Finally…a few pics!

 

Okay, so I dug out my Canon powershot and took some pics of my garden. I have a Canon Rebel-which I love- but the pics are so big that I have to resize them in photoshop to post online. Hence my lack of pictures around here…(lack of time that is).

These are just of my tomatoes and cucumber plants, and a couple of my gardening BFFs…..

My topsy turvy! Look at the size of that ‘mater! This is Amish Paste.

One of my tomato plants. See that yardstick? I put it in the ground to measure water- and then it got stuck. Whoops! (I’m just glad it didn’t kill the plant)

My other tomato plants. There are three of them here and they are intertwined. I guess 2 feet between plants wasn’t enough space this year. =)

My cucumber corner… We had to add that wire frameย  because they outgrew our trellis’.

Close up of my poor cucumbers. Stupid cucumber beetles. I hope they can keep on growing and living a long fruitful life. Please? Please? Please?

And here are a few of my gardening BFFs…

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Happy 4th Everyone! A garden update

Hi everyone, I hope you are having a great 4th of July. We are going to a bbq and go swimming for our fun activity.

Garden is doing okay…biggest things now are the Tomatoes and Cucumbers. I also ate some broccoli the other day from my garden, but it was just a one person serving’s worth. ๐Ÿ™‚

My tomatoes are doing well, but my tallest plant had a setback this week. The top toppled over! It had overgrown the cage I had for it by a few feet and snapped over (Cherokee Purple) so I had to cut it off. I also had to support the growth beyond the cage with some twine so those stay in tact. The fruit is getting big- but hasn’t ripened yet. So, hopefully that will happen soon. I added some pine needles around the base of the plants since it is so so hot here and has been for a week now. I also gave it a little fertilizer because I thought it might need it, but used an organic one with low levels of everything. I also keep pruning off leaves which I suspect have early blight so keep that at bay…and I think my topsy turvy might have versculium (sp?) wilt. Some of the leaves are yellow. Of course that could be operator error (my most frequent problem) and I have been overwatering it, so I’m trying to lighten that up. It does have fruit (a large one at that) and has started to produce more fruit so I just trimmed off the yellow branches and will see what happens! I may have to trash it at the end of the season though. Don’t want to infect a future plant.

My cucumbers are growing and now have both male and female flowers! yay! Of course since I had to chop down all my radishes that I had planted, I have now noticed yellow spots on my cucumber plants (mainly lower leaves). Researched online and my educated guess is Bacterial wilt. I haven’t treated my garden at all for any pests, so I am going to spray the cucumbers down with Neem Oil spray and hope that helps reduce the beetles so maybe it won’t kill all my plants and future fruits.

So that’s it for me! I hope your garden is growing great! My most favorite and least favorite part of gardening is the trial and error. Of course, once I fix the operator error I would probably be more successful!

PS I am thinking of buying a water meter. Anyone else use one? Is is worth it??

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Why hello there

So I actually have a few kid-free moments right now (pre-bedtime) and so I thought I’d drop a quick note on how my garden is doing. I need to take some pictures to show you, but want to wait a little longer for some more progress.

I ended up pulling out all of the Nasturtiums in my garden and recently tore out my flowering radishes. They are/were supposed to help deter cucumber beetles, but I’ve been having severe allergies this summer and whenever I’d be near them I would start wheezing. So, I figure I will just take my chances with the cucumber beetles. Fortunately seeds are not too expensive and this is more of a hobby than a livelihood so I am okay with taking some risk. ๐Ÿ™‚ So my tomatoes are rocking. Lots of fruit, but none have ripened yet. I found only a few hornworms so far, so I hope they don’t get worse. I also see some spots which I assume might be early blight so I just have been trimming those pieces off. Not sure if that is recommended, but if it is a disease it makes sense to me to remove it so it can’t spread. Topsy Turvy planter is still doing good- just one fruit so far, but still growing. A lot of my plants have gone to see from the heat. My Peas are gone, Arugula is gone, and so is my Broccoli. My broccoli didn’t turn out so well, but I planted it from seed at the end of March so it was a gamble from the start. Plus, I am just happy that is actually produced any broccoli (think small). My lettuce has started going to seed, and my beans have been neglected lately. I really need to pick them so they can keep producing, but I wanted to tear out all of the plants I suspect are giving me troubles. I actually think I am just allergic to North Carolina! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Okay, maybe a stretch, but I am grateful for allergy medicine. Anyway, I forgot to plant my Okra this year, but my cucumbers are growing and flowering (no fruit yet). So I’m hoping they will start producing asap. Once that happens I will be up to my neck in tomatoes and cucumbers. Let the adventures in canning begin (once that starts)!

