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Archive for the ‘garden planning’ Category

At the end of last year’s garden, I was pretty discouraged and frustrated.  As I considered what to do this year, I realized that I would have to put in a significant amount of work to squirrel- and deer-proof (or even just make an attempt, since those animals are particularly wily and persistent about garden theft) and to “heal” the soil.

And so, I don’t think I’m going to have a real garden this year.  Aside from the years that I was moving right in the middle of the summer, this is the first garden season in ten years that I have deliberately decided not to plant one.  It’s a little sad, but really, I’m kind of glad to have a break this year.

However, you don’t think that someone with a blog named “Vegetablog” could actually go without trying to grow *something,* do you?  I couldn’t resist trying to plant some old seeds in a pot that I’ve had on my kitchen counter (it occasionally held herbs).  I tried some old lettuce seeds (from that first garden in 2007!) and while some of them sprouted, nothing has thrived.  So I added some Tiny Tim tomato seeds (from 2008 and 2009) and I just noticed that they were sprouting at the very end of May.  So perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, I will have a miniature tomato plant growing by my kitchen sink.

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It’s not pretty, but it’s functional.  Ish.

I took my kids to a library class in mid-May, and the theme for the series was garden science.  One of the activities was to make something that the teacher called “window greenhouses:” a zip-top plastic bag, into which we dropped some bean seeds and a wet paper towel.  We taped them into the window to watch the seeds sprout.

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The kids’  window greenhouses on the day after our library class. 

I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the beans started putting out roots. …I was amazed to see that there were roots on the third day! I think I was just as excited (maybe more?) than the kids.

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Day Three: Do you see the little root?

We watched more and more roots appear, and then a couple of them put out their first leaves. At this point, we needed to open the bags so that the trapped moisture wouldn’t rot the leaves.

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Day Seven: roots, and even some leaves starting.

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Day Eight: Definitely leaves starting!

Look at how big that one sprout is!  We've had these for a week now.

Day Nine: time to start planting these beans

Look at how big that one sprout is!  We've had these for a week now.

Day Nine: It was so amazing to see the whole process.

Since it had been so much fun to watch the beans sprout, I decided we should plant them in a pot outside– so the kids helped (more like watched) me fill one with soil and plant the seeds (with the paper towel, to which they had attached themselves with the roots).  V did drop one of the seeds into the pot, but otherwise, they were surprisingly hands-off!

At this point, the weather turned nice and sunny and warm, and so these beans really showed their speedy growth. On the day they planted them, the beans looked like this:

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Beans right after we planted them

The next day, we played outside for a couple of hours. At the beginning of our time outside, the beans on V’s side were just barely starting to lift the soil to poke through, and by the end of the time we were out there, they were absolutely above the soil. It’s amazing and so fun to watch.

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The beans in the pot, one day later!

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I really hope the squirrels and other beasties spare our bean pot so that we can watch these plants grow!

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I planted my 2016 garden last Sunday!

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I purchased tomatoes and cucumbers at Home Depot and planted some (probably very old) Burpee zucchini seeds.  I had seriously considered decreasing the number of plants I put into the garden, but Husband (easily) convinced me that if we were going to put in a garden at all, we might as well plant 6 tomatoes again.

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To be planted! zucchini seeds. TamiG grape (hybrid) tomato Cherokee Purple (heirloom) tomato Super Fantastic (hybrid) tomato Burpless (hybrid) cucumber Husky Cherry Red (hybrid) tomato (for kids’ pot on the deck)

Since we put the weed-blocking cloth down last year, it was so much easier to get the garden set up for this year!  Wow.  I just had a few weeds to pull, and I was good-to-go.

garden before.  the weed-blocking cloth actually worked really well!

garden before. the weed-blocking cloth actually worked really well!

 

Garden after.  Everything is planted!

Garden after. Can you tell??  Everything is planted!

