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Garden aerial and plans

My garden, like yours, is ever changing.  Here is a screenshot of Google Maps for my house.  This was taken sometime last fall.

 

When I moved into the house in 2008, there was minimal landscaping around the edge of the house and deck.  The shed was there, as well as the rocked in corner behind the shed.  That was it.  It was pretty plain.

What the Google maps picture doesn’t show you is how the yard slopes downhill to the northeast.  It’s a pain to mow.  I wanted to make that slope go away so I have slowly been adding gardens along the fence.  The plan is to have them creep up and in towards the middle of the yard.

I planted lilacs in the northeast corner in 2009.  In the picture above they are surrounded by framed out chicken wire to protect them from the bunnies.  Die bunnies DIE!  er excuse me… In 2010 I added half of the back fence bed.  I only had enough grass and leaves to do that much.  I hadn’t yet graduated to sneaking the neighbors yard waste bags into the trunk of my car in the dead of night.  I finished the other half of the back fence bed in 2011 and that brings us to the picture above.

This year we are adding a new bed along the north fence.  Want to see?

I was leaning out the bedroom window with my arms stretched up above my head so I could clear the pergola. Forgive the blurriness.

There is the brand new bed!  Well, the beginning of it anyway.  I have been layering grass clippings and compost.  The junk boards are just an outline, when it gets a little cooler we will outline the bed with brick.  Then it will match the rest of the yard.  This is a fairly slim bed compared the the back fence, but I will expand it over the years.  Right now I am thinking this will be a “tomato alley” of sorts for next summer.
Here is what I want the yard to look like.  Eventually.  Some day.  It’s a slow process, I’ll give you that.

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In the August Garden

August, you are a welcome relief after the hottest and driest July on record.  The weather has been absolutely lovely.  I have had the windows open every night this week, the dog has been able to be out all day without fear of heatstroke, and I can walk barefoot to the mail box without causing intense pain because I’m too lazy to slip my sandals on.  I digress.  Back to the garden…
I ripped out the cucumbers early in the month.  Quite frankly I was sick of them.  I keep getting 2 or 3 in the CSA bag each week and I am the only one who eats them.  I think I am just not going to plant them anymore.  No cucumbers is sacrilege right?

The Tomatoes are still bonkers.  The three that I have carefully staked, pruned, watered regularly are pretty pathetic.  I know the heat, drought, etc. are most likely to blame.

I have to wonder how much they are affected by these things when I look at the Roughwood Golden Plum which I have totally neglected since day one.  It’s awesome.  I pull 6-8 tomatoes every day off of it.

The peppers are loving this weather of course.  I have made two batches of jalapeno jelly so far.  I have also roasted and frozen a handful of bell peppers and cubanelles.  Check out this red bell, it can’t decide if it’s half green or half red!

As much as I cuss the pumpkins, they sure are pretty!  Both plants have cross-pollinated with each other AND the butternut squash.  I’ve never planted all three at once before.  This was quite the experience.  I didn’t know cross-pollination was an issue.  Good thing I just don’t care if my pumpkins look odd.  They were mostly for the kids anyways.

I will leave you with my harvest from Sunday.  This is my first link up with Daphnes Dandelions and her Harvest Monday!

I’m a locavore!

I have been gardening for about 10 years and I love eating what I produce.  I have also been buying local produce for quite a while.  It’s really easy to do here when there is a corn stand on every corner all summer long.  What I didn’t realize is that I now fit into a rather trendy category, I’m a locavore.  Nothing has really changed for me, it just took me this long to realize it.  Derrr!
So, in celebration of adding another label to my title, I whipped up this dish.

The recipe is as follows:

Bacon fat saved from the local grass fed bacon from the farmer’s market-I can’t remember the farm.

1 bell pepper*

2 cubanelles*

1 onion*

1 clove garlic-farmers market find

handful of cherry tomatoes*

1 yellow roma tomato*

feta cheese from Flatwater Creamery

* I grew it

I melted the bacon fat in a cast iron skillet.  Then I sauteed the onion and garlic.  I diced up all of the peppers and threw those in.  I sauteed until everything was soft and starting to brown.  Then I chopped up the yellow tomato and threw that in.  I put the cherry tomatoes in last and let those get soft and squishy.  I had some leftover quinoa, so I put that in a bowl and spooned the veggies on top.  I topped it off with feta cheese.  It was delish!

Butternut Squash Harvest

I picked/harvested butternuts the last two Saturdays.  This is what I got.  There are about a million more out in the garden.  We are going to turn orange people.  ORANGE!