I did have a question for my gardening friends. What do you do when your vegetables stop producing or pass their prime? Do you pull them out or let them go to seed? The nice thing about letting things grow is that they provide extra shade, but I wanted to get other input.

P.S. My Zinnias are still rocking- even if the Japanese Beetles are devouring them like crazy. Oh and the marigolds are doing well too. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.P.S. Stay cool out there! I’m praying for rain for those fires in the West.

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Allergic to Nasturtiums? That is the question, and probable answer.

A little over a week ago I picked a bunch of green beans. I wore 3/4 length sleeves but still broke out in a bright red rash. My initial guess was that I am just sensitive to the type of green bean plant and applied some hyrdrocortisone cream. So when I sauteed those fabulous green beans for dinner, I was surprised when I had a severe allergic reaction about an hour later (we had spaghetti so that wasn’t it). I took some medicine and started feeling better, but made a doctor appointment. I went to the doctor and he told me my symptoms were probably a toxin reaction-not a food allergy. Hmm I thought. It would be weird that I am in my 30s and just now becoming allergic to green beans, but I wasn’t sure what else it could be. So anyway, fast forward to today. I worked in my garden this morning trying to make room for my cucumbers to grow and also kill some Japanese Beetles (soapy water method). I started wheezing while working and once I finished quickly realized I was having another reaction and took some medicine. After talking to my mother, a nurse, I decided that I am actually probably allergic to the Nasturtiums in my garden (and not green beans). I had no exposed skin while working in the garden,and previous years had no reaction to green bean plants so this makes much more sense. This year is my first year using Nasturtiums for pest control. So, needless to say I have another doctor appointment scheduled.

So, beware fellow gardening friends of using Nasturtiums (if you have allergies). Not only does Nasturtiums release a toxin to bugs, but apparently it can affect people as well.

By the way, I am having my dear husband rip out all of my Nasturtiums and rinsing all of my other plants (which may now be contaminated by the flower’s oil) so hopefully I can avoid any other reactions.

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A quick update

So sorry about the lack of posts around here. I have been swamped with work lately and have not been able to catch up. A good problem to have I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I thought I would write a quick update on my garden, but without pictures.

My peas are still producing, not a ton and I’m sure it is the hot weather. My carrots are still growing, and my Arugula is going to seed. It will be interesting to see where Arugula pops up in the garden. My Zinnias, Marigolds and Nasturtium are all blooming and growing like crazy. The butterflies and bees are loving it (among other bugs). My lettuce is doing well still (with the help of the broccoli for shade). My broccoli has grown and is being love on by bugs, but has not produced yet. My neighbor who planted hers by seedlings has Broccoli right now, so we will see if my Broccoli (planted by seed and is pretty big) will actually produce anything still. My beans are out of control. I learned last week that I am pretty allergic to Green Beans so I will be giving them to my neighbors whenever I actually have time to harvest them. Considering the plants themselves give me a bad rash, I haven’t been really worried about that though. ๐Ÿ™‚ My radishes are going to seed and my cucumbers are starting to flower. We had to build a bigger trellis structure for them (and the peas too), and I still need to tweak them a bit. Some of my cucumber plants are turning yellow so I’m not sure if it’s because of water or disease. There are blooms and some cucumber plants look healthy so maybe the plants are too crowded. Anyone have experience with overcrowded vegetables? I’m considering thinning them out. My tomato plants are growing still and have a ton of blooms and are starting to fruit. I pulled up one plant that either got sick or is not right for my zone. I also cut off some brown leaves on one plant, and see some yellow leaves on some others. They are on the bottom/older leaves of the plant. I am wondering if it is early blight or a fungus so I may spray them with some fungicide just in case. They are huge and starting to produce so I hope they can hang in there. This application would be my first of the season for any pest/disease. Also, I read that you can sprinkle dry milk around tomato plants to give them extra calcium. I did that today so I hope that works. Last time I used a milk type of substance on a plant (I made a spray for my potted plants last year and it attracted a ton of ants), so we will see if it helps. My topsy turvy tomato plant is starting to fruit and so that is exciting. Does anyone have any recommendations for tomato diseases? Any special tips or tricks or should I just ignore the yellow leaves?

