Posts Tagged ‘garden’

I’m looking for more.  I need more. I never have enough time to do the things I love to do. So, the only thing I can really do about that is to complain.  😀

The passage of time is something I am acutely aware of. There is something about becoming seriously chronically ill to realign your sense of time, particularly when you have literally no idea about what is around the corner.

As in, will I be healthy enough to do what I want to do, when I want to do it?  How much time will it take?  Will I need a nap? Will I be alive a year or more down the road?  😆

Really.  Seems like “time” is on my mind a lot, and yet I am finding it slipping away in large chunks. My days are flying by. My weeks are flying by. Before I know it, summer will be gone, and I’ll be looking at the necessity of getting organized for schooling again.  Fortunately, my plan is already in place, so I won’t have to spend a lot of time planning, because it’s already been done.

I have noticed that with our intense heat (it’s been 100+ for more than 2 weeks; tomorrow will be 108, and we will finally get some respite supposedly next Tuesday when it hits a much-anticipated low of 98), I am spending a lot more time in the garden watering.  I’ve done another planting, which means keeping the ground moist while things germinate. Seedlings don’t do real well in intense heat, so the continued watering is necessary.

When you are out watering at least 3 to 4 times a day in addition to keeping an eye on chickies, time slips away from you pretty quickly.  That’s why I need more.  I’d be happy with another 2 hours a day.

On second thought, I am not sure 2 hours more a day would really cut it.  Hum. Maybe I should get rid of the clock completely……  😆

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I replanted my vine garden on Monday.  Something I discovered while doing that were seeds.  ?????

It’s been three weeks, and they hadn’t germinated.  Some of them were sitting out in the open.  I was amazed that they hadn’t been eaten. I guess the dove-be-gone baggies are working.

The second thing I discovered was that despite my continued effort to keep the soil moist (so things could germinate), I think it really only resulted in the seeds getting washed out to the surface.  Interestingly enough, the dirt where they had been planted was very dry. I think the dirt crust was preventing the seeds from getting and staying moist.

To that end, I have changed hose nozzles.  I broke down last week and got another nozzle, and I am really pleased with how well this one works for trickling water, gently.  We’ll see if it makes a difference.

While there are some things growing, my corn, for example, isn’t coming up bu 1/3 to a 1/4 of what I planted.  When I planted the first time, I was sure I had waaaaay over-planted, just to be sure I would get enough growing.  This translated to basically twice what the package called for.

My hunny recently cut me out a Dennis the Menace cartoon, where Mr. Wilson is planting and says, ” “I always plant three seeds…. one for the birds, one for the bugs, and one for me.”  He taped it to my desk.  😆

So now I’m wondering: should I plant more corn, interspersed with the corn that’s already growing? If I do plant more, will it grow as well being in the shade of the taller plants?  What about other things, like okra?  I am leaning towards giving it a week or two more and then seeing where we land.

I did plant more bell peppers.  Since I had “help” with my planting, some things didn’t get planted, and I am sure others are somewhere other than where I have them on my map.

Yes, I am that anal.  😀  I drew a map, or two, rather, so I could get a good idea of what was best to plant where.  The second version was the one I settled on, but I neglected to write down the changes.  At the time, I thought it might be fun to be surprised.  Now I’m just kicking myself, because I really wish I knew what some of those things are!

At any rate, I am enjoying going outside and seeing what has sprouted.  And thinking that in some spots, there is going to have to be some thinning to do! I had forgotten how neat it is to watch things grow.

In the meantime, the countdown has begun.  Two more days until chicks!!!  The chicken tractor will be complete in the next weekend or two, but gollee, I am looking forward to chicks!

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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells

And pretty maids all in a row.

Well, ok, I’m not really talking about Mary Tudor, as in “Bloody Mary,” Queen Mary 1 of England. 

I’m talking about my garden, and the growing thereof.

