120 Days in the Vegetable Garden (week 16)

27 Aug

Well, that’s almost a wrap for this year.  It could have been beautiful, it wasn’t a waste but the skunks and groundhogs sure spoiled the party.  Next year they are not on the invite list that’s for sure!

Mulching the garden made a huge difference in moisture retention and weeding.  It rained so often this summer that I actually had to stop watering because the leaves were turning yellow, but even after not watering for weeks everything is still very wet.  Vegetables like Green Peppers which love extra moisture have done better than ever.  I have never had so many at once to eat before.
green peppers

 I also used mulch to cover my potatoes several inches as they grew.  That too seemed to do the trick. I am very surprised to see I have many big potatoes!  These are what grew in only 2 or 3 square feet.  I have many more baskets like this coming.  There are 30 Square feet of Potatoes! Now I am wondering why so many.

potatoes

I also planted yellow and green zucchini, cucumber, yellow roma tomatoes and ground cherries from seed.  I have collected all of these in small quantities.  There should be several more weeks to come of many of them.  But the tomatoes plants do not look very healthy.  The fruits and leaves are small so there is definitely a nutrient that is missing or low.  

ground cherries

 

The Ground cherries are beginning.  They are ready once the husks are dry.  I AM VERY EXCITED about this!
tomatoes and potatoes

More Tomatoes and Potatoes.
candy roaster squashThe Giant Candy Roaster squash is coming, although it should be much larger at this point I bet.  One of my vines died already leaving behind squash the size of gourds.  I think that everything I started from seed would have had a great advantaged started just a tad earlier and repotted into a larger pot before being planted outside.  Still several weeks till frost. I hope this squash gets bigger.cucumber

Armenian Cucumberground hog ruins bean plantsGroundhog bean devastation.  It also ate almost all of the beans I succession sowed too.  Cripes!

leekThere is a lot of leek and Potato soup in my future.  Looking forward to it!

late august gardenThe garden in late august.  It is loosing its colour now.

The big take away from this year is to not wait until the garden is destroyed to try and catch cute groundhogs and skunks.  Take action straight away!

I also still need to test my soil-something that needs to be done later in the growing season (like now)

Next year I will make compost tea continuously.

www.SmartGardener.com was very helpful and succession sowing with a timeline is a big help, but it was still hard to keep up with all of their to-dos.

What’s your big take away from this summer?- in the garden or otherwise?

Oh! I almost forgot… Something else I grew because of all of you… Sweet peas… particularly Miss BoomDee herself mentioned how it is her most favourite flower and I had never known it.  They are really very beautiful.  I hope to grow them again.

sweet peas

Faux Sophistication – Container Planting

25 Aug

These are the containers that I attempted to over winter some tulips in to have beautiful spring blooms.  That didn’t work out so well- at all!  But I don’t blame the containers, I still love them!  

They have a very formal feel about them which called for sophisticated plantings with a muted palette. I sound so sophisticated myself.  haha!Sophisticated Container Plantings

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garden tags

The annuals that I chose for them are Persian Shield, Joey Ptilotus, Hedera Ivy, Limelight Liquorice Plant, Yellow Pansy, Euphorbia Blush, Wonderland Copper Alyssum and something lacy with miniature purple flowers that I cannot remember what it is! Do you know?

Happy Accidents

22 Aug

Isn’t it nice when your garden surprises you? In a good way no less! 

There have been a few interesting combinations of blooms in the perennial garden.  

Most were not intentional and I would like to try to remember some of them so that I can be more intentional with these surprises in the future.  

bee balm, globe thistle

Bee Balm, Globe Thistle & some form of Rudbeckia (I think? I am not sure exactly what it is)  This is a garden where there is no plan for the future and anything goes.

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Purple Geranium (which spreads everywhere I don’t want it) & Black eyed Susan

yellow and red and tall

Rudbeckia Laciniata ‘Goldball’ & Canna Lilly reach for the sky together.

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A wild cucumber vine popped up in the middle of the front garden so I added support for it.

 I am very partial to these white flowering wild vines.  The seed pods look like dried cucumbers and are very cool.

tiny alum with shasta daisies

Miniature Alum with Shasta Daisies that spread from a neighbouring bed. 

dragon snaps and black eyed susan

My favourite surprise are the snapdragons which Claire insisted our garden needed because you can pinch the blooms like a mouth and make it talk.  

I love these paired with the Black Eyed Susans right now.  

