Garden 2015, What Went Right

Last week I showed you the bad and ugly, here’s what worked in this year’s garden:

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Jalapenos, habaneros and poblanos

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Oh man, I can’t wait to roast and stuff those!

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Cherry tomatoes and tomatillos.

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Cucumbers, beets and nasturtiums.

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I’m so excited to pickle these!

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Beans (the first harvest has already been pickled!)

I even had some success with non-edibles this year!

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This container of geraniums and morning glories are by my back door

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and they’ve almost reached the roof!

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Finally, the sunflowers growing along my side fence are huge!

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I already have big plans for next year-some things will stay the same (sunflowers, peppers) and some things will move (tomatoes, pumpkins) to some new raised planters.

I’m waiting for some free time so I can build the new planters and I still need to post about all the other projects I’ve been doing around my house…hopefully I’ll be able to find the time soon!

-A

Garden 2015, What Went Wrong

I tried to have a garden last year but it just didn’t work out so you can imagine my excitement when things started growing this year!

I started a bunch of seeds inside and then moved them to the garden in May.  It rained everyday in May so everything grew like crazy.  Just a month ago I had high hopes for my garden but fast forward to this month:

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By the beginning of August I had lost one pumpkin plant to squash bugs.

This week:

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They’re both gone.

So I ripped them out

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I was really sad to lose them.  I had big plans for those pretty blue pumpkins in my fall decorating plans.  Next year, I hope.

Of course, my squash and zucchini plants weren’t safe either:

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Gross.  I did a lot of research on squash bugs and decided that there was no way for me to get rid of all of them this year so I ripped up the squash and zucchini too.

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Next year I need to stay on top of these-this year I really should have cut off all the leaves that had eggs on them and I need to go out each morning to kill any adults that I missed.

I did bag all the plants in thick, black trash bags, sealed them tight and took them right out to the trash in hopes that no bugs (or at least not as many) will winter over in my soil and come back out next spring.

Any other advice?  It’s so sad to invest so much time growing stuff only to have little bugs take out everything!

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I (by some miracle) did right this year!

-A

Oh the Patio

First, I love my patio.  I love sitting out there in the evenings surveying my land (ha!) and watching Henry cavort in the grass.

But it was sadly neglected while my whole house purge was going on.  Now that that’s over and all my extra stuff has either been sold or carted to the thrift store I finally had time to focus on getting this outdoor space back in order.

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The lights wouldn’t stay up

patio5there was sawdust

patio6chairs and dog toys everywhere.

I started with the lights and found that the problem seemed to be in the way they were hung.  Before I had them running vertically from the house to the planters and the wind just kept taking them down.

patio2This time I ran twine from the house to three hooks on the planters and then ran the lights across them.  We’ve had some awesome storms the last couple of days and they’ve stayed up so far!

lightsAnd at night?  Well, perfect!

patio7After the lights were up all I had to do was spray off all the sawdust and put all the furniture back.

patio8Now I can sit in any of the chairs without getting covered in sawdust!

-A

Garden Visitors

The weather the last couple of weeks has been amazing!  Rain almost everyday and high temperatures in the 80s.  This means that I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my garden (mostly weeding but also harvesting peppers, squash and zucchini!)  and noticing all the creatures that now live in my yard!

First, the rain has brought slugs

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They kind of gross me out if I think about them too much but they’re fascinating to watch!

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I also have this cute little praying mantis

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who almost looks like he posed for this picture, doesn’t he?

This morning I went outside to pick up Henry’s toys (he now has TWO bins!) so I could mow.  I bent down to pick up a bone when I noticed this:

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It didn’t move as Henry cavorted around it or when I got in close to take this picture so I assumed it was dead.  It was too pretty to be run over by the lawn mower so I picked it up to move it.  And it moved.  I’m not sure if it’s dying or just chilled but it let me move it to a plant on my patio (where it has stayed for a couple of hours.)

b4I don’t know if you can tell how big it is from the pictures, but it’s huge.  It’s body is as long as my palm and it’s wings are wider.  I love it and want it to stay forever.

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On a side note though, how creepy is that face??

*okay, if you’re afraid of spiders, stop reading now.  seriously.*

One evening I was out weeding in my pepper planter when something scampered by.  I thought, “was that a spider?” and then, “no way, that was too big to be a spider.”

Guess what?

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It was a spider.

I didn’t see it again for a couple of days until one morning last week when I walked out the back door to this:

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I know, it’s hard to tell how big he is but those are elm seeds to the left if that helps with the scale for anyone.

Commenters on Facebook and Instagram tell me that this is a wolf spider and that it will kill pests in my yard so I’ve left him alone.  For now.  We have an agreement that as long as he stays outside, he won’t die.  So far he has respected that boundary!

