Well, after quite some time away preparing for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration weekend I am finally settling back into a normal (whatever that is!) routine. During my extended blogging absence we tackled some big garden projects and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.
My favorite change in the garden is our newly mulched pathways! The transformation is astonishing, well at least it is to me. This rather enormous project wasn’t really planned, not for this year anyway. But because mowing and trimming between the beds was such a royal pain in the patootie, especially since we don’t yet have an in-ground irrigation system, I knew it must be done. Our snaking soaker hose watering system, though not yet in place for this growing season, makes the task of mowing most disagreeable. But when DH decided to rent a chain saw and chipper shredder to tame our ever-encroaching mess of a woods-line, I seized upon my good, free mulch fortune and bumped said project up a year. 🙂
After a rather Herculean effort to remove the thick sod myself and none too few rather unsavory words passed over my lips, we ended up renting yet another piece of power equipment: a sod cutter! Though the sod cutter didn’t quite put an end to the utterances of four letter words, at least not on my DH’s part, it certainly made the considerable task much easier. Then, down went rolls of weed block and lots and lots of mulch. We ended up having to purchase more mulch to finish the job, but happily most of the much came right from our own property!
Another of my favorite projects of late was making these awesome solar lanterns! A Pinterest project come to life, I just adore how these mason jar lanterns add a touch of class to my garden. (Unfortunately when I made these I didn’t have time blog about it, but I will try to put together a how-to post on how I made them some time in the near future.) Making them was pretty easy, but I did have to get DH to crimp the chains to the metal band and screw them onto the jars. The only problem with how I put them together is that I didn’t seal the gap between the solar disc and edge of the jar so it collects water whenever it rains. The next time I make them I will try sealing them with some type of epoxy.
These awesome bamboo tee-pees were yet another of my fun springtime projects. I found the bamboo poles at Walmart and already had the netting leftover from making my vertical trellises last summer. I used zip ties to attach the netting to the poles. It was definitely a two-man job, but they didn’t take very long to assemble. One package of netting wrapped quite neatly around the bamboo frame with a little left to spare. If you plan to make these, just be sure to shove the poles deeply into the ground or they will tumble right over in a big windstorm! Um, yeah. Duh! I am growing lettuce and spinach under the trellis while my bean plants are making their way up out of the ground and finding their way up the netting. In addition to these crops, I have a number of other plants growing in this bed including tomatillos, carrots, nasturtium, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, and Thai basil.
The rest of the photos are just a few snapshots of my garden beds. This bed has some kale, broccoli, eggplant and lemongrass. But most exciting is the row of plants closest to the trellis: Sugar Baby Watermelons! Though admittedly I may have been overly ambitious to think these will make it to our dinner table, I just couldn’t help but try. I will keep you posted…
This is my pepper bed, but I also have onions growing at the far end of the bed. They are all looking terrific! There are blossoms and even some small pepper appearing, and my onions look great which is a first for me.
This bed has many plants, but pictured here I have sugar peas, lettuce, arugula, swiss chard, nasturtium, and onions… or garlic… or shallots. I did a terrible job marking my plants this year.
I decided to dedicate two of my squares to flowers and cutting gardens. I was disappointed that my seedlings and bulbs weren’t in full bloom for my parent’s party, but they are certainly growing quickly now.
Looks like someone needs to tend to the weed wacking!
Some of my MANY tomato plants in the right hand bed, as well as lots of herbs, flowers, and onions. The flower beds are the two center squares and the far left one is the one with the snow peas, lettuces, onions, etc., as well as chamomile, tomatoes, dahlias, basil, and, well I forget the rest. 🙂
And last but not least, today’s harvest! Our strawberry patch is pretty much done producing, but our strawberry harvest was beyond incredible! I was blown away with the vast amount of berries we were able to harvest day after day. I planted the patch last spring so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I assumed we would have to wait a few years before it really began to produce, but I am so happy I was wrong! Most of the berries went into the freezer for a future jamming session, but we enjoyed every single juicy, homegrown bite of the ones that did make it into our mouths.
So there you have it. Our beautiful summer garden is growing fabulously along with very few issues… yet. But the hot, humid dog days haven’t really hit us yet. I suspect there will be plenty of pesky issues to deal in my near future. But for now I plan to grab an iced cold glass of lemon balm tea and plop down into one of my newly constructed Adirondack chairs (oh yeah… another one of my springtime projects) and watch my crops grow. 🙂