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Signs Of Spring

It has become like Spring here overnight! Of course it won’t last, but while it’s been nice I have been outside scoping out how things did over winter.

My grapes are looking good. My neighbor helped me to prune them. This is my second year with them, so no grapes until next year, but pruning is required to help train them for when the grapes come.

Some daffodils near the house are about 2 inches up out of the soil. I checked in the woods where I have several batches and they aren’t up yet. The trees are keeping the sun off of them, so they tend to grow and bloom later.

My garden boxes are looking good. I really need to get some seeds started NOW. Hopefully this weekend. I’ll have to put it into my goals, so I will look at it over and over and get it done ūüôā

One of our bee hives fell over and all of the bees died. We still have 1 hive, so all is not lost. My son T,  is 12 is planning on doing Beekeeping for 4H this year.

We have mole trails everywhere. I don’t really care except that L keeps tripping over them, falling down, and crying. She isn’t all that great at getting up from falling, but practice makes perfect.

I will need to paint some of the trim around the house, especially around the double car garage. The winter has caused this to be more noticeable.

I would like to paint the shutters on the house. They have faded terribly over the years. A nice coat of paint wouldn’t be hard and would freshen up the front of the house.

Window boxes need to be filled with flowers, but that will have to wait a couple of months until the weather is in full cooperation. I love filling them with fresh flowers!

Everything is so brown and ugly. But, the sun has been shining and things will green-up quickly.

A huge tree branch fell and hit a wooden bridge that my son J made as a trial bridge for his Eagle Scout project. That needs some work to make it functional again.

There are lots of sticks to pick up because we live in the woods.

It feels good to see the stuff that I enjoy and the jobs that need attention this year.

How about you, is it Spring where you live yet? Are there jobs that you can see needing to be done this year?

Ann

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Updated Garden Pictures

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dill, Cilantro, and Red Peppers

Dill, Cilantro, and Red Peppers

 

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Cucumbers

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Cucumbers

 

Zucchini and Watermelon

Zucchini and Watermelon

 

Green Peppers

Green Peppers

Potatoes and a view of the field next to our house.

Potatoes and a view of the field next to our house.

 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

 

Concord Grapes

Concord Grapes

 

Here are the updated pictures.   It is pretty amazing how much things have grown.  I am still trying super hard to stay on top of the weeds.  The kids have been doing exceptionally well keeping up with their weeding and watering.  I am trying to train the vines to go up the bamboo stakes so that they wont grow on to the grass and inhibit our ability to mow.  I start off well each year, then get lazy and it goes south from there.  This year we are doing better.  I hope this trend continues.  It is actually fun to go out and see the garden and how things are coming along!

Working In The Garden

We have been weeding the garden faithfully.¬† I am hoping to stay motivated to keep it weeded.¬† I start out great each year, but then start slacking.¬† This year each kid planted a garden box and they are responsible for watering and weeding.¬† It doesn’t take long and then they can mark it off of their job list.¬† We have been going out each evening¬† to water as a family and I¬† get any weeds they miss.

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago.  I will take some new pictures and post them soon.

zucchini and squash

Zucchini, Watermelon, and Squash

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Lettuce, Spinach, and Peas

Tomatoes a couple of weeks ago.

Tomatoes

J and A watering the garden.

J and A watering the garden.

We also planted sweet potatoes, 2 bins of potatoes, and a start of rhubarb from a friend.

I am super excited that I was able to¬†buy 3-¬†1¬†gallon planters of concord grapes that were on clearance from Lowe’s for $3 each.¬† I am researching reducing the pH in the soil.¬† I purchased a soil tester and my soil is 7 and I need it to be between 6 and 6.5.¬† I am keeping them in their current pots until I get the pH corrected.

My Black Thumb Is Getting Greener

I have a black thumb with indoor houseplants.¬† I’m¬†an over-waterer…there I said it.¬† I try not to, but I can’t help it.¬† Over the years I have gotten better.¬† I think it has to do with the number of kids I have.¬† When I got to kid six I got a plantar¬†after¬†my uncle passed away.¬† I was half-afraid to take it the day of the funeral because I didn’t want to kill it.¬† However, I didn’t want to NOT take it either.¬† So, I reluctantly took it.

Miracle of miracles, it is still alive 3 years later!

Here it is today.  Double its original size.

Here it is today. Double its original size.

