Come along with me...

Put on your gloves and grab your shovel or basket as we take this journey of gardening from seeds to food on the table together.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fruit trees

I'm trying to expand my garden by adding some fruit trees to attract birds and bees as well as provide fruit to eat.

I bought a Red Lady Papaya and a Barbados Cherry from the Navy Exchange Home Center.  Not knowing how to grow them or even how to eat it, I searched on line and found this links.

Red Lady Papaya                         Barbados Cherry                           Surinam Cherry                      

I  already had a Surinam Cherry tree I bought a while back but haven't done anything with yet.

As I transplanted both the Papaya and the Barbados Cherry into larger pots I found lots of ants, so I spread some cornmeal on top to help control them.

I am still debating, but think I will plant the Papaya in the back yard kind of close to where I have the compost.  I want it on the outskirts of the yard, but not on the hill.

I will plant both Cherries in the front yard since they will get fairly big, have gorgeous flowers and they will make it very shady.  I don't want then North of my garden nor do I want them to block my view of the sunsets.

Here are a few photos from a simple google image search that show the beautiful flowers and fruit of these plants.

Red Lady Papaya 

Red Lady Papaya

Barbados Cherry Blossoms

Barbados Cherry Fruit

Surinam Cherry Blossoms

Surinam Cherry Fruit

Here are what the plants look like now.  The powder is the cornmeal to help control the ants.

Red Lady Papaya

Barbados Cherry

Surinam Cherry

If I have my way, I'll plant bananas, pineapple, strawberries, apples and mangoes as well!  I wish I had a bigger yard!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another busy day in the Garden!

This morning started with rain and it kept sprinkling on and off all day!  The perfect weather to garden in!
It was so much cooler today and I was able to get in about 5 hours of hard labor today!
I moved a bunch of pavers from the neighbors house.  These pavers are heavy.  I can carry one pretty easy, but two is a very hard struggle.  I have to pick them up from the ground, carry them across a soggy area, up a steep hill and across several yards to get to mine.  Since I needed a bunch to finish some projects on my to do list, I just dug in and got busy!  I moved about 30 pavers today.

I was in soo much pain when I was done but here's signs of my progress!!

I laid down some of the bags of leaves the landscapers left for me, and piled pavers on top.

My pumpkins are getting crowded, so I followed my husband's advice and started a second row.  There seems to be even more rocks in this row!

My Golden Trumpets are growing great!  I found a few pics where they are growing vine like so I may start pruning them and seeing what I can get them to do!  It appears the more they get trimmed, the more they flower and thrive!

As far as I can tell these are lady bugs.  They are supposed to be very good for the garden eating aphids in the thousands.  I'm not positive that these are lady bugs though since they don't have the traditional spots.  None of me leaves seems to have bug bites taken out of them, so I'm hopeful!

These are my carrots.  I plan to keep them in this container for the duration of growth.  My ground is very rocky and full of clay so it's too hard to dig deep.  The containers give me the depth that carrots need!

The largest sunflower in my garden.

The largest dill in my garden

The largest Marigold in my garden

My garden is really started to get big.  I decided to take photos of the largest plants.  There is quite a variety of sizes of each plant.  Some are because of time planted, the difference between seed and starter, the type of soil I used, the amount of water and sun, and the location of varies plants that might be shading or sharing valuable root area.

I try to companion plant and one really great site I found was Down To Earth.  Rhonda Hetzel is an experienced gardener and lives a simple life in Australia.  She has a post of  beneficial plants to keep the good bugs a plenty and the bad bugs afar!  I hope you enjoy Down To Earth!

There are many links to other great gardening advice on my pinterest page.  Check it out here at Garden Goodness!

These are my bush cucumbers.  After I thinned them to just 3 plants, they just started growing like crazy!  I can't wait till I see little cucumbers!

The two cherry tomato plants that I was experimenting with by laying sideways and covering with soil didn't work very well for me.  It turned out to be the one of the wettest spots in the garden.  I pulled the first one with no problem, it was completely dead, but the second one surprisingly had roots just inches from where the green was growing!  I might have to try this way again in a dryer location!

But, I had already picked up a few more pepper plants from Home Depot so I had to move them into the garden so I used the old tomato spot.  Here are four Jalapeno plants and I also have one Habanero close to my other peppers.  It already had peppers growing when I bought it, so I'm hoping for great things from this plant!

These are the first signs that my potatoes are growing.  There are seven in this laundry basket and right now I have two green growths showing!

Romaine Lettuce - cutting from store bought produce

Celery - cutting from store bought produce

Bok Choy - cutting from store bought produce

I planted 8 seeds for sweet peas since my 2nd attempt at a flower bed only produced weeds.  I think this is a good use of the space.  Hopefully I will finally have some success now in this area!!

My compost is getting very full!  Lots of kitchen scraps, top soil with all the grass and weeds I dug up to make my garden, branches from trees in my yard, and a few bags of leaves from the landscapers.  I didn't take the time or energy to cut any of these into small enough pieces so this will take much longer to compost.  I might just have to make a second one and wait for this one to break down!

After all the accomplishments I'm very proud of I have to admit that growing cilantro is not working for me.  I have tried it from seed, and from starters from Home Depot.  It seems that it's either getting too much sun, or too much water.

