Category Archives: Dirt, Digging, and Dreams…

Hurray for Tomatoes!

We finally got a few red tomatoes out of our garden!  Hurray!

The plants have been sitting with some beautiful green tomatoes on them for what seems like foreeeeever…  We also got some lovely peppers.  I smell a bowl of fresh salsa coming on!

Gma stopped by a few days ago for a short visit and was kind enough to bring us some produce from her AMAZING garden.  My mom is a dedicated gardener, always growing a huge variety of veggies and fruits, as well as prize winning irises.  She brought us some tomatoes and peppers, a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes that Mic and the kids devoured, cucumbers, and some plums.  Yum!  Lala found the bag of plums and started chomping them down.  She missed the cherry tomatoes though. Hehe

All this wonderful produce has me fired up to have an even better garden next year.  I know it’s a ways off, but I have discovered that things sneak up on me and I need to make my plans well in advance. We totally have to plant strawberries, cucumbers, and corn next year. Hmmm…  What other yummy things will we have?  Where is that seed catalog?  🙂 Here’s to fresh tomatoes and gardening dreams!

A Month of Heat and Thundershowers In the Garden

The last few weeks have been fairly hot, with lots of thundershowers. The garden has been growing like crazy!  Frankly, the weeds have gotten away from me…  😉  We finally did get to harvest some yummy veggies!  Peas, beans, and carrots!

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We’ve picked quite a few more carrots!

Bean plants…

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Tomatoes!  (And weeds…)

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Peas and carrots…

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It’s certainly not the most amazing garden ever and needs some serious weeding, but it’s the best I’ve done in years…  so, I am pretty happy.  And we have plenty of room for improvement next year!  Now…  bring on those tomatoes!!!  Yum!!!!!!

Planting the Seedlings…

We had a good day in the garden yesterday.  Planted the tomatoes and peppers we had started in the house.  I am definitely never using peat pots again.  We have used them to start seeds for the last few years and have struggled to keep the starts alive.  This year I tried an experiment… I planted fresh tomato seeds in 4″ pots and in peat starters, using the same soil for both.  The tomatoes in the pots are at least 3 times the size of those in the peat pots!

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We planted some of the tomatoes and peppers directly in the ground and some in large planters we have been using for years.  As we put the tiny plants in the soil, we slowly created a mass of protective wire around them…

It starts with 6′ kennel panels…  to keep the chickens (and sometimes the kids!  😉 ) out…  The bits of green are incredibly alluring to them…  When we planted the beans, one reached through the fence and plucked off half a leaf within moments of my putting it in the ground!  Mic ended up adding ½” wire around the bottom couple of feet of the panels where we planted the peas and beans….

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Then we have to provide the tomatoes with ‘baskets’ to support the vines…

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And then we have to protect the plants from the humans…  The kids are terribly destructive (Tbear turned and went straight over to pull carrot tops when I was showing him how to pull weeds on the other side of the garden area…), but Mic and I are almost as bad…  We only stepped on one of the plants while we were working… We used some old decorative fencing for this extra protection…

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The beans that we started in the cup with the paper towels are doing well.  Some of the leaves looked a little yellow, so we gave them some fertilizer along with the rest of the plants…

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The peas and carrots are going to town…

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We also planted cucumber, watermelon, and pumpkin seeds.  First, I should say we planted only one cucumber seed…  haha!  We have a box of seeds that has been part of our life for years…

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and some of the seeds inside it have been hanging around for years as well…

I thought there were a couple of packets of cucumber seeds, but…  One packet (that was open, but folded over – implying there were a few seeds left) was empty…  And as I tried to open the top of the other, I realized the bottom was sliced open and one lone cucumber seed fell out…  so I planted it!

Lala decided we had to plant watermelon seeds.  She was really insistent about it.  I found a packet with four ancient seeds in it…  We planted then in two hills…  Here’s hoping they come up!

