What’s New in the Garden

This spring thus far has been full of energy…and pollen. Lots and lots and lots of pollen. As I write this, I’m scratching my nose and holding off a sneeze…but I digress…

The hubs and I have gotten back into the yard and are making some great strides. After being in an RV for 3  years, the one thing I really missed more than anything else was having a yard, or more specifically, a garden. Last year’s garden kind of did terrible, mostly because I just couldn’t keep up with it like I should’ve once my pregnancy reached a certain point. This year I have all new energy and I’m ready to give it another go!

I’m a huge fan of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden. His soil plan is basically 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost mixture, and 1/3 vermiculite. The upfront cost is kind of a lot (for dirt), but year after year all you need to do is add more compost to revitalize the soil. I love how this mixture drains so nicely during times of heavy rain.

My garden last year consisted of this mixture (kind of…my own version of it which doesn’t require measuring), but it didn’t have the boxed beds. Basically I piled up little beds that were 4×4 with the mixture. And as soon as it rained, my nice expensive soil went everywhere. So this year the hubs fixed that and I love it! It’s so much easier!

The garden is located in the foundation of what used to be a greenhouse. When we first moved in, the area was so overgrown we didn’t even know that the foundation was there! The good thing is that the soil was somewhat good…the bad thing is that it was a glass greenhouse and I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding shards of glass in the soil for the next 50 years or so.

It’s so much fun digging around in a 80 year old garden…you never know what you’re going to find! I’m still looking for a cannon ball from the civil war….who knows? Maybe I’ll find it!

Every year I look forward to the surprises my compost pile will bring. I have a pile for compost, and when I’m on top of my game, I’ll load up my compost tumbler, tumble it daily for a few weeks or a month and have fresh compost. Full disclosure…I’ve never been on top of my game. So thus, my pile for compost grows larger than my tumbler can keep up with, and I always end up with “surprises” at springtime. Last year it was pumpkins, this year it’s sweet potato and onion.

I think the thing I’m most excited about is my fig tree. I almost dug it up because I was so sure it was dead. But alas! It was just the very last thing to make a comeback! And I’m so glad! Of all the plants in the yard, this one is actually sentimental to me. It is a clipping from my grandparents’ fig tree, something I requested when my grandmother sold her house that I practically grew up in. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take before I actually get some figs from it, but I’m just glad it made it through it’s first winter in zone 7.

Thus far I’ve planted pumpkin, watermelon, corn (yes I’m way early on all of those, but with 3 small kids, if I don’t get it in the ground when I can I may not be able to ever get it in the ground, so I’ll risk it) beets, buttercrunch lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, peas, and companion flowers to attract pollinators. That’s just in 2 beds…I still have 64 square feet to plant!! Oh the veggies!

I found this wonderful (and FREE) gardening planner at Gardeners.com for those who do square foot gardening! It’s wonderful because it tells you just how many seeds/plants you should plant per square foot! Check it out!

Happy Earth Day!! #sharetheharvest

All Things New!

I’m so excited spring is here! I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce that we have added to our family!

IMG_2216 IMG_2218 IMG_2219These little cuties are called Red Sex Link Pullets. I got 12, anticipating that probably 1/2 of them wouldn’t make it to adulthood. But 1 week into chicken-owning and thus far all 12 are doing great! Not sure what we’ll do with them once they outgrow the bathtub, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there….very shortly.

It’s so crazy….I can actually see them grow more and more every single day.  The pictures above are from the first day we got them. 3 days later I took this picture (observe their wings):

IMG_2250Yes, I’ve named all 12. Rather, the preschooler named them, of course. There’s Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Tweety, Alice, and the rest are Aunt Sara. Not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult….but we love you Sara!

We’ve been quite busy with spring planting and cleanup around our home. Unfortunately the dead of winter revealed about 20+ years worth of trash that had been dumped onto our property that mother nature had tried to cover up. Rusted wires and tin cans, bags of trash, old tarps, concrete slabs, rusted piping, beer and soda cans and bottles, and old tires are just a few of the lovelies we’ve found. I’ve cleaned up probably as much as I’m going to cleanup for now. There’s something about cleaning up other people trash that just makes me furious. I don’t know how people can treat the environment like this, let alone their own property! It really boggles my brain.

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But after I got over being furious at some previous owner, I planted the first garden of the season! It’s off to a rather slow start, but I’ll keep you updated on if it does anything. I’m notorious for planting things and having them die off shortly before harvest time. Hopefully that will not be the case.

IMG_2186Oh! And speaking of all things new, we have some exciting news to share!

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That’s right! #3 is due in October! We are so excited about our growing family! You know…excited and petrified at the same time. Funny how often those two things go hand in hand. I’m rapping up the first trimester, which I’m trilled about! I really think that first trimester is a personality-changer. Not only does it bring the nauseousness and fatigue, but it takes me from a craft-loving, blog-loving, gardening-loving, spring-cleaning-loving person into a total couch potato who only wants to eat salted potatoes. (Thank you Lord for Netflix….and Pride and Prejudice!)

But that is just about behind me now, and now I’m transitioning into super-nesting mode! One of the biggest thrills of this pregnancy is that we’re not going to be moving in the midst of it! I’ve had to move with both previous pregnancies during my 3rd trimester….cross-country. But we’ll be here the whole time and I’m so excited for that fact!

More chickens, gardening, and children! 2016 is looking to be a very good year indeed!