I think surprises might be better than cake.  What do you think?

House Painting Fun

20 Aug

 

The house is being repainted!! YAY! And this time its not me (and the oodles of friends and family who helped us) who are doing it, which is even better!!

 

We are changing the colours quite a bit and this has me actually really nervous. I find myself looking at houses as we drive by them trying to pinpoint what I like and don’t like about their exteriors. It hasn’t been helpful in the least really.  No two houses are identical, and there are so many things that I like about every house I see. I could look at houses on a long drive all day long.

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Here is the original paint job well worn out- 12 years ago this is the house as it looked.

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Front Porch

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The Primer is starting to go on.

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The Front porch freshly painted, but without accent colours.

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Freshly painted 11 years ago. When we first painted the house it was in terrible shape- but our paint job lasted the 7-10 years it was supposed to and now we have stretched it to 11.  (it really should have been done a few years ago)

This was the pallet I used

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Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.55.10 PMAnd now the paint is faded and peeling in many placesScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.54.30 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.54.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-18 at 4.25.16 PM

Back then I chose a multitude of colours and referenced the book “Painted Ladies” to help figure out how to paint a victorian home.  Now we are going in a different direction and trying to simplify the house by narrowing the colours down to two. The yellow is staying (HC-31) and all the white/green plus all of the porches and window sills will be Sherwin Wiliams Porpoise. I really felt that these key areas needed to pop. It might not make complete sense all at once because we are redoing the exterior of a 1980’s addition in the next little while (see left side of house exterior) as well and the colour of it will tie in to the new paint scheme. (Note: I had a designers assistance and encouragement with this colour choice)

I guess I will be holding my breath until this is done and I pray to heaven above that this was a good decision. EEEK!

It’s going to be dramatic!

What’s the last thing you were stressed about painting?

 

In a Vase on Monday: Three pairs of Kids Eyes

18 Aug

 I asked each of my children to go out in the garden and make a bouquet of what ever they wanted.  There were a lot of questions. Can I really pick anything I want to.  Even these big pink flowers? Even that? Yes, Anything! 

Just like a kid with a crayon in hand, they are much less limited with their imaginations than say us ‘supposed grown ups’ can be.summer flowers in a vase

(I have just made this collection my desktop background)

coneflower, black eyed susan, globe thistle, phlox

By: Claire

summer flowers in a vase

By: Claire

Perennial Hibiscus Flower

By: Alex

summer flowers in a vase

By: Spencer

Summer flowers

By: Alex

Ceramic monster with flowers

Spencer’s Flowers with his handmade ceramic monster.

 What they came up with has filled the house with colourful cheer and I know they are really proud of what they created! Plus did I mention it kept them busy for 10 whole minutes?

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting “In a Vase on Monday”, which challenges us to find flowers for cutting from our gardens This week she didn’t forget her greens!!… it is a very enjoyable challenge for everyone… Take a look at some of the others this week linking in to her site here.

Colourful & Rustic Containers

15 Aug Colourful and Rustic DIY container Garden. GardenSunshine.wordpress.com

When I was working on putting some containers together at the end of May, I was scratching my head wondering what had even overtaken me to go about spending so much doing them- I’ve got better things to do damn it- oh wait, I am supposed to be enjoying this…BUT wait!.. everyone else is having beer in the hammock!! 

My fault I guess because it is so easy to get excited in the nursery putting different combinations of annuals together, it’s pretty darn fun.  

Feeble Beginningsgalvanized containers for plantsThis is what things looked like to start… Annuals were small of course and some were nothing but seeds.  The set up has potential but already I was bored with looking at it.  The old washtub bench has served many purposes over the years and most of the containers are old metal buckets, feeders or new galvanized pots from the dollar store that I drilled holes into the bottom of for drainage.

 Last Year:

metal pots for planters

Many of the same containers: I completely forgot that this is what I had in them!

This years reincarnation:Container garden metal potsI desperately needed more colour in my life- Colour that I can’t have in the house but can use with RECKLESS ABANDON outside. (Who doesn’t? right?)  The bench was painted plum purple, a single bucket was sprayed Brilliant Yellow, and another smaller one watermelon pink.   It’s all been enough to make me smile all summer long.

What’s in here: Annuals ListFrizzle Sizzle Mix Pansy, pineapple Beauty Coleus, Lemon Licorice Plant, Orange Disco Marigold, Summer Jewel Red Salvia, Wonderland Coppy Alyssum, Maverick Pink Geranium, Fishnet Stockings Coleus, Scarlet Sage Summer Jewel Pink Salvia, Purple Aztec Verbena & assorted Nastrums.

