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gardening

I Got A Little Carried Away

I badly needed to do some pruning in the veggie bed.  The pole bean plants absolutely took over, and the leaves they continued to produce were incredible.  I’ve seen pictures of garden structures like teepees and trellises that use winding pole beans as shade and covering, and they are glorious.  That being said, mine produced like six actual green beans.  They were much larger and tougher than the bush beans, which are more like the green beans you find at the grocery store.  Then the winding vines of the plant jumped to the cage for my cucumber plants and ended up pulling three of the four garden stakes inward, making the entire bed close to collapse.  I tried to pull them out, leaving the cucumbers in tact, but they were so intertwined that it was impossible.  So I ripped up everything.   Keep Reading

What’s the Dill, Pickle?

In trying to figure out what to do with my mounds and mounds of cucumbers I find myself harvesting, I found some seemingly easy recipes for pickles and decided to give it a shot.  Pinterest had a plethora of pickle recipes for me to check out, but I decided to go with this one from the kitchn because it seemed relatively simple.

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Plants In the Ground

Do ya’ll remember this guy?  American Idol season 9 is quite the throwback.  In fact, I just looked it up and am shocked that I was still watching the show in 2010.  It seems like much farther back than that.  I have no idea who won that season.

ANYWAYS, that’s totally the song that was stuck in my head last week when I transplanted my little sprout babies to the raised bed in the backyard.  I have a bad habit (or a charming quirk, depending who you ask) of singing a song about pretty much everything I’m doing at home.  When they were all set, I sprang back into the house hollering “plants in the ground, plants in the ground.”  I think there were more lines, but I don’t recall them now.  You’re welcome.

I got home late-ish on Tuesday and had a short window of daylight left to get the plants into the dirt or it would be another few days before I had a chance.  And because my mutant plants (as my husband and kiddo call them) were growing so quickly, I needed to make the move.  It took longer than I intended because I decided to continue the science experiment and needed to keep a good record of which sprouts were going where.

I also had to detach some of the roots from the egg carton where the were already taking hold tightly.

By the time I finished planting them all, I was in such a rush to get inside and make dinner that I forgot to water them.  The next day, they weren’t looking so great.  I think my little guys were still suffering the trauma of the move.  I only managed to take one picture before coming back inside.

A week later, here is how they’re looking.

Please forgive the picture quality.  It’s been pouring all day, and I’ve fallen ill to spring allergies.  I can’t think of anything I care enough about to make me put on shoes right now and go outside, so you’ll have to enjoy this shot from my bedroom window.  Complete with reflection of my mini blinds.  The leaves are significantly larger, and more seedlings are starting to sprout.  All of the herbs are in the cinderblock holes surrounding the main bed, but you can’t see them from the window.

My biggest revelations so far are:

  1. We’re going to be eating green beans with every meal until October.

and 2. How on earth did I forget to plant cilantro?!?!

Stay tuned for more gardening wisdom, and for more dated pop culture references.

Veggie Garden 2.0 – Even Better Than Before!

Last spring, I made my first attempt at a vegetable garden, and I was astounded by how successful it was.  To be fair, my expectations were extremely low.  Like, “I hope this doesn’t turn into a pile of dirt,” low.  When I was able to actually eat green beans that I grew myself, it gave me an incredible sense of accomplishment.  Then we moved, and my tiny garden plot stayed behind.

A few weeks ago, my husband took a day off of work while I was on spring break so we could set up another garden plot in our new backyard.  We used almost the exact model from last time, framing a plot with cinder blocks and blending a mix of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost for the soil.  To keep Murphy from turning it into his sandbox, we still needed to put up some chicken wire around it.  This time, we added some wooden stakes in the corner to give the chicken wire better structure.

 

When it came time to order seeds, I decided to focus on things I know we will eat.  I grew tomatoes last summer, which grew well… except I don’t really eat tomatoes.  I don’t know what my logic was there.  I ordered green beans again this year, and I decided to try pole beans in addition to bush beans to see if there’s a difference.  I’m going to try bell peppers again, although those were unsuccessful last year, and I added cucumbers as well.  When we were picking up supplies for the garden bed at Home Depot, I decided to throw in some herbs as well and bought, well, basically all of them.

I used to be extremely intimidated by growing plants from seed.  The little starter plants just seemed so much easier and harder to mess up.  My inner-nerd is completely fascinated by the whole process now, though.  I decided to get extra scientific about it this year to see what works best.  Stay tuned to see the different methods I tried, and how many ways I can drive my husband insane by dragging gardening inside the house!

The Great Gardening Catastrophe of 2016 – Transplanting

A few weeks ago, I documented the installation of my first ever vegetable garden.  It’s time for an update!  After a few days of checking my milk jug seed starting planters, I discovered that this was not going to be the type of instant gratification project I love most.  The green beans finally (read: after four or five days) started to sprout, and some adorable little leaves shot up.  It was thrilling!  Progress!  But, after several more days, and then several more days after that, still nothing in the other milk jugs.  I determined that I needed a new tactic.

Thankfully, I had thought ahead and decided preemptively not to put all of my eggs in one basket (or use up all the seeds in one attempt).  I put a few more seeds from each vegetable into a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and hung them in the window to try and sprout them before sowing them into the soil.  seed sprouting

 

This strategy was far more fruitful.  The basil started sprouting within a day!  seed sprouting

 

I waited about five days until each of the bags had some sprouting, and got ready to transplant.  At this point I actually started researching how to go about doing this and learned that you should put the sprouts in soil as soon as they start to shoot roots.  Oops.  Oh well.  I should also add that this rash of productivity hit me so suddenly that I found myself sitting on the front patio, in the dress I wore to work, on an evening when a cool front hit, so I was shivering in the 50 degree wind.  (Northern relatives, no judgment here.)

I collected all of the milk jugs from the raised bed, grabbed a few extra pots the previous owners of my house had left behind, and my super cute gardening gloves, just because.

seed sprouting

 

gardening glove

 

After filling each of the pots, I started to peel open the milk jugs.  My poor bean sprouts had suffered some neglect, and this was all that was left of them.  bean sprouts

 

Eek!  That one looks pretty solid, though, right?  I thought so.  Holy moly had its roots grown deep too!  Without getting too terribly nerdy here, I’m amazed by plants.  It’s incredible what livings things will do to survive.

I very carefully pulled each individual seed sprout from the paper towel where they were all burrowing by this point, and I pressed them gently into the tops of their respective pot of soil.

seed sprouting

 

I moved the pots back into the raised beds, where they should be able to get loads of sunlight, at least if our current Noah’s Ark worthy weather forecast allows the sun to peek through at all.

In the meantime, I also picked up some autumn sage to plant in our front pots.  Planting already established plants is definitely more instant-gratification.  This pop of color is helping me hold out hope for the vegetable garden a few yards away.

autumn sage

Stay tuned for catastrophic updates!