This year, I decided to switch the sides on which I planted the tomatoes and cucumber/zucchini.  I don’t know, call it crop rotation or something!  I just had the idea that it might be good to switch.  Otherwise, the planting is exactly the same as it was last year– I separated the layers of weed-preventing fabric and planted the seedlings (and in the case of the zucchini, the seeds).  We bought new metal wire trellises for the cucumbers this year, since the wooden ones we got for our first garden in this location had lived their life.

Garden after.  Everything is planted!

Garden after.  Everything is planted!

We’ve had so much rain here recently that I was easily able to water the whole garden from the rain barrel!

After I had the in-ground garden planted, the kids “helped” me to plant their cherry tomato in a pot on our deck.  I helped them to use the spade to replace the soil around the plant, and they took turns watering.  I hope that they will really enjoy watching their plant grow and have a fun (and delicious) time eating its fruit!

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...and then they took turns using the watering can!

...and then they took turns using the watering can!

...and then they took turns using the watering can!

...and then they took turns using the watering can!

Varieties:
TamiG grape (hybrid) tomato
Cherokee Purple (heirloom) tomato
Super Fantastic (hybrid) tomato
Burpless (hybrid) cucumber
Husky Cherry Red (hybrid) tomato (for kids’ pot on the deck)

 

 

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So here’s the plan!

This year’s garden is not going to be much different from last year’s.  For two reasons: 1) It’s going to be a busy summer!  2) I didn’t feel like spending any money on new seeds, so I’m using what I already have.

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I’ll have 2 cucumber trellises, two zucchini plants, and two plants of each of three tomato varieties.  I’m going to try and squish in two red bell pepper plants, too!  I’ve had mixed success with peppers in the past, so we’ll see how they do here in this garden plot.

I planted the pepper and tomato seeds on Saturday, 08 February 2014.

I planted seeds for our garden today!!

Just for my own record, there are:

  • Four seeds in each pepper cup
  • Three seeds in each Best Boy cup
  • Two seeds in each Jelly Bean cup (the last of that seed packet)
  • Three seeds in each Fourth of July cup

The cups are living on a tray balanced on a luggage rack in my craft room, where I can leave the blinds completely opened all day long for them to capture as much sunshine from the southern-exposure window as possible.

On the 15th, I was delighted to see cute, fuzzy, little Best Boy sprouts poking up in two of the cups!  Can you spot one in the photo below?

Spotted my first sprouts today!  Two tiny, furry little Best Boy tomato sprouts

On the 18th, I noted sprouts in the Jelly Bean cups, as well.  (From left to right, in this photo, the cups are bell peppers, Jelly Bean, Best Boy, Fourth of July)

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And one last photo from the 18th, because the sprouts look so cheerful in the sunlight, in spite of the snow on the ground outside!

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I’m not going to set very many official goals for July.  I want to focus on just enjoying my summertime with my family and friends… and doing some crafting when it fits my schedule, because I love it.  That being said, I do want to keep a few things on the “official” list:

    • Floss each night this month.
    • Maintain the garden (and write an update post or two!).
    • Exercise at least 2 times per week (along with abs+arms every day, as possible/reasonable).
    • Make some new recipes from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.
    • Make (at least) one new recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
    • Do some scrapbooking, if it fits my schedule.
    • Do some sewing.  (I’ve started a new hand-stitiching project!  Remember my skirt?  Well, I’m making some throw pillows for our living room…Hand stitching will be great for being in the car, or for something to do with my hands while I hang out with friends.)  I also have a T-shirt that I’d like to alter/refashion/refit… I might have to resort to Pinterest to get a good idea of what/how I’m going to do that.
    • finish the Project 366 album.  In my June recap post, I listed my remaining “tasks,” and they should be completely manageable to accomplish this month.

That is it for now!  Happy July 🙂

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I think I did really well on my goals this past month! (my original goals/comments on the goals for June can be found HERE).  Not only did I accomplish everything on my list, but I also managed to fit in a few other projects, too.

