Garden 2017

Gardening season is officially under way here @home.  Wheeee!

2017gardenweedsLast year we weren’t able to get a garden going and we left it fallow for the season. That was hard. It was the first time in many, many years I haven’t had a garden. The result from letting it go is that the garden plot is now very weedy and turning it over by hand is not going very well. We are planning to rent a big tiller this week and get it tilled.  Son is going to whack all the weeds before we till.

2017gardenraisedbedsIn the mean time, the four raised beds are planted and growing. Compost from last year was added as well as local compost to fill the beds.  I didn’t start any plants this year so I purchased tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.  Not heirloom this year but we’ll work on that for next year.  Radishes, broccoli and peas were started by our own saved seed.  Everything is doing well except the broccoli which I think is a bust.  The first bed has broccoli (well, supposed to have broccoli) and peas.  The one behind it has cauliflower and radishes.  The bed next to it has tomatoes and onions.

2017gardenlettuceThe raised bed near the house (dubbed the kitchen garden) has lettuce, garlic, spinach and carrots.  The early spinach planting is pretty much done and bolted and has been reseeded already.

The herb garden is sparse this year.  My lavender, yarrow and savory didn’t make it through the winter so I will need to plant new.  I’m not sure why because our winter was actually fairly mild as a whole.  Chives are going 2017gardenchivesfull blast and drawing many bees.  Hubby loves having them in salads.  We had a nice small harvest of asparagus this year and we are hoping for a bigger one next year.

Lastly, the strawberries are looking great. This bed is badly in need of a good weeding, but the strawberries don’t seem to mind. I’ll need to cover these with bird netting because the local birds (as well as our own chickens) will gobble them up once they start ripening.

2017gardenstrawberriesJust a small update for now.  I’d love to hear about your garden this year whether it is a big farm garden or a small patio container garden.  You can leave a comment or link to your own blog post.

Until next time…live simply and love abundantly!

Ann’Re

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Seed Starting 2016

seedlingsEven though my garden is buried under snow, in my mind it’s spring!   It’s time to make garden plans, order and start seeds.  This year I am excited because I am starting more of my own seeds and ordering less.

I had also hoped to make my own seed starting mix, but I wasn’t able to get what I needed.  I used a basic seed starting mix that I already had…non organic, but it was only peat moss, vermiculite and bark fines.  I’m trying to get away from using peat.  I added the last bit of coconut coir that I had on hand.  I can’t find a good source around me so I’m going to have to find a good source online.  Do you make your own seed starting mix or do you buy it?  If you buy it, what kind do you buy?

I had picked up a few trays on clearance from our local big box hardware store.  Well, not really local as most shopping is at least a 30 minute drive.  I love finding these kind of deals.  The plastic trays that I already had were old and starting to crack.  I also picked up some cheap dixie cups.  These are great for starting seeds.

160209plantlights1160209plantlights2I don’t have any specific grow lights or plant lights.  I just use regular bulbs that say full spectrum or daylight that run over 5000 K in cool light appearance.  The ones I have right now are 6500 K and 100 watt.  While I HATE fluorescent bulbs, these are the most cost effective (LED’s are still very expensive) and work work well for me in this tiny green house.  I also have two small fluorescent tube lights that used to be in our kitchen.

So far most of the seeds I have started are all my own seeds from last year.  Roma, Marglobe and Black Krim tomatoes, pablano peppers, white onions, red romaine lettuce, and slobolt lettuce.  I planted some cabbage, spinach and kale from seeds I bought last year, but just to be safe I will be ordering more.  I also planted some celery seeds I got last year but they have yet to germinate.   I have to buy bell and banana pepper seeds yet.  I also have some hot pepper seeds that I have been growing for years now.  I don’t know the name of the pepper but they seem to be Tabasco peppers from what I could find.  They are one of hubby’s favorites for making hot pepper flakes.

That is it for now.  I’d love to hear what your garden plans are for this year and what seeds you’ll be starting or have already started.  Until next time…grace and peace!

Been Busy…Scattered Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, we’ve been pretty busy.  On top of that I don’t sleep well so I’m also exhausted.  Between the two I am almost overwhelmed.  But still pressing onward.  Here’s a quick rambling update:

