Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nature Study Tuesday---How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thankfully, the weather dropped a good fifteen degrees yesterday, and is holding out in the eighties today instead of the over a hundred degree temperatures we were getting last week. The kids were going stir crazy inside (in a nice way) so they absolutely loved being outside most of the day. They rode the horses, played with the dogs, and jumped on the trampoline for hours. They even raked plastic pool loads of dried lawn clippings for the horses, which was greatly appreciated, I am sure.

We tidied up our raised bed gardens as well as we could, and are hoping Bubba will continue to enjoy the harvest during our absence. I am frantically trying to get the last of the blackberries done, and I still have a few zucchini I need to make into bread and freeze or give away. Since everybody seems to be posting great pictures of their gardens and the bounty they have harvested, I think I will go ahead and post my garden pix for Nature Study Tuesday.

If studying nature is good, getting to eat it is even better. After all, you can't get much closer to nature than when you are eating it. ;-)

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good..." Psalm 34:8a

                                                        Our first squash.                                     Our first tomatoes.

Our watermelons, cantelopes, and pumpkins before they took off and our first Zukes.

Pumpkins, watermelons, and cantelopes later.  The kids have high hopes for the watermelons.

Jalepeno peppers for pico de gallo...                                                    The kids eat cherry tomatoes like candy...

Ladybug loves yummy green beans.

  Cowboy squishing the squash.

It has been a pretty good year for our first "real" attempt at gardening. Last year was somewhat half-hearted. We started late and then what we planted did not do that well. The tomatoes were stringy...not enough light, I guess, and what actually made it got pecked by the then free-ranging chickens.

So this year, we moved the beds up front (for all the neighbors to see!) and have mostly kept the chickens inside their pen. We fertilized with old horse manure, though I think it might not have been quite old enough, as some of our Roma tomatoes have been very oddly shaped. The rest of the veggies seem to like the mix, though.

Ugly critter....scary! Solution: sqish! (because even the chickens didn't want 'em)

The only pest we've really dealt with are tobacco worms (above) and squash bugs, which I'd never seen before. Apparently, they are just a "thing" in this area this year, and somewhat unavoidable. We did spray with a soap-based spray after we figured out what was eating the zukes and yellow squash (squash bugs) and the tomatoes (tobacco worms), and once we did that, we were able to salvage the remaining plants.

We also have some old pear and apple trees to harvest in a bit. Thankfully, they are not quite ready, but they are close. I am hoping they will be ready about when we get back, so I can make some yummy apple and pear sauce when I get back. I feel bad because we managed to miss most of our cherries due to illness and busy-ness, but Ladybug did enjoy quite a few of them. Our walnut trees are not doing much this year. I think the Nor'easters the last few years have messed them up. The year we bought the house, they were great.

I hope your gardens are prospering as well, and keeping you pleasantly busy and well fed.

Drop me a line and a link to your blog to let me know about your garden experiences this year.
I have a lot to learn and I welcome good advice!

Our Crepe Myrtle tree in bloom with my herb pots alongside.



PS. Thanks to Tex for taking some of these pictures for me...he did the beautiful ones of the fruit trees, among others. Love you! Mom

Thai Peppers for Hubby. Nobody else will touch them. HOT!!


i cant decide said...

Your garden looks very nice. Your crepe myrtle is very pretty. Wow, what a green bean harvest. I think I've gotten a whole 10 green beans so far.

Heather said...

Thank you, Briana. We are pulling it together bit by bit. But I can't actually take credit for the green beans (but everything else is ours). A church member blessed us with a bushel of those. I doubt I'd have managed to get very many if I'd planted some. The kids definitely want to try for beans, next year, though...and radishes, corn, and sunflowers. They are already planning to help their dad build some more raised beds once the grass stops needing to be mowed once a week and there is more time on our hands!

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