme which I pulled and am going to dry this week.

I'm not sure how I feel about the leaf mulch there. Maybe because it is just 2 squares worth? I have the whole strawberry bed done with it and like it. I'm waiting for more sprouts to come up before I finish mulching. I'm using live oak leaves (well, dead live oak leaves) and they are nice and small. They break nice and don't seem to mat together. This bed is mostly planted except for 2 squares. I'm going heavy on the companion planting this year in attempt to help out as much as possible to keep the bad bugs away.

I also spread some of the compost on the yard to help fertilize, remade the herb bed by the back door, and fed the worms and filled the compost tumblers. A nice finish to a great week.

My fresh new herb bed ready to grow!

I know, I know. How dreadfully exciting... a squarish shape filled with dirt and pvc pipe grids, and no plants! They are in there!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Almost ready... I get to plant again soon!

The countdown is on for August. I get back from the beach on August 1st and I don't think anyone would be surprised to find me out back putting in seeds. :)

I have decided that I am going to just plant my seedlings early instead of trying to keep them alive while I am gone. If they survive, great! If they don't, well I can just plant the seeds when I get back. Just trying to get an extra start.

The horse manure is spread and I have 5 extra bags, plus a big plastic container full left over. I will need some when I pull the sweet potatoes out in October. Other than that I guess I will just continue to compost it. I may add it to my leaf pile and let them compost together.

So there is one of my boxes before I worked it into the remaining mix. I was 6 inches low on this one. There's a bunch of dainty ground cover around that box. I am torn about removing it. One, it has such pretty flowers that the bees and butterflies are always visiting - that's good! Plus, I like the way it looks. On the other hand, I read that "weeds" around the boxes encourage bad insects to nest. Good insects, bad insects.... they both like the same spot. What to do, what to do.

The corn is going in this box. I hope the netting will keep the raccoons out. If it doesn't I'll go up another 3ft around it and will have to figure out some way to actually access the garden myself LOL. It's slightly floppy plastic netting so that they can't get a good climb on it. DH says they'll probably just chew through it. I hope not! Maybe if I toss some squirrel food (mostly corn) out behind the fence they'll just happily eat that. haha!

Alrighty, I'm off to get things done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Horse Manure - it's a Beautiful thing!

I found some horse manure compost on Craig's list and today Jake and I headed out to the farm to load it up. It was $10 a truck bed load. I know some people say don't pay, you can find it for free. But this farm was close and why shouldn't they make money from it? If I ever have extra bunny poo I would try to sell it to make something back from the food and care I put into him.

Since we don't have a truck, it was filling the trunk with garbage bags full for us. I shoveled up 18 bags of manure, heaved them into the trunk, got them home, heaved them out of the trunk into the wheelbarrow, then out of the wheelbarrow and over to the beds. My first 4x4 bed was so low that it took six bags to fill it. I'm so glad I do alot of heavy weightlifting when I workout because flinging around 50lb bags of manure wasn't as hard. So, I did skip my workout today because I figure that is a good one in itself!

The guy was so nice. He told us to come back tomorrow and fill the trunk up again so make sure we got our money's worth. I am taking him up on it, but told him what I got was already cheaper than the box store. Plus he's going to let Jake ride one of the horses when we go back tomorrow. And this is GOOD stuff, tons of worms. After I filled my first bed I stepped back and looked at it and it was moving. I'm taking Ted along after work so he can heave the bags instead of me LOL. I actually enjoy the shoveling part.

With my 18 bags I topped off almost 6 beds. I went out and looked at it and it just looks so rich and ready for planting. Several of the beds had just been "watered" with worm tea this weekend that I had brewed up. Then I brewed up some bunny poo tea and poured that on. Then also spread the bunny poo over the beds. Now they're topped off with horse manure. I'm very hopeful about this fall's turnout. I have the compost from my previous mixing (cow, mushroom, chicken, worm castings), with all of this good stuff added in. I will work the manure into the beds better after we get it all and I'm not so tired. Maybe I'll even let it settle while we're on vacation next week and do that when I get back.

