Sunday, May 23, 2010

Harvested the Lettuce and Spinach and bean problems

Today got really hot, so I decided it might be time to pull the Lettuce and the Spinach. This lettuce is drying on a full bath towel and the spinach is in my largest bowl. We will be having a lot of salads and sandwiches the next few days. 
And the spinach ought to give us one or two good meals if I steam it, more if I leave it raw. Maybe if I have time I will make some spinach pasta! Oh the possibilities. 
This is my first successful crop of both spinach and lettuce so I am very happy about that. I had 4 square feet of lettuce full and two square feet of spinach full. Now I have to decide what I am going to plant in their place.
I pulled one pea pod off today to see how big they were inside, not big enough yet. Is there any better way to check?
Well, as I was checking the beans today, they look like some kind of suckering bug has been eating from the backsides of the leaves or something. This is what they look like.
I looked for aphids, did not find any. Anyone have any thoughts on this one?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A weekly update

My daughter is salivating over the strawberries. I don’t believe I will be able to keep her away from them long enough to actually do something with them…


Bed 1, Peas, Lettuce, Chard, Spinach, Onions. I have had a few good sandwiches from this bed so far! My daughter sees all the pea pods on the plants and is sure they are ready…though they are still flat!


Some summer squash, cucumbers along the left side there have sprouted. There is one pepper plant in here with a couple of flat rocks around it.


The cabbage, broccoli and Cauliflower is looking good, except for what appears to be some slug damage on a couple.


The Bush Beans are coming up nicely. There are also two basil plants in the top right and bottom left corners.


The Tomato/Basil Bed…it’s gonna get crowded in here!


Yesterday I bought this Petite Monarda at a local nursery and when I took it out of the pot to plant it, found a Lowes tag on the inside! I feel quite ripped off, considering I probably would have only paid half as much for it if I bought it at Lowes. And, when you buy plants at a nursery, don’t you expect a little better quality of plant? Either way, I feel a bit jaded here! Well, I planted it anyways, and I hope it does well. 


I do shop at Lowes, why wouldn’t I take advantage of my husbands discount. I get plenty of good plants from there, at cheap prices. But sometimes you just find things at a nursery that you can’t find at Lowes. My guess is, this plant was bought up last year at discount and some distributor sold it to the nursery. They just don’t have these flowers out at the box stores yet, cause they are not in bloom yet!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Planning ahead and looking back

We have done a lot of work cleaning up this back area, but haven’t really done much with it yet, behind the grass line, since we are still in the process of cleaning up large rocks and messes the previous homeowners made. We still need to jackhammer out a home made dam or something they built that is just a mess and makes a huge mess when it rains.

This is a look from our upstairs window into the back yard. The “dam” is right behind the shed along the side fence.


This is the sunniest side of the yard. There use to be grape and blackberry vines over here, but I wanted a vegetable garden. Not to worry, I didn’t just throw them away, I gave them to someone who wanted them and they transplanted them in their yard! They were not wasted!


This side of the yard is the shadiest. That whole clearing in the back was covered in Ivy, all the way down the side yard. I am starting to try to think of some shade plants that might look nice back here with less clutter. We have also trimmed back some trees. So maybe a little more will grow back their. And the neighbor has cut down a very large tree as well. It looks so much better and cleaner!


A Look back at the area when we first moved in

The shed is in pretty rough shape and we think filled with ants nests, so it will be going soon as well. When we can get a new one. It won’t be in this spot though, cause all the waters run right under it. That corner needs a desperate clearing and cleaning!


This old tree house was rotten and in a terrible spot. When we get a new shed, it will probably go right about there. It is the driest spot back there when it rains.


All the Ivy.It was so deep you would not believe the things I found in this mess. Lots of rusty old broken yard ornaments. Bags, yes several bags, of topsoil, small garden fencing. Really nice edging bricks, rusty old broken toys, you name it!


You can see all the grape and blackberry vines in this picture. We had pulled this bridge out from the back and sold it. But this is about the spot where my vegetable garden is now.


