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Late Summer Garden Harvest – 1000th Post!

Fruit 9 7 11 Grapes, Figs, and Pears
Garden Sampler – September 7, 2011

This is it….the 1000th post on this blog! Can you believe it???

I know that this blog has brought some great things into my life…people, experiences, and inspiration. I will just say thank you to all of my readers for all you have done to encourage our family since I started this blog in May 2009. I am so glad that I decided to start this blog and share our nature study adventures. The far-reaching affects of this decision are immeasurable.

Now for a garden update!

I was thinking that I have not done any garden updates for a very long time. My vegetable garden this year has been a huge disappointment and I know from talking to other gardeners in my local area that they have experienced the same thing in their home gardens. The daytime weather, the nighttime lower than average temperatures, and the long spring and extra rains made our gardens very confused. The tomatoes are all green still and the rest just never produced. The one thing we have had in abundance is green beans…those are plentiful.

Indian Corn and Colored Beans
Our Three Sisters Garden started off great but the pumpkins never really did anything but grow vines, the beans have been scrawny, and the corn has been okay. The colors are pretty anyway. I have pulled up the pumpkins and left the rest for a bit.

We have had some success in other areas. The grapes this year are abundant even if the grapes are sort of on the small side. Tasty and sweet….yummy and enough to share with family and friends.

Bowl of Figs
The figs are on a second crop! Too bad I am not a big fan of figs but I pick and share with those in my life that adore them. They say they are delicious.

Our pear tree has done well this year and I went ahead and harvested our crop today. I usually wait until it is too late and they get ripe on the tree and fall on the ground before I get one of the boys to climb the ladder to pick them. This year we have enough to share. We also have our own pears for the pear challenge in the new More Nature Study ebook series. 🙂

We had ONE plum on our tree…usually we are up to our ears in plums but we had snow on the blossoms and I guess that ruined the crop. There is always next year.

The walnuts are being eaten by the squirrels….what a mess under the tree! I may be able to harvest a few pounds of nuts for our pantry.

So there you have it…my 1000th post and a tour of my garden. See you in my 1001st post soon.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Growing An Artist Garden Takes Patience – Weekly Update

7 4 and 5 11 First Sunflower

It looks like it is almost time! As I tour my garden this week I notice that all the blooming plants have buds just waiting to burst out in color. This is the first of our sunflowers….sprouted up under the birdfeeder all on its own. What joy to find this waiting for me this morning! Promises of more are all over the garden and I will soon be using THIS tutorial to make some oil pastel artwork. I am thinking of inviting some friends over to join me and to spend an afternoon creating sunflower art.

7 4 and 5 11 Bee Balm

The Bee Balm has filled an area in the butterfly garden and can see this going on a canvas as well. Wait until you see it in full bloom! The reds and the fluffiness remind me of butterfly’s wings.

7 4 and 5 11 Sunflower Garden
Here is my sunflower box….it is bursting with tall healthy plants and since I mixed the seed varieties it will be interesting to see the color palette once it starts to show its blooms.

7 4 and 5 11 Zinnias in the Bud
The zinnias are going to be amazing soon! I love zinnias and we will fill up vase after vase of them to put on the kitchen table. This year we will capture them with paints too!

7 6 11 Daisies
Daisies are a new addition to our flower garden. I have visions of a whole box filled with them as the years go by….just like in Pride and Prejudice where Jane and Elizabeth are out in the garden cutting baskets of flowers. I can dream can’t I?

7 6 11 Coneflowers
Coneflowers at last! This the first real flower blooming but there are about a hundred ready to bloom. I will cut some for vases and use some in a still life just as soon as I get my self motivated.

7 6 11 Trumpet Vine
Our trumpet vines are blooming around the edges and the hummingbirds have moved from the feeders to the flowers….they must taste good because there are a number of birds that stop by each day to buzz in and out of the blossoms. It is so fascinating to watch as they hover over the vines and sip the nectar.

