Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time Flies When You're Having Fun...

How have so many months passed since my last post. Wow, to many. for the quick update: 
 We had a big Wedding in the Family. It was amazing and fun. 
I packed Troop boxes for all the Holidays.
Thanksgiving was spent feeling Thankful and sharing it.
I had a bit of sickness and didn't get all my baking for the neighbors and friends done.   
 Christmas was filled with Joy and Family. 
The New Year started and here we are in mid-April. 

I could say it's been so hectic and busy around here there's been no time to think, let alone post. I could say that, but I won't. What is painfully true is that we are just about the most boring people I know. I barely peek out my door in the winter except to attend Church functions, Doctor's appts. and Grocery shop. 

I guess we keep busy with the mundane things of life, Laundry, snow shoveling, dishes, cooking, etc. I am bringing back Family dinner night. The family is a bit scattered, and busy so what happens is we see each other on Holidays, and that just isn't cutting it for us these days. 

I'm hoping to get myself back up to speed on posting. I plan to start today. It really is good for my soul to write things down. It's good for my brain too. It kicks in with memories of things I'd like to share. 

So I'm off to do some laundry, make a run to the store, and pick up some medication for the hubby. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Finally Rain And Tomatoes....

Whoooo hoooo It finally rained. It's amazing how much difference an inch of rain can make. If you look at the top left photo in the collage you will see a stalk of corn that has grown a foot taller then it's siblings.. LOL   amazing. We may still get enough corn for a family dinner. 
   The cucumbers are at death's door, but this morning they were putting on new vines and a few blooms. Maybe just maybe I'll get a few to make our favorite refrigerator pickles. Hubby picked squash yesterday, so you can add about 10 more to the one in the pic. The peppers are small, but the plants just didn't grow much. I'm still hoping for enough tomatoes for Salsa, and spaghetti sauce. Two things we adore. Our friend Abby's mom is hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes so that she can make spaghetti sauce to can also. 
   This is my first time growing Rutgers tomatoes. I put the ones in the bed in cages. They are doing much better in the raised beds except that they are crowding. so many on the same vine, and the cage is forcing them to remain tightly gathered together. They aren't a huge tomato like Beef Steak, but they can't grow very well when they are so smooshed up together. 
   They are forecasting rain for later tonight and maybe even tomorrow. Those rains have gone all around us this whole summer. I'm really hoping they hit us. Before last Friday night's rain, we'd only had a little less then an inch since June 1st.  Watering is great, but pretty much keeps it alive. Even watering never helped the cucumbers or the pumpkins. We have beautiful pumpkin vines with lots of beautiful flowers.. Not a pumpkin one. My baking friend Abby will be disappointed. 
   Finally a supper from our garden tonight. Some fried summer squash, white beans, cornbread, green beans, and tomatoes. We have a few we picked the other day that are good and ripe. They taste wonderful. You just can't beat a home grown mater... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Wrap Up....

Well after much watering and hard work, more for hubby then myself, the garden is producing a bit. Sadly we are experiencing drought here. We've only had 5 rains here since June 1st and that only amounted to about an inch and a half. The funniest part of it is that you can literally go a mile or so out from our house in just about any direction and they've had more and longer rains. It's just crazy. 

My dear husband has carried water out to the garden every evening. Yes, every evening after the sun goes low. It's unusually hot too. the double wammy. I can honestly say that in the last 36 yrs. I've lived here this has been the worst garden we've had. (not counting the 3 yrs. we didn't have one). 

The raised beds of wood are holding their own. The cement block bed is mostly dead, or shriveling. The intense sun and heat of the day has made those blocks hot, I'm sure it's also heated up the soil. We'll be taking that bed out unless we can find something that loves to live in heated soil. A few hardy bean plants are hanging on and giving us a few beans each day. The squash are doing the best with 3 or 4 a day including the ones planted in the ground. The tomatoes are ok. some have blossom end rot, I think, and are not salvageable. I have checked others and they seem ok for now. The ones in the ground are ok, but are way behind where they should be this time of year. 

The local bunnies have munched on a few beans in their search for water and food. I've kept a pan of water out near the garden for beast and fowl. They use it. Even the birds have resorted to eating the tops of the corn tassels. it's crazy. The trees have been dropping leaves all summer, and the walnuts only grew to the size of a quarter and dropped off the trees. I've already decided to lay in some extra feed for the squirrels this winter. 

