Victory Garden Update #7: Feeling Meh

 

Welcome to another update from the Victory Garden!

Just LOOK at these DREAMY limes!!
{I totally did NOT grow these, but a victory gardener can dream, right?!}

These slipped through my New Orleans posts somehow so I had to share them with my garden update. All through the Bywater (and also at the Whitney Plantation) there were lime trees EVERYWHERE! The limbs were aching with the weight of these small, dark green limes. There were plenty of these trees on the sidewalk, so it seemed like fair game for me to pick some. A bunch. I would have picked a five gallon bucket full if my mom hadn’t been so mortified. Y’all, one of my life goals is to have citrus trees. Maybe this will go on the 2018 To-Do List.

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The limes are actually Tahitian limes, so far as I can tell. This variety is described as having thin, dark colored skin with orange inside instead of green. Also, this next bit may have more to do with freshness than anything else but these are SO JUICY!!! Like, they have at least as much juice in ONE lime as two store bought one. No exaggeration. Too bad I’m down to my last 2 😦 Seltzer, beer, and tomato salads will be much more boring once they’re gone.

 

To tell the truth, things haven’t been so great in the victory garden. The tomatoes in buckets experiment has proved to pretty much be a bust. While I am pretty bummed, learning is learning so I’m taking it as it is. Even after moving the pots the plants didn’t really spring back. I guess I let them go too long to recover. Next year I will plant in the ground.

Fortunately, I DO have two very happy brandywine plants that have a fair amount of fruit on them! As you can see from the pic below, I am trying to protect these precious plant from the dreaded jerk birds with netting. Of course the netting is something I had on hand in the Doom Shack, so it’s yellow and green. You can’t really see this from the picture, but after whining about the net blowing off my mom suggested clothes pins strategically placed. Which I did because my mom is a genius.

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I am probably going to pull up the plants from the right side of the bed so I can get garlic in the ground in the next little bit. The buckets down that way are pretty much done and just taking up space. I’m planning to work the dirt and add some compost and left over potting soil.

To the left you can see the chocolate cherry tomatoes are about over.
That’s a brandywine in my hand–now if only the birds leave them alone!!!

I’ve also given up on my mustard that was planted well over a month ago. The only thing it will be good for is TINY TUESDAY (how sad!) I have one bit of lettuce left that I’m going to harvest and serve with the potatoes I pulled 2 days ago. YES! More potatoes! That has been a success. The good thing about all those tomato buckets is that I can use them to grow potatoes next year! Stay tuned for a YOUTUBE video of the potato harvest!

LAST LITTLE LETTUCES 😦
{and a few random weeds}

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Pretty much everything is done on the deck, too. I’ve still got one pepper plant plugging along with two yellow bells just waiting to mature. I’ve also still got some very happy purple basil and a pitiful scraggley mint. The green buckets on the left (where the potatoes grew) are turning into a little compost area. Instead of throwing my vegetable scraps in the ditch I’m going to layer them in the bins with green and brown material to try to work some more soil.

NOT MY GARDEN!
(This is at Mr. Smith’s mom’s house)

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photo credit, C.L.Smith

Just look at how GIANT these plants are! That’s two rows of okra on the left and several tomato plants on the right. At least this is some proof that I have a talent in starting seeds! My mom’s plants look beautiful, too! I should have just put the poor things in the ground.

One thing I HAVE been doing which isn’t exactly a garden thing, but has been a huge success is HUMMINGBIRD FOOD!!! Mr. Smith bought a little feeder for us to try out and we have been going through a feeder-full a week! I’m not sure how many birds we actually have, but there are at least 2. They raise cane, flying and playing (maybe mating, lol), zipping around our porch and front yard. It has been a delight.

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How has your garden been doing?

What are you harvesting this week?

What do you have planned for winter?

Do you have hummingbirds?

Holler and let me know!

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Victory Garden 2k17: Update #6

Hello garden pals!
How adorable is this picture I found while in New Orleans?
You KNOW I love the little girl with her DOLL in the dang garden 🙂
And their hair-dos!
I just HAD to share this in a garden update!

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I told y’all I was about to go on vacation–
–here is what the garden looked like right before:

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Here is what I harvested!

