Thursday, July 23, 2009

Need to Update!

I'm sorry I haven't been able to do any posts lately :( So busy with everything.

Things I need to post soon:

New compost tumbler purchase
Grasshoppers in my garden :*(
More garden expansions
Evil weevils on my blueberries/strawberries
New harvests

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seed Saving

So the last time I blogged I talked about wanting to save my seeds from my vegetable plants. Since then, I've been to 5 book stores and have not found a single book! So sad, since I used to always come across the seed saving book during my early spring trips to the book store but I was too cheap then. Booo.

But today I found this very useful site linked from Toni's blog page.

It lists most of the vegetables I planted this year and the instructions seem simple enough :) Can't wait to harvest my radish and spinach seeds! Yay for frugality!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First Big Harvest

This is possibly the most excited I've ever been since I started my garden!

It's not much compared to a lot other bloggers out there but this is my first time I got a significant harvest from my garden. :D Actual beans! Actual peas!! I can finally eat my lettuce!!! And I had a few more strawberries and rasberries but I kept eating them before I could bring them inside for a picture. Same goes for the peas lol. I never thought raw peas could taste so good!!! DELICIOUS :9

Tonight's dinner:

Scrambled eggs with side of garlic & butter sauteed beans and peas with a side of salad.

If only my chickens were laying eggs, I could make this meal with everything from the garden!! :D Minus the garlic and butter I guess. I need to grow garlic next year. And maybe get a cow haha.

From Seed to Seed

One of my goals when I started my vegetable garden this year was to try to get seeds from my plants to use for the next growing season. So despite the fact that they hog up my gardening space, I've been letting all my bolting plants stay put in hopes of a seed harvest :D

Problem is, I have no idea how to harvest these seeds. And they seem to be forming quick! I'll definitely swing by the book store after this post for some research material.

So far this is what's going on:

My radishes! I never got to eat a single radish from my first batch since they all bolted, but they made really pretty flowers and I'm thinking these pods are what the seeds will be in. Do I pick them then dry them? Or do I let it dry out on the plant?

My spinach. I see little clusters of tiny orbs on the base of the leaf stems so I'm guessing these are their seeds. Again, do I let them be? Or do I pick them off and dry them out?

My cilantro. I hear they self seed, but since I've got them in pots (shared with basil) I was hoping I could save the seeds and plant them in various parts of the garden next year. I see no seeds yet on these but the flowers sure do attract a lot of bees! A big plus for the overall garden.

The runners from my strawberries. This is a great big surprise for me. Well I knew that strawberries send out runners and multiply every year. What I DIDN'T know was that they send out multiple runners per plant!! Each one of my strawberry plants are sending out about 4-5 runners. Not only that, upon closer examination you can see that my runners are sending out runners! (pic on bottom right) I'm gonna have so many strawberry plants next year yay!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Deaths

This is my first time doing an entry for Garden Bloggers Death Day. Check out the blog Gardening Without Skills by Kate and Crew for the details of this monthly blog trend :)

Surprisingly with my super black thumbs I don't have too much in my garden actually dying. The problems I DO encounter tends to be more along the lines of not germinating, stunted growth, bolting too early, or the minor pest peckage.

I do, however still have a couple of "on their way" plants that I'm trying to recover that I'll definitely post:

My parsley that is scorching in the heat. I was gone for a day and didn't water my garden. While most everything was fine, my plants in planters didn't enjoy the neglect too much. For now it's only the bottom few leaves of each of my parsley plant that withered away so hopefully a good drink will set them back to normal :)

This is one of my Shiso herb leaves that my mom gave me. I haven't transplanted them and didn't really plan to, but along with the parsley these wilted as well. Most of them perked back up after a quick shower but this guy still looks a little down.

My broccoli are still tiny compared to everyone else's. I haven't had the need to further thin them out yet, but I already know which ones are the ones that are going to get picked out. These eaten and purple looking ones! I don't know if it's from the direct sunlight, but some of my smaller broccoli seedlings are turning purple. D:

My tomato plants I planted back in April. WTH. I'm kind of hoping death would just take it away already. I have 4 of these cherry tomato plants at the same stage. I can't get the nerve to pick them out since they still have a bit of green in them... Being the first time gardener, I don't really know if these are defective or I'm just impatient. Ah well, I'll let them stay for a tad bit longer...

That's pretty much it for the death toll in my garden. Not dead, but dying. Everything else is doing fairly well though. This gardening experience is giving me so much surprises this year. I think I see a tad bit of green in my black thumbs. I guess all I needed to do was bury them and dirt for a while :D

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Garden Moves in Slow Motion

Long overdue for an update!

But you didn't miss much lol. While everyone throughout the bloggosphere is harvesting their large vegetables, I'm still struggling to grow the simplest of crops...

Best example being my lettuce!

I sowed these lettuce seeds in mid March. 10 weeks later, it's finally looking like a lettuce but nowhere close to harvestable. and the slugs/snails got to the bottom leaf! Grrrrrrr.

And while everyone harvests their beautiful broccoli, mine looks so puny!

