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Archive for June, 2013

Weekly Garden Post

Lots of rain this week has led to some beautiful growth in the garden.  It has also led to some happy weeds and we have been trying to stay on top of them.  I didn’t do any mulching this year and I don’t know if I will get around to it.   So far we have been able to get the weeds quickly given that Josette loves to pull them up and Finn likes to try to feed them to the chickens.

Speaking of chickens, you can see Sunshine, the chicken enjoying some garden time this week.  And, you can read our interview at NHPR. I know some folks who actually heard the radio broadcast, but I didn’t get to hear it.  The interviewer had said he would let me know when it was supposed to air, but he didn’t get the heads up.  It may air again on Saturday, but I have no idea what time.  It is funny to see the points that he picked out of the interview given how much we actually talked about.

Well, back to the garden.  This week has been all about structure.  The tomatoes all got stakes and I have been tying them up.  I know a of people use tomato ties or nylon hose to secure them, but my wonderful neighbor (who has been gardening for many decades) always uses cable ties and I have found they work just fine and are quick and easy for a variety of gardening uses.

We also had to do something about our peas.  On the seed packets, both types of peas were described as bush type and not needing support.  Well, we ended up with a mass of pea plants trying to climb everything.  So, the kids and I got in there and separated everything and got some fencing up for them.  It is so much neater and the plants seem happier.  Last week I was feeling so happy to finally have pea blossoms when my aforementioned neighbor ambled up to see my gardening progress and casually asked, “How big are your peas?”  Well, given the mass of plants prior to our fence project, I hadn’t seen any peas and I was just darn excited about all the blossoms.  Turns our his peas were about an inch in length.  Well, fancy that.  And, he went on to say that his wife always said if you don’t have peas by the fourth of July, you weren’t doing it right.  Gah!  Luckily, after our fencing project, many a pea was revealed and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I am still in the running in this neighborhood garden competition 🙂  There was more drama in the pea department, however, as I planted shelling peas in one plot and sugar snap peas in another plot, but forgot to write down which is which.  After much taste testing, I finally settled on which was sweeter and we harvested our first sugar snap peas this week – getting about a cup and a half and weighing in at 3.5 oz.  These were quickly eaten fresh in the yard.

The beans are looking good.  The ones that we planted near the trellis are sending up spiraling runners.  The ones we recently planted next to the corn have all germinated.

Our squash are growing well.  We had some initial loss from insects, but the summer squash seem to be pulling through.  We lost many of our first cucumbers, but I planted a bunch a few weeks ago and we finally added them to the main garden.  Hopefully they survive and have enough time left in the season to grow well.

I haven’t bothered yet to harvest any spinach.  It just doesn’t look that great and it is already starting to bolt.  I need to figure out greens.  I can’t seem to grow them well.  I am starting to plan a fall garden now and hopefully I can get some  fall greens.

How is your garden growing?

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Mani-Pedi

We have all seen how much Josette enjoys painting herself, and this has translated to a fascination with nail polish.  Whenever she has seen friends (or strangers for that matter) with nail polish on, she has become intensely focused on it and questioned the wearer all about the colors they chose.  And, I have found her using markers to try to color her fingers and toe nails.  So, I decided to take the plunge and introduce her to the wonderful world of nail polish.  Luckily, we found “Perfect Piggies,” a brand that is non-toxic with the slogan, “natural as mud.”  We have had some rainy days lately, so we enjoyed an afternoon of manicures and pedicures.  Josette was thrilled as I painted her nails, but then she had to try the painting as well.  She then gave my fingers and toes a painting.  Finn was adamant that he didn’t want his done until she asked him repeatedly to let her.  What a great big brother, he let her do it, but they asked that we take it off right away.

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Strawberry Season

Finally, the first fresh fruit is here for some pick-your-own fun.  We enjoyed a sunny and hot morning on Tuesday picking (and munching) strawberries.  And now at home, it is a common sight to see a kiddo opening the fridge and grabbing a handful of berries to munch on.  We have also made our first pie picked by Finn – a frozen strawberry yogurt pie that is very refreshing.  On the menu is also strawberry, rhubarb, ginger hand pies, and Elegant Oven Strawberry Jam.  That is, if we have any left from all our eating.  There is nothing better than fresh picked fruit.