So, now, I am trying to think of some pretty plants to gently fill the empty area behind the rock line. Maybe some ferns, Hosta, I read some Monarda is a bit tolerant of shade, so maybe in a partly shady spot. I’ll be looking for all sorts of ideas to make this area pretty! Maybe some shrubs. So, that is my next project, getting something done with that clearing in the back under the shade trees. First thing, need a dumpster to get rid of the rest of the rock, the shed, the dam and anything else cluttering up the yard! I’ve tried to use up some of the rock around flower beds and also put some on freecycle and craigslist, but it still seems to never be gone, there is so much! So, maybe a dumpster will get rid of it once and for all! This is definitely a slow work in progress.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crazy Daisy and a Pink Girl

My little Daisy Flower watering her Daisy flower. A ‘Crazy Daisy’ Shasta Daisy. She is doing a good job.
I have been trying to find more perennials to fill my garden with so I can do less planting year after year but have more beautiful flowers. I thought my little Daisy would enjoy having some Daisies in our garden.
Pink Girl Tomato! Hadn’t seen this variety before so I thought I would grab it when I saw it at the fruit market. Plus, it is a lot farther ahead than my tomato plants and I really want some sooner rather than later! Call me impatient!
Look there…blossoms! Yipee!
I also buried it nice and deep! And put some suckers in water to see if I could get more! LIKE I DON’T ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH TOMATO PLANTS….”OH NEIGHBOR!” Huh, I still have seedlings in pots on the patio!
And here is my little garden helper. He wants to help with EVERYTHING garden related and I am really enjoying it!
Daisy doesn’t really have a lot of focus so I can only get her to help me for a moment.  Jacob on the other hand, plants seeds, waters, checks to see if they are growing yet. Oh, but they are both eager to pick stuff…even if it isn’t ready yet! Daisy ate 4 green strawberries yesterday! But I think that they are beginning to understand that you shouldn’t pick stuff until it is ready! By the time they get it, Eli will be picking the green stuff! LOL!
I think I will be getting some nice pictures of the beds next week. The bush beans have all sprouted, a few cucumbers are coming up. They didn’t make it inside, so I started all over outside. The summer squash is growing, the beds will soon look full!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Working on my first reupholster project

I have six of these dining chairs that not only do not match anything, but the kids and cats have destroyed them. So, I have decided to try to take on my first reupholstering project! Whew.


I cannot tell you how many staples were in this one chair! If you’ve done this before you probably know. It has taken me half the day to get them all out.


Here it is, all naked!  And the only way Eli napped today, in the swing, next to me, hammering out staples! Crazy!  Now, I need to start shopping!


I am only starting with one, just to make sure I can do it first. I hope I can remember how everything goes back together and the order. Either way, anything will look better than it did covered in milk, yogurt, oatmeal, spaghetti, you name it!

I am thinking some browns and tan colors. We’ll see what’s on sale! Maybe it will look like a whole new room when I am done!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle

I am pretty sure that is what this bug is, the above link is the closest picture I have found to match my own below. 
I am so happy this little guy was in my garden. I say "was" because unfortunately I killed him. Not on purpose. I scooped him up with these sticks and dirt and put him in a baggy so I could go into the house and look him up before I released him back in the garden. I thought maybe he was beneficial but I wanted to be positive! Uhg, I need to know my bugs better. This bug eats ANTS and Springtails!!! And boy do I have an oversupply of both! And I wish there were more Tiger Beetles in my yard, but upon reading more, I have learned that they most likely live alone unless they are mating! But I'll keep watching. Maybe I'll find another and I will put him right in the middle of my garden! Maybe I will get more plants that will attract them, cause we really could use a reduction in our ant population around here! Maybe all the ants and springtails will attract them and they will eat them ALL!!! Ha Ha! 
 Anyways, when I went in the house to find out what it was, dh was using the computer so I needed to wait. By the time I remembered though, it was a couple days later and poor Tiger Beetle appears to be dead. Wish it was just a game he was playing!
But, according to the above site, some plants they like are Blue Grass, check! Ok, that is about it for our yard, and it is in the front, not back. But, the Cinnamon Fern looks nice, maybe I'll have to see how they do in our area and get one! Not too sure about the rest of them though.
Well, I hope you liked my little lesson on what NOT to do to your beneficials!
Oh, and maybe I need to keep this handy by the garden...

LOL, this is one of my kids little bug houses. But hey, it might work!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Garden Additions. Baby Food. Pancakes.