I guess the good thing is that it's still alive and no pests seem to bother it :) So maybe there is still hope! These were sown in mid-March as well. Maybe I need better nutrients in the soil?

Well all is not so pathetic in my garden though. Slow, sure, but there is definitely some progress in my garden that I can't help but be proud of :)

Top Left: Zucchini blossoms
Top Right: Close to harvest Peas
Bottom Left: Corn corner
Bottom Right: Tiny but very healthy Basil

Not only that, my spinach in pots have been working out great :D They're growing so much faster, and seems to enjoy the partial shade it gets from the herb pots on the shelf above them.

Oh and we finally got rain a week and a half ago. (28 consecutive days of no rain! VERY rare for Seattle) It's been consistently showering daily since then so my garden is just soaking it all in and lovin it! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chicken Updates

Since Toni from Toni's Weedless Square Foot Garden asked about my chickens, I thought I'd do an update about them :D

This photo was from about 2 weeks ago. Delta (the black australorp in the middle) is still tiny and Foxtrot (the buff orpington on the left) is a skinny young lady. Echo (the barred plymouth rock on the right) seems to be on the top of the pecking order. She always picks on poor little Delta. I can't figure out Foxtrot though. She's always picking a fight but she always gets pecked at too. I think she's just a wild child lol.

This is what they look like now! Look how fat foxtrot got! She's almost as big as Echo now. Delta still looks a bit skinny but they when you take into account the fact that Echo has grown since the last picture, you can kind of tell how much they've all grown in size :)

I've been going down to The Grange in Issaquah for chicken feed. I love that store! It's a co-op that sells lots of farm supplies, gardening supplies, and even chicks in the springtime. They even have a pet bunny there that you can pet and he is THE CUTEST THING EVER. I'll definitely take pictures next time.

Although I did find a closer feed store, the Keppler Feed and Recycling in Renton. The prices are about the same, if not cheaper, and I never realized how close it was. It takes me about 20 min to drive down to The Grange but only 5 to drive to Keppler's. And they sell chicks/pullets there too! I'll probably start buying all my chicken feed here, but I'll still go to The Grange from time to time for their gardening stuff. Oh and they're the only ones I've found close enough that sells food grade Diatomaceous Earth.

I'm surprised at just how much these chickens eat!! I get TONS of food scraps from my parents' restaurant so I dump them all in their pen. All veggie scraps though. Even though I know they can eat meat I feel weird feeding them meat... What if they get sick?

I still need to make them their coop. Right now they huddle in a corner at night to sleep. It's warm outside but it's only a matter of time til they start laying (2 months?) and I wouldn't want any raccoons harassing them at night either. So that is my next big project! :)

Overgrown Plants

A big part of my new vegetable gardening experience is to see how much seeds I can get out of my plants this year and be able to use them next year! So despite the fact that my radish grew flowers instead of radishes :( and my spinach bolted before I could get a single big cookable leaf, I'm letting them all overgrow in hopes to harvest their seeds for next year :)

Top Left: Flowering Radishes
Top Right: Tall Cilantro
Bottom Left: Wild Rosemary
Bottom Right: Bolting Spinach

I do need to do more research on how to do that though. Yay Internet! Oh and i know the rosemary will keep growing... I do need to trim it down though. It just looks so ridiculous! LoL

Monday, June 15, 2009

More Seed Plantings

Being a first time gardener, I made a stupid mistake early on in the season. Instead of thinly sowing fast growing crops and making a packet of seeds last the whole season, I dumped whole packets into single rows which led to pulling out most of the overcrowded sprouts and not having any to replant later on... FAIL.

So I went to Lowe's and bought some more seeds. I will plant them more carefully and smartly this time around ;D

I sowed the radish and carrot seeds right by the existing radishes and carrots. I'm hoping the current radishes will shade the new sprouts and keep them cool til they grow bigger.

I bought two different types of spinach. I'm hoping to use one for salads and the other for cooking. Since my first batch of spinach bolted really quickly AND had a bad case of the leaf miners, this time around I decided to grow them in containers.

I sowed about two dozen of my salad spinach in the left container since I plan to cut them as baby spinach fairly often.

The big cooking spinach is planted in the individual pots. One plant per pot is my plan. That way I hope I can space them apart farther when they get bigger :) Hope this works out good! I shaded them off by putting my herb pots on the top shelf, so I'm hoping this keeps them from bolting so quickly as well. The dirt I used was MiracleGro Potting Soil.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Strawberry Harvest

My first 2 strawberries ready to be eaten :) I gave the riper one to Matt. Mine was a bit sour haha. But I see so many more strawberries almost ready to pick!


A gnome must have ran away from Michelle's fairy path :D He took refuge in my strawberry patch with his froggy friend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Garden Space Project Part 2

I got a lot done these past few days :)

I am running into a few problems though...

First problem is, I'm realizing that I'm working with AWFUL dirt. It's so sandy and full of small rocks and even big chunky stoney rocks. I'm guessing I'm going to need to add a LOT of organic matter to this dirt before I can grow anything in it next year.