  • Make (at least) TWO layouts this month. I made three!  See them here, here, and here.  I had a lot of fun with them and I’m excited to feel like I”m back into the swing of things with my scrapbooking.  I’m also learning to work on my paper projects only when I’m feeling inspired.  I have enough other hobbies to work on in between that I don’t need to “force” my creativity–and I’m much happier with the results. 
  • Sew fabric napkins (three sets).  Well, I only made two sets, because I liked my third fabric enough that I might make something else with it, rather than just napkins. 
  • Finish an altered photo board book for my daughter.  See it HERE.  It has been so fun to watch her connect the people in the pictures with the people she sees in “real life” or on Skype 🙂
  • Floss each night this month. Done!
  • Maintain the garden.  I owe an update post…It’s a jungle out there!
  • Exercise at least 2 times per week (along with abs+arms every day, as possible/reasonable). I logged just over 43 miles in June!  wooo hoooo!  A little over 8.5 of those miles were jogging by myself (avg. pace 9:15/mile, wow!  never thought I’d be that fast…), but the rest were walking/jogging with Vivian in her stroller.  
  • Make (at least) three new recipes from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.  We made Slow-Roasted Beef, Rice Salad, Steak Fajitas, and Nut Crusted Chicken Breasts.
  • Make (at least) one new recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. We made the S’more Layer Cake
  • “Sort” my computer.  I made some good progress on this.  My surprisingly-vast digital scrapbooking supply collection (considering I don’t really make digital layouts) is almost transferred to an external hard drive for storage, which definitely cleared some space.  I also took care of some redundant files and sorted some photos that were “lying around loose” in my pictures folder.  The conclusion after all of this is that I still need more storage space, though!  I need to figure out how to divide my Lightroom catalog and keep part on an external hard drive. 

And the unofficial item:

  • finish the Project 366 album. I did end up working on it this month!  I have decided to split it into two binders.  I’ve purchased a second binder and hope that it comes in the mail soon!  I’ve finished all of the inserts, and I have made the two cover pages and finished the last page in the first album.  I have half of the last page in the second album to finish, plus one journal card needs to be written out (I’ve already written the text, it just needs to be copied onto the card).  I also have the backside of one insert to fill with photos.  But that is it!!  I will share my cover and last pages on the blog soon, probably.  

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Husband set up the rain barrel for me!

rain barrel set up

It collects water that runs off of the roof of our garage.  A bit after I took the photo above, Husband came home from work one day and said, “I’ve been thinking about the rain barrel…” and proceeded to tell me a plan to make my garden watering even easier (he knows me well, haha!).  He suggested that we get a soaker hose and run it from the barrel through the garden.

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This way, I can go out each morning, open the spigot to the hose, and then come back inside for a while as the hose does all the work for me!  I set a timer so that I don’t forget to turn it off later.  The photo above shows the initial arrangement of the hose.  We have been experimenting with how to snake it around the plants so that they all get a good amount of water.

We were so excited to see how it worked the first time we hooked it up.  Since the water pressure is low (there is no pump on the rain barrel, of course!), the water oozes out of the pores in the hose like little jewels.  So pretty!

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Everything got set up just in time for… several days of storms with heavy rains.  I’ve only used the “irrigation system” twice, but I definitely love the way it works!

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June is going to be a busy month (for everyone else, too, I’m sure!).  I’m going to keep my “official” goals list short so that it is manageable, while still leaving lots of time for having fun with my family!

  • Make (at least) TWO layouts this month. Woo!  I’m getting ambitious 😉
  • Sew fabric napkins (three sets).
  • Finish an altered photo board book for my daughter.  (I started this project in May.)
  • Floss each night this month.
  • Maintain the garden.
  • Exercise at least 2 times per week (along with abs+arms every day, as possible/reasonable).
  • Make (at least) three new recipes from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.  At the rate we’ve been going, this shouldn’t be too hard, haha!
  • Make (at least) one new recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
  • “Sort” my computer.  I am running low on hard drive space and I need to reorganize.  It’s always at the bottom of my mental list… and here it is at the bottom of my “official” goals list– but at least it’s on a “real” list now!

If possible, but not on the “official” list:

  • finish the Project 366 album.  But I’m not putting any pressure on myself for this.  Whenever it seems fun again, I will work on it.

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