Last year, when I was pregnant¬† with kid number 7, my mom and I bought orchids towards the end of their growing season.¬† They were only $1, so I wasn’t too worried about killing it.¬† The directions were easy.¬† Water with 3 ice cubes every week.¬† It worked like a charm until my ice-maker broke and I didn’t want to replace it again.¬† Our refrigerator is about 11 years old and we replaced the ice maker once already.¬† Anyway, I had to learn how to water it without killing it.

I did it!  Take a look!

The orchid today.

The orchid today.

So, if you have a black thumb because you over-water, you may want to consider having a few more kids to help keep you so busy that it cures your over watering tendency!

Our Garden Is Doing Awesome!

Our most recent harvest. Camera operator was my seven-year-old son.

I think this is the best year of gardening that we have ever had!  Yahoo.  I did cheat a little by buying the plants at the nursery but considering I was in the beginning stages of my pregnancy with no energy and lots of exhaustion, I cutting myself some slack!

Here is the recent collection again. My 7-year-old took this one too. This time he added the rest of the collection!

We also have 2 huge pumpkins starting to turn orange, 2 cantaloupe, 6 red cabbages, tons of cayenne peppers, lots of red, green, orange, and yellow peppers and a dozen or so onions.¬† Our broccoli didn’t do well and¬†our cauliflower didn’t do well.¬† I will study these over the winter to see what I should have done differently.

The things that I think that helped the garden this year was the chicken manure from last year, the rabbit manure, the ashes from the fire and the Miracle Grow top soil stuff that we used.¬† Also, we water faithfully every day that it doesn’t rain.

I have a tendency to be gung-ho early in the spring and plant and weed etc.  Then when the weather gets hotter, I slowly stop taking care of the garden until it looks like the weed pile that it has turned into, and then give up and say I will do a better job next year.  Fortunately, we have done pretty well with keeping up with it this year.  Also, we normally vacation towards the end of July or early August and by the time we get back, everything has died from lack of water and I just give up.  This year we vacationed in June before any of the crops came in, so I had our house-sitter water while we were gone and of course that helped enormously.  When we got back from vacation everything looked good and was getting ready to harvest.

I will get some current garden pictures up shortly so you can see how awesome it is doing!

Update On The Garden

M watering our new “dirt”. We are adding a 4′ x 12′ box for all of our climbing vegetables.

Here are a few Sunflowers that A planted from seed.

Tomatoes that I purchased from a local nursery. They have a lot of blooms. We have a few tiny tomatoes that have started.

Cauliflower. My first time trying this vegetable.

Purple cabbage. My first time with this veggie too.

Broccoli. First time with this too.

Green, yellow, and orange peppers.

Cayenne peppers for my older boys.

Some Big Jim hot peppers for the older boys. This is my first time with these peppers too.

Red peppers. I am going to put onions in the rest of this box.

Cauliflower and Purple cabbage.

Our garden is looking really good so far this year.¬† I’m not sure why.¬† It may be because we purchased all of the plants from the local nursery, and they are big and healthy looking, it may be our dirt, or it may be that the kids are pretty interested in their garden boxes and have been weeding and watering them for a weekly treat of an Icee from our local Speedway.¬† They love those drinks, and I love to see the¬†garden boxes weeded.¬† Win, win!

We added chicken manure¬†that we had saved and aged from last year.¬† I have also been adding rabbit manure as we get it from our pet rabbit.¬†I read that it doesn’t need to be aged, it can be put straight in the¬†garden boxes.¬†¬†Also, I read somewhere that ash from a burned fire is good for the garden.¬† We live in the woods, so we have several fires a month and the ash builds up quickly.¬† I have the kids spread¬†a shovel full of ash on the boxes occasionally.

So far everything is looking good.  I have a question, has anyone grown broccoli or cauliflower before?  Is there anything special we  must do?  Thanks for your help!

Some Gardening Pictures

Here we are working out at our garden boxes.  A is working on weeding our cold frame.

Weeding our Cold Frame

Notice how dirty A has gotten during the weeding and planting process.  I love it!!

Plants transplanted and A is Watering the Sunflowers

Our garden beds. There are six regular and one with a cold frame attached.

The boxes need to be weeded desperately.¬† In the distance one of the boys has “claimed” their box and started weeding.

Waiting patiently to water the garden!

Being outside is so much fun after being cooped up all winter!