Gardening, seedlings, composting and a new raised bed!

I have been so incredibly busy this month! I’m polishing my teacher of the year documents and getting everything for my portfolio in order. And on top of that, getting seeds planted and prepping for our 2019 garden!

Don’t mind the weeds, but I have 2 long rows of potatoes that are already starting to break their way through the soil!

I planted 6 asparagus crowns too!

Our seedlings under the grow lights are shooting up and I’m hoping to get our tiny greenhouse cleaned out and ready for more seedlings!

Cucamelons seedlings

Tomatoes

Jalapeño peppers

Ground cherries

We have also started taking in compostables and I’m hoping to get as much this summer as we did last summer!

Yesterday I was set up at a local craft show. It was a beautiful day outside, so not many people showed up. But, I did teach a couple people about the importance of milkweed for monarchs. And, I talked growing food and gardening with many others!

Last night we finally took the raised bed down to the school. I’m hoping to get the soil in it and planted by the end of the month!

This month is flying by and I’m looking forward to getting the garden planted!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸💚

Spring is kinda here!

The temperature has finally been staying above freezing! I’m thinking that Spring really is arriving!

The bulb flowers are popping up!

Crocuses!

Daffodils!

And the honeybees are starting to bring in pollen! Check out all of that pollen on her legs!

Rhubarb from my Granny’s garden is popping up! I love how much this plant reminds me of her! I miss that spunk and all her of gardening wisdom!

The indoor plants are really starting to take off! The hundreds of tomatoes are growing fast and I’ll be putting more dirt in the cups to get even better roots growing!

Last night was so nice outside, so I was able to use my new broadfork to prep the area where the potatoes are going to be grown! We are growing purple and Yukon gold potatoes this year.

I still have so much work to do around here, but I’m enjoying being able to be outside without freezing!

What all are you planting? Have you already been able to put things in he ground? Whatever you do, keep blooming!

Best week ever!!!

Remember how I said that I was hoping to be teacher of the year for the whole county? Well, I won!!!

I was so surprised!

It was the best feeling in the world! And I can’t wait to spread my love for teaching little humans how to take care of our Earth! (Maybe I can get more adults on board with changing their wasteful ways!)

And back to the prepping of the garden: lots of plants are growing under the grow lights!

Little lupine

Milkweed!

Oxheart tomatoes

Purple tomatillos

Today was a big recycling day at school! We collected around another 20 pounds of plastic film. And, I dropped off the plastic bottles, magazines and newspaper to the proper bins after school.

Plastic bottles and apples for the chickens

Magazines and newspapers

Chickens enjoying the leftover apples!

We completed a lab that involved taste testing apples after we learned about the process of selection! My students are never surprised with me saying “put the leftovers in the bag because the chickens will love them! And they did!

The new board that I chalked, since spring is supposed to be here! After a week like this one, I definitely feel like I am blooming where I am planted!

Have a great weekend, and you guessed it, keep blooming friends!

Canning and back to work

Last week was a long one! Going back to work means prepping for a new school year and SO many meetings. (And sitting in seats made for 8 year olds during those meetings!) I am absolutely exhausted by the end of the day! But, everything will be ready by the first day for my students!

I have been able to get in the garden several nights this week and had a few nice harvests! I need to make so much more out of tomatoes!

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Nice harvest right out of the yard! 

We also had our stand set up this weekend! We had lots of customers!

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Our tiny produce stand 

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All of the tomatoes still left after the sale! 

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Some salsa ready canned and delicious! 

We finally had to take out the trash. Our goal for the year is to only make 6 bags, so I am thinking that we should be ok!

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Bag 3 and both dogs made it in the picture! 

We also did the compost pickup today. It takes a lot of scrubbing and cleaning, but we only upcycle unwanted containers for the compost. The regular buckets are from a company’s laundry detergent and the left are kitty litter containers.

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Upcycled and ready to be used! 

And check out how much we have composted so far:

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717.24 pounds!!!!