When I got back from my trip the tomato plants on the deck were looking pitiful and NOT because Mr. Smith wasn’t doing a good job. They were already starting to struggle before I left.

Soooooooo…

After some more research and advice from my horti-pals, I am pretty sure my tomatoes are splitting from not holding enough water in the plants. I water everyday but I think it pretty much just runs through the bottom of the buckets. I started the pots with the hope that I could put them in a (to-be constructed) small green house and keep them through the winter. I still may do this, but at the suggestion of a friend I have moved them to the ground in the hopes that the water holds better and the fruit stops splitting.

HENCE:
Old Location.

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New Location.

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I left the chocolate cherries on the deck because they seem to be doing just fine where they are. Fingers crossed the move for the rest will help the plants not be so stressed. Stay tuned for updates on that!

ALSO:

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The mystery pepper/tomato plants are DEFINITELY tomatoes. While the leaves are looking a little more “tomatoey” they still look more like pepper leaves to me!!! When I was giving away seedlings they looked JUST like peppers. There is a dang tomato on the plant tho so they are brandywine after all!!!

And in other garden news:

Y’all. I finally decided to dig up some of the potatoes. After The Great Horn Worm Incident of 2017 I was worried about what, if anything, was lurking below the dirt’s surface. I was also getting ready to be gone for a week on that vacation so I just went for it. Below are the results!!!! All the potatoes you see came from the pot that had been attacked. I just put the reeeally tiny ones in a tiny bowl to be super cute.

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There is actually video footage of me digging up the potatoes and it is SO FUNNY but I’m honestly not sure if I can post it on my youtube channel because it also has a CONSTANT almost panty-shot of me. You never actually *see* anything at all but I’m not having much luck getting it to blur out in editing without it seeming to look even worse than it really is! LESSON LEARNED!!! There IS another pot of potatoes to harvest and the next time I will do better with my clothes. I promise.

How are your plants doing as the temps keep rising?

Have you grown Brandywine tomatoes before?

What are you harvesting this week?

Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #5–THE WORM {rated R for language}

If you follow me on social media, you have undoubtedly heard about my recent run in with terror. I had no idea that I was afraid of ANYTHING–but I certainly am. Y’all. I am officially full blown TERRIFIED of horn worms. If you do not know what one is, count yourself lucky.

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It all started as an innocent enough Saturday morning. I went out on the Victory Deck Garden to check on my plants as I do most mornings. Everything looked normal–nothing was amiss. Around 10:30 am EST I went out on the deck to start the dye bath for my tie dye sheets project (see this post). That was when I realized something was WRONG. One of my potato buckets was practically stripped of ALL HER LEAVES! I immediately began searching for culprits. I found none. I texted two horticulture expert friends and posted on FaceBook…one of them said:

“I’m not positive, but potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes, this could be the work of tomato hornworms…”

The other friend said, “Definitely hornworms- they are green and as thick as your thumb. Look on the undersides of remaining leaves. They are really good at hiding.”

So I LAID DOWN ON MY BACK to look under the leaves…and then I saw it. HOLY JESUS SWEET MOTHER OF MARY MY DEAR LORD. Only that is NOT what I said. Can you picture it?! Me, struck with terror, screaming while flinging myself away from the pots of devil worms, heart pumping out of my chest like Jim Carrey in The Mask?!?! Did I mention I was screaming? I’m sure my friends in Missouri could hear me. I was THAT loud.

I cut the leaf off that held the DREADED SPAWN OF SATAN and flung the leaf and worm with the scissors into a giant dust pan. After searching and finding ANOTHER one, I was satisfied that was all of them and I took the dustpan FULL OF DOOM and flung the contents into my neighbor’s pasture.

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Then I had this revelation:

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A week later I was left with this withered, traumatized tater.

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I thought that was all. I thought I couldn’t be any more grossed out than I already was. “Friends” posted horrorshows of horn worm GIFs on my social media pages. Mr. Smith laughed at me. Even my mother told me I was over the top. And then I received this postcard from one of the previously mentioned horticulture nerds.

“Oh that is so cute and so true,” I thought.
Then I turned the card over.

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Leslie, you are a hilarious mean girl if ever there was one.

So ends (I PRAY) my tale of horn worm woe.