I love growing things and even though this garden may pull through on some tomatoes, I'm ok with it being poor. Hubby, not so much. I've included a few photos I took today. it's 10am and everything is shriveling up due to the heat already. It's sad, but that's the life of a gardener. 

The tomatoes have outgrown their cages, the green peppers are on stand by, and the cabbage are giving it the old college try. Cucumbers have surrendered to the heat and drought. 

The corn is only a few inches taller then the squash. The pumpkins made lots of blooms and were pollinated, but not pumpkin one. 

The poor wilted squash in the raised bed is giving it everything she has even though she is shriveling up. 

This is what our poor tomatoes in one of the raised beds is doing. I'm hoping some can be saved. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

It Finally Rained And Our Garden Loved It...

Oh My Goodness... It Rained.. did you hear me?? It Rained... 

The first time it's rained in about 3 weeks. It rained just a couple of days after we planted the raised beds on the first of June. This is the first rain we've had since we planted our veggies in the ground. 

We've watered it all every day. As you will see from the photos everything is way behind in growth. I'm not hoping for much from the stuff we put in the ground. I am hopeful for everything in the raised beds except for the green beans. They were planted in the Cement block bed. They were growing great then suddenly started turning yellow and dying. We are wondering if it's the heat from the blocks in that bed. It's been unusually warm for mid-Michigan this summer. I may get some green beans from the ones that Husband replanted in the ground. 

I'm hoping we'll get more rain soon. We need a good day long rain. I'd like at least a couple of rains each week. It's odd for it to be so dry here. We watch the rain go all around us. We wondered why the rain is missing the I-69 Corridor, but we don't seem to miss any of the snow storms that head down the same Corridor in the winter... 

I hope your gardens are giving you joy and lots of yummy things to eat and put up for the winter.  

Our Pinwheel Party Garden

After a week or so we found that due to the lack of rain our bird and animal friends decided to pull up every seed as it popped it's little head up. Our Chipmunk friends dug up all the bulbs; onion sets included. Rabbits chowed down on our cabbage. Birds also ate our cabbage. Something ate every sweet potato slip. 

After speaking to the neighbor we decided to try the pinwheels. We got the foil ones that reflect in the sun. Our Neighbor has a big Security light out back in his barn. It shines on our Pinwheels. Night lights.. hopefully they won't call the critters to the buffet but will instead send them running in fear.  

I'll add a few photos of the pinwheels. They were .97 cents each at our local Walmart. We found them back in the toy section. after using them for a few weeks we can say as long as there is enough breeze to make them spin Nothing goes into the garden. Nothing is being pulled up or dug up. When they are not moving, the birds are back in the garden looking for food. 

I believe a lot of the bird issues are due to a lack of rain. We have had only one rain for about 15 minutes in the past 4 weeks. We water daily. We are not holding out much hope for the crops we planted in the ground. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Planting And More Planting...

This raised bed garden thing is fun. after the beds were filled with "Garden Mix" I headed out to buy a few things to plant in them. I'm not sure how much room I need for each thing in the bed. I figure this year will be our testing year. We'll see what worked and what didn't. I am thankful for a raised bed gardening group on fb. They have lots of great info. 

We have 5 beds. the one in the back (see photo above) is made of cement blocks. The first 2 boxes have 6 tomato plants in each along with onion sets. The 3rd bed has 2 cabbage plants along with 5 green pepper plants. The 4th bed has 2 cabbage plants, 4 burpless Cucumber plants, and 4 yellow squash. Last but not least the block bed has 4 pickling cucumber plants, and green beans. the outside is ringed with marigolds. I already know I want a few marigolds in each bed next year. 

after planting Husband put up two old chain link fence gates for the cucumbers to run up. A great idea to recycle them. He got tomato cages and put them up. He also got mulch to put around the beds. We see today; after 3 weeks we need to make it thicker so we'll be adding more. 

I thought we were done. Silly me. Husband put up the gates and ate some lunch. Instead of a short nap, he went and got his old tiller out and started tilling the leftover (about 3yds) of garden mix into the ground. (Our old garden place was a 30' x 90' foot area) He kept tilling until he hit the clay that was like cement. So off I went and bought 8 more tomato plants, and 4 pumpkin plants. While I was gone he scratched up some more dirt at the end of the old garden place for the pumpkins. We planted 2 rows of corn, 1 row of green beans, another row of cucumbers, acorn squash, and onion sets. 