7 6 11 Three Sisters Garden in the Early Morning

Couldn’t resist including an image of the Three Sisters Garden in the early morning light…delightful. Pretty soon I will not be able to walk between the rows because the plants are growing so much. I will keep you posted on the progress of the section of the garden….right now the most striking part of the garden is the HUGE leaves on the pumpkins.

There you have our garden update for the week….mostly about the Artist Garden and my plans for using the plants and flowers as subjects for my artwork. Soon…..stay tuned.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Making a Garden a Place of Joy – Give Yourself Permission

Garden 6 20 11 Cantebury Bells

Sunny hot weather this week in Northern California has given our garden just the breath of life that it needed after our cool rainy weather in May and the beginning of June.

Garden 6 20 11 Sunflowers

The sunflowers actually look like sunflowers all neatly growing in rows, just waiting for each day’s sunshine. If you remember I planted three varieties in this section of the garden…my artist garden. I am envisioning a lawn chair in the shade of the maple tree, paints and colored pencils sitting at my side and a sketch book in my hand just across the yard from these beauties.

Garden 6 20 11Corn and Beans
My three sisters garden is all planted and growing! We added the beans and pumpkins and most of the seeds have spouted and are growing right as they should. This has been a fun project….one that has captured my interest, renewing my gardening zeal.

Garden 6 20 11 Strawberries
We have had several quarts of strawberries already…big and juicy red ones!

Garden 6 20 11 Pink Cantebury Bells
Now this is another of my “mystery” plants. I was waiting to see what was going to bloom and this week it has come alive with color! Here they are…Cantebury Bells. I vaguely remember planting them last year and since they are a biennial, they are blooming this year. Amazing color….which you know will make its way into my nature journal.

Garden 6 20 11 Rose garden spot
We had two birdbaths in the backyard so I decided to move one to the front yard…perfect fit. The empty spot in the garden is really needing some attention and I don’t know what to put here. In the spring there are tulips and allium that bloom but in the summer there isn’t much to fill in the spot. I think those are old gladiola bulbs that didn’t bloom last year coming up. I am not a big fan of gladiolas. This spot gets sun most of the day so the roses love it and I let the allysum grow where it wants. Any suggestions for plants for this middle spot would be appreciated…I’m thinking something taller than the roses.

Garden 6 20 11 Tickseed
The tickseed is in full bloom and it makes such a great little bouquet for the table….nothing makes you smile more than having breakfast with a vase of sunshiney tickseed in front of you.

The chore list for the garden this week includes quite a bit of weeding, including the hedge bindweed that I wrote about recently. I try to spend 15-20 minutes in the morning each day just pulling weeds. The whole garden never is weeded at one time but it doesn’t get too crazy with daily attention. I have one tomato that doesn’t look so great so I will try to figure out how to perk it up. I also have one garden box that looks like it has some insect eating the leaves on the plants…..time for some private eye time to see if I can figure out who is the culprit.

In the past, I worried about having the garden “just right”. I spent way too much time worrying about the weeds and the organization and the practicality of it all. I realized this week that I have come to a new understanding about my garden. The garden is what I make of it and if I want to grow pumpkins in the middle of my grass…I can give myself permission to do so. If I want to try something new, I can because it is MY garden.

This year I am just going to enjoy the gardening experience…take the ups and downs as they come. I will put in the effort that I can and see what happens.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Our Crop Plant Study: Corn!

Our crop plant study as part of the June Newsletter suggestions focused on corn. Yes, corn. We haven’t had much luck in the past growing corn but we wanted to try again this year as part of our Three Sisters Garden where we plant corn, beans, and squash as companions. (There is an official Corn Crop Plants Challenge on my sidebar. You can just observe an ear of corn and make an entry if you wish.)