Anyway, I'm very happy about horse manure. How crazy is that? :) :) :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watering Dirt

Yes... I have been faithfully watering peat pots full of dirt and nothing else! Those 3 "mystery" pots have nothing in them at all. Now i recall that I was saving them for the new seeds I was expecting in the mail. LOL!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cage Building

That's what we've been doing the past few days and this past weekend. I have been caging in my boxes to save my veggies from the raccoons. I really don't mind sharing, but they don't share! They just take it all and I'm left with nothing. So hopefully the cages will keep them out.
I only need about 5 cages. The boxes with trellises I just wrapped the netting around them using the posts. It is sort of a flimsy netting so that they can't climb it. But I don't know if they'll chew through it?? I guess we'll find out! And if they do I'll go the chicken wire route. But I hate dealing with chicken wire. It is such a pain to work with. Anyway, once I got it up I noticed no one dug out the squares I had just prepped so that is encouraging. And the garden will be rather empty until Aug/Sept so maybe they'll forget about me!! :)

I have some seedlings sprouting in the back room. I'm very excited about the broccoli sprouts that came up first. Why? Because I let one of my broccoli plants go to seed last year and harvested all of the seeds out of those little pods myself. So these are sort of my first generation broc's. I was wondering if they would sprout at all, if I'd waited long enough to harvest the seeds, etc. This is just a nice little confirmation that I did it right :) .
Three of my seedlings are mystery peat pots. I didn't write names on them??? I am certain I wrote on each pot what was in it because last year I had mystery stuff. Well I'll be darned if I know what these three will be. Nothing has sprouted in them so now I wonder to myself..."did I even plant anything in them?" LOL. If they are a squash I'll have no clue which ones they are because I have several varieties. I guess it will just have to be a fun surprise!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finishing Fall Plans

Whew, I think I have the fall garden planned. Doesn't seem like it should be that hard, right? I'm not going to be as passive about the garden this year. I'm hoping for better yields now that the first year of learning and experimenting have passed. Not that I'm done learning, LOL, but I think I have the basics.

Here's a pic of my plans for fall...

Yes, the words are a bit small, but you can click on it to see it better. Only 2 boxes will stay the same - the strawberries and the sweet potatoes (which won't be ready until Oct/Nov). Jake hasn't decided what to do in his box, and I had to rotate the watermelons and am using the top portion of his for the cukes.

I got some seedlings started in the sunroom for the August planting. Still don't know what I'm going to do to water them while I'm gone on vacation.... I read a few ideas online. One is watering them well right before we leave then sealing them in airtight bags - propped up with straws or something to keep the bag from sitting on the leaves. Another is setting the peat pots in a shallow tray of water and allowing the water to be drawn up through the bottom. Jake and I discussed a drip system involving cups and strings. It is similar to when we made stalactites and you hung a string out of water and it dripped slowly for days. We're going to test it this week.

I also have made plans for more cages for my boxes since the raccoons seem to be here to stay. The other night I laid trellis pieces on top of the beds I'd prepped. They dug through the little holes and pulled out all of the kitchen scraps!! LOL. Gosh I would have loved to have seen them doing that. Wish they weren't so darned cute so that I could dislike them!

I have more seeds ordered; some herbs, purple beans, rainbow carrots, etc. I'm interplanting all kinds of herbs and flowers in the boxes (not on the diagram) to help controls pests. And I will probably mix up a bit more Mel's mix to top off a few of my boxes. With harvesting and rain and all that stuff they are sinking a bit low. I did 4 of my boxes earlier this year without the mix and I really do prefer the looser soil of the good mixed beds over just compost.

Alrighty, I'm off to get more stuff done today!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Prepping in the Rain....

