Archive for the ‘garden reports’ Category

Caleb and Alicespring is finally here! a few random springish updates:

I planted the snowpeas a couple weeks ago and they’re coming up pretty well.

my parents are here for the week to help fix up our porch and spend time with the kids. we’ve made good progress so far. my sister arrives today as well.

congratlulations to the Stavens on the birth of their son Isaiah Joseph. I’d like to point out that they used our firstborn son name template: Old Testament first name, daddy’s name as a middle name. well done. we’ll see if they name their first girl after their grandmothers.

congrats also to Scott’s family as they’re expecting kiddo #3.

it was this time last year that we found out Alice was on the way. it sure seems like life has been a blur ever since. a good blur, but a blur nonetheless.

speaking of Alice, we’ve decided to let her “cry it out” at night. she’s been able to go all night without a bottle for a while, but she’s been waking up and crying a few times a night for a while. her pacifier would calm her down, which is good in some ways, but the whole routine has been craziness. so we’ll see how it goes.

and finally, it takes a special kind of geek to do something like this.

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much like I sometimes wish I was better at fixing stuff, I often wish I was a better gardener. yet just as my attempts at being handy do actually come out OK now and then, I have just enough success at growing things to keep me happy. in this case, it’s the morning glories out front, which are actually volunteers (as in they came up on their own from last year’s crop, not as in “go vols!”).

morning glories are my favorite flowers. last year (or was it the year before?) I planted some along the fence (which didnt do well due to lack of soil and sunlight), near the street sign (which did great, but were pulled down by city maintenance folks), and near the corner of the house (which did OK). this year I had every intention of planting more, but never got around to it, which is pretty much the story of the garden this time around. some of the stuff I planted this year has done ok, only to be forgotten and left to rot. oops.

anyway, the bed on the corner of our house is often rather overgrown. in fact, nearly all vegetation around our house is often overgrown. I guess on weekends I prioritize hanging out with the family over pulling weeds. tough choice, but there are tradeoffs. so the front bed was getting out of hand, with stuff crawling up the corner and onto the porch (which alone could be the subject of a series of entries, and perhaps might be someday). Michelle wanted me to pull down the weeds, but I thought I spied morning glory leaves in there, so I decided to let it be. sure, it did look a little hick with kudzuesqe vines everywhere, but my laziness and hope for glory held me back.

so after more than a few weeks of overgrowth (it took over our porch bench), the pointy flower buds started to appear. so for the past couple weeks I’m treated to deep purple, light purple, and magenta glories as I leave for work each morning. when I come home they’re all gone, but the new buds are getting ready for the next day. glory to God for such beauty, which was given to us more out of my neglect than my hard work.

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every kid should have a copy of The Very Hungry Catepillar, and I have a suspicion that just about every kid does. it’s gotta be almost as popular as “Goodnight Moon.” Caleb loves it. he can even point out the catepillar on the pages when I ask him to, and he has fun with the holes in the pages, and always has a big smile at the end as we flap the butterfly wings for him. a kids classic, no doubt.

so I havent been tending the garden very well lately. actually that’s an exaggeration. I havent done jack in the garden, besides bringing in a few tomatoes right before they’re completely rotten. it’s just too dang hot out for me these days. but the garden is in view from the back door, so I at least look out at it often enough. and tonight we spotted our very own very hungry caterpillar! merrily munching away at one of my lovely cherry tomatoes. if it was early in the season, he’d be toast, but since things are winding down, I figured we should enjoy him.

the light wasnt all that good, so I didnt get very good pictures, but it was wicked cool, as Bear might say. and I was so concerned about getting a decent picture that I forgot to point it out to Caleb. he was on my hip the whole time, but getting rather sleepy, so I doubt he noticed it. I’ve got to remeber to point out cool creepy crawly things like that to him, although this thing looked fierce and beautiful enough to keep me from wanting him to touch it, especially considering the treatment he gave a poor grasshopper not long ago.

after googling for a bit, I figured out that this guy is a tomato hornworm, which turns into a moth. and while we’re on the subject, check out Eric Carle’s site, as well as the picture book museum he’s got in MA. hopefully we’ll get to visit it next time we’re up north.

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monster cukes

I havent tended the garden as closely this year, but we’re still doing ok so far. not great, but not too bad. as can be seen, we have our first tomatos, as well as some monster cukes. I left vague instructions with the neighbors before we left…something about turning on the sprinkler if needed, and harvesting what they wanted. so they enjoyed some tomatos, but didnt care for the cukes, so they just got bigger and bigger. normally they get all woody when they get that big, but once I peeled off the overly-bitter skins, it tasted great. the hot peppers are doing well, though we havent tried them yet. the tomato plants arent looking so good, so I’m wondering if we’ve got too much rain or if there’s some other cause of all the yellowing. now is the time of year that I start to lose interest, as it’s stinkin hot and lots of bugs out there. being 2+ weeks behind on tending to things doesnt help either. so we’ll see how things turn out. meanwhile it is quite nice to enjoy a sandwhich with my own tomatos on it. the squash look terrible thanks to the vine borers, most likely, as tom has pointed out. oh and our blueberries are doing well. we only have 2 small bushes, so we just get a little snack when there are some ripe ones. this year we remembered to put netting over them so the birds cant help themselves.

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happy harvest

there’s no happiness quite like a successful harvest. the snow and sugar-snap peas are at their peak, and they are quite yummy. peas have been the easiest and most successful crop we’ve grown. all I do is put them in the ground in February, rig the trellis system (electrical conduit held together with zip ties, with bird netting draped over), spread a little slug bait now and then, water a bit if it hasnt rained, and in the middle of May we get enough for a meal everyother day. so satisfying. here’s a snow pea blossum. before I planted them, I had no idea how beautiful they were.

the tomato plants are perking up, as well as a couple cukes that I had given up on. I think the cool spring was holding them back. and once again, the peppers look terrible. we need to get more tomatos (michelle is dreaming of tomato soup, and many must be sacrificed for it) and we’ll try our hand at squash again, although we anticipate the bugs to win again. hopefully they’ll at least be distracted from the cukes.

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family gardening 2005

once again we will try our hand at gardening this year. this time Michelle is interested in growing herbs in pots on the porch, thus avoiding having to subject her back to the toils of the ground. she’s planted lots of seeds indoors, and will release them to the wilds of the porch before long. we’ll see how it goes, but if her enthusiasm is any indication, it should go quite well.

our little plot in the back yard has been declared daddy’s domain. so far I’ve got snow peas coming up, and after a slow start they’ve come up quite well. I’ve reconstructed our trellis system, which is made of electrical conduit that’s been drilled and zip-tied together, to achieve a trapieze look. instead of twine for the plants to climb, we’re using netting used to protect bushes from birds. it looks a little odd, but I’m sure it’ll work well. last year’s snow peas were oh-so-good, so we’re looking forward to another good crop.

I’m trying out spinach this year for the first time. having heard it’s hard to grow, I didnt have much hope, but about half of my seeds have sprouted, which isnt bad. we both love spinach salads, so hopefully we’ll have some success.

we’ve got a bunch of tomatoes started inside, as well as cucumbers and marigolds for the garden. this is the first year we’re trying to do all this stuff from seed, so we’re wondering how well it will go, and can already anticipate all the more the satisfaction of success from growing your own. sure, a small tomato plant is just $1, but it’s certainly a lot more fun this way.

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