Hope everyone else’s garden is growing well!

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And we have blooms!

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Sorry it has taken me so long to write an update on my garden. Life is just busy and tends to get in the way of writing. Everything is doing great, although my Italian Heirloom Tomato plant is half the size of its counterparts and I do not know why. My Arugula is starting to bloom. I am happy for that but sad that I could not keep up with making pesto to use up every last bit. I hate wasting food that I grow, and only two of my neighbors wanted any, so oh well. The Pesto I made is awesome! I was able to freeze several servings of it to enjoy the rest of the year too. My favorite dish with it so far is tossed with Gnocchi. Yum! Anyway, things are about to get busy in the garden. Blooms are starting to show up everywhere so harvest time will be here before I know it. Hopefully I can use up most of what the garden produces or I can share the extra. It will be a busy time for sure! My awesome husband bought me a pressure canner/water bath so this will be my first time trying to really stock up. I’ll try to post a picture of the garden as a whole, but here are some pictures I took the other day.

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The Garden Is A Growing

Hello folks. I finally have some progress to talk about. With the rainstorm the other day, my plants got an extra boost. After I uploaded my photos, I accidentally chose insert gallery so it is going to be a little disjointed between my writings and pics, but hopefully you can follow me okay.

Top row L to R

The first picture is what I like to call my lettuce row: Arugula on the left and SSE Lettuce mix on the right. The arugulaย  desperately needs to be picked and made into pesto, but I haven’t had time. I’m actually debating on letting it go to seed and reseed itself. The second picture is of the Arugula and the third is a close up of my Peas. They are growing a bunch and so hopefully they’ll start to produce. My youngest loves peas, and my whole family loves sugar snap peas (I stir fry them and they are delicious!).

Second row L to R

In the first photo, it is my plot with lettuce and broccoli and then nasturtiums/zinnias and marigolds. The broccoli is still growing but hasn’t started to make broccoli yet. It may get too hot for that to happen. Luckily most of it is shaded so maybe that will help.ย  The second picture is of my topsy turvy (out of order-sorry). The tomato plant is growing bigger but doing the craziest thing. The stem has made a U shape and is now growing right side up, upside down. Anyone else experience that before? The last picture is of my plot with beans, cucumbers, radishes, and the nasturtiums/zinnias and marigolds. The radishes are definitely ready to be picked, but I planted them just for the cucumber’s health. They are too spicy for us. The beans look like they should start producing soon. I guess I am a little anxious. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Third row L to R + one more

The first picture is a close up of one of the radishes. I love that I planted them so I can feel like my garden is producing something so early on. They are very rewarding. Too bad we don’t eat them. They will just go to seed to deter those cucumber beetles. The second picture is of my tomato plants. They have definitely grown in the last week and I think those pvc pipes are really helping. The plants are bigger (slowly of course) and seem greener. I’m sure the good dirt helps too. The last picture in this row is of a Zinnia that managed to grow up from last year’s crop in a totally different location. One of the advantages of letting things go to seed. Look at the size of that stalk! Finally, the picture in the last row is of another random Zinnia that I found growing in my carrot row (which is slowing growing but not pictured).

So the garden is a growing and hopefully will keep getting bigger. I really need to weed it this weekend, but so far I haven’t noticed many bugs.