I got another box prepped for fall today - out in the rain! I simply had to get it done so I got out and did it, rain or shine. Mostly shine though LOL and just a little rain. That leaves me with just a few more squares to prep and I will be all ready for the Aug/Sept/Oct plantings.

I'm really going to try to keep up with the garden better this year. Last year was my first year gardening and I enjoyed planting and looking at the garden. But I didn't really "help" it along much. The corn got hit by corn borers, and the squash got taken over by squash bugs - and by some overzealous attack against the squash bugs by yours truly. Yes, I killed the squash.

Anyway, I'm going to interplant more crops to help keep certain things away. And I am going to fertilize the garden. Last year I just followed the SFG book and it said you don't have to fertilize. But I've seen other gardens on the gardenweb forums and I think they said they fertilize. I'm not sure what to use though. I do sprinkle worm tea on the garden from the worm bins. And maybe I'll get some seaweed or fish emulsion - but why and what for? Guess I'll have to research that. Oh, and of course the bunny berries get sprinkled on the garden too.

And I need to find a good organic way to keep the bugs away, beyond the interplanting.

Oh, and maybe mulching the boxes this year. I have so many dead leaves I could use, I wonder if that's ok? I did it for my strawberries so I guess it is ok elsewhere too, duh.

I have pretty carrots and purple beans on the way - I'm so excited! And I'm going to start some seeds in peat pots in the sunroom to be ready for August- hurray!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Night Sounds

Here's a "video" that is really just for audio. The sound of the garden at night after the rain...

It's going to be a boring month in the garden in July. Nothing to plant, nothing to harvest this month. Just prepping beds and getting ready for August. So while my garden blog will most likely be lacking, at least my adventure blog will probably pick up! (except it rained ALL WEEK this week and we didn't go anywhere.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Step Away from the TOMATOES!

I haven't had a tomato snatched for 2 nights now so maybe the blockade I made is working. However, this morning I went out and found a tomato hornworm hanging around! They really are cool looking though so I let him munch a bit while I took pics, then left him there until Jake woke up so he could see him "live".

Aha! I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera. No more blurry pics - well for small things anyway. Oh,but wait, he's not small. know what I mean!

Anyway, I got sidetracked by some black swallowtail cats and totally forgot to fling this guy into oblivion. So by the time I remembered he'd actually made it to a tomato and had a little snack. It was a small unripe one. I cut the rest off and gave it to the bunny who happily finished it off.

So, check out one of my cats! I'm so excited about them:

There are two others in there, enjoying the Savory. Can we bring in the cocoon (or chrysalis or whatever the correct term is) and hatch the butterfly? I guess I'll have to google that. It would be interesting

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Raccoons! They are stealing my tomatoes. The other day I went out to check my first one that was looking ripe and it was GONE!!! The funny thing was, do you know where they left behind the evidence? On top of the leaf compost pile!! LOL. So even though I was a bit upset, I had to laugh that they left the remains in the compost.

I got out and covered the box with netting, but they were able to get the next one anyway.Last night I put some trellis pieces around the box and we'll see if they got into it today.Gosh, they are SO cute. I wish they wouldn't take all of the veggies. I'd share, but they keep taking everything ahead of time.I snagged a green tomato off of one of the vines and brought it in for the bunny. We shared it. I have never eaten a non-ripe tomato and I have to say it was crispy and sweet. I like it better than a ripe tomato. Because honestly I really don't eat tomatoes if they aren't in salsa or ketchup, or cut up tiny on a fajita. To me they are mushy and the inner gooey seed slime part is disgusting. Ok, enough tomato ranting. Let me see if the pic of the tomatoes in the leaves shows. The camera completely fogged up upon going outside (that's FL humidity for you!). Nope, too foggy. Oh well, maybe next time!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finishing Up the Clean Up!

