In My Garden

This intriguing fellow is only one of the fun finds galore on gardening days at our place! He was so not happy, that “grin” is really a snarl, if  you can’t tell! Yikes!

This picture, gingerly taken by soil-dirty fingers belonging to yours truly, shows you the view from my garden facing North, toward our house.  Behind the red tiller is our puppy run, current home to three adorable Australian Shepherd puppies.  See our Suburban behind my potato patch? The potato patch I’m forever scaring our chickens out of. My hubby swears he is going to catch me on film and turn it into millions on “Funniest Home Videos”–I guess I’m rather a hilarious sight to behold, giving those hens a piece of my mind for enjoying the loose soft dirt around my taters. Poor taters–er, chickens.

Tonight, at 10 p.m., on my way back to the house after shutting our chickens up for the night…I just couldn’t resist a visit to my garden.

It’s one of those cool, rustly summer nights. If the wind in our state could ever be termed “peaceful”, it is tonight. Loving the sound of it in the treetops, I panned my flashlight through the garden fence, tiptoeing to the old wooden gate as if my light hadn’t already scared away those pesky rabbits who made away with my cauliflower and lettuce transplants a few weeks ago. But even the rabbit raids make for great memories, as my eldest and her daddy have taken to “rabbit hunting” with their rifles at dusk. They’ve eliminated a few rabbit pests from the property in past weeks. I’ve eliminated rabbits from my garden with good old cayenne pepper on the plants. *Smile* (Thanks for the tip, hubby’s mom!)

The garden is dry, in spite of the wonderful rain we received on Tuesday. I bend to pull some weeds in my lettuce bed and realize I’m unearthing radishes–oops. Best save weeding for daylight. Weeding wasn’t meant to be done by the glow of the moon anyway. About as unromantic as a gardener that mistakes radish tops for weeds. Ah-hem.

I’ve meant all spring to write a post about the fun we had making soil blocks at Farmer John’s, which we planted and stowed beneath grow lights in the basement. Perhaps I still will post about it, I’ve got some great pics to share, and soil blocking is a super fun and economical way to start seeds. The second picture on this page showcases my Romaine and Salad Bowl lettuce still in flats on planting day several weeks ago!

Here’s a picture of my wide row of yellow onions, the first thing in the garden–pic taken back in April. I’d love to keep a garden journal, from year to year, not only for the memories, but for the practicality of having a record. My memory is mush when it comes to details. Too many in my life already!

And last but not least, my garden is full of these homemade stone markers. Since we grew most of our plants with the help of grow lights, we needed garden stakes or markers to know what was growing where. Rather than buy blank stakes and keep track that way, my girls and I decided to paint stones. Here’s the one we did for “cherry tomatoes”.  For watermelon, we painted a triangle shaped rock pink with a green “rind” and dotted it with dark brown seeds…

This will be our first year gardening “organically”. I do hope the cutworms and squash bugs don’t dampen my resolve at first sighting! I keep asking Farmer John about organic pest control, and he keeps saying…vigilant patroling of plants and a lot of bug picking.

Joy.

Speaking of Joy. My mom would agree that our favorite gardening book of all time is The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. Farmer John thinks it’s a must have as well. If you even think you might want to learn about gardening, this is a book  you won’t be able to put down. It’s full of great pictures, how-to’s and tips from a pro on everything from starting seedlings, to tilling, creating raised soil beds, wide row techniques, composting and root cellar storage. I even take my copy to the garden with me, and have dirt smudges on the pages to prove it.

Who all is growing veggies this summer? Do you have a favorite book on the subject? Organic pest control tips? I’d love to hear them in comments!

22 thoughts on “In My Garden”

  1. What IS that slimy guy?
    LOVE the rocks idea, definitely going to copy it.
    Your garden is turning out wonderfully. Mine is certainly questionable at this point. We are learning more about the parable of the sower this year! :) We planted on soil that had been tilled but then dried into hard clumps and our sweet little seeds are not able to get through. I tried starting stuff indoors this year for the first time and learning that they will STREEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTCH toward the light and then their stems will not be stable enough to hold them up in the garden. (Don’t you think there’s a homeschooling/sheltering parable there??)

    Book: Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte is EXCELLENT…tells you which plants do well next to each other.

  2. I’m in total agreement with “Joy of Gardening”…a picture is worth a thousand words and that book sure proves it. However, for me a close second (for good reading at least) is Ruth Stout’s “How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back”. I only tried her method once but it worked that one time. I have a wierd quirk…I’d as soon read about how to do things as to actually DO them. Not sure what that indicates about me…

    And, Mary Lynne,the book Jana recommends on plant partners would be one very good way to deal with a lot of the garden pests. Also strong smelling plants like marigolds repel some bugs. Worth checking into. Where did you get your Louise Riotte book, Jana?

  3. What a bounty Mary Lynne! I love the pictures both by camera and by word. The house under the trees behind your vehicle, your home? Can’t really see it well enough to tell.

    The rock markers are so great and to me the best part is that they’re reusable (in this day of ‘greenies’ should that be recyclable?

    I love your new heading bannder with the pictures I immediately recognize. Such charming youngsters. Of course I’m not prejudiced.