Have you experienced a horn worm nightmare? Have you also done battle with Satan’s Magic Eye Devil Spawn Pet?! If so, please do chime in a tell us all about it. I mean, we’re never going to sleep again anyway so we might as well get all the gory details out in the open!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #4

Welcome back to the victory garden!!

Here are my latest garden notes:
{Yes I was watching Grav3yardgirl while uploading blog pictures!}

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Here’s how things looking on the deck lately!

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6/18/2017

Excuse the 1990s comforter in the background in these pictures! One of the cats {ahem, ahem, I’m *pretty* sure it was Patti Smith–BAD KITTY} PEED on poor Chief’s bed! I had to wash his comforter and I put it out to dry in the sun and try to sun bleach more of the STANK out.

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6/18/2017 (top) & 6/27/2017 (bottom)

You can a TINY bit of difference in the two pics above. The tomato plants are really starting to get tall and bush out. All of them have fruit on them at this point and 2 plants have fruit that is getting ripe enough to pick. I re-potted my purple basil and it is SO HAPPY now. I really like the pop of color it brings compared to regular sweet basil. I find the flavor pretty similar so I would definitely recommend growing some of the purple stuff too just for the different shade in your salads!

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These are some kind of “chocolate” cherry tomatoes that Mom started from seeds she saved from her plants last year! I have two of the these plants.

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Picked 6/26/2017

Here are the first tomatoes I’ve gotten to pick this year!! These came off a “yellow pear” cherry/grape tomato plant I bought from Walmart. The fruit matches the marigolds!

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I planted two more drawers of radishes. For whatever reason one drawer is growing and the other is not :/ Nature is so weird. Those pitiful pots in the middle have a few carrot seeds in them. They’re not doing much and I really ought to reuse the dang dirt for something else.

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There is ONE pepper on the pepper plant you see at the middle of the picture. There were a few more blooms but no more fruit has appeared. I may need to fertilize. It’s supposed to be yellow so I’m going to leave it on the plant a bit longer to see if it turns color.

The raspberry plants are still kicking out a few berries every so often. I’m still trying to figure out where I want to plant them. They *seem* to be doing okay in the buckets so I’m leaving them alone for now.

In the bottom of this picture you see my big beautiful potato pots! Stay tuned for the next garden post in which I tell you a story of pests of pestilence and woe. Lordy Lordy.

Let’s end of happy note!

Look at these BERRIES!!! ❤

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picked 8/26/2017

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These are some of the wild blackberries I’ve been harvesting. I go out to the ditch along our property about every 2-3 days and can poke around and find about two cups to pick. I’ve been bringing them in and putting them in a gallon bag in the freezer. So far I’ve picked about 10 cups total. I hope to have enough to make some jelly and a few turns of dumplings!

YUM!

WHEW!

How are things going in YOUR garden?

What is working and what isn’t?

But for real, stay turned for my next garden update when you will get to LOL at my new irrational terror…it WILL be entertaining!! XD XD XD

 

 

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #3

VICTORY GARDEN!!

Here is what has been going on lately in the deck garden!

Flashback to May 11th:

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Last week (note: cucumbers in bag of dirt)

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Yesterday!!!! (note cucumbers in planter box)

{more on the cucumbers next time}

Soooo remember when I was all, “I dunno if anything is happening with the potatoes”…

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5/11/2017

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5/17/2017

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5/27/2017

I’m officially at capacity in the tater bins now!!! If you remember from the last garden update, I was *supposed* to link to a tutorial on this for y’all. Here are two links (here & here) that explain what I’m doing. {Basically layering dirt over the leaves as they grow, then wait, and HOPEFULLY harvest potatoes!!} I’m feeling pretty optimistic now–the leafy parts of the potato have TAKEN OFF!!! I’ve mounded the dirt up just about as far as I can. According to this article it should be a total of 10 weeks to new potatoes, which means the harvest should be in another 6 weeks or so! I know I shouldn’t count my potatoes before they’ve been harvested, but if this works, I am so hooked and will DEFINITELY be doing a larger scale planting next season.

I grew all those greens!!!                                                                                                                   {red romaine, green romaine, curly mustard, green onion, dill weed}

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

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curly mustard, red romaine

RADISHES!!!!