I counted it up, and the total of things planted was 28:

Green Beans
Bulb onions
Pinto Beans
Basil, sweet
Basil, Genovese
Parsley, tripled curled
Parsley, Italian
Bell Pepper

I made a chart and have determined that the doves got a lot of the seeds.  😦  There is basically nothing in my vine garden, so that means replanting watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and cantaloupe, although there is now one stray seedling of something popping up.

My corn continues to sprout, but initially it looks like the doves got at least 1/2 of the seeds. I am trying to determine if I should wait to replant for a few more weeks.  I think that at the very least, I am going to start some seedlings inside and then transplant outside once they are bigger.

While the garden area is no where close to being done, for the time being, it’s good enough.  I have pulled hunny away from garden escapades to work on the chicken tractor, which is nearly done. He still has the drip system to get out there, and it seems we have effectively gotten the dogs to stay out. 

The plastic bags seems to be working out ok, but I think getting rid of the feeder was the biggest help.  We’ve been able to shoo away the doves when they get in the garden for the most part, although I have no idea what is going on while we are sleeping.  😆 I think the new few days will have some additional planting. In case if you haven’t read my struggle with birds in the garden, read Garden Pests and This Means War! (Garden Pests #2) for the background information.

I have been spending a large portion of my time preparing for chicks.  I am going to be extremely bummed if they are gone by the time I get there when they open on Friday morning.  I have a back-up plan in mind, but I will say that won’t be nearly as fun.  I also expect to post about the chicks once they are here, so stay tuned!  😀

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I am beyond ticked.  Those doves are eating the seeds in my garden! This is a continuation of my Garden Pests  post.

This morning I chased them out and saw pumpkin seeds and a pinto bean seed sitting on top, with the hole to prove it.  The bird flew up into the tree, and stayed there, until I threw a twig that came near it.

I am beyond *furious*!  This means war.

To that end, the bird feeder is gone.  I don’t care if it never goes back.  I may miss the birds, but I want the garden more.  Besides, I’m thinking chickens in the yard will be nice, once I get them and they are old enough to be outside.  In the meantime, I’ll put the hummingbird feeder out and see if they are here yet.

I’ve also got the unused garden stakes in the beds, with plastic bags tied around them.  We’ll see if that’s enough of a deterrent.  If it’s not, well, the kids can take turns sitting out there and shooing the birds away.  I don’t know that we have old cds lying around (they don’t seem to send them in the mail like they used to), but I have no problem sacrificing an entire spool if it keeps the birds out of the garden.

The thought we had this morning when taking down the feeder was, “Well, here’s hoping they don’t raid the garden because their other food source has been taken away.”  I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, *please* use the comments section to share with me what you’ve had success using!

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Apparently, I have them.  I am a few weeks into the planting, and while most things should still be germinating, I am getting a few sprouts.

Hunny told me this morning that he’s seen the doves in the garden, picking at my mounds.  I have three stray watermelon seedlings that have sprouted, but nothing else yet.  Monday will be two weeks, and while I’m not freaking out yet, I am getting really annoyed at the doves- again.

These doves are a thorn in my side, to put it mildly.  I hate them.  They push the little birds off the feeder, and they eat my feeder dry in a day- that is how big they are and how many there are. They are big, fat, obnoxious, and mean, in addition to being bold.  Either they are very stupid or they are very smart, because even people in the yard aren’t cause for they to fly off.  If I could get my hands on them…..  

My feeder was one that was pretty small, to not allow big birds to perch.  Ya, right.  They find a way to hang off and crane their necks.  Nevermind the seed droppings on the ground.

Besides ignoring humans, noises don’t tend to make them fly away, either.  As in, you can bang on the window (which, ironically, I haven’t managed to break yet with the pounding) and not only will they not fly away, they won’t even fly away when you go outside!  Sure, they’ll move up to the fence to perch, but as soon as you turn around to go in, they are on the ground right behind you.

I have long hated these doves.  And now they are probably ruining my garden?!  Can you tell how frustrated I am?  These are the same birds that wait to see what is coming out the door before they think about flying away.  They don’t even care that the dog is outside, although she has gotten a few here and there.