I also planted two small hills of pumpkins.  I think those seeds may have been fresher than the watermelon seeds…  so we will see…

It was a great day in the garden!  There is always more work to be done, but I am happy with our progress.  The next important task will be hooking up drip line for the watering system to water the new veggies.  Now we will dream of the yummy veggies that will hopefully be our reward!

Look At Those Tiny Plants!

The peppers are finally up!  Though planted at the same time as the tomatoes, they came up about two weeks later!

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I have decided that I am not going to use peat pots anymore…  I planted tomato seeds in regular pots and peat pots at the same time…  Look at the difference!

Tomatoes in regular pots...
Tomatoes in regular pots…
Tomatoes in peat pots...
Tomatoes in peat pots…

It is possible that the tomatoes in the regular pots are doing better because the pots are bigger, but I am not convinced of that…

Two of the three radishes survived the transplant…

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The herb gardens are doing well…  though I think they need a little more sun.

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The peas and carrots are going to town…

And we planted our tall bean plants outside!  I left them in the paper towel and planted the whole ‘ball.’

We did a fun “Mother’s Day” project in the homeschool co-op gardening class…  though it tried to snow on us while we were doing the project…  on the last day of the spring session…  😉

From Walmart, I got some bright blue pots and several six-packs of annuals.  The kids decorated their pots with stickers and picked out 3 plants for each one.  I sent them home with instructions to water them carefully and give them to their moms.  I totally spaced taking any pictures of them…  They turned out really cute though!

We planted the other six-packs we bought out front to add some color…

Our next project is to make some labels for the seeds that are popping up, both in our garden and the co-op’s!  Stay tuned!

Seeing Sprouts… And Radishes…

Our peas are up!  Yay!  Peas are hands down my favorite vegetable, especially fresh from the garden.  I have been meaning to plant some every year for more years than I want to count, but work and kids have interfered with my plans…  We finally got it done this year and about a dozen tiny plants sprouted yesterday.  Yes, during the day yesterday…  I watered the place where we had planted the seeds in the morning and Lala came running in yelling that the peas were up while I was making dinner.  I’m so excited!

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Tomatoes and Peppers
We have tomato plants!  4 Early Girl and 2 Better Boy…  The Anaheim Peppers aren’t up yet, though they were planted at the same time.  As my mom says, “peppers are sloooowwwww…”  I am looking forward to salsa season!

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5 Sweet 100s are up too…  Mic and the kids are crazy for cherry tomatoes!  I don’t know about peat pots though…  I seem to always have issues when I start seeds in any sort of peat starter…  This year I put some of the tomatoes in regular pots and some in peat…  The ones in pots are doing better…  Hmmm…

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Bean Seeds
The bean seeds are sprouting too!  Two of them are showing cute green growth…

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Look at the roots on that thing!

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Herb Gardens
The little herb gardens are sprouting like crazy!

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I can’t wait to pick their fragrant leaves and use them for cooking!

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Egg Heads
The chives we planted in the plastic egg “egg heads” aren’t showing any signs of life…  I’m concerned this project might not work out well…

Radishes In a Bag
Another ‘experiment’ we started several weeks ago is growing radish seeds in a bag…  I got the idea from an exhibit at the homeschool conference we attended last summer…  It’s pretty simple, requiring a resealable bag, wet paper towel, and seeds.  I did this project with the co-op gardening class.  We started our seeds at home on March 9th.  We have had them taped to the top of our sliding glass door (to keep them out of little grabby hands…).  We haven’t added any water or done anything with them…  They haven’t grown much in a couple of weeks and were starting to look slightly yellow, so we decided to get them planted in some dirt.  Here is what they looked like before we planted them yesterday…

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It was a little tricky to get them out of the bag….

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We planted all three plants together in one pot…

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We ended up cutting the paper towel and planting each plant with the piece of towel it had sprouted into…

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We had to make the planting holes as deep as we could because the plants had fairly long tap roots…

Planting the largest radish…

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Second largest…

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The third one was fairly small…

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Hopefully they will take the transplant to the soil well and we will have a few radishes to eat!