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Kentucky Wonder Wax Beans

The green beans are in full production and I’ll be getting ready to can some tomorrow.  This is the first year of using raised bed and I think next year that the spacing for the pole beans should be farther apart.  The Provider Bush are doing great this year, but hubby says that the White Half Runners we have growing taste much better.  The Kentucky Wonder Wax beans are just starting to turn yellow.  The McCaslan Pole beans are just starting to produce.  I also bought 10 lbs. of blueberries and 20 lbs. of organic carrots over the weekend and I’ll be canning those as well (the carrots I planted didn’t come up at all.)  All the tomato plants are flowering and have green tomatoes so it shouldn’t be long before we start seeing them start turning red.  The volunteers that came up from last year turned out to be mostly Romas, but a few are Marglobe.  I’ll be saving the seeds from the nicest ones.  We actually have cucumbers this year! Last year we didn’t get one flower, this year we have lots and lots of flowers, and I should be harvesting the first cucumber this week. The peas are almost done, I’ll be planting a fall crop of here soon.  Didn’t get enough to can or freeze since hubby and son ate most of them.  Note for next year, plant twice as many.  Hubby and son finished the third raised bed, we filled it enough to plant a fall crop crop of broccoli.   After lots and lots of rain that flooded the bed, the seedling have poked through so I hope they make it.  The white onion tops have fell and are starting to brown, so I’ll be harvesting those here shortly, but they are really small.  Onions usually do well, I’m wondering if all the rain stunted them.  The yellow and red onions are still going so hopefully they will be bigger. Speaking of rain, we haven’t had any for over a week now. It actually seems weird that it isn’t raining almost every day. And for the first time this year I had to water the garden (not counting when I planted seeds.)  To top it off, this morning I knocked my plastic watering can down and it cracked when it hit the ground.  Glad I have a spare.

I can’t believe that July is almost over.  Public school with be starting in another week and I need to start planning for our upcoming homeschool year…11th grade.  Seems like it was just yesterday when we were ordering kindergarten materials and starting out on our homeschool journey.  Now we’re not only planning for the last two years of high school but making college plans as well.

I guess that’s it for now.  I’ve got laundry to finish and housework to catch up on.  Since my dryer is just barely running I’m glad to have rain-free days to hang laundry outside.   I’m glad dinner tonight is simple…blueberry pancakes and sausage.

Hope you are doing well!  Grace and peace…

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Father’s Day Weekend

This morning started off a bit foggy, outside AND inside. Mondays are like that. But the fog has burned off, I have had my coffee, and chores are in process.

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At the range.

Had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with hubby and son. Hubby wanted to go to the range for Father’s Day, so that is what we did. Personally, I’d rather shoot with the camera (and I did), but we all had a nice time and hubby was happy.

I also worked a bit in the garden over the weekend. The beans and peas were beginning to push against the bird netting we had put up to keep the rabbits from feasting on them. So we cut the center and folded it back into a make-shift fence. We’ll see how that works out. So far the beans and peas are looking great.

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A visitor while we were at the range. Handsome fellow, huh?

I don’t know about you but we get lots of volunteers in the garden, and I really hate pulling them out. Our onions are planted where the tomatoes were last year and there are so many tomato weeds growing in the onions. The tomato weeds are growing better than the tomato plants we actually planted. Go figure. Anyway…I really don’t have the room for more tomatoes, but I just hate pulling them out. On the other hand, with all the rain we’ve been having (and the 7 day forecast is saying we’ll have 6 days with rain) I may just leave them alone. Some of my tomato plants are struggling and could get taken out with all the rain. I don’t think my onions will be effected too much by the tomato weeds.

Speaking of tomatoes, I went through our tomatoes and pinched off the bottom leaves to help prevent any blight from the wet weather. The weekend was fairly dry so the ground had a little bit of time to dry. I think the peppers are suffering the most. They aren’t growing much and actually have a bit of wilt to them. I’m wondering if getting an organic fertilizer might help.

That’s it for now, I guess. I’ve got laundry going, chore to catch up on from the weekend (mainly dishes), milk on the stove cooling for yogurt, and dinner to figure out. I’ve got ground beef thawed, but not sure what to do with it. Hope your weekend was great and hope your week is as well. Grace and peace…

Rainy Garden Update

weatherrainIt rained almost every day last week, and looks like it will be a rainy week coming up.  Seems like we are getting a lot of rain.  It isn’t flooding like in some areas, but the ground is saturated saturated and we’re expecting more rain.  My garden plants are asking for a dry spell.  Too much rain (or any over watering) can lead to all sorts of garden problems like rot, leaf spots, mildew and other types of disease, wash out minerals from the soil, increase pests and even stunt plant growth and reduce your harvest.  I’m seeing some leaves yellow on tomatoes and peppers, but nothing serious yet.  I like to put a good mulch around my plants…I’m wondering if I should pull some of it out until the weather is a little dryer.

But as a whole, the garden is doing fine.  And the weeds are doing great!  *sigh*  Hope your garden is growing well!

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Early spinach bolting.

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Lettuce is really starting to grow. Heirloom Slobolt and Red Romaine.

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Onions. A few white onions going to seed. See all the tomato weeds??

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Something is eating the onion tops. I think rabbits, but they have never bothered them before.

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Peppers starting to bloom, but all the rain is turning the leaves yellow.

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One of my volunteer tomatoes…with bean weeds.

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Herb garden…needs a good clean up.

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New strawberry plants are giving us a few strawberries. Should be a great harvest next year!

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The new bean bed. Not sure if you can see the bird netting, but it is keeping the rabbits out.

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Beans, peas and cucumbers at the very end. Bird netting on this bed also.

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The only planter I have going for veggies this year. This has happy peas.