Sending the cat out or getting a bird-eating kitty has crossed my radar, but the chicks we’re getting in the next few weeks would be fair game and sitting ducks until they got big enough.  I’ve even though about getting a rooster, but, well, you know how that would go.  😉

And speaking of the dogs, we’ve been trying to keep them in the house because of – you guessed it – the garden.  We put up a 2 1/2- 3 ft wire fence, which big dog just hopped over and removed from the plank along the fence it was fastened to.  So, that’s tweaked until hunny can fix it (hopefully today).  To block off the other side next to the house, we have placed one of our large yard garbage cans.

Yep, you guessed this, too.  Big dog just pushes it out of her way, and little dog can squeeze through the one side.  We need a square can, hunny says.  I say, we need a gate.  He wanted to put a nice wood fence up goinng from end to end, but not only did I need something up much faster (to keep the dogs out), I wasn’t sure we needed to put that kind of money into it.  Obviously, that is what it’s going to come to.

BUT. If I can’t keep the doves out of the garden and from eating the planted seeds, I don’t know that I will have it in me to do another garden.  They even come and hang out on my patio tomato plants right outside my window!!!!  I can just see them now, taking a bath in my garden once the drip system is in place.

Hunny went to Tractor Supply and to the hardware store, asking whether or not the garden owls really work.  I don’t think the plastic snakes would work, as bold as these doves are, but it may be worth a try if the owl doesn’t work.  He came home with the owl.  Other suggestions include a plastic bag tied along the fence flapping.  We’ve talked about hanging old cds, but they might be too clunky with our wind, and perhaps a small windsock that we have.

So, friends, I am turning to you.  What things have you done and had success with keeping the pesky birds out of your garden?  Please leave me comment!                                                            


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I don’t mean the Chinese year.  😆  I forget specifically what year it was, since I’ve tried to block those painful memories from my mind.  I’m guessing it was around 1997 or 1998. 

That was the last year I had a garden.   

I carefully hovered; tending my wee garden from spring until late summer/early fall.  My corn was as high as an elephant’s eye, and it looked like it was growing clear up to the sky.  

Ok, well, it wasn’t that tall.  But it was taller than our 6 ft privacy fence, and it looked like we were going to have a bumper crop of corn from the few stalks we had planted.

And then *they* came.  <{insert impending doom music}>  <DUN DUN DUN>

They descended upon town, literally like a plague of locusts (which we know are actually a kind of grasshopper, but I digress) of near Biblical proportion. 

At first, there was just wonderment, as in “Good grief, look at all those hoppers!” 

And then it was caution tinged with fear, as the numbers seemed to multiply, like, “Uh, I sure hope they don’t stick around- maybe I should spray something in the garden?” 

Which changed to panic; “Oh no!  They are eating all my corn!”

Then turned to disgust; “I can’t believe they did that in a few days!  All my hard work eaten!  Wah!”

And resulted in resignation: “It must be God’s will that I don’t have a garden.  I shall never grow another garden ever, ever again.” <head hanging low>

I kid you not.  I don’t think a flock of chickens could have kept up with that amount of grasshoppers! I have an image in my mind of gorged and fallen chicken casualties, too fat and too full of grasshoppers to move.  

I remember some getting in the house after landing in my grocery bags, and hoppers jumping around in the truck while going down the road (which freaked the kids out at first).  Tennis matches were rescheduled, because while these hoppers were brown and didn’t get confused with the green tennis ball, it was overwhelming for the kids trying to hit the ball and ending up with hoppers smashed in the racket.  Plus, as athletes know, when you are doing your sport, you tend to breathe with your mouth open, which results in- you guessed it- grasshoppers in the mouth.

Now, while in some parts of the world, these bugs are part of normal dietary fare, we here only venture into the chocolate covered territory if feeling particularly daring.  I’ve never done it, but have heard it’s true- along with chocolate covered scorpions. Indeed, it was prudent to drive down the road with your lights on to see better, and when going over 5 mph, you really did need to turn your wipers on to get them off the windshield.   