Can you believe there is a hashtag #rashishesofinstagram? You should click it.

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For those of you who followed my garden news last summer, you’ll chuckle at this picture. I just couldn’t leave my poor root vegetables alone! Patience is NOT easy, but I’m learning.

TOMATOES!

(no fruit yet but just you wait!!!)

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Garden updates brought to you by Maxwell House and Tractor Supply XD

Garden Notes:

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The first RASPBERRIES!!!!

I got TWO raspberry plants for $3.99 at Bi-Lo last week. I got 2 ferns and a hops plant each for 5 BUCKS at Ingles on Friday. Check your stores–places are trying to move this stuff on and there are some crazy good deals right now.

How are your gardens coming along?

Have you snagged any awesome plant bargains?

Are you harvesting anything yet?

Do tell ❤ !

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #2

Happy Saturday!

Have you heard about this {NSFW!!!!} silliness?

Today is “World Naked Gardening Day”…and I assure you I will not be participating in the naked part. I’m actually not doing much gardening at all today, but I am going to give you some new peeks of my back porch plant menagerie!

Here is a full view of the garden after the last plant/transplant.

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The drawer on the floor in front is another start of lettuce. This is another variety called “Black Seeded Simpson” from the Livingston Seed Company. I’m trying to start new lettuce about every two weeks so we will have SO MUCH salad!

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All sorts of seedlings! In the front left in the seed starter (and plastic box) are cucumber starts. Behind the cucumbers in the 6-pack and box are tomato starts. To the right are a mystery. I *THOUGHT* they were tomato seeds when I planted them…but they look like peppers to me. They will remain a mystery until fruit shows up–should be interesting! I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll be a sweet pepper. If not, we may be experimenting with making hot sauce!

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The three plants in the back are tomatoes. Early Girl,  Mr. Stripey, and Yellow Pear. I wanted to get a couple of plants that are a few weeks ahead of the ones I started from seed. I’m already getting impatient for my tomatoes to start producing–I am so excited for all these new varieties I’ve got!

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From left to right: “southern giant curled” mustard, red romaine, radishes.

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Above: a second planting of red romaine.

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Above: I swear there are potatoes in there…just nothing happening yet :/

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In the windowsill: romaine & green onions!

Even if you don’t have room for a garden you have GOT to try this technique! I started doing this over the winter when I was SO READY for garden season. It is so rewarding to grow food from what is literally a throw away. I paid 79 cents for a bunch of green onions that I’ve harvested two times now. Here is a great tutorial on how to do it!

Are you gardening naked today? XD

Victory Garden 2k17

It’s VICTORY GARDEN time!

It is waaaaay past seed sprouting time but here I am, AS USUAL, late in getting anything going. Remind me next year in February to go ahead and start my dang seeds. These pictures were taken about a week ago on our back deck. In true DIY fashion, I’ve got my plants going in the most random containers…this time it is old cabinet drawers. These are left over from our kitchen demo which still happens to be in a pile on our deck. I’m keeping it real for y’all so don’t judge me!

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LEFT {lettuce}, RIGHT {tomato seedlings}

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AND SOMETHING NEW–potatoes in buckets.

More details on the potato adventure in a later post!

Surely someone had thought of this before me, but HOW GENIUS is this 6-pack holder for growing tomato transplants? Did I just hipster out-do myself and break the internet? They won’t hold up forever, but it’s a pretty great temporary holding container. It’d also make a rather adorable gift. You are welcome.

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Here are some of the notes from my garden plan:

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I’m trying to do a better job of keeping track of what & when I planted, etc. I wish I had taken pictures on 4/20 because everything looked SO HAPPY and flourishing. I had transplanted more tomatoes, started another basket of potatoes, planted some garlic chives, and planted more lettuce. THEN THE RAINS CAME. I made a pretty silly mistake, which is that I had some plants way too close to the overhang of the roof edge and everything got flooded. SAD. FACE. You only get a few little sneak peeks today at what is growing–hopefully I’ll have some more pictures soon.