Stay tuned~

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A Confession…

See the lovely planter above? The one with the lopsided pinwheel? That is one of my latest victims. Yes, while I can manage to garden pretty well outdoors, I am abysmally awful with indoor plants. Out of the few plants I have inadvertently killed only one survived- an English Ivy plant. The planter above does haveย  something growing, but I have no idea what it is. I got this planter, with beautiful ALOE VERA plants in it, from my mother’s house so the green thing inside is some mystery plant that decided it liked the sunshine. Yes, I killed an Aloe Vera Plant this year. RIP poor plant. And I know how I did it. I am just too attentive when it comes to indoor plants. I over water and that begins their downfall. I really thought I would do better with this plant, but nope. Apparently 2x a month is still too times too many. Luckily I have the rest of my life to correct this fault of mine,ย  I just need to get my courage back up to purchase something with a high probability of dying again. ๐Ÿ™‚

So does anybody have any disaster proof plants that are good to grow indoors? I’d love to have some green inside and to help with the air purification of my home. Of course I have pets and small children, so I know that can be limiting.

I will have another post on how my outdoor garden is growing coming soon.

Stay tuned~

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Gardening Art and Science: I’m heavy on the Science, but mindful of the Art

Gardening is a mix of art and science. I am kind of a science nerd so I have done the following things to help my garden and yard to be successful:

I read gardening books from cover to cover. And then proceed to highlight and underline them. And then I create an excel spreadsheet from what I read.

I am one of the few 30 something female regulars at my local garden/lawn shop. And I bring my gardening notebook with me sometimes. I am definitely “unforgettable.”

I took a soil report of my yard so I could accurately fertilize and lime it.

I measure how much water my sprinkler system doles out so I don’t under or over water my grass.

I am the crazy lady in my jeans, long sleeves, and sometimes face mask, that is racing around the yard with my broadcast spreader before the rain comes (sometimes just minutes before).

I realize that gardening is a lot of Art too. So while I do all of the aforementioned things, there is no guarantee in gardening. I am just driven to grow food with little pesticides for my family to eat so we can be healthier (and it’s fun too), and also to have a nice yard that we can enjoy where we will be more motivated to spend time outside (although we already like being outside).

My garden is slooowly growing. I will take some pictures soon so you can see its progress. Right now it’s raining. Yes! I love the rain. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned~

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Current State of (the) Garden

This is the current state of my vegetable garden. I planted it a little a month ago and it’s doing pretty well.ย  I have already thinned most things out (and weeded it after these pictures were taken).

In the first square (L to R), I planted peas (Dwarf Gray Sugar), cilantro, carrots (Scarlet Nantes), and Apollo arugula. I also have marigolds bordering it two sides and nasturtiums and zinnias on the other two. The Arugula is growing like crazy but it’s starting to get HOT here, so I am picking it all the time so I can make pesto (and feed our bearded dragon- she has expensive tastes). My lovely husband built the cage around my peas (sorry it doesn’t show up that well). They say they do not require staking, but are literally attaching themselves to each other so I thought the stakes would help.

Square two I have a Seed Savers Lettuce mixture and Broccoli. I have 50/50 odds on the Broccoli because I planted it late and from seed. But, I figured what the heck, and it is in a shady spot so we will see. Luckily seed isn’t too expensive so I can try some things out that may not work. I also have marigolds and nasturtiums/zinnias around this square as well (in fact they border all of the squares).

Square three. I planted Beans (Empress), Cucumbers (can’t remember the kind but a SSE variety), and Radishes. The Radishes help cucumbers so that’s why I planted them. They come up really quickly though so it’s nice to feel like I have been successful so early on.ย  The cucumbers are growing but aren’t ready to be trellised-yet. We bought two of them and my husband made a third one. I have 5 hills total, so I’m hoping I can use both sides of the trellis for the plants. This is my first time growing cucumbers. They are a relative of squash so I’m really hoping those nasty squash bugs don’t come back…..

For the fourth square, I have my tomato plants. I sowed a few rows of basil seeds the other day (and accidentally hoed them while weed eating) so I may need to replant. In the back section I will plant Okra in a few more weeks. It’s hard to tell (I guess I need more Close Ups of my plants), but the Tomatoes have actually grown since I planted them last week. I think those pipes might already be showing their benefit. The plant in the topsy turvy is doing well, although the plant is curving updwards? It is a u-shape. Anyone have that happen to their plant?

So that is it. We’ll see how my garden grows. I enjoy gardening and think of it as a big science experiment, with some art involved. I use a garden journal to keep track of what types of plants I plant and also about pest problems. Since I decided to start blogging about my gardening, I will post my notes/updates online instead. Hope it helps!

Stay tuned~

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