Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden update: June 15, 2013

So, where were we? Rainy spring. Not much growing. We can't start plants inside the house because of the cats, and the garage is full of bathroom reno stuff. Therefore, everything has been started from seed or transplants from the nursery.

Here is our little strawberry patch. I think I'm going to replant it because the dirt in the pots has settled. I mentioned gutters but I don't know about that yet. Either way it's a good little patch; we got a few berries and are hoping for more next year!
I got the little pink airplane lawn ornament from Target. It's kind of my favorite thing when the propeller spins in the wind. The garden markers are paint stir sticks from Home Depot that I spray-painted yellow on one side, chalkboard paint on the other, and wrote on with a chalk pen. I am happy that the chalk pen does not wash off in the rain!

Any time we are in the garden, Mimosa and Julep are right next to us, supervising. Their run is separated from the rest of the yard by 2" chicken wire strung along T-posts. They no longer have access under the deck, although we hope to fence off the deck perimeter to give them more sheltered space to hang out in. The gate shown in this pic was handmade by Chris; he ripped down 2x4s into 2x2s to fit a 4' opening. The opening is bracketed by 4x4 posts, and we made a little diamond design to reinforce the chicken wire in the center. Chris ripped 1/4 off of the center diamond 2x2s so we could sandwich the chicken wire.

The new chickens, Ygritte and Sweet Tea, are settling in. They are still confined to the coop. The red chickens aren't completely convinced that the new girls won't steal all their food, and the new girls get stressed whenever the red chickens are too close. The red chickens hang out in the run, where I have set up separate food and water and a nest box. The little ones are eating different food still, and are also still small enough and flighty enough to easily escape the run, so it's the coop for them! Still, 40 square feet for 2 young pullets is not a bad deal.
Right on the other side of the chicken fence is the tomato trellis (this year, that is. Next year it'll be beans). We have a lot of tomatoes ripening. Our friends Sharma and Julia gave us two tomato seedlings. One is a cherry tomato, and the other is a little grape tomato. We will be eating a lot of tomatoes this summer!

The squash are growing well; we have a lot of male flowers but no females yet. You can see the potato bucket there at the end.

More squash. We made a cattle panel trellis stretching from the squash box to the bean box and are growing spaghetti squash and luffa gourds up this side.

The snow peas have been champions this year. We have been eating snow peas for weeks. (As of this posting, late July, the snow peas have been done for about 3 weeks and I have sent the vines to the great compost bin in the sky)

Here's the pea trellis. We shifted it from diagonal to vertical, which was as easy as un-zip-tying the remesh from the metal tubing and having one of us hold up the trellis while the other slid the tubing off of the rebar supports, pulling the rebar supports from the ground and pounding them into the other side of the box, and sliding the tubing back down and re-zip-tying the trellis. Ok so that does sound complicated, but I promise these trellises are super easy to move wherever you need them!

This year Chris has an entire box dedicated to peppers. The sweet banana peppers are going strong, and we have a bunch of jalapenos.

Here are our spicy jalapenos. We are also growing a type we found at the Home Depot nursery called TAM mild jalapenos. I have made pickled jalapenos with them, but I haven't eaten them fresh yet. Either way, we have a bunch!

This is the deep root box. What that means is that we just created another 4'x4' box out of our 2x8 PT boards and stacked it on top of another one. Because we built raised boxes over weed blocking fabric, it is harder to grow root vegetables. This helps with that problem.
Anyway, we are growing purple potatoes and a mix of purple, yellow, white, and regular orange carrots. This box also contains bull's blood beets, which have red foliage as well as red roots, and some sad swiss chard that never really took off.

The pole beans are finally starting to take off. Last year we grew bush beans but not pole beans; with the new cattle panel trellis we are growing Kentucky Blue pole beans and asparagus beans. I love how they spiral up the supports. So neat!

The berry patch is separate from the main garden. It's on the side of our garage, south-facing, where it gets a lot of sun. It is a 4' by 24' bed, and we have 3 blueberry bushes (Sharpblue, Climax, and Pink Lemonade), 2 blackberries (I forget the names but one is thornless and one is traditionally spiky), and one raspberry. 

This is the Sharpblue plant. It's the first of the bushes to mature, and we have gotten quite a few berries! There are a lot ripening here. As of July, it's pretty much finished fruiting and is getting ready for next year. 

These are the Climax (foreground) and Sharpblue (background) bushes. They have grown since this picture was taken and I'm looking forward to bigger bushes and more berries next year. The edges of the bed are used railroad ties. We think they are a) old enough to not be releasing much creosote any more and b) far enough from the bushes to not worry about the creosote affecting the plants.

The blackberries are kind of awesome. There aren't that many, but the ones that we have eaten are delicious. We aren't huge blackberry eaters anyway. This picture nicely shows the drip irrigation system as well. It connects to both the rain barrel around the garage corner and the garden hose for dryer times. This year has been super-super-wet, so we haven't used the drip irrigation system much. It's nice to know it's there, though!

So that is our garden update from June. The verdict is: snow peas are great, pole beans are fascinating, and this year, we are actually getting tomatoes!  I'm going to borrow a question format from other blogs I've seen, so today's questions are:

What is your favorite go-to vegetable for your garden?
Do you have a berry patch?
How do you keep your squash alive?

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