I’m gearing up for my yard sale this Friday and Saturday and I’m hoping that when it’s over (and I have reclaimed my living room) I’ll have more time and space for projects (and posting!)

-A

Garden in July, 2015

So far this summer has been good to my garden!  We got no rain in June but have had great, hard rain the last couple of days which has made everything (and me!) very happy.

garden1I had my first harvest this week: two squash, one zucchini and a little jalapeno.

garden2My peppers aren’t doing much.  They all have flowers but so far I’ve only gotten one jalapeno

garden15but another one is growing!  I was really hoping for a lot of habaneros that I can candy but so far I have none.

garden3My tomatoes and tomatillos are going strong!

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Both of my cherry tomato plants have fruit and

garden14My tomatilloes have tons of little tiny green paper husks. (I could have a lot of salsa verde this year!)

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The ground under my apple tree is littered with apples and yet, I still have hundreds growing!

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Last year I could count the number of apples on my tree.  This year I can’t even count how many are on one branch!

Along the back fence are

garden7my pumpkins.  These plants are humongous!  They were growing out into my yard and I was worried that I was going to run over them with the lawn mower so I ran some twine down from the fence and have been training them to grow up.  These are a cool, blue pumpkin that I think will be so pretty grouped together this fall!

Next to the pumpkins are my beans.

garden11They also seem to be pretty happy here!  I need to spend some time over here training those outside pieces back up toward the trellis.

garden12Again, I’m hoping for lots and lots of beans that I can pickle.  Looks like that might happen!

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Less than a month ago this box looked like this and now it’s spilling over with squash and zucchini!

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My last planter is filled to the brim with beets, cucumbers (yes, to pickle!) and nasturtiums.  I had to add more strings down to bring the cucumbers up out of the mass of beets and flowers.  (It wasn’t until this week that I noticed that I actually had cucumbers growing!)

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I just love seeing them pop out over the top of the planter and start climbing!

Overall, for my first real year of gardening, I’m thrilled!  I ate a squash and the zucchini with my dinner tonight and it was so satisfying!  Of course, I already have plans for next year (more planters) and have already started drawing up some ideas for rearranging things to make mowing and garden maintenance easier.

Last week I couldn’t wait for summer to end (sooooo hot here!) but now, with a belly full of food I grew and rain falling outside, I guess I’m okay with it lasting a couple more months.

-A

PS-do you follow me on Instagram?  You should-lately I post a whole lot more over there! (@awize)

Shade Cloth, 2015 Edition

I know I’ve been gone for a week…or more…car problems (again,) getting ready for a yard sale, OITNB Season 3, and a big purge/re-organization of my whole house has kept me very busy.  But I’m back!  

I feel like I spent most of last summer talking about my shade cloth.  I think all the problems from last year had me putting off putting it up this year.  Of course, it went up super easy and I kicked myself for not doing it two weeks ago!

sc1Yes, that’s the box from my lawn mower.  Yes I’m embarrassed.  Also, yes, those are weeds all over the patio.  90° is really hot you guys!

sc2No, I never cut down the dowel on the left.  I also never painted the dowels or post white but I DID shorten the cloth this year!  That swag action going on to the right is due to the leaning post.

It’s not perfect but

fionaFiona (my parents’ dog) seems to approve!

Next year I need someone to tell me to do this in May.  I can’t believe how much it instantly cooled down my front room (let’s just say it’s so much cooler that I don’t care about the sag, leaning post or not white dowels!)

And I think that this

c1 will probably distract anyone passing by!

-A

Driftwood Sign

A few weeks ago my mom found a river worn board while walking her dog and brought it home for me.

After a long week I decided it was time for some crafting stress relief.

sign1I loved the shape of the board but didn’t really have a place for it inside so I found a garden appropriate quote to paint on it.

sign2I printed it out and found a placement on the board that I liked.

sign3Then I just traced over the word.  The wood was soft enough that with slight pressure I had a nice outline left that I could just paint right over.

sign4I wanted to use paint that I already had so I used my kitchen color (Little Sprout by Valspar) and the Fresh Mist I used on my patio chairs.

I had some little sawtooth hangers on hand so I stuck them on the back and took it outside.

sign5I love it over my leaning herb table.  I really need to level it out but that seems like it’s going to be a lot of digging and I just don’t have that kind of energy today!

It seems a little high now, but I wanted to give my plants to grow tall and I also didn’t want the dirt from the pots to splash up onto it while I’m watering.

sign6I’m so glad my mom saw this, grabbed it and brought it back for me!

-A