    Curious, sister dear, if you ever located Ruth Stout book? I’ve been having a yen for “Freckles”. Maybe it’s the fourth graders I’m with so much.

    Whenever summer comes to the Rocky Mountains I will then share what garden products that may have survived.

    Oh and yes, your friendly critter looks like a gila monster or some such. What is it?

  4. How big was that lizard, because it sure looks big and mean, yuck!

    I love the idea of the marking the rocks for your garden very creative. And I truly admire all of your hard work in the up-keep of the wonderful assortments of veggies.

  5. Hey Mary. I wanted to give you an update :) We just got home from the hospital today. Our baby boy, Noah, was born on Thursday afternoon (6/4/09). He weighed 8.2 lbs, and was 19.5 in long. Labor was induced but was quick and good…delivery was smooth! He’s a perfect little guy and we are so thankful and blessed! Thank you for your prayers and concern.

  6. I am really digging seeing what’s going on at your place Mary, so glad vegetable gardening is on your agenda, it’s so much more satisfying knowing where something edible has come from and what’s gone into it. In my vege garden at the moment is some broccoli, silverbeet and cauli, can’t wait until spring.

  7. What a neat life you live! We just planted our little garden in our back yard. Take care. Juli

  8. Isn’t that lizard something? When we found him, hubby thought maybe it was a type of chameleon, b/c it changed according to its background. Pretty cool! Not a skink, we have a ton of them, and they are much smaller and smoother. And Leticia, it was probably five inches w/o counting the tail!

    Jana, what a super parallel on the growing seedlings stretching toward the light! I’m seeing that with my potato plants. I anticipated running out of room in the garden, so I planted the potatoes outside the fence w/o thinking about how much sunlight they’d need. They only get sun 5 hours a day and as a result they are growing tall and skinny and LEAN strongly to the sunny side. Not sure if they’ll even produce potatoes. One of my homeschooling friends tried growing tomatoes w/o grow lights, and they were too skinny/tall to survive in the garden. Thanks for the recommend on that book! I’d just seen that title recommended on another forum, and it totally intrigued me! Good luck on your garden, we’ve been there with the dirt clods too. :O(

    Aunt Ruth, my house isn’t actually in the picture, it’s to the right of the Suburban. The little place you are seeing behind the tiller under the trees is a chain linked kennel run for our puppies. It’s too hard to see, huh. And Mom did find that Ruth Stout book! It’s here at my place waiting to be read and looks really good! Do Gila Monsters change skin appearances, Aunt Ruth? And thanks for your comment about my blog header pictures. :O) Some of my favorite pics up there!

    Amy M–Congrats on your lil guy’s safe arrival! I am SO happy for you and Frank. What a blessing you hold in your arms and I pray that Noah’s presence is a precious balm of joy to your heart, even as you remember Sarah. Can’t wait to see pics! THANK you for updating me! (((Hugs)))

    Amy…I’ve never had silverbeet! Are you able to garden year round? Just fascinated by your seasons in NZ. I have been enjoying Farmer John’s broccoli and cauliflower!

    Thanks, Juli. I hope you and yours enjoy that garden. Watch out for lizards! ;O) The latest interesting find was a garter snake wrestling a toad down his throat. Oh my. I refused to let my oldest take a picture of it.

  9. This a picture of a Gila Monster:

    Did you know? Gila Monsters spend more than 95% of their lives underground and are usually active above ground in the spring and during summer monsoons.

    I haven’t been able to copy a picture of one over onto this but they’re ugly,huge circular reptile skin in stripped rings around body. They are from the Gila Valley in he Southwest so probably this one is not. These are 6 or wo inches long.

  10. Pardon my fingers. I’ve made spelling mistakes on several of these and have wished for an edit to correct them. Sorry I really can spell and used to type for my salary.

  11. Thats not a skink or chameleon. They aren’t agressive like that. I would say that it is a relative of iguana. But not iguana either because its not big enough. Never heard of gila monster, I’ll have to look that one up. I love reptiles.
    My hubby is growing tomatoes and cantalope.

  12. Loved the mountain boomer site, Bethanie. Thanks for doing the research. He looks dreadful but I expect his mother loved him! Ha.

  13. Well, technically, Leticia, my daughter was the one wanting to deal with Mr. Lizard! Not me! Lol!

    Wow, Bethanie, thanks for all the research on reptiles and the pics! I’m opening that link in a new window as I type this…and here I am back! That is EXACTLY what it looked like! Cool!!! It’s so neat to know what its proper name is…Crotaphytus collaris! Thank you!

    P.S. I don’t know why my site isn’t letting people post more than once a visit. That’s maddening. I know it does that to me too when I try to reply directly to the comments. Thankfully I can go behind scenes and reply to all I want to at once. I’ll see if I can get that fixed!

  14. Wow! Crotaphytus collaris! Neat name! Makes me think of my favorite volcano…Popopatacatapetl in Mexico. My grandpa loved long words so he named one of his dogs after the volcano…the whole word…and called the dog Popo. The other one he named Lupus erithematosis and called it Lupe. Isn’t that fun. I’m not sure my 74 year old memory can remember crotaphytus collaris! Mary, do teach the girls those wonderful words.

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