We realized after about a week that something was pulling out all the onion sets. Something ate all the sweet potato slips. SOMETHING was taking big bites out of the cabbages. Egad we were under attack from some vicious vermin of some type. Hubby figured out pretty quick the bunnies had finally found the cabbage and the pecking on some of the plants and the removal of our beans, corn, and other seeds as they popped up were the birds. We did find another cuplprit. Actually we caught him in the act.. 

Not the actual culprit, but maybe his cousin Earl from Tn.
~photo credit

We have found a solution for all except the chipmunks. They dig up the onion sets. They have dug flower bulbs etc. They pretty much dig up anything and just leave it laying. My next post we'll talk about some ideas we came up with. The rest of the post includes photos. Never a dull moment around here. 

You will notice another 6 Cherry tomato plants in the background of the Photo above. Husband picked them up along with more bean, corn, and squash seeds. They all needed replanting. Again. 

Hubby and his morning coffee... 
We really enjoy going out to check on things in the morning. 
We water and pull weeds in the evening.

We have bees. wooo hooo  This one is so nice and fluffy. I wish we could pet them. Well, maybe not. Neighbors down the road got a hive of honey bees so they come visiting. Our old garden spot has laid dormant for a couple of years. In the meantime a nice crop of clover has grown in where crops and weeds grew. I saw this guy when I was out planting. I'm trying to encourage him to keep dropping by and bring some of those new bees down the street with him. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Our Raised Bed Garden Adventure: The Beginning.....

Photo credit 

We have had a garden for years. Husband's first garden was one he helped care for as soon as he could walk out with his mama and pull a weed. He's had a garden ever since that day. When I met him one of the first things he showed me was his garden. 90' x40' . (yep that's feet)... For 34 yrs. we had that big garden. The past 2 yrs. with back and leg issues we've not had one. 

I would hit farm markets and such for anything I needed. I missed going out and picking veggies for supper. We always had a big dinner when the corn came in. Just corn on the cob and tomatoes. I even bought seeds one year in the hopes we could find someone to plow up the old space and till it enough for me to plant it myself. If just didn't work out.  

I think we are typical garden growers. We just love watching things grow and I loved canning and freezing all the produce. No worries about how things were processed, or what type of chemicals were used. We knew exactly what was done to remove bugs and keep other critters away from our stuff. I knew what was in every jar I opened for us to eat. Nothing with words you couldn't spell. I like that. 

The first raised bed I saw was as a teenager at my Aunt and Uncle's  home in Lansing Mi. Ed had a bad back and they were getting on in years. They had a typical city lot that included a small backyard. I was amazed at what they grew in those beds. They were raised up off the ground and were easy to access from both sides. I was amazed. 

The next raised beds I saw were at my Uncle Roger's place. I couldn't believe how much he grew in those beds. My Aunt Janet cans tons of stuff. I just couldn't believe it all came from those beds. It peaked my interest, and with the raised bed popularity I wanted to try them. 

Husband is a huge fan of flea markets and yard sales. He came home this spring with 4- 30" x 5' beds. I'd also seen people making beds out of cement blocks on facebook and Pintrest. So we decided to give it a try. A neighbor has been using raised beds for several years. He suggested getting a "garden mix" 1/2 top soil and 1/2 compost, from a local landscaping company. so we placed a tarp and ordered 5 Yard's of garden mix. It arrived the same day. 

We laid down Preen weed control fabric. then set the beds on that. Husband also had extra cement blocks sitting behind the shed so we made another bed using the blocks. 

 Our neighbor saw us filling up our wheelbarrow and walking it back to fill the beds. He got out his little walk behind bucket loader thingy; and moved the dirt for us. He filled the beds and then took the remainder of he dirt and put it close to the beds. I still owe him some kind of bakery for his kindness. :D 

And so it begins. We have planted the beds. added a couple of things. Tilled up a bit of the "old garden" space and added a few more items. More about that in the next post.. I promise it won't be so long. Well, maybe I better not promise. You know how I love to talk..   LOL  I hope you are enjoying your summer and growing something.