Along with my "flower garden" this is my second plant that after two times, it's just time to move on!

Are there any areas in your garden that just aren't working for you?  Is it time to learn more or just move on?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My tomatoes are growing!!

Here's a couple of photos of our first cherry tomatoes!  I bought the plants from Home Depot just a few inches high.  Now these plants are actually taller than the tomato frame it's in.  

My husband was grilling burgers last night and although I was gathering Basil for dinner, and doing a bit of weeding, HE'S the one who noticed the baby tomatoes!  

Have I mentioned lately that I love my husband!!

The landscapers came by while I was out in the yard the other day and after talking for a few minutes they came and checked out my garden!  They were trimming trees, raking leaves and bagging the clippings up to haul away, so I asked for a few bags.  They left me four bags of leaves and even brought them close to my garden while I was out running errands!

I'm adding some to my compost, and some to the area around my garden where there is still grass!

One of the guys has his own garden and he told me how to transplant banana plants.  So I'll keep you up to date on the status of that!!  I would love some fruit in the yard.  Although I've heard it takes over a year to bear fruit, he said after he transplanted his he had fruit within 6 months!

I love the kindness of strangers!  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Water, Water, Everywhere...

This will be a REALLY short post, but after two heavy rain falls today, I thought I'd share some pics of the main garden.  

Hopefully the rain won't wash the seeds away!

This is the 1st rain day!  
See how well the trench is working!

This is the 2nd rain of the day.
It looks like a water fall it was such a heavy rain!

This is the swell area between the 
pumpkin patch and the main garden.  

And the river runs through it!

Hopefully you were able to stay dry today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ta Da!

I've been busy planting the pumpkins that I had started from seed and the tomatoes I bought from Home Depot both on July 1st.  There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day!  

Thinking we were going on vacation for a week, I got determined to plant the seedlings and put up a fence.  I ended up gardening for about 8 hours on Sunday and  6 hours on Monday!  Unfortunately the vacation isn't going to happen, but secretly I'm a bit happy.  Staying here, I won't miss out of the growth of my garden!!  Today was a rest day, and besides a bit of weeding and the basic watering, I had a day off of gardening!

I now have 22 pumpkin plants planted.  Seven Connecticut Field Pumpkins and Fifteen Sugar Pie Pumpkins!  We're hoping for a BIG harvest.  I still have mud on the wall, but I got the border up and the soaker hoses in place.  There are a few sunflowers, dill, marigolds, radishes, and nasturtium in the mix as well as the two watermelons I planted several weeks ago.  

My husband has plans to double our pumpkin patch and make a second row with a walk way between the two.  

I'm almost finished transplanting all of my twelve tomatoes.  I have six each of Roma and Cherry tomatoes.  Here's a few of them.

I still have two that I bought that I haven't transplanted in the garden yet.

I planted more of the bush cucumbers that I had started from seed.  Apparently you're only supposed to use three plants in a "bush"!  So I had to thin them out.

I also had a problem with a few low spots that were getting water logged, so I made a trench to help it drain better.  It really showed me what's under the topsoil and why digging has been such a challenge!!  I had to use a hammer to break up some of the coral and when I came in the house I had mud splattered all over my face!  Now that would have been a great picture!!

I finally put some cardboard down and pavers on top to make a walk way but need to grab some more pavers to finish that up.  It gets really muddy when you start to walk the same area too much. 

Where the trench runs, I was afraid that I would walk on top of it and either break a paver or just fall through, so I used some leftover boards with nails in them (they were from the pallets I used to make hanging planters) to give it extra support!

My Oregano just wasn't taking off, and I learned recently that it doesn't do well from seed.  A new friend offered to give me a branch off her sturdy plant.  Her Oregano has thick branches like a bush or small tree.  She cut off a large section and after I got home I cut several smaller branches off the large piece she gave me.  I dipped the ends in honey and planted them straight in the pot.  I'm supposed to keep an eye on them for a few weeks to make sure they root then I can plant them in the garden.  The honey acts like a root enhancer.  I sure hope it works, I love Oregano!

My neighbor had a laundry basket set out by her trash (the top was cracked) so I decided to rescue it and after drilling holes in the bottom it's my new potato pot.  I have seven red potatoes in there.   

I've been reading a lot lately about gardening and growing tomatoes, but this one idea really stood out.  I decided to give it a try to here's the out come!

Weird huh?  The directions were to make a 6 inch trench and lay the plant on it's side.  Covering the root ball and the leaves up to the end with just the tips hanging out.  My plants are a bit taller so they stick out a little more than the directions, but  we'll see if there's any truth to this trick.  I have two planted here with the root balls at opposite ends.  In this view they are laying horizontal.  I have a cucumber bush on each side of them!

Oh and remember that Celery and Romaine that I was growing in my kitchen?  My husband made me plant them outside.  Hopefully they will grow in the soil.  They didn't have any roots yet.  These were cut on July 21st.  

Less than three weeks left of summer here.  My daughter is getting ready to go back to school, and now that we're not going to be able to vacation in Hawaii I might just plant that second row of pumpkins.  

What about you?  Any last minute plans before your summer is up?  Did your kids already start school?  Did you get some family vacations or special events in while the kids were out of school?  I hope you've all been blessed with the joys of summer including reaping in a harvest from your garden!