Garden 2015, What Went Right

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


Jalapenos, habaneros and poblanos


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


Cherry tomatoes and tomatillos.


Cucumbers, beets and nasturtiums.


I’m so excited to pickle these!


Beans (the first harvest has already been pickled!)

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


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


and they’ve almost reached the roof!


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


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!



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!


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!)


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


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!


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


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!)


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.


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

DIY Hose Holder

I have been dragging 100 feet of hose all the way around my house for the last several weeks.

I only had to water a couple of times before May turned into one constant rainstorm so I had conveniently forgotten what a pain it was to water until this week when the rain dried up.

I felt like I could be in an infomercial as the “before” person.  You know how they always look frazzled and frustrated?  I was.  It took me an hour plus to water and I’m sure half of that time was spent dragging, un-kinking, and cussing.

So when I found a pin for this tutorial I figured it was worth a try.

hose1This was my hose situation before.  I didn’t use it.  By the time I was done watering I was so frustrated that I just left the hose in the yard and walked away from it.

I went to Lowe’s this morning and bought

hose2a cedar post ($15)

hose4and some wood curtain rod finials ($8.)

hose3I cut the post in half and cut another board to a square and glued and screwed it on top.

hose5Then I glued the finial on top of that and caulked around it.

hose6I had this hose holder already so I screwed it onto the post

hose7and then made a second one (again with a hose holder I already had.)

I spray painted the first one and while it was drying I dug a hole.

hose8I thought about putting this several places but the other options would have limited how far the hose would reach so I put it here.  You’ll notice that the end of the hose is hanging into the planter.  I have a small leak at the hose bib and have found that if I leave the sprayer nozzle at the other end of the hose open my plants enjoy the extra drips of water (rather than the driveway.)  It’s not a good permanent solution but works until I can get a plumber here to fix it.

hose9The one for the front yard is still drying so I won’t be able to set it up until tomorrow but just having this one has already cut my watering time down!  AND I even put the hose away when I was done!


So Many Elms

My neighbors have an elm tree and a month ago it dropped gazillions of seeds all over my yard. And every single one sprouted.  Seriously.

They’re growing in the tiny crack between my planter and my patio


and in stray pots

elms6and even on Henry’s outdoor dog bed (I know, I know…) where there isn’t even any dirt!



I feel like I’ve been invaded!

Take this bed, for example:

elms4Garlic is supposed to be growing here but

elms5instead it’s full of millions and millions of elm sprouts.  It’s overwhelming so I obviously haven’t done anything with it.  I keep hoping that one day I’ll wake up and they’ll all be gone.  In reality, I know I’m going to have to suck it up and pick them all out.  It’s not going to be fun.

elms7The tricky part with these is initially they look like everything else I’m trying to grow so I have to let them get bigger (and take over) so I can tell them apart from all the things that I don’t want to pick and kill.

They’re finally big enough to tell apart from the good guys so tonight I weeded my tomato planter,

elms1(not so bad)

elms2and the bed with the squash, zucchini, beets and carrots.  It wasn’t terrible.

elms3and there were a lot more hiding under the radish leaves.

In all I filled a grocery bag with elm sprouts and I’m covered in mosquito bites so I called it a night after just those beds.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have the energy to tackle the elm tree farm garlic bed.


This is the Year

…of apples!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy old tree is c o v e r e d in them!


…of surprises

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mom found this rose when cleaning up my yard when I bought my house.  It wasn’t blooming then and it didn’t bloom last year so this will be the year that I finally get to see what color it is!  I’m guessing red.

…of peppers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJalapenos, habaneros and poblanos

and tomatoes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo varieties of cherry tomatoes and some tomatillos.


…of a REAL backyard!


Tree Branch Trellis

Between rainstorms today I got one thing done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI sorted through the branches and picked four that were almost the same length.  I trimmed them

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand put two in opposite corners.  I wired them together at the top

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then put the remaining two in the remaining corners.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI searched high and low for my ball of twine but couldn’t find it anywhere.  I blame Henry.  I had some green yarn so I went with that.  I wound it around the frame, twisting it around each branch as I went around and around.  Then I strung some down vertically and tied them to the bottom piece of yarn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd now I have a trellis for my cucumbers.  It’s sturdy and my cucumbers are supposed to be vines so I’m assuming this will work.  I also planted carrots and beets in the center and I’m hoping they get enough sun to grow.  I thought about growing lettuce in there but I was worried that when the cucumbers got too thick I wouldn’t be able to harvest it and it would be wasted.

I’ll let you know how it works out in the fall.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is now the view from my back door.  I like how it’s a little askew so I’ll still be able to see my pretty garden gate bean trellis.

As you can see to the right of this picture, I still have a lot of branches left so I’m thinking some cages for my tomatoes…but I think those are going to be a little more complicated so it might be a couple of days before I get around to that!


Plant Markers I Don’t Hate

Last week I made some plant markers that I hated.

Tonight I made some that I really like!
pm1I had these pieces of trim left over from my kitchen and closet projects and thought I could make something pretty out of them.

pm2I cut them into 7″ pieces that I angled at the bottom.

Then I painted them and sprayed them with some sealer and took some crappy pictures outside, at night.

pm5I’m not sure how these will hold up but if they last this season, I’ll be happy!

pm6I spent $0 (today at least) and about 30 minutes on these….far less time (and money!) than I spent on the ones that I hated!