Tag Archives: garden

Squashed

As documented earlier, the raised be we created at the beginning of the growing season was overrun with squash. It was great because only the peas did all that well, so we gorged on peas and then pulled them out. The carrots and beets made a decent showing, but the lettuce and tomatoes just didn’t do all that well. Two volunteer tomato plants also grew up, but the squash plants were so aggressive that I had to keep pulling some out. We finally pulled them all out and ended up with five squash to eat. We left the volunteer tomatoes which are now loaded with green fruit. This all made space to plant my daughter’s corn and watermelon seedlings that she brought home from her garden and art camp. I have no idea if they will grow, but it is a nice change from battling the prickly, itchy monster squash plants every few days.

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News From the Garden

The raised bed continues to produce. So far, it has been prolific with the peas, and the volunteer squash has required thinning as it blossoms like mad. The row of beets and carrots should now be ready for harvesting, so we pulled a few on Saturday. Such great colors. My daughter loved grasping the stems and lifting food from the soil. The carrots are eaten, and the beets have joined those from the farm share in the fridge.

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Feeling Blue(berries!)

Not feeling blue at all, actually. The garden looks great, the yard looks great, and it was fun hanging out there on Monday afternoon with the kids. Admittedly, changing the tire of my car twice and cleaning up after a shredded diaper were no treat, but sitting on the back porch blowing bubbles, investigating how ripe the blueberries have gotten, and planting my daughter’s bean sprouts from school in the midst of a rampant growth of squash, peas, carrots, and beets made for a good day.

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Garden Check In

We left for the weekend, and the garden was doing fine. We came back, and it seemed to be a jungle. The peas sported delicate white flowers, the volunteer squash are threatening to take over the world, and the beets have really leafed out. Even the carrots seem to be standing taller. One batch of lettuce is peeking out from behind some squash leaves. The only major casualty thus far has been the sunflowers that turned into someone’s snack and the one blueberry bush that just gave up. With five others going strong, I think that is fine. Yay for much greenness in our garden.

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Grandma and Garden

On the way to the garden center.

Thursday was great. The day started with my son getting up early and me taking him downstairs where grandma took over. I went back to bed. What a luxury! After finally getting up and running around 8:00, I called around and found that the local nursery had a reasonable price on blueberry bushes. I got the garden cart out, and my kids and I pushed it to the garden center while my mom took pictures and accompanied us. We bought some blueberry bushes and supplies. After getting home, eating lunch, and taking naps, my daughter and I worked on planting the blueberry bushes. My son and mom joined us when they woke up, and we all planted some wildflower and sunflower seeds. It was a glorious day outside.

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Local Compost

Having completed the raised bed, we now have space in both composters to get the system moving again. I have a rotating drum composter that has two compartments. Into this one, I toss our vegetable food scraps. When one side gets full, I close it off and start filling the other while the first finishes composting. The result of this is then dumped into a more traditional top-in, bottom-out style composter which also gets some yard clippings and waste. For brown material, I get sawdust from a local artists’ hackerspace, and for nitrogen, I go to Starbucks with a bucket every once in a while. I pick up the bucket later in the day and dump the coffee grounds in the drum composter. It gets cooking after that. Last week, I took my son in the stroller to pick up the grounds, and then we walked back together as the bucket rode in style in the stroller. I did get a few odd looks as I walked down the sidewalk with a very aromatic stroller and walking toddler.

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Sproing!

We were late on the gardening wagon this year, but just days after we put seeds in starter pots, they have sprung from the earth. Sproing! The sprouts are still tiny, but they are irrefutably there, and the immediacy of the sprouting just amps up the excitement for the whole season of gardening. My daughter’s (and my) excitement echoes the energy of these seedlings.

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Fits and Starts

Monday, another full day with the kids, I spent the morning waiting for and then watching the furnace repairman do repairs on the downstairs furnace. It is so nice to find someone who is not trying to sell us a bill of goods. He does good work and charges a fair price. My son enjoyed watching the whole thing.

In the afternoon, I knocked off a few projects with my daughter. She understands that if she puts something on my desk right in front of my monitors, it is more likely to get done. After that, we started some lettuce and tomato seeds. My daughter’s school has a birthday tradition that the birthday child hands out flowers to her classmates and teachers. I thought it would be neat to give a seedling instead, and my daughter jumped right on board with that idea.

When my son woke up from his afternoon nap, we went into the back yard, and I planted a row of carrot seeds while the two of them played with a toy car that their saba gave them. We all got some good outdoors time in. The kids had a blast watering the raised bed. I can’t wait to see how they both react when the seeds actually start sprouting.

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Planting Peas

Saturday morning, I got out of bed when my son started making noise. I changed his horrible morning diaper and headed downstairs to try to catch a bit more sleep before the official wake up time. I did shut my eyes, but he started banging and yelling, so sleep wasn’t to be had. My wife got the kids up and out of bed, but she had to leave shortly thereafter. I made breakfast while she got ready, and then it was a full day of solo parenting.

I had hoped for slightly warmer weather, but it was still fairly cool. After a run for groceries and more supplies for the raise bed, I gave the kids lunch and put my son to sleep. Luckily, he had a long nap even though he fell asleep in the car during the morning. After finally catching a bit of down time, I took my daughter outside where she planted her new pink dragonfly in various spots around the garden, and we worked together to plant three rows of peas and a row of beets. The hum of the monitor told us that my son was asleep, and we just had a nice, if chilly, time in the yard playing in the garden. These seeds may or may not grow, but my daughter was so excited to do the planting that it doesn’t matter if we have a terrible fail rate. We have seeds in the ground.

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Raised Bed Day 2

The frame takes shape with the middle support in place and one of the corner supports attached.

The frame, upside down, next to the trench for leveling and partly burying the sides. Note the PVC pipes attached inside for the netting frame.

Sunday morning saw a trip to Home Depot to clear space at home for my wife to tutor a student. I also needed some shorter deck screws to attach the pipe straps for the inside of the raised bed, but I am getting ahead of myself. While at the store, my daughter picked out two packets of mixed flower seeds. She is getting excited.

 

 

 

 

 

I filled the box with all of the compost from our two composters which had completely filled up. We can start composting again. I imagine there are some very happy seeds in there that will show up this year.

 

With topsoil added over the compost. I also then stapled down some netting to keep cats and squirrels out as much as possible. We’ll see how that works. Joe’s flower stands happily in its new home.

We started work after her quiet time. First we assembled all the tools and materials. I hacked away at a tree stump that has been a pain to mow around, and in the end, I just covered it with the raised bed. We screwed the four sides together, affixed the middle support and the corner supports, and started trenching where the sides sat to enable it to be slightly buried and to level the box. Through this process, my daughter helped by doing a little of the drilling and screw driving with my hands on the tools to help. Just at the end of this process, our neighbors came over to join the fun with their three daughters. They really had a blast with my daughter in filling the box with the stinky compost from our composters. By this time, my wife came down with my son, so we had five kids and three adults in our backyard having a good afternoon. Next up, netting and seeds.

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