And last, but no least, we found 13 more monarch caterpillars that we will be raising and releasing!

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So many babies! 

And our last 2 were ready to be released on Thursday! 1 girl and 1 boy! (The girl flew away immediately!)

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This handsome fellow even posed for me! 

I’m looking forward to getting myself back in the work routine and hopefully having a great school year! Keep blooming! 🌱❤️

Weekend walk through the garden! 7/21

Hello all!! Gardening has been on the back burner because I have spent 30 hours at the fairgrounds volunteering towards my Master Gardener hours! I’m pretty much finished with my hours for this year!

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I’ve talked so much about plants, bees and composting this week! 

Lucky for me, the plants have been enjoying the hot weather and rain today! Here are a few of the great things growing in the big garden:

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One of the cantaloupe 

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There are so many dancing gourds

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A pie pumpkin!

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The tomato jungle, corn and luffa on the fence 

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A scarlet runner bean 

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My first ground cherry! And it was delicious! 

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Pole beans poling! 

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Spaghetti squash 

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Volunteer pumpkin plant 

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Apple melon! 

And the haul from the garden today! I even found a few blackberries growing by the sheds!

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Nice haul today! 

What is growing well in your garden? My zucchini plants are starting to fizzle out a bit and I’m going to start my seeds for the fall garden this week! Keep blooming! 🌱❤️

 

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/11/18

I know, I know, it’s Thursday! But, all of the pictures were taken yesterday as I walked through the big garden searching for the fruits of my labor! Things are slowly growing, and I’m hopeful that I’m going to have some pretty great harvests in the future!

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Homestead tomatoes

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Tiny Tennessee dancing gourd

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Purple pole beans

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Glass gem corn

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Pie pumpkin

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Tiny cantaloupe 

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Purple bell peppers

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Oxheart tomatoes ❤️

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Roma tomatoes

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My first cucumber! 

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Genovese tomatoes

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Scarlet runner beans

And then there is my nice little harvest from earlier in the week:

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Zucchini for every meal!😆

Everything is still pretty healthy in the garden! I’ve been fighting off Japanese beetles, a few squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles. That’s the tough part with organic gardening… finding ways to get rid of the pests that are going after your crops. At least the chickens are enjoying all of the beetles that I’m pulling off of the plants!

So, anyone harvesting yummy things this week?! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

June Goals Update 2018

Happy July all!! June was a fun month of finishing up school and traveling! Plus, the garden is taking off!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I get a great harvest!

2. Fix the camper– We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! We are going to update it some more, now that we lived out of it for 2 weeks!

3.Travel out west- We did it and enjoyed every single stop! (And the last blog posted was all about our adventure!)

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. We are finally starting to see what we envisioned! The pollinator hotel is being used, and flowers are blooming!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Bag number 2 was just taken out!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I didn’t do a big do-good gesture, but the boy’s composting service has kept around 220 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- this month we were able to pick up some pallets and the Mr. turned them into compost bins that the chickens gladly turn for us! Post will come later on how to make them!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! The little sprouts are starting to look like trees!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! I also was able to pick up some ground cherries at a local nursery!

Genovese tomatoes

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.47 MWh and just the connection rate for an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this weekend! We will have garlic, eggs and some birdhouse gourds! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month things grew so well while we were out of town! I hope that your gardens start to produce some fruit and veggies for you! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Wednesday walk through the garden! 6/13/18

It has been raining here almost every single day! The garden could really use some sunlight and warmer weather! But, the plants are still growing!

The green bean teepee was weeded well and I even put down a nice layer of newspaper on the inside, under the mulch. The scarlet runner beans are looking great!

On the other side of the garden, I have the regular poling green beans growing! They seem to be taking off as well!

The glass gem corn is about ankle high and I’m really excited to see what the corn will look like! I’m hoping to be able to use it for decor in the fall and then grind it up for extra chicken feed this winter!