You may be wondering why I’m planting in containers when I have such a huge back yard…and there are a few reasons for that. The main reason is that me and Mr. Smith are still trying to decide where and how we want to garden on our new property. We have an area that used to be a dog lot that will make a great spot once we get it cleaned out. There’s a ton of privet and other stuff of that ilk growing up through fencing that is nearly impossible to get loose. Anyone have some goats we could borrow for a week or so, lol?

As someone with a history of back issues, we are trying to design a garden that is going to a little easier for me to work in. Yay for raised beds! We are also experimenting with potting tomato plants in big buckets so that we can bring them in a green house over winter and keep some plants going for multiple years. Sounds kinda crazy but some of our favorite youtubers (Deep South Homestead) swear by it and we are going to try it out. I will still have some ground crops (squash, zucchini, cucumbers) eventually.

Have you read the history of what a Victory Garden is? I first read about them through the Meet Molly book way back in the day. I think everyone should have one–wartime or not, it’s a wonderful way to show your family and friends that you care about them. Home grown food = LOVE!

Look at my tags for things that grow for garden pictures from last season!

What is growing in your backyard/porch/window box/field?

Garden update #2, + BONUS recipe

GARDEN UPDATE TIME!

Check out how things are growing in my little garden!

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So the radishes are sort of a fail. I thought I was planting a variety that didn’t need thinning out, but given how these look, I think I was mistaken. I have seeded another pot that have just sprouted true leaves and I definitely gave them a few inches growing room all around. Hopefully they will do better than these. The upside is that I learned radish leaves are edible. Once they get tall they sort of start to have scratchy leaves, but when they are still tender the leaves are really delightful as an addition to salad greens.

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I’m still holding out hope that I thinned the carrots (far left) enough that they’ll produce more than an orange thread. I HATE thinning out plants. It’s dramatic, I know, but it just feels so awful, like I’m aborting little baby plants! Do any of you have this problem? I know that it’s so the other plants will grow, but I still hate it 😦 That said, I also thinned out an additional pot of radishes (far right). I’m gonna be super bummed if these don’t do better, especially after I DID thin them out.

GOOD NEWS: the lettuces are freaking delicious!

BAD NEWS: there was only enough for a side salad!

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This is one of my current favorite things to cook.

“Orecchiette a la North Grove Park Inn”

Ingredients for the pasta (serves 2):

  • 1.5 c. small pasta (like shells or orcchiette)
  • 3 boiled eggs
  • handful tender radish leaves, torn
  • handful fresh dill, torn
  • 4 T EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette: (combine ingredients in a small mason jar)

  • 3 T spicy mustard
  • 1/4 c. fancy vinegar (I use something like this)
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 t EVOO
  • splash of citrus (whatever you have-oj, lemon, lime)

Cook the pasta to the directions on package. While it’s cooking, chop up the boiled eggs, tear radish leaves and dill and put to side. Drain pasta but leave in the pan. Toss pasta with the EVOO and salt and pepper. Plate the pasta and top with egg, radish leaves and dill. Grind bit of extra S&P. For the TINY salad tear lettuce into bite sized pieces. Shake the ingredients in the mason jar. Dress the lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

WE NEED MOAR LETTUCE SO…

I’m going to experiment with seeding lettuce with this technique. My pals over at The Behrer Home had great luck with their first try at a crop of radishes using this method. I think lettuces should do well this way, too, and then Mr. Smith and I can have an actual plate of salad for supper instead of a teaser taste! Read more here for a tutorial on how to try out this weed-free grow method.

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Here are two of the zucchini  plants. They’re really sprouting leaves! The squash look pretty much the same so I’m not bombarding you with pictures of the same looking thing over and over. OH LOOK MOAR DIRT AND LEAF TIME 😉

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This is a moon flower that also came from my cousin Sherrill and uncle, Bryce. She says it only blooms at night and that it is prolific in growing once planted in the ground. And obviously, I haven’t planted it in the ground yet, so here it sits under my carport. I just can’t decide where it should go yet!

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Here is the main crowning achievement, my piece de resistance, my ASPARAGUS PLANT! Now I know that EVERYONE says not to plant asparagus in pots, but I’m trying it because I’m not planning on living at my rental house forever, so I’d like to get a plant started that I can take with me when I leave.

