Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From Garden to Plate

That's right, our first taste of the fruits of our labor.

We brought our lettuce, cucumber, kale and beet home and made a delicious salad:

Pup wanted a couple of cucumber snacks:
When we tasted the cucumbers, they were so fresh and still warm from growing outdoors. The beets were sweet like carrots, not as earthy as store-bought ones. I thought they looked like they were tie dyed. The lettuce was crisp and tender. I can't wait until the tomatoes come in.

The final product:
So tasty.

I'm lucky to be able to tend this beautiful land...

...with this awesome guy.

Plus, I'm gettin' jacked! All that little-house-on-the-prairie water-pumping and carrying water buckets are putting some meat on my pipe cleaners! Check me out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garden Visitors!

Our garden has seen four visitors recently! We were very excited to have my sister, Sixty Four Love Notes, come by with her hubby, Mr. W, and  have a look (don't you just love the photography and artwork on her site?!):
And then tonight, Kurt's parents came by to drop off a couch that we were fortunate to inherit from Kurt's sister and brother in law (thanks Jenny and Vince, it's so cozy!), so they came by:
Here's me and Kurt posing with Ulfgar - who happens to be very photogenic:
Look how happy we look! We love our garden! And we love our garden visitors! And we'd love for YOU to come by too!

So we've been seeing a lot of progress in growth lately. I swear you could watch the plants grow, it's that fast.

Look at these cukie cuties:

And the zucchinis are getting huge:

And watch out! The tomatoes are taking over!

The kale is nearly harvest size:

Oh here's a sleeping pup!

The beet tops are looking lovely:

And the lettuce is gorgeous:

We're actually starting to see some fruit - check it out and see if you can spot them. Sorry if some pictures are a bit blurry - I should bring my tripod.

We went on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina last week and had a great time. We toured the mountains and the city and ate lots of good food. Early Girl Eatery was my favorite. We stayed here, which was the perfect location - in the exact center of the city.

Here's Kurt communing with the mountains:

And here I am at a lookout on the way to Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi
We took the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I would highly recommend for great views. The mountains are amazing.
My photos don't do the mountains justice. It was gorgeous.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garden Update!

It's like when we first got Saba and she was so tiny, and little by little she grew - and now I can't really remember what she looked like when she was a baby unless I look at pictures. Well, I feel like the same goes for gardening. Especially for the tomato plants. When they arrived in the mail, they were small - 6 tomato plants and 6 pepper plants fit into a small box.

Now check them out:

I think we need to stake them up soon. 

Our beans have sprouted!

I was surprised to see them popping up out of the ground so soon, but here they are! This picture shows them 2 days later. They grow very quickly!

The lettuce is currently hiding among a thick crop of weeds. Kurt and I are scared to pull any weeds out for fear that we're plucking out lettuce.

We aren't experienced enough to really know the sprouts that we planted from the natural field growth. I've pointed out two spots where I think lettuce is growing. It doesn't help matters that the lettuce we planted is a mixture of several types - some varieties I think will look very much like weeds even when they are one day on our plates!

First, if you can see it, I'm pointing to a green leaf with reddish speckles.

Here I'm pointing to the bright green little guy in front, and directly behind him is a darker spiney looking sprout.

For now, they'll have to compete with the weeds.

The zucchini has also begun to grow well. It's crazy, though - the instructions on the seed bag said to plant 6-8 seeds in one hole, which I did, but only one plant has emerged from each mound! Each one looks great, though, so I'm happy with it. Here's the best looking one.

The cucumbers are doing well, except for one casualty - one of the 4 seedlings died - and the fact that the seeds I sowed directly into the land haven't sprouted yet, which seems strange.

He's still smallish, but so much greener than before.

Kurt and I like going to the garden because it really is peaceful. Check out the field behind Kurt. If we don't weed, that's what our plot would look like!

Yikes! You can check out some of our other neighbors' plots too.

I almost forgot to mention that we have a new addition to the garden. A protector of sorts...

Meet Ulfgar the Garden Gnome. We feel safer with him watching over our plant babies.

Sunday we hung out at Kurt's parent's house and had a cookout with Jenny and Vince, which was a lot of fun. We decided that Saba's not too keen on swimming, but she does like to walk around freely on the deck. Here she is swimming towards me.

A mommy knows the look of desperation on a pup's face. And here it is:

Maybe no more swimming for awhile.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Narrated Visual Journey of this Weekend in the Garden

We started Saturday morning, Pup wanted to help. We packed up all of the plants and drove down to the garden.

We arrived after breakfast, and were shocked at how quickly weeds grow if you let them.

So we hoed and raked and hoed and hoed... And finally we were able to set out the plants and get started.

I planted while Kurt weeded, watered and carried buckets of mulch. Back to the left of Kurt next to that wooden thing is a "Little House on the Prairie" type water pump. It seriously gets your muscles working. I give Laura Ingalls credit.

Once the plants got in the ground and were mulched, it started to look like a real garden.

Here's Kurt carrying more mulch!

Notice the neighbors' plastic-covered gardens? Yesterday, several of them shared with us the "best" way to plant/mulch/take care of weeds/etc, which we found pretty annoying (since it's pretty much the opposite of how we want to do things), and a couple of them were making fun of one of our other neighbors who wasn't there because apparently he's a lazy gardener. I think I thought that the gardens would be a kind of peaceful, communal, accepting place where everyone was friendly, but I guess it's just a bunch of regular people - of all types. We decided that we shouldn't let it get on our nerves, for our own benefit, otherwise we'll just end up angry and upset. Our garden will be a peaceful and friendly place. See how happy I am? This is after 4 hours of work!

Sunday, today, was great. All of the plants, which were a bit droopy yesterday had perked up, and our neighbors, Ron and Janice, who remind me of my childhood neighbors Mae and Paul, were very chatty and funny, and laughed a lot.

We laid out newspapers along the pathways, watered them, then sprinkled straw down and mulched around the garden beds to keep weeds at bay.

Things we learned today:
  1. When choosing between hay and straw, note that hay has seeds and straw does not.
  2. Mice can get pressed into straw bales.
  3. The farmer down the road sells a giant bale of straw for $5.00, instead of 3 mini-bales that we got for $12.50
  4. Wet mulch is way heavier than dry mulch.
  5. (still not sure about this one) Priming the pump means pouring water into the top of the pump when it seems to go dry. I guess this creates more suction or something.
  6. Jeans can get really dirty

Check out the before and after:

Before (Saturday AM):

After (Sunday afternoon, about 8 hours of work later):