Summer garden!

IMG_5794I came back from a mini vacation to a garden overflowing with bounty! The cukes are in! And boy are we enjoying them. They are Jeremie’s favorite summer time snack. IMG_5790And look at these carrots! I’ve never grown such beautiful ones before. I only pulled up a few. I’ll just pull them as I need them.IMG_5903 We cut the scapes off the garlics, and found our first zuchini. IMG_5901We have been enjoying a ton of cabbage! It’s so delicious, cut into steaks and roasted in the oven. Or my favorite way of cooking it for breakfast..pan fried with a bit of garlic chili sauce! MMmmm! IMG_5906This is my second planting of beans, just about ready to be picked.IMG_5801 We are still picking a lot from the first planting so I think the two week window I gave them was just perfect! We have already dug some new potatoes, but it will probably be another week or so before the main crop is ready to be dug up. This is summer eating at it’s finest! IMG_5912

Washing up

This has been the year of building things in the garden. First was the deep raised cedar bed. Next was this great little wash station. IMG_5336It has a sink (not yet hooked up, but soon!) and a drain area. Precious little hooks and a shelf with trailing sweet potato vines complete this adorable work area. Spraying off lettuces, cabbage and broccoli has been a breeze with the hose and the hardware cloth drain area. This is made of untreated cedar because I don’t want any gross chemicals from treated lumber on my organic veggies! Jeremie got the old salvaged window at a habitat for humanity re-store for added character. I just love the way this turned out. Not only out of this world adorable, but practical and useful as well! IMG_5512

A nudge out of my comfort zone

God puts people in our lives to grow us. I cannot imagine the person I’d be today, if not for my husband, Jeremie. When he invited the master gardener group in our county to come out for a garden tour, I just about died! I love my garden, but this was way outside of my comfort zone. IMG_5585But when the day came for the visit, I was excited to share my space with other garden lovers. About 20 people came! What a surprise! I was thinking maybe 5 or so. And they were all so interested and excited about what we were doing. At first, I had asked Jeremie to do the “lecture and tour” but as I prayed about it the Lord urged me to step up to the plate and be bold! I am always coaching my kids on public speaking and it was fun to put it into practice in my own life!IMG_5593Sometimes looking at a space through new eyes encourages and inspires me anew. I was hesitant to share about the Back to Eden method with other conventional gardeners, but they had a lot of good questions that showed they were truly interested. And talking gardening with other gardeners…is there anything better!!??IMG_5595 I’ve already received emails from people in the group about how to implement this method into their existing garden spaces. How fun to be able to walk them through this process. It was an absolute delight to have them here, and I’m so glad that Jeremie made that possible. Talk about growing and learning, ha!

Garden update

Here’s how things are growing as of May 17, 2017.IMG_5618 The cabbages are just about ready to harvest. We will roast one for lunch tomorrow! IMG_5612The beans and peas have something nibbling at them.IMG_5608 The tomatoes are tiny still, as are the peppers. IMG_5611This hillside was planted in snake gourds and water dipper gourds! IMG_5609A Beautiful garden box filled with lettuces of all different maturity.IMG_5616 Lush carrots with cucumbers starting to climb the trellis. IMG_5614Larger tomatoes weaved into the trellis.IMG_5615 Beets under, hoping to enjoy the shade the tomatoes will provide. IMG_5628Onions with red lettuce planted under a trellis that has purple hull peas planted alongside. IMG_5627Peas, still producing!!! IMG_5623Lacinato dinosaur kale, a favorite!IMG_5619

A little late

Watching a plant grow from a tiny little seed is nothing short of witnessing a miracle. That’s why I was so sad that my tomato seeds never came up. What happened? I ordered a tomato growing kit from Old Time Tomatoes because I had a coupon to get it free. It came with a solution to soak the seeds in to ensure quick germination. But after planting those seeds, nothing came up. It also came with a peat pot tray that I used to plant peppers in. Again, nothing came up. At first I thought perhaps I burned my seeds. We had a really warm spring and the greenhouse got over 100 degrees on quite a few days. So I re-soaked and replanted the seeds. Again, nothing came up. I’ve grown my own tomato plants for years, so I know what I’m doing. But I can’t figure out what went wrong. I talked to many other people who ordered that same kit and there seedlings are doing fine. But in my mind, I thought, that’s the only variable.IMG_5362 So I tried yet a third time. This time I did not soak my seeds. And they all came up. My peppers came up too. I planted them in my normal seed trays. Now I have healthy looking, albeit small, seedlings. But I am so behind schedule. After waiting a couple weeks for each batch of seedlings to come up in vain, I lost over a month. I know that Tennessee has such long, hot summers, I’ll still get a bumper crop of tomatoes. But I’m anxious to get them in the ground to enjoy all this spring rain we’ve been enjoying! IMG_5363

Fruits and berries

We have some raspberry plants shooting up in the orchard. IMG_5354And the blueberry plants are getting so big! IMG_5355Look at all those tiny berries!IMG_5356 Apple tree. IMG_5357Strawberries in raised boxes, transplanted last fall and mulched with pine straw. IMG_5359

Garden news

Gardening in April! A little rain shower brings on a happy dance. Little green shoots pushing up through the wood chips! Planting vines and pops of color in the containers! Here’s some pics of what’s happening in the garden in Mid-April.

Onions

Onions

Potatoes

Potatoes

Garlic

Garlic

Cabbages and Broccoli and a few Kale

Cabbages and Broccoli and a few Kale

Carrots

Carrots

Little helpers and lettuces

Little helpers and lettuces

Gardening in March

IMG_4981Wow! We have been enjoying such an early spring! The temps have hit 80 some days already. I’ve had to keep my greenhouse doors open so my little cabbages don’t wilt in the heat. I’ve put in raspberry bushes all along the south fence in the garden and mulched them with pine straw from our friend’s woods. I also put in a row of raspberries in the orchard. Jeremie tilled the portion of the hillside that is not yet mulched and I planted a cover crop to hopefully help keep down the weeds and enrich the soil. I planted oilseed radish, poor man’s clover and buckwheat. I know the bees will love all those! IMG_4984My garlic is growing nicely. I’ve enjoyed seeing the green all winter long. I have 2 rows of onion sets under the far arbor and 3 rows of onion plants by the strawberry plants I put in during the late fall/winter time. Some snow peas are just peeking up through the chips.IMG_4985 I never get a great harvest of peas because it gets too hot, but I try every year. They are so yummy to munch on fresh from the garden. Today (March 7 ) I planted out my young cabbages and brussel sprouts. Susie and Roo helped me and it only took about 10 minutes. Gloria helped too, by walking all over my little beet sprouts. I guess Roo did more climbing around than helping, truth be told.IMG_5103 I ended up burning up all my tomatoes and pepper seeds. I was really on my game and got them started in Feb. But the temps got so high in the greenhouse, over 100!, and they were on a heating mat, I think they just got fried. I know I could just direct sow them, but I like to have something to fuss with in the greenhouse. So I re-planted today and hope to see little sprouts in about 5 days. My little herbs are also very cozy in the greenhouse for now.  I’ve got some carrots sprouting outside and some chard, lettuce and spinach just peeking through. I’ll bet they just love the rain we’ve had the past two days. IMG_5101I’m glad, with the wood chip mulch, it’s not a  muddy mess out there. This is something I love most about gardening the BTE way. I can be out in the garden with my kids, working and playing together. I don’t have to worry about mud. I don’t have to worry about compacted soil. Planting is quick and easy, so they enjoy doing it with me. I’m so glad I get to share my favorite hobby with those I love the most!