Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A vain attempt to be like Mom

As the weather begins to turns nicer, my kids are sounding like a broken record...

"Can we go outside?"
"Can we go ride our bikes?"

And I love it! Whatever excuse we need.... I'm going to find a way to get dirt under my nails, even if its just for a minute or two a day. Lots to be done, but I am really starting to see why my mom was so drawn to gardening...

So! I thought I'd share my gardening efforts for this season with you. My mom had one of the most impressive green-thumbs I've ever seen, and as a kid, I really wanted nothing to do with it, short of eating the tomatoes off the vine. I wish I'd taken a greater interest as a child. Now I find myself doing a good deal of experimenting. But I am learning for sure.

The garden had been pretty neglected last summer, as I was put on bed rest the last week of June, and even after getting permission to get out of bed in August, found little energy to accomplish much. So... there was a little more work to be done this spring.
these are silk flowers in my front window box, which is really hard to grow real flowers in. Shortly after we moved in, Zelta came over and put some silks in it for me, and then came and changed it the next season... now I change it about every 4 months.

I rented a cultivator from Home Depot for 4 hours... ooh I wish I'd taken a picture of that! It was a day I arranged to have Shane work from home so I could get it done... a bit more planning would have been smart! It was 40 degrees and hailing most of the time that I was tilling. Came back in the house resembling a wet and muddy rat. Took another 5 hours to warm up after that.

I am slowly working away at chunks of the lawn to make more room for more plants. Unfortunately, the cultivator didn't really get up as much of the grass roots as I 'd hoped. Zelta (my wonderful neighbor and good friend) has offered suggestions for getting grass out, that I will use in the future. But now, we have a few plots that need to have the grass pulled out. Noah has been told that I'll pay him by the bucket, so it is something we'll work on together.
I'll start in the back of the house. We used to have 5 rhododendron bushes along the back of the sun room. I pulled them out about 4 years ago.

this is my rhubarb. It is descended from the rhubarb plant in my Dad's garden. I used to grab a bowl of sugar and walk out there, pluck it, break the root and leaf, and then dip it in the sugar... yummy. It isn't doing as well as I'd like and it's been there for 3 years, so I'm trying to think what to do at this point... I think it doesn't get enough sun and might be getting over watered. My Dad's rhubarb rarely was watered (other than rain) and has full sun. Suggestions welcome...

Behind the rhubarb are two tomato "trees" and a tomato -potato plant. I got them from a "Gardener's Choice" catalog as starts... I'm a little skeptical if they are going to produce. (if you look close, they are there in the picture... but could be confused for SMALL weeds) I may grab another start or two as I'd really like to be able to can some tomatoes this year. Quick explanation on the tomato-potato... apparently, the tomato and potato plants are similar and so they grafted the two together. Tomatoes are supposed to grow above ground and potatoes below... we will see!!

Up behind the sun room is where I have my compost bucket... a green machine.
I don't know if I'm doing it right. I recently found a book that came with it saying something about layering grass clippings and food waste... it was mostly food waste until I saw that. I haven't tried to open the bottom flap to see if there is "rich" soil there yet... I'm scared! I might not use the compost soil in the garden until next year...

There isn't a whole lot more that can be done in the back yard, and we hope to have a pool and already have a sandbox back there...

Front yard - had a Japanese maple when we moved in - I give it a bowl cut with the clippers every spring. A few years ago, Zelta and I (with the help of Zelta's son Robbie) went scavenging at a house in the neighborhood that was being demolished. They helped me rescue three rose bushes. I wanted roses, but didn't know if I'd screw them up so didn't want to pay. These three bushes are now around the Jap. Maple.

Above the maple are some herb starts, chives, basil, mint and hopefully parsley that was there last year will return. There is also a lemon balm plant that Zelta pulled from her plant a few years ago. Below the maple is a 3 ft by 12 ft patch of strawberries... when I can keep them contained. I don't know if you know this or not, but strawberries are like the bunny rabbits of plants... they are constantly shooting off vines that root down and start new plants. I had shoots that were 10 feet away! Lots of blossoms now though, so hopefully lots of fruit.nothing really to show in this picture other than my beautiful darling daughter, who loves to dig with us!

Below that are more starts from the catalog... still skeptical.... 6 watermelon plants and 6 yellow squash and 6 green zucchini.

To the west of the maple I have installed a lattice for my beans.
I started these myself in a Jiffy dome... will definitely do those again and would recommend.
Almost every seed I put in started into a plant and it was so easy! Next to the beans there is another hill that I threw some seeds to Edible Pea Pods... didn't start inside, so we'll see how that goes...

To the west of the beans I'm putting in some sunflowers (the starts you see aboce), and any other flowers I come across before I say I'm done planting.

since I'm new at this, I'd love to hear any advice, criticism, suggestions or the like..

OK -little PS... the other day, sunny, warm and working all day out side. Maggy takes a nap and we continue to work outside, with the monitor close at hand. After about 2 hours I make note - wow she's been asleep for a long time. I ask the kids, "the monitor is still on right?" "YEAH MOM".... an hour later, I think I better make sure it's working....

Zak turned it off :-(

Maggy was pretty distraught... I don't think she was crying for more than a half hour, but no way to be sure.

This is Zak telling Maggy he's sorry after being punished... poor baby!

1 comment:

  1. Your gardening is wonderful and inspiring! After walking through it with you the other day, I really wanted to mimic so much of your efforts. Esp after trying your fresh rhubarb!

    Good job at green-thuming. You're mom would be proud of you.

    Your children are reaping sooo very many wonderful things by being in the dirt, with you, growing things, learning, trying... how very wonderful for all of you.


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