My second issue is that pompous grass. I LOVE that plant so much, I really don't want to get rid of it. But it's so in the way. I wonder how damaging it would be to dig it up and replant it? Should I wait till late fall to do it? Or do I need to just dig it up and toss it away and just be happy that I have more gardening space? Oh the choices!! :(

All throughout the process though, I'm brainstorming trellis designs for this bed :) I want plants to scramble up trellises along the metal fence which would hopefully reflect light and heat onto the plants. I think I will plant different herbs all along the bottom bed. Oh more choices! :D

While I'm taking pictures of the new bed, I'll post pictures of my currently planted beds. They look nothing like all the bloggers' gardens. It still looks so empty :( Maybe I should have started earlier?

bed#1: My lettuce, spinach and tomato bed. I planted them in 3 vertical rows. Lettuce, Spinach, Lettuce. I ended up getting random poppings of lettuce and a cluster of spinach only in the middle. LOL wth? I just added the cherry tomato plants in the top. I hope they grow okay, they're growing very slowly.

 bed#2: Cucumbers in the top row, turnips in the next 2 rows, and broccoli in the bottom row. Everything is so small!

bed#3: Squash and zucchini in the top row, okra in the next row, soybeans in the middle, then radish and carrots on the bottom. The radishes are still tiny too. 

bed#4: Peas on top, beans in the middle, basil under it and cilantro in the bottom 2 rows.

bed#5: The corn corner. they get lots of sun and are growing very quickly :) 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Garden Space Project Part 1

I've really been wanting to expand my garden lately. Currently I have three 3'x3' raised beds, one 2'x3' raised bed and a bit of space on the side of my house for my berry plants and all looks like this:

This is all at the side of my house. The farthest raised bed you see is my current spinach/lettuce bed. I used to keep my bunny Charlie in the space next to it and looks like this:

Ever since Charlie passed away over two months ago, this spot has been left untouched. I think I've finally finished grieving and ready to let go. So I've decided to take this all apart and use it as an extension of my vegetable garden. This spot actually gets much more sun than my raised beds since the house doesn't shade it during the morning and early afternoon. I think it'll be perfect for raspberries, tomatoes, and maybe even peppers next year. :) This is where my asparagus is popping up from, but I'll replant them elsewhere next year.... maybe.

I've been having difficulty reaching the far left corner of my spinach/lettuce bed so I decided I wanted a walkway between the wood bed and the stone bed. I also don't like to reach far at all, but still wanted lots of planting space so this was my solution:

Tadaa! I'll lay down rectangular stones to match the other walkways between my other beds.  I've always liked the look of two-leveled planting beds and this way i can just step over and stand on the top stones instead of reaching 3 feet toward the back end of the bed. I've only got the corner done, but I like how it's looking so far :) 

A Wonderful Surprise

Look at what was waiting for me in the garden this morning!

My first flower on my pea plants :D The plants are about a foot tall now. If they're flowering, does that mean they stop growing? I made such a tall teepee for them, it'll be a shame if they didn't reach the top.

In the neglected corner of my backyard...

My asparagus are growing like crazy! I discovered these in my backyard last year. I didn't pick one fast enough and it started turning into a tree.  I cut it down anyways though, I hope that was okay. I'm planning to dig it up during the winter and splitting them up for next year. Especially since they're growing from such a random spot, I want to actually have a "planned" spot for them in the garden :)


I planted my okras in front of my squash/zucchinis. The squash all have a trellis to climb for support but for my okras I'll probably put in stakes and tie them up. I've never actually even seen an okra plant in my life so I'm really excited to see how they grow. 

I'm cheating with the okra though. All the plants in my garden I grew from seed but my okra plants died when my boyfriend forgot to water them while I was gone :( So my mom graciously gave me some of her seedlings since I gave her the seeds to start with haha. One of my plants did survive though but it's teeny tiny. So a total of 6 plants. 5 hers, 1 mine. I hope mine does better ;P

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pests In My Garden

Find the difference between the two pictures!


Two days after transplanting my tomatoes into bigger pots, a robin came down and completely dug out two of them!

I don't know if she's trying to make a nest or feed her young, but she keeps coming back and attacking my garden. :( I've never had bird problems before but I'm wondering if I should put up netting, especially on my berry plants. There's a couple of robins that keeps coming into my garden as well as a bunch of chickadees. The chickadees don't seem like they do any harm to my garden at all but the robins are trampling and stealing my beautiful veggie plants!

I have PLENTY more pests in my garden :( My veggies are all gonna be eaten before I can get to them...

My raspberry bush. I'm guessing it's snails, but a couple of the leaves have big holes in them. Very minor damage.

My blueberry bush is getting COMPLETELY eaten up :( So many nibble bites on them! I caught two caterpillar looking things about a month ago when most of the damage happened, but something is recently eating it up again. I hope I find those munchers.

Leaf Miner eggs on my spinach. I hand pick the eggs every day which seems to help out a lot. I get 2 or 3 damaged leaves every day still though.

My lettuce that finally came up is getting attacked too. Maybe snails? Maybe the birds, since I saw a robin trampling over my spinach/lettuce bed earlier today. BOO.