I love the beautiful yellow blooms coming on to the tomatoes. At least they seem to be enjoying this weather!

This year I’m trying the Florida weave on my Roma tomatoes. So far it seems to be working out!

In the pollinator garden, it’s still mostly mulch! Something has decided to eat a majority of the milkweed, but at least this black eyed Susan seems happy!

The last exciting news is that my paw paw tree is growing some leaves! I have 2 that are doing well in the house and I’ll wait to see how the ones I started outdoors are doing! (They are growing in a wooded area!)

It’s slow growing around here, but tomorrow is my last day of school! I’m looking forward to playing in the garden, swimming with my boy, trying out new adventures and going on our trip this summer! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Wednesday walk through the garden 6/6/18

If I had one word to describe what has been going on in the garden, it would be weeding! I have been mulching to help suppress the weeds and pulling as many as I can.

Yesterday I was even able to start putting supports for the tomatoes in the garden. I hope that I don’t have to use any tomato cages. Those things are just the worst!

The zucchini are slow growing, but they don’t look terrible. I am hoping to get some of the 3 varieties that I planted this year!

The dragon tongue beans are doing great! I got them in a seed exchange on instagram, and I’m loving that they can be used as a regular green bean or as a dried bean. And, they are supposed to taste great!

A nice follower of my Facebook page gave me 7 bales of very weathered straw that she used as wind breaks in her yard. They definitely will help out with the weeds. And, they will turn into more soil food.

I planted the rest of the onion sets that I had leftover from the raised bed. Surprisingly, even though I though they weren’t good anymore, they all came up!

Strawberries, that planted themselves, gave us a handful of strawberries!

The green bean teepee is finally growing!

One of the raised beds has lots of onions and garlic happily growing!

The cucumelons are starting to trellis nicely up the cattle Panel trellis!

Everything is slowly growing, except for the apple melons in the big garden. I believe that there are flea beetles that are loving their leaves. So, I’ll just be happy with what is growing well, and try to save the plants that still have a chance. Keep blooming! 🌱💚

May Goals Update 2018

It’s June!!! Only another week and a half of school, the garden is coming to life and the temperatures are on the rise. I love summertime!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– it happened! The whole thing is planted! I have walkways and I’m doing my best to keep the weeds at bay! The trellises are all looking great too!

2. Fix the camper– We have been fixing up our home away from home! It is finished, minus a few little cosmetic things that I’d like to do! We love how it turned out! And the Mr. custom fit the bamboo mat for the bathroom area!

3.Travel out west- That camper is officially ready for adventure! It’s going to be happening this summer! I really want to see a buffalo, a few Great Lakes and the beautiful sights in Yellowstone! Oh, and spend another summer with my boy before he’s all grown up!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So far we have raspberries, blueberries, black eyed Susan’s, brown eyed Susan’s, echinacea and a wildflower mix. And I’m pretty sure that some wild yarrow is coming up! And we are up to 2 inhabitants in the pollinator hotel!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are still working on filling bag 2! (Or actually not trying to fill it!) Still only 1 bag of trash! [/caption]

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I spread some good! I volunteered at a STEM festival and helped to educate kids about the importance of bees! I saved all of the water bottles from being thrown out during a school event and the boy’s composting service has kept around 70 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- the Mr. turned a broken window into a planter for the wildlife area! He also painted up and installed a cat litter container (now mailbox) in my garden so I’m not losing my garden trowel as often! And I turned some unused worksheets into notebooks for the boy to write down compost weights on! Great upcycling month!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! We are now up to 2 seeds sprouting! I was hoping to at least have that many for cross pollination!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! The only seeds that didn’t germinate at all were the oriental long beans. Not a one!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.6 MWh and just the connection rate fir an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this month! Maybe at least eggs! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month I worked every single free minute in the garden. On more than one occasion I had a bad feeling that I bit off ore than I should have. But, not everything is planted and growing. I hope that your gardens are taking shape! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