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Weekly Garden Post

Our garden this week is just growing right along.  Everything is doing pretty well and the plants are getting bigger.  I am happy to report our peas have bloomed (take that sweet, old neighbor of mine!)  and our tomatoes are flowering too.  The potatoes are getting quite tall.  I think by next week, we will finally have a spinach harvest.  I really need to get better at growing greens as, I think we should have already had plenty by now.

Today, Finn and Josette and I planted pole beans along side our corn stalks.  We have been learning about the “three sisters” method where corn, beans, and squash are planted together.  We gave our corn a few weeks to grow and now we are starting our beans.  The beans will climb up the corn stalks and the beans add nitrogen to the soil that the corn uses.  We are not going to add squash in the mix this year, but I would like to try it in the future it this works out well.

Josette and Finn also helped me a ton this week with weeding.  Finn is particularly good at recognizing weeds and he has been so helpful in pointing out to Josette which is which.  And, she is apt to follow anything her big brother says (oh, dear) so I have had quite the gardening team.  We also went through all of our tomato plants and pulled the suckers between the main branches.

You can see in the pictures that the chickens also get plenty of love as we tend our garden.  We were actually interviewed by New Hampshire Public Radio this week as new backyard chicken owners.  More to come when the article and segment are aired.

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Artists

Our neighbor had an extra easel that she gave to us and we have been doing a lot of artwork on it lately.  It has a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other.  And, I have been putting paper up on it too so we can draw and paint.  It has been a wonderful addition to our art station.  You can also see that we enjoy window crayons a lot.  Although, Josette still thinks she is the best canvas.

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Tower Hill Ride

It seems that so many of my ideas these days don’t quite turn out as I envision.  Yesterday, we went on an adventure to Tower Hill.  Finn hasn’t gotten to ride his bike lately and he was wanting to.  So, my idea was to get Josette in the jogging stroller and I could run the path while Finn biked.  I had forgotten just how rocky the trail was, so poor Josette got quite the jostling.  Finn took a pretty good spill going down a large hill too.  He popped up and kept riding despite some good scrapes.  And, by the time I had gotten us all loaded up and in the car and to the trail, it was already approaching lunch time and while I remembered water for the hot day, I forgot a snack and the kids began to complain of hunger.  Thus, we didn’t make it all the way around the lake and we turned around and headed back after about 45 minutes.  Still, it was a lovely day.

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This Week’s Garden

Our garden is growing, albeit slowly.  I look at other gardens around my neighborhood and in the blogosphere, and I feel ours is not growing very quickly.  My dear neighbor has also been trash talking that his peas have blossoms and mine don’t even though ours are larger – so you can see there is some competition in this gardening venture.  Still, the rain is continuing to fall with sunshine predicted on the weekend and I think that will give our plants a good boost.  Our potatoes have shown a big increase in growth since last week, as has our corn.  Our strawberries (Sean and Finn’s project) look great and have been cordoned off from the chipmunks.  I really need to get a better understanding about pest identification and control.  Something has been whacking our beans and cucumbers, and nibbling at our greens.  I did plant companion plants like nasturitiums that are looking good, but I also planted marigolds that are also supposed to help with pests, and something ate most of those!  Gah!

All of our tomatoes are looking good and I was excited to add two new tomato plants gifted from a neighbor to the garden.  They are heirloom varieties cultivated here in NH from Rusty’s Heirloom Tomatoes and I got a Berkley Tie Dye Pink variety and a Rosella Purple Dwarf tomato and this one is already showing some buds.  We are done with cutting asparagus and it has grown to 5 feet tall and ferned out and is starting to blossom.

The only thing we have picked is Rhubarb, adding another 2 lbs and 9 oz to our tally for a total of 10lbs 3.7 oz this year.  We have been canning and we made a gorgeous pie this week.

We have been trying to keep our chickens to their run while all the plants are small because the chickens will dig them up in their search for bugs.  Yet, on occasion Finn will aid in their escape and much fun and chicken chasing ensues (Finn’s goal, I believe).

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