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August Garden Update – Nasturtiums, Veggies, and More

Our attempt at a nasturtium flower study fell short again this year.

Don’t you love nasturtiums? They are such a happy flower and they remind me of my grandma. Her garden seemed to just sprout them in all the corners and I always have thought they were easy to grow and care for.

Nasturtium leaves

I have not had much success in growing my own nasturtiums. I have tried a few times and this year I received nasturtium seeds  (Little Firebirds) from Renee’s Garden. I read the back of the package and it said they would be great in a container so I planted them in a fairly large pot on my back deck.  My seeds quickly sprouted and the leaves that formed were so pretty and lily pad shaped just like the package said. But, over time, the leaves started to turn brown which I thought was from lack of water so I stepped up my watering.

Nasturtiums

Things grew worse instead of better and now all I have is a pot of crispy leaves, no flowers.

Not sure what happened there…over-watering?

Garden Veggie Collage @handbookofnaturestudy

The rest of the garden is going strong and I am reaping some rewards in the form of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and basil.

The zucchini is Astia from Renee’s Garden and the seed package says it will grow compact plants and yield an abundance of tender zucchini. I have picked about eight zucchinis so far and I think my dog or some other critter has eaten a few too. I am really liking this variety but I left too many plants in my pot…..next year one plant per pot.

The tomatoes are Litt’l bites Cherry from Renee’s Garden.  The package says that this plant is perfect from pots and baskets and I can tell you that I have had huge success with this veggie. The problem is that some critter comes at night and eats anything almost ripe. I have put up a cage and netting around it to protect the fruits for us to eat!

The basil is Italian Cameo from Renee’s Garden. I love, love, love this variety and it is easy to pick a bunch really fast. I harvest some every few days and it just fills right back in for the next time.

Baby Belle Peppers from Renees Garden

The peppers are growing every day in our hot summer afternoons.  These are Baby Belle Peppers from Renee’s Garden. They are a mini snack or salad pepper which they say I can pick either green or wait for them to get red before harvesting. I think I will try doing it both ways and see which I like better. I am having success with the plants in a pot on my back deck.

So there is a short update on the garden in pots! I so enjoy getting out there every morning to survey the progress and water, trim, pick, and taste something. I have decided I don’t need a big garden to get that “garden fix” that I need in the summer. Lesson learned!

geranium hummingbird feeder petunia

One last new thing on the deck…a second hummingbird feeder! I placed a new feeder along with some red plants to attract a few more hummers to my yard. They love both the red geranium and the red petunias….great tip for those of you trying to establish a new hummingbird feeder. Use the natural colors to get them interested in visiting your feeder and then they will become regulars.

Summer fills my days with gardening and bird watching….and cloud watching. We are still in our drought here in California and every time there are clouds we hope for rain but so far….nothing!

 

 

 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Nasturtiums

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge Nasturtiums @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Nasturtium Flower Study

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 566-568 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson #156).
  • You may also want to take a look at the Leaf Miners OHC just in case you see signs of them on your nasturtium leaves. Visit the garden nursery to look for nasturtium plants to purchase or as a long term project you can purchase nasturtium seeds and plant those in a pot to observe.
  • Watch this YouTube video:  How to Grow Nasturtiums and Bees in Nasturtiums.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • The lesson in the Handbook suggests that you observe the same flower on successive days so tie a small piece of yarn or string loosely on the flower stem to remind yourself which flower you are going to watch.
  • Spend some time looking at any garden flowers you have access to this week. Look for signs of insects too!

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Create a watercolor or colored pencil drawing of a nasturtium in your nature journal. Make sure to include both the flower and the leaf! The Handbook suggests explaining the way the nasturtium leaf is like a shield.
  • The Handbook also suggests observing and then explaining the way the nasturtium flower looks on successive days, noting the anthers’ position and pollen as time goes by. It also suggests keeping a list of insect visitors so plan on making several observations of your flower in the garden as part of this Outdoor Hour Challenge.
  • Advanced Study: History of Nasturtiums on YouTube. This video includes information about the medicinal uses of the nasturtium. PLEASE NOTE: I do not recommend eating any part of the nasturtium plant and this video is for information only. Complete the advanced study notebook page included in the ebook.

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