So it’s been awhile since I’ve had a garden.  I’m still recovering. While part of me is mortified at a recurrence, I am holding firm to the belief that surely God will only bless me with a swarm of locusts once in my lifetime, and that being the case, I should now be free and clear to plant until the end of my days.

The first phase of the garden is complete.  Soil has been tilled and manure/compst mix has been mixed in. Forms for raised beds are complete.  To get to this point, we added 55 bags (1 cubic foot = 2.37 yards) of soil and another 15 bags of compost mix (I don’t remember what amount was in those bags).  Seeds are planted; tomato plants are added.  Seeds are germinating, and will hopefully grow, since little dog has had a field day tromping in the beds.  While she looks really cute sitting next to the tomatos, I am not sure things will grow where planted, given the footprints and moved soil.

Such is life.  Moving on!  On deck for this weekend is the addition of some kind of ground covering for the walking paths.  We are not sure if this is going to be mulch, rock, or pavers, but I have to find landscape plastic first.  Then there is the fence to keep the dogs out- big dog is smart enough to go around, but little dog- not so much.  Once the fence is in place, hunny is going to put in the drip system. I expect once these things are complete, I’ll be able to take pictures and share. 

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t get hoppers or any other bugs that will ruin the garden.  It’s sickening seeing all your hard work disappear nearly overnight. But I have hope that this is the year of garden success!  Here’s to good garden growing- and may there not be a return of the year of the hoppers!

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Is the canning!  Oh canning, how I have missed you!

Seriously, during the school year, who has time (ok, I’ll admit to canning on the weekends, but during the week?!)?  I have come to the realization that I am entirely too busy most of the time. I love not having to worry about being on time for this or that, even though it doesn’t change what time I get up in the morning.  I am solidly looking forward to summer.

One difference this time around is my canning buddies.  There are three of us at this point; two are completely new to canning this week.  Now another friend of all of ours is interested as well, and that’s great!  All of our kids can hang out together (and with the fourth, that will be 9 kids) while we can.  Another perk is that they are inclined to books and yarn like I am, too.  The conversation is never-ending, and I’m not even the one doing all the talking!!  😆

Wednesday afternoon, we went over to K’s house.  S came to observe, and pitched right in.  The first 44 lbs of pears netted K 36 pints and 2 quarts less whatever was eaten before the picture. 

Thursday afternoon, everyone came here.  We got S’s carrots going first, since they needed to pressure cook.  S ended up with 18 pints of carrots, since that’s what I can fit in my canner/pressure cooker at one time.

K brought her canner, which is the same one I have, and we started in on my pears.  I confess, we took a yarn detour before the canning, so we started later than we probably intended to.  😀  I ended up with 15 quarts and 15 pints,  and about 4 pears left over.  Of course, the kids were in and out eating them as they had on Wednesday. 

What’s on deck next?  Chickens. 

Yep.  For real.  😆  We’re going to be planting the garden this weekend, but first, hunny and I are going to look at chickens, and perhaps give one a try.  We’re also going to firm our plans for building into the garage and greatly expanding the pantry.  Either way we decide to go, I will end up with a huge, honkin’ pantry, which will completely solve my “don’t have enough room for my jars” issue – at least until I fill it.  😉

Food-wise, I think the next items on my list to can are going to be beans of all varieties (pinto, navy, northern, etc) and then stock.  I’m completely out of all stock, but I have bones in the freezer, so once the other girls get their stashes up, we’ll have to make a day of it.  Or maybe they can bring their yarn and I’ll can.  Either way, it’s great fun and great company!

Canning.  Give it a try!  You may be surprised at how addictive it is!  There’s nothing better than seeing all your jars lined up with *your* food in them, knowing how the food was processed and what the ingredients are.  It’s right up there with books and yarn!  😆

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