What colour do you need more of in your life?

Pride and Joy of the Moment

8 Aug

I have been really fussing with and enjoying the development of this backyard perennial border.  I will have to find the year by year photos to share with you.  I think because I pass this garden by all the time, and it is the most colourful right now, it is getting the most attention.  The front yard is definitely more neglected- I usually catch up on all the weeding the week before it snows. Doesn’t everyone? :)

back yard

This garden is along the back side of the garage and faces North West. 

hostas, coral bells, impatients, oak leaf hydrangea, astible

I keep moving plants around and have waited a long time for things to fill in (about 7 years).  The oak leaf hydrangea in the back ground took a beating this winter and is currently half of its normal size. 

dwarf blue spruce

Mr. Frog guards the dwarf Blue Spruce and Lungwort (my spring flowering favourite!).

perennial bed along garage

Last years yellow wheelbarrow is full of colourful impatiens this year.

perennial bed along garage

Is there a corner of your yard that gets the most attention?

FALSE Advertising The Big Fake Boobies of the Flower Industry

30 Jul

Do you ever wonder why your flowers never quite look the same as those in magazines or sales flyers?  It’s because it’s pretty much impossible! Many popular companies show fine examples of unattainable flowery goals.   The sales binders of their products contain ridiculous expectations for potted annuals and are quite typically shown with other annuals that don’t even flower at the same time or in the same zone, unless of course they were grown in a green house.

proven winners

Osteospermum & Pansiola (a flower not released to the market yet)

I bet you thought that the flower industry was immune from such betrayals, but they’re not.  That’s how they get us excited at the prospect of what we could have (and have so much bigger) if we only just purchased flowers from them.

Just like the beauty magazines, don’t compare your flowers in the mirror to the flowers in an ad.

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My little pansies in a pot with pink impatiens

Be realistic, fertilize like mad (maybe with some compost tea?) and have fun!

Diane :)

 

 

 

Fabulous Threesomes

28 Jul

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It might just be the light of the late day sun, but I am loving the combination of these fabulous threesomes right now.  

Lavender, Hostas in bloom & Red Valarian. 

 ~~More fabulous threesomes for all seasons~~

Vegetable Garden (90 Days) Week 12

25 Jul

Things in the vegetable garden have taken an unexpected turn.  Never before have I had to share this yard with so many creatures, the worst I thought being the groundhog that ate all the broccoli and cabbage (Not once BUT TWICE! I replanted all of it in early July)groundhog damage… UNTIL there was an entire skunk population! Skunks like to dig, we have always seen signs of having skunks with various holes in the yard. But then suddenly every night we could see them. Four or five of them in the yard, they didn’t care at all about us, the cats or the chickens.

Then BAM! there were cute little baby skunks everywhere! GAH. Why skunks are so cute I will never know. But the skunks have dug up almost everything in the vegetable garden, there are holes everywhere. Bean seeds and carrots, potatoes dug out, teeth holes in my sprinkler system. Oy Vey, I really had no idea how destructive they could be. I set a trap in the garden and what I caught was a racoon, I am sure he was also partly to blame. Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.52.28 AM   The groundhog has eluded me and is only looking more plump. I just saw him waddle across the lawn as I sit here!! Bloody Hell (but so cute!). Anyways!!….

We have been able to get many things from the garden still. Yummy peas (although right now it looks like an elephant sat on them), lots of turnip and Royal burgundy and green beans. Lots of tomatoes and squash coming on.

I still see no sign of garlic again– the bulbs are still there- and aren’t rotted but I wonder yet again what is it that garlic wants from me?? Just grow already as you are taking up valuable veggie space!

still no signs of garlic

We have also been busy in the yard with 15 yards of top soil that was delivered a week ago, mainly to fill in the holes left everywhere by the big trees that were cut down.  We probably needed about 5 yards for that but I *accidently on purpose* (-it’s special female trait) rounded up to 15 yards.  There are gardens that I want to make!  The kids have been begging to shovel the dirt and take it where it needs to go every night. It is the best backyard activity for kids ever! Who knew? dirt pile

Maybe this rainbow is a sign that things will get better in the veggie garden. :) 

beautiful rainbow

Which critter do you wish only existed mythically at the end of a rainbow?

 

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