6 12 11 Garden - Three Sisters
We did some reading beforehand and realized that we needed to plant more corn than we usually do so it will have a better chance of pollinating. We planted the corn in mounds and have let it grow to around six inches high before planting the beans around the corn and then pumpkins in alternating mounds between the corn. You can find complete directions HERE on Renee’s Garden website (love this website).

6 12 11 Garden Corn in cages
Here are our young corn plants. We have been using homemade compost to enrich our soil and every time I dig around to weed the mounds I find oodles of earthworms. I am hoping that is a good sign for our corn and its health.

We had to put tomato cages around each mound for now to keep the critters out…..human kind and canine kind as well.

6 12 11 Garden Potato
I noticed that there is a potato growing in the row so we decided to leave it and see what happens with it. We have never grown potatoes but there must have been one left in the compost when it was dumped in this section of the garden.

We read in the Handbook of Nature Study that corn study can take place in the spring as soon as the leaves appear and that because the corn plant grows so fast that it is a great season long study. We will be watching anxiously as our corn grows and in Lesson 168 in the Handbook of Nature Study there are many interesting observations to make as the plant grows.

6 12 11 Garden Corn

You can purchase a set of notebook pages to go along with all the Crop Plants studies in the Handbook of Nature Study HERE. There are also challenges listed on the right sidebar of my blog to go along with them.

6 12 11 Garden Beans

We are also anxious for our green beans to start their vines…our poles are ready!

Don’t forget to post and then share your crop plant study with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Here is the link to ENTER.
Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button

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Still Planting Seeds and Making Discoveries: Sunflowers, Foxglove, and Three Sisters

5 10 11 Sunflower Seeds
Three kinds of sunflowers – mixed the seeds and planted in our garden.

Seed planting continues in our garden as the weather has allowed us to be outdoors. We have had rain, wind, and one morning we had about half inch of snow! It has been the craziest weather year ever. The snow managed to come *after* I planted my tomato seedlings. They look like they are going to be just fine but I hope the weather warms up again soon.

I decided to plant a patch of sunflowers, mixing three different kinds of seed in a pile and then randomly putting them into the garden (see the photo above for the varieties we picked). We shall see how it turns out. The Lemon Queen sunflowers that I planted a few weeks ago are now sprouted and about 2 inches high. I ended up planting some Four O’Clocks in the same bed which will be interesting to see how they grow in the same space.

5 12 11 Sunflower Sprouts

Our volunteer sunflowers sprouting up under the birdfeeder are really getting tall already. I love having sunflowers plant themselves and the birds enjoy the seeds in the autumn.

5 11 11 Three Sisters Garden
The Three Sisters garden did not get planted again this week. We have composted the row again and added a little mulch as well. It is really looking great after Mr. B dug out all the turf and roots left over from the last composting. The corn will be planted first in mounds and then when the corn is 6 inches tall we will plant the beans and pumpkins.

I did get one more tomato seedling in the ground and some lemon thyme to replace the one that disappeared from last year’s garden.

In other areas, amazing discoveries were made over in the butterfly garden. I noticed a rather large plant growing over the last few weeks. I couldn’t remember what I had planted in that particular spot….I’ve tried a few things there and nothing seems to like it very well. I left the plant alone when I was weeding, figuring I could wait a bit to see just what it was when it grew larger.

Sure enough, it is a foxglove!

Foxglove 2

This was quite a surprise since I don’t even remember EVER planting a foxglove in this spot. I will enjoy it no matter how it ended up in my garden. It looks pretty happy growing up among the daylilies and the lavender.

Foxglove 1

I can hardly wait for it to bloom!

This week we are hoping to get out and plant the remaining seeds – more basil, more zinnias, a few more rows of Kentucky Wonders, and a new dahlia that says it grows in containers (I put a link at the bottom of this post for the seeds we are planting). We are really keeping our garden a manageable size this year and I am anticipating a lot of time just sitting and enjoying the garden rather than working in it all the time.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!