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 Themes.com~

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 Eartheasy.com 

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.   

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Let Them Eat Pie

This past fall my friend Abby asked if she could come and bake with me sometime. We found a day to meet and we baked pie. We made 2 pies. Sugar free apple for Mr. Ken and Chess pie for our ladies prayer group. 

We cheated a bit. Well, I should say I cheated. I just used a refrigerated pie crust. so we made the filling from scratch. Mr. Ken's favorite thing about pie, well besides eating it, is to use our amazing apple peeler, corer, slicer from Pampered Chef . 

Abby was also fascinated by the Kerosene lamp Mr. Ken showed her. She asked him to light it. Mr. Ken was in his glory. He "fired it up" and explained all the particulars. He also sent her home with a Tiny Kerosene lamp of her own. I reminded her several times that she could not go home and light that one. 

It's wonderful to have a kid running around our house again. She's old enough to be curious about everything and wants to know how it all works. She loves to bake and has a little notebook of her favorite recipes with several from her grandmother. She is a bright twinkling light that fills the house with pure joy. We look forward to her visits. 

I'll share a few of our adventures with you. She has some cool siblings and they like baking too. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Finally A New Post

Welcome back to "My Front Porch" It's so good to see you, grab a chair, a glass of iced tea, and sit a spell. 

I can't believe it's been almost 6 months since my last blog post. Yikes. I hope I haven't been kicked out of my family and friend circles for not posting. That would be worse then not posting. 

I have thought about writing a bit. I'll think of something and then get busy thinking about something else and just let it slip my mind. Frankly my life is pretty boring. However today I have decided to Drag bring you along with me on a couple of my journeys. 

First, I've been visiting and baking with a sweet friend's daughter. Abby comes visiting on the occasional Monday to talk and bake with me. Her mom comes too, and that's fun. We also get to talk about stuff. I love getting a younger mom's perspective on things. Abby also has siblings that occasionally join us. That also makes for fun. Kids are fun in general and these kids fit the bill for sweet and funny. 

Second, I am now a "raised bed" gardener. Husband picked up 4 pre-made and hinged (exciting, I know) beds at a yard sale for $1 each. I thought it would be fun to share our experience with that. Especially since it's much more exciting then hearing what TV shows we watched yesterday. Though I may just talk about that some too. Not the shows in particular, but how far Television has come or should I say gone over the top. I'll stop there. 

For now I'm excited to share about my raised bed experiences and my new baking friends. 

I hope you have launched whole hearted into Summer and are enjoying the beauty and fun of each new day.