Alright, so there it is! It looks sooo much nicer than at the beginning. There is a small area over by the leaf pile (behind that white trellis) that isn't covered. I was one bag short! But that is okay for now, as the leaves still need to settle and will still blow out of the pile for a bit anyway. Later this week I'll fill that little spot. That purple "tent" back there is my peppers box. Those are curtains (sheers) hanging and shading the box - and I'm FINALLY getting some peppers holding onto the plants. Hurray!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Garden Restoration - Continued

I have been out in the yard the past few days doing more weeding, more picking up leaves, and adding more mulch! I had to yank all of the squash and zucchini - pickleworms got into them! What a disappointment. I really wanted to deliver some squash to my spare-a-square members. We'll have to try again in September after the pickleworms pack up and leave. Speaking of leaves, I have tons of leaves...and even more worms. Every handful of leaves I pick up has worms and I can see the decomposition under the leaves just from February. This is going to make some awesome compost along with the bunny berries and kitchen scraps. Anyway, there's a pic of my progress. I'm about halfway done!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Operation: Garden Restoration!

Alright, I have let the areas that surround the boxes really get out of control. I've been fairly good about weeding inside the boxes and keeping those nice. But the pathways are a mess! When I added the 4 new boxes I couldn't afford mulch, but I wanted to cover the weed control fabric, so I used the dead leaves in the yard. I had bags and bags and bags full, and so did my parents. But now it is looking messy and covered in weeds.

On to Operation: Garden Restoration! Today I worked on one section of the garden. I plan to work on a segment once a week until I have it looking all nice and clean. Plus I can only fit 10 bags of mulch in my trunk at a time LOL. Those leaves though - wow are they full of worms! I'm moving the leaves to a compost pile and letting it just become a nice little worm city.

So here's the Before Pic...It's awful!

and the Step One Pic...

It looks so much nicer already! I can't wait to get it finished, and then I need to keep up with it better.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What's on my lima?

So I saw these little buggers on my lima. What are they? And is that ladybug going to eat them? :) :)

End of May Garden Info

So far, so good. Because of the rain some things are a little yellow, but I think they are about to get a break now. Quite a few things popped up during those stormy weeks that I couldn't get out often enough to really check things out. Things are growing!! Go figure, they were able to get pollinated without my help LOL. I might even get one ear of corn out of things this year - bigger than 2"!

A Zucc growing from the spare a square program :) .

Tomato!! Last year these didn't grow (too hot), then in the fall they started to grow but the freeze in the winter killed them. This I think will be my first successful batch of tomatoes. Salsa & ketchup here we come!

I got more squares prepped this weekend for fall. I'm going to have to start planning the fall garden soon so that I am ready. The sweet potato vines have FINALLY started digging into the soil. for a while they just wanted to grow and be free, but they have rooted themselves now. I hope we get at least as good a harvest as last year. Only one box full this year though.

In June I'm going to focus on clean up around the boxes. When I made them I couldn't afford new mulch so I used a combination of old mulch from the front yard we had redone, and then added bags of raked leaves in the winter to cover the weed fabric. Well, as you can imagine it is quite messy and the weeds sprouted from all of the reused items and have taken over. So my plan is to buy a few bags of mulch a week and work on a small area at a time to get it looking pretty.

Here's my measly harvest of potatoes... Small and not very many. The upper portion had wilted and died off though so I dug them out. I don't know if it was because they were just from the store that I started them with. Or I didn't cover the leaves well enough? Whatever it was, at least I got a few!

Memorial Day Pics

Here's how things were growing as of Memorial Day. It stopped raining long enough for me to get some garden time! I harvested one of the cabbage and made cole slaw! It was good, but I used way too much mayo - oops!
Beans (need to plant more next year.), Cabbage, Cauli. One of the cauli's is growing a good head, but the other one was very sparse and is actually beginning to flower.
Jake's really cool sunflower. It is so tall and has tons
of flowers ready to bloom. And the flowers themselves
are thickly layered petals, very cool!

Celery, Zucc's, Cukes, & onions.
The cukes & zucc's are from the spare a square program. Hope they start growing well!