The big part of the plant does not look so hot, and in fact I thought I had already killed it. The other night, I moved some plants out from under the eaves so they could get a drink from the nice soft rain that was falling. I looked in the asparagus pot to check on the little tomato and dill plants (that I have got to re-pot) and SAW THE STALK! There, standing tall and proud, was an asparagus! I hope the positive progress continues!

So, how are your gardens growing?

Have you tried any new plants or seeds or growing methods?

Tell me all about it!

How does your garden grow?

Here is the start of the garden! The picture on the left was taken on March 26 and the one on the right was taken April 17. So far things are moving along pretty well for someone who hasn’t had a garden in at least seven years. Mr. Smith and I made a list of things we’d like to try to grow in the meager space I have at my house. I’m hoping to get a zucchini plant to put in today back in the back spot that looks like a mound of dirt. That’s where I’ve had a compost-y area for the past 2 years and the dirt is getting pretty nice.

I’d like to try Brussel’s sprouts and Mr. Smith wants to try asparagus. Both of these are plants that take a few seasons to really get going and since we both live in rentals we are thinking of trying to grow one of each in pots. I’ve read a bit online about doing this successfully but please chime in if you have any advice!

I seeded these radishes on 3/26 and took the picture on the left on 4/5. The picture on the right I took on 4/17. I know you’re *supposed* to thin them out, but this is a variety that does okay in pots and close-r together. I’ll keep you posted on whether this ends up being true. Speaking of true, the true leaves are really starting to get going, so I’m thinking I might be able to harvest in the next week or ten days.

I meant to start another bucket of lettuce like a week after the first one but I just got around to doing that yesterday 4/16 so the continual lettuce will take a little longer than I anticipated. Lettuce sprouts pretty quick though so I think I’ll catch back up in no time.

Do you recognize what those buckets are made out of? LOL, it’s kitty litter containers. I have tried so many litters over the years and unfortunately the stuff that works the best for my girls is stuff that comes in these dumb plastic containers. I repurpose them for all sorts of things, including planters. I just cut the tops off, and poke a bunch of holes in the bottom for drainage and they work pretty well. After a season I’ll recycle them (to prevent leaching of anything toxic after a few months in the sun) and start another batch.

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HUZZAH!

Finally, some true leaves of DILL! I have the WORST luck with this herb! My great uncle Bryce has epic stands of the stuff much to the chagrin of the rest of his kin! I’ve tried buying plants and I’ve tried seeding directly in the ground, but never in pots. Maybe this is the ticket? I know it’s still early, but I am hopeful and excited. Dill is my most favorite summer flavor and I hope this is the year I finally grow a reasonable amount of my own.

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I started these Big Boy tomato plants from seed in the first few days of March. I divided them up and transplanted them and ended up with about 13 plants that are probably going to grow to maturity. These are the plants in the white plastic dish tub in the top pictures. I also impulse bought a yellow tomato variety that is the one in the bigger terracotta pot. We may be running out our ears in tomatoes later this summer!

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Now I know that mint is not hard to grow, but I’m still proud of this year’s stand. Last year I bought a regular peppermint plant and a chocolate mint plant and propagated about 6 cuttings of each. The regular is the tall stuff in the back and there is some of the chocolate in the front right–it’s got darker leaves and leaves that are smoother and more petite. The plants did okay last summer, but this year we shall not hurt for mint in our cocktails. Bring on the mojitos and mint juleps!

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Allen the Aloe has gotten moved outside for his summer vacation. It looks like he’ll need a new pot this year! I’ve had this aloe for about 3 years–my mom got it for my 31st birthday as part of a beautiful pot full of other succulents that I promptly killed. It really only took off after I put the frames of the sunglasses in the pot two years ago–I dug the frames out of the garden bed my first year at this house. I have a friend Allen who wears glasses like that, so I named the plant after him. I think it has greatly increased the happiness of the plant and therefore has helped it grow! It’s the silly little things, right?

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Speaking of digging thing out of the beds, I found these, too! Aren’t they the sweetest? It makes me kind of sad to think that some kids probably made them and they got left behind at moving time, but now they are mine and I will take them with me and love them forever.

Do you have a garden this year? What are you growing? Do you have any advice for me?

Stay tuned for garden updates as the season continues!