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We are really enjoying our gardening adventures!  I think this week we will try to get some more seeds planted, weed at least part of the flower beds, and see if we can get some flowers to plant.  I see a trip to Home Depot in my future…  Likely associated with the free Kids Workshop they have the first Saturday of every month.  This month’s project is: Learn How to Build a Picket Fence Photo Frame.  Want more info?  Check out their website: Home Depot Kids Workshops.  (Link will open in a new tab.)

Digging in the dirt is bringing our dreams to life!

 

Sprouting Seeds and Wiggly Worms – Gardening Update

We are excited to report our first sprouts of the season are up!  We have teeny, tiny tomato plants!  Hooray!

The peas and carrots we planted outside haven’t shown any signs of growth yet…  Gardening takes time…  We’ve been watering them every day and looking for sprouts…

We did have fun with some worms…

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We found these cool Bug Kits at Dollar Tree for…  you guessed it… a dollar.  🙂

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Add a little dirt from the garden…

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And some strawberry stems…

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And voila!  You have a worm habitat…

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We enjoyed observing the worms for a couple of days and then put them in the garden.

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I’ve done several projects with the gardening class I am teaching at our co-op, but hadn’t made the time to do them with my kids…  so we rectified that situation.  🙂

Beans

My idea was to plant bean seeds in a clear plastic cup in a paper towel, so the kids could watch how the seeds sprout and grow…

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I got the paper towel wet and had Lala stuff it loosely in the cup…

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Bean seeds!

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Seeds tucked in paper towel folds…

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Now we just have to remember to keep the towel wet…

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We read the book One Bean by Anne Rockwell.  You can get a copy from Amazon using the link below.  (If you use this link to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.  Link will open in a new tab):

Herb Garden

I picked up these little herb gardens…  at Dollar Tree…

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Opening the seed packet released the fragrant smell of dill…

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Planted and watered…

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Add on the handy dandy ‘greenhouse’ covers and…  Now to wait for fragrant herbs to grow…

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Egg Heads

Another use for plastic eggs…  Decorate with a face on the lower portion of the egg.  (The one in the upper left hand corner below was the first one I did…  the eyes and nose should be on the lower piece…)  I used a fine point permanent marker.

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Add soil and seeds… to make hair… We used chives.  Grass seed would work well, but is more expensive…

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Doing these projects with the kids is so much fun!  Next week we will talk about radishes in a bag and…  Stay tuned!

Dirt, Digging, and Dreams…

Though I have been teaching a gardening class for our homeschool co-op for the last several weeks, I hadn’t gotten around to getting started on our garden at home!  We rectified that situation a little bit this weekend and are looking forward to more gardening fun over the next days, weeks, and months…  🙂

Mic kindly turned the new area we had set aside for our garden this year.  Lala and I planted peas and carrots.  IMG_1165 Can you see the neat row of pea seeds?  Our garden is protected by ‘dog kennel’ panels to keep all our critters out.  One of the chickens snuck in while we were working and made a beeline for the pea seeds!  I learned something new while we were planting the seeds… My 4 year old taught me that you can use a paint brush to cover seeds with dirt.  I never would have thought to use it for that purpose!  (Somehow one of our paint brushes ended up in the yard and the kids have been using it for all sorts of fun activities…)IMG_1167  She also told me how fun it was to plant seeds.  🙂  Lala and Tbear both enjoyed watering the seeds in with the mister.

IMG_1171We also got a few tomato and pepper seeds started in the kitchen.  Tomatoes (for salsa) are a main priority in our home!  The store-bought ones will do in a pinch, but just aren’t the same as the ones you can get… vine-ripened… warm from the sun… straight from the garden…

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We will get more seeds started over the next few days.  I have tried to have a garden off and on for years, so I have a whole collection of ancient seed packets…  It will be interesting to see what germinates…  I think we will try for corn and pumpkins…  maybe cucumbers…  Hmmm…  need to go check the seed box…  🙂