My bologna has a first name…

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Aren’t you jealous?

July garden update

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July has been brutal and we are only nine days in.  The record heat was nasty to say the least.  It hasn’t rained since I don’t remember when.  I have had to bust out the sprinklers and water the lawn for the first time this year.  It pained me to do it too.  In spite of the heat and lack of rain the garden is doing really well.

The pumpkins along the back fence are going bonkers.  I cut back the vines every other day or so.  The Baby Boos that volunteered crossed with the mystery Trader Joe’s.  We have some bigger softballish sized striped pumpkins.  I have just given up on them.  If they live-great.  If they die-even better.  I am sick of them.

The raised beds are doing awesome.  Everything has taken off and is going crazy.  I did have to rip out the zucchini.  They had succumbed to squash vine borers.  I think.  That’s what Google tells me anyway.  It happens to me every year.  They were in the first square bed where that big empty spot is.  I’ll think I’ll put beets and peas in there for a fall planting.

I had to add bamboo stakes inside the tomato cages.  I usually just use the cheapy wire cages and never have an issue with height.  They always fall over because the plants are so prolific, but they never get high.  This is my year for amazonian tomatoes.  They are 6 feet high now.  I also had blight or septoria on my Silvery Fir tomato.  I trimmed the affected leaves and branches.  It’s mostly gone, but it caused this epic tomato fail.  Behold.  I’m sure they taste like ambrosia.  Snort.

The peppers have been loving the heat as well.  I have over 30 jalapenos on the plants.  I am just itching for them to be ripe so I can make jelly.  I know my family and friends can’t wait for that jelly either!  There are a lot of bell peppers in there too.  Most have blossoms and some have baby peppers.  the problem is, I can’t remember if they are green or yellow.  Typical me.

The cucumbers love their trellis.  The Hubs still grumbles when he looks at it, but I don’t care.  I had enough cucumbers to make something.  I didn’t know what to make though.  So I made sweet/hot pickle relish this weekend.  After tasting it, I think I like sweet dill relish more and I’ll make that next.  I went out the garden tonight and took pics.  Can you believe I didn’t have a single cucumber to show you?

Basil.  Ugh.  Why did I plant so much?  My mom made me.  No really.  I only wanted two, but she added the kind she liked.  So we have two Genovese, a Lemon basil, and a Thai basil.  We are going to be eating pesto all winter long!  WOOT!  Now if only my family was excited about this as me.

I have Brussels sprouts growing on the back side of the herbs.  They are doing well in spite of my total lack of attention.  I planted them in May.   The most I’ve given them since then is a cursory glance.  We’ll see how they taste this fall/winter.

That’s all for now in the garden.  I will do my best to be diligent to go out there every day and pay attention to the garden.  It’s so hot though!  I don’t wanna!  You can’t make me!

Hurry up and hold your horses

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My father in law is a racehorse trainer.  It rocks my world that I get to have my horse fix through him.  I miss that life.  Le Sigh.  Anyways, we spent the weekend at the track.  He had one horse entered on Friday night and one on Sunday.  I got super car sick on Friday, so I spent the night in the camper with the Meister watching cartoons.  The car sickness turned into a migraine.  It. was. lovely. But Sunday was great, I wasn’t sick or anything.  After a quick lunch at the casino buffet, hellloooo crepes, it was off to the barn.

The thing about horses, that you may or may not know, is that there is a lot of hurry up and wait.  I don’t know why it is this way, it just is.  It’s right up there with don’t walk behind them, and watch your toes.  So we got to the barn and proceeded to sit around.  We sat in front of the giant fan and swatted at flies.  I was too hot to even want to pet the ponies.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved being there.  The smell of hay and horse goes straight to my heart.  It makes me so friggin’ happy.

So what does one do while they are hurrying up to wait?  I took pictures.

Kisses for Itsahourseofcourse.
It’s 90 bagillion degrees out, he’s in jeans,and he chooses to lay on straw and sleep.  I don’t claim to understand him, just love him.

 

Me, trying to be all artsy with my Snapseed app.  I need more practice.

Then The Meister took pictures.

Gramma caught on to the picture taking.  Grampa not so much.
Can you feel what I’m feeling in this picture?

Eventually, it was time to get Turning Silver ready to go to the races.  She was brushed and hosed off, covered in a fly sheet and walked up to the paddock.  I drove in the air conditioned car.  She broke well, and she ran well, and SHE WON!  woo hoo!  She broke her maiden, no it’s not dirty, it just means she won her first race.  No pics, they are still on order.

What did you do this weekend?  Did you hurry up and wait?