This morning for breakfast, my dear husband made Dairy/Soy free pancakes…blue. With a fresh berry puree on top. Mmmm they were good. I posted pancake recipes in the recipe tab at the top.
Then, we began working on the garden. A new bed for my tomatoes and basil. 8 inches deep, 3 feet wide and 8 ft long. Yes, that is Eli in the middle of the garden! And on the other side of the fence is the neighbor’s stinky puppy after he has torn up yet another insect cover! Grrrr!
And it is still probably going to be overgrown, assuming I don’t lose any! They look pretty pitiful in this picture, but after they had a nice long drink and a cover to protect them from this chilly day, they perked up!
This is the part of the season I just love, before all the bugs and diseases attack and everything looks lush and green and healthy. My next favorite part is harvest! But you just can’t help but notice the beauty of it.
I planted some peppers in the raised beds, and some peppers out in the corner rock bed that has more shade. I wanted to see where they might do better this year. Cause they really didn’t do great last year. And last year I did a blog about my moms garden and she had a GREAT pepper harvest in the woods. What does it hurt to try!
I planted some Serrano’s, Habanero’s, and Bells out here and in the raised beds.
Oooh, strawberries! It won’t be long! The kids and I plan to go to Huber Farm again in a couple of weeks to play and go strawberry pickin! I’ll be sure to take photos!
This week on the menu…zucchini.
Tonight, we had zucchini/sweet potato/apple puree. It went much better than the zucchini plain! (see below)

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Garden Update and a little baby food.

I am glad I haven’t had all the rain my mom has had down in the Nashville area. Whew, what a mess down there. We did get quite a bit of rain here for several days, and our white water river in the back yard was in full force, but we didn’t have any flooding problems close to us, although there is quite a bit in KY. Only a little of our mulch was washed away. Nothing like last year. If my mom sends me any photos of the flooding I will post them.

A little progress in the gardens…

This is the Dynamite Crape Myrtle that was replaced and planted in the Fall. Sadly, the top did not survive the winter.


But a few small stems are beginning to poke out. I am so glad, but I wonder how long it will take it to get large again. And hopefully I can take good enough care of it to help it make it through future winters.


I found a Maple seedling of a red kind in the yard and decided to save it. Not sure exactly what kind it is, so I will have to find out. There is another out there I might save as well. Who knows, by the time they are big enough to plant, we could be in a new house by then….which will be a few years.


This is one of my front flower beds, I planted the Patriot and Francee Plantain Lily Hosta’s along with some red and white impatiens. It will look beautiful later in the summer!


The first veg bed is looking quite good. The flowers are budding on the peas. I need to dig into some of that lettuce and stuff! Maybe I’ll have some on my burger tonight!


I planted this Oregano plant last year and it looks so nice this year. It is a beautiful plant. Hope it doesn’t take over my sfg!


The Weigela on the left is in full bloom and gorgeous. I keep trying to propagate it but have not been successful yet!  And on the right is the white Crape Myrtle that we transplanted in the fall. It has come back beautifully! I think I need to start shaping it the way I want it though. I also transplanted the lighter pink Azalea in the middle and it looks quite nice. There are some Day Lilies planted in there and I am gonna plant some Blue Fescue in there too.


This is my Clematis, it is doing great. I think I need to cut it way back before new growth though so it will look better.


I planted my Snowhill Salvia right in the back middle there with the Hosta’s and red and white impatiens.


And I made an ice cube batch of Sweet Potato Apple Sauce for the baby. He LOVED it! Wish I had those from the garden, but, no. I haven’t ventured that far yet.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Soy free and Dairy free Birthday cake…

This is my first cake I have ever made like this, and boy was it hard work! I started out with this mix I found at Meijers. Yes, from a box. There’s just too much to do!  It doesn’t have any dairy or soy in it and the recipe calls for butter and I just used Earth’s Balance dairy/soy free spread. I made one last week just to test it and it tasted great. Hope this one does too.

So, my twins birthday is tomorrow, and we decided to buy the princess cake but I just had to have at least one cake that I could eat from so I made the McQueen cake. My friend came over to help me get it started and make sure I knew what I was doing…she has taken a cake decorating class! Thank goodness, cause I might have been totally lost!


It was quite a mess. IMG_1146

And since making the icing myself so that it was dairy/soy free, I think I made it too thick and it was very hard piping this on! I thought I would never finish!  The veins were popping out of my arms…IMG_1147_1

It didn’t turn out perfect, but it is good enough for me, and I am sure my little birthday boy will love it! IMG_1148_1 For my Butter Cream icing, I started out with 5 1/4 cups of powdered sugar,1/2 cup Earths Balance dairy/soy free,  3 tbs of rice milk, and 2 tsp of vanilla. I have used coconut  milk before as well and it is quite good too!

Well the birthday party is tomorrow, and it is suppose to rain all day. Boo! We were going to have it outside, but I guess we will have to move it in unless it clears up in time for our party. But it may still be too wet! We did all our garden work in order to have it looking nice before the party and rain! We would have done it anyways, but we may not of worked ourselves so hard in such